daily preciousness

Monday, September 25, 2000

Zelda was never being boring

It was on a Thursday, when I unearthed that dusty old box from the basement. It was a cache of old photographs and invitations to teenage parties. "Dress in White," one said in quotations -- from someone's wife, a famous writer in the nineteen twenties -- Zelda Something or Other…

I remember thumbing through the pages of her biography, sitting in an alcove of my father's library. It was springtime. The dandelion's offerings drifted lazily into the open window. "Confidence is a curious thing," I remember her saying, "since you alone determine whether or not you lack it!" Funny, that.

You know, when you're young, you find inspiration in anyone who's ever gone and opened up a closing door. That Zelda opened doors, windows -- and a young boy's mind. The long-forgotten cache was stacked with pictures of father’s parties. Or were they our parties? (In many ways, I am my father, so that our memories sometimes converge.)

One Saturday afternoon, there was a chimpanzee riding around the living room on a bicycle. Just imagine Mom’s shock! (How did it learn to do that, anyway?) Someone on the upstairs landing blew clouds of soap bubbles. A thousand of them, filling the air, caught the sunlight in the foyer. (Or were we the ones floating? It's hard to say now.)

Zelda would've liked that, I suspect. She said, "We were never feeling bored. . . chiefly because we were never being boring."

I’d like to think that I carry on that little tradition. Yeah, I suck the marrow out of life, as a great man once said. I live by these words. But it's somehow harder now… I mean, like my friend Neil told me once,

"I never once dreamt

That I would get to be

The creature that

I'd always meant to be."

Well, somehow, I managed to get there.

But I thought, in spite of all my dreams, you would be somewhere, here with me!

I’m still waiting.


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