Go Ahead, Spend Yourself

Last Fall, the elderly woman who lived alone in the house on the corner of our street died. In December, the family (I assume) planted two “for sale by owner” signs in the yard. They painted the front door red and tied red bows on evergreen wreaths, hanging one wreath on each of the five windows facing the street. Overnight, a weary 1400 square foot rancher transformed into a cozy Christmas bungalow. They screen printed a five-foot wide banner in holiday colors, built a frame of PVC pipe and placed the sprawling sign right next to the sidewalk. Come Home for the Holidays it read. I was impressed with the ingenuity of these do-it-yourself realtors.

Today, as I jogged passed the unsold house, the red-bowed wreathes hung tired, limp and waiting to be packed away. The Home for the Holidays sign has come untied and half of it droops to the ground. Their scrappy push to move the house during the yuletide season did not pay off. I never noticed even a single potential buyer taking a tour.

I wonder if they regret the effort, if their plans now seem foolish. I wonder if anyone has rolled their eyes and muttered, “I told you so.” I surely hope not.

Miska has taken up a new craft this past month. She does this at least once a year, often in the fall or winter. I love this about her, the way an idea will grab her and not let her loose until she’s spent herself — the way she’ll get this wild energy, the kind a poet knows when the words are flying and most other pursuits, for a while, are lost to them. It is good to be so awake that you notice when something asks for your full attention – and it is good in those precious moments to just go with it, to say yes.

Sometimes, though, others will think you foolish. You will be told you ought be more practical or less engrossed. Sometimes you’ll even have a husband who, in a moment of absolute stupidity, will say something like this: just remember the interest will pass.

Hopefully, your husband (or wife or friend) will also (like me) receive a kick in the arse and get right-minded enough to return, hat in hand. Sorry, baby. Don’t listen to me. I’m an idiot. You go as crazy as you want with your art and your loves. You show us the way.

8 Replies to “Go Ahead, Spend Yourself”

  1. I loved this story, especially the house idea as I’d like to sell mine. However, I’m still in it so I’d keep up the appearances until the Lord found me a buyer. I love Miska’s zeal. I’m like that sometimes…..as I get older I’m less so….but there was a time:).

  2. I think I’m a lot like Miska. I had a neighbor who once told me I had a terrible work history. My sister says I’m a woman of many interests. I like the idea that it all makes me somewhat poetic…

    “It is good to be so awake that you notice when something asks for your full attention.” Yes.

  3. I’m married to one of those wild, whimsical poets, Winn. She does the same thing, but she always comes back to the pen. I think that’s what I love the most.

    I like this a great deal, particularly the quote which I’m about to tweet. (Because if you don’t tweet it, it ain’t real.)

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