Taking stock, and apologies

I am a rude ungrateful creature. I just flicked back through my LJ posts and realised I didn’t thank everyone for their sympathy after I posted about my mother dying. I’m so sorry folks. Your kind comments were, and are, more appreciated than I can say. I was just so out of my head with shock I couldn’t manage simple things like saying ‘thank you’. So a very belated but heartfelt ‘thank you’ to you all.

I still can’t really believe she’s dead. It’s not a ‘Year of Magical Thinking’ kind of deal; I don’t think, consciously or unconsciously, that there’s anything I can do to bring her back. It’s just that’s there’s a part of me that refuses to accept she’s gone at all, that screams and twists in rage and denial and can’t be appealed to with reason. It refuses to accept that she was ever sick, which is rather a surprise after twenty years of illness. I suppose it was always there. I must have gotten very good at ignoring it. I hope I can learn to live with it again; it’s not going anywhere, that’s for sure.For the past six months I’ve been grieving, then, not just for the loss occasioned by death but for twenty years of suffering – hers and ours. They say it takes a year to get past the worst, but many people seem to expect me to somehow be better able to process it because of the long run-up, as if anything could prepare you for losing someone you love. People say I mustn’t feel guilty to be relieved. I’m not relieved. I’m not, even now, ready.

I’ve kept busy. I burned myself out finishing the last draft of the novel whilst still deep in shock and taking on a new & demanding job, which forced me into some situations I could have done without – collapsing onto the floor of a packed London commuter train was neither pretty nor edifying, and proved Londoners really can be the callous bastards folk say they are – but it all also went to prove that the impulse to live wasn’t broken by her death. I still wanted to create things, to achieve things, to resume the process of figuring out who I am and what I want to be. It’s an ongoing thing. But at least I’ve got to the stage where I can remember to say thanks to the people who are helping me get there.

 

Skiving

Today I had planned to go into downtown St Paul to look at Art Deco buildings, and from there into downtown Minneapolis, meander around Minneapolis some and then get the light rail up to Carrie’s place.

I gave myself the day off. I slept late, according to the local clocks, though the time is very much an external feature, rather than something I’ve internalised in any way. I’ve changed time zones twice this week and will do so again on Friday, so I’m not bothering to try and synch up. I’m burning out on the travelling & sightseeing & socialising. It’s not a reflection on the places or people I’m here to see – it’s all great. In some ways I never want it to stop. But I needed a day to curl into myself and just process.

Seattle was a rush of memory; exquisitely painful and gorgeous, that weakened my knees and left me gasping.  It was as though the intervening months had been swept away, and I was as raw as when I left Seattle last year. The healing process, just as Leslie suggested it would be, was seeing my Clarion classmates, allowing me to recast the past year in the context of other people’s experiences, and to understand that Clarion is over, but it ain’t over.

My trip to the Bay Area was both fun and comforting, and I think it would have been stimulating if I was in any state to be stimulated – maybe that will come later. There is definitely more bubbling under in terms of the Frida Kahlo exhibition and the rolling fog than I can call to my conscious mind as yet.

WorldCon was a blast. More on that later.

Back in Seattle

Only a short one cause I’m still jetlagged as hell.

It is very, very peculiar being back in Seattle one year on.  At first I felt calm, and that was strange, because I was high as a kite for everything I remember of CW ’07. Then the memories started to crowd in, and became increasingly coloured with emotion.

I could see my classmate’s faces in my mind and hear their voices far more clearly than I’ve been able to do for a while. I kept expecting them to come round the corners in the U-district any moment, or be sitting waiting for me in the bookstore, or Coffee and Comics, or one of the restaurants. Even though the sorority house they’re in is different, even as I realised what was missing were the dreadful smells and spooky atmosphere of our sorority, I could smell those smells and feel that spooky atmosphere. It was trippy, and it’s a mercy it was in a different house, ’cause if it had been ours I think my head would have popped off.

Anyway I am certainly looking forward to seeing more of *my* Clarion, having sat taping sheets into boxes while the bright young things of ’08 said their goodbyes. It feels like no time, and thousands of years since we were doing that.