Red Daruma doll with one eye colored in

Opening Still

Here we are again. Up against a deadline. Self-imposed, but still honored. By oneself on oneself.

When the task is complete, I’ll touch the top of the Daruma doll, a birthday gift from Maggie.

Every week since, a new post. It’s not that the doll, a likeness of Bodhidharma, gave me the idea; rather, it’s become a touchstone, a trinket of encouragement.

Every week, good or bad, a new post. In fact, the badder the better. Breaking up with perfectionism. Consistency over quality. Just do it, as the Swoosh instructs.

In July, to indicate resolve, I drew in the black pupil of one of the Daruma’s eyes. The other eye remains  blind, a white circle waiting to be filled if the wish is achieved.

The top of the doll’s paper-mâché head is smooth, the whole doll a smooth red egg that fits comfortable in my hand. Hollow. This one has a seed or bead inside. When shaken, it rattles—a monkish maraca.

O, what we do to make ourselves do. The promises, the bribes, the threats. The schedules, the software, the coffee, the occasional therapist. All this for what we want to do, or think we do. The thing, that once begun, brings joy.

Now the neighbor’s leaf blower, and the cat is licking her ass by the window. Soon, the man next door will blast Watercolors Jazz until sundown. It’s not yet noon.

My own ass, amazingly, still in the chair. Isaac dribbles a basketball down the street on his way to playground. An oddly comforting sound. The cat curls up in a patch of autumn sun.

Here we are again, planning our escape. Imagining the moving van’s doors slamming shut, then opening again, a day or two later, farther away.

Opening. Opening still.