Having finished a book
When I was a little girl, my mother always seemed to have a list of tasks: the cleaners, the grocery store, the gas station, the library, the post office. She is almost ninety and she still makes these lists. They sit on her counter, little white rectangles with an orderly column of chores, each item waiting to be ticked off. They give an urgency to the day — these things must be done or else –and they give the hours a shape, a certain dignity that is lacking in the baggy day of a writer without a book. So today I jotted down my own list: those awesome chocolate bars in the purple wrapper and the frozen spinach lasagnas that I am the only one in my family (and maybe the world) to eat at Trader Joes, and bagels from an establishment next to a PETCO that I never go to because who does? — it is miles and miles from my house, from any person’s house, the kind of place that under ordinary circumstances I would never go to unless I happened to drive past. Somehow this list did not have the dignity of my mother’s lists, but I persevered and came home with chocolate, bagels and, strangely, an orchid.