Monday, December 27, 2010
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Monday, November 29, 2010
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Friday, November 5, 2010
Monday, November 1, 2010
My dad called me a few days ago and asked me if I'd seen the "time traveller" video on youtube. Okay. My father doesn't introduce stories gracefully or...sufficiently. What he was attempting to tell me about was the video that went viral recently involving the 1928 Charlie Chaplin film The Circus. Some filmmaker in Ireland freeze-framed a shot of an old woman walking past Grauman's Chinese in the movie's premiere footage. He claims she's holding and talking on a modern cell phone, and that must mean she's a time traveller (I mean, duh). Well. I watched it. Admittedly, it's freakish looking--one of those black and white images that ends up looking creepy because someone told you it's supposed to be creepy. But if you have a right mind (which I pride myself in often, given my troubling genetic pool), then it's easy to rationalize. Old-fashioned hearing aid, crazy lady talking into some random object...anything. Got it, check. None of this is the point. That day, I went to lunch with my dad and humored him for a bit about the topic. Then I saw and seized a perfect opportunity to try and learn something new about the man that raised me. I asked him where he'd go, if he could go anywhere back in time. Here's what he said, almost verbatim:
"Well...I guess the real answer is that I'd go back to Boston at the time of the American Revolution. You know, see how the people actually wore, what they seemed like. Understand what this country actually looked like back them. I'd just walk the streets."
I didn't expect that one. Not from him. Maybe from me, self-professed history dork for life. But what I realized deep in my gut, listening to him say that, is that he and I have more of a common thread than I had ever believed...and we share it with most Americans. It's an innate sense, a pulling force, a need, to mine the past for the answers to who we are. What else made me think about this? Halloween of all holidays. Kids love it, for sure, but most adults who celebrate Halloween use it a a chance to dress up as a character that they feel projects some part of their own internal monologue. That's why so many people dress up as historical figures, I think. Three of my friends were Frida Kahlo this year. Where did that come from? But they're all artistic, smart woman who, I'd imagine, admire the artist's individuality, spunk, and tragic narrative. Call me cynical, but I do think we all secretly hope to be part of some epic, haunting narrative. It's like the Irish guy trying to scare us with 80-year-old movie clips. The historic is often the haunted.
One more thing. My dad just revealed to me on the phone a few hours ago that he knows the location of several VHS tapes of my childhood. My sister's fifth grade graduation. A trip we took to Colorado when I was ten. I told him I wanted to watch them immediately. Will it be a little strange to see myself so long ago? Yes. The past scares us because it's a truth (often quite beautiful) that can no longer be argued with.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Sunday, October 24, 2010
ONE ART [Elizabeth Bishop]
The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent to be lost that their loss is no disaster.
Lose something every day. Accept the fluster of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.
Then practice losing farther, losing faster: places, and names, and where it was you meant to travel.
None of these will bring disaster.
I lost my mother's watch.
And look! my last, or next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master. I lost two cities, lovely ones.
And, vaster, some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.
--Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture I love) I shan't have lied.
It's evident the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Sunday, October 10, 2010
greetings from the brownlee-asseff-reed homestead.
eleanor took a bath in the sink one night recently. because she was being too feisty for me to let her stand in the tub. her punishment? a hawk, which she's rockin' here.
on the agenda:
-e just moved into her permanent room. she's next door to me, so it's kind of like i have a 10-month-old roommate. um, gone are the days of drinkin' mah beer and blastin' arcade fire in my bedroom. oh well, i guess i'm an adult now. or a baby, come to think of it. anyway, joan and i are in search of purple-themed decor. it's coming together.
-writing has intensified as i attempt to complete the first full rough draft of a dissertation chapter. god help this girl.
-my 26th birthday is three weeks away. i need pretty much a new version of everything. internetz, feel free to just have a mind of your own and send me shit from amazon.
-i need to have my own website. i'm sick of being out-cooled by people who do ;)
Thursday, September 16, 2010
There is a certain tangible sadness in watching the summer fade away. The wind changes scent, becomes mustier, promising the chill and the colors of autumn. I'm watching people settle into the sighs and light sweaters. Vacation photos have long been shared. The laziness of the heat, well, it's no excuse anymore. Certainly some music must be retired because it's saced for the summer months. Some dreams now slumber until this season comes around again. Bless you, summer. Thank you for a thousand tiny gifts, some which I hope grow to see you again next year.
Monday, July 26, 2010
1) Neutral Milk Hotel, "King of Carrot Flowers, Pt. 1" (In the Aeroplane over the Sea) [Some of the best lyrics ever written, I venture. "And this is the room/one afternoon I knew I could love you." Melt. Too bad it's such a short song.]
2) Phoenix, "1901" (Wolfgang Amadeus Pheonix) [Yep, you heard this playing over the Wimbledon promos..."folded, folded, folded!" The energy in infectious.]
3) Passion Pit, "Little Secrets" (Manners)
4) Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, "Hot Summer Night" (self-titled) [Enough said.]
5) Beck and Bat for Lashes, "Let's Get Lost" (Eclipse soundtrack) [Don't judge. These soundtracks are stellar. And this is one of the best song's of the year thus far.]
6) Fleet Foxes, "Ragged Wood" (Ragged Wood) ["Come down from the mountain--you have been gone too long."]
7) Little River Band, "Cool Change" [Anthem-esque classic. No laughing.]
8) Stars, "The Last Song Ever Written" (The Five Ghosts) [One of the best albums this summer...mellow, haunting. They'll be Austin in November!]
9) 22-20s, "Ocean" (Shake/Shiver/Moan)
10) Laura Marling, "Rambling Man" (I Speak Because I Can) [Her voice is old-soul, but she's so effing young. One of the best songbirdish albums this year.)
11) The Morning Benders, "Excuses" (Big Echo) [These guys came outta nowhere and claimed a lustful following quickly. This song is pure, soft sex! "You tried to taste me/And I taped my tounge to the southern tip of your body/Our bones are too heavy to come up/Squished into a single cell of wood/Wooooood ... woooooooood/And I made an excuse/And you found another way to tell the truth/I put no one else above us/We'll still be best friends when it all turns to dust."
12) Bon Iver, "Skinny Love" (For Emma, Forever Ago) ["Mah-ma-my-my"...makes you want to hum along. This album holds up like a steel drum. One of my favorites.]
Saturday, July 24, 2010
I'm finally officially settled in Austin, Texas, inhabiting the back bedroom of my sister's beautiful bungalow. My brother in law is a much-accomplished political scientist, so the bookshelves here are overloaded with heavy works by the likes of Chomsky. There's a precocious cat wandering around; she answers simply to "Kitty," has oddly human-like emotions, and seems to think she runs this place. Eleanor, my niece, learned to sit up on her own today. She's all chunky cuteness and "ga-ga's." And Joan manages it all with grace and clarity. In other words, I'm home. I feel grounded and clear-headed for the first time in a long time.
When I turned 25, a friend of mine said to me, "You'll have it made now. 25 is when it all started to make sense, for me. You'll begin to understand that your destiny really is your own making, and that no one is going to do it for you." Well into my 25th year, I'm realizing how right she was. My latest thing is that I've squeezed out all the room I had in my gut for hesitation.
I realized that when you remove that gnawing of worrying about what others think, you enjoy all of your days and moments infinitely more. I think a lot of worry, for all of us, comes from hiding things away or wondering if others are as well. I'm moving forward unashamed of the tapestry of happenings that put me here, that made me who I am at 25, unabashedly forthright about the questions I have. I'm looking for the answers, but I'm doing it the fun way.
Too deep for a Saturday morning? Sue me.
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Follow this link [http://www.thenewpoets.blogspot.com] to check out my newest space. I decided recently that a) blogging is important to me, and it's about damn time I actually try to widen my audience by focusing on a singular topic and b) music plays too big a role in my daily life to not place myself in its world somehow, even in a small way.
Check it out, you know you want to. Intro's up!
Friday, July 16, 2010
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Here goes--a few are even annotated.
Bessie Smith, “Backwater Blues” (1927)—Flood story, makes you cry unless you...um, have absolutely no heart or aren't southern...enough said.
The Carter Family, “My Clinch Mountain Home” (1929)—Historiography has taken away the romantic myth of the Carter family as untouched wild things, but every time I hear this song, I can visualize Ralph Peer sitting dumbfounded in the Bristol studio as the family let it all out.
Billie Holiday, “Strange Fruit” (1939)/
Nina Simone, “Strange Fruit” (1965)—Two versions of the most lyrically bold (and hauntingly beautiful) song about racial injustice in the American South.
Hank Williams, “The Log Train” (1952)—This was Williams’ only truly autobiographical song, a dirge-like tribute to his father’s days running lumber on Alabama’s rail lines. There must be a dozen different stories about his relationship to his father. I read one claim that he wrote this song on a visit back to Alabama in early 1952, perhaps because he was so moved by the memories; that story matches up with the date on the original demo, but who knows if he’d sat on the song for years or not. It wasn’t officially released until 1982, but the song has become a bit of a cult classic among Williams’ devout fans. I love it because it’s his voice at its rawest but perhaps also at its calmest. In just a few lines, it’s the story of a family living day by day.
Ray Charles, “Georgia on my Mind” (1960)—I like Willie Nelson’s 1978 version as well, but this is the classic.
Sam Cooke, “A Change is Gonna Come” (1964)—That the song was released posthumously makes it even more powerful.
Bob Dylan, “Stuck in Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again” (1966)—The way Dylan’s voice lifts up on the word “again” in the chorus makes me so happy; I can’t even explain why.
The Band, “The Night they Drove Old Dixie Down” (1969)—“He was just eighteen, proud and brave, but a Yankee laid him in his grave.”
Dolly Parton, “Coat of Many Colors” and Loretta Lynn, “Coal Miner’s Daughter” (both 1971)—If there was a “narrative songs about dirt-poor but loving Tennessee families who produced famous singing daughters,” well…okay, you get the point.
Vicki Lawrence, “The Night the Lights went out in Georgia” (1972)--Southern gothic at its best (and by “best,” I certainly mean grittiest). Corrupt cops, “backwoods southern lawyers,” promiscuity, family violence…once you read the lyrics, it’s almost too much to take. My mom loved this song, and of course when I was little I had no idea what the story actually entailed. But whenever Lawrence sang “The judge in the town’s got bloodstains on his hands,” my little body cringed and I imagined that his hands were actually bleeding. Reba McIntire did a cover of it in 1991, but the original holds up better.
Neil Young, “Alabama” (1972)
Ike and Tina Turner, “Nutbush City Limits” (1973)—Her hometown (apparently, though, barely incorporated) was Nutbush, TN. The lyrics are simple—she’s describing life in a pinprick southern town. “Church house/gin house, school house/outhouse”…come on! Maybe that’s southern history in a nutshell. (Pardon the pun.)
Lynyrd Skynyrd, “Sweet Home Alabama” (1974)
Outkast, “Rosa Parks” (1998)—The crazy thing is that I’ve heard this song play at weddings in the South, and some of the adults dancing to it have no clue as to what exactly they’re dancing to. That may be a phenomenon in itself—how Outkast became a wedding reception favorite.
Erykah Badu, “Southern Gul” (1999)—“I’ve got a dirty way, cause I’ve got a dirty mouth.” And she even “likes her tofu fried.” This is an unabashedly satirical little tune about the modern, southern black woman.
Allison Krauss, “The Scarlet Tide” (2003) –Krauss is always good, but here she’s absolutely haunting. It’s a woman trying to justify her husband’s absence. She’s smart, she understands the economic woes and politicking that are irrevocably connected to the Civil War, though—“swindlers who act like kings and brokers who break everything.” As the listeners, we get a sense that her husband isn’t coming back, that the blood trickling down through the mountain is going to make her a widow, no longer a bride.
Zac Brown Band, “Chicken Fried” (2009)—The more I listen to this, I think it’s not only great country-pop, but it’s also lyrically beautifully. “It’s clear when love is grown in southern ground” and “let freedom forever fly”…that’s timeless stuff.
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Monday, July 5, 2010
Sunday, June 27, 2010
On Monday, Jenna (my first official Austin friend!) and I jumped into Barton Springs at about 3pm. You'd think the water would be warmed by the Texas sun; no, it's freezing. I kind of felt like I was completely letting go as I jumped in.
I'm learning my way around here, slowly but surely. I'm reading a lot, and the writing is coming easier. Amazing what a completely clean slate will do, eh?
Austin is officially home for now. Still, I find myself surprisingly excited to go spend a few more days Louisiana-way. I'm a LA/TX girl.
Friday, June 25, 2010
Monday, June 21, 2010
This afternoon I had an Abba attack. You read that right. It happens every once in awhile; I inherited this tick from my mother. She used to sing "Fernando" to sing me to sleep at night. My uncle walked into Starbucks today as I was blaring my ears out; I said to him, "I don't know how I'm going to work this Abba energy out." He replied, "Maybe it will help if you talk about it? When did it start?" I told him, about five minutes prior. He laughed and had no solutions.
Don't go wasting your emotions. Lay all your love on me.
Sunday, June 20, 2010
In 1994, John Berendt, a self-professed “Yankee” writer, pulled Savannah, Georgia, into the national cultural consciousness with a (literal) bang; Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, often mistaken for a novel but purely NON-fiction, is the sexually-charged tale of a murder allegedly committed by a member of Savannah’s elite circle. Anyone who reads the book, though, quickly realizes that far more important than the trial that Berendt documents is his overall literary interpretation of the city as perhaps the most southern place on earth. Berendt is not a historian (and I say, thank God in this case), so he doesn't really contextualize his work within any broader cultural, political, or economic claims about the South. He doesn't have to. Presenting a cast of beyond-eccentric characters, Berendt proposes that Savannah is a city lost within itself, isolated and forever caught in the gardenia-scented, gin-soaked mores of a mythic Old South that other places have fought to erase. He presents the one picture southern historians don't want to see. There is no progressive narrative here, and no one's even got a progressive agenda up their seersuckered sleeve. It's not a post-civil rights South, which is the South we all want to believe that we live in now.
Berendt is clearly the outsider in his own story, a willing carpetbagger; he, in turn, attracts Savannah’s odd-ducks like flies on peach juice. Some of them want to flaunt their peculiarities as if those oddities were sparkling tiaras (for a few, they actually are!), to show an intruder like Berendt that they can thrive only in a place as untouched as Savannah. The city might still be shrouded in a less-than-pretty past, but at least it allows individualism to flourish. Right?
Hmmm. If we are to believe that Savannah is actually Berendt’s southern gothic Savannah, then it is a place where blacks still stay away from whites for the most part, where the police will turn an eye to wealthy men driving with cocktails at the helms of their Cadillacs, and the hypocrisies of homophobia still thrive the way they did in, say, 1954. The best-written character in this book is the one we're sure is no-part fabrication; "The Lady" Chablis, who befriended Berendt and showed him the ropes around the city's seedier nooks, is very much a celebrated (black) Savannah Drag Queen whose mouth is as dirty as a bucket of mud. But she also takes stock in her status as a southern "lady." How does this place operate, with the gentility of a dusty noblesse oblige living next door to the elite's worst nightmares (i.e. conversing about sex, conversing about same-sex sex, having both, you get the point)? It just does, Berendt insists, and Savannah patriots don't want any help from the outside. Questioning anything would mean addressing bigger problems--racism, class-ism (it exists), raging poverty and persistent random violence.
I think Berendt writes out real stories the way that historians often should. Without the albatross of footnotes, as a writer he's able to present a sequence of events the way his mind has processed them. A few facts might be tweaked, but they're tweaked to make the story fuller, more visual, more compelling. It's emotional. I would rank Midnight in a top-ten list of works of southern history (and then I'd take unending flack from my colleagues, and maybe be expelled from the field altogether), but there's one thing about it that really bugs the hell out of me. And it bugged me even more during this most recent reading.
So Savannah residents fear change, huh? They fear outsiders? They also don't WORK in this book. Berendt is told at the beginning of his visit to stay securely within the city's main borders. So I understand why he doesn't, say, visit the paper mill nearby on the Savannah River. But did he really not encounter anyone who worked there? Because I'm pretty sure that even in the 1990s Union-Camp (formerly Union Bag, later International Paper) employed thousands of locals, both black and white. Lots of folks who work part-time in the city's flourishing tourism industry also pull hours at the mill.
Even more surprising is that Berendt doesn't discuss the industrial side of Savannah at all. Not one word. Didn't he smell the sulphur in the air? Paper mills in places like Savannah can be smelled from the highways; residents get used to it, but outsiders notice it right away. Anyway, I'm not going to dwell on his omission. My point is that the city's industrial leaders, and workers for that matter, pretty much demanded the help and guidance of an outside world starting in the 1970s. That's what the entire second half of my dissertation will be about; Ralph Nader sent it an investigative team in the summer of 1970 to test the Savannah River for pollutants and help residents gain the upper-hand against Union Camp. The elite that Berendt writes of? Yeah, the Old South-ers turned their heads. But workers, and some families who'd seen their drinking water darken, and fishermen and tree farmers in the periphery...they sure as hell wanted help to fix raging environmental problems. They had the gusto to address racial concerns as well. Imagine that (ironic voice)! A group of black workers filed a discrimination suit against Union in the 1980s...and won.
But Berendt's book confirmed the graying prophecy of main-square(s)-Savannah. In a way, he kind of lets those old white boys win. Without the smokestacks, it makes sense that Savannah could be an island. But with them...well, hello modernity and its problems. I guess that's where I come in.
I still love the book, for the recond.
Friday, June 18, 2010
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Monday, June 14, 2010
1) Vampire Weekend, "Diplomat's Son" (from Contra)//off their latest album, which takes some adjustment but is just as fantastic as their debut. This song has some particularly addictive beats and background vocals.
2) Deer Tick's cover of Sean Kingston's "Beautiful Girls"//No joke. John Macauley's voice is incredibly gruff, the band's sound best described as grunge-y folk. This cover is random and odd, but wonderfully so.
3) Passion Pit, "Eyes as Candles" (from Manners)//I'm angry because their shows in Austin this summer are already sold out! This song has a strange tinge of an 80s pop on its edges, love it. Crazy-catchy chorus..."Why do I always need to need you when, when you're fleeting?"
4) Eric Hutchinson, "Rock and Roll" (from Sounds Like This)//Had this recommended to me recently; immediately liked Hutchinson's gentle guitar/thoughtful lyrics.
5) Spoon, "Don't You Evah" (From Ga Ga Ga Ga)//This song IS summer for me. Windows down, sunglasses on, mouth the words in sync with blatantly narcissistic nods of your head. This is also dedicated to little Will Berry, that precious 3-year-old in Athens, Ga., who replies to his mother (my dear friend Franny) with this phrase sometimes: "Don't you evah!"
6) The Decemberists, "Summersong" (from The Crane Wife)//A given. I mean, come on..."I taste the summer on your peppery skin."
7) Yo La Tengo, "Here Comes My Baby" (from Fakebook)//This song will make you want to dance down a street...and if you're me, it'll make you want to dance down the street toward a cute little dude who's singing this to you!
8) Broken Bells, "The Ghost Inside" (from Broken Bells)//Continue to be obsessed with this band. I missed their show in Athens, sadly, last week. But I heard it was amahzin!
9) The Corrs, "Summer Sunshine" (from Borrowed Heaven)//Gotz no shame in loving The Corrs; my friend Brian is the most dedicated Corrs fan EVER (I have no statistical proof, of course, but I'm pretty sure I'm right) and gifted me all of their albums last year. This song is incredibly joyful...and it's well-constructed pop.
10) Band of Horses, "Ode to the LRC" (from Cease to Begin)//BOH oldie but goodie..."The world is such a wonderful place, la de da de da!"
Saturday, June 12, 2010
Today I began my--and I'm guesstimating here--seventh reading of John Berendt's Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. I came across it when I was twelve (not long after it was published, in 1994), and my mom watched wide-eyed as my little eyes soaked it up in a couple of sittings. Murders and the sultry heat of Savannah, cemeteries, hoodoo, prostitutes...basically, this novel is a late-twentieth century take on the Southern Gothic; that my twelve-year-old self was already processing the pitfalls of the southern myth versus the southern reality...well, I don't think it shocked anyone. Least of all my mom. My mind may have developed some of its social skills a little later than others in my cohort, but the literary chasms of my brain sprouted wings by the time I made it to the third grade. So we'd stroll through Barnes and Noble (still a haunt of mine) on Saturdays, and any book that struck mah fancy...well, she humored me.
This one stuck with me, through high school, then through college. I would have had no way of knowing the significant role it would play in my writing career and research. Kind of like the print that hung above my mother's desk while I was growing up; I didn't realize until last year, after I began my dissertation research on the Savannah paper industry, that it was of the Hermitage Plantation (the property that Union Bag and Paper built their mill on in 1936). The symbols of a New South built, literally, on the ashes of the Old...watching my mother work in her wood-panelled office all those years. Oh, irony. Now it's my bread and butter, unraveling the narrative of a modern southern economy whose denizens still hang so much of their symbolisms, their politics, and even their diets, on the images of an older order (that are simultaneously nasty and beauitfully mysterious). I've yet to decide if Savannah really is the hothouse that Berendt writes of; but my indecision tells me that it must be pretty damn close.
Maybe this seventh reading will open even more metaphorical windows and doors. I'll let ya know.
Thursday, June 10, 2010
And, you know what? Silva-Braga is right. Americans spend most of their time gathering money to buy things they never have time to use; isn’t some of that money better spent on collecting experiences? Travel doesn’t have to be a four-star, save-up-for-three-years kind of thing; it can be, actually, the here and now. There are people out there to meet, to learn from, and infinite venues within which to do it. Here are a few of our experiences.
At a cafe in Napoli, third night of the trip. We met up with Catherine's brother David there, and his lovely wife Meg (pictured below). I wish we had a photo of our Napoli hostel host; Giovanni opens his home (nestled in a 700-year-old apartment building) to roughly twenty young strangers every evening. He made us feel safe in a city that isn't cozy. Napoli is old and stunning, but it's also scarred--by graffiti, crime, and a frenetic bustling.
Tuesday, June 8, 2010
One) I was pleasantly surprised to see that most international travelers still carry books with them. Actually, really surprised. One would think that with all the Nooks and Kindles and Ipads...well, old-school, bound-up stacks of real paper might be deemed too bulky by many. I've even had such a thought recently. After all, the airlines pretty much charge you for every centimeter of space you breathe in these days.
On the way to Italy a few weeks ago, bleary-eyed and marginally claustrophobic as our jet took off, I felt oddly comforted by the sight of paperbacks, bends in spines and all. Hell, I'd planned to watch movies, drink complimentary chardonnay, and doze off at intervals. Here, these other coach-folks were planning on tackling Austen above the Atlantic, or some Dan Brown, and one person even Joyce! Oh, how I underestimate all of us. All this business about it being doomsday for the printed word...I cry rubbish. People aren't giving up their tactile experiences so easily, nor, apparently, their literary ones.
I made it through only about five pages of Ernest Hemingway's A Moveable Feast (some might call it "minor Hemingway"?) on the plane. The language is slow and almost lust-y, like molasses, unlike most of work; it wasn't until I'd come down from the high of the trip that I was able to give it real attention. I sat in the (surprisingly empty) dining car of an Amtrak train, inching through Alabama, my journey almost over, and soaked the words up. If I were a poet, I would write a sonnet about Hemingway on a train.
Two) I harbor no shame in loving Annie Lennox. She's outdated, of course, remembered now mostly in hazy, boxy images of shaved heads and red lipstick (basically, she's a mental montage of the 1980s). People forget the pop sensibilities of her work in the 90s. Americans do, anyway! Imagine my surprise when, on a stroll past the Forum on our last day in Rome, I hear strands of "Walking on Broken Glass"...louder, louder. My walking companions must have imagined I had a seizure. I skipped ahead, elated, mouthing the words like a kid with a hairbrush-microphone. The song was coming from street speakers, set up for some sort of event, but there it was...unabashed, in broad daylight, one of the best pop songs EVER...
"Take me from the wreckage, save me from the blast//lift me up, and take me back//don't let me keep on walkin' on broken glasssssss....ooh ooh..."
Back in the real world (which I call anything that is not Italy right now), I'm in gelato-withdrawal, and I'm trying to write a little bit every day. Summer is in full-swing, of course, which means high humidity indexes and burning sun around here. Texas will be even worse. Or better, however you perceive of sun.
More to come...
Friday, June 4, 2010
Monday, May 10, 2010
My niece in a recent giggle fit. This is the kind of pure joy that makes life beautiful. Her smile erases every worry in my head...and makes me feel confident that there's a lot of good around us. I had to share.
Excuse the poor video quality. I filmed it on my phone while we waited for take-out :)
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
[Above is a view of the Amalfi Coast...where dear Catherine and I will be lounging in a couple weeks' time. I am REALLY thankful, and beyond excited. xoxo]
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
On Sunday morning, I bawled my ever-lovin' eyes out as I watched the stocky Athens skyline disappear in my rearview mirror. I was, very appropriately, listening to a Modern Skirts album (plug: for they are the BEST local band that still PLAYS locally on a regular basis). And it wasn't the kind of farewell that you let completely shake you to the bones, because Lord knows I'll be back for visits. My dissertation will require such. But it was the realization that it won't be quite the same anymore. I don't live there now. I won't be driving back headed home anymore.
None of my friends allowed me to get too emotional about them, thank goodness. They're smart folks, who touched my shoulders and reminded me that I'll see them soon, talk to them often. So that became my motto, stolen from a Stephen Kellogg song I blogged about a couple of weeks ago: "See you later, see you soon." I wish I could have let go a little more with them, though; no one wanted me to, but alone on my porch...I did. While packing as well. The crying might have been heightened by the amount of pollen in the air, but as I threw my suitcase and shoeboxes in the car, I randomly bent over in a near-convulsion. I needed a catharsis, and so I took it however I could. I can only hope that those people who mean the most to me know it. I think they do. I will miss everyone. And there are a couple of people who I will miss so much that it may ache. Just because I'm so used to seeing them in my life, each day, so easily.
Leaves? I had to turn you over.
I woke up this morning, though, feeling rather renewed. All of my belongings are streamlined, organized. How often does that happen? Score! I'm in Shreveport temporarily as I transition, and within a day of arriving, I made a new friend and heard from some old ones I love. I've started writing, both on my dissertation and on some fun new stuff. On Mother's Day, I'll be with BOTH of my sisters (and both are brand new mothers). My Italian adventure is two weeks away. And on the other side of that...a new chapter. Life as a Texan. So blogging will probably go on hiatus until June. And this page might even get a facelift (I hate that metaphor...why did I just use it?). Is Texas the South? Is Austin a bunch of mini-Athens strung together? I don't know yet, but I think I'm gonna find out.