[A Palm Springs, CA decorator’s store window]
Yesterday was my 69th birthday. And although I’d just gotten back from a wonderful, restful, super-fun vacation and received many, many generous, thoughtful gifts and sweet phone calls and cards (several hand-made) and e-mails, my natal day was a little hard. Jet lag and probably coming down with something and lingering doubts re my decision to no longer write for First Day Press and, after sorting a week’s worth of mail, to pick up the latest issue of The New Yorker and to absolutely, gut-wrenchingly KNOW that I don’t have enough time left to reach the writing achievement of an Alice Munro or an Adam Gopnik—can you understand why it was a little hard?
But as the late afternoon sun began to fade, I received another gift: a visitation from my Muse. Just like William Stafford’s experience,* my Muse reminded me that I have my own way of looking at things. Unlike Stafford’s drama queen, however, my Muse chose to gently, lovingly fill me. No belled-forth voice, no buzzing glasses; no. Just a sense of Light deep within me and a small, still voice whispering: “Keep pluggin’.”
* When I Met My Muse
I glanced at her and took my glasses
off–they were still singing. They buzzed
like a locust on the coffee table and then
ceased. Her voice belled forth, and the
sunlight bent. I felt the ceiling arch, and
knew that nails up there took a new grip
on whatever they touched. “I am your own
way of looking at things,” she said. “When
you allow me to live with you, every
glance at the world around you will be
a sort of salvation.” And I took her hand.