Trauma and conflict are much more compelling than happiness and harmony, which is why fiction is filled with terrible events such as murder, wars, killer weather, and other horrors. It’s the same in every day life, or at least the life we write about. Grief, pain, illness, conflict make for great news stories and blog posts. But happiness and harmony? Not so much.
Today was a great day for me. I took two dance classes: ballet and jazz. The combination of steps we practiced in ballet was especially hard for me. I knew the steps, but there was a glitch somewhere between my brain and my feet that kept me from getting the proper sequence and rhythm. And we’ve been learning a new dance in jazz, which is always tough for me — it takes all my concentration to keep up with the rest of the class, most of whom have a background in dance. But still, despite those problems, there’s not much to write about. It’s the difficulties I encountered today that made them good classes — learning is what galvanizes me. (And oh! The joy when I finally get the steps right!)
When I got back from class, my sister (who is here helping take care of my father) and I went shopping. She wanted art supplies and I wanted paper raffia to make i’is (Tahitian hand tassels) for Tahitian class. We got neither, though I ended up with a multi-colored feather boa to decorate a hat. (A wild purchase for me!) Later we fixed a meal together. I’ve heard it said that two women can’t share a kitchen, but the few meals we’ve cooked together have been harmonious events. She does what she wants, I do what I want, and we end up with something special. In this case, tuna melts with sunflower bread and gouda cheese, and fabulous double-cocoa brownies studded with chunks of 70% Belgian chocolate for dessert.
In fact, after a rocky beginning (although we had talked frequently on the phone over the past year, we hadn’t seen each other for many years and didn’t know each other’s habits or the meaning of each other’s gestures, and we had the added problem that we disagreed on how to deal with my problematic brother), we’ve consistently been dealing harmoniously with each other. She’s leaving next week, unless, of course, I can talk her into staying. My father doesn’t really need care. He’s ambulatory, still fairly strong, stays up most of the day, but he refuses to get himself food — he doesn’t want to be bothered, though he has no objection to bothering us when he’s hungry — so it’s been nice having someone else help wait on him. (Such duties irritate me. I will gladly do anything he needs done, but I have no interest in simply indulging him, though he finds that surprising. He keeps saying he thought I liked doing for him. I wonder if he’s confusing me with my mother?)
So, no wild emotions today. No grief. No trauma. No conflict. Just happiness and harmony.
I hope you had a harmonious day too.
Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.