When someone asks me for a bio telling them to go to my site and grab it. Hi, I have stuff to do. It’s hilarious yet sortof arrrgghhh when people do things like that.
Technically, 1,014. Was talking to a friend yesterday about the whole thousand words a day thing. I need to get cracking on that for my various longer projects, but these words haunting me all night. Update: I made a few tiny grammar changes, which probably don’t matter to anyone else, but they will frustrate me if I don’t. Though actually, there’s probably an honesty to my grammatical errors from frantically typing that might be missed. Not sure. But yes, I am changing “the anger and the tears and frustrating all there” to “the anger and the tears and frustration all there.” It’s funny because I was writing about this spell this location cast on me, but writing itself is a spell too. Once I step out of it, I’m a very cool and appraising editor, when I want to be, almost like they aren’t my words, and in a way, they aren’t. They’re me-x-hours/days/weeks-ago-words, which I think anyone who writes will understand can feel like a different person.
You think you will look completely different, think there will be a dramatic Before and After, but there isn’t, not on the outside, anyway. You stand and stare in front of the mirror, peering, hoping, seeking, but you don’t see a thing. You take a picture but it doesn’t divine anything either, there’s just a girl, a face, a dress.
It’s like when you’re a little kid and you turn another age and people ask how it feels and the truth is it feels the same as it did before. Except here nothing feels the same, just looks it. You put your hand there, and there, and there, and you can feel it, feel fingers, teeth, pain, pressure. You smile because you like that part of it too, a secret high. You trace those lines again and again, revel in the phantoms that live there.
The blank slate of you is confusing. You should have a scarlet letter, though which one, you can’t quite decipher, but you don’t. Everything has worn off, faded, paled. It’s like the rooms, identical, clean, spare, perfect, traces of memories, signs of life swept away, reordered back to perfect symmetry, which makes sense for a room, but you can’t be reordered in quite the same way. You don’t know if you envy that or not.
You had a hint that it would be different, after, but not like this, not quite so full but empty. You wonder if it means you can never get enough. You want to be happy at your good fortune but that’s not really what you do, most of the time. Instead you focus on what you don’t have, what’s there but not, what’s yours but not.
You walk around in a daze, time having lost its meaning. Despite the lack of visible markers, you expect the people you see to ask, to wonder what has happened to you, but they don’t. You start to explain but realize you can’t, it’s too surreal to make any sort of sense. The words sound like a book or a dream, even when they are all true, especially so. You try to explain but it’s too silly, too unlike the real thing.
You wonder about being seen and being invisible, a sometimes fine line. You know you are on the edge of cracking open, of everything, including you, spilling out and revealing way too much. You got a glimpse of it, the anger and the tears and frustration all there, no poker face to match them.
You wear the dress, the one you slept in, the one you never want to take off. It’s soft and blue and makes you feel pretty. You take comfort in it, want to curl up with it under your pillow, rest it again those spots that are still raw. You wonder what you will do when they aren’t anymore, when it’s just your skin, returned.
There are so many things you are not supposed to do, not supposed to feel, and you don’t know how to stop yourself from doing them, feeling them. It’s either all the way or nothing and the push/pull of that, the totality, makes you wonder whether you are up for it. There are safer, saner, easier options, ones you can wear on your sleeve like a heart, ones that are nothing like this one.
You are so afraid to leave, to break the spell. The clean, the beauty, the crispness, the quiet, is so perfect. It’s nothing you can formalize into a review, nothing a photo could ever truly capture. There’s a roaring silence so rare in this extra-loud city and it’s so tempting to just never leave. You see how that could almost happen, how you could bunker down, how you could try to extend the magic.
And you will, somehow, just not here, not now. There is a before and after but it’s not a fairy tale, you do not turn from a frog into a princess or from anyone but yourself into yourself. The rub, as it were, because maybe what you thought was that you would turn into someone better, brighter, worthier. You like the after girl, need her, even, but you are still one and the same.
This all perhaps sounds like you wonder whether it was a mistake; you don’t. It was everything you’d hoped it would be and not quite like your dreams at all. Dreams are easy, floating clouds you can turn in any direction you desire. People, less so. Yet there is a dreamlike quality to it, a way the words echo, a way you wonder, even as you feel and know they did, whether what you remember really happened. Right here, where you sit, where it’s warm and soft and silent and perfect, you were here. And somewhere that looks exactly the same. You realize you could be anywhere, go anywhere. It’s not the where that matters, but the who.
You put the dress back on, again, wondering what you will do with it once you get home, where it will reside, when it will be appropriate. You hope it will protect you, make all the not okay things somehow okay because of all the secrets it contains. You hear and see things in your mind from those stolen hours, your bracelet making noise, you making noise, your dress moving, shifting, slithering, but staying on. You wish you could break up the hours and steal a few seconds back, right now, put your lips right there, put your knuckles there, toss your head back and wait, but the room is too silent, too alone, packed and ready, you back in the dress, exactly the same.
You are different, though, and the marks are on the inside. They are not ones that would translate, but they are there. You are not the only one who knows and that perhaps is scariest of all. You wonder if you let yourself fall if you will be able to put yourself back together again. You are about to find out.
Putting an 18-MONTH-OLD in a triathlon? Come on now. I am as laissez faire as you get because a) I don’t have kids and b) everything I read about parenting is all “back the fuck off opinionated strangers” but still. The rest of the New York Times article is interesting but that part just freaked me out.
“When people are looking to start their children in triathlon, it’s important to stick to age-appropriate distances,” said Sharon Osgood, an owner of Monterey Bay Multisport, a triathlon coaching business in California.
Some races let children as young as 3 participate, using swim floats, training wheels or even tricycles. “If you want to start a child when they are really young, understand they aren’t doing a whole lot,” said Ms. Osgood, who said that she considered age 8 or 10 a reasonable age to start.
Robert Jones, race director of the Silicon Valley event, got an e-mail message two years ago from the mother of an 18-month-old, asking if her child could take part in the triathlon. He refused. The first 3-year-old participant in the Silicon Valley race’s 6-and-under division was the daughter of professional triathletes, he said.
I was looking for a story of mine, not this one, another one, lighter, frillier, happier, more pornographic, less real. I almost never reread my old work, too focused on the now, the future. Yet “The End.” Wow. I remember my original version, the small changes Tristan made in terms of reformatting it. I remember Susie Bright telling me it made her cry. I remember, well, Her. It was so long ago, we were so young and different and naive, perhaps, but I think about that relationship a lot. About silly private jokes and major fights and all of it put together. And ultimately about the irony that that’s proably the best short story I’ve ever written, and it had to come from such a dark place.
Yet that’s how I want to write again, am trying to figure out how to get back to. I am not the type to not write about things and it’s frustrating when I can’t find a way to make something that is that poetic, that powerful, that wild and intense, in a way that seems to erase the hard drive of my brain, scramble it into mush, into words that work, that make sense, that convey it all. Or maybe I’m wrong and it’s not meant to exist in English, or that kind of English. It’s just meant to exist in life. I don’t know, but at least I have that story, can look at it again and remember not just the bad or good times but that, well “The End” was not the end. There were other ends with us and maybe someday there will be something approximating friendship. It’s scary that even now, what, five+ years later, thinking about her can make me cry.
I guess there’s a reason this quote starts off the story:
“do you see her face
when she’s gone
sometimes so bright
your heart just stops
did she answer you
your other half
you know they say
she comes just once” — Sleater-Kinney, “Jenny”
Join @cupcakeblog in our (okay, it’s really my) quest to make #cupcakes a trending topic! As always, get your daily cupcake fix at Cupcakes Take the Cake. And don’t hold my bad grammar against me - I meant “Get your Tweeting fingers” but my mind’s been a little distracted.