Topic #14: Why did you start?

Because people would ask me, Huh, London to Alabama? That must have been a big change. I would match that with, Yeah, totally. And I was driving myself crazy. Now, I can say, Yes, indeed. Big change, but it’s not exactly what you might think, whatever it was that you were thinking. Read my blog.

Because ever since I started writing things down I have had a fear of losing my diary. And when I don’t write things down—oh, my life is boring and I know all about it—then it will change or the children are born, or older, and I have lost any hope of being able to have a factual, and by that I mean an authentically impressionistic, account of what it was.

Because I wrote very little about leaving New York, our time of arrival in London, and not so much about our last days there either. I thought, well I had better write about our re-entry to America. And so I did. I emailed a portion of it to friends in London at some point. And people said it was good, send more. And I said, yes, of course I will. But the process of sifting through one’s diary and making a narrative was daunting and I was busy. So I didn’t.

Because almost a year later we were in Mexico City and I was keeping a journal on the same laptop and when we got home it would not boot up. And I hadn’t backed up any of what I had been writing all that year or any of the photos, except the Mexico ones on my camera. And that sucked.

Because now I write as I go. You have the option to read. You are not obliged to reply, as you might be if I emailed you. It’s an anti-procrastination strategy.

Mexico City

Because life, wherever you live, is interesting. The picture above is one I took at the Island of the Dolls in Xochimilco, which has a network of waterways for streets, which is what Mexico City was like before they filled in the canals and it became the megalopolis it is today. We took the ecological tour and this is the turn-around spot.

Because there is always a story to tell. A heartbroken man who had lost his family, or a loner, there are different versions of the story, repaired to the island. One day he rescued a woman, or she was a young girl, from drowning but she subsequently died and he was afraid she was haunting him or he wanted to make her happy. He hung up a doll to ward off her spirit or to keep her company.  Then he started collecting thrown-away dolls from the trash. Then people would come and trade him dolls for the vegetables he grew. Then he drowned. The island is now featured on lists of the World’s Creepiest Tourist Destinations and has an amiable groundskeeper.

But this would have been a better story had I written it when we were there. Or told about the whole day, with the mariachi bands on the canal boats for the family outings and how we rode all sorts of public transport to get there and what an amazing and complex city it is, like Istanbul, New York City’s Canal Street, a modern city center in Europe and a tropical island all jumbled together, with archeological excavations, ancient civilizations with human sacrifice, Art Nouveau cafes, Edwardian era hotels with elaborate birdcages, Zara, street food vendors, Mercedes taxis with lousy suspension, three-foot deep potholes. At least I have some photographs. But sometimes they are only worth 200 words.

Because life is filled with missed opportunities.

The question I am not yet ready to answer is, When does it end?


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