Only Planet

One Child, One Year, One Planet. A family of three traveling around the world...

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Saturday, January 01, 2011

Oh, What a Decade!

At some point yesterday Dylan informed me that today is 1/1/11. Didn’t see that coming. I’m still processing the fact that another decade has gone by and remembering the things that became a part of my life; things that didn’t even exist ten years ago. Things like friends who I’ve met in the past ten years, new babies who have joined our family—some are now almost 10—and technologies I’ve embraced. Hello Facebook and iphone.

Sadly over the past decade we’ve lost a number of people dear to us including Andy’s grandpa George Wells, my two grandmothers Bertha Werking and Viola Lake, and Viola’s sister Margie. Two of my dearest friends (Lili P. and Sam W) lost a brother, and sister in the 2000s. Some friends have moved, others divorced and some are no longer part of our day-to-day life.

On the upside, I found a space at Milo’s counter for me in the 2000s and my brother Miles was able to re-enter our lives during this decade after an eight year absence, bringing a sense of peace and wisdom that he gained in the hardest of ways.

Yes there were the notable events during 2000-2010. Y2K, Gore v. Bush, September 11, 2001, the wars in Iraq & Afghanistan, a wardrobe malfunction, international terrorist attacks, the patriot act, two terms of Bush, Obama, Palin, the Asian Tsunami, Hurricane Katrina, a 700 billion dollar bailout, and enormous oil spills off the coast of the US and Africa. But each of us spins our own universe inside these greater dramas.

What rocked my world this past decade? First it was Dylan’s transformation from a curious, intrepid preschooler to a composed, ever-evolving teenager. It has been a privilege to be there every moment, watching and perhaps having a hand in forming this whole person. As Dylan got older it was time to see the world. Not only did we execute and launch our yearlong, round-the-world journey in 2005, we made travel a priority, where I visited Korea for the first time since leaving in 1969. We also explored Japan, Indonesia, France, the Netherlands, Canada and Mexico—okay it was just Tijuana, but we did walk across the border.

Finally, it wasn’t until the 2000s that I realized (with a bit of therapy and counseling) that I wanted to be a writer more than a lawyer. On April 24, 2000 I started typing a journal into my computer and as of today I’ve written about 700 pages. What did I have to say in 700 pages? I guess I pondered GM’s car designs, theoretical physics, and my place in a post-9/11 world. I’ve also written a couple of novels, (or at least 200 page starts of novels) a couple of screenplays, over a hundred blog entries, not to mention untold pages of short stories, essays, and emails. I may not have reached my 10,000 hours necessary to master a craft, but I’m working on it. I’m pretty sure I can say that I write better today than I did in 1999.

My writing has focused on a couple of themes; creativity and the struggle that exists when trying to write—a solitary journey—and being a mom; the least solitary endeavor in the world and figuring out who I am, and where I end and the rest of the world begins. Not the lightest of topics.

I not only told my own stories, but I discovered and embraced a number of stories, whether they came in theatres (The Lord of the Rings trilogy—thank you Peter Jackson—the Matrix, Harry Potter, and Slumdog Millionaire,) on TV (Angels in America, The Wire, Arrested Development and Lost) or in books (too many to list, too many forgotten).

I have no predictions of what the next year, let alone next decade will bring. Dylan will probably graduate from high school and college before 2020. I hope there will be more stamps in our passport. Andy, the dog and I will undoubtedly get slower and greyer and I’m sure new adventures will beckon, even when we’re not ready for them.

I leave the decade with this quote because it sums up the magic I’ve been driven to conjure these past years. And I wish you a peaceful transition out of this decade into the next. Namaste.

“The writer who shuts himself up in a room and goes on a journey inside himself will, over the years, discover literature’s eternal rule: he must have the artistry to tell his own stories as if they were other people’s stories, and to tell other people’s stories as if they were his own, for that is what literature is.” Orhan Pamuk, New Yorker Dec 2006


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