Friday, March 07, 2014


Solitude is great. Writers are supposed to like solitude, and I enjoy my quiet space as much as anyone. I like sitting at my desk early in the morning, reading email and Facebook and that skinny thing they call the daily newspaper. I don't want anyone around, except Sophie who sleeps in the chair across from my desk. And at night, I like that last little bit of quiet, again at my desk, sometimes checking Facebook, often reading a book--when I've given up work for the day. Today I was even impatient for Jacob's dad to come get him because I wanted to fix my supper and write. And I can't write with people in the house, though Lord knows I did for years.
But I can't live with solid solitude (forgive the weak attempt at alliteration). I need people around me. The other day, Jordan had a hard day, and she stood in the kitchen, pouring us a happy hour glass, while Jacob chased Sophie (or the other way around) through the house, frequently careening through my narrow kitchen. "They're going to trip you," she said, and then a few minutes later, "I don't know how you stand it." I told her it took me back to the days when she was a toddler with three not-much-older siblings. Happy hour was then called "the fussing hour." They were hungry, they were tired, and they screamed. My house was always filled with people--screaming babies, invited guests for supper, unexpected guests, I didn't care. I loved it.
I like the balance I have now. Some days it's fairly quiet around here. Other days, you might drop in and suddenly find others dropping in, and there's a spontaneous party.
People ask me when I'm going to think about assisted living, but it's a thought I put out of my mind. I love my home. I love the fact that next week one night my oldest son and his family will be here overnight. They'll have another family with them, and we'll put them in the guest house--Jordan and I have already put clean linen on the beds, and I have a care package of toilet paper, plastic cups, Kleenex, and Lysol wipes ready to go (the latter at Jordan's insistence--wouldn't have occurred to me).
In a one-bedroom assisted living apartment, I wouldn't have all these people around me. I wouldn't be able to cook dinner for six or eight, which I do most weekends. I would grow old--quickly. Let's see--if you happen by this weekend, the menus is a big pot of cheeseburger soup; next weekend I think it will be chicken enchiladas. And tomorrow I'm going to cook dinner halibut Florentine for my "solitude" . I'd never do those things in assisted living.
Give me solitude in measured doses, please.

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