February 27, 2012


Last night I did the brave and scary thing of reading something I had written in front of people I both knew and didn't. The reading is something a graduate of the AU program, Mark Cugini, puts together, and he asked me to read and I said yes after months of being conveniently out of town. I think that I did well enough, given how nervous I was, but find I am mostly relieved that it is over. It's funny but inconvenient that I have no trouble reading someone else's words aloud; it's reading my own that makes my voice shake bad as my fingers. Still, I know that it's important to do the brave and scary thing once in a while, and am glad that my grandmother got to see me read. The bar was hipster-nasty, and Grandmother said, You take me to the nicest places.

February 4, 2012

Life between summers.

I finished my journal a few weeks ago. It felt very significant to have finished something that I had been working at for so long. The aim of a journal is not to finish it, of course, but it is a first for me. I started writing in the thing on December 15, 2005. I have been toting it around for seven years. I am sorry to have filled a book with so much sadness, but glad I filled it nonetheless. Rilke provided the last words: You must change your life.

I am in DC, and have been for almost a month. I've been a big baby about it, too. I managed to make it through the whole of my month-long winter break having spent only 72 hours in this city, and though it did me some good I returned to find myself feeling rather irritated to be here. School provided a welcome distraction, and I've been very busy. Still, I miss Mathews. I think it gentles me to be there, and in the city I find myself feeling less patient, harder. There are so very many people here, and so many situations to negotiate and avoid. I find I've been a bit reclusive. This is, in part, because I'm trying something new. I quit alcohol about three weeks ago, and, for the most part, have stuck with it. It's part break and part experiment. It also wasn't born of necessity; I haven't been particularly worried about the amount of I was drinking, nor was it out of control. I just woke up done with it, in the way I occasionally have concerning cigarettes, and thought, Well, hell, might as well try it. So I did. Three weeks later, still done with it. It's been unnerving more than anything--recognizing just how woven into my life a glass of wine or a beer had gotten. It wasn't dependency, but it was habit. I think the hardest part of it has been other people, to be honest. The people I tend to share time with are not what my grandmother would call teetotalers, and I love them for it. But, as one might imagine, my sudden refusal to partake of things bubbly and mouth staining represented a rather bizarre and baffling departure. I am left feeling like I'm not always sure what to do with myself, as I suspect are they. Still, I am happy with my decision and its results.

And I have been getting a hell of a lot done. Writing, cleaning, errand-running, cooking, reading. I have an excess of energy. The weather has been particularly enabling. This winter is suspicious in its warmth and total lack of horrific forms of precipitation (slanty rain, floaty rain, ice rain, ice, floaty ice, wet snow.) I fear that real winter is yet to arrive, and that I'm going to find myself trudging through snowdrifts in May. Fingers crossed that this isn't the case. I am, as ever, pining for summer with an intensity that I think people typically reserve for their lovers, or chocolate cake. I try to conjure it, sometimes, but my grown-up person skills of make-believe provide a sorry substitute. One of my junior high yearbooks had a title that's unexpectedly stuck with me: Life Between Summers. I'm sure it was meant in a sort of hah-hah school sucks we're adolescent sort of way, but I'll be damned if that's not just how it feels, especially in February.