I just finished reading Jane Pauley‘s Skywriting (excerpt online), her very personal memoir about dealing with bipolar disorder induced by medicines being used to treat an outbreak of hives.
I was struck by the sheer openness of Pauley’s writing — some very personal pieces from her journal written at alternating points in time. She’s certainly come to grips with the reality of her illness and her sharing of the experience tells a powerful story.
Late in the book, she quotes Mark Twain:
Work and play are words used to describe the same thing under different conditions.
Indeed! My best work is also my best play.
Pauley also writes movingly about loss, especially about her parents. But I enjoyed this passage more — about taking her twin boys to college.
I put two kids in college in one week. I didn’t cry or make a scene or one of Mom’s famous speeches. I just lingered. First, I folded all of Ross’s T-shirts and lined them up by color; then I went after the chaos of cords and cables from his computer, microwave, CD player, refrigerator, clock radio, lamp, and TV. I got them untangled and began winding them neatly with little twist ties. I was actually underneath the desk when I became aware of an awkward silence that said Anyone here who isn’t somebody’s roommate should go now.
Wow. One moment they’re in your arms as babes and the next thing you know they’re off to college and life beyond.