Saturday, June 18, 2011


A creaking tree never falls down...
My mother-in-law, who is justabout still my mother-in-law, said this to me last night. We had a conversation on the telephone, her in Ireland, me here.  After years of minor struggle, we have reached a place of mutual respect and understanding, and one of the things that we understand is that both of us have lost her son.

I love her, strange to say.  I never expected to, but it's true.  She once bought a mug out of which to drink when she came to visit and for a long time I hid it at the back of the cupboard when she wasn't here, and looked at it askance, should it ever have the audacity to creep to the fore.

This evening I sought it out.  Its silly, flowery pattern comforts me and I sipped my tea hoping that some of her countrywoman wisdom might somehow slip into me.

She told me the story:  for years a tree outside her mother and father's cottage would worry and wake them with its noise.  Today, the house is long gone, and the tree still stands.

A creaking tree never falls down, she recalls her father saying.  Because it bends, I suppose.

I need to bend.  I need to stay standing.

Sometimes I count it up, just for fun, the astonishing number and variety of life events of the past decade.  Bowed down by my mistakes, I have been close to feeling like one who has failed, recently, and it helps me not to feel like that, reminding myself what this creaking tree has withstood.  Some of the events have been chronicled here: it wasn't long after I started the blog that my subject matter went from the mundane to pithy.

Not all the events were bad, of course (and among the horrors there came a strawberry-blonde girl whose presence nothing can gainsay)  but it looks like I'll be adding divorce, near bankruptcy and moving house to the list before the decade's up.

I write on a Saturday night.  Almost always I am alone on a Saturday night.  It's not alright, alright.  It's the loneliest night of the week, it has been for some time.  I'm too tired to work.  I'm too worried, too sad, too alone.  I have no money, none, and the Bim has finally gone.  The Bim is not alone this Saturday night, he is with Anna-mouse and another.

But tomorrow or the next day, when Anna-mouse returns, I will have the driving force of my life by me again, and remarkably I am not ill.  I creak, and I am always tired, but I am not ill.  And I have a talent to put words together which has led me to a new career - I have started something which I hope, if life's burdens don't become too great, to finish.

Of the decade's ten years, there are only ten months left.  Head down against the mutterings on the wind, I'm going to creak and bend, and try really, really hard to stay standing.


Debbie Doughty said...

Beautiful post, Livvy. You've made it this far, I'm confident you will manage to stay standing. Hopefully the days ahead will hold more blessings for you than sorrow.

nuttycow said...

Keep going Livvy. Anna-Mouse is counting on you too.

Tomorrow, as they say, is another day.


Shiny said...

How 10 years can fly by, and the years just keep flying, faster and faster. I do hope that you not only stay standing, but blossom and bloom and come out the other side feeling all okay x

Anonymous said...

Oh I do so wish you would come back.

A Confused Take That Fan said...

Livvy, I have been away a while but was thinking of you. I hope you are ok and writing a book as your words are always so beautiful.

Miss A. Layknee said...

I've just stumbled over your blog. I was clicking the 'next blog' button over and over, and just like every other time I've tried it, I was hitting nothing but blogs about religion, children, religion, children, religion - oh dear god, make it stop! And then your blog popped up, and... it's like some sort of reward for all the clicking through I've had to do. The way you work with words is, in a word, beautiful. I've skipped across the posts in your blog, touching on this year or that year, and every post has been like the literary equivalent of 'comfort food' - even in the midst of grief and pain you seem so completely in control of the words you use that you make something simultaneously sad and beautiful out of it. I see that your posts - frequently infrequent - have diminished, and possibly stopped. I won't nag you to start again - I dislike people who demand "more!!" out of the people who share their work online with no expectation of compensation. I just hope that you've managed to overcome some of the things I've read about in passing. I hope most of all that you're still writing, somewhere.

Miss A. Layknee said...

I can't seem to figure out how to respond directly to a comment (if it's even possible) so I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate both of your comments. I have always been incredibly shy about letting other people see what I write - thus the anonymous blog! So the early encouragement - from someone whose writing I would do many illegal things if I were promised I could match said writing afterward! - was very much appreciated. As for the debt - I love your "you the person is not you the money troubles" comment. It makes perfect sense and is a great comfort, because there are days when the money I (don't) have does seem to shape and define my entire life! I am continuing to fix the mistakes I made in my past - and keep reminding myself that the more I fix, the less there is to fear as hanging over my head. Anyway, I have a bit of an issue with rambling on, so again - thank you! I really appreciate your encouragement on both fronts.