It's to my sort of Platonic ideal of you as Mom that I'm writing to, though.
I know that if you were on earth in your Platonic ideal, you'd have worried a lot about me in the last five years. I've had some tough times, one step back for every two step forward. I'm about the same weight you saw me last, maybe a little smaller, and my antidepressant dosages keep going up. But my debts have gone down. Daisy has gotten louder and more critical of everything on the street, but she has the same old energy chasing a ball and she's a fantastic nurse when I'm sick or can't get out of bed. You did good when you picked her out for me.
I still live in the Bat Cave but it has a lot less stuff in it -- in fact, it's a perfect day today to keep taking books out to leave on walls in the hopes that someone else wants to read Faulkner. I certainly don't and I've given up on being the sort of smarty-pants who does.
I finished a novel yesterday that I would have passed on to you -- I Thought You Were Dead. I didn't think the human relationships were all that great but the relationship between the protagonist and his old dog was amazing and I can't stop crying about it. I'd have warned you before giving it to you but I know you would have liked it a lot.
Dad is fine. He's the same old piss-and-vinegar codge who lives on his own planet. He finally let me alphabetize his CDs this winter (and donate a LOT of them: you would have been shocked) and he spent about two months listening to Chopin from beginning to end. It would have annoyed you. He's kind of in love with someone -- well, you know her well and if in some ways you might have disliked his choice, I am glad because she goes back such a long way that it's like having a bit of you in our lives. It's a long distance relationship now. They'll never see each other again. But it helped him get through whatever he didn't tell us about losing you.
I've written two more books since you died, the one you knew about and another one, which I'm glad you can't read. It's rated R. Dad asked for a bunch of copies to give away at the senior apartment complex where he's living and I'm blushing at the thought. One is designated for Fr. Max, if you can believe it.
And now I'm waffling about getting going on a book about the rosary. I know, I know: you were never much for the rosary and mostly thought Mary was a nice icon, an inroad on the patriarchy. I'm finding it hard to round up the kind of Catholics who don't believe birth control is a sin but who say the rosary. The semi-renegades. I need to do more research.
Maybe on Craig's List.
Ha ha. That was a joke, Mom. Craig's List is
Oh, never mind.
But we have a new pope, Mom. Rat-singer, the old Nazi, retired. This one is a puzzle. He's warm, simple, charismatic, anti-capitalist, forgiving. He's also enlisting more exorcists and he hasn't put the Pietá up for sale. But I have some new hope for the Church.
I have some new hope for me, too, Mom. I fell into something. It involves getting the word out about books and healthy living (excuse me while I go have a cigarette: yes, Mom. I know, Mom.) It pays well and I'm getting more work. I think I'm succeeding because of my writing talent and because I'm pretty nice as an online presence.
Sorry. "Online" means
Never mind. It's good and has to do with computers.
Anyway, I have a little hope for myself for the first time in ages. I like doing it. I do it at home. It's creative. I can take it anywhere. Independence isn't so far away.
I've been estranged from hope for so long that the relief of thinking about things I want and want to do without having to tell myself to shut up is like champagne. I'm working like a dog but I like it and I have a real desire to do well in it. I haven't felt that way about my occupations, except around my writing, since I was in university and graduate school. It feels like falling up.
I've backed off sugar and wheat again, although I'm not doing meetings and stuff. Yeah, I know. I'll try. But I have reasons for wanting to lose weight for the first time in years and it's not about looking better. I want to travel, Mom. I want to go to Fatima. Can you imagine the gift shops?
I know. I don't believe in it either. But maybe I can be the miracle who goes rather than leaves.
OK, I'm all cried out now. I need a cigarette for real this time. I think about you every day, Mom. Miss you.