This is, for the record, a real conversation I had earlier tonight.
Charlie: Ooh, that’s a great name, we could name a child that.
Greg: No, we already have a name picked out for our mythical child, remember. Huggybear Batman.
Charlie: But that’s for a boy. What if we have a girl?
Greg: Huggybear Batman.
Greg: Ok, Huggybear Batwoman.
Charlie: What about Huggybear Batgirl?
Greg: Well, Batwoman is a lesbian.
Charlie: Hmmm. Interesting. But we don’t want to pigeonhole our child. Let nature take its course.
Greg: True. Although Batgirl got shot by the Joker and put in a wheelchair for life.
Charlie: Well then, it’s paying tribute to Batgirl’s strength.
Greg: Good point. Huggybear Batgirl it is.
Charlie: Wait, what was the last name we decided on?
Charlie: Huggybear Breadtangle.
Greg: No no, you have to always say the first and middle names together, like my friend Sarah Grace. Huggybear is just “eh.” Huggybear Batman is awesome and rolls off the tongue.
Charlie: Then maybe we should make the last name Batman? Huggybear Breadtangle Batman?
Greg: Um, only freaks change their last name to Batman.
(And then Charlie started laughing so hard that we had to stop the conversation so he wouldn’t rupture something.)
I am also fairly certain that, should we ever get a child, social services would take it away within a week once the neighbors found out.
After a really wonderful morning (a running session, a walk over to the farmer’s market, a stroll home while eating a vegetable empanada, the breeze blowing and the sky almost entirely clear), I’ve found myself with a distinct lack of energy. I suspect the number of early mornings this week (including having to be up in Emmitsburg, MD by 8:30am yesterday, ugh) has finally caught up with me. (Which also kind of stinks because I have a birthday shindig on the calendar tonight and I don’t know if I have the energy to go.)
So I’ve been sitting home and reading Lynda Barry’s brand new book What It Is for the fourth or fifth time this week and it’s amazing how much this is resonating with me. I loved her book One Hundred Demons (it suddenly opened my eyes to what an amazing writer she is) but What It Is goes above and beyond that, talking so much about creativity and imagination and how we often self-censor ourselves. There’s a page in which she’s talking about how she started changing her behavior around other people, that really struck me.
By the 6th grade I stopped doing ordinary things in front of people. It had been ordinary to sing, kids are singing all the time when they are little, but then something happens. It’s not that we stop singing. I still sang. I just made sure I was alone when I did it, and I made sure I never did it accidentally. That thing we call “bursting into song.” I believe this happens to most of us. We are still singing, but secretly and all alone.
And that’s when it suddenly hit me that it’s one of the things I love so much about Charlie. I don’t think he ever censors himself that way. When he and Julie and I drove down to the Outer Banks Marathon, within about 30 seconds of us all being in my car he’d suddenly burst into song, and I remember Julie saying something along the lines of, “Oooh, this is going to be a fun ride.” And I always groan a lot when he does it, but you know what? I really rather envy his being able to do so, and most of the time it makes me smile.
Anyway, I’ll have a review of What It Is run later this week on Read About Comics, but I’m going to give everyone a sneak preview right here: BUY THIS BOOK. I suspect it’s going to be my favorite book (drawn or otherwise) of the entire year. It’s about creativity, and ourselves, and the world around us, and everything in-between, and it’s fantastic.
I stayed up last night to finish off tonight’s book club selection (Smoke and Ashes by Tanya Huff), and when I went to bed Charlie was already fast asleep.
It was raining outside, a steady pouring that we haven’t had for so very long. And in that darkened room, the only sounds being the water coming down and his breathing next to me, all I could think to myself was how very, very happy I was. There was just something about the juxtaposition of the two sounds that made everything right.
Have you ever found yourself really waiting for just that right combination? It’s funny, the more traditional “yes, this is what I really wanted” is probably something along the lines of a fancy night out and a great dinner. But the more realistic one (at least for me, but I am pretty sure that I am so very much not alone on this) is, I think, along those lines.
Lying down next to Charlie with one arm around him, I kept hearing the chorus of a quiet Jonatha Brooke song go through my head. (Which as I learned this morning, she wrote as a birthday gift for her husband.) When it comes to the big big picture? I’m really content.
Church bells ring at odd hours
But dinner’s always ready at 8
And the jasmine floats in from the mountains to our window
And it’s never too late