The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Little Girls and Old Ladies

When Jason ws an infant, T and I took turns sleeping in his nursery, every other night, so that every 48 hours one of us got a totally uninterrupted night's sleep. Worked for me: I'm miserable on lost sleep. Now that Jason is going to preschool, I thought of a similar plan: only one of us has to get him up and off to school in the morning. That way, one of us ALWAYS has a full, restorative night's sleep, at least every other night. We've only tried this a couple of times, but since our natural wake-up time is around 9am, it might make sense. We will see...


Text messenging may have played a part in the recent train disaster here in So Cal. The ironic thing is that the engineer was apparently exchanging texts with a 15-year old train afficianado. Jeeze, that sucks. Hope it's not true. Twenty-five dead? Poor kid will carry THAT one for a long time.


One of the secrets to success in life is for your actions to be in alignment with your goals, beliefs, values and emotional land mines. Another is to imagine your "inner child"--the kid you used to be. Then imagine the old person you will be one day (if you are lucky!) imagine her in a hospital bed she will never leave. Tubes up the nose. Doctors with long faces. She looks back over her life, to the child she was, imagining a golden thread connecting that child with the old woman. She smiles at the life path. It is good.

Look at where you are right now. What place on that thread do you occupy? Are you right on track? Or is your present postion zig-zagged from your proper life path? Are you living in alignment with your true values? Headed toward your desired destination?

Look at it from the other end: from the position of the child. Remember her hopes and dreams? Is she happy with where you are now? Grinning? Dancing? Crying? Moping?

When your Little Girl and your Old Lady are in agreement that it was a good're heading in the right direction. Today will be terrific.


suzanne said...

when I was a little grrl
I wanted to write
now I am a sirenic crone
and I write

so all's well here
and with any luck
I will never end up
in a hospital bed
with tubes stuck in many
of my orifices
being kept alive
when I should
be dead
or the other main scenario
losing my Mind in tatters and snatches

I watched both these
scenarios play out
with the deaths of my parents
and there was nothing
satisfying and peaceful
about either
both were torments
of the worst possible kind
of two extremely fine
human beings

fuck that noise!

salina said...

aaaa, I'd never thought in such terms....old lady and little girl. Intellectually Im CERTAIN both pretty darned happy with who I was/have become. The little girl is RELIEVED and probably surprised, the old woman grateful and peacefully ready to give up ghost. Removing myself (in the now) is axually a much easier context for me to operate from. Interestingly, I remember telling a sympathetic friend that if I were someone else and met me then I'd want to be friends with that person (me). I'd think she (I) was a pretty cool and wonderful person to know...BUT because I'm that person, I don't feel that way about myself..." SOMETHING is getting lost in the translation I suppose. I must align or at least imagine/know that the person the old woman was and the little girl became is ME right now...AHHH, i can't explain it... But thank you for givin me something to ruminate on.

AF1 said...

Hmmm....the person I am now is pretty misaligned with the young boy that used to be.

Getting by in the world can sometimes lead lead to some unpleasant and tough choices, though.

Can't make a living by just reading books, unfortunately. As that younger version of me might have liked. ;)

Dan Moran said...

Not going to be the old person with tubes up my nose. One of the areas I really admire my father -- when he found out he had fatal throat cancer, and had 3-6 months left -- ugly months -- he got his affairs in order, went home and took all the pain pills at once. Fell asleep and never woke up. And all anyone remembers of him is a strong, tough man in control of himself all the way to the end.

Almost the only thing about getting old that worries me is losing the ability to embrace my final friend when the time comes. Dying doesn't scare me, but a massive stroke or similar, something that removed my ability to recognize my own condition ... that's about the only thing left regarding me personally that still frightens me in this life.

Steven Barnes said...

It is never too late to get right with yourself. It may take some perceptual flexibility to see a way to make a living reading books, but if you can go to the root of the original drive, you can find a way to make your way in the world while honoring your values (adult) and having fun (child). It is seriously worth the work.

Aisha La Estudiante said...

Your blogs never cease to make me think... contemplate and often regroup just a bit. It's like talking to that great Shakyh, Guru, etc. sometimes it's too much to handle at once.

As a young girl, I wanted to speak 3 languages by 30 (still working on it... nearly there with 2 more years till expiration on the 20's) and work in the medical field (a bit behind on this.. I thought I'd be a Nurse Practitioner by now.. last pre-nursing credit this quarter) and helping others. Well, we try.

However, in our elder years... isn't family more important? Shouldn't I also focus on kids.. er rather having/adopting some?

When are you coming back to PDX? My husband really enjoyed picking your brain at Todd & Tiel's home after the seminar. Speaking of.. bummed to miss you in Vegas.

Thanks for the amazing writing both here and in your print literature.
When's your next big work coming out? You can BET we'll watch/read about it.