where the writers are
Empty Nest Syndrome

As you can probably tell from my last blog entry, a thinly disguised piece of flash fiction where the main character should have been named Robin, not Jenna, I've been very depressed about empty nest syndrome and middle-age lately, even though my kids pretty much moved out four years ago.  But for a long time, they lived very close to me, they were always over the house, and I even got to tour all over the world with them with their various bands.  But now they are 25 and 26, moving to California 3,000 miles away; my beloved dog of 14 years died in April and I was so grief stricken I couldn't function for months; the City of Philadelphia inadvertently removed a 30 year old tree in front of my house that was a sapling when I bought the place all those years ago and was now a leafy beauty that provided shade to my front of the home kitchen and left me, both literally and figuratively, with yet another empty space in my soul.  It was such a metaphor for all that was going on I couldn't believe it.

I've tried saving myself by taking a TM course and I have to admit, it's helped a lot, but as writers we know the real truth:  if we stop writing, we stop living.  And basically I let all of this inevitable stage of life stuff take up negative space in my head, shut myself off from all of my writing friends, and dare I say, even considered ending it all except my luck, I'd even fail at that.

To make matters even worse, thanks to this economy, while most of my friends are retiring, I had to take a new job where I am a bottom feeder because the cost of living has just gotten way too high and I wasn't prepared.  Did I think I'd stay young forever?  Did I think my kids would be millionaire musicians and take care of me?  I don't think I thought at all.  I live a day at a time, and just refused to worry about it.

And so I have two choices.  I can throw myself under a subway and pray it works, or I can pull myself back up, "religiously" practice TM and meditate twice daily, and most importantly, write.

I am a novelist.  But I also love writing short stories and was even nominated for a Best American Short Story Award.  So it was with great shock that when I sat down to write again, finally, a poem came out of the depths of what is left of my soul after my job managed to suck most of it out.  I've never written poetry; I've never even studied it.  I'm a music nut so I think these are more lyrics than a poem since there are repeating verses.

The reason I am posting it here is so that I have a record of how I felt this year, and the pain that caused me to write this.  I want a permanent reminder.  Is it good enough to be actually published anywhere?  I am a great editor for other people but when it comes to my own stuff...blech...I am deaf, dumb and blind.

In any event, here it is.  The good news about said poem, even if you all hate it, is that it somehow enabled me to return to my novel(s) in progress, and there are three of them.   Yep, three half written books, all completely different (and I admit it, one is a paranormal because I am a whore and I know that's what people want to read; one is a memoir written in response to Anna Quindlen's new memoir about how wonderful it is to be middle-aged (easy for her to say with a Pulitzer prize, an attorney husband, a house in NYC and one in the country instead of a broke, bottom feeder office person taking orders from people young enough to be my kids or even grandkids); and the other is a book about a young widow who struggles with anxiety attacks. 

Okay, enough about me and my sad life.  Here's the poem.   It's called "One Moment".

 

One moment

breathing, laughing, living

A flash of light, the grind of metal

Bone on bone smashing

One moment

Dreaming, planning, loving

A world gone dark, a smile turned twisted

Oh such pain inflicted

One moment

Going, going, gone

An unconditional love once known

Discarded and forgotten

One moment

breathing, laughing, living

A flash of light, the grind of metal

Bone on bone smashing

One moment

Searching, reaching, falling

And in the end, don’t fool yourself

No one will lift you up.

One moment

Going, going, gone

An unconditional love once known

Discarded and forgotten