This is the movie scene in which you saw the monster lying dead, and in the seconds it took you to look away and turn around, there it is coming at you with a knife.
Miss A is back. Even if only for a spot of tea with Jules Smith. You know Jules? Jules Of All Trades. A human firecracker, creative sparks flying off her. An opportunity divining rod.
One of her visionary opportunities involved nine audacious questions, generally put to the forthright famous, suddenly being asked of me and ninety-nine others who aren’t dodging paparazzi.
“What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done?” “Tell me a secret about you.” The trickiest of the lot because our secrets are as alive as we are and unleashing them might mean some kind of death.
But I see the brilliance, I chase the spark, I’m in flames. Life teaches, I learn, in this case to toss the skeletons, they’re too much work to keep.
The other seven questions are very deep in different ways, all questions we’re ever curious to know about one another for various psychological reasons.
Jules’ exposition is characteristically clever and her afterword is the sparkling reward of a most intriguing collective analysis of the meaning of life.
I’ll leave you with a taste, a more literary sort of answer to one of Jules’ easier deep questions asked of me, “When you are an elderly person, sitting in your rocking chair and you look back on your life, what do you want to have achieved?”
Short answer: Having lived a great many years as a fully realized individual.
The rocking chair is on the porch of a modern log cabin overlooking a lake near a small, unbothered southern town. Supper’s in the oven, my happy hour whiskey’s in my hand, and I’m watching the gap close between the sun and the water. The chair’s creaking runners beat a rhythm of memories like the wheels on my road trip with the HP kicking the back of my driver’s seat.
When the sun splashes down and sinks, and the neon pinks and oranges barely begin to dull, I’ll go inside and fix myself a plate. And if another tomorrow greets me, I’ll get up and do what I’ve done for the last 20 sem-odd years: return my completed edits to the copyeditor for one novel and get back to work on my next novel. Nine of them and still counting. Not too shabby for a late start outta the gate.
Dream big, right?
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