Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.
- Napoleon

Thursday, December 18, 2008

My Surreal Life

Lately I've been feeling like I've taken a trip to the Twilight Zone. One week away has shifted everything into the surreal. I'm left looking at my life and my writing as though I'm getting a glimpse into the life of some other woman. She writes books. She teaches homeschool. She crochets. She's me...

And she's not me.

Maybe it was the trip back to Michigan. I left almost eight years ago, and I hadn't been back. So many things have changed, and yet jammed in between all the changed things was something so familiar it was like a blow to the chest. For instance, I went to see the house where I grew up. It's still there. It looks pretty much the same, but it's not the same. The new owners put a white picket rail around the front porch. They sided our old chicken coop with bright red plastic. The tiny Jack pine my sister and I planted is now the tallest tree in the yard. The house sits at the top of a hill, and the valley across from it has always been a wide open space. It used to be a horse pasture. Now, it's working on becoming a forest. Tall, fast-growing pine trees have taken over. You can't even see the pond in the middle any more. But the tree we buried my dog under looks the same.

The nearby town of Goodrich has exploded with people. All the fields that used to lay around it now have big beautiful housing developments. They moved the post office. They closed the old IGA store that my mother once worked at, and that I spent a great deal of time in when I was younger. The old 'stop-n-rob' convenience store was torn down and a modern brick gas station took its place. But the mill pond where my father took me ice fishing looks the same.

Grand Blanc - where my mother now lives - now has a Walmart where the deer park used to sit. The Halo Burger was torn down and a Starbucks is in its place. But the old high-school hangout - Hotdog Heaven - is still serving customers out of its ramshackle little building. (I'm guessing the hotdogs are still the same, too.)

I think it all started at the airport. When I lived in Michigan I was at Detroit Metro frequently - if not to fly myself, then to pick up visiting sales managers for work. I knew DTW like the back of my hand. Now it's all changed around. (Of course, I left before 9/11, so it was pretty much a given.) But the trip down I-94 toward Ann Arbor looked the same. Hell, since the last time I was at DTW it was snowing, it really looked the same.

Is it any wonder I came home to this unreal feeling?

At this point, I'm guessing I just need some time to be home and get back into my old routine. I need to wrap myself in normalcy to feel like myself again. At least I hope that'll work, because right now, I should be writing and I don't feel like a writer. I feel like the kid who left Michigan in 2001.

And she wasn't a writer. She was just a gal who thought maybe someday she would try to write a book.

1 comment:

Kristen Painter said...

Sometimes it's better not to go home again.