Midnight Library

02021-02-15 | Uncategorized | 1 comment

Apparently it is a huge bestseller, The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. Last week I was looking at my public library app and it was on the front page and it was available. And the name Matt Haig seemed vaguely familiar. I later figured out that I read his book The Humans and enjoyed it. It took me a while to get into this book, but then I started to enjoy it. The multiverse lives of Nora Seed. It made me think of the possible lives we all have, the many crossroads where I made a choice, or where one was made for me.

When my mom was pregnant with me, my dad was hired by his uncle, who was a cartographer, to assist him in his job of mapping some part of Brazil for the government. It was a job that would last several years and meant moving to Brazil. My mom was game and they were getting ready to make the long journey. Life intervened and the uncle had a heart attack and died a couple of months before the travel date. My parents found another apartment to rent and dad took a job as a Konstrukteur (Technical Designer) for a new company making ultrasound devices instead. I was that close to growing up in Brazil. What might that life have been like?

In 1937 my mom came second in the state championship in a gymnastic competition. That would normally have meant going to the national championship in Berlin, but she wasn’t in the Hitler Youth and so the second place was given to another girl who was. Would going to the competition in Berlin have changed her life? Would this have been a life where I wasn’t born at all?

So many forks in the road. Some we choose, some are chosen for us. I started taking photographs when I was around 13 or 14. I was very serious about it, even considered becoming a professional. When I went to art school my half year of internship, a school requirement, was spent at a photo studio. I didn’t decide to pursue the life of a musician until I traveled through Asia, when I was 19.

A few years later I was in a rock band in Boston. What if we had written a hit?

My first record company, Higher Octave Music, wanted me to change my name (to a hammer everything looks like a nail and apparently both founders of the company had changed their names) but I refused. They also insisted that I move to Los Angeles. I insisted that I would not. Then I changed my mind and I vaguely (as if it was a different life) remember being in a bank in California with my manager and a boat salesman, sometime in 1991, trying to get a loan to buy a sailboat I wanted. My plan was to dock the boat in Marina Del Rey and live on it. The bank refused to give me the loan and about six month later I bought the house in Santa Fe that I still live in.

Forks everywhere.

1 Comment

  1. JaneParhamKatz

    I love this recounting of events shaping your path. So touching that your mom was a great gymnast and NOT in the Hitler Youth. Did you ever get her take on what if she had gone to Berlin to the next level of the gymnastic competition?

    I think in refusing to change your name and move to Los Angeles to please the record company, you preserved your precious unique identity and your soul.

    I have not traced all the forks in my path, but two stand out. One, my mother told me she had longed for a child for many years but had health issues that made it difficult to get pregnant, much less give birth. Years after being married, she suspected she was pregnant, but the test came back negative. She insisted on many more tests over several months following, because she “just knew” she was pregnant. The tests always showed negative. Finally, Dr. Tanny urged her to get a hysterectomy to preserve her own life, and she reluctantly agreed. The operation was scheduled. Protocol provides that when a woman goes in for a hysterectomy she be given one last pregnancy test. Mother remembers hearing Dr. Tanny shout, “Hold that hysterectomy.” She indeed was pregnant – thus my life began on this planet (in Albuquerque). I almost didn’t make it here. She said she never showed any visible signs of carrying a child until the last month – but I certainly was in there all along. Wasn’t I? She had an easy birth. And I was so very treasured by Mother and Daddy!

    Two, if my father had not suddenly died when I was a child, I probably would have become a lawyer, like him. That’s what I told everyone I wanted to be. Daddy was a real hero in my view, and he let me play in his law office with all the equipment and books. When he became Municipal Judge, he let me go up on the bench with him. (Not allowed after he became County Judge.) I loved all of this!

    Right now, I’m glad I am who I am, where I am!

    Reply

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