Saturday, May 27, 2006

Mambocat's Midlife Mojo Mission

Bonjour, mon chers. I have been run hard and put up wet for waaaay to long and I am starting a much-deserved vacation.

No photos today. I have a few announcements to make.

I am having a midlife crisis of sorts.

This does not mean that I am going to get a tattoo, buy a red convertible, start wearing black lipstick and hang around with cute boys who aren't quite old enough to buy beer. But it does mean that I am experiencing a powerful, screaming urge for creative outlet in the forms of writing and visual art.

It also means that post-Katrina circumstances have brought uncertainty into my career, and I need a break so bad that I am either about to explode, fall flat on my face or go check myself in at the Ha-Ha Hilton.

This is how a friend of mine pointed it out to me: "Let's see, Dez. What happened in the past nine months for you? Major crises and minor crises. As I recall, you hadn't had a real vacation in over 5 years to begin with, and you were just thinking about taking one when Katrina hit. So. Hmmm...your Dad died, you had surgery for a major staph infection, Hurricane Katrina hit, you worked at least 80 hours a week during the animal rescues and in the emergency shelters through the end of the year, you had your Mom living with you since Katrina, you had other people living with you till they could go back home, you sprained your good knee in the middle of all of this, you changed jobs, you have been commuting to New Orleans, repairing your Mom's house, fostering cats, dealing with all the hassle of all your Dad's vital records and death certificates being lost in Katrina, and what else? Fighting with insurance companies, utility companies over your Mom's house, and your husband having surgery again, and hassles with his health insurance ... and what? ... you got maybe 17 hours of sleep, total, since Katrina hit? Honey, you need a break."

She, being an old soul, a wise human, a rescuer of dogs, and a good friend, is, of course, absolutely right. She also left out a lot of lesser bad things which have happened, but I didn't tell her that.

Has anyone seen my mojo? She is about five-foot-seven, has long black hair, and is usually seen wearing a batik skirt and cowgirl boots, and a sweater or shawl, depending on the weather. She has a bottleof wine in her backpack and the Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan and Mississippi John Hurt in her tape player. There's always some knitting in her bag, and a couple of dogs and cats following her around everywhere she goes. She laughs too loud, wears turquoise Indian jewelry, and dances to zydeco music. I used to see her all the time, but in recent years I have seen her much less often. The last time I saw her was sometime a few Octobers ago, I think. She slipped around a corner in New Orleans on her way to Tipitina's and I haven't seen her since.

I need to get my mojo back. I miss her.

So, I am going to take a vacation for awhile. Taking a vacation is not easy for me. Not easy at all. Taking a vacation, for me, is about as unnatural an act as putting on clothes is for Britney Spears.

I am going to blog more often. I really am. Please bear with me for a few days while I get this sorry old computer in shape.

I am also starting a book. It is a book about individual New Orleanians climbing out of the ruins. It is about knitting to keep sane during the Katrina recovery efforts. It has knitting patterns. It has stories about wonderful neighborhood places and people in New Orleans which are now gone forever. It has pictures if I can find a publisher who will print them. It is hurts to write about this stuff -- it hurts a lot -- but it must be written.

I have never written a whole entire book before. I have written patterns, I have written things that have appeared in books, I am a technical writer as part of my real job, I write educational materials and I have sold some magazine articles and self published a pattern booklet. But I have never written a whole entire book from scratch before with no idea whether anyone might want to publish it.

And I am also working on a fiber sculpture for an art show. It is made of rags and string and wind-shredded flags and other knittable Katrina debris. You will get progress reports on this project. It is called, "the Remains of the Day." My eternal thanks to KnitBud Lisa Louie of Maui for the name.

So that is what I am doing for my vacation -- and beyond.

Pictures soon.

Best regards. Gotta go to bed now. I have a cat in my lap. Her name is Jigsaw. She is snoring. It is one of the sweetest sounds in the world.



At 2:53 PM, Blogger LornaJay said...

Zen hugs from Scotland - sounds like you could do with some.

At 5:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dez, you are remarkable!
Enjoy your change of pace, whatever it entails. If your book must be written, then it must be read!
"Life is a lot like jazz. It's best when you improvise."

At 5:54 AM, Anonymous Susan said...

Hallelulah! You certainly deserve a break. I'm glad you'll be blogging more--reading blogs is MY break. Be sure to scrub that Katrina stuff good before you knit with it! :D

At 5:40 PM, Anonymous Sandra Fleming said...

I most certainly would buy your book. I look to your blog to put a human perspective on New Orleans because I trust the reports almost as much as I trust the politicians.

Certainly hope that writing it down will provide healing for you.

You are an expert on the healing properties of knitting also. Look forward to seeing the project you are working on.

Enjoy your "holiday" and look after yourself.

At 9:21 PM, Anonymous sogalitno said...

a fellow MIDLIFE CRISER salutes you - i am in the midst of a long term disability illness caused by my job (corporate america ha)

all good wishes to you. me i garden ...i am off to bed after 9 hours creating a new garden in my new abode.

At 7:40 PM, Anonymous naomi dagen bloom said...

sounds terrific, dez...the shift, the reflection, the knitting plus book. i'm sure you'll find a publisher; think you have a dynamite combination in mind. just wrote about nola today on my blog and used a quote from tom piazza's "why new orleans matters." looking forward to your renewed blogging.


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