I definitely have a family. I have a boyfriend who has kids, and we do normal things every day, like get up and go to school. Eat breakfast, lunch and dinner.
I do not write every day. I write to the questions and issues before me. I write to deadlines. I write out of my passions. And I write to make peace with my own contradictory nature. For me, writing is a spiritual practice. A small bowl of water sits on my desk, a reminder that even if nothing is happening on the page, something is happening in the room--evaporation. And I always light a candle when I begin to write, a reminder that I have now entered another realm, call it the realm of the Spirit. I am mindful that when one writes, one leaves this world and enters another. My books are collages made from journals, research, and personal experience. I love the images rendered in journal entries, the immediacy that is captured on the page, the handwritten notes. I love the depth of ideas and perspective that research brings to a story, be it biological or anthropological studies or the insights brought to the page by the scholarly work of art historians.When I go into a library, I feel like I am a sleuth looking to solve a mystery. I am completely inspired by the pursuit of knowledge through various references. I read newpapers voraciously. I love what newspapers say about contemporary culture. And then you go back to your own perceptions, your own words, and weigh them against all you have brought together. I am interested in the kaleidoscope of ideas, how you bring many strands of thought into a book and weave them together as one piece of coherent fabric, while at the same time trying to create beautiful language in the service of the story. This is the blood work of the writer.Writing is also about a life engaged. And so, for me, community work, working in the schools or with grassroots conservation organizations is another critical component of my life as a writer. I cannot separate the writing life from a spiritual life, from a life as a teacher or activist or my life intertwined with family and the responsibilities we carry within our own homes. Writing is daring to feel what nurtures and breaks our hearts. Bearing witness is its own form of advocacy. It is a dance with pain and beauty.
I think we have a lot of confidence, and I think we've got a lot of athletic ability. We have put in more offense in a week and a day than we ran all of last season. We had 14 seniors last year, but seven of those were first-year players. So now, most of our kids have been in the system at least a year, with some having two or three years' experience.
I have always swung back and forth between alienation and relatedness. As a child, I would run away from the beatings, from the obscene words, and always knew that if I could run far enough, then any leaf, any insect, any bird, any breeze could bring me to my true home. I knew I did not belong among people. Whatever they hated about me was a human thing; the nonhuman world has always loved me. I can't remember when it was otherwise. But I have been emotionally crippled by this. There is nothing romantic about being young and angry, or even about turning that anger into art. I go through the motions of living in society, but never feel a part of it. When my family threw me away, every human on earth did likewise.
At home I used to spend calm, pleasant nights with my family. My mother knit scarves for the neighborhood kids. My father helped Caleb with his homework. There was a fire in the fireplace and peace in my heart, as I was doing exactly what I was supposed to be doing, and everything was quiet. I have never been carried around by a large boy, or laughed until my stomach hurt at the dinner table, or listened to the clamor of a hundred people all talking at once. Peace is restrained; this is free.
Well,' she said, adjusting a pot lid, 'I have my family of origin, which is you and Mom. And then Jaime's family, my family of marriage. And hopefully, I'll have another family, as well. Our family, that we make. Me and Jaimie.'Now I felt bad, bringing this up so soon after Jamie's gaffe. 'You will,' I said.She turned around, crossing her arms over her chest. 'I hope so. But that's just the thing, right? Family isn't something that's supposed to be static or set. People marry in, divorce out. They're born, they die. It's always evolving, turning into something else. even that picture of Jamie's family was only the true representation for that one day. But the next , someone had probably changed. It had to.'...Later, when the kitchen had filled up with people looking for more wine, and children chasing Roscoe, I looked across all the chaos at Cora, thinking that of course you would assume our definitions would be similar, since we had come from the same place. But this wasn't actually true. We all have one idea of what the color blue is, but pressed to describe it specifically, there are so many ways: the ocean, lapis lazuli, the sky, someone's eyes. Our definitions were as different as we were ourselves.
Over the years I have forged intimate familial ties with these characters, who are reflections of a portion of myself. Consequently, even a character who appeared only once in a short story waits now in the wings, concealed by the curtain, for his next appearance on-stage. Not one of them has ever broken free of his familial ties with me and disappeared for ever - at least, not within the confines of my heart.
It wasn't only my friends who suffered from female rivalry. I remember when I was just sixteen years old, during spring vacation, being whisked off to an early lunch by my best friend's brother, only to discover, to my astonishment and hurt, that she was expecting some college boys to drop by and didn't want me there to compete with her. When I started college at Sarah Lawrence, I soon noticed that while some of my classmates were indeed true friends, others seemed to resent that I had a boyfriend. It didn't help that Sarah Lawrence, a former girls' school, included very few straight men among its student body--an early lesson in how competing for items in short supply often brings out the worst in women. In graduate school, the stakes got higher, and the competition got stiffer, a trend that continued when I went on to vie for a limited number of academic jobs. I always had friends and colleagues with whom I could have trusted my life--but I also found women who seemed to view not only me but all other female academics as their rivals. This sense of rivalry became more painful when I divorced my first husband. Many of my friends I depended on for comfort and support suddenly began to view me as a threat. Some took me out to lunch to get the dirt, then dropped me soon after. I think they found it disturbing that I left my unhappy marriage while they were still committed to theirs. For other women, the threat seemed more immediate--twice I was told in no uncertain terms that I had better stay away from someone's husband, despite my protests that I would no more go after a friend's husband than I would stay friends with a woman who went after mine. Thankfully, I also had some true friends who remained loyal and supportive during one of the most difficult times of my life. To this day I trust them implicitly, with the kind of faith you reserve for people who have proved themselves under fire. But I've also never forgotten the shock and disappointment of discovering how quickly those other friendships turned to rivalries.
I would definitely consider it higher than usual. April and May are usually slow times, with the exception of opening day. But it's not been like that. I would say it's double the amount we dealt with at this time last year. All of the season-ticket holders believe they have gold in their hands, so there are a lot more tickets available on the secondary market.
As to the family, I have never understood how that fits in with the other ideals --or, indeed, why it should be an ideal at all. A group of closely related persons living under one roof; it is a convenience, often a necessity, sometimes a pleasure, sometimes the reverse; but who first exalted it as admirable, an almost religious ideal?
Unlike most youngsters who have school as their 'second home' where they meet and make friends, for me playtime has been at the Gopichand Badminton Academy in Hyderabad. When I am not playing a tournament, my days are spent at the Academy with my coaches, physiotherapists and colleagues, who are like family. We laugh and have so much fun.
Anytime I hear about another one of us gone berserk, shooting up his ex’s office or drowning her kids to free herself up for her Internet boyfriend, the question I always ask is not, like every other tongue-clucking pundit in the country, how could this have happened? but why doesn't this happen every day?