It was the children, of course, who really introduced me to Kipling. Somehow, we ended up reading Rikki Tikki Tavi, a story that I have always hated. They absolutely loved it so we followed it with the Jungle Book and many of the Just So Stories. He's lovely, like eating chocolates as the Evangelical house wife said once. It's Kipling and Joan Didion right now. They are where my heart is:
…she resolved to reconstruct the details of occasions on which she recalled being happy. As she considered such occasions she was struck by their insignificance, their absence of application to the main events of her life. In retrospect she seemed to have been most happy in borrowed houses, and at lunch.--Democracy, Joan Didion.
But I'm too busy to tell you about beautiful things now. I was just going to quickly tell you how my mid-life crisis ended.
It was Princess-O'dilia (no last name, multi-syllabic dashed and hyphenated first name) who first introduced me to this idea of giving birth to something, to an idea. I didn't have time to explore this metaphor with her because I was more interested in hearing about how she had left Christianity at forty to become a new-age spiritual birthing coach. People's conversions out of Christianity are terribly evocative to me.
But the metaphor itself helped me to realize what was going on. The whole thing actually started with a metaphor. I don't often feel in metaphor, but last Spring, I started to feel like I was harboring an un-danced song.
And I went through this whole emotional thing. At best, there were moments of euphoric mania. At worst, I was chasing away Sylvia Plath moments with vodka tonics. Look though my previous posts, if you can't see crazy written over a lot of them, you're blind. (Technically speaking, I haven't had a Sylvia Plath moment since the nineties, but I was very blue quite a lot of the time. It was much worse than that winter where The Man worked all the time, and I had no friends except that canister of hot chocolate powder that I used to keep in my closet. I would nip from it when the kids weren't looking and when I was down.)
And now that the birthing pains have passed, what's left? What did I give birth to? Part of it was that I had to realize that a shift away from the ideologies that I held most dear was not an admission of failure but rather a realization that sometimes we need to have paradigm shifts. (I know. That's a totally simple idea to be preceded by months of crazy, but I am a horribly ideological thinker. I cling to them. If I were religious, I would be banging a tambourine at best and being a suicide bomber at worst.)
And another thing that happened was that I started working on a project. It's an important project, . It'll be meaningful, hopefully, but the process will be meaningful for sure so that's fine.
I have nothing to lose, and in the meantime, I'm going to wrap myself in Joan Didion and see where it goes.