I have a habit (perhaps bad, perhaps just human) to close doors behind me. When I leave a city, leave a job, leave a friend, leave a hobby, leave anything – slam, the door is shut. It isn’t intentional or desired. I always miss the people and places and things on the other side of the door. I’m jealous of those who know how to shake off the cloak of insularity and maintain connections over great spans of distance and time.
Five or six or seven months ago, stuff started happening in our extended families. Big Stuff. My wife and I were confronted head-on with the sort of problems that we had blithely assumed belonged to the far-off future. Unfortunately, the future came early.
So, fast forward a few months, my wife and I have moved back to my childhood town of Oklahoma City. We spent October looking for a suitable house, November negotiating its purchase, and December fixing up our Bay Area house, packing our stuff, and driving across the country. December in Oklahoma was cold and dreary, our new house dumpy and dirty and depressing. We cried the day we arrived and fought the next day. It wasn’t until we got here that the enormity of our decision started crushing down.
Since we made the decision to leave Berkeley, I haven’t written anything. Nothing. Not a draft post for this blog, not a journal entry, not a paragraph in my short-lived effort towards fiction. Yes, we’ve been busy during that period. Very busy. Fixing up our Berkeley house was a big project – the dirty curtains and cracked plaster and peeling bathtub we’d lived with happily for six years wouldn’t pass the scrutiny of the rental market. Fixing up our Oklahoma house has been even tougher – we’ve learned that the term “fixer-upper” really means “will make your life suck, forever.” Leaving Berkeley wasn’t easy, coming to Oklahoma hasn’t been easy, dealing with our family Big Stuff has definitely not been easy. But none of that explains why I haven’t written a single word in five months.
Last week all of the hubbub slowed down and my wife suggested I write a new blog post. I couldn’t find a reason to disagree with her. So I started shopping for a desk. Because, you know, what I really needed before tip-tapping on a laptop was to get a new desk. I’ve been to Goodwill, searched Craigslist, researched the lumber I would need to build my own desk. All a massive effort in avoidance.
Finally I’ve forced the issue. I’ve declined all social invitations and shoved off responsibilities for the day. I’m sitting here with jelly beans and water. It’s unclear to me what this post is about and therefore I’m sure it’s boring the petunias out of you as well. All I know is that I’m tired of living a staccato life, with each segment fresh but isolated. I’d like this new chapter to build on what came before. And therefore this blog continues. It won’t be the same, and I doubt the transition will be smooth. But it will be a continuance, of sorts, and an intentional connection of future to past. I’m looking forward to what comes next.