I rarely write blog posts, partly because I spend so much of my time writing my books and well . . . I have to have a life. My life looks something like a typical mom’s life. The laundry is never done, the house is never perfectly in order and there is always some errand to run. But this week was different. I finished a book I had been writing for several months so I rewarded myself with a break.
Whenever my focus moves away from writing fiction, I find it impossible not to examine and analyze the state of my life. It’s like the big cozy blanket of make-believe is removed and I say out loud, “Wait, how old am I again? Oh sh$#! Where did that year go?”
I came out of the writing cave, went to the juice bar, went to yoga and actually went shopping. I hate shopping but I forced myself to go and look at things that are current for the sake of my own social acceptance. Normally, I don’t care about that stuff, but this week I let myself care so I could feel like a person again. Complacent is how I would describe my psyche when it comes to every other aspect of my life when I’m absorbed in the writing of a book. I don’t shirk my wife and mother responsibilities but I do sort of stop being a human being.
To me part of being human is getting pissed or sad or silly. It means knowing where the hell your food came from, having conviction, laughing at stupid things and coming home with crazy ideas. I forget to do all of that stuff because I’m usually in dreamland plotting what a character (a figment of my imagination) will do next.
So getting back to being human started with what I like to call, laugh, cry, repeat. I spent the entire first day being dragged all over town by my hippie friend so that she could healthify me. It involved a lot of downward dogs and liquefied roughage, which in the same sentence sounds like a bad idea. It was nothing short of a spiritual experience. After the cleansing of our chakras, she asked if I was going to go home and write. I told her I wasn’t ready to start a new book but I was thinking about writing my eulogy, just in case, you know? It’s not about some ego-centric head trip I’m on, it’s about letting my loved ones off the hook frankly.
When my friend asked what I would write in it, I thought for a second about how I would start it with, I was born in a hospital in San Diego… blah blah blah¬¬– how freakin’ depressing and boring. I think I’d rather say something like this…
“Dear funeral attendees, thank you for coming to stare at my dead body or closed casket depending on manner of death. If it was natural, I guess all the yoga, juicing and flax seeds didn’t work, just FYI. Anyway, I had a good life. I traveled and saw things and experienced art and culture and adventure so don’t cry for me. Cry for the people who never get those opportunities. To my husband, please find someone to love, who will be kind to our children. Also, look for someone with a nice ass – you sort of drew the short stick on your first go ‘round. Sorry, I did squats like three times a week, nothing worked. To my kids: love people. That’s the only thing I know for sure that will make your life better. All the rest of you, thanks again for coming. Please go home and forget about me. I’m dead so I no longer care about legacy or being remembered or anything like that. And… I don’t care what you do with my body but if you decide to cremate me, please mix my ashes with gun powder and fire me into the air.”
That is how my Eulogy will go. I wasn’t sure whom I’d pick to read it and then my friend offered to play steel drums and sing it– reggae like. I thought that would be very apropos. So there you have it. Talking about my funeral was the laughing part of the process.
The crying part came later when I was watching a video of a baby elephant in an enclosure in a zoo somewhere in the world. His fat little body fell over a tiny hill and he ended up on his back, making a lot of sad, baby-elephant noises. Within seconds, two large elephants came running over, also making loud sounds. They worked to right the chubby little toddler and then they lead him out of danger. It was the sweetest thing I had ever seen. Cue uncontrollable sobbing.
LAUGH, CRY, REPEAT. I spent the rest of my week doing that and now I feel alive. Time to go back in the cave and write a book about it. Thank you, Nicole, YouTube, elephants, yoga and spinach.
About Renee Carlino
Renee’s first friends were the imaginary kind and even though her characters haven’t gone away, thankfully the delusions have. She admits she’s a wildly hopeless romantic and she blames 80’s movies staring Molly Ringwald for that. She lives in Southern California with her husband, two sons, and their sweet dog June. When she’s not at the beach with her boys or working on the next book, she likes to spend her time reading, going to concerts, and eating dark chocolate.