Falling Off the Pedestal: Part I

So it’s Sunday afternoon, and I’m feeling very smug as I tap away.  Here’s what I’m writing:

When I was a student in London, I had a literary aha moment.  I was living in Bloomsbury, near Virginia Woolf’s former home, and I had just finished reading A Room of One’s Own.  One afternoon, I stumbled upon Fitzroy Square and spotted a blue placard indicating the brownstone in which Virginia Woolf had lived with her husband in the early twentieth century.  I sat on an iron bench at the center of the square and stared at the placard until the words grew blurry.  In those moments, I thanked Virginia Woolf for dropping me a line that extended nearly the length of the twentieth century.  Like the Indigo Girls, I felt this esteemed writer had “sent a letter to my soul.”  Sitting on that bench, I thought, what if I could do that?  What if I could drop a line to some wandering tourist a century from now?  What if I could reach someone who needed reaching? 

I stop typing to gaze at my growing stack of poetry books:  Emily Dickinson, Philip Levine, Jack Gilbert…I think about finding a poem to read to the kids during dinner, and then I congratulate myself for my august parenting.

Suddenly, I am interrupted by my three-year-old daughter.  She picks up a note I’ve written on a piece of scrap paper:

D:  What’s this?

Me:  It’s a note I wrote.

D:  Who you’re going to give it to?

Me:  No one.  It’s a note to me.

D:  Who’s it for?

Me:  It’s for me.  I’m going to keep it.  Sometimes we write things for ourselves – notes, lists, or other stuff… Isn’t that silly?  Maybe one day you’ll write notes for yourself too.  Wouldn’t that be cool?

D:  I have a lollipop on my shirt.

I think this was God or Gaia or Woody Allen sending me a message:  You’ve got a lot to learn, lady.  Climb down from that pedestal.  And don’t go breaking your arm patting yourself on the back either, wunder-mama.



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