My father said odd years are terrible and it was.

Let me see...good things- my parents are still alive, I'm still married, Luke is great, we have enough to eat, a place to sleep, our sense of humor is more or less intact. I took an all expense paid first class trip to Luxembourg and London and saw my dear old friend. I wrote a book on college essays, I got back to writing the sort of novel I need to write.

But--I was screwed by yet another North Shore High School, I lost my agent, I left my own house as the family situation deteriorated and I saw that my life was unlikely to make it possible for me to sustain any form of happiness.Therapy helped. My son struggled, my ex-husband's marriage failed and I realized how much I longed for his happiness, my sister and me attempted friendship but continued the bewildering estrangement. Our repair bill for our condominium was estimated at 4 million and our condo board recovered 1/4 of that amount. I dieted and lost and quit and slid back, worked out like a demon and did yoga faithfully albeit once a week. My dear friend's husband died very fast, my father sank deeper into his silence and when I sobbed finally and said, "I miss you, daddy," he answered with, "I love you very much," and it was better.

My health remained good, the cats remained cranky and I rode my bicycle for six days managing to survive the hills and miles. I dreamed a comedy and possibly it will be more then a dream. I stood up at THE MOTH and someone told me I was brilliant but I didn't win. I didn't swim enough this summer and anger was the daily emotion, the familiar default setting. But other people had so much more, an earthquake, tsunami, homelessness, meltdown, cancer and broken hearts, Several lovely weddings, my beloved stepson, my darling nephew's celebration in New Orleans, the hopeful start, white dress and wedding cake, family and friends, hope and anticipation. Someone told me low expectations were the key to serenity but I have never been good at that.  Close your eyes and count to ten and you will be transported to candyland, a white horse will kneel at your feet, you will be so pretty men will be speechless, you will be famous and loved and happy.

I visited Berkeley and took a walk and there was a woman who sat in a wheelchair, a beautiful woman who watched as her husband flew a kite with her two adorable sons. Once I lived on a hill in San Francisco in a beautiful house and I took drugs and drank and woke up every morning and told myself I was evil and wished to die. I looked at this woman and wondered what had happened and as I felt my feet beneath me I was grateful for all of it and saw the flowers, the boats, the ocean and turned my face towards the sunset, a new day, a new year. I love my friends, my family, my incredible son, my silly cats, I am grateful for my life, my health, my art.


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