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The Move

September 1, 2009

Jack had created a somewhat workable solution on the sofa in the front living room, where he could sit with his laptop and two stacks, one of books, the other legal pads and assorted scraps of paper, on the coffee table before him.  His writing time was limited to the hours before dawn, before the house awoke and perpetual disruption ensued. Children came downstairs from their bedrooms to crawl on him and make their demands for milk and juice and fruit and cereal. There he was exposed, sitting on the sofa attempting to write while all around him family laughed and argued, sang and complained.  Conditions were not ideal for working. But he made due, since this was really the only solution he could devise.  

He’d tried the basement: too dank, too uncomfortable, and the maze of asbestos wrapped pipes that crisscrossed overhead didn’t help his concentration, causing him to obsess about airborne toxins and cancer and dying.  He liked to work from bed, but Rachel was typically asleep at that hour of the morning and he couldn’t concentrate beside her, never mind the darkness in the room, the lights off and shades drawn.  Jack needed privacy and light and good air quality in order to work.  His demands did not seem to him to be unusual or unreasonable.  But in this house, their current place of residence, those three things were nearly impossible to come by all at once.

He was afraid to give the go-ahead though, the green light to move.  These were gears that, once set in motion, would grind their way to inevitable conclusion, disrupting everyone’s lives in the process, chewing up their summer with scheduled showings, contract negotiations, the packing of cardboard boxes.  At the end, the machine would spit them out in a foreign place, an alien environment, another old house with its own peculiar inefficiencies, its loose door knobs and drafty windows, wet cellar and dribbling shower head.  There would be no manual, no helpful “how to” books left behind.  They would have to make a new life, sort it all out for themselves. 

In situations like this, when he was torn between two choices, opportunity beckoning with one hand and fear holding him back with the other, he would climb into bed and hope for a dream to guide him.  And he did dream that night. Though his dreams were plagued by a characteristic lack of clarity, he awoke fairly certain that his unconscious had registered its vote; the answer was slurry, inarticulate and illogical, but at least it had feeling.  The feeling of Jack’s dream was unmistakeable; wrapped up in some activity, a hybrid of chores and party preparations and casual entertaining, he felt alive and engaged and happy, and though he couldn’t precisely describe his dream location, he could assert with confidence that he’d dreamt it somewhere new and different, somewhere he had never been before.  His unconscious had voted for a move.

From notebook dated June 29, 2008.  To be continued, eventually. Maybe. I could write a novel about moving. With my eyes closed. There would be a lot of typos, but I could do it. I’m a professional. Mover, that is.  Not writer.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 2, 2009 2:41 pm

    You absolutely should write the novel. You’ve got mad skills! 🙂
    Nice blog!

  2. Todd Whitney permalink
    October 12, 2009 8:57 am

    Sean, I love to read your stories, they are so insightful and many ring so familiar. You have a great talent! Kathy

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