I had such a good weekend! Yesterday I wrote that I put away "dire and duty" and this morning as I sat down by the sunny window with my pen in hand, I realized how much hope and optimism I'd lost. I can feel it coming back with the light. It feels like it’s been three years of dark nights. I had work to do in there: I got divorced, I built a business, I hit my limits and ignored them, over and over, until I became friends with darkness. Necessary.
But I utterly forgot how to have fun.
Now, it’s coming back, baby.
Like on Saturday night.
After we talked with Tina Tokyo and drank black manhattans at Marjorie, Nash and I walked to Kimberly's house to share the love. Kimberly had her kids that night. She is going through a divorce now. She is protecting herself from things that are not good for her. I remember how necessary that became. Someone told her “You are like a castle, now. You need that drawbridge, you need that moat right now."
Nash says she has a different metaphor. Nash is full of soft lights and deep waters at the same time. She is like the moon. She and I both think Kimberly shines like the sun, as does anyone who spends time in Kimberly’s golden optimism. Also, Kimberly is a gifted writer, and I always think of The Sun Tarot card as the shining power of the pen... Anyway, you can understand why Nash sees it this way:"Kimberly,” she said, “You're like a flower now… you're growing away from the dark, you're growing toward the light."
Aren’t women friends great? Isn’t girl time the best? And anyway, we don’t have to choose. It's both, I think. I said so: how important it is to have protection around our roots, in the dark. How important it is to be able to say "No, I will be safe."
And still, when it’s time, to be able to say “YES!” To grow toward it and sing it out loud.
At, say, karaoke for instance, which was our next stop.
The bar was crowded and my new friends were all there: Monte and John and Mulligan and Linda and of course, Sammy, the host. Benny the bartender blew me a kiss and Nash sang Harry Belafonte’s “Jump in the Line.” You may know it as “Shake, Shake, Señora”:
Shake, shake, shake, Señora, shake your body line.
Work, work, work Señora, work it all the time
I'm tired of working all the time! Harry Belafonte's got that covered, though.
Okay, I believe you! Jump in the line, rock your body in time…
So sang Nash, and the whole bar was grooving and so I did. I got up and John did also and we danced in line with Nash like we had pants full of spicy, spicy chile peppers.
And then, not long after that, Journey’s piano chords rang through the bar…
“Just a small town girl, living in a lonely world…she took a midnight train going an-y-where…”
Mulligan and Monte and Nash and I were clustered together, swaying and by the end of the first stanza, all four of us had our arms out and up in the air, all of us singing together at the top of our lungs:
“Working hard to get my fill, everybody wants a thrill.”
Leaning forward, bellowing out the lyrics, smiling at each other, looking at each other, looking at the singer, closing our eyes.
"Don't stop be-lieving, hold onto that feeling, yeah-ah-ah,"
This thing that is inside me now, the sprout of a life as a writer, telling the truth, trying to make sense of this life and death and great turning…I want it so much. I can see now, here in this fragile green state, that the darkness inside me is just beginning to be colonized by life. I can see now how the fierceness that I had to learn to end my marriage and to go down into the dark ... It cooked me into something purer, but also harder. I want to hold on to the strength, but also hold on to this feeling as the light grows, out in, somewhere in the night... Oh yeah.
Here’s the link. Don’t Stop Believing. Go ahead, listen to it right now. Maybe even sing along.