Its been an interesting sort of day, another one where I try to overcome my own writing block and find inspiration from a perhaps unlikely quarter. Well maybe not so unlikely after all… it is a story 22 years in the making.
I started the day rather late in the morning, with these words shared on my Facebook timeline:
“Twenty-two ellipses we have travelled around the sun together on this pale blue dot. Our new year always begins on January 2nd, ever since that cold Kolkata day when I donned that denim jacket to sign on the dotted line with Kaberi, her lips still pursed quizzically. Through thick and thin we have traveled together since, and I didn’t even notice that last year our marriage hit the legal drinking age! So let me raise an extra glass to you now Kaberi, and to us…”
A short while later, our two daughters (8 and 13) had us both sit down on the couch and presented us with this painting they had labored over the previous night:
With these words on the back:
Woah, indeed! And definitely something worth celebrating, given these remarkable children we have grown, how I do not quite know!
Its been a low sort of holiday break for us all, perhaps our bodies and minds telling us they needed a break after the intense year (2013) we have all had in our family (immediate and extended, back in India). I’ve shared some of what we did in previous posts and elsewhere online, hinted at some of the darkness that shadowed our sabbatical in India, and may yet write more about them… if I can get my writing mojo flowing again.
With both girls recovering from cold infections, and our bodies exhausted from finally setting up our new home over the holidays, we couldn’t even get ourselves up to do the thing we often try to do on our anniversaries: go for a hike. Heck, I haven’t even had the energy or motivation to make my customary annual greeting card yet! But when one is feeling so burnt out…
Meanwhile, other writing deadlines make baleful eyes at me as they loom ever closer, one coming up in a few hours!
But, instead, we simply gave in to lethargy, and, at the behest of our eldest, spent the afternoon/evening watching a marathon of season 1 of Aaron Sorkin’s HBO series: The Newsroom. I am quite enjoying watching television shows with my teenager nowadays, trying to see some iconic shows from the past (e.g., Buffy…) through her eyes for the first time. And she had been wanting to catch up on The Newsroom for quite a while after having seen the first few episodes with me in India last summer.
So we blew through the second half of season 1 today, with the political and romantic intrigues building up to quite the climax. Our marathon was punctuated with pauses, some for me to explain to S the political and media critiques on the show and the historical context to events depicted, and some for S to exclaim in exasperation or joy, and explain to us grown-ups the finer points of the romantic entanglements of the protagonists of the show! I’m not sure I was anywhere nearly as savvy about politics or romance when I was 13! Certainly had not a shred of her passion for the world, and righteous anger at how grownups have screwed everything up.
As the show’s critique of Tea Party Republicanism rose to a crescendo through the series finale, S was literally hurling small objects around the room, livid at how short-sighted and stupid these politicians are, and how money has screwed up so much of our lives. Her passions spilled over into twitter, a medium relatively new to her, but one she is taking to quite naturally these days, engaging many of my more grown-up friends in serious discussions. I’ve tried to capture the passion in her twitter conversation in this storify.
Later, as I struggled to bring my focus back to writing the 500 words I need to submit by tomorrow, even as the rest of the family prepared for bed, S dashed off a rapid-fire 550 words on her tumblr blog, trying to distill her anger about the world and consider what might be done about it. Go read the whole post, but let me share an excerpt here:
It isn’t just hippy stuff, wanting a planet that can sustain life, wanting to put an end to useless death and hurt. These arethings that should matter to us more then money and power. We need a revolution. We need to take the Earth and land away from the ignorant and bad, and give it back to the good. And you know what? That isn’t hard to do. We need awareness. So go. Together we can put an end to the hopeless bitter war that is our world, and build a new one.
So, 22 years after starting this family, Kaberi and I have that most remarkable thing in our home: a teenage rebel with a passion for rebuilding the whole world! How and when did this happen? Where did we go right (or wrong) in our parenting?
Is my job as a parent done, now that we have a passionate, articulate, caring, strong young woman setting out to change the world? Or is it only just beginning now?
Before turning in, S had one more spark of inspiration, submitting this six-word science fiction short story in response to io9’s call:
The red grass grows on fresh graves.
This girl… where did she come from?