We keep the doors open in the summer. For the dogs. Or that’s the excuse. The sliding glass door off of our bedroom, the side kitchen door. When we are home, they are open. I like it that way. Did the same thing at my last house.
Guests helpfully close the doors or comment, “oops, door’s open.” No oops about it, that’s the way we like it. It’s my suburban version of camping, experiencing the outdoors with an ice machine and warm running water. And here’s a little secret about bugs — they like it better outside. Sometimes a fly will come in to explore the bathroom or sink, but they take off for open spaces as fast as they can find their way out. Bugs who seem to be expert at finding their ways into houses are complete dunces about finding their way out — you have to leave the door open.
I could maybe find some glorious metaphor for keeping our doors open in a dangerous world except I also love our 8 foot privacy fence. I can pull weeds in my pajamas, use the hot tub with naked impunity, and walk outside without worrying I will get caught up in scrutiny or conversation with anything but the morning glories. Maybe it’s a result of living a semi-public life certain times of the year, times when entire assemblies of kids are invited to ask me anything they want to and I feel strongly that I want to respond with honesty.
Did it hurt to get your ears pierced? Did your dog really die? Why do you want to write? You don’t seem that rebellious to me. Are you rich? Do that poem about the dog who ate the homework again. What’s your scariest (funniest, saddest, silliest) poem? What kind of car do you drive? How old are you? How do I get my stuff (my kid’s poetry, my aunt mildred’s religious poetry, my story, my book) published? Do you like Michigan or Ohio State? Do you have any poems about war? Who’s your favorite American Idol? Who are you wearing? How much did your shoes cost? Are you married? Why not? Where’s your doorknob? I think in the summer my response button needs a little time to heal.
For the past weeks I have pretty much withdrawn while at home. A little writing, a little working on images for the new book, some submissions, limited correspondence about next school year, and lots of alone time. This is my version of putting peaches up in the summer, savory fruit of last year’s labor vacuum sealed to carry me through the winds of busy airports next winter. Next week I rejoin the “arterial rush of traffic” to quote Salinger.
I think I’m ready.