22 March 2013

3 wherein debo does all the heavy lifting


my next assignment is to describe jackie's significance in american life in about a thousand words. i have 18 days remaining in which to do this.

when my advisor handed down this assignment, my jaw hit the floor. didn't she know that this was something other people had spent precisely 50 years trying to do?

jackie's significance in american life is usually reduced to hazy things like 'dignity', 'elegance', and 'class.' all terms that are equally applicable to show horses and, therefore, reductions from which i like to shy away.

things have been a bit smudged for the last few weeks, what with the death and the funeral and the jetlag and the congestion. it is hard to focus, hard to write.

i had one productive night a week ago and have been scooting by on the accomplishments made then ever since, but even those accomplishments were somewhat nebulous.

i'd identified the date that the jackie kennedy clothing exhibition began making the rounds.

i'd contemplated mad men as a post-9/11 exercise and copied some paragraphs on the falling man.

i'd wondered aloud why, in the wake of 9/11, the 1960s would become a means to cope.

the problem with writing is that it often involves talking. long, drawn out, rambling conversations that run the risk of being terribly boring to the other conversants and tremendously valuable to me.

the other night, i pitched a bit of a fit and said i needed to speak to debo. because, in her grief, debo's been keeping manically busy and we've not had much time to talk. my intent in speaking with her was simply to reconnect, to feel that we've not drifted, to feel that i'm not as far from everyone as i actually am.

what this conversation with my mother unexpectedly turned into was the solving of all my problems. with my simply saying a string of incoherencies about 9/11 and jackie and the dresses and mad men, debo did all the heavy lifting.

there's an advantage to debo's having essentially lived through a 17-year-long lecture on the life of jackie. it's that she really knows her shit.

3 comments:

mak said...

Complete truth: I had a dream last night in which I was attempting to explain your work to someone and it focused on the whole transition from First Lady Jackie to Married a Pirate Jackie and how important that was to America. If I could remember anything else, I'd send it to you.

oline said...

JEALOUSY. everyone dreams about her but me! srsly though, if the contents of your explanation ever come back to you, do let me know. i could use some help!

kit said...

how many words left? you can do it :) happy easter!