The knack of coordinating websites and social media continues to elude me. This morning I saw two comments on one of my YouTube videos asking if they could purchase my book. Cross-plugging! I replied to the comment with a link to my online shop. But did I mention this blog?? No, I did not! I easily could have but the thought never entered my inadequately-caffeinated mind. I did get a nice chuckle from the forehead-slapping moment.
As I poured another cup of coffee, I contemplated the natural separation of the chunks of activity which comprise my life. I work four days a week in the office of a California attorney. Once in a while, though rarely, I might share a meal in her home or give her niece, who works one day a week there, a ride to the store. Otherwise, our lives do not intersect. I live in a community of like-minded folks in the sense that we all choose nontraditional dwellings — be they tiny houses, RVs, trailers, or even the occasional converted bus. From time to time, we gather in the community room for a potluck. Someone might organize a picnic in the meadow which we all attend, or a movie night behind one of their homes. But otherwise, we live distinctly separate lives.
One of my neighbors stops by now and then to talk about our summer market or some other small business. She and her husband live in an RV on the east side of the park. When she visits my end of the place, she often pulls her dock cart, filled with craft supplies, plants, or veggies that she’s harvested from our garden. She moves in the close quarters of my home, studying the trinkets on my shelves and the art on my walls. Every time I come here, I see something new, she recently remarked.
Her comment highlighted the history with which I surround myself. Art from the public space that I had in Kansas City adorns most vertical surfaces. My mother-in-law’s secretary displays the frosted glasses from my sister, china that belonged to my mother, and other delicate objects that I sometimes use but mostly simple treasure. I write while sitting at the pull-out desk. I need only raise my eyes to remember days sitting by my dying mother, pouring cold water from that pitcher. I recall my erstwhile stepson’s delight when he presented me with the lovely tiles from his trip overseas. My heart still swells with the joy of trips to “junk shops” with my mother, where we found many of the pretty soup bowls of which these long years later, only two remain.
The nest into which I have settled here might be as much a barrier as a safe-haven. I rarely invite anyone into my little domain. I tell myself that no one would come. I speculate that the need to duck to enter my sitting room repels visitors. Perhaps I fear rejection. Perhaps I avoid invasion. Yet I fuss over the placement of furniture and the discomfort of my little settee. I realize that my compartmentalized existence both sustains and stifles me. I yearn for friends to dine at my small table or on my funny little deck; yet I can count on one hand the invitations that I have extended in the five years of my tenure in this place.
I recently made a post on Facebook about the folks who do not read my blog entries whom I expected did so, a discovery that shocked me. One keen observer asked, “Is it me or did you just complain about people not reading your blog about not complaining?” Her astute observation evoked genuine laughter. Complaining about not complaining! Sort of like complaining about no one visiting when my door stays firmly shut against their faces.
I send my words into the abyss on cold virtual paper, with lofty, smug dreams of their success. Yet my physical voice stays silent; my arms remain crossed against my chest; my lips purse into a thin bleak line. One could defend my closed existence by pointing to the many times that I have cowered under an unsuccessful venture into the realm of friendship or romance. Yet thousands keep plugging away at life, grinning, observing that with all this excrement, surely a pony lurks beneath the muck. How can I do any less? Can I honestly bemoan a lack of return without continuing my investment? I think not. So here I sit, inviting you to explore My Tiny Life, and warning you: It isn’t always pretty.
It’s the nineteenth day of the one-hundred and tenth month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.
Thank you for reading my blog. If you have not yet purchased my book and wish to do so, February will be a good month as it’s the first month in my new campaign to raise money for worthy causes. A percentage of all sales for the rest of 2023 will be donated to nonprofits, with a different charity chosen each month.
Check out my website to learn about this month’s cause.
If you have purchased my book, please consider visiting my shop and leaving a review.