Monday, May 20, 2013

I hope I stay idealistic

the cover of one of my blogs...late teens, I believe
I remember sitting in the middle of my bedroom floor - a dirty orange carpet with paint and ink stains, leftover from the '70s - with paper all around me. I'm not talking about one or two pieces of paper, I am talking about a thick mat of paper and paper scraps radiating out from where I was sitting in the center, scissors and magazines and photographs too. My back hurt from bending over my project. My legs were asleep from sitting there for so long. My eyelids heavy. The smell of rubber cement not even registering, anymore. It was about 4 in the morning - I had been sitting there since about noon, maybe earlier. I was working on a zine - a collection of writing, poetry, collage and photography that I would photocopy and mail out later. A zine was a one-sitting project for me, and later I could look at those folded pages and be transported to right there, that moment. It was an exhausting and exhaustive all-or-nothing project. Something that poured out of me, that sometimes I had to pull out, cut out, and glue back together. The later (or earlier) it got, the more haphazard my gluing became, the looser and more wild the content. Later, when I'd look back at it, these would be some of my favorite pages - the subconscious coming forward while my inner editor was asleep.

I remember this one night in particular, because somewhere around 4 in the morning my bedroom door creaked open, and my mom's face peeked in - squinty eyed with sleepiness. She smiled at me, sitting in that hurricane of a bedroom, and closed the door again. Ani Difranco played on in my CD player, and I went back to my zine.

the cover of one of my journals
Such a simple little moment. And moments like that happened so many times. I didn't think much of it then - at some point when I was finished I would groan as I stood up, dusting p
aper bits off my pants and hands, peel the rubber cement from my fingers, turn off the light and go to bed. I'd wake up late the next day to my newly birthed zine. I did this a lot. Nothing new, nothing special. Roya making something in her room, that's all.

Looking back on it, though, I think how special it really was. To have parents that understood what was happening during the night doing one thing for hours. To have parents who did not insist that I had stayed inside or sat still for too long, and made me go outside or change what I was doing. To have a mom who came to check on me and see if I was still up - not to interfere or judge, but to peek in on me, smile sweetly, and go back to bed, happy that I was happy. I remember that same day, hours earlier, she had peeked in and brought me a plate of apples with some peanut butter.

It matters - those moments. All those little moments, those sweet details of knowing that my parents are on my side. They add up to this - this larger philosophy of parenting and relationships and education. But the way I experienced it as their child was like this - a plate of apples, a smile at 4am from my mom, and working for hours on my zine.

Your turn. I'm sure you've had a moment or two like this with your kids today. Tell me about it in the comments?

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