Remembering

A Bedtime Story

The air in my room is a little too still, so I crack the window and let the cool November night sing me to sleep. I bury my eyelashes in a soft pillowcase and wish for sleep to come quickly, just this once, a nightly ritual. It doesn’t, as has been the case all week. Despite the restlessness, my eyes are thankful for the rest the nighttime lends. Out the window I can hear cars pass on a highway a few blocks out, a murmur that blends with the breeze.

Clearly, distinctively, the sound of a train interrupts the rhythmic rustling of my body as I kick the sheets away, then pull them back.

I am a little girl again, burying my eyelashes in a soft pillowcase that smells of home, in a blue-walled sanctuary with soccer trophies on a bookshelf across from my bed. A train keeps me awake as it calls in the distance, warning the road of its presence. It’s strange how close it sounds, but it’s not close at all.

I know exactly how long it would take me to pedal there. It’s a long ride, one that takes me around Dead Man’s Curve, down the shaded street with speed bumps every ten yards, past the house with the mean horse, the sometimes-sweet goats, the streets named after flowers, and all the way down the big hill, the really big one with train tracks at the bottom. It’s not close. It’s a long ride, one I’m not allowed to make alone.

And in this new city, far from the room with the blue walls and a bookshelf now empty of childhood trophies, I’m having trouble remembering where I’ve passed a single set of train tracks, where a train could be running close enough I can hear it so clearly, so distinctively, warning the road of its presence.

Maybe it calls to me from the other side of the highway, where I only wander when I’m a little sad and a little lost. Maybe it’s a few blocks out, in a part of this city that remains more foreign to me than the rest. Maybe it’s far from me, past a set of streets named after flowers, at the bottom of a very big hill, a long bike ride away, one I’m still not quite old enough to make alone.

IMG_1262

Advertisements
Standard
Reflection

On Your Birthday

This time of year still feels haunted. Autumn feels like a gift that belongs to you, is overwhelmed with you, but absent of you. If you were alive, I like to think I would call you today. I like to think I would have apologized by now, that it wouldn’t take you leaving forever for me to realize how wonderful you are. I imagine I would call you and I’d wish you happy birthday, but I’d linger a little and stay on the line a little too long, even though you would have other calls to take and dinners to get ready for, because the whole world would be waiting to tell you how glad they are that you’re alive. I would ask you about work or some warmup question, one that doesn’t matter but feels essential. I’d ask about how your sister is, how home is, and you would say that everything is OK, and you’d tell me the most hilarious thing Victoria said the other day, and I would laugh with you because we both love her so much, and I would have figured that out by now. And I would tell you how I wish I was home to celebrate with you, to buy you a beer and give you a hug because I love you so much, and I would have told you that dozens of times by now. I would tell you about the boy, about the charm and the frustrations, and you would spout some brilliant advice, to be patient, to be sure to always be my brilliant beautiful self, and you’d say something perfect like, “I’m so happy that you’re happy, My Alien,” but a million times more eloquently because words were always on your side. And I would have teared up a little, even then, with you still alive and thriving and stringing words together perfectly on the other end of the line just hearing you call me by my favorite nickname, one no one has called me since you left.

Sometimes, I can still hear it, faint and far away and fleeting and full.

IMG_9969

Standard
Random

Season Sting

Today I ache for summer, for an open road with only one lane on each side, that weaves and winds and turns and stretches and couldn’t hold onto me if it tried. For time outside of coffee shops, for time with the stack of books beside my bed labeled “To Read When…” For a scratched CD scribbled “Summer 2010″ playing Sublime or Marvin Gaye or anything that sings to me from summers past through the warm wind that tangles my curls and reminds me that the glorious sun can heal everything, but stings a little. And I’ll take the sunburn and the Texas heat if it means I get to race to the lake after work on Friday and bury my toes under murky sandmud and stay up late playing music and eating snow cones because that’s what it means to me to be young and terrified of everything, especially growing up.

And I’m still young and terrified of everything, most certainly growing up, but everything else has changed.

Standard
Random

My Friend

I bought my first pack because I was angry with her. I don’t remember why, exactly. I’m sure it was something dumb. It always was. But I was angry, and I knew my buying a pack of cigarettes would upset her.

***

“You can have this one, but just this one. And you’re only allowed to smoke with me.”
She made me promise, and I did.

A good friend cares about things like this. She cares about not passing along her bad habits, and forgives you when you succumb to your own.

If you’re lucky, you’ll find a good one, maybe just one in your entire lifetime, who manages to be the perfect combination of therapist, mother, big sister, and crack spirit guide. She knows all of your secrets because they are easy to tell her.

She means it when she tells you that your gray hair isn’t as big of a deal as you make it, that you’re being a jerk when you are, and that you actually do deserve better. And she knows it’ll be at least three years before you figure it out for yourself. And when you do, you’ll laugh, the two of you, and she’ll forgive you for not listening the first time because she cares, more than anyone else, really.

At times, your lives ere on the side of absurd, when she wipes your tears all over your face and tells you they’re a natural moisturizer, or when you eat sad-time tacos like they’re a real thing.

In many ways, you’re unstoppable. The two of you are the ultimate Catch Phrase partnership, pulling from years of inside jokes and “Remember that song from that 7th grade Birthday Party mix CD?” moments. Your conversations are impossible to track for anyone else, as they’re placed within a context that took years to construct.

But it’s not your history that keeps you together. It’s not an obligation. You know a friendship like that is worth fighting for, worth preserving.

I bought my first pack of cigarettes because I knew it would upset her, and it did because she cares the most.

comment

Standard
Relevant

(throws confetti, once again)

Today is, in fact, my sweet little blog’s
fourthbirthday

Screen shot 2013-09-07 at 10.40.22 PMThat’s right, folks. Four whole years. They grow up so fast!
Anyway, I don’t have anything special planned, but I wanted to recognize this day and thank you all for sticking with me.

The past few months of grad school have been exceedingly difficult, emotionally more than anything else. This isn’t the first time I’ve felt that my writing has suffered because of school. It happens every semester when papers and tests pick up. But this seems to be something different entirely, and I’m trying to sort my way through it.

This space continues to grow and change as I do. So thanks for coming back.
Thanks for not giving up on me.

photocomment

Standard
Reflection

Wanting

I want a rooftop garden, or a porch with potted petunias, or even a dusty windowsill with tiny succulents to remind me I can keep something alive, to remind me to be thankful for the sun.
I want to make music every day.
I want to feel comfortable with my clumsiness, with my shaky voice.
I want to ask you what you’re thinking instead of guessing.
I want to stop writing about you.
I want to feel like someone worth Saturday mornings, worth sharing secrets, worth sharing silent spaces.
I want to stop pretending.
I want to live with fierce authenticity.
I want to toss away the irony, the apathy, the pretense, the bullshit.
I want to cry every time I hear that Death Cab song and always be terrified of my parents dying.
I want to stay up all night writing terrible poems.
I want to write about you until I understand.
I want to always remember what I love about writing.
I want to never compromise that for a career.
I want to care more but be a little less careful.
I want the questioning and certainty.
I want to settle in the unsettling contradictions.

I love abstractions, I love
to give them a nouny place to live,
a firm seat in the balcony
of ideas, while music plays.
I love them more than hard evidence
and shapely stones, more than money,
which can buy time, but not enough.

Stephen Dunn

Standard
Relevant

Write, Right When You Get There

I’m double posting about this because I think it’s pertinent to both my writing and design spaces. I typically keep the two separate, but I’m making an exception this time, so I apologize if you read both and find this redundant. 

I’m very excited to tell you that I recently completed my very first submission for The Sketchbook Project!

library1_hi

I’ve been a fan of Art House Co-op for years, and have participated in a number of their art swaps and smaller projects, but just contributed my first sketchbook to the collection.

To participate, you order a sketchbook from Art House Co-op and register the book with a particular tour you want your book to travel before being housed in the Brooklyn Art Library. The theme of the tour I chose is called “Write, Right When You Get There,” bringing together written story and visual artwork, which felt right up my alley. It also seemed like the perfect theme as (many of you already know, of course) I made a huge life transition and moved across the country just two months ago.

A lot of the writing that has appeared here the past few months was written first in my sketchbook and adapted for this little digital space, but if you’re in any of the cities along the tour (Kansas City, Louisville, Columbus, and Pittsburgh) or find yourself in Brooklyn any time soon, you should check out The Sketchbook Project and the Brooklyn Art Library. And if you feel like looking up my book, you can find it by this call number (216.5-7), and I would absolutely love to know if you do. Here are a few photos from my sketchbook.

ImageImageImageImageImage

comment

Standard