Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Peanut Butter Club

Time for Friends

"I have Peanut Butter Club that day," I overheard my mother-in-law saying into the phone. When she got off, I had to ask, "What's the Peanut Butter Club?" She explained, "My friends and I want to meet and talk without making it a big deal so we each bring a sandwich, usually peanut butter. We started calling our meetings the Peanut Butter Club." By blocking off the time, they keep it for each other. I loved that, and I do like peanut butter.

Having made time for lunch with a friend, I recalled the Peanut Butter Club. With my desire to talk about books and writing, I seek others to discuss writing and exchange ideas on writing whether from direct experience or from helpful books. Perhaps the Peanut Butter Club has nothing to do with writing, but it represents making time to connect and focus on mutual interests. I want to start a writing group; comment if you are interested (you have to be in Japan). A friend gave me several reading suggestions from a writing class she took over the summer. If nothing else, I'll be reading those books for inspiration.

Road Blocks

Inspiration. There is a thought. What pushes me out? Truth or even the hint of truth. If I think something is there hiding I want to get at it even if I only scratch at the surface. Internal defenses and poor vocabulary can block exploration of internal canyons. "How much crap have I done because I thought I should?" Stuff like, "eat your vegetables so you'll grow tall" or "take this class because it's useful" not that these aren't worthy goals, but I wasn't inspired to do them from within. I want to know what inspires me and others from the inside. I want to turn off the voice of "you should do this" and instead see what comes to me in a quiet moment minus thoughts on how beneficial something will be. What is inside us is way more interesting than Paris.

How you see Paris is interesting and revealing. Do you think, "Ew, this place is gross. I can't believe this is the epitome of fashion and culture! Why is it so dirty?" Or do you think, "Gasp. Who thought to build that. Oh, look at that. Wow! Did you taste this? Mm, check this out!" marveling in the sensory overload? Or do you just get overwhelmed and go home and never draw again? Or do you think nothing because your brain can't think? That's me. I didn't know what to do with Paris. It's still clanking around in my head. I've heard some of those other comments somewhere along the way, but none of them fit my experience.

My then boy friend and I are walking uphill in Montparnasse, an historically arty area of Paris. There is moonlight; it's Christmas Eve 1994. White lights are twinkling everywhere. It's cold in a pleasant sort of way and the snow begins to fall. We find our way into restaurant that is quiet, comfortable and simmering in romance- to a young woman who read too many Vogue magazines anyway. The setting is perfect. This is when I have my Paris moment: I will have to wait for this man to figure out that I am the little slice of heaven he needs to marry.

Paris may scream romance to most of mankind, but it was really several "Hello Kim!"'s on the U.S.S. Dwight D. Eisenhower that finally motivated him to ask me about marriage. Thanks to all those aviators I knew from Pensacola and all the girl friends of mine they had dated, I knew a few fellows on that ship. In the end, it wasn't about the place, it was about the heart. His heart was inspired to open up on a giant floating steel contraption built for war.  I still give him grief about Paris, but then it's not about where you are or what you eat; it's about recognizing what's inside you, being inspired to make a change, and spending time together.