There are a number of reasons for this. The first is that I'm straying into memoir, which is LLM's territory and which she writes with a great deal of verve. The second, and perhaps more important reason for my anxiety is that when I write poems they're usually about people/events/ideas that are very comfortably in my past. Everything that I've written below is fresh and complicated. I don't have my normal distance here, and that's terrifying.
So, dear readers, instead of a funny, self-deprecating essay about how I became an uber-nerd, you have the below. Lauren tells me it's good enough to post, so I am posting.
During one of our more recent nerd-a-thons, Kerry said something that's been rolling around in my mind ever since. She reminded me that all good things are also, somehow, sad. Last night I had a long, pleasant dinner with some people who are very dear to me. As I was walking home I was looking at the stars and it occurred to me that with the exception of the year I spent in the Twin Cities and the four months I lived in China, I have always been able to see the stars. This is a big thing for me. I am one of those people who would like to pick up astronomy as a hobby. I look at APOD every day and was incredibly upset with NASA canceled shuttle missions.
I began to wonder about Duluth and light pollution and before I knew it, I was thinking about these people and this place that have become so precious to me. The thought of leaving them, even for a good job, a city I love, a new adventure, takes my breath away. Then I remembered what Kerry said, about good things also being sad. We were speaking about something very specific (television, actually) but it was so apropos as to be almost frightening.
But that's where this genre of writing turns the reader on her head and along with its command of emotion is the other reason why I love it above any other genre. It reminds you, time and again, that it is the small decisions that impact the big ones. Lucy hid in a wardrobe. Bilbo threw a long-expected party. Luke lingered with Obi-Wan. Small choices led to the opportunity for heroism on a grand scale, but at what cost?
The odd thing is that it is the cost of the heroism (or courage, or love or...) that reveals to these characters who they are at their core. Inevitably they find that they are made of sterner stuff than they thought. They struggle and triumph and are forever changed because of small decisions that turned into bigger ones. They recognized that everything good is also a little bit sad.
So now, as I pack away my books and DVDs, as I take the pictures down from my walls and reconcile myself to the idea that I won't be the one to force Lauren to sit through Battlestar Galactica, I find myself repeating Kerry's words again and again, reminding myself that every single journey for one of these characters started with one small decision. And that even when things are difficult or sad, there's always room for the good as well.
Life it seems, much like a well-designed TARDIS, is bigger on the inside.