on the question of whether or not the author still lives
the quiet summer
it's funny, after awhile so much stuff has happened and you think to yourself, how do I even get started? so you just keep "write on the blog" on your to do list every day only it increases in urgency and becomes more strident in tone so it's more like WRITE ON THE BLOG FOR THE LOVE OF GOD
the sad truth
summer: work, endless work, days of waking at 5:45 and getting to work -- the barn, or the opera, or wherever -- by 6:45, then going back and forth between jobs; running errands for one job then making two hours worth of copies for another, then page-turning, etc etc. what can I say, y'all: girl's gotta eat.
I do this thing I call 'robot brain,' where robot brain = turning yourself into a productive machine and turning off the part of your brain that says I don't want to do this or mother of god, I'm tired, or it's so nice out and it's july, why are we inside right now? In order to keep chugging along I had to turn off the part of my brain that said, but this is not the summer I wanted to have, this is not a summer at all and then go back to the photocopier.
• I killed some chickens. (not those chickens up there.) well, I didn't actually kill any this time but I did drive down to philomath to help my friend rachel eviscerate some chickens one day. it's such weirdly satisfying work. everybody's strangely cheery and we're throwing chicken guts into buckets for four hours. I still have a bunch of chicken in my freezer. I think I'd do it every time they butchered if only I had every other tuesday off work.
• I successfully survived the softball season and nobody quit and everybody seemed ok with my rosters and lineups and I found big league chew in three flavors. and I chewed it.
• I made ricotta cheese.
• I picked probably close to 30 pounds of raspberries and strawberries from my garden and I ate every pound of that right the heck up.
• I started a tiny side business doing other people's yardwork. I've been joking about it for years but now it's happening. it's perfect.
• I sat in the same airport parking lot and looked at the same small airplane hangar seemingly always.
• I met a bunch of interesting and famous chamber musicians, like phil setzer and nadja salerno-sonnenberg who are all charming and funny and almost every single one of them said, "oh man, poor you! this [picking up people at the airport] must be the worst part of the job," and then I'd reply to every single one of them, "actually it's my favorite part of the job," and that was the truth.
• I got into a car accident. in the work van. which was a rental. yes, it's on its roof. I accidentally ran a red light and I got t-boned by some 18-year-olds (not as appetizing as it sounds) and the top-heavy van went right over and skittered down the hill on its roof. I spent the entire time saying, out loud, 'you're okay, you're okay,' and then the van stopped and I tried to figure out WHAT IS THIS LIQUID THAT'S ALL OVER ME OH GOD and then I realized it was water from my water bottle because I was upside down. some people out on the road immediately started shouting at me to get out of the van because it was going to catch on fire!!! and since I couldn't see them I assumed they knew what they were talking about and I yelled WELL GIVE ME A SECOND I'M UPSIDE DOWN HERE and then I managed to disengage the seat belt, which of course meant I fell on my head, and then I crawled out the shattered driver side window. I stood on the side of the road with the teenagers, all of whom were fine, except that the driver was in complete hysterics. a nice nurse lady came out of nowhere and told me to use my sweater (white) to help stop the bleeding from my palms, which were cut from the glass when I CLIMBED OUT THE DRIVER SIDE WINDOW. I didn't really want to (they weren't that bad) but she seemed like she knew what she was doing and I was a little dazed and she was right, I guess I could buy another sweater.
later I learned that your own spit will, in fact, get your own blood out of clothing. the internet debates this point but I can tell you firsthand that my previously white, then momentarily blood-stained sweater is now again white.
I also learned that when people at work tell me that I'm graceful under pressure they are apparently right. I stood on the side of the road quietly and stared at the van and thought, in this order, "oh my god I'm okay," "oh my god, everyone else is okay," and "oh my god, that is the fucking work van." but I just stood there bleeding into my sweater and wondering why the very nice firemen hadn't offered me a band-aid (?) and as we watched the towing company try multiple times to flip the van over so it could be towed, I cracked a joke and one of the first responders said, "you know, we go to crash sites all the time and I gotta tell you, you are remarkably calm."
so apparently I'm good at being in car accidents.
if you want to know what it's like to roll a car, you should just imagine what you think it would be like to roll a car.
when jennifer came to get me -- and hold on a sec, internet, while I tell you how everybody needs a jennifer in their life who can be called with any sort of crisis and who can be relied upon to come and help you and stand with you with your bleeding hands (and dry mouth, and rapidly increasing shivering) and tell you stories about her stupid car accidents, because they are very precious and rare and I'm grateful for mine -- we stood and watched the car finally get flipped over, and then she dropped me off here and I spat all over my sweater and then I wrote an email to nadja salerno-sonnenberg telling her how to get to her rehearsal in the morning. because I told her I'd do it when I got home.
if you want to know what it's like to work in the arts, that's what it's like.
then I called my boyfriend and told him I was okay and then I hung up and realized how close I came to dying and then I burst into tears.
I'm okay now. in the end I walked away with less bruising than I get in some races. modern automotive safety standards, I salute you.
• I ran another one of those races. it was shorter than the last one but harder, a lot of intense climbing at elevation. my constant race companion, joy, came along and we ran it together, which mostly meant she ran in front of me and tugboated me along. I hadn't run since the middle of june. it approached the outer limit of what I'm capable of with zero training.
but somehow I won my age group. I don't know either. when they called my name as the division winner, I said, "WHAT?" I think maybe I was the only 30-34 year old lady?
on late july and the things that may happen there
I have two weeks where I'm only working my part-time job (along with feeding horses. and doing yardwork), and then I spend a week on the east coast. today is day one of the two weeks. I mostly have spent today catching up on Life Things that have heretofore gone untended.
the remaining days are going to be spent in a brief but passionate summer whirlwind: bike, horse, open road, beach, sunshine, margaritas.
July 5, 2013
Every time my friend gets dumped,
he pens a letter to his newest ex.
The letters feel like weird commencement
speeches, he says. Each one starts
with an anecdote then blooms
into a vague blessing. So one opens
with a tale of a stranger knocking
on a strange door. It ends
with an uncharted sea, the bow
of the lover’s boat kissing the tops
of waves, wind messing the hair,
virgin coastlines straight ahead.
Or another letter kicks off with a story
of two golden retrievers, digging separate holes
in a common yard. Then closes
with a prayer, clouds that part,
a funnel of light. Hey, it’s been fun!
You were "here." Successfully,
you finished being "here." Good luck.
So that was my version of the anecdote.
Here’s my attempt at the blessing—
I haven’t slept in days.
I can’t find a single amusing narrative
to narrow all this history into a metaphor
for this moment. You are heading off toward—
somewhere. I hope you get there.
- matthew olzmann, commencement speech delivered to an audience of one
because I know you stop by my corner of the internet from time to time: best of luck to you on your journey, g. I hope you finally believe that you deserve to be happy, and I hope at last you are.
at 6:29 AM