Saturday, September 27, 2014

Meditation on Writer's Doubt

Why do we doubt?  It's a double-take, like, hmmm, is this really happening?  Am I really going to make this happen?  Perhaps I'll just stay here where I am all cozy in bed with my fears of not being good enough.  Then I can suffer and blame everything else for holding me back, including this bed.   No more dreaded responsibility of thinking pure thoughts and writing them down.  And by pure I mean pure like sharp cold icicles or the unfiltered burning sun - not the pure virgin down the street who is naive and ignorant.  But perhaps her too because her ignorance is so pure.

I want to more effectively use my doubt or sense of judgement to chisel my word collages, my splatter books, my line by line letter arrangements.  Discernment, as my Buddhist teacher says.   Or even, just let the chips fall where they may and let the ideas fall into place like tetris don't over-turn them.

I found you because I have been feeling insecure about sharing my book with my beta-readers.  They all ask me about it now because I've talked it up much.  Do I have to share it with them?  What?!!  Then they will all know who I am, or who I was when I wrote the book over the course of a year.  It's so much more convenient to lead them all to believe that I am very good.  Very superficial.   Well dressed.  Well turned.  They'll have no doubt as to my impeccable taste.  But if they read my prose, full of black smoke and pennies with a hole in it and female lust and human longing and the reconciliation of our hopes into certain realities, then they will doubt.  They will know my own doubt.  She's a doubting Thomas, they will say.  She knows too much.  She knows nothing but the dark side.  Why?  Why isn't she more positive for Lord's sake.  Then they will smile and turn to me and say:

-I liked it!
-It was fascinating!
-Did this really happen to you?
-She was a victim!
-Why is she so angry?
-Why is she so pathetic?

And I will stand there stoically.  Oh?  Really?  Good.  That's fine then.  I will no longer doubt the double-facedness of your humanity.

My doubts?  I doubt Doubt.  It resembles debt.  I have debts so I doubt.  I dabble in doubt.  I have a draught in doubt.  I'll take a cold draught.  Are you daft?  Is there a draft in here?  It's cold.  Delightful doubt, embrace me.  Look doubt in the face and spit.  Surprise your doubt.  Call her Mrs. Doubtfire and  dress her neck in a leather belt.  See what happens.  Wallow in your doubt but only from 11:11 to 11:14.  All other times kick the doubt about and shout:  Dubious, dubious doubts you're out.  Then set about to work it out with pen in hand or fingers clacking or with your nose-held pencil that you cherish.  The words are only conceptual.  Actually everything is conceptual especially your doubt which we've now forgotten about because we're about to get started on the letters that form words that signify those hacking emotions jumbled about in your big old belly mixing with the jellymold.  Which is why they won't come out just right - but oh.  That's your doubt too.  Where art thou, spontaneity?  Where are thou, muse?  Don't tell me your muse is doubt too?

Spontaneous combustion that's what you are when you flare up with your nostrils raring to go, to jot down some doodles about a boy, a girl, an adult human or a dog or a fish or something that is consciousness totally disembodied.  Just a woohoo spirit, a candle in the wind, which will extinguish, extinguishing all the doubt that resides in you.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

October 29, 2008

Consent to being boiled, corn, and you will be delicious. (re-phrased from a Rumi poem)

The New Moon is granting me 10 wishes. One of mine was to connect to people. If only this didn't hurt so much.

Yesterday, my acupuncturist revealed to me that I am very stressed. "But I don't feel stressed," I protest. I am only there because I cannot sleep, I am overeating and having tension headaches. He examines my tongue, "You are definitely stressed." A few needles in the head and I am laughing all the way down Maiden Lane back to work.

At work, I wanted to talk and hang out with folks. But a few visits later I creeped back to my office closed the door and took a deep sigh. I am not stressed - I am only susceptible to everyone else on Wall Street who are collectively a basket case.

My daughter insists on seeing me more. That was on my wish list - but what goes in my 24 hour day? Can't be my job because I've accumulated a nice pile of credit card debt in order to dress for the position I want. Not to mention the creams to delay the wrinkles, classes to keep the abs toned and high falutin' pre-K alternatives for the genius child. Can't be ballet because it is my lifeline. Then what? I decided I would instead of more time I would spend "fun-time" with Olive. Too much of our time is choresy.

My goals last year were so much easier - buy a house, find a lifestyle job, dance. (In NYC a lifestyle job means 40 hours a week.) Check, check, check. My goals now are about process, the how to, the deliberate practice, the neuroplasticity and molding everything into a grand sculpture just by happenstance not by design. Need more alpha waves that's what.

I'm blessed - I was the victim of random acts of mentoring last week and of course my pride was appropriately stoked. I'm all puffed up and then a cutting critique from Finis (ballet master) throws it all into perspective. I'm an amateur on the dance floor and to be treated like a professional really hurts. That really should be my wish - more pain that forges - bounding out from between the flames that's me.

Friday, October 17, 2008

October 17, 2008

Another unstable week has ended on Wall Street. The uncertainty, the down down down markets, the bloody losses have put everyone in a bad mood and a savings posture.

Bosses are taking their negativity out on their underlings, mothers are taking it out on their babies, wives are refusing to sleep with their lovers.

I am in a cycle of TGIF and blah Mondays, as there is a strained and formal feeling at my office. Once a place of warmth and progressive work with aggressive postures, we're now a bunch of aimless people fighting over petty amounts to get our share. "Hangin in there," is the constant refrain. Who will be in Newco, Stayco or Spinco. Perhaps you will be in gohomeco. Rumors abound and secret lists circulated. No retention plans yet.

I keep the door to my office shut and watch ballet videos on youtube, stopping only to deal with emergencies which usually require surprise shotput attacks.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

October 9 2008

Since last post, I moved on from the bank to an insurance company - yet still in asset managment structuring private investment funds, working within the business of making nothing but money.

September was a wayward month - began with a surfer chic in Montauk and then a week later there was a day that chicken little seemed right on. An usury-lite loan from the government saved us; yesterday more billions from the Fed for sec lending. The emotion in the air at work varies from tension to sadness to fright. The subsidized 7th floor cafeteria is running out of food before 1 pm. Everyone is doing their best to appear busy and keep income in their pocket. We are learning to save as a company and a nation.

What's a mother to do when her nanny needs a raise and her daughter the fancy music classes with a live band and puppet show. Upper middle class mothers are in a delicate situation - there's a careful balance between the paycheck they bring in and the paycheck that goes to their nannies. Unwind one salary and the other is up for grabs too, yet how's a mother to look for work if she cannot afford baby-sitting. I learned incidentally that my nanny also has a nanny for her child - and wondered but dared not ask what the income disparity there was.

June, as the daughter now calls herself courtesy of little einsteins, is getting more beautiful each day. "What are you?" I asked her. "Magnificient," she replies. No lack of confidence or egotism here. It's a bit unchecked where I'm concerned but can one fight their nature.

Today's wayward schedule.

8:45 Arrive at work. Tea, more tea. Read emails.

9:00 Review the news: wsj, ft, horoscopes, penelope trunk

9:15 Draft email to Africa team about making capital calls, gently asking them to think about it.

9:30 Call to colleague in midtown re: revising disclosure for recent developments. Left vmail.

9:35 Develop to do list

9:40 TC with hubby re planning a thanksgiving trip to South Beach. Internet research for prices. Book flights.

10:15 Book acupuncture appt for lunch

10:20 Take call from boutique that my Theory size 8 suit has been ordered

10:25 Check prices for music class - an astounding $545 for 10 weeks!

10:30 Go downstairs and find myself ordering a breakfast sandwich of 2 eggs, cheese, sausage. A small clue to what stands between me and size 6.

10:40 Eat sandwich while reviewing a hedge funds presentation from outside counsel

11:00 Take call from colleague and discuss disclosure aspects - find him a bit fast and loose in his approach but get him to agree to send me the samples his boss has been circulating.

11:15 Read inbox. Consider further action - decide verbal advice presented at next meeting preferable in this case.

11:30 Book sobe hotel

12:00 Email last vacation spot for deposit refund check - troubleshoot date on check.

12:15 - 1:30 Acupuncture

1:45 Decide to recommit to blogging as a real time record of the historic events I am living through. Find old blog account untouched for over a year and start typing!

I'll let you know how the rest of the day goes.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

January 27, 2008

A salty soak in magnesium to cure the ballet blues - Russian training can be so demoralizing.

Olive is almost 2 and my sensitive flower - I cannot raise my voice at her without her running to the corner in deep woe. Yet I am so tried to be constantly patient and pleading with her to wash her hands, go to the toilet - all things that a mature adult certainly does not want to spend her weekends talking about. Unless you are the working mother of a toddler. Then your weekends are about cajoling with your child morning noon and night.

I am leaving the Bank and joining Insurance Co next week.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

January 22, 2008

A new rounder year, a new job, a two year old with a new attitude.

Returned from a 3 week tour of Paris and Dubai and I can't get adjusted back to reality here. The bitter cold outside made me withdraw any breath i dared to inhale.

Olive and I are recovering from illnesses of the common cold bronchial variety. Aaron has a strange fever blister on his lip.

I think my body is finally recovering from pregnancy - the panus seems to have retreated inward.

Olive is much more demanding. So is everyone else in my life. These are the giving years. You give at work, you give at home, you give on the dance floor. Somewhere a flood of life carries you along like a tsunami that you never even saw coming.

Monday, May 07, 2007

May 7, 2007

Last week was in London town, working in Mayfair with a terrible cold, trying to be smart while acting like just one of the guys. Meanwhile, I was walking down Bond Street thinking of my baby with her sweet smiles, worried that she'd forget about me.

Quite the opposite, she missed me so much that she took to carrying her baby doll around everywhere, crying if baby was taken away even for a moment. She's learning to self soothe, says the West. She misses her mother terribly and needs her, says the East. I've decided to take my baby with me to London on the next trip, as that may be in a few weeks according to Rory.

It was fun working right next to Rory, the self labelled Rastaman who is the COO of the shop. I now understand why he works so late - he works at a leisurely pace, constantly distracted by small talk, car talk and shop talk.

I was informed by Mark that John and I are a team. Now there is nothing more distasteful than being in a team with someone you consider a bit intellectually challenged. On the other hand, let each bring their own strengths. Mark did hold out the factoid that I should "go to Brazil and Argentina" to meet lawyers. I must tell him that they came to me - at the International Finance Law Review conference that I have been attending for the past few days. So interesting - this afternoon's hallway conversation with the Luxembourg lawyer and the Argentine lawyers (a bit pompous) about a Lux shell co that receives receivables from an Argentine corporate and issues Notes to noteholders who are passed along the payments. Only problem: Argentine withholding tax.

Wondering what the hell M was talking about - Electrobras? They have sold their assets and have nothing practically but a nuclear plant/site. That is what Daniel Miranda told me anyway, a Brazilian lawyer who speaks with such solemnity and control of facial features that one feels frozen in time.

Still no word from Elena yet, I must send her the tea and see if that elicits a response. She is busy setting up the art hedge fund no doubt before it goes all bust and the hedgies no longer have $$ to bid up the prices of - hmph - modern art.

Steady as she goes, my emotional state wishes I was 20 lbs lighter, that is all. I think about fasting a lot these days, especially while eating biscuits and tea.

Olive talks to me. She said "pee pee" this morning telling me she had soiled her diaper. No darling, that smells like poo poo. She's got my long long limbs and her own unique upper lip. Her grandmother treats her like a little baby still, carrying her around this morning. Olive seemed to enjoy it and did not want to get into the emotional state of saying good bye to me so she pretty much ignored that I was leaving. That hurt, but at least it protects the little one's feelings. I am gracious for an hour in the evening to have a bath and tumble in the bed together.

I've been confounded as to why I still look pregnant, feel very stiff and toxic. I dreamt early this morning of the pain of the C-section - the horror and shock that it was happening to me. Other times, I think it's my heavy diet only that needs to be fixed. The emotional pain will heal if I look as hot as I once did.