Monday, November 10

The Variegated Life, Take 2

In Which Raerae Seeks to Revive Her Long-Abandoned Blog ...

I call this blog The Variegated Life because I like the word variegated, suggesting autumn trees tossing the sunlight in their many-colored leaves. I prefer to think of my life as variegated rather than as fragmented, although at times my variegated life—a motley patchwork of relationships, jobs, housekeeping, running, writing, zazen, reading—feels far less beautiful than a sunlit tree. These days I'm not even sure what my variegated life will be, other than a grand experiment in improvisation. In September, I became a mother, which has resulted in no job or running and very little housekeeping, writing, zazen, or reading. In their place, I am developing an intimate relationship with hunger. And with poo. Nevertheless, I write what I can, when I can....

I Write Because I Do Not Know

All summer long, pregnant and due in September, I worried. I worried about the health of my baby, my nutrition (I was anemic), and how little I was exercising. I worried about waking up on time, getting to work on time, getting my work done, how much money I was earning, how much money we were spending, and how much money we were going to spend once the baby was here. I worried about what to put on the table for dinner, the unanswered e-mails filling my Inbox, the crumbs on the kitchen counter, the unpacked boxes from our move in April, our unwashed laundry, the hole in our bathroom wall, the cost of new furniture, the number of cell phone minutes I had left for the month, the radiation from my cell phone, phthalates and BPA, disposable diapers accumulating in our landfills, and the family stories I have not yet asked my ninety-year-old grandmother about. I worried that I will never write another poem; that spring was already gone, then June, then July, and I was not paying enough attention to what mattered most; that my worries were distracting me from a more fundamental reality, which I could observe in the changing of the seasons from month to month and in the new human life growing, stretching, and kicking in my womb. The most I could do was talk to my baby during my morning walks through Prospect Park, telling him about the changes in the weather and trees and how the sky was reflected in the pond at the edge of the Long Meadow. In the evenings I watched baseball and rubbed my belly, and at night I lay down on my side and sang my baby and myself to sleep.

What surprised me most about my pregnancy was how the arising of a new life in my belly deepened my concern with the same kinds of questions that the Buddha began to ask upon his encounter with very different stages of life—old age, sickness, and death. I originally conceived of this blog as a way to consider the relationship between works of imagination and reality, specifically what literature has to say, if anything, about how we should live. Now my project also includes a consideration of motherhood and what it reveals about fundamental reality. I write about these things because I do not know what I think about these things, and writing is the best way I know of finding out....

1 comment:

katie said...

i am very pleased to see you taking up this writing again ms raerae. so very nice to hear your voice.

love,
kt