I’m taking a few days away from my writing to do some reading and have a mini-break to recharge the batteries. So I wasn’t going to post today at all. But you know me…once my mind starts going as morning gets going…
Although I did some writing on the plane over, I’ve decided to give “Robert,” “Carolina,” “Henry,” and “Marie-Thérèse”, and the others a rest for a few days. They probably could use a short “break” from me, too.😉 While it’s said you should write constantly, you do have to pause now and then and clear your head.
Moreover I don’t want to veer into “killing off” any characters accidentally because I’m feeling briefly somewhat “off” myself. With my mother’s one year death anniversary on the 26th, I’m trying to find a real-life “happy place.” I suppose these Catskills are one of them:
I snapped that photo yesterday afternoon. It doesn’t look like that outside now, I assure you:
A second post in one day? I know, amazing! But I couldn’t mix this with the previous one, really.
As I wrote the other day, I’m flying to New York tomorrow. Heading again for the city of my birth…
Although, technically, I’ll be arriving in Newark, New Jersey. That’s where the airport is. Not landing at JFK.
We met our late friend Kam’s younger sister, Ravi, for a meal last night in central London. They knew all these sorts of places. So while she had been to this restaurant previously, we hadn’t: La Porte des Indes:
It’s a French-Indian place behind Marble Arch tube station. If you are ever in that part of London, it is worth a try. (I also warn you, it is pricey.) Waiting for her to appear, we discovered, as you see on the Google page I captured above, that they do indeed make excellent cocktails:
I’m flying to New York (alone) next week for a 10 day visit to check on my father in Pennsylvania and also check on our house and “lock it down” for a Catskills winter – where temperatures can easily fall to -10C (14F) for days on end. Hopefully, no “local guests” have eaten it completely since I was there in June! You may remember what was awaiting me the last time…
This dawned on me as well as I explained that plan yesterday while I was answering a message from a cousin in Connecticut. Now married with two young sons, she and I grew up living around the corner from each other on Long Island – where none of our families now live any longer. With my mother’s one year anniversary upon us, she’d written me asking how my dad is doing these days.
A year ago today – October 12, 2015 – my novelist uncle (and my godfather) died. Incredibly, my mother would follow her brother on October 26. It has not been a “good year.”
But my recent personal “trials” had actually begun a year and some earlier: on February 2, 2014. On that day we were told (while we were in America) that Kam, our friend of two decades, had died (in London) after several years of illness. Upon hearing the depressing news, I felt sadder and sicker than I had ever felt over a death before in my entire life. A few days later, I wrote about her here.
Naturally afterwards we others out here all have to live on, but being unexpectedly confronted with a reminder of a deceased loved one can be a harshly unpleasant and emotional moment that no one else quite comprehends. In this case, I was taken aback last weekend when I saw a late 2013 photo of her – only weeks before her death – in our Irish friends’ lounge. A little while ago, I ran it through the Prisma photo app, which in one format converted it into almost the otherworldly:
Ireland: the moment you arrive, you feel at home. Perhaps as an American that’s at least partly due to its familiarity. Like many Americans, some of my ancestors moved to America from there.
Yet ancestry is not one of the reasons I have been drawn to it. Frankly back in my teens it had never been somewhere that I had dreamed of visiting. In fact, quite the opposite.
I was never close with the Irish immigrants and their U.S.-born kids who were all on my dad’s side of the family. Indeed, Dad was mostly not fond of them (to be polite). That probably even negatively impacted my outlook about the country while growing up.
However, I suppose after seeing it in person the first time I came to appreciate it solely for what it is, uncolored by family prejudices wildly pro or nastily con.
That visit was in long ago 1998. I recall doing a “pub crawl” my first evening with my future wife and her long-time Irish girlfriend, who lived near Dublin city center with her husband.
I also remember by 11pm or so, the three of us sitting in a McDonalds.
And I also still recall the, uh, Mcbuilding seemed to be spinning.😉
We went to a family funeral on Thursday in north London.
A couple of weeks ago, my wife’s uncle-in-law died at home in his sleep at 85. While there is naturally sadness, at the catering hall gathering that followed the church service and cemetery his son reminded me (perhaps he was also telling himself this as a way to deal with the loss) that his dad had been 85 and he had had (as they sometimes say in this country) “a good innings.” And his mother was coping okay so far at least.
I also bumped into a guy there I had not seen since he was at my wedding in 1999. His late father had been German, his mother (a close friend of the widow) is Irish/English, he himself raised in Switzerland and he lives there now with his wife, who’s Canadian. In case you are keeping track. (His wife did not come to England for the funeral.)
As you probably know, I write fiction set in the late 20th century and – soon to come, hopefully – the late 18th century. I think I can do so in part because I feel I’ve gleaned a few basic insights over the years about people and relationships. We all do learn more as we mature further simply because we have usually come to experience more over time.
Social media also allows us, of course, to share our own unpleasant life moments – such as this one I saw on Instagram last night:
And social media also makes it possible for us to offer a little advice and even some (hopefully) reassuring words. Which is what I am about to try to do. Here is some insider information from an “old” married guy, which may prove useful for you as a woman.