November 11, 2009
I have not been writing here of late, though I am OK with this, as long as I am still writing. I imagine that entries will continue to be frequent at times and nonexistent at times.
Most of my recent writing has been through correspondence, through letters and notes to friends near and far. Last spring I had a particularly wonderful exchange with my friend Uriah, who lives in Seattle. We did a lot of writing back and forth, answering one another's questions, which were at times serious and at times very silly. I've decided to post some of my responses to his questions here. I'll post a few snippets every few days until the letters run out…
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My favorite blue is the color of the sky right after the sun has completely set.
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My favorite word to say is "caja," which is the Spanish word for "box." I think it's funny that I don't have to move my mouth at all when I say it. I grew up Irish Catholic (I'm still the former, not the latter), and when I received First Communion, my parents gave me a Charlie McCarthy ventriloquist doll. I used to tell people that I was taking ventriloquist lessons, when I was actually just sitting on the bathroom sink with Charlie, looking in the mirror, and practicing with the booklet he came with. I loved Charlie, except at night, when he scared the living daylights out of me (have you ever looked at a dummy in the dark?).
My favorite word to hear is "emerald." Do you remember those translucent plastic "gems" - they're flat on one side - I don't know what they're used for - decoration? - but I had a teacher that used to give them out for prizes - I coveted the emerald ones.
My favorite way to see cities is on foot.
I like to swing dance very much, and I have usually have no idea what I'm doing.
I have a friend who plays ukulele. He likes to play old timey music and also Brittany Spears. I don't play any instruments (well, kind of clarinet), but I love listening to live music. I live in a communal house, and in our living room we have a piano and a couple of old guitars and it is my favorite thing in the whole world to have people over to play and sing.
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I really liked the communal living situation at college. I went to Brown University, and our freshman year housing was well-organized and incredibly fun. I wound up living with my freshman "unit mates" through senior year, and we still remain friends. After graduation from college, I began working at a camp Connecticut, and I loved sharing my life with so many creative, intelligent, thoughtful people. Sam and I thought we were just being nostalgic for college, that college was college and summer camp was summer camp, and that we eventually had to grow up and live like normal people. And then, of course, we came to our senses.
We own our home. We bought a big old house in SE Portland and invited friends to move in with us. We've lived here for five years now... friends have moved in and moved out, we've met amazing people off of Craigslist, and we always have room for people to crash. We currently have nine people in the house and it's a lot of fun. We play music together and watch movies and support each other's artistic endeavors, and get along very well. Many other friends have keys to our house, and if the front door is open, you don't have to knock. We hold meetings and rehearsals in our living room, and we have lots of BBQs and game nights and late-night conversations over tea. I like to cuddle up with friends to watch movies. I like the funny conversations I can have while brushing my teeth side-by-side with a roommate. I like being a part of people's lives. When we have kids (not for another few years), we will still want to live with people, raise children with others, have a great, big, extended family.
I also like alone-time very much. I've got a few great secret spots in which to enjoy this time.
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I can't tell you about the secret spots. They're secret.
But here are some current and previous sacred spaces...
- backstage, in the wings, in the dark, breathing
- the top of Mount Monadnock, just past the summit seal, back against the rock
- up a certain tree in Amherst, NH, reading a book
- Palio's, corner table, writing
- the sand dunes in Nehalem, running with Obie
- the rare books room and carrel 416, Brown library, studying
- in a refrigerator box, the backseat of my parents car, sleeping
- a rock, by a river, on the Kilkenny Ridge Trail, waking up
- an old wooden observatory tower in el Edén, watching dusk turn to night
- Andy's Summer Theatre, in the audience alone, dusty and dark, sunny outside
- Molly's house, walking the fence at night
- the field behind Wilkin's School, stargazing and playing music
- the passenger seat of Bethany's car
- on a speedboat, racing across a lake in Saskatchewan
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Napping in the sunshine in the middle of the afternoon is one of my most favorite things in the whole wide world. I also like napping with people. And I cannot go on a car trip longer than two hours without nodding off. Other than that, I try to avoid naps unless I genuinely need them, because the sweet pull of daytime sleep is so intoxicating that I usually wind up sleeping way longer than I should. And then I feel stuck in slow motion for quite some time afterwards.
I am most productive in the evenings, and I am often most awake right before I go to sleep. I tend to get silly and talkative right when my head hits the pillow.
My most favorite thing to watch is dogs playing at the park. I also love watching satellites. And babies. They're fun to watch too.
I recently heard someone recite the Jabberwocky in a very heavy Czech accent. This made me happy.
~ * ~
I think that numbers have genders and sometimes personalities.
1 = boy
2 = boy
3 = boy
4 = girl
5 = boy, all-American
6 = boy, really nice guy, sensitive (he's my favorite)
7 = girl
8 = boy, effeminate
9 = girl, trouble
Many of my numbers are boys because I first became aware of their genders as a kid, when all I wanted was to be a boy. I used to pray every night that God would turn me into a boy while I slept. I was so envious of my best friend Lucas, how he never had to prove anything, how he didn't cry when he got mad, how no one tried to make him wear a dress. All of my stuffed animals were boys. I had one doll, and she floated in the bathtub, so my GI Joes used her as a boat. All of my imaginary friends were either animals or boys. So, I'm sure my subconscious gender assignations came from this unique proclivity. (Epilogue: God did not actually turn me into a boy, which is really quite fortunate, as I am very satisfied with my gender now.)
As far as the numbers' personalities, I didn't pick those. It's just who they are.
I sing all the time in the car. I sing when I need to remind myself about things. I sing made-up songs. I can't sing very well, but I sing often.
The most comfortable thing I own is definitely my fleece suit – it's basically a large fleece bag with fleecy arms and little holes for my feet. And also my head. It's baby blue and, baby, it's hot. Like, smokin'.
I was born C-section, and I have a theory that many people who are born this way like small spaces. We come into the world in a little ball, not all stretched out. As a child I slept almost exclusively in the fetal position, and now I often sleep on my side, legs curled up, resting on Sam's lower back. I like there to be sides to things, and I like to be sandwiched in the middle. When there is no side to something, I feel an unpleasant pull toward the emptiness. All of this somehow translates to my aesthetic view of grammar — if the first letter of a sentence is capitalized, it must have punctuation on the end. Otherwise it is borderless, incomplete, falling. If the first letter of a sentence is not capitalized, there mustn't be punctuation at the end. Otherwise it is moving forward and abruptly halts. It does not rest within the borders. This is why I don't capitalize my name at the end of messages. I would have to then write:
And that’s just all wrong. I like the symmetry of this more: