On the Periphery

Things change. Life throws us curves and changeups. It's good to have a place to vent.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Well, the end of an era. I started this blog when I started graduate school as a chronicle of my time struggling through with all those younger students. Now it's time to think about a new direction with my online presence. Yesterday was my graduation, my MFA in Creative Writing, a day that happened to fall exactly (to the day) four years from the day I began. 

It felt pretty darn good to walk across that stage with all those hopeful young people, knowing that despite our age difference, I shared their enthusiasm, their hope for the future. There's something about completing a project, a poem, a life's ambition, that lifts you beyond the norm, and I was thrilled and lucky to share the day with my proud sons and the amazing daughters they brought me.

I've always felt a little--no, a lot--on the periphery of life. I always seemed to be a facilitator, someone who sets groundwork\ and then watch others achieve. Even one of my life's greatest enjoyment--directing theater--involves getting everyone else prepared to be "on," while I watch from the sidelines. That's always been fine, though--I'm not so much of a spotlight person, and I loved what I did.

But graduate school was something different, something just for me, something I wanted to do if only to prove I could do it. And it was something for Richard, too, something he originally encouraged me to do, something of which he often told me he was very proud.

Now it's finished; I have climbed mountains both literally and figuratively, and I look forward with renewed enthusiasm to more peaks (and valleys) in my life. It's all exciting, it's all good, and I hope now it will all be happy.

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Friday, June 18, 2010

Goodbye, my Buddy.

Last week I had to say a final goodbye to my Buddy, the little dog who got me through five years of confusion, of hell, of changes. He was a comfort when I lost my job, then my father. He was familiarity when I moved from my lifelong home, and he was warmth when my Richard died. Yes, my children are my strength, but they have their own lives, which is as it should be. Buddy was completely mine, a constant presence. No matter what, he was waiting for me at the door, wriggling with joy when I came home; he made me get out and walk, to face the world when I wanted to curl up and die. He loved me unconditionally, the way children love you before they grow into the larger world for which you prepared them. Yes, he was old, his heart and lungs were giving out, and just breathing took so much effort. Yet every hard-earned breath was a joy for him, even in his last hours, as he stretched into the breeze. He had a look of acceptance, of contentment.

Buddy's life was a lesson for us all. His first eight years, before we got him, were difficult, his life less than ideal. Yet he was still willing and able to trust and love. I know this all sounds maudlin, but I can't be distant. He was my Buddy, and I miss him.