Yes, Virginia, Conrad and I do sometimes have energetic arguments, bolstered by the knowledge that for more than sixty years we have always worked them out. The recent one was on the way home from the ocean last Sunday where I remarked that I didn’t understand how I could’ve taken honors in debate competitions in high school when I couldn’t remotely sustain a conversation about the (IMHO) devastating mindset of a large segment of our body politic. I retreated by pulling the “I’ve got to quit here, I can’t avoid talking from my gut.”
I’ve been thinking about that. My entire adult life has been bipolar, in a way. From the get-go I’ve been the penny-pincher, the bookkeeper, then the accountant combing the trial balance for possible errors before the audit. It’s been a huge relief to have folded the tents of The Independent Eye, no longer making payroll reports because there has not been a payroll for a long time. The old habits hang on, though, and I still am aware of things like cash flow and I quail at the thought of MAGA’s lust for the mutilation of Social Security and Medicare.
But the core of my life as an actress and composer has been immersing myself in going deep and finding the flow that comes from the heart and the gut, not the brain. I think that’s one reason that I find poetry to be an essential part of my diet. I find the photos of dried riverbeds and sunken lakes to be tragic and true metaphors: our world has forgotten about the value of the deep sources, the ones we can neither see nor sell.
The two of us are currently in good health and working steadily on writing. We live on a beautiful piece of land and regularly celebrate the outlandish perk of having a fireplace in our bedroom. But we are both in our eighties, and the road that beckons has inevitable mileposts. How will we deal with the losses and indignities? How long can we live in a big house by ourselves? One step at a time. However, the map is clear.
I take comfort in my habits of going deep, going dark. At 4 a.m. I may wake in a panic sweat, but then later I find the core of what I’d told myself. After all, we will all go deep, go dark. Best to find the stories along the way.