somewhere, below, i said that i was a “hopeless hoarder of words.” i also don’t mind changing them, so long as they maintain a general semblance of the moment. the following are letters written to friends, stripped of their references and wanderings, hopefully preserving the original me…who now seems like a fictional character. i’ve not moved more often than the average mid-westerner, but have had many new beginnings. somehow, they all synergize. i don’t find it vain to explore the roots of our own moments. it’s simple curiosity. it helps us to listen.
“and here we are / with burning skin / where we’ve always been”
what a novel thing to get a real letter. in response is my attempt to follow a well-tailored suit, though not in such great a stitch as yours; no pen for me. i just bought this computer—for music, admittedly, but with the added logic that i would be much encouraged to write. you are an opportunity to add a little wear to the keyboard. and i’m a hopeless hoarder of words.
thought it all a bit cryptic actually…the three word emails and “sorry no phone on this particular grid,” but that’s what makes you interesting. glad for the confirmation that you’ve not become a recruit for the nevada mafia…other than whatever you organize by default of innocent conjunctive blunders at the local tienda. do take heed if you start to be followed by suspicious looking groups of western men with questionable intentions.
americus is actually 17,000…not quite the small town sanctuary that it sounds like you are in—but i’m sure it has a similar patsy cline effect. well done getting through your first year of med-school. i lost a whole heart beat when I read that it had been that long since we last talked. don’t know where it went. glad that we are both still on each other’s map.
lots has been happening, in the midst of nothing. been to brazil.
had a strange experience in chicago. froze up in front of 40 people. talked to family members rumored to experience similar moments—and found that this sort of thing is a nice, tight, string that binds us. also realized that i am really pretty crap all at things people. emotions, decisions, relationships, loneliness, fright, pain, joy, happiness and life in general perhaps. ironic little me.
in short, am learning how to be better at waking up in the morning.
still in my apartment, in a perpetual state of hunting for a house to rent with a garden and a bigger kitchen and no fire trucks or discarded lottery tickets on the front lawn. meanwhile, am feeling quietly “moved in.”
you may very well have biked through another state by the time you get this. don’t forget to look both ways before crossing.
am home in september, for a wedding, and in december for another one. both cousins…this generation is beginning to tip to my side.
in unified protest against email (but not microsoft),
just watched two fantastic films about kings and queens and fallen stars and other worlds beyond a shoddy brick wall. one a cartoon, and the other nearly so. i fancy myself in an old castle at a great wooden desk, with a magic pen instead of my computer. you take life and explain its reality to others through film…i, on the other hand, take the imaginary and do everything i can to make it real.
it’s finally cold enough again that i just lit my little gas fire place. my new theory is that adaptable people can be so content in any old place that it takes them a few seconds longer to notice a moment of true joy. this house, for the moment, is bringing me joy, and a strange sort of companionship. can walls do that? here, i have equal favor for solitude and company. it’s great to have a outdoor water spicket on the side of the house, all of my own, to vacuum at 2am, and to look at the stars from my back porch whenever i choose.
life is so frighteningly real. i think i’m alright but then struggle just to keep my balance on a blade of grass. thank goodness for friends who accept or look beyond you—who will talk you through the sinew of pork, and meanwhile know that it is very much not as banal as it seems; who will see you at your worst and still bravely address what should be; who will chat, when you return, as if you have not intentionally shied away from them for fear of having to spill; who will allow you to unleash your fury of expression for hours on an old road in spain; who will offer neither suggestion nor repeal; who will hold you while you cry as if they are the older instead of the other way around and offer prayer as if they know what you are facing.
i’m listening to songs i wish i could share with you. my method of closing the continents (georgia could use a bit of the rockies). i call them my ‘power songs’. they change frequently, depending on what sort of soundtrack the day requires. some, though, have never moved; comforting.
just a quick bite into the ‘now’…the fluffy Pomeranian is yapping next door. i’m sitting at an old green desk (not in a castle) that faces the front end of my house, which faces the rail road tracks beyond the other side of the road. tinka is chewing away at one of her toys, to my right, but it could just as well be my slipper or an empty cardboard toilet roll. the house is cold; despite the fire, but i’m bundled in a fleece. under that are the somewhat uncomfortable remnants of the hour-long “yoga burn” (it does) with the life-size rodney yee in our conference room. my eyes are burning because i’ve been much too lazy (or engrossed; they’re closely related) to get up and search out my glasses. my eyes have gotten worse; two new prescriptions since leaving colorado. wonder if that makes me a better seer.
ok in lue of this becoming a simpleton’s free-write, i’ll end here; throw in a poem that has been working through whatever poems need to work through. maybe a photo or two, and hopefully music.
here’s the part where i wish you infinite blessings, and fine experiments of truth, which repeatedly, and undeniably, end in the real thing.
yay again for letters. tonight i willingly forewent “poker night.” am taking a weekend in to recoup from the holiday high.
for christmas, my sisters went to the used book store and bought me a boxful of old children’s novels in hard cover. i’ve fallen in love with fantasy, and am reading a story that occurs on the back of the north wind. i think i may be becoming an irrecuperable escape artist.
my new pup has been teaching me things. you can’t lie to a creature whose instinct refuses that they follow unstable leaders (something that only humans will do). she tries my patience, feeds my need to love something with skin, and barks like a dog much bigger than she is while sleeping…so clearly dreams as lucidly as i do. she’s impossible to wake up in the morning. today we did loops around the biggest piece of land we could find. she found water deep enough to endure what it was about, and when she realized she couldn’t catch it, eat it or chase it, leapt from one side of the bank to the other; just as happy when she’d miss and fall in.
it was really cool to read your description of your lady. like french literature; pulling from random beauties and quirks. i like especially how you describe that she is “often late, but always present.” i love to see the ways in which we choose to describe people in fewer words.
i know what you mean about connecting, a little, with your brother. i feel that the same thing is starting to happen with my smallest sister. it helped for me to have passed through vulnerability, when i would have talked anyone’s ear off about near anything. like my dad, she’s turned out to be much more observant and adult-like than she appears.
new day now. today just as happy a day as the rest. visited our little spot in the sun this morning; even though we’d both had a bath we got dirty again. i drove to albany to see a movie but the times were all wrong, so i went instead to check out the new sales at pac sun.
love ya sister—miss you all the time and consider you one of the super loveliest. come for a visit whenever you need to look outside of academia for a while; there is no doubt that i’m living nowhere near it.
you’re right; i love to type on the computer. i love the fact that i can change words in a way that a pen doesn’t lend…and it still all ends up looking so clean. it takes such a long time to process thoughts, and it never ends up finished. i think that’s okay; edits only capture the process as it moves. that’s why i included that poem in the last letter—it fascinates me how thoughts can change and peel away and then change back in a way. i like this process…and you’re right that it’s a roller coaster or a mountain. we are always climbing and descending and then doing it again. i can’t say that the descent excites me, or that i’m any good at it, but it provides a little graceful velocity for the next rise.
i really enjoyed your letter. it made me picture a lifetime of writing them when once i might have been afraid that they might stop. we have rebuilt well. although i might phrase it as something different, because i feel that we are not creating anything new here. we are building above a fairly complex foundation—and there is no foundation free of small cracks if built by humans. we’ll always need some time and space and words here and there to move us on ahead.
with most people, the steps towards uncovering honesty aren’t vital. with others, there’s a desire to keep on digging. and there is also a fear of arriving at the point that we might reach an end to how much we can understand of each other. or, perhaps better said, that suddenly those that really understand us will be struck as blind as the rest of the world that floats along the sidelines. it’s the feeling of not wanting to finish something that started. our unsure moments are human and they are also what drives human relationships. in the digging moments—when we strike against some buried reality—we are more than all of that. another toast.
it makes me happy (skipping even) that you noticed little things in colorado that i was unaware of, maybe indicating a deep little seed of contentment. someone stopped me once while i was walking down the street in americus, and told me that i looked angry. i had no idea that anyone had been watching; and no idea what to make of the unveiling scowl on my jaw. what you said in your letter was an equal surprise, thankfully in the other direction.
you’re drinking green tea, and i’ve got warm milk with molasses. i had a long walk here from work and then around the block wrapped in some music.
i like the definition of love as that it doesn’t depend on the other person. it implies that the words that leave us cannot destroy anything regardless of how honest, regardless of how our words are digested and what they are taken to mean, regardless of how many times we are right or wrong or somewhere between. we love independently; we invent stories; we end them and begin them and share them at will. and then we, together, have the responsibility to unpiece them. and continue to love and care and be friends in the process.
as always, not sure if i’m making any sense; i love anyway. it’s a good feeling.
and yes, smart ass…i can still read letters written with a real pen.
i just read your letter again. the poem kind of made my eyes itch. what a sap. i’ve taken this weekend to make some decisions. or more accurately to be sure that i still want what i was sure that i wanted three months ago with everything that has also changed.
i’m listening to lifehouse radio right now on pandora. so not my usual style.
also listening to the rain outside. it’s 6:18am on a Sunday morning and i’m already having coffee. i sat outside on my little front porch for a long time before this, watching the storm come up. the lightening was right on top of the house and so bright it was like turning on the bathroom light in the morning. beautiful. now the sky is something like a roar as it hits the ground.
for the record, i will never dye over my grey. i’m convinced that it will be the same salt and silver pepper as my granny. and she’s so damn beautiful. i have a few highlights right now that i got in mid-town in atlanta like a real girl, and my hair’s getting long again—enough to put it a proper ponytail for the first time in 7 years. and i have six long, wiry grey strands in the front. i love them with all my experience.
i’m going to keep the mary oliver poem as one of my favorites. am lately feeling that there is too much beauty in life that i fear missing out on. some sort of compilation of past and future that can be resolved right this second and the next one. i have some catching up to do in moments of happiness. not sure how else to explain that.
you are brilliant. only radiantly brilliant people have the capacity to be unwittingly humble when they need to. be glad that it doesn’t come easy for you. be glad that the parasites fascinate you more than the numbers. although if numbers were your thing…i’d wish that you were glad that they were infinitely more exciting than bugs. the point is, that getting caught up in the subject is as important as testing out “well” on it. you and i know that you can’t survive in this world with anything less than extreme passion. you will always be alright.
paraguay is coming together in too short of a timeframe. i’m an idiota in this regard; a total procrastinator. but we’ll pull it together.