Operating Instructions

by Milton on Mon, Apr 26th, 2010

in Books,Week 38

Penny told us not to get too excited too early in labor.  That, half the battle is relaxing and giving yourself time to rest during the early parts so that when it gets to the difficult part you haven’t been up for 2 days living on Gu and granola bars and coffee.  Because who can do their best work then?  But then there’s the uncontrollable excitement, and second guessing, and wondering, When will it start?  So I can see how it will be a problem when the time comes, to force rest.  To be cool.

What is calming me, today, is this great book that a friend of Esther’s sent us the other day, a signed, uncorrected galley of Anne Lamott’s “Operating Instructions.”  I haven’t been very good at reading lately, and only trust myself to finish a book if I don’t put it down for more than a couple hours until it’s done, but this book is pretty amazing.  Esther hasn’t read it yet but she send a “Letter to a pregnant friend” by her from about 10 years after the book was written.  The whole letter is good, even if some of the advice in it isn’t really totally in line with the home-birth thinking, but that’s okay.

Anyway, read the book. Read the letters. She’s awesome. I also love her other book, Bird by Bird, which is a great book about writing.  Of course, it resonates with me that she believes that writing and raising a child require pretty much the same  strategies.  Ha.

Here’s a poem called “Deteriorata” that she included at the end of the letter:

Gracefully surrender the things of youth:
The birds, clean air, tuna, Taiwan,
And let not the sands of time
Get in your lunch …

You are a fluke
Of the universe.
You have no right to be here.
And whether you can hear it or not
The universe is laughing behind your back.

Therefore, make peace with your god
Whatever you conceive him to be –
Hairy thunderer, or cosmic muffin.

Give up!

Okay.

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