Friday, September 28, 2007

One of the problems I've always had in reading fiction is that I get so emotionally involved with the narrator that her story becomes my story, her thoughts my thoughts, her feelings my feelings, etc. Maybe that's why I've preferred non-fiction over the years. It allows me to maintain my own voice while I learn something new. I'm not overcome by someone else's trials and triumphs. Fiction is a stimulating escape, but who will take care of my life while I escape? I get lost in a foreign country and have trouble finding me again. It's probably some sort of personality disorder.

I have so completely absorbed Up Island this week that my dreams have been full of Martha's Vineyard, harsh winters, hostile swans, dying neighbors, and a taller version of my father who drinks scotch. To add to this miasma, this morning's dream included Bishop Gray and the dog I met at Roger's on Monday - Rusty. Oh well! At least I wasn't scratching out anyone's eyeballs. We were all crowded into my neighbor's Jeep and I was trying to keep Rusty from licking the poor bishop to death. The dog was being quite a pest, an affectionate pest, but still pesky.

Coming back to real life was almost an out-of-body experience this morning. My conversation with Mike had an element of the outsider merely observing. I was writing a script and we were enacting what I wrote. I knew his responses before he spoke them, and he delivered the lines exactly as I imagined them. I was very unemotional about a topic that would normally make me indignant. It was scary.

So to please my surrogate mother, I'm reading some of her books. And I'm being entertained. And I'm enjoying an escape I wouldn't otherwise enjoy. If I'm going to be a good surrogate daughter, I need to appreciate some of the same things she likes. One of the characters in Up Island is a disabled man with a surly temperament who reminds me a lot of Mike. I suspect that prompted her recommendation of this particular book. I'm also learning how others draw the line and set the boundaries.

I went with Pam, Jean, and Beverly to Total Woman yesterday and couldn't sign up fast enough. I love the salt water pool, the hot tub, the gym, the Smoothie Bar, and the easy camaraderie that occurs when it's just "us girls." It's a very different atmosphere from the Y, where beautiful bodies of young men and women can be intimidating.

Jean stuck out her tongue when they made her picture. Why is this beautiful woman so camera shy? She was quite annoyed by all the paperwork required for joining and would prefer they make an exception in her case, something she frequently wants, and, more often than not, gets. She's like a glamorous Granny Clampett, a fiery little sprite, but with style, class and refinement, and much better looking. And she's gaining fame as a blogstar! Smile, Jean! You're on candid camera!

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