Last month, I came across my old buddy Jack Kerouac’s list of “30 Essentials to Spontaneous Prose”. After reading the list a few times, I began choosing ones off this numbered list that immediately struck me and contemplated them individually. I think it’s too soon to tell whether they have influenced my writing, but I can definitely say they are affecting my state of mind….
Recently, I have been contemplating # 19, “Accept Loss Forever”….
This afternoon I listed out a number of different ‘things’ that needed to be done before I allowed myself to indulge any further in the lingering afternoon. The area in my house with the most ACCUTE need was the kitchen…. it also served as a crux for other ‘things’ to unfold…. grocery store, meal planning, cooking, peace of mind at maneuvering in a clean kitchen…..
So, the dishes came first. Plates and silverware, pans, new thermoses, mugs, cups and utensils were sifted through and placed into a jumply pile to the left of my sink while the hot water filled and the bubbles churned. There were some pans that had also been soaking with water (yesterday’s poached egg i believe) on the stove and I juggled them over to the left of the sink as well….
For whatever reason i felt more overwhelmed by the amount of dishes i had to tackle this afternoon than i had in a long time…. I began to toss forks and cups into the sudsy bath and as each dish clunked against the others I cringed. A weird metaphor for my life flashed through my mind: my life is this clunky sink of dishes. I felt the blood rush to my cheeks…. I reached for one of the soaking egg pans that had been precariously set atop an unstable stack of other pans and watched it tip…. spilling egg water everywhere…. onto the sink….. into the dishwater…. and finally into a thin trickle towards the floor….. I just stood there and watched…. stunned and confused….. then the tears came….. i was out of paper towels and all of my dish towels were dirty in the basement….. the egg water just trickled to the floor splattering at my barefeet….
“Accept Loss Forever” ticker taped across my brain….
“Accept Loss Forever”…. there it went again…. all my frustrations and all of my struggles at keeping things orderly splattered in ugly egg water onto the dirty floor…. i felt my hand reach towards my mouth to cup a sob…..
“Accept Loss Forever”….. i folded over a little and didn’t fight the crying…. grabbed at the counter for support….
After a few minutes I returned up right and wiped shining silvery tears from my face and went to the hall closet to get a bathroom towel…. this was particularly demoralizing because bathroom towels (in my mind) should not migrate to the kitchen……
I wiped up the mess with a scarlet bathroom hand towel. It soaked up the egg water in 2 singular circular swoops across the counter and then the floor….. I wrang it out over the trash and hung it over the stove handle….
I can’t say why “Accept Loss Forever” tripped me over the edge and offered resolve…. or even popped in at such a random moment in my brain…. but it did…..
The dishes are done…. The kitchen floor is mopped and swept….The damp scarlet bathroom towel still hangs over the stove handle…. it bother’s me a little, but I’m gonna leave it there until it dries…..