I got back to Indy on Friday, after spending a week with family after the wake-and-funeral (family is Catholic, well, loosely Catholic, so open casket and burial, no cremation) the last weekend of May--Memorial Day. My father was a Marine for a few years in the early 60s, just pre-Vietnam, and so there were Marines and "Taps" for his burial, which everyone thought was fitting.
I was wondering if I should/wanted to write a chronology of the week and a half, and I think I don't. It would talk about family frictions and postmodern novel kind of stuff and we should leave all that to Rick Moody and Don DeLillo and company.
The main effect that I can tell comes from now being the father in my family, a sort of assuming that mantle, is that I feel the role arrive in me for my own kid. What had formerly been all language and signification.
For this to happen while I was still fairly deep in adjusting to my own fatherhood is a weird blessing of sorts; it fits right in. Had this happened in 2002 it would have been totally and completely different, disorienting, incitement to even more chaos than happened. But now it's like a weird passing of the role, almost in a ritual way. It's strangely perfect.
I'm certain that I'm the only one in my family that feels this way, and I like that; that is how it's always been. Time is frozen there if you're me (by which I mean my personality in time), and people don't know me any more closely than they did in the mid-1990s and that goes, itself, back to the late 1980s; I tried to burn those bridges and failed, and the major side effect is that while I can talk to anyone and everyone's happy to see me like a strange midwestern Prodigal Gone Back, no one knows a thing about my inner life at all (and it took me a long time to realize that I'd done that and that it wasn't some failing on their collective part). But I knew that if I had not left to find something more satisfying than suburbia and lay Catholicism, I would have exploded with psychotic violence, and so that had to go.
That's how it's not a postmodern novel: in those situations, the rebels never get outside of power (which in itself is so, so postmodern), and so they live out their craziness within the system that constrains it, and you get pathos and suffering and then you sell a million copies and you get to bang the cheerleader or whatever it is, and we have American Beauty to tell us how that all goes deliciously wrong. No. I saw that fate coming and ran for the hills and now I teach Art History and yoga out here in Indianapolis and have family and kid.
In the teacher training for It's Yoga (and also, goodbye Larry, this same year: don't you think that's enough, 2011?), we made "dream boxes," little decorated cardboard boxes where you put dreams and wishes. Inside the top lid of mine is a little newspaper-print-looking sentence reading, "One day I escaped."
That sounds like it denies my beloved Kafka (ever engaged with the intricacies of power), but it doesn't. I grew into what suited me (well, as near as I can figure) and still retain contact with what doesn't/didn't. The two worlds don't communicate, not because they speak different languages, but because almost no one crosses the two. I do not retain contacts from high school or college, and all of my graduate school associates abandoned me when I got divorced in 2002. There is nothing but a black chasm between my "then" and my "now," and that's also why it's not a postmodern novel. Those books rely on a crisscross, constant friction between what one is and what one is thought to be. I have, in a way, freedom.
Yet I keep in touch with family, and they can tell that I have a degree of contentment now, after being billed through action and rhetoric as the firebrand for so many years that now that tag never leaves; some family still treat me like nitroglycerin that you shouldn't shake too hard. That's fine; if they cared more, they could learn how it really is, but they choose safe distance (noting of course that I basically forced them to do so) and I try to make my presence safer for them but they see their/my label before they see my reality, and I can only get so close to them without freaking them out. That's fine, I know I made it that way.
I continue to teach the yoga, and to practice. Aiming now--with kid in daycare and J at work--for five weekdays per week. Primary is again a struggle, but that's typical with ten days off and lots of complicated emotions snugging up the outer hips and psoas, I don't resent anything. I practice until I lose the breath, often in those handful of poses after Navasana, and then I backbend. Dropping and standing is still there, although it might need a lot of rehearsal before it gets smooth. It's all still there; I was rebinding Pasasana before I went to the Northeast.
Austin and Swenson in ten days. I'll be down close to a big lake and not far from a gigantic park. There should be early am buses to downtown, otherwise it's a couple miles and I don't mind that walk (although I'll probably have to get up at 4:30 to make 6 am practice). Six days a week, Su-F, with evening workshops each M and W, with a weekend workshop the first F night and into Sa morning, so it'll be non-stop morning asana and pranayama from Su straight to F and then an Intermediate workshop on Sa morning, then again straight through, Su to F and I fly out on F afternoon, the first of July. I'm going to intend to avoid both caffeine and booze while I'm there, and yes, I know what a boozy town Austin is. We'll see.
I have returned. Now, out to the park to practice.