One of the critiques I give my MFA peers (when I am in school, in workshop, which is not the case these days) is a desire for balance in their work–a piece cannot be unrelenting sad and horrific without any pause for relief. There ought to be, at least in my opinion, moments of relief, of light, of happiness, and hope.
I can’t help but think the same of this blog. Can you bear it? I hardly can, and yes this is a piece of writing, a story of my life as I experience it, in some weird electronic format. A story cannot be only pain and suffering and sadness. There must be relief for the character, the writer, and the reader.
My life sounds like a soap opera these days, one without any relief: first the stroke, then the recovery from the stroke, and as soon as I saw light, a death, and then deep grief, unbearable at times. It is time to sneak in a little bit of joy.
I am writing this at JFK airport right now, so relieved to be home in the United States. I nearly cried when I saw another Asian face (at least one not working as a house servant, anyhow), and heard English, and heard the brash voice of New York. I nearly cried when I saw the snowflakes falling in the chilly cold, and I nearly cried when I felt the cold air blast me like the opening door of a refrigerator
I cried with relief and happiness.
I sit here still, at my gate waiting for another flight home to California, the tips of my ears deliciously chilled, my bare ankles delightfully goosepimpled after days of scorching heat. English pours throughs the loudspeakers and around me, after days of hearing a language I could neither speak or understand. Well, I knew a handful of alphabet letters, and a handful of words, and I found myself seeking those words repeatedly, just to feel I had a grasp on what was being communicated: tov, ken, b’met, b’seder, chag sameach, lo, todah. But now I hear it all, understand it all, and I feel utter relief at being home.
It is time for balance. When will the scales tip? I’m waiting with lots of hope and anticipation.