Friday, November 12, 2010

Closing Time

I began this blog as a place to rant and chronicle personal happenings and grievances, and-- while those chronicles now stand as artifacts from those times-- I don't need this any more. It served its purpose, and if I ever care to I can look back on it. Beyond that, though, I can't continue in the same vein. It's a moot point. Therefore, I'm closing this blog-- keeping it, but keeping it closed.

No regrets. Especially not for that time that I won an awesome scarf. Dude, that rocked.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Sad Stories

It is the first of September today. It's not fall yet, not officially, but there is no doubt that summer is over and gone. It wasn't a bad season. It had some ups, and more downs than I personally knew what to do with. The nature of time, though-- good or bad-- is to pass, and so it has.

Fall is always bittersweet at best, but I think this year I am more sensitive to the implications of the changing year. My springtime, when I started writing here, was a time of thawing-out and of unexpected new growth. I melted away from the unhappy routine I had been stuck in for so long, and began to take risks with my life. Some of them were sloppy, of course; I got involved with people and projects I shouldn't have, and their ending were not pleasant. I hurt people who might have otherwise been my friend. I was selfish, and I did things I regret.

From March onward, though, I was in love. It was more tumultuous and bold and terrifying than it has ever been for me, but nonetheless its shaky and unsure wings caught air and I was borne aloft. I was alone, however. I was too quick with my attachment, too excited at the prospect of something that seemed so perfect, and I ignored all previous experience-- to say nothing of all my friends' warnings. Caution was unknown to me. I thought it was the beginning of something huge, and relevant: that this could be my life.

Summer came, and we slowed down. Suddenly, we weren't spending every moment together, reveling in each other's presence and person. We still saw each other every day, or talked, but he began to withdraw. It was almost imperceptible at first, but I can't help teetering on an edge of insecurity, and it didn't take long for me to notice it. By June, when we were working on an opera together-- myself as an actor, and him directing-- it became the worst. I came home from rehearsals just to cry, knowing in my heart that it was falling apart around me. We had countless heartfelt conversations wherein he assured me he cared about me, that I hadn't done anything wrong, that he loved the time we spent together. I am still not sure he meant it.

July came, and we had one last holiday together-- Independence Day! (Of course there is irony in that). By that point, we barely touched anymore. Advances I made, even small gestures, were largely ignored. I loved him as much as ever, but he was a stranger to me. A few days later, I finally got a chance to talk to him, and I told him that I needed to be at least acknowledged, and not treated as though I were purely incidental and not any meaningful part of his life. And then came the biggest blow of all: he said that he was sorry I felt that way, but that he thought we had already ended things by a mutual agreement some weeks before. I was devastated, needless to say.

That very same day, however, I had signed on as stage manager for a show he was acting in, and we would spend nearly every day of the next two months together. Not an easy thing for a hurt and heartbroken girl to do, let me tell you. At first we didn't talk at all; then, briefly, here and there. There were a few longer, private, tearful conversations, but he was not used. I began to accept the fact that I had meant nothing to him. Life went on. We made peace, eventually, though I am not proud to say I went through phases of anger and bitterness and very unfriendly comments. We finally resolved to be friends, as painful and difficult as it still is. We don't know how to act around each other, no matter how natural we try to be. Disaster, in other words. Or, awkward. No good, either way.

But, here we are. We've wrapped the show, though we're trying to remount it here in town. If we do, he'll be commuting to make it-- he moves on Monday, a solid five hours away. I don't know if it's really a good thing. I think I will probably take a few huge steps back in the process, but there's nothing to be done. We are moving forward all the time, whether we like it or not.

For my part, I am done with entanglements. I know I won't be over him for a good long while, and a nasty part of me says that it is only fair that I got my heart broken. Upon reflection, I have never had a clean break from a relationship (maybe such a thing doesn't even exist). I have hurt good people, changed them. I always called the shots. I knew from the start that if, anyone would break my heart, it would be him. In that sense I was at least prepared.

I am getting better, though; I am finding things that I love to take up my time. I am spending my time with friends, which is lovely, and sometimes just hanging out alone, which is just as nice. I have been writing-- a few poems, and recently a short one-act play for a friend's senior show. I have decided that I need theater, and I will be declaring a double major upon my return to school-- I decided to take another semester off, to work and to really build enthusiasm for the whole school experience. In the meantime, I have been getting my name out to the theater companies in town, so they know that I want to be involved when there is a place for me. I'll also be doing a show with the university drama club; the cast and crew will probably be comprised entirely of people that I know and love. Right now, that is the most exciting prospect I have. I think I will probably be okay. That seems to be the way of things.

"Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter-- tomorrow we will run faster, stretch our arms out further... And one fine morning-- So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Loose Ends

A few things I forgot to add...

It's been exactly three months since my last post. Ridiculous! Right?

It's been exactly four years to the day since my first boyfriend left for basic training. It's strange how far away that time and that experience seems, yet it still impacts my life and personality so much.

And lastly, I've done a little (leeeetle) bit of writing recently. It can be found at my FictionPress page.


It's funny to me that I started writing here as a way to vent my frustrations and conflicting emotions in the wake of a terrible break-up, and then later as a way to confide the burgeoning of a reluctant romance. When I found myself in something that felt healthy and natural and good, however, I lost the impetus to post.

I suppose that is the way of art, at least for me; it's hard to create a spark in times of little friction.

But now, I'm much closer to where I started-- in abstract emotion, at least. I feel like I have grown leagues taller and broader in the past few months. What has actually been only a dozen or so weeks feels like the same amount of months; I don't know if any period in my life hitherto has stretched on so formless and plastic as this. I'm not complaining. It's been wonderful.

However, I think it's drawing to a close. The man whose head I was so ardently and earnestly throwing my affections has retreated almost completely, despite claims of wanting to make things work and being afraid of losing me. (My foot, I say. I'm learning to listen to actions over words).

It's unfortunate, truly, and I think this is as close as my heart has ever been to breaking. He's a wonderful person, and we're damn near perfect for each other, but he's held himself back so much that we never got a chance to truly be in love, and now I'm afraid the opportunity is lost forever. What hurts most is the neglected potential: that we could have been so much, and that that will never be realized.

But of course, my friends have heard this all a thousand times. I've been conscientious of my feelings and open about them-- to myself, to him, to the trusted few who will listen. It's complicated, and delicate, fragile and volatile... but that is the nature of relationships, and I suppose we just have to make of them what we are able.  I think-- especially with his upcoming move to Minneapolis-- that the happy age of bubbling, buoyant affection and intrigue is turning now into a quieter era of contemplation and solitude. I hope that regret will not be included in the litany, but only time will tell.

I have a few self-reliant dreams, though, so I can only imagine that everything is for the best. I have been working almost every day, and even though it sometimes exhausts me, I mostly enjoy it. I'm getting a promotion in September, and I hope that the accompanying raise will be enough to allow me to have my own apartment. I love the autonomy I have living here, where my roommate is neither related to me nor meddling in my business, but I don't really like anything about the arrangement itself. The apartment is small and dirty, everything's broken, I am not getting along with aforementioned roommate, the neighbors are disruptive and rude... the list goes on. So, hopefully, I will figure out a way to live on my own.

My next little dream is one that has been growing for awhile... It's in a delicate stage still, mostly just the amorphous stuff of thought and inspiration, but I think it has real potential. I want to start an autonomous theatre collective for young people here in Bemidji. I think there's a terrific market for it, plenty of talent and interest, and boundless potential. I'd like to incorporate social justice interests, too, and produce pieces that are thoughtful and provocative as well as entertaining and well put-together. I certainly think it's feasible. I'm going to be writing up a manifesto for it soon, and reaching out to contact relevant parties after that. My hope is that we can begin staging shows by next June.

The most significant foreseeable setback is, very simply, myself. By nature, I am a wonderful starter of things, but I am rarely able to sustain them and see them through to completion. I shall do my best, though, and perhaps motivate myself by tracking it here and in social circles. Wish me the best, if you please.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


There's a poem, called "Honey," written by a Minnesota native named Connie Wanek. I've come across her work before, but I found this one through Garrison Keillor's Writer's Almanac. As it happens, it was the poem of the day for March 14th, which is a wonderful date for an array of reasons. Personally, it also marked a first-- and very important-- kiss. The poem, though! (Before I blush!)


Luxury itself, thick as a Persian carpet,
honey fills the jar
with the concentrated sweetness
of countless thefts,
the blossoms bereft, the hive destitute.

Though my debts are heavy
honey would pay them all.
Honey heals, honey mends.
A spoon takes more than it can hold
without reproach. A knife plunges deep,
but does no injury.

Honey moves with intense deliberation.
Between one drop and the next
forty lean years pass in a distant desert.
What one generation labored for
another receives,
and yet another gives thanks.

--Connie Wanek.

Now here's the strange part. Normally, a few reads into a poem, I Get It. You know? Things click into place, and every subsequent reading brings a little more to the meaning I have previously gleaned from it. This one, though, I am having trouble with. I have a few ideas-- I am probably wrong-- I am going to leave it up here so that I can check back on it often and see if I have any thinks.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Empty Houses

I wrote in my last post that my former Lit teacher, Director Dan, had introduced us to Stafford's "A Ritual to Read to Each Other," but I neglected to say that his exposing us to wonderful poetry never really ended. He slipped in poems when he thought students weren't looking, like a parent driving their child to the dentist without ever having revealed the destination; poetry was a territory that most students would never want to explorewillingly, however much good it might do them. This poem is one that he read at our high school commencement, and has stuck with me ever since. The refrain is the absolution and the saving grace.

The Stare's Nest By My Window

The bees build in the crevices
Of loosening masonry, and there
The mother birds bring grubs and flies.
My wall is loosening; honey-bees,
Come build in the empty house of the stare.

We are closed in, and the key is turned
On our uncertainty; somewhere
A man is killed, or a house burned.
Yet no clear fact to be discerned:
Come build in the empty house of the stare.

A barricade of stone or of wood;
Some fourteen days of civil war:
Last night they trundled down the road
That dead young soldier in his blood:
Come build in the empty house of the stare.

We had fed the heart on fantasies,
The heart's grown brutal from the fare,
More substance in our enmities
Than in our love; O honey-bees,
Come build in the empty house of the stare.

It's a bit of a grim poem, but grim is what the world is sometimes. I was going to add the other poems I have been digesting, but I think this will do for now. Contemplation.


My friend Ramey referred to me as a conduit today; he meant "messenger," but I preferred his original diction. What a lovely thought, that things should pass through me and transfer to the consciousness of others! So here are a few things I encountered today, that brought me a little joy.

I worked a strange shift today-- we call it the "middle kid" shift. It overlaps the opening and closing shifts by two and a half hours each, so you do a little of everything. As it was happens, I was relegated to cooking sausage for our breakfast burritos (although I haven't eaten red meat in over five years, and in fact was totally vegetarian until last fall when I abandoned it for health reasons, there is still a fascinating sort of alchemy about cooking meat that I enjoy). Breaking up the pound of it in the skillet, I realized that one chunk looked remarkably like the continent of Africa.  Incredible! As I continued to poke around, I found too an America-- Central American countries attached! And then, South America! Australia! New Zealand, Greenland, Iceland... remarkable similarities, all of them. It certainly made me wish for a camera, but, alas, none were to be had. I dubbed it Geography Sausage and went about my kitcheny business.

It was, of course, a Continental Breakfast.

Har har.

After work (my days are indeed divided by that omnipresent factor), I was walking along the street towards home when I found an envelope full of cash. Lots of cash! For a minute, I wondered if I had wandered into a Philosophy 101 textbook (Section One: Moral Autonomy*. Due Thursday). Without a second thought, though, I identified the bank where it had come from, and raced to get there before it closed. I had to walk through the drive-through-- the lobby was closed-- but I'm so glad I got an opportunity to get the money back into its rightful hands. I felt pretty good about it, in some selfish way, but it's so rewarding to imagine the relief of the person who thought they had dropped it. Wonderful!

Still on the same walk-- I should add, it's really not a very long walk by any means; today's was simply rich-- I happened on an elderly dog limping like zig-zagged lightning through streets and into strangers' yards (and trash). We were working in the same general direction for a few blocks, and then I caught up to him; I called the owners, who happened to be only a few blocks from where I was, and walked him home. Probably a very small thing, maybe even meddling (I hope not) but I know that, if karma's kind, I'd like someone to do the same for me. Besides that, the house from which Shadow (the delinquent) had escaped is only two doors down from where I'll be living-- so, I sort of know someone in the neighborhood. That's a good thing!

(*-- Moral Autonomy was oft-repeated phrase in my senior year of high school; my Lit teacher, also the director of our small charter school, used it in everything from lessons to our many, many school trips.  I remember him giving a short informal lecture on it just before reading what is now one of my favorite poems, while on a ten-day "camping" trip in January... which, as it happens, changed my life. So much to say! That poem is this:

A Ritual to Read To Each Other

If you don't know the kind of person I am
and I don't know the kind of person you are
a pattern that others made may prevail in the world
and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.

For there is many a small betrayal in the mind,
a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break
sending with shouts the horrible errors of childhood
storming out to play through the broken dyke.

And as elephants parade holding each elephant's tail,
but if one wanders the circus won't find the park,
I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty
to know what occurs but not recognize the fact.

And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy,
a remote important region in all who talk:
though we could fool each other, we should consider—
lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark.

For it is important that awake people be awake,
or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;
the signals we give—yes or no, or maybe—
should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.

--William Stafford.

Incidentally, William Stafford also has a poem called Lit Instructor, which I always associated with Director Dan. The last lines of the poem are some of my favorites: "Well, Right has a long and intricate name/ And the saying of it is a lonely thing." Again: Moral Autonomy!)

Really, these are just a few little things, but I suppose everything's pretty little from the right perspective. Now, the evening is winding down; I'm going to clean to some sweet soundtracks for awhile, windows open, and then maybe spend some time with the man who has quickly become my favorite company. It's been a good day; I feel like the bridges I didn't realize I was burning between my friends are slowly being rebuilt, and I am entering a more placid territory with them. I guess that deserves an explanation unto itself. For now, though, I've got real, tangible messes to soothe; I will save the metaphysics for a metaphorical morning. Between then and now, I will surely post the set of poems that has been haunting me. Later tonight, perhaps.