Thursday, January 25, 2018

Can You Point Me Toward The Present? -- Jen Doktorski

In the Billy Collins poem “The Present,” from his latest collection, The Rain in Portugal, Collins says that the present is the place to be “like the latest club on the downtown scene/but no one, it seems, is able to give you directions.”
Don’t I know it, Billy. My internal GPS has been busted for a long time.

As I sit here trying to write about the word I’ve chosen as my mantra, my lighthouse, my overarching theme for 2018, I’m having a very difficult time keeping my butt in the barstool of my kitchen island. Why?
Because it’s almost 3 p.m. and I’ve yet to take my morning walk/run, “wog” if you will, to clear my head.

Because my finicky senior dog a/k/a The Mooch a/k/a The Boss of Me, is snubbing her dry kibble and I’ve got to run out to the Stop and Shop to get her rotisserie chicken because it’s her favorite, and she’s very old, and I hope that someday when I’m the equivalent of 119 in dog years, someone will make a special trip to the store for my favorite food.

Because my daughter has a pointe class in four hours and even though we purchased her new ballet shoes three weeks ago, I still haven’t sewn on the ankle elastics and pretty pink ribbons, which are the texture of cobwebs and equally as difficult to attach to a satin pointe shoe.

Because I’ve got chicken in the fridge that needs to be battered and baked and turned into cutlets immediately because today is the “sell by” date and if I cook them tomorrow we’ll all get food poisoning for sure!
Because my critique group is meeting tonight and I’ve yet to mark-up everyone’s submissions with comments.

Because I’m totally behind on the goal I set of finishing my latest WIP, my first attempt at an adult novel, by the end of February so I can start the YA that’s cued up in my head and waiting for me to hit “play” already.

Because the daily deluge of laundry needs to be folded—I swear, people who don’t live here have been sneaking their towels and dirty socks into our clothes hampers.
Because I have to check my news feeds and all my social media accounts to make sure I haven’t missed any birthdays, memes with cute dogs, Super Bowl recipes, moves on Words With Friends, photos of my friends' lunches and kids, one-star reviews on Goodreads, or news that we’re on the brink of nuclear war.

Because the three different meditation apps I down loaded go used.
Because I have yet to learn how to be…

Did I mention that’s my word for the year? Like Billy Collins, I don’t have the directions for getting there, not exactly, but I’m going to start by putting down the device that has become an extension of my hand, picking up the landline (because, you know, I can actually hear people on that thing), and inviting and old friend to lunch.


  1. Laundry! Thanks for the reminder!

    This is a wonderful post. I absolutely love it. Being present is hard. But I think we just have to do our best and allow ourselves to be human.

  2. I hear you, Jen. Your life is my life :)
    PS: Thanks for sharing that Billy Collins poem. I love him.

  3. Great (aspirational) word, Jen! If only I could live it: EVER!

  4. I promised you, you won't die if you eat meat after the "sell by" date. (I would be serving a life sentence for murdering my family if that were true.) The dates are calculated to allow a few days after that to eat the meat, and a few months if it's frozen by the sell date.

    1. I know, you're right! :) Chefs tell us all the time that the best way to tell if food is still good is to smell it.

  5. Oh, man, this is so true. AND MY DOG ALSO LOVES ROTISSERIE CHICKEN!

    1. What can I say, Holly. They had us at "Woof!" :)