Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Bread crumbs, bridges, the sometimes of things

A journalist friend who worked at El Mundo for 14 years asked me recently what I would be doing in Spain if I could choose. I didn't have an immediate answer. I had to dig around in the pockets of my desires and pull up linty wishes and mold them into recognizable shapes for him. Ah, yes — that dream, that place, that job. This is enough to tell me that my intentions aren't clear enough for the universe to hear them.

"Have you been writing lately?" my friend Sara asks, and already I am reaching for my glass of wine, trying to avoid the question.

"No," I say, and start thinking of an excuse — I've been to the United States again, I'm feeling out of sorts lately, I've moved in with a new family in Madrid and they take up all my time.

And sometimes it feels like they do. I can incorporate exercise by playing with the 2-year-old baby, Alvaro. I do plank pose and he drives toy trucks under the length of me. I am a bridge always in danger of collapsing, and this makes him giggle. However, when I try to write and he spies my Macbook (I mistakenly showed him the cool sounds the volume keys make), he starts manically poking at the keyboard. And I let him because it's cute, and with the way I feel lately perhaps using this method might yield a better piece of writing.

And so I don't give Sara an excuse, because she already knows that part of me.

"You told me to tell you that when you're not writing, it means you're not being honest with yourself," she says, and I curse smarter, month-ago Amy.

It's true. Writing is a meditation for me. I can feel my mind focusing, filtering, wading out to sea.

I live on the edges of myself too often here. It feels safer. Sometimes I feel alone and scared in this country, and paradoxically too vulnerable to go deeply with anyone. Because if I access that route, I leave bread crumbs, and people can follow me in there.

I constantly ask myself what all of this is worth. The Spanish language, of course, but what else? Do I need to know now? Why am I always trying to frame works of art that haven't taken their shape yet?

My friend Harvin saw a psychic recently, and when I came up in the conversation she told him that what I'm doing right now will help me in my career. I wanted to fly to D.C. and shake her and say, "What am I doing? Please God tell me what it is. I don't feel it, please help me feel it!"

And then I did go to D.C. last week. And I didn't shake her, or see her. I was too happy to be home.