I’m halfway through the new edition of Madame Bovary, and I’m closing the book. I’ve done it one other time, yes, I mean in my life, and it was with Herzog. It still irks me because I know it’s me and not the book.
The part that kills me is that Madame Bovary is exactly the type of thing I love to read. I cannot make heads or tails of it right now, and I’m questioning my intelligence, my attention span, and my ability to read. I’ve always questioned my writing ability, but never my reading.
I’ve been running on empty lately. I’m clocking in at under five hours of sleep a night and I think it’s effecting my brain. I’ve been reading the good Madame, on the train home at night after work (I write only in the morning. After a day at work, my creative energy is nil.), and I’ve been reading it a page or two at a time. I find myself doing that thing, you know the thing where you read a couple of paragraphs and then realize you don’t know what the characters are doing because you zoned out the preceding couple of paragraphs?
I’ve been reading and rereading the same stuff, or just moving on because I’d read it and not retained it and just didn’t want to read it again. The book is driving me to drink (in all fairness, a short drive), and tonight when discussing my frustration with my husband he said, “So, pick something else.”
“I can’t do that.”
“Because I hate that I can’t read this.” Because I’ve failed, is what I didn’t say.
“Right now. You can read it later. Now just isn’t the time.”
Yes. That’s it. Now is not the time. He knows when I need to be let off the hook and can’t do it myself. Now a little bit about synchronicity.
Last night, the toddler got the barky, seal cough that every mother and father knows and dreads. It is terrifying no matter how many times you go through it. He had a bit of a new twist on it, you know, trying to keep us on our toes after the other two, and decided that he’d wheeze his breath in, silence, no breathing, nothing, then exhale. Nice. He was coughing at 4:30 am, I went in, sat him up, then as he fell back to sleep I heard the silence. That half a beat of no breath on a boy not yet three. I called in to work. Then laid in his bed until at 6:45am, he bright-eyed and bushy tailed, happy to see mommy in his bed, said, “It’s morning! Let’s go Mommy!” as he climbed out.
9:50am, I’m in to see the nurse practitioner, and he’s a happy clam with a nasty cough. The concern is his tonsils. They’re each about the size of a quarter normally (enormous), and now they are slightly bigger, with swollen lymph nodes. Looks like we have a bit of sleep apnea on our hands. He has a cold, but it’s the tonsils causing the disaster. He’s on three days of steroids, and some nasal spray that we are to hope reduces the swelling until he can grow into these bad boys.
An aside. A man I work closely with, had his son in to have his tonsils out two months ago. His son is also two. They lost him twice on the table and still don’t know why. You read that right. Lost. Him. Twice.
They stopped the procedure, his son came to, and they didn’t take them out. They still don’t know what caused it. His son is fine. Phew.
If I were to say there is no way in hell my son is going under anesthesia at his age, would that sound like I was uncertain? I told the nurse the story, and then I told her that this is not an option, just in case she wanted to write that in the file. No way in hell. He gets his lollipop (got to soothe the throat right?) and we’re off to Target.
We pick up a couple of small things for his brother since his birthday is coming up, and we buy the toddler a new bike helmet as he’s outgrown the toddler-sized one. He now has one in the shape of a shark face with a rubber fin on the top. He’s wearing it the next time we go and someone wants to mention anethesia. He’s that tough in his new helmet.
The best part was that I got him out of the toy aisle by telling him if we didn’t leave, we wouldn’t have time to look at the books. Yep, that’s my kid. Race out of the toy aisle. Off we went, when what popped right out at me but Olive Kitteridge. It keeps coming up lately, and I believe in signs. Olive went in the cart, as did Mater the Monster Truck in 3D! I know. Jealous much? They were out of Olive in 3D, but I shall persevere.
I have my new book, my new notebook, my toddler all steroided out (did I mention steroids make children hyper? Cranky and hyper, oh yeah, bring it.), and after all of this, I had to laugh. Seriously, was I that bummed about not reading Madame Bovary? The day turned so differently, and that became a joke. It’s all about perspective. I’m looking forward to the new book, and I’m thankful for all of you who gave me the permission I needed in my own head, to read it now.
If any of you, don’t have a husband like mine, and need someone to let you off the hook, let me pass it on. Put down that book, that story you’ve been working on that you hate, that thing you’ve been meaning to do and the reason you’re not is because it’s not the time. Write something you want to, read something you want to. Do it.