Monday, December 7, 2009

"Hope is the thing with feathers,...

...that perches in the soul, and sings the tune without words, and never stops at all." Emily Dickinson

I hope to reach a conclusion today, and arrive at sanity but I fear it's more than a day trip.

Since talking over my ambivalence with my husband regarding taking a job that I feel is "beneath my skill set and pay requirements," my mind is unsettled and my legs vibrating under my desk like tongs on a tuning fork. He informed me in no uncertain terms that he has done much work for little money when the situation called for it........[insert gigantic pause]....and these times were not few and will be again [now insert man scowling at the television.]

My darling husband has little, actual point of reference here. He's always called his own shots, having never applied for any job anywhere. He's either been a carpenter, sought out by others, or he's fished, dug clams and worms or picked periwinkles. Mother Nature is his boss, and he answers to her. He complains about her like a real employer, damning her for too much wind or rain, when either of those things cramp his style. But she favors him as he always returns to me from his sea voyages. He delights in coming home to tell me how giant waves came "right over the boat today" and "sometimes all you could see was water on all sides." She's no small boat either at 42' feet long, 18' feet wide; a Nova Scotia or "Novi" hull with a riding sail. Built to take "it," he says. He's very proud of his girl.

Friedrich Nietzsche said, "One must separate from anything that forces one to repeat 'No' again and again." Ah, that has been my mantra since the brightness of the interview wore off. As a matter of fact, I've refused several jobs for this same "No" my not-so-inner jackass brayed when it saw my potential working conditions. I knew I wouldn't be able to function and would soon seek my own undoing as I have done again and again.

Is this ego? Am I too good to do certain work? No, it's not about being too "good." I would rather shovel manure in a cow barn than sit behind a sliding glass window. At least I would be doing something for the cows out in the fresh air, no pantyhose required, no lipstick, no mascara; no mask whatsoever. I think environment says everything about the kind of work a person will be expected to perform. The more a place looks like a jail cell, the more a prisoner you are. I once visited an old jail here on the Midcoast. The cells were carved from solid rock. I'll never forget the feeling of me, at 5'3", having to stoop well down to walk into those dark and fetid rooms. I am reminded of those cells whenever I am shown the kind of environment I saw at that interview. They don't show you the leg chain until after you agree to work there.

As I look around my home office I am more than pleased to work here. I've painted it a color called "Wanderlust," a lush dark blue periwinkle color; my shelves are painted "Pink Adobe." Off-white berber rugs and lacy curtains in the windows. A honey-birch desk that my husband made is tucked into the corner. All my paintings, framed certificates, favorite poems, funny cartoons and memorabilia are posted here and there around me. Abalone, oyster and hen clam shells gathered on the shores of Prince Edward Island fill my ginger jar desk lamp. Pens shaped like red poppies and ladybugs sit in flowered handmade pottery cups given to me as a wedding present. My beagle and shepherd snore, sprawled behind me on the floor. One kitty lies behind the computer in the sunshine; the other watches the cursor on the screen with great fascination. This is not a huge space, but I don't have to stoop to enter and there is no leg chain. There is but a spiritual tether to keep me grounded.

Toni Morrison said, "If there's a book you really want to read but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it." I have a book in mind, but the blank white page stymies me as it has thousands of others before me, and millions ahead of me. Onward...

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