This week, I was laboring over a chapter from my memoir and it was still not coming together, even though (or because) I’d been working on it for several weeks. I kept revising and reworking and revising again, and still the chapter fell short, the words now a diluted version of what I’d originally written. Finally, I loosened my grip, put the chapter aside and moved on to another scene. And sure enough, the troublesome chapter began to take shape.
The whole process reminded me of a story I tell in my show, How to Draw a Nekkid Man (formerly I Will Be Good), inspired by my then 5-year-old niece, Sadie Cone, wise beyond her years, who is now a newly-engaged, beautiful grown woman (check out her work at Splendid Spaces). At the time, she was unknowingly commenting on the state of my pesky practice marriage. It was a classic example of “out of the mouths of babes.” I’ve included the exchange here. I hope you enjoy it.
This whole “letting go” concept is becoming a running theme and I’m having a tough time catching on. Even my five-year-old niece, my sister’s child, told me pretty much the same thing a couple of months ago. I’d gone home to visit, and I took her to a restaurant and they gave her a balloon. We come home and she’s running in the front yard with her balloon. She’s running and running and she’s thrilled. And I’m saying “hold on tight to your balloon, hold on tight so you don’t lose it.” I’m scared to death she’s gonna lose that balloon. And she eventually tires out and we come inside and in about 30 seconds the balloon gets caught in the ceiling fan and pops. She bursts into tears and I’m promising her balloons every day for the rest of her life, and she’s crying so hard, she’s choking on her words, and she finally manages to say “Aunt Trish you’re not listening to me!” And I stop trying to console her and start trying to listen and she says, “People think they are so smart. They hold their balloons so tight and they just pop anyway.”
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