Romantic Notions

WarriorPoet(2), a friend of mine from Open Diary, suggested that I write an entry about an alternative life in which, instead of ever meeting Fuzzy, I was an international jewel thief. On the surface, it’s a romantic notion – going all Carmen Sandiego and hopping from continent to continent, spending a week browsing through the Louvre, or having romantic one-night stands in Barcelona or Milan, dancing through Carnival in Rio.

But the thing is, even in my fantasy, that’s not a life I’d want. Oh, I can appreciate the romance of it, the thrill, the sense of daring and fun, but a life on the lam is no kind of life at all.

Here’s my real fantasy – I want to be an old-style foreign correspondent. There’s this book called Paris to the Moon that I read a couple of years ago – it’s a series of essays about an American couple with a young child experiencing life in Paris. The author was freelancing for The New Yorker at the time, and the book is a compilation of his work. The life they led – writing in the morning, experiencing life in French and English – going to cafes and public swimming pools and museums – that fascinated me. That’s what my alternative life would be – me holed up in a garrett or loft in some extremely quaint European city, and having little adventures disguised as trips to the market, an afternoon of shopping, late evenings listening to jazz in obscure clubs, early mornings sipping coffee and nibbling on croissants or beignets – and writing about it all – for money.

I blame these romantic notions on my mother, who has a Sweet 16 lecture we all received as we hit that age – “See Europe!” she told my cousins and me.

I also blame Jo March, the fictional character created by Louisa May Alcott in Little Women. When I was nine years old I stapled a red bow to my black velvet beret, and tucked my hair up inside it, whenever I wanted to write. I filled pages and pages with nonsense, none of which was ever complete. (I do the same thing now, when I have time, except that my vocabulary has improved and I don’t wear the hat any more.)

Rilke once told a young poet who sought advice, that if you wake up and all you can think about is writing, you’re a writer.

Words flow through my brain on a near constant basis, and I am ever so madly in love with pen and ink and text on screens. Writing isn’t all I want to do, but it’s the thing that never goes away.

But it’s just a romantic notion.

Obligatory Christmas Night Entry

It’s been a quiet Christmas at Chez Meliss, but that’s not a bad thing. We spent the morning opening presents – I now have a spiffy new hat, scarf, and bag to add to my collection of accessories – and sipping coffee, spent the early afternoon brunching on ham and eggs courtesy of a recipe gleaned from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, and spent the rest of the day puttering – my husband napped, my stepfather worked on editing a document, my mother fed her addiction to Bejeweled on my computer, and I finally learned how to thread the sewing machine she gave me four years ago.

This evening, we broiled salmon and steamed asparagus for a simple but tasty dinner, and watched Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, which dvd was provided for me by Santa Fuzzy. (I’m actually watching it again as I type this, and letting the fanfic part of my brain ponder some new ideas. I haven’t written any fiction or fanfic since NaNo, even though I’ve been writing every day, and Snape is starting to whisper to me again…and the thing is, fanfic warms me up for writing my own stuff…also, I got a nifty book of Latin quips (also from Santa Fuzzy) that I’m dying to use.)

I’m hesitant to list the rest of the gifts I received, because really, it’s not ABOUT that, but I’m tickled by the two books on quilting that are currently sitting by my bed – I’m planning a wedding quilt for a couple of friends – and I received a pair of throw pillows that my mother designed and made, using scans of greeting cards I’ve given her, and some really amazing fabric. They’re gorgeous.

Tomorrow (Sunday) my aunt and cousin are driving over from Shreveport, LA, and bringing food – we’re cooking a London Broil to go with whatever they bring – and that should be nice. Or at least interesting. I’m so accustomed to family being 2500 miles away, that I’m a bit thrown by having anyone within driving distance.

My parents will be here through Tuesday evening, and as much as it’s nice having them around, I’m also happy that this visit is drawing to a close. I’m tired and cranky from living on a ‘normal’ schedule instead of the sort of off-kilter schedule that Fuzzy and I generally keep, and I am anxious to hole myself up in a room with music and quilt pieces, and not have to be social.