...two paragraphs about a childhood piano teacher—(from an exercise called “Spots of Light” I found in Your Life As Story: Discovering the “New Autobiography” and Writing Memoir as Literature by Tristine Rainer, which asks you to balance the writing of dark subjects with forays into bright moments from the same time frame: “from an artistic as well as a mental health point of view, you need light with dark memories. In autobiographic writing as in painting, you need to protect your light colors...”) laptop in the kitchen, the youngest nursing, the five-year-old squeezing a steady torrent of red and blue food coloring into his pancake mix, a good morning despite the shrieking that ensues when, flipping with one hand and balancing the nurser with the other, I accidentally break the handle on the purple purse pancake. It does no good to explain that the purse handle will taste the same whether or not it is attached.
Still, I’m happy here with my sons, the five-year-old asking how to spell “poison oak”, the nurser asleep enough to maneuver down into the bed for an hour nap. The laptop hibernates while I bake with the five-year-old; he’s singing the same three-note song over and over, then plinking it out mercilessly on the piano with his flour-coated fingers. But it buys me a few moments at my own keyboard to right a word or two.
Later when I sit down to play, D will stick to E, the lentil he used to mark Middle C now wedged between. But I know better than to think I can make it through more than a couple measures of Beethoven; besides, it is Wednesday: writer’s group; at 6: 17 p.m. I’ll be escaping with my miss-matched socks, dried pancake batter in the bangs, and a folder with the week’s worth of sentences, heading towards another human being who cares to discuss verb nuances over mugs of Earl and, if we’re lucky, something warm from the oven the husband has prepared: chocolate-chip cookies or a loaf of sourdough oozing with brie.