I call it the library daze. Just saying the phrase evokes in my mind the summer heat on my skin, the tension in my legs as I skip or (these days walk) towards the blast of cool air coming from automatic doors, the reassuring smell of air conditioning and paper as I pass by the security scanners and make a beeline for the stack of 25 cent paperbacks. There is always the potential that something is there – maybe the book I have been waiting all of my life to read. The library has it’s myriad of possibilities as well, but something about the chaos and chance of the used bookshelf always appeals to me first. Then, after a good hour or so of browsing, I checkout. The hot air hits me as I walk out to the car, for a moment slightly more unbearable than I remember it an hour before. I distract myself by hefting my books closer to me, feeling their weight and unrealistically hoping that each one will be the book I that I enjoy the most. Home, and then next few days, hours, and minutes of leisure I have (usually dictated by whatever age I am at the time) are completely booked. In every sense of the word.
This memory is mine, many times over. I remember some version of it for every year of my life.
This is why.
I am a terrible blogger, to be honest. My writing style is always too flowery, I focus on all the wrong things, and I get stage fright whenever I realize someone might be reading – which results in virtually no consistency. My paper journals too, have always been start and stop for the past 26 years, and I only have 2 or 3 that are completely filled. This means that I remember feelings, smells, atmosphere, and only random details from the past.
This is why.
The past 16 weeks I have been growing human. Gritty, imperfect work, so far from a science and so much closer to old, earthy magic. I want to remember the details. I want to remember how it was, after three months of constant nausea, quiet, darkness, and fatigue, to be able to walk around without feeling like I was running on 15% battery. How, weeks after that, it felt like a new privilege to experience even the most mundane things in life. How different it all was, and how incredibly grounded and happy and inadequate I have felt during all of these weeks – that I was chosen to house this little person, for however long. How thankful I am that our little person is sticking with us for the journey. I want my child to know that, beyond a shadow of a doubt. I want to remember them, and I want to remember myself.
This is why.
It all comes back to the story. And, in a way, it all comes back to the feeling of those summer days. The potential, the warmth, the words under my finger pads, the books I lugged out of the library that helped shape my life, imagination…person. Books and words made me, or at least made some very important parts of my heart and soul. I want to remember the books I read, the days that I live, the moments that pass me by only when I’m caught up in the superficial.
This is why we I write, I think. Stories, connection, memory. The struggle to take something intangible and put it in a place where everyone can see it, and hopefully, wonderfully, comprehend it. The moment of magic after hours of practice when something between the head and the hands clicks, and you think, “Yes, this is imperfect, but it is ‘me’.”