Thursday, September 10, 2015

This morning the poor violin bow goes in for a consultation. I know you are probably sick to death of listening to me wail about my bow disaster, and I apologize, but I can't stop feeling miserable and anxious. I've been trying to distract myself by submitting manuscripts to publishers, but even at the best of times submitting a manuscript is a version of torture. Copying out Jane Kenyon poems and weeding the garden in 90-degree heat have worked better. I've also been immersed in Philip Roth's The Human Stain, a remarkable and complicated novel that I've somehow never managed to read before.

For days now, the air has been been thunderous and heavy. Glasses of ice tea leave wet circles on the table. All of the bathroom towels refuse to dry. The house smells like fried eggs and old dog. Over breakfast my son crows about last night's high school soccer scores: "Thirteen to one! They lost thirteen to one! How is that even possible?" At the porch window, the dew-soaked cat yowls to come in, and I think of the opening stanza of Jane Kenyon's "The Pear."
There is a moment in middle age
when you grow bored, angered
by your middling mind,
Reading Roth's novel, I've felt the shadowy weakness of my own mind. Is my broken bow just another talisman, a physical metaphor for the stupid accidents of toil and mediocrity? Fortunately, melodrama comes easily to me, as does the ability to laugh at my own windiness. Still, the fear prickles, a portent, like the specter of a migraine. "You may not be aware / until things have gone too far."

1 comment:

Ruth said...

I am not sick of hearing about this. Your bow is a treasured friend and awaiting the diagnosis is understandably an anxious time. I am sending good thoughts for a full recovery.