Sunday, August 26, 2012

It is terribly romantic

Sunday morning begins as it usually does. It is the only time neither of us face obligations forcing us out of bed; our bodies only stir out of routine, waking whether we like it or not in the moments when, on any other morning, we would be pretending to ignore the alarm. I take heavy steps to the bathroom, the cat dutifully slinking after me, my own drowsy chaperone. He follows me again as I return to bed, thinking as I always do that maybe this time, for once, I will be able to actually fall back asleep. I won't; I never do. I don't really mind.

Lying awake but unwilling to betray ourselves to the impatient daylight, we blame the cat for our laziness; Eliot has just gotten comfortable on my abdomen and we'd hate to disturb him. He settles into me, his purrs more determined as I try to remove him, so I yield, but we both know he will stretch and yawn and find another suitable spot whenever we manage to budge him from this one.

Adam asks me to make coffee. I want it, too, but draw a kiss and a 'please' from him first. A little persuasion never hurts.

I make coffee and listen to the percolation and pops of steam from the kitchen. I move and start to think in this special kind of quiet. Adam's steps toward his desk are slumberous and shuffling, and as he sets himself before his computer, I bring him a filled, well-chosen mug.

Today, we write. I on the couch, Adam in the office - his feet, propped up over the edge of the desk, are sneaking into my peripheral view through the doorframe. The tick-tack-taps of his fingers on the keyboard are sometimes fluid, sometimes hestitant, always comforting. I drink my coffee and try to move my own fingers fast enough to keep up with my mind as it changes too quickly and too often. I am distracted, and Eliot seems to notice from his armchair perch; he picks his way to me and casually shifts his body to lie against the warmth of my computer. The light behind the curtains fails to convince me it's almost noon.

It is terribly romantic, two writers in love. We are no F. Scott and Zelda, no Ted and Sylvia, but neither were they - not at home, not to each other. Adam and Kait will never rival such myths: we are not, of course, of such a caliber, our passion is not born of turbulence or resentment, not of instability of either mind or character. The inspiration and criticism inherent in such tempestuous artistic partnerships is also inherently disastrous. By comparison, we are refreshingly dull; no Waste Land will come of us, though its author is our cat's namesake. We inspire the other and are inspired in return; our critiques are tactful and given only when solicited. I have learned not to read my partner's fiction until it is finally public and exists safely beyond our shared space; I too easily personalize and am prone to emotionally-fueled over-analysis. My partner knows it is better for us to read my writing only after I am physically removed from it, best when I am emotionally removed as well. We love our writing, but we remember to love each other.

So today, we write. We are always writing, and we are always loving each other. It is terribly romantic, and it is delightfully mundane. We will write, and we will live our lives. Tonight, we will eat dinner and happily waste time together being silly and stupid and enjoying each other until it is time for bed. Someone will still need to feed the cat, to scratch behind his ears and lure him into sleep. One of us - usually me - will still need to turn off the lights before climbing into bed with the other. I will tread the path so familiar, it's automatic: reaching out in the dark to find the wall, then following it to my side of the bed, trailing my hand along the cool plaster like a child absentmindedly trails a stick along a fence. We will fall asleep, easily or not, and prepare for tomorrow, for tomorrow is coming. Tomorrow, we write.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

It's a Dangerous Business

Oh dear. Is it August already?

I'll spare you the usual laments about being so busy that time passes unnoticed and all too quickly, but I will say that I am a little exhausted and, obviously, shamefully remiss about posting anything here. I've been consumed by longish days of teaching (read: singing to/coaxing developing motor skills out of) tiny children and reassuring (read: easing fears and worries which I have no right to ease in) their parents, followed by intensive, 3-hours-a-night, 3-nights-a-week TESOL class. Sprinkled into the mix has been a quick trip to Long Beach and San Diego, a physically-exhausting but soul-satisfying day slinging cherries and peaches at a farmers' market, and some rarefied afternoons in the Seattle sun. There has been a wink at painting (2 whole paintings! 3 if you count a 2-canvas piece!) and a nod to the Olympics when my heart and hands are not otherwise distracted by what Adult-Kait deems "more important" things.

Admittedly, some distraction is acceptable - welcomed, even. Last November, in the inaugural post of this humble, stumbling blog, I wrote about transition and the fear that is transition's constant shadow. Distractions keep my head comfortably in the sand until I am ready to face the discomfort of Change - the Change happily building sandcastles and tearing down others in the lives surrounding mine, patiently waiting for me to meet its eye. Maybe by the time I'm in my seventies, when the hours I waste worrying now will have added up to regretful years, I will finally have learned to accept change gracefully, to relinquish doubt graciously; for now, I will continue to know the familiar fear of change when the distractions fade. For now, I'm shaking grains of distraction out of my hair because things are changing for everyone, and my nervous hands and restless sleeps are tell-tale signs Change is coming for me, too.

Killian and Daniel have moved temporarily to Portland this month before making the staggering, still-temporary-but-longer-term move to Oxford, England in September. Stacy and Jon just moved to Orange after transitioning through the Bay Area from Seattle last year. Friends are getting married left and right. Molly is having a baby (okay, I don't actually know her, but when she has her child, I'm praying she brings the little Orangette-blossom to my work in Ballard - it's her neighborhood, after all!). Lauren has taken the exhilarating step of quitting her job to write and blog full-time, giving herself a year as a trial period before reassessing her decision (again, I only know Lauren as an admired blogger and interwebs-friend, but I am thrilled to hold my breath with the rest of her blogstalkers as she takes such a thrilling plunge into what will surely be further success and continued brilliance). Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes are everywhere, and they aren't stopping anytime soon.

As for me? This week - tomorrow, actually - Adam and I will be certified in TESOL. Our names will be recommended for candidacy and we will receive our basic certificates within the month. Upon completion of the grammar-specific course in December, we'll earn the Advanced 100-Hour certification, but really, with the basic certificate already in hand, we could find a contract next week and move half a world away next month if we wanted to and start teaching. That's not happening, though, and yet - even thought I know we're not moving anywhere for a while yet - it's still a scary prospect, even if excitingly so.

What amplifies the fear is the unknown and our progress in spite of it. We don't know where teaching will take us just yet; we simply know we are continuing our forward motion anyway, into the dark, lighting our way with a torch fueled by the earnest cocktail of love of language and wanderlust. Should we be practicing "good morning" in Vietnamese? Are we slouching toward Bethlehem (I hope not)? We've been passively eyeing a few countries in South and Central America (our background in Spanish would be a linguistic comfort blanket), but we're excited about the possibilities of countries like Thailand and Cambodia in the Asian arena and Eastern European opportunities in Croatia and the Czech Republic, as well - again, we haven't even begun testing the waters, so we have very little idea where we want to dive in the deep end.

My home-loving Hobbit ways have always kept my dreams of adventure safely tucked in the folds of my brain's fiction section. After all, such dreams can never become nightmares when they are lived only vicariously through Jim Hawkins or Indiana Jones. I know adventure is out there, and I am feeling and fearing it now more than ever. To paraphrase Tolkein, it's a dangerous business, going out your door; you step into the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to. But for all the dangerous business of Out There, I can't ignore the need to explore it, and I can't very well do that if I don't find the courage to leave Here. I reassure myself that the tiny shard of excitement I do feel buried somewhere in my chest will eventually work its way to the surface to splinter the fear and worry.

Transition will happen, and I will be ready. Until then, I will enjoy my time left in the sand - it is still warm there, but the weather is changing.