on big talks, Annie Ernaux and another season of White Lotus
Big talks with Violet. Everything feels slippery this week. Like as I work on being more present and grateful I also feel more afraid of the turns life might take. Violet was upset about going to violin because her teacher pushes her too hard, and then I got upset in response. Then we had to talk about it. I acknowledged that even after parenting for 14 years I still get upset when my kids are upset and I don’t always respond calmly. Like I feel all her emotions along with her and wind myself up until we are two balls of colliding angst and then in that state my words come out as…angry. It’s weird.
Anyway, later that night we were lying in her bed and I was reiterating how good she is at naming her feelings. Then I paused ready for one of Violet’s “Violet-isms” that floor me every time:
“Imagine if a human had armadillo skin.”
“Oh, uh, yeah, that would be crazy.”
“That would be some thick human skin alright.”
I made my swift exit from the bunk bed. The girl was tired. I felt strangely pleased that she had redirected the conversation away from our emotional journeys. She just wanted to chat…armadillo humans. Moving on, Mommy.
On that note, her teacher at school this year says that poems have to make sense. This is perturbing me greatly. Violet wrote a poem that said "the names were playing games” and her teacher said, “No, Violet, this doesn’t make sense.” I’m in physical pain. I love things that don’t make sense and encourage that kind of meandering thinking. What to do? I might start by sending my friend Shannon’s brilliant book of poetry to school with Violet. Maybe metaphor will have its way.
White Lotus Season 2 is back and I continue to find the ensemble of characters enjoyable—all messed up à la TV land. Routine: Simon lies in bed watching car repair YouTube videos (“I love watching them solve the problem”) and I watch While Lotus (“I love watching them create the problem”). He’s excited because his guy just found a ‘61 Roll’s Royce to restore; I’m laughing because “Tonya” is weeping in a truly pitiful way over breakfast (Emmy winner Jennifer Coolidge is brilliant in this role).
Annie Ernaux has been on my list for a while, and her recent Nobel Prize win in literature has me interested in getting to know her mind anew. I was reading a profile of her in The New Yorker last night and discovered this line: “I believe any experience, whatever its nature, has the inalienable right to be chronicled. There is no such thing as a lesser truth.” Ernaux’s compulsion to write out of her own life feels affirming as I creep toward one hundred posts here on Observables, always with the niggling question, why? Why am I writing these things? Why am I recording the happenings in this one insignificant life? Why the need to chronicle? A duty? An obsession?
Maybe reading Ernaux will continue to illuminate…I think I’ll start with The Years.
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In other news…this week on the podcast Nat and I do a quick update on the Bourdain Dilemma from Episode 57, and start a new series about Women in Transition. Come for some self-care in community, some deep thoughts, some circular thinking you might need interrupted through a wee reframe…we’re right there with you.
Always a thought to ponder! I like your affirming of Violet's creativity...children must be encouraged to write,draw,think in the mode their muse is taking them..."refinement " can come later as they discover their own thinking patterns. Keep writing.
Do challenge Violet's teacher. She doesn't understand the nature of poetry, for sure! And keep writing. My one quibble with you is naming your life as "insignificant." That comment is not poetic! Your blogs keep us inspired with our own frailties.