Monday, May 10, 2010


During the life you have lived this far, you have lost enough people and things to know that there is no way to cope with grief, much less any way to go about avoiding the effects it will have on you. Given your experience to date in dealing with what you have left before you while attending to the things you wish to accomplish and experience, the reminders of what has been lost could overwhelm your enthusiasm for the present and your strategy for the future. Thus you are left vulnerable, a not uncommon place to be nor one where you are by any account alone.

You are used to the shelf life of persons, animal friends, and things are running on time lines, causing you to accept intellectually the notion of lifespan, but even in such cases, the heart has its own ways of dealing with what the intellect knows, transcending time, space, and causality.

You are less likely these days to be on the Hollywood Freeway, but whether you are traveling in that area alone or with others, when you pass the Woodman-Avenue turnoff, your thoughts and an occasional comment are drawn to Sam, the cat who visited you and stayed with you as your writing career grew, then, because you were home most days, opted to be your cat, who is buried on the hillside area adjacent the swimming pool that once belonged to George and Patsy Bishop, who invited you to inter Sam there, not far from their own friend, Black, as a gesture of solidarity and connectivity among human friends that developed as you became first George's editor, then friend.

Sometimes, when you are in Santa Monica, you will drive past the house your parents brought you to after you were born, and only the other day, in a writing workshop, when a student read a portion of her novel, set in Santa Monica at a particular locale, you were able to instruct her to have her character walk across the street to 516 Santa Monica, which you know is now a Chinese restaurant, but which was not always so because it was a remarkable place in which your father attempted for so many years various means of making a livelihood, not the least of which was inviting speculation on the outcome of various contests of speed among thoroughbred horses, but was also given over to the refurbishment and resale of luggage and trunks owned by some of the first-generation greats of the film industry.

Sometimes, when you see pictures of yourself at earlier ages, you blink at the preponderance of hair, curly, abundant, expansive in its cowlick abandon. On other occasions, seeing a runner plying one of your former routes, you are transported to the sixty-to-seventy-mile weeks of your own with your then dog companion, Molly. The male pattern hair hair loss is of little grief; you are fairly comfortable with the you of today, but thanks to the titanium replacements for the hips you were issued at birth, the best you could hope for would be half-hours on the treadmill at the Y, half-hours better spent in the pool.

As though it were a lathe, grief has in its way turned and formed your life, allowing you some voice in shaping outcomes and choices made after some loss, reminding you at all costs to cherish the immediacy about you and the manners in which you embrace it and those about you.

One of the great things a close and dear friend once said about you as he drive you to one of your destiny points of having your first hip-replacement surgery. "Because I've had the operation on my knee, I can appreciate how you'll come out of this, absolutely pain free. But
I'll always remember the way you walk now, as though you were trying to navigate through a pack of friendly dogs without stepping on one."

1 comment:

Querulous Squirrel said...

"As though it were a lathe, grief has in its way turned and formed your life." This is a very beautiful, elegant, and moving essay. I love the last image.