In the early days when I was starting up DaveNet, which led to this blog a few years later, I would write the most self-indulgent essays in the days leading up to my birthday. They were also my best.
I finally wrote a book proposal this week. I think it's a good one. It's a book I'd like to read, so I'm pretty sure I'll like to write it. My agent said "you know they'll say it's just narcissism and all that," and I'll say (as I said to him) show me some writing that isn't.
Narcissus, the Greek, sat by the river and gazed at his reflection, in awe of his beauty, so fixed he froze in place. Why move when you've found perfection?
One nice thing about the far west side of Manhattan. After a hot day the middle of the night cool breeze smells of the ocean. Not just any ocean but the ocean of sleepovers at my grandmother's Rockaway house, as a kid, a long long time ago.
In Howl's Moving Castle, a movie I saw for the first time a couple of days ago, a teen girl named Sophie has a spell cast on her by a witch. It transforms her into an old woman in an instant. It's exactly the spell that life casts on all of us! (I suspect the author realized this.)
Sophie quickly learns that being old is harder than it looks. And in some ways more satisfying. "When you're old all you want to do is stare at the sea," she says. "It's so strange, I've never felt so peaceful before." I know what she's talking about. I too find I can just sit and watch and feel great.
On the other hand, Bette Davis said old age is no place for sissies. My father quoted her often, in his last year, which was a very hard year indeed.
55 birthdays. Almost two months of birthdays. You'd think I'd have it down. Every one is different but in some ways they're all the same. It's the one day when the party is about you. It's all yours. If you get choked up and cry, it's okay -- it's your day. All yours.
You can call me old for this one day -- I feel old, in a bittersweet way. But tomorrow it's back to normal, just plain sweet, and if you call me old I'll whack you with the cane I don't have. At least not yet. ">