Friday, May 23, 2008

Spectator - Julie

I like a view, but I like to sit with my back turned to it.
Gertrude Stein

Tuesday night I was at a Pokemon League Tournament, a surreal weekly event with sweaty little 7-10-year-old boys running around holding shiny colorful cards in their hands playing some mind-numbingly complicated game. My son Sam was in the tournament, and I was watching from the back table in a little room in the Student Union. Miles called my cell phone to say he was done teaching his class and did I want him to come relieve me so I could go home? I said, “No I’m okay here.” And I was. I had my book, my notebook, my coffee and my chair in the shadows at the back, and I was observing.

It made me think of all the other places where I’m okay. Swimming lessons in the summer, where I bring a book and maybe some iced coffee and watch Sam backstroke across the pool. Teacher conferences where I sit and listen to how I could become a better teacher, or not; Sam’s basketball and soccer games; a film festival where Miles is showing his animation…all places where something good and lively is going on, but I’m not directly involved. I sit, watching, understanding the action, but relaxing in the knowledge that I won’t be called to do anything, to perform and be judged, no chance of messing up. I’m just sitting here minding my own beeswax thank you very much.

My writing life is in danger of being involved in a crappy metaphor for this. The members of my writing group in Room 303 of the Stevenson Union, Pokemon cards gripped in their hands, battling fervently with Jane Austen, JD Salinger, maybe even Gertrude Stein shows up with a killer deck and me sitting in the back with my book and notebook, nodding, settling in with my coffee.


Anonymous said...

You are a skilled observer. Sometimes it is the observer in the card game who knows how to win with the fine art of timing. Watch out literary world when you decide to play!

Anonymous said...


Fabulous post on a fabulous day!

Anonymous said...

Lemongrass Village, an apartment with cockroaches, some really big lilac bushes in Indiana, and a whole lot of slouching.

If you don't observe you have nothing to write about.

When you want to you will.


Miles Inada said...

Those cards kind of suck. I'll help you build a better deck