Saturday, December 27, 2008

What's left

I knew there was something up yesterday during the ride to Green Bay when I heard that retrospective-sounding snippet about Harold Pinter. Sure enough ... But we knew he had cancer recently. Still, it makes me sad. Seeing a tiny film snippet of "The Birthday Party" more than seven years ago made me want to be a playwright. His work has been a part of my life since then and will continue to be. If I'm being brief here, it's only because I believe he now joins the ages, and his work stands as a kind of symbol of his immortality … and my appreciation of it is too personal for this space.

Today my mother showed me my baby book, which I've seen before but not in a long time. I was struck by how she so thoroughly filled it up to its designated limits (six years old) and how some of her personal feelings slipped into it. I thought a baby book would be more a piece of family propaganda, only focusing on positives. But my mother let her worry and sadness creep into it, and now that I notice that, I'm grateful. The fact that she chose to express herself in this mass-produced blank book using all the space that was alloted is some kind of testament to how we, of the common population, are only afforded so much time and room to do anything. This isn't a sociological, political or psychological exercise I'm admiring. I just admire her thoroughness in the face of time's passing and the world's indifference. If you can't take a minute to record what your child has done, what's really the point of anything you're going to do? I will follow her example.

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