Sunday, June 27, 2010

Attack or Surrender?


Yesterday I had a pile on my desk that needed to be attended to, a load of laundry that needed washing, a friend's book that needed editing. I had an article that needed completion. Normally I would attack one or all of these tasks. Earlier I had attended a Saturday Writers meeting in St. Peter's. MO where I enjoyed a very interesting and informative presentation by the librarian from St. Louis History Museum (Mohistory.org). After the meeting I over indulged in a basket of chips and salsa, a chimichanga and too many glasses of iced tea. It was nice to be able to actually meet and have lunch with some of the writers and bloggers I follow.

By the time I got home I was tired. I had hours left in the day, but I decided that instead of attacking the piles I would surrender to a little R&R. I sat outdoors on the patio and read I'm Glad I'm Not Young Anymore, by the late Clarissa Start who used to be a feature writer and personal columnist for the Post-Dispatch. When I bought this autographed book from the used book store I didn't realize it was her autobiography, published twenty years ago. The names and places and interesting facets of her life and career kept me turning the pages. Not only was it a glimpse into her life, it was a blast from the past, photos of the neighborhoods I too lived in, and the mention of names of prominent local people. When the sun came traipsing across the swing, nearly blinding me, I moved to the grass and continued to read until late in the evening.

Towards the end of the book she recounted an interview with movie star, Mae West who had smooth, unlined skin. "How do you do it?" Clarissa asked. She was appalled when Mae West replied, "I don't worry." Clarissa said, "I thought that was a monstrous philospohy - not to worry about family, friends and the human race was self-centered."

Clairssa was in her golden years when she wrote this book. I like her comment, "Now that I'm about the age Mae West was then, I find myself worrying less and less about more and more."

Right then and there, after reading that line I quit worrying about those piles of things in the back of my mind that needed to be done, and I surrendered to the simple pleasure of reading a good book outdoors, surrounded by nature, serenaded by bird chatter instead of blaring TV.

Clarissa concluded that Mae West must have had a face lift because, "lines come naturally to a face that's been given a regular workout of expressiveness.

13 comments:

K9friend said...

I'm glad you decided to take some well deserved R & R.

It was fun to see you at Saturday Writers. The History Museum sounds awesome, doesn't it?

Pat
www.critteralley.blogspot.com

Susan said...

That was a nice post, Linda, and a good reminder not to worry. Susan

BECKY said...

The older I get, the less I worry, too....especially about the insignificant things! So glad you were at Sat Writers yesterday. You came on a great day. I told Emily, from the History Museum, that I will be there soon and plan to spend an entire day there!

Bookie said...

Yes, such a nice post. I have never heard of this writer and book, something to add to my list. I am so glad you took time to read instead of "achieving" in this holiday from work. The whole post sounded relaxed and relaxing!

Linda O'Connell said...

Becky,
I read once that worry is like rocking in a rocker; a lot of action but it gets you nowhere.

Linda O'Connell said...

Claudia,
You my friend are a prolific writer. I have been reading your short prompt stories. Wow!

Bookie said...

Thanks, Linda. I told DH that I got a lot of encouragement this week...if only I could convince and editor to see it your way! :)

Cathy C. Hall said...

I think it's summer, Linda...when I was a kid, I'd check out tons of books from the library. I would spend those hot afternoons (and late nights) reading. Now, I have piles of work, too, but oh, I'd MUCH rather read!

Tammy said...

Thanks for a great post. I wondered if she had died, because when I moved back to St. Louis after two years away, I couldn't find her column anymore. She was pretty amazing, wasn't she? I remember when she attended my neighborhood's garden tour in the dead of summer wearing a sunbonnet. Had to be in her eighties at least. Guess the "worry less" thing was her secret.

Lisa Ricard Claro said...

Ohhh, if only I could manage not to worry! I am generally an optimist, but I do fret over things more than I should. Mae West had a good philosophy, but I agree---face lift! :)

Linda O'Connell said...

Tammy,
Sixty-four years with the P-D, can you believe it?

Linda O'Connell said...

Lisa,
Worry is like rocking in a rocker. You can really get it going, expend a lot of energy, but it doesn't get you anywhere. I'm a big 'rocker' too, by the way. If only worry burned calories. Ha!

Linda O'Connell said...

Lisa,
As I was writing your post I thought I had read that rocking chair thing recently. Hmmm! I wrote it to Becky YESTERDAY above your reply. Duh! Don't worry, be happy.(note to myself)