Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Lines and Circles

In some strange synesthesia-thing, she sees the year as a line stretching from January to December, which means that January always comes as a surprise. The line of each year stretches far, far out--way down the block--and then suddenly it stops. Ah. January. Here you are. Time for resolutions. Time for resolve.

Well. She can make a goal to finish a draft of the next novel. That's an easy goal to set. Not to achieve, but to set. And, um, hrm. There was that goal last year of taking vitamins and calcium that got side-swiped by all the medical tests at the beginning of the year. She figured back then that she should have her blood and urine unadulterated by even over-the-counter vitamins. And somehow, she never returned to it, even after all the testing was done. Then there was that goal about posture. Too much time spent huddling over the computer, huddling over babies, huddling over her books. Posture. She goes to yoga class--does that count? She decides it does. Good. Career goals. Check. Physical goals. Check. What about mental or emotional goals?

She thinks and thinks. Resolutions are supposed to be about developing good habits. Or undeveloping bad ones. What habits are needed? She already exercises. See? Here she sits in her car, yoga mat at her side, water bottle at the ready, multi-tasking! Mental boost, physical strength, and posture, all rolled up into one hour a week! She unrolls her mat in a teeny space at the back of the studio. The class is full of new goal-setters. Her teacher knows it and gives them an extra-difficult class, as if to weed out the wimps. After shaking muscles and lots of breathing, she lies flat on the mat in corpse pose, nearly dead after all that breathing and all that posing, and inspiration strikes. Here she had been trying to find balance by figuratively dancing on a plank laid on top of a pipe. Balance isn't to be found that way. She needs to be linear. She needs her life to be a straight line, on a flat surface. She needs to be a straight line. Like her mental image of the year. But how does one make a goal to be linear?

Most days, she goes in circles. Around and around, doing things that get undone. Shopping for food, cooking it, consuming it, dirtying dishes. Net result: calories. Washing herself, which only dirties the bathroom. Cleaning the bathroom, which in turn, dirties her. She washes clothes, only to wear them, and get them dirty again. And this doesn't take into account the gingerbread boys. The circle goes around and around and around. She needs to get somewhere. From point A to point B. Start to finish. She needs to find the end to something. December is an end. January is a beginning. Sure, they can be connected, but there's a period there, not just a semi-colon.

Back home, she folds the third load of laundry of the day, while dinner is cooking. The oldest gingerbread boy practices piano, playing a mixture of Bach's Inventions, Coldplay, and Do You Know the Muffin Man? Over and over he plays, song after song, circling back to Bach after playing the others. Doing and redoing and undoing all of these things makes her tired. Depression chips away at the lines in her life, until she's left with a dot, a sorry excuse for a circle.

Yes, she needs lines right now, not circles. Beginnings with happy endings. She's done with twirling around, spinning like a whirling dervish.

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