Critical Miami just posted this awesome pic of downtown Miami with a tornado in it. Does that just not perfectly capture my exact mood at this moment? My boss is going to have to miss the picture of Notre Dame Cathedral in winter that I used to have, ’cause this twister is my new desktop background. (Post-posting update: the pic isn’t loading, but you can click and see it or go to CM.)

tornado.jpg

I thought up the title to this post while getting out of our rented champagne colored Toyota Corolla in the parking lot of a Friendly’s in Bedford, MA. It smelled like trees, and that was nice. We had just barely made it out of Boston and onto 95 and I was starving. We: me, D, and T-Fap. After making myself so full of tuna melt and waffle fries that I couldn’t even contemplate the peanut butter cup sundae I had been planning on ordering, we got back on the road and didn’t stop until we were in Maine, which I just knew would smell like trees even more than a Friendly’s parking lot in Bedford, MA. It did, especially because we got there in middle of a cool spring night and did a lot of happy schlepping between Bowdoin dorms meeting up w/ T and his gal and figuring out exactly how we were all going to spend the last few hours before his graduation together. The plan ended up to be, sit in one of the vacated rooms in the house that he was the RA of and make iceless Cape Codders for each other until we were all too tired to drink any more. They were briefly iced, but then we ran out of cubes in the ice tray and decided that the remants of ice in the bag smelled too weird to put in our drinks. Such is the way of college freezers a week after most of the students have moved out. With enough lime, they weren’t too bad iceless although I did kind of screw up and make my last one so strong I could barely finish it. Maybe that’s why I had such a bad headache the next morning and kind of felt like I was going to faint if I didn’t eat something greasy and fast. Fortunately for me, 1) Bowdoin has been rated to have some of the best cafeteria food in the country and 2) their cafeteria was still serving all you can eat hot buffet breakfasts for only 4.25 by the time I got there, looking a lot spiffier than I felt. Well, at least I hope I looked spiffier than I felt. Wait, one more revision: my mind felt spiffy but my tummy felt iffy, and I hope my skirt wasn’t too wrinkled. There we go. I felt so much better after my home fries and eggs and coffee that I had enough spunk to join T-Fap in a movement to boycott the folding chairs set up in the middle of blazing sun and instead find a nice granite bench in the shade, which had the added benefit of being far enough away from any preppy parents to spend most of the ceremony making sarcastic comments about assuredly overpriced sundresses and purebred dogs. Could I ever truly live on the east coast? Sometimes I’m not sure. If I did, I would definitely be the kind of person who lived in Maine or Vermont rather than Massachusetts, is my conclusion. Right when T was about to walk, we relocated to the little tarmac they had set up for the paparazzi, I mean, parents and gave a great cheer as he accepted his diploma, almost doing so in his aviator sunglasses but at the last minute swapping them out for the Prada regular glasses that Frida helped him pick out. Almost immediately after that, while a few more overly long-winded speakers held the graduates hostage, we met up with some more recent converts to our sit in the shade movement (the rest of D’s family, basically) and beat an early retreat to the catered lunch. Sorry Kenyoners, this lunch made our post-graduation box-lunches look pretty craptapulous. We stuck around for hugs and photos and then whoops, had to get our rental car back to Boston and thereby missed out on the ever-joyous experience of finishing off a dorm room pack up.

Thus ended the graduation portion of our weekend. The rest of was gloriously occupied with more eating, much more drinking, and lots of Boston related activities. I finally got to see the fabled apartment and ride the T. I got to pick up where I left off with a passel of Kenyon friends. I got to savor the leafy treeness of a city not nearly as overwhelming as I remembered it being (visiting KAY, driving for two hours around the same four blocks trying to find her apartment on a little elbow of a road called The Fenway). Public transportation, Anna’s Taqueria, Harvahd, The Milky Way, and a last minute visit from Big Hollywood Director all mine to enjoy. The thought of relocating myself to be a part of it all on a more permanent basis teasing deliciously on every step up from the T stop, emerging–could I?–into the life of a city.

Knowing me, you can probably tell where this is going. That all felt great, and now I feel bad. Not so bad. This bad:

That’s a live version of “Black Cab” by Jens Lekman that I put on a mix for T-Fap that we played on our way back from Maine. When it first came on, I had completely forgotten that I put it on the mix, but then it became my favorite song of them all. It’s been going through my head all morning.

Anyway, I’m a bit mopey. Maybe it’s coming back to my real life, which I think is now under the working title “The Unemployed, The Pregnant, and The Distressingly Uncertain.” I have a new version of that old feeling that yeah, I could pick up and move and change my life, but it might not make a difference if the place that I’m truly uncomfortable right now is inside my head. Maybe it’s realizing that life with your good friends in many ways resembles life with your family, and that is good and bad and unescapable. Maybe it’s just my birth control, since I kind of screwed up the month to month turnover this most recent time. Maybe it’s nothing that a moody blog post can’t fix. (Hello–is there anything a moody blog post can’t fix? Haven’t found it yet.) Could be anemia. For that reason I made D make me a steak last night for dinner once we got home back to Boca, which shares the first two letters of its name with the name of the city that I just got back from, and I can’t really decided if that’s not enough or too much.

Or maybe it’s just the sound of my brain trying to change gears. It’s got a few too many speeds that I want it to operate on right now, and I’m not sure which ones to cut out. For instance, last night I tried to mix a session of poetry with a short burst of fiction. Probably because I’ve been trying to get my writing brain into fiction mode for the past week or two, the poetry part was the least productive. Like, painfully unproductive except for the fact that I was so please with myself just for sitting down and doing it that it took the edge off. So, although I realize the evidence is far from completely assembled, I’m wondering if I need to just focus on one genre for the whole summer (not really realistic, but a thought) or if I just need to get better at switching back and forth.

Speaking of switching back and forth, it seems these days I tend to forget the field my future job will theoretically be in is the one I usually want to switch away from. As in, right now I have my tabbed browser opened up to my Gmail, the course website for my one and only library class this summer, the NY Times, and of course this blog. Even though today is the last day of my first grading week, and I’m pretty sure I have a couple of discussion board comments due tonight by midnight, I haven’t made it through even one quarter of the assigned reading for this week. Not for lack of time, just for lack of effort. It’s not that this really bothers me–I’ve pretty much adopted a no reading policy for library classes anyway–but it kind of alarms me that it doesn’t bother me. Grades are only the first step, right? When I graduate in a year, or when I take my first steps out into the job market in about six months, I’ll need to something more than grades to prove that I was using my internship productively, like a person who had something to contribute to the library field. Such as it is. I guess on this level I can totally relate to D and his procrastination of accounting homework… I just happened to pick a ridiculously easy field in which to procrastinate, and he picked a hard one with final exams and right and wrong answers.

(Then again, can you really take a school seriously that needs to shut down its servers on a regular basis, take all the student records off, and then put them back on again, thereby erasing the online portfolio you’ve started building for your current class? Not just once in a while, like twice a semester. We pay you people to do what, exactly?)

Basically, my work day is on a loop: thirty seconds of work, thirty seconds of reading text book, thirty seconds of some random interesting article, check email, repeat.

Multi-tasking: power tool or crack? I’m leaning toward the crack side, because I swear it’s getting harder for me to concentrate the more I get used to constantly switching thoughts. It’s hard to tell whether this started out as a boredom avoidance technique and was merely enabled by tabbed browsing and other technological media consumption binges or if it was actually caused by tabbed browsing. Either way, I think I can feel my brain wanting to switch thoughts every thirty seconds, even when I’m not in front of a computer. Frightening, seeing as at least one of my degrees requires me to bring sustained attention to bear upon dense literary texts. Am I turning myself ADD?

If not ADD, then perhaps just expressing symptoms of chronic indecision. Because if I multi-task, if I do a little of this followed by a little of that with a dab of something totally different, I never really have to decide what I’m trying to do with my time, exactly. I never have to say, now I’m a poet and not a fiction writer. I never have to say now I’m a librarian and not a wannabe English Phd student. I never have to say now I’m dedicated to building a career and now I’m just an average human being, going whichever way the beer flows. Is that a neat trick or self-handicapping in the long?

Or, a third option: it could be that it’s 4:48pm on a Tuesday, the last Tuesday of Veronica Mars ever, and there’s a big long list of things I don’t want to think about yet kind of have to and a much more enticing short list of things I do want to think about, and I’m just splitting the difference until the right time comes along to make some things off of the second list actually happen.

It was a good weekend. We went to the beach, watched the first two dvd’s of Lost, drank a bottle of wine. I devoured most of the Scott Smith’s The Ruins and stuck to the two-hour-a-day writing plan even though it meant getting up before 7am. I didn’t obsess about the job situation. I went running, and did a whole nonstop three miles for the first verifiable time ever. (Verification courtesy of Map My Run, which rocks btw.) In short, I was feeling as optimal as I’ve felt in a good long while.

There is just this one little thing called Bad News 2. Over aforementioned bottle of wine (a tasty Smoking Loon pinot noir, nice and fruity like I heart it), my MIL (who was in Boca for her Saturday library class) started discussing the possibility of life after the upcoming Tuesday. Tuesday is the last day for SIL to get an abortion in the first trimester, the last day when the procedure would not involve an overnight stay, the last day in which most people I know would be completely understanding of the choice to terminate a pregnancy. Wednesday will be the first day of the second trimester, when everything starts getting dicier. As it stands right now, the SIL is looking to her “boyfriend” (I have other terms I would like to substitute and will freely if you call me on the phone, but for the sake of clarity I’ll use the most generous one I can muster) for a decision. The “boyfriend” by the way has a sister who is 17 and pregnant and a brother who has one child by his teenage girlfriend already… or something like that, I might have the details reversed, but let’s just say that in “boyfriend’s” world, it is 100% normal for teenage mothers to give birth to children that no one is able to provide for and it is normal for that to just keep happening, like whoops, here’s another human life on the way, how did that happen. We’ve been blasting her for two solid weeks now with facts and figures and budgets and reassurances that yes, indeed, she deserves a second chance and no one is going to think less of her for it. Sometimes she says she’s considering abortion, sometimes she just sits there like a cement wall, deep down knowing that if she just sits there long enough something is going to give.

Anyway, back to the wine conversation. With a few sips in us, the underlying truths about our feelings about this situation started to come out with a bit more clarity, or perhaps just more openness, than they did during our last weekend at their house, when we were all struggling to find some common ground from which to stage our attempts at intervention. It’s been clear to me from the get-go that my MIL has already mentally moved on to accepting the birth of this child. Fair enough–if SIL chooses to carry it and it is born, it doesn’t matter what anyone accepts or rejects. The part that I am profoundly not okay about is the part that comes after, the part where all of us are going to be asked to shoulder some part of this responsibility that we not only didn’t ask for but also actively prevented dumping onto anyone else. There’s a great comeback for this feeling too: life isn’t fair. Again, fair enough. None of this changes my anger or my fear. Those are my feelings and those are what I have to navigate by at this moment in time. So when MIL started in with “you know, if it looks like SIL is going to have this baby, then there is going to be a baby shower and you will all be invited and you will all ATTEND,” I felt that it was in my best interest to establish that, no, for starters, I would not be attending any baby showers. In fact, my baby shower non-attendance is really the least of my refusal to take joy in this disaster. It will be followed by my non-babysitting, non-diaper changing, non-grocery buying, and non-cash handing out. But what about the innocent child? Sorry, that’s not my innocent child and SIL knows it. I will not be demonized for protecting myself. I just won’t. Agreeing to go along with this is too much to ask of me, at least right now. When I’m fifty and contemplating grandparenthood, maybe I’ll feel differently. Right now I feel like a young adult whose primary concern is making it on my own and figuring out who I am. That’s my responsibility. This potential baby is SIL’s, and I’m not going to do anything to obscure that fact. We harangued each other for a little while longer, quite good naturedly, and enjoyed our wine, and sat side-by-side at the dinner table with our own sets of uneasy feelings. Besides, a lot could still happen between then and Tuesday and between then and December.

Sunday morning, we drove down to church in Miami. Actually, I drove, because one thing this whole mess has made clear to me is that D and I need to get better about sharing our responsibilities. Normally, he drives and I freak out on the passenger side. So, I’m starting to drive more. It’s only fair and it feels good, at least good in a theoretical way even though I95 really stresses me out. We had just hit the outskirts of Miami when the sky started turning a beautiful blend of pitch blacks and pretty soon, we were in a major downpour. I kept my cool mostly and kept the car between the white lines totally, and indeed we made it to church on time and only a little wet.

It was the wrong service for me to be at.

It was volunteer recognition Sunday, meaning that they handed out certificates to anyone who had worked Sunday morning childcare or taught Sunday school during the past year. So, instead of all the babies being across the street being cared for, they were in their parents arms for the whole service. And I’ll tell you, the babies were out in force, goo and gaaing and looking too round and too cute in their fabu Sunday outfits (this is Coral Gables, after all). Meanwhile, here is SIL in her wheelchair, knowing that she is two days away from the finish line for being talked into an abortion. Not the best mise-en-scene, God, not your finest moment. Then we sang the hymn known as the Servant Song, which we last sang at MAW & DT’s wedding reception. We barely had to sing the first lines, “Won’t you let me be your servant..” before I was feeling that anger rise up again. I know that you are God, God, but I’m not volunteering to serve anyone who is voluntarily screwing her own self over. Nope. Not my job–I’m going to be someone else’s servant and there is nothing you can do about it, God.

Of course it got worse though, and instead of getting angrier I just got sadder.

Next there were the announcements, with the lead-off announcement being that our best Miami friends had their first daughter early early on Friday morning. I heard the news on Friday and it was like I had done three espresso shots in a row. I am so happy for them and excited for the life of their daughter I can barely contain myself. But how can I be so wholeheartedly excited about that baby, and D&F’s baby, and so unrepentingly negative about the one SIL might have? Also, as excited as I am, I know enough to be a little scared too. It’s a big, uncontrollable thing they’ve just started and as much as anyone can help them with it, they are still on a journey that I cannot yet comprehend. They’ll need prayers and help as much as anyone, and guess what, they waited until they were financially at least semi-stable. I just wanted to cry.

Then it got even worse. The elementary age children spent most of the service putting on a mini-musical about, of all things, Jonah and the whale. You know, Jonah, the guy who tried to run away from God’s command for his life and ended up in the stomach of a large sea creature? Every single adorable little song they sang was about how important it is not to shirk the responsibilities God gives you, especially the ones you didn’t ask for. And as an added bonus, the kids were painfully beautiful to watch. They put on a great show, with real inflection in the lines and loud singing of the kind our choir director could never quite get us to do. There was one little girl, the youngest one probably, who was just a half-second behind in all of her dance moves and I saw how that was just perfect all in itself, just the way it should be. I’m pretty sure I’m going to hell just for thinking the word “abortion” while watching these kids put on a Jonah play.

For our final hymn, we sang the one about “Here I am, Lord, is it I Lord?,” about how in my heart I am willing to do whatever the Lord calls me to do, no matter how inconvenient or difficult. Yeah, no. I had to stop singing for a whole verse at one point. I’m already an inadequate Christian, so I should probably avoid making myself into a hypocrite too. No, Lord, I will not. Not going to do it. Not if you lead me, not if you call me, not if you ask me. Well, you can ask, but my answer will be NO. There was not very much solace for me in church yesterday, and I guess that’s my problem. Unlike the possible baby, which is not my problem.

It appears the secular world may be lining up against me as well. Now, here I am on my Monday morning innocently reading the latest New Yorker short story while my budget spreadsheet updates. It’s by George Saunders and the title is, “Puppy.” It’s all going along quite swimmingly until this sentence: “he’d been raised on a farm, or near a farm anyways, and anybody raised on a farm knew that you had to do what you had to do in terms of sick animals or extra animals—the pup being not sick, just extra.” It may just be my symbolism honing instinct going of whack, but this sentence too seems to be smacking me gleefully in the face, saying, “see, the MIL’s right, you are going to have to deal with this, you are going to have an extra life in your life that like it or not you are going to have some responsibility toward.”

Whatever. Send your signs, your wrath, your couches full of pee. I tell you right now I’m not having any of it.

Chalk another writer up to the cult of lowered standards. My mother-in-law passed along this interview with Walter Mosley on Talk of the Nation, in which he pretty much gives the same very solid advice that Prof. MacLeod and Anne Lamott give. If you want to write something, the thing to do is write whatever you can without worrying if it’s good or not. Keep your butt in the chair, as Mr. Mosley succinctly puts it.

That was how my morning started, after I had conveniently gotten my requisite two hours of writing in and allowed myself to start the aimless websurfing that takes up more of my time than I’d like to admit. I don’t normally get two hours of writing in before I start doing this every day, but since I had this day entirely off I had some self-discipline to spare. Of course, as I learned for the 100th time listening to Mr. Mosley, this needs to happen every day, even on days off and days with much more work to do. So that’s the plan for tomorrow, which is also a Saturday so not the greatest test of writing through the adversity of a hectic schedule, where I hope to start the process of forming a new habit.

I’ve done this new habit thing once before, and I really liked the results–that was when I was fifteen and started playing the oboe every single day, no matter what. And most days for two hours. It worked, in part because I got so high off of the macho feeling of having practiced for two hours every day.  Writing, however, has always seemed more daunting, perhaps because there’s really no such thing as “improvement” in the sense that there is with an instrument. If you play a certain number of scales every day, after enough days you are tangibly better at playing scales and probably other things too. If you write every day, some days you are going to feel good and other days you are going to feel just as bad as you ever did. Very rarely, you will write something you really like, and it will be the result of a good idea meeting a good amount of energy and self-confidence. At least that’s what I hear. I really only have experience with the second kind of day.

Still, there’s something missing in this “if you just throw enough hours at it method,” and I’m not worried about it just yet since I haven’t actually thrown enough hours to worry about it, but I know there is a little something that gets you past skill and practice and good ideas. It’s a certain kind of focus, and while just keeping your butt in the chair is 90% of the battle, this little piece cannot be faked. It’s the part of you that’s really, really trying, just trying so hard you think you can’t keep it up but you can. The part of you that is responsible for not just clearing the hurdle or covering a page, but doing it in a way that dignifies the act. Just a while longer, just one more run through or one more mile or one more sentence of real effort.

That’s the muscle that I think has gone soft on me.

So, it is resolved, this summer my mother-in-law and I are going to be accountable to each other for a certain number of pages every week. Mr. Mosley suggests 600 words a day, so I’m going to round that to two pages and that makes 14 pages a week. That’s the first 90%. The next ten percent, well, I’m going to work on that as I go along.

It’s official, I mailed in my cancellation to ALA. I will not be attending the library conference this year. Mostly as a consequence of not wanting to spend money that’s not coming in, I say, and mostly a consequence of my fear, D says. Who knows. All I know is right now I am relieved to have one less trip to plan and finance. There’s time for all that next year. I honestly don’t need it now.

There’s also an official bit of good news. D has a pass to attend the teaching job fair next week, even though they intially claimed that no social sciences candidates would be admitted. Plus, he’s got a plan to take the math certification test and get himself into both a higher pay bracket and a higher need area. Things for August are definitely looking up, so all the more reason to focus on what I can do right now to feel calm and keep taking deep breaths until then.

I’m almost finished with Anne Lamott’s Operating Instructions, which is the book she wrote about her first year as a parent. I picked up Roberto Bolano’s The Savage Detectives while we were on campus, paying tuition and catching up on our online television.

Right now D and I are settling in for a quiet Friday. There’s two potatoes baking in the oven, and I’m watching the sky cloud up and hoping that a nice hard rain will start falling, because right now nothing sounds better to me than sitting on the balcony and just watching it come down, a beer in one hand and nothing in the other.  Another day in which I steered mostly by undercurrents of fear and uncertainty has managed to shove its little gifts in my direction–an interview, a book, the thought of rain. D’s playing his Guster collection because the thought of rain made me think of one of their songs and I couldn’t remember which one. I just checked the mail, and my mother has sent me a book out of the blue. The world sometimes does try to show me that it can be trusted.

Fear–so what?

May 17, 2007

The title of this post is a paraphrase of a thought shared by Elizabeth Gilbert’s guru, which I read about in her latest book, Eat Pray Love. I just finished it, and I loved every page. At first, I thought her style wasn’t quite up to my newly acquired hardcore creative nonfiction tastes, but as I found myself drawn quite effortlessly through the pages I realized that it was not a book to be read as heavy lifting for one’s literary chops. It’s more of a book to read when you really need to expand your sense of what is possible in the world while laughing out loud pretty much every other page. It’s a book to read when you’ve been doing other kinds of heavy emotional lifting and you just need to live a little vicariously through somebody else’s spirtual adventures. And to fantasize about going to Italy for four months just to eat. In other words, it was just the right book for my mother-in-law to loan me last weekend.

Now it’s finished, and I might be on my way to weightier things or I might not.  Possible candidates include Ender’s Game, The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay (for the second attempt), and Song of Solomon. Or possibly this book I got at the library called How to Become a Freelance Writer. (Didn’t I already read this book when I was like 9? Have I made no progress in the ensuing 14 years?) Because as much as I love to read, I’m starting to get the sense that I need to get down to some more writing. That’s a topic for another blog, but the fact that in about a month I’m going to need to survive a fiction workshop with my dignity intact has not passed me by.

So, the book was not the only good thing to come out of last weekend, which actually didn’t go quite as badly as I was fearing. To recap, because I haven’t gone into great detail on this blog, last weekend was going to be my first face to face encounter with the sis in law since the accident and the revelation. I will refer to these things henceforth as Bad News 1 and Bad News 2. Of course, the main cause of stress was how to interact with her, expressing my gratitude for her being alive and not too hurt by Bad News 1 while the knowledge of Bad News 2 shoved its way to the front of my brain at all times. To my surprise, it came quite naturally. She was in good spirits and it was easy to find little things to do for her to make her life easier as she hobbled from home to car and back to home. I was genuinely glad to see her.  We managed to put off the having the talk re: Bad News 2 until late Sunday evening, after having spent the afternoon spent doing our best to create the kind of epicurean ambience Ms. Gilbert creates in Eat Pray Love by opening both bottles of D’s dad’s birthday wine and whipping up some delicious alio e oglio pasta if I do say so myself. And when we did have the talk, we somehow found ways to express our thoughts and feelings and still not come off as out of control, raving for no good reason older siblings. We talked for a good long time, and I felt like I had said most of what I had wanted to say. I have pretty grave doubts that she actually heard any of it, but that’s another issue and one I have no control over. Her decision is still very much her own to make and I have done all that I can to help her make a good one. A good one–as if I even knew exactly what that was. I don’t, but I’m also pretty sure she doesn’t either. Now, I think in one of my former, more trusting lives I would have prayed about this with some kind of open-ended attitude, ie: “I know this is in your hands, oh God whoever you are out there, and I trust that you are looking after things for the best.” In my current somewhat paranoid life, my prayer is more like, “God could you please give this young’un a serious ass-kicking because she doesn’t know up from down right now and I think her parents would be pissed if I did the ass-kicking for you.”

In other fear news, I often get paranoid that D is not looking for a job quite as hard as he should be, and I have taken to setting up schedules for him and inquiring as to the status of the action items I have assigned. Keep in mind that I am the same person who recently criticized her mother-in-law for being too controlling.  So add that to the fear tally too–that I am becoming not only my mother but also my mother-in-law.

So, this week, I’m kind of in between a lot of muddled feelings and plans of action. This is probably part of the reason why I responded so strongly to Eat Pray Love. It’s a pretty good story about a woman who doesn’t really know where she’s going but can from time to time see a sort of next step to take. Or just a way to spend this present moment. That’s a good description of how I’d like to be, rather than simply a collection of anxieties about things that aren’t currently happening. I’d like to acknowledge my fear and then do whatever the hell I’m thinking about doing anyway. Even when that doesn’t seem possible, I’m going to try to keep in mind the words of Ms. Gilbert’s guru. I’m afraid. So what?

For the next couple of hours, that includes doing a yoga video and drinking some wine even though the budget Nazi in my head says that unemployed people have no business drinking wine. D’s put in a solid day of job hunting and I’m hatching plans to get this writing part of my life in gear. Getting from plans to action will have to be my next trick pretty soon, but I think the yoga and wine are going to help with that.

(This is kind of a rambling post and might not make so much sense if you don’t know what Bad News 2 is, but oh well. I’m trying to get that standards bar down nice and low so I feel up for posting every day again, because I miss it!)

Anyway who’s emailed/chatted/spoken with me in the past week knows that even though I have wrapped up one more semester of craptastic library papers and hopefully somewhat less craptastic English papers, yet more crap has felt the need to hit the fan. I could blog about this, and I probably will. But I’m kind of tired of trauma-blogging, so I’m going to start a little homage to my friends that has been long, long overdue. Because while I’ve been busy whining on my blog, you have been busy reading it, commenting on it, and most of all sending me mix CDs and the occasional KitKat Chunky and Dark Chocolate Flake. You know who you are (ahem ahem in alphabetical order AH, D&F, LCB and T-Fap although he no longer reads this blog). Yes, you have made love into a verb. When I cried out, you did more than nod your head, you did something. It has not gone unnoticed despite my vast blog silence!

When I wrote in my little bio for this blog that I’m a 25 year old living from mix CD to mix CD, I wasn’t kidding. For as long as I’ve been getting mix CDs from you people, starting with T-Fap’s Birthified mix sent to me on the occasion of turning 23 in Brazil, I have been using them as my soul’s soundtrack.

When I got that CD, I had no idea what to do with a BA in English, couldn’t afford no ring, and John Kerry had just lost the election. Half of the time was gone and I didn’t know where because alas I did not catch my plan ride on time, but I tried to remember to let my honesty shine, shine, shine, because I was the only living girl in Natal. I tried to call on St. Christopher, but not even he can do very much for a twenty-something.

Then there was the You’re Freaking Married Mix. There was also a mix from LCB that got played while me and the bridesmaids frantically applied make-up, but alas it disappeared into my sister’s laptop and while there have been rumors of its return on every visit since then, it is still somewhere in Michigan, so all I remember is that I think Stand By Me was on there. But I have nothing but good memories of the wedding so it must have set just the right mood. The YFMM found its way into the CD player of our rental car, and wow wow, look at us now, I sure felt like I had found my one in a million and I still do. I’m keeping him forever and for always, no matter what he thinks of my taste in country songs. I’ll be his Victoria and he’ll be my Albert.

Round about February last year, getting home from a visit to my mom lying in a hospital bed in Ann Arbor, I really wondered where I was and what the hell was going on. The doctors said it was all for the best, and they only meant well. Well of course they did. A little bit later, I became recreation for my very own doctor, the dermatologist. Why did it always rain on me? I was certainly being held up by invisible men, and there was no stairway to paradise no matter how many steps I tried to build. Where did the blue skies go? I was bad news, baby, I was bad news. I felt like a portion for a fox.

As that spring turned to summer, when I looked in the mirror, I thought, a long time ago, we used to be friends. I was introduced to Veronica Mars and it helped me get my mind off the fact that it seemed like I had snozzed and lost with the big one-night stand called my youth. That was the feeling anyway, that to be broken I was made. Hundreds of miles and I cried like a baby, even when D pleaded with me and shouted and screamed. They were troubled times. I made it through with the Unofficial Veronica Mars Soundtrack.

Along in there was also wanting to be forever young, and thinking it was really good to see my friends rocking out and having fun for a weekend in Ohio again. I could see the light of a clear blue morning.

’06 wrapped up with a night in mama’s room spent on two separate mixes, and a country mile, and lots of dining what I believe is called al fresco. Even though lots of things in the deli aisle made me cry.

Somehow, you all seem to know that I hear in my mind, all of these voices, and I hear in my mind, all of these, and my heart is often broken. This it how it works, I feel a little worse. In world with so much suffering, I still don’t know why I have new shoes. I would almost settle for false hope on a strange and mournful day.

I’ve now gotten three mixes from down Belfast way, it’s like Christmas just keeps happening to me. I’ve only made it through one because I wear my music out like denim blue fading up to the sky, like I want them to last forever but know they never will, I’m not through until I know the words. But in that time, I’ve felt my life just like a river running through, and you know, why they follow it, it’s called bad luck. A couple of weeks ago, there was a war inside of me and I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have liked me if I met me. It’s all part of the Quarterlife Crisis Mix.

Now it’s a new week and a new song, or some old songs sung louder. These days.

In short, nobody knows the record or song the way I do. I hear in my mind all of this music, and with it I’ve leaned on you today. You’ve patched me up, and sent me on my way.

I love you people.