Right. It’s Sunday night—the time I used to sit down to write and share the latest incident with Dad for my blog Sundays with Dad. I mean, three years of that created a bit of a ritual. Now, even though Dad’s not around anymore, it doesn’t mean a ritual disappears. In fact, I find, I just need to write on Sunday night…
As some of you know, I’ve been working through the process of self-publishing our stories in a book called Conversations with Dad. It’s taking a while. I first submitted my manuscript over half a year ago for publication. There’s a timeline I’ve been following with a check-in coordinator, content evaluation, design, marketing, and all the rest. I’m waiting for my galley this week. Over the last months, I’ve stepped away from the work. This morning, I woke up early and for some reason felt possessed to look through it.
I was a little disappointed with the beginning and rewrote that. Then I rewrote a middle section and maybe a little of the ending changed too. I guess that’s normal? To never be satisfied with your work? I feel like I’m alone, though, on this island. Remember the volleyball, Wilson, in Castaway? Sam, my dog, is my Wilson. He stays at my feet and stares at me. If he’s concerned about me, he doesn’t let on. He’d much prefer I’d take him for a walk over waiting for me to take the break which never seems to come, but he’s patient. I can’t help but wonder, what if the entire project is a shipwreck? What if?
I was in high waves today, big swells. Up and down, up and down. My husband was patient. He went to church with me. He will usually do anything to get out of going to church but instead, made me a fresh cup of coffee, pulled the car out of the garage and waited. He made ME go.
It meant so much to Dad to get his designs documented. But then I went and made it all complicated and started writing my own stories, wrote a second blog, mixed it all together and turned the whole thing into a flippin’ miniseries. There were so many things going on it was ridiculous. I edited endlessly.
Tonight, I tried hard to set it all aside. Todd was called into work for the recount and I had time on my hands. I did what I often do when I feel despair setting in. I cook. I get out the smoked paprika.
I found a package of stir fry beef in the freezer and was hoping to make pepper steak, which Todd loves. But there were no peppers. I found celery, carrots, a red onion and tomatoes. So I opened a bottle of Cabernet, let it breathe (like I needed to) and started chopping. In a second pan, I sautéed the little red and yellow tomatoes and sprinkled the beef with pepper and salt. Then I threw a can of kidney beans in with the vegetables, let it all do its own thing and poured a glass of wine and picked up my book (The Audacity of Goats).
Todd came home with the last piece of furniture left at my parent’s condo—the closing is this week. He thought it could go upstairs but I had an eye for it in the living room. While we worked that out, the tomatoes burned. I splashed in a little wine, scraped the pan and stirred it into the vegetable mixture. Then I heated some olive oil to sizzling and browned the steak just as a favorite piano sonata came on Pandora—it sounded like my mom playing. I gave her a “cheers” and disappeared upstairs to write a Sunday night story.
So what if no one likes my book? What if? Maybe I’ll start collecting the “recipes” that saved me from despair…