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July 05, 2012

A Day of Magical Thinking

I've just finished reading Joan Didion's book, The Year of Magical Thinking, which she wrote a few years after her husband died of a heart attack at the dinner table and her daughter was also experiencing horrendously serious health problems which she later died from as well. Given the serious topic of the book,  I found it odd that a rather insignificant line was the one that really resonated with me.

This one: "I was cleaning out a filing drawer lately and I came across a thick file labeled 'Planning'. The very fact that we made files labeled Planning suggested how little of it we did. We also had 'planning meetings' which consisted of sitting down with legal pads, stating the day's problem out loud and then with no further attempt to solve it, going out to lunch."  

I loved that. Maybe because I've never been very good at planning. It cuts into my dreaming. 

What Didion admitted to in that paragraph made me feel better because today was a very strange day. I found myself sitting in a courtyard with a notepad, trying to plan without much headway, and I'd been doing that only an hour or so before I read that line in her book. Maybe that's why it stuck with me. It seemed so serendipitous. 

I felt like I was in a dream state all day long and it began in the morning when I awoke with a really uneasy start, like I'd been prematurely yanked away from something I really didn't want to leave. Usually, I don't even remember my dreams. Each night it's as if I die into the blackness of sleep and then I have always been lucky enough to wake up again in the morning. 

But, today was different. I woke up with a start right in the middle of a dream where I was in a very crowded Museum or Art Gallery in a foreign country where everyone was speaking French. It seemed as if I was in Paris and I was in a panic. I was in the corridor of a very lavish gallery and I was feeling claustrophobic and my purse was missing. I was trying to find my purse and I was going from room to room, with people all around in animated conversation and the impact of how it made me feel was so strong that it stayed with me all day, made me feel uneasy, until I was able to come back into my body by this evening and now, once again, it's time to go to bed.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that it just made me feel better that even Joan Didion had days, even when things were good before 2003, when no amount of planning would have changed anything, including the deaths of her husband and daughter.

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