The Art of Fielding, of Grieving

Good morning, Dad.

I feel like I haven’t written in ages. Actually, I have been writing quite a lot. I just haven’t written here, on the blog, to you. Life has gotten very busy and filled with all sorts of fabulous new projects and adventures, just the kinds of things that you and I would have talked about over a nice meal, the kinds of things that would have made you proud of me.

On top of that, I have been working very hard to make progress on settling your estate and making plans to move things forward in terms of both selling and donating artwork. This is a huge thing and my efforts are still formulating, so I don’t want to say too much yet in a public place like this and then have it all come unraveled. Just know I am working really hard and I promise you that I will not let your life’s work sit in a 25 x 16 foot storage space for the rest of eternity. I will get more of your work out into the world. You will see.

The big news: I have actually started working on a novel. Again, the efforts are in the early stages and I am a bit afraid to even mention this publically. Although, perhaps by putting it out into the stratosphere, I will be more beholden to my plan. A real novel. Something I have wanted to write ever since I was in 5th grade and used to read for hours and hours and think, “I hope someday, I will write a book, too.”

Well, the time has come,  Dad. I can’t keep reading other people’s wonderful books and not attempt to make my own. I don’t want to talk too much about the story yet. Honestly, I haven’t quite hit upon what the central conflict of the story is, so I am floundering a bit. I just know that there is a story there, and it will be told. Sometimes, when I sit down to write, I feel like you are right there with me, looking over my shoulder and smiling. Like right now. I imagine that someday, this will comfort me. Right now, it simply makes me burst into tears and I know you never liked to see me crying.

Later on today, I am going to have the opportunity to meet a writer named Chad Harbach. He is coming to Lakeland as part of a “Community Read” project. He is originally from Racine, Wisconsin, went off to Harvard and then the University of Virginia and wrote a fantastic story called The Art of Fielding. I tried to start the book when you were very sick in the hospital, when you started to have those bizarre pains that would shoot through your chest and make your whole body spasm. I was constantly worrying about you and it was so hard to concentrate on a book that seemed to be ostensibly about baseball.

Well, the book is about much more than that. And, interestingly enough, at the end of the story, the father of the main female character (her name is Pella, love that name!) dies. The father—who happens to be the charismatic and wonderful president of a small college, a man filled with many surprising desires—dies, rather unexpectedly. I read this last night and I felt like the book had come full circle for me. After Pella’s father is gone, her wonderful hulk of a baseball-genius boyfriend, Mike Schwartz (Schwarty), inadvertently becomes the person who sorts through all his papers. I thought of you and me. As for Pella, she makes sure her father’s soul is happy. I can’t explain here. You would have to read the book. In some weird way, I think that I am also trying to do this with my writing. Make your soul happy.

I’m looking forward to meeting Chad Harbach later on today. I’m sure I won’t be able to tell him how much his book means to me, but I am telling you. If you were here, you would smile now and you would say, “tell him!” Well, we’ll see. Meanwhile, I am almost late for work.

Better fly,

Love,

Lisa

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