releasing the draft to ‘publish’ is and drafts languish….
Caught Between Writing Memoir and Motions of Law
When the original non-adversarial divorce started bleeding the truth — 17 years later — my activities were diverted, to a focused, tedious, fact seeking analysis for all of the ways I had been screwed. In the divorce that is.
With inner dialogues running wildly, questions arose as to WHY such-and-such or so-and-so. Me bad? Actually no, I did what I had to do, I answered. Survive, to finish the story.
And so, I am aware, I have more unfinished Blogiaries sitting in Drafts, then Published works. Conclusions are never clear. Black and white is always nuanced. I’ll get to them when I do.
Some writings are rumination on the alliance that became a marriage — then a release. Catch and release.
While hand drizzling water on 6 small plots of flower seedlings — barely visible — an event I do at least twice a day; a smirk forms, as I recall my daughters’ recent trip with her dad to IKEA, to buy a fake house plant. How could I have ???? Believe me, nature overruled my intellect. Maternal, bio clock, the complex puzzles women are often left to tangle with. But….. fake plants!!!
He, the nerd, with a Physics degree from a well-regarded Nerd College and then a PhD in Computer Science, I married, though not for better or worse as I will explain.
Though he retained some of the geek that was a novelty to me in 1983, when a whirlwind romance tempted me away from my first love, life as an artist. There existed a subliminal sub-text: searching for a prospective father for the children I was then aching to have. Time hadn’t made the quirky geeky qualities any more endearing, at least not in him.
For instance, his lily-white hands — an occupational benefit from sitting at a key board day and night — contrast my hands, which engage the materials I come in contact with — from dirt to clay to whatever makes me happy; only in the harshest conditions can I be bothered to ‘glove up’.
He was a cat person; I am a dog lover. His house smells like oily hair and is very ordered, but not clean. Mine is clean but not well ordered.
He is frugal — beyond the limits of that word — with money; to the point of saving his dental floss and peeing in the sink (yes, you read that correctly, not at the same time, or so I hope). Miserly perhaps? He has no argument or chagrin at being called out on this.
These idiosyncrasies were not evident during our courtship — please! No, our courtship was a blur of well-chosen restaurants (Seattle had many). I was wined and dined into an agreeable fashion. There was a cocaine cache, as well, something I could not afford but enjoyed any gifted fallout.
History had it, he had purchased a slumped glass mask sculpture of mine at an alternative art space, a year before we met. He received an entree into the artist scene as a minor collector — he was an insider, among the most well thought of artists. Plus, he had a few more dollars than the typical artist when the bill came.
At the time, I was the favored daughter. Seattle was my oyster, erupting out of a grad school program at the University of Washington molten, on fire. Not exactly like stumbling across an outsider artist in an alleyway.
I made the bar, as collectible — as someone once said “collect the art, collect the artist” — so when he offered to provide support, of some unknown quantity, before any mention of tying the knot, I was further incentivized. The artist-patron phenomena rewarded the wealthy with yet another privilege of class. I mention this more out of a preface for what is to come.
Mistresses are supported, until they become Missus’. Support for an atelier for an afternoon tryst become exchanged by the seemingly unglamorous tasks of running a household; entailing a household budget for the lawn guy, babysitters and groceries. You see where this is going…
Between the then and now, lives a whole world of spoils and exploitations. It is now 17 years after the 20-year marriage collapsed under the weight of our other-selves. The reasons — best guesses — why the care of the children fell to me, was for both obvious and nuanced. Infertility or not, the transient ability to create life, observe and feel the gift of life, then birth that life, was an intimacy I thrived in. Unlike the delivery of a piece of art, the new creation needed a protectorate, a life-whisperer, to mine the gifts I could share. And I did, share…
The house was full of all and any creative extension of myself, my dreams, any medium with a contagious impulse …. painting easels, puppets, costumes, books, clay, musical instruments, cooking projects, roller-skates, dance costumes, engineering projects. One still memorable day was spent making flying buttresses out of pop-cycle sticks for the kids Gothic school project. Many second-hand stores were our sources. I was living art… I didn’t miss creating art, at least then.
It was all encompassing. As I recently heard said about fatherhood, “it was as though I suddenly became more obviously useful!” I love that, it is the essence of a symbiotic relationship, yet so understated.
A few excepts from the 18 page ‘Motion of Law’. Legal writing is instructed to be clear and concise. Here lies the challenge, to absorb a new ‘craft’ with the precise language of the legal profession. Not unlike any profession, the language is unique and meaningful, even quaint and charming on occasion. When the success of a legal action depends on the ability to align a judge with your perspective, craft is vitally important.
I read case law, appellate cases reviewing the language that succeeded to ‘pass the bar for…’ My head was filled with Perry Mason soliloquies at bedtime, learning eventually that drama has little application in courtroom demeanor. The judge, however, should be kept awake by the motion. The challenge is to include a hook of drama, within the clothes of legalese.
Realizing the process was really a dry game of chess, the object is to anticipate move of one’s opponent. Think Queen’s Gambit, where visions appear with all the correct moves in place. Get it right or sacrifice the queen way too early. Summary Judgment, oh my!
This displays a flagrant disobedience for the institution of the court and to flout convention. …guidelines for the dissolution of marriage are defined and unambiguous, yet in deconstructing the events that resulted in great inequities….
Editing legalese goes on with obligations blocked-in 30-day response dates. As it stands now, a few Pawns are out, a Rook poised, and a Bishop strategically in play. It is both early and eerily precarious.
My brother — a rated chess player — once beat me in 2 moves; that would be “ the Fool’s Mate”. Coincidentally, that is close to the name given to a “Self-Represented Litigant”. Variation of terms for losing in chess are colorful and apt, such as “must kill”, “ take all chess” and if those terms describe the outcome of my day in court, well, there will be an equally colorful bit on ‘memoir’.
Checkmate! Stay tuned.