Rites of Passage

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I’m way behind on blog posts because I turned in the final draft of my novel, Pretty, yesterday. Which means that I have about eight hundred unanswered emails in my in-box. It also means that I’m going to celebrate by totally ignoring them and watching taped Glee episodes until my eyes bleed.

I’ve been working on either Pretty or Some Girls for about the last six years, so finishing this book is the end of a major life chapter. Ever since Scott and I attended the premiere of Jackass 3D (that’s us in our sexy 3D glasses), I’ve been thinking about the place of rites of passage in our lives. The movie was pretty funny and oddly well-shot and, of course, unbelievably disgusting. Ultimately, I left feeling vaguely yucky, and not just because I had a tub of buttered popcorn for dinner. I think that the Jackass movies appeal to our tribal desire for rites of passage, but they don’t quite hit the spot because they’re all rite and no passage.

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The next morning we braved a true rite of passage. We took Tariku to his first day of pre-school. Our current arrangement with the school is that one of us is going to attend with him until he can “contract when the group contracts,” which I think in hippie language means sit still for snack and story time. As you can tell from our attempt at “first day of school” pictures, T is more of an expander than a contractor. If his first day was any indication, I might just be sitting in a wee chair next to him until his middle school graduation. But even though T’s first day at pre-school felt like the longest three hours of my life, I tried to stay present for it because I suspect that this school thing is going to get rolling and soon I’m going to wish I could see more of him.

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In terms of life transitions, T starting school is sort of like finishing my second book. I feel a strange combination of loss and relief every time I hear the word “school” come out of T’s mouth. I felt the same way when I sent the Pretty file to my editor.

We go to school again this Thursday and Friday. Stay tuned for more reports from the front line.

For now, I have a babysitter for another twenty minutes. I’m going to watch Glee. Or go hunt an antelope. Or give myself paper cuts on my tongue. Or something.

5 Responses to 'Rites of Passage'

  1. Kristen says:

    Congrats on the novel! And the preschool transition. I’m sure he’ll be contracting on his own soon enough. :)

    Have fun with Glee. Last week was soooo good.

  2. kmeelyon says:

    And your eyeballs may truly bleed when you see how weird Glee has gotten in the past couple of episodes.

    You made me laugh when you said you may wind up sitting next to T until he’s in middle school. I wonder if middle school would be more or less awful the second time around. For me, it conjures images of braces, Izod shirts, tube socks pulled up to my knees, and hand painted barrettes in my hair.

    Congrats on finishing the second book! Amazing!

  3. J.R. LeMar says:

    Well, I loved Some Girls, thought it was very well written, so I am definitely curious to see how you write fiction. I will check it out.

  4. faith says:

    Hey Jillian,
    I am one of your 800 emails. I was sending you this article, which you may have already seen, but WHAT A STORY it is~Enjoy!
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/17/nyregion/17annie.html

    P.S. Can’t wait to read “Pretty” and like the fact that both your boys look to be wearing the same shoes. Isn’t it freaky when everyone in the family starts dressing very similiar to each other?

  5. mindy says:

    Oh Gawd! Preschool! Hopefully you have more luck than we did. We sat in what Baldwin referred to as “Romper Room” for a month and P still couldn’t get into the groove…so in true hippy dippy fashion we realized she was just too cool for school and we quit. (is that hippy dippy or is that punk?) We’ll try again next year when she’s a bit older.

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