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In the bar, he looks like a play-uh. Cool. Hip. His hair combed back, loose, unbuttoned just enough black shirt, small hooped earring. He owns his surroundings, in charge of his destiny, his face animated by a story that he knows no one else has told me. Outside my gate he looks different. His hair blown by the wind, his stance awkward, his face less collected, his features uneven, more vulnerable. In the bar, I found him charming, dynamic; now I find him simply likeable as we try to figure out what signals we are sending and what is received.
I called him last night and we talked for nearly two hours. I told him everything. Almost everything. I didn't tell him that our date last year was the worst of my life, but I told him why. I didn't tell him about my surprising rush of desire for him, but I did tell him that I am more interested in knowing him that I ever have been. We didn't make plans, but we agreed to stay in touch. Strangely, I am entirely satisfied, almost as though this is exactly what I wanted. Time and space for whatever happens next.
I am waiting for seven projects to hit my desk, but none seem likely to show today. A couple weeks ago when I was so much busier at work, time at least had the courtesy to speed up. I was miserable, but a least the weeks of misery were a blur. Now I'm only a little less than ordinarily busy and time weighs ridiculously on my hands. This means that I'm starting to think too much. Certainly there are forces in my life that deserve some attention, but once the legitimate concerns are taken care of I'm in big trouble.
With this paycheck, I find myself determined to get a tattoo. Shouldn't I have done this in my wild 20's, that with the nose ring and the burgundy hair that I've been contemplating? Consider me a cautionary tale. Having moved from my sleeping around phase I seem determined to cover all the bases. Apparently, this is what happens when you spend your late teens and early 20's doing experimental theater instead of rebelling like the rest of the flock. Does this mean that in ten years I'll start to want a house in the suburbs and babies? I think not.
I left my house at noon thinking that I'd get coffee and wait for something else to grab me. Nothing did. I wandered Capitol Hill aimlessly. Or not aimlessly as much as with a series of whimsical goals that evaporated as soon as I reached my intended destination. I went from antique to bead to book store and none of it caught my eye or my imagination. I realized halfway through the afternoon that what I was really looking for was inspiration and I was unlikely to find it this way. I stopped for videos, bought groceries, and headed home.
I've written before about wanting a store of patience for the stupidity of others. Today I make my case for patience to keep myself from foolishness. I want something that I don't trust. I want to discover it slowly, to savor each moment of its unfolding. I want an organic progression, an unveiling of layers of sympathy, then intrigue, then desire. I want it to be a slow spring walk down a country lane with an unexpected touching of fingers that become entwined and then entangled and then explore the universe attached to them. Problem is, I want it now.
Walking to work at 8:30 it was winter and when I stepped out again at 1:00 it was spring. It wasn't even much warmer, really, there was just something in the quality of the air that made everything different. I would have loved to have been outside at that moment at 9:00 or 10:15 or 11:30 when the wind shifted and everyone went from their protective hunched over looking at the pavement city stance, to standing up straight and looking expectantly at the sun. That's what I call grace. It's this kind of moment that makes people believe in God.
The play that I thought was done has passed several elimination rounds and now they want a rewrite in the next 7-10 days. They like the "non linear emotional quality" and they love the ending, but they want me to "raise the stakes (ok) and develop the characters (shit!)" in the earlier scenes. I take a deep breath and pull it out of the folder, and there is it. Right in the first line of dialogue. One word to change that just might make all the rest fall into place. I don't think I'm going to get much sleep tonight.
Which is more intoxicating: love or art? Right now, it's the same elation coupled with dread. The same beating of my heart. The same need to be found worthy. I want this play to be produced the way that I want to kiss a man that I've been sharing drinks and eye contact with for an evening. I want my words to live the way that I want to wake up next to him in the morning. I want to call myself a playwright the way that I want those brilliant conversations that last for the rest of my life.
I'm on day two of a sleep deprived manic state, starting finally to wind down. There is so much in my head, bursting over to fill by heart, and dripping into every corner of my body. There is so very much that I want, and I want it so very much. I might be headed for one of the greatest waves of bliss of my life so far. And even if I am rejected or mess it up on all counts, I already know that the low won't be close to my lowest low. The scale is starting to even.
Click. I think have magically figured out how to be busy at work, challenged with my art and have a social life at the same time. Yes, I've been extremely tired over the past few days, but I have also been extremely happy and productive. Not that I'm giving up sleep for all of the above, but right now "too much" seems like the perfect balance. I think (I hope!) that I have reached one of those plateaus in life when something that has long been difficult becomes natural. This is bound to lead to new struggles. Well, bring it!
Second e-mail from play committee contradicts the first. Now that I was finally in a groove with my revision, am doubting everything I've done. Didn't help that I had a long talk with K. who just couldn't get a handle on the story and kept wanting to relate it to some archetypical Jungian love thing. Worried about the timeline. Scared that solving one problem had created a whole new set that I won't see until the damn thing is turned in and rejected. So this is what is means to be a writer. Best part is, I still want it.
After meeting with my writing partner today, I feel much better. It makes so much more sense to talk about this kind of stuff with another writer who will give concrete feedback and answer direct questions. I'm proud of this work and I think it deserves production. In addition, I did about half of the monstrous laundry pile and made a date with K. for tomorrow. Better to crush on him than look for his artistic approval. I should restrict my foolishness to seeing if I can end the evening with a kiss. That's a bad enough idea for now.
He brought three blood oranges
one of the darkest purple
we split and ate together.
two sat on the table
rolling together and apart
once placed with noses touching like a kiss
each picking one up and cradling in hands
fingers caressing mottled orange and red skin
inhaling the bitter-sweet scent.
standing from the table
smiling he handed me one
heavy and warm from his hands
which I put in my pocket.
At home after goodbye
fingers tear and peel skin away
teeth sink into tart sunset flesh
sucking the juice from fingers
gnawing the edge of discarded skin
Note to self: never force yourself out of bed and go to work an hour early to get something important done "first thing." It is likely that:
a) It won't be ready for you anyway and so you will spend first half hour fiddling with e-mail
b) Because you are lacking important hour of sleep, you will do such a crappy job that you will be embarrassed by your ridiculous mistakes two hour later
c) You aren't a goddamn brain surgeon and NOTHING that you do is so important to society that it can't wait that extra hour.
Foolish! Last night, with eyes closed and heart beating, I sent Monday's poem and a declaration of lust to the man with the oranges and the revision of the play to the theater, one after the other. Boom! Boom! Love! Art! Tremble! Sigh! Five minutes of concentrated risk whisked away electronically and all I can do now is wait in icy anticipation for those names to appear in my inbox. So this is what it's like to live with passion in an electronic age. In the past I would have had a few days grace. Gratification may be too instant.
I invented a new game. Walking downtown today, I had to decide in the time that I passed them in a crowd, which strangers, male or female, were truly sexy. I wasn't looking for good bodies or pretty faces, but rather a way of walking or a look in the eyes. For instance, one of the candidates was a 60-ish man in a vintage suit with a Santa beard and long flowing white hair. The thing is, nearly everyone I thought was sexy either said hi to me or made significant eye contract. This game could be used for evil.
I love you. My passion for you perplexes me, but I so want to understand it. Please tell me if you could see me in your heart at your earliest convenience.
You're toying with me. I'm not wearing my heart on my sleeve so much as tattooed to my forehead. Love me or not, but please refrain from shooting little Nerf darts at it. Kindly answer the question.
Your offer of friendship wasn't too little. It was just too late.
Sincerely yours etc. and have a nice life.
I could blame it on spring. Or on that stupid punk show that I was dragged to, which turned out to be not at an all ages club like I was told but at a suburban teen center, leaving me feeling all night like someone's embarrassing mom who tries to dress young. I could justify myself by saying that it was the least harmful way to indulge an itch that has been demanding a scratch. Or that I know that this is what he has been looking for since he first made my acquaintance. But what a very bad idea.
I'm in love with the whole world today. I can feel my happiness in my walk, throwing my shoulders back, freeing my legs as they swing loose from my hips. I've been wearing the same laid back hipster girl outfit all weekend (don't worry, it doesn't stink) and it seems to suit every odd situation I've found myself in. Performing improv at the Y. Meeting a date for lunch. Wandering the Fremont Market. Being steadfast best friend at an underage punk show. It's funny how I sometimes need a costume in order to feel free to be so entirely myself.
I'm tying to catch the day by its tail, like a kite on the beach that stubbornly crashes and then suddenly soars just as you give up hope. I want to salvage yesterday's good mood. But I can't. It was a #6 plastic of a day, unable to be recycled, good for one use only. I am wearing a film of sleep on my skin. I have a paper to edit and what I really want is to crawl into bed and have someone spoon next to me and whisper things in my ear like "Its going to be ok."
Got word this morning. My play is a finalist, one of sixteen. Nine will be produced this summer. Some of the others are well known local playwrights; in fact I recognized almost every name on the list. I don't know whether to be encouraged by this or scared out of my mind. I've been deluged with crap at work today, but what a perfect reminder of what is really important. I printed out the e-mail and taped it to my bulletin board to look at every time I want to run screaming from the room. I know what I'm for.
After the rewrite panic, I decided to take a playwriting class. Now that being a student isn't my natural state and my loans are finally paid (12 years later), I am very persnickety about my further education. I research. I get the buzz on the instructor. If I could, I would interview my classmates ahead of time to make sure that if anyone is annoying, they are at least usefully so. Allotting myself so many hours each week to return to that student state is an indulgence that I don't want to squander. I write the check with complete confidence.
Today the entire office lit up with the buzz of gossip. For about half an hour this afternoon rumors flew that a co-worker who didn't show today was actually off getting married. We became children on the playground. A different person told me the story every two minutes, each time with a new layer of embellishment. I can only describe the collective mood, the look their eyes, as glee. Truly fantastic, except for one thing. I don't want to live this life like it's the pristine wick of a candle waiting to be lit. I want my light to shine.
My guilty secret: I love Survivor. I watch it in the spirit of my personal contribution to the downfall of civilization. But last night was so brilliant that I'm (temporarily) not even ashamed. The whole season has become a microcosm for adolescence. They started with girls vs. boys staring at each other across the gym, mixed it up and formed cliques of beautiful vs. not beautiful, and now the not beautiful are coming into their own. These people have been defeated and starving in the Amazon for a month, but now each is becoming radiant with their own personal strength.
Through the trees in the forest—I am in the forest—the rain looks like it is falling in slow motion. It falls so slowly that it could be snow. I wonder if I could catch raindrops on my tongue, or make rain angels, or have a rainball fight. I want to do something with it instead of just staring at it out a window. No, this is clearly liquid, ephemeral, to be absorbed by the earth or dried by the sun. No more watching and waiting. Show me something living, something that I can touch, something that touches me.
A day on the road, making random touristy stops along the way. I saw the Bonneville Dam with engineers and a salmon hatchery with a fisheries biologist. Stared up at the Multohmah Falls. Drove out of the way to find good sandwiches on homemade bread at a small town deli. Sighed at the mountains and the sun. Back at home now with a cat that's ignoring me and belligerent e-mail that I probably deserve. This trip (fine though it was) was supposed to refresh me, but instead I'm just feeling sorely that what I am lacking is all my fault.
I can feel my to do list becoming unimportant. Nearly too late for the phone calls I should make. A bath sounds so much better than going to the coffee shop to write. But I may be too lazy even for the bath. Perhaps I'll just pick up one of the books I'm reading, whichever seems least challenging. All I want is to be entertained. But tv is too stupid and the video store would involve putting my shoes back on. I'm in the perfect mood to be dissatisfied with whatever I come up with. Sheesh. No wonder I'm single.
We in the graphics and production team at work have collective care of a plant called The Vine Princess. She sits regally perched on the top shelf of the desk next to mine with vines trailing the whole vertical and horizontal length of the partition between our desks. In a space with no light, she has thrived on a steady diet of laughter and swearing. We're moving to a new office next week and will be spilt into Habitrail cubicles. I fear a custody battle. Still, my new space is so isolated; I wouldn't feel right taking her with me.
The lost art of listening. She took some kind of communication class and remembers that you should repeat what people tell you in a conversation so that they know you understand them. Except she repeats it wrong each time and I have to decide if it's important enough to correct her. It's a fine point, merely annoying, but one that makes me notice how she takes on a defensive tone when you ask questions. Is there a plan that I don't need to know or just no plan? I want to offer my help, but am afraid of the consequences.
The Tip Jar