Dandelion Wine

Photo Credit: Saad Chaudry

I’m not sure how I made it this far through life without reading Ray Bradbury. I kind of feel like I’ve found a new friend. Someone who’s in on it. Whatever it is.

I read Fahrenheit 451 in high school, and I know I loved it, but I honestly don’t remember much about it.

Presently I’m more interested in his short stories. I started Golden Apples of the Sun, and plan to return, but in the meantime have gotten swept up in the world of Dandelion Wine. It reminds me of Our Town, but with a slightly supernatural edge.  

It makes me feel things. I can’t explain it. I find myself wanting to read it aloud. The language is beautiful, but not obtuse.

It makes me want to live in a small town and sit on porches and ride in trolleys and eat lime-vanilla ice and smell fresh cut grass and run through ravines and find satisfaction in the little things.

It makes me want to buy a new pair of sneakers that can take me anywhere.

It makes me want to read and write more, and watch documentaries less.

It makes me hunger for community.

It makes me yearn for peace.

I have been alone in Paris, alone in Vienna, alone in London, and, all  in all, it is very much like being alone in Green Town, Illinois.  It is, in essence, being alone.  Oh, you have plenty of time to think and sharpen your conversations.  But I sometimes think I could easily trade a verb tense or a curtsy for some company that would stay over a thirty-year weekend.

It also makes me cry buckets. I even cried while reading it on the train last Thursday. Lots of old maids in this book. Lots of lost love and missed chances. Lots of looking back and cherishing memories and dying in peace.

Reading this book, coupled with recent deep-ish conversations (and toss in a recent birthday), has made me realize that I need to do… something… or I will just waste away into meaninglessness. I don’t know what, exactly.

Ordinarily I would just move. Because that’s what I do best. This time I would just pick a random place, probably in search of some 1928-esque Dandelion Wine existence that doesn’t really exist anymore.

But. I know now that moving doesn’t solve anything. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a great believer in a change of scenery, but ultimately mine is a problem that moving won’t fix.

I don’t really know if I’m a writer. I’m not sure I was ever comfortable with that label. My vocabulary’s gone downhill, and I’m rarely inspired anymore. I feel like I can’t communicate clearly.  I know that if I wrote more often I’d feel better about it.  It’s just like practicing scales or a curve-ball.  The more you do it, the better you get… I know, I know.

I’m a deeply creative person. That’s about the only thing I do know. Totally comfortable with that label.  All of my report cards as a kid said, “Kimberly is just so creative.” As long as I’m building and creating and collaborating, I feel generally ok.  But part of what I want from creativity is community.

Creativity needs to be nurtured and loved and I haven’t been doing that. (Except for sewing, I have been sewing. And sewing is super-satisfying, but I’m not sure that on its own it’s enough.)

What I’ve been nurturing instead is my obsession with controlling things, with wishing and hoping and dreaming dreams that quite simply aren’t meant to be. And I can’t let go of them. And that is a hard pill to swallow. It’s a form of addiction, in a way.   can’t stop. I can feel and see things happening… I can picture them in my head…. I can play out the scenarios a million times…. but they’re not real. None of it is real.

There are things… relationships, jobs, situations…. that I want so badly and I can’t accept that the universe does not want them for me. So the right thing to do is turn another direction and head down a different path…. right? Isn’t that what most people do?

I feel like it’s too late.  But I’d much rather feel like this is the beginning.

I know I have to start somewhere.

So. I’m writing. I might write tomorrow, I might not. But I’m writing now.