ALL SUMMER EVERYTHING
ALL SUMMER EVERYTHING
Had an enormous surge of energy to start the ekphrasis book this morning; happy news indeed. All summer I have been coasting through a lack of interest in writing–understandable, given the break up, the tornado and finishing 3-Way. I have not felt particularly drawn to any activity aside from being, as I have detailed extensively here, about 9 years old. With friendship bracelets, roller coasters, walks on the beach, all-night frolicks at the pool, popsicles, sundresses, dalliances with hot mens.
And it’s working. I feel like myself again. My whole self every day, which is my favorite day because it is a magic day. Magic ice cream, magic crush, magic paintings, magic friends, magic journeys, magic scrawls between the covers of my notebook.
Last night I did laundry and watched (made fun of) The Kings Speech with one of my best girls here, then wandered two blocks up the street to my favorite bar, where absolutely everyone was shockingly drunk for a Monday night. I was swarmed by a mess of blotto friends and acquaintances, and wound up hiding out in a corner with the friend I’d come to see and talking grad school and living in small towns. I skipped home past the 5 cop cars and the wreckage a girl made of several cars on the street with her Lexus SUV thinking Tuscaloosa Drunk and watered the orchids at 3 o’clock in the morning. Fell asleep on the couch in my swishy sundress, woke up and shucked it onto a pile of People magazines on my living room floor, fell naked into bed, texted back and forth with the helplessly crushed-upon until 6am. Pulled on my sleep mask, cued up Dvorak, spooned the dog. Slept until 1130. Am now tooling around the apartment in my bathing suit, letting sunscreen soak in before my friends and I go down to the lake to sweat and swim and yell at the dogs. Summer, what are you doing to me? How can you possibly be real?
I just wrote this really long blog entry that I immediately trashed because in the interest of brevity, it basically boils down to this: I’m tired of being treated like garbage and I’m tired of feeling guilty and/or defensive for expressing outrage after having been treated like garbage. It’s time for people to do better by me and it’s time I expect it.
Spent yesterday napping and doing laundry, then swimming at the lake. In the evening, the cocktails I’d planned with a girlfriend and barbeque with a handsome acquaintance fell through and I found myself in a cranky mood. Mostly the rain, I think, and coming off of a very long very epic weekend. I wandered around the MegaBoxStore on the other end of town, feeling depressed. Finally I found a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle, a jade plant on clearance, a copy of US Weekly and a box of strawberry paletas for $10 and made my way home. I played Tina Fey’s Bossypants on audiobook while I put together and baked a tomato pie, poured chocolate pudding with whole raspberries stirred in into popsicle molds and assembled the perimeter of the puzzle. By the end of the night I was full and happy and exhausted. It’s taken me so long to figure out how to take care of myself. But I was talking with my friend A on the drive down to Bham to see The Blow last week about how art is not just a static sphere of life, but an orientation toward the world: it’s a natural curiosity and enthusiasm for anything and everything: gardening, sewing, organizing closets, making music, cooking, raising children, keeping chickens or bees, nurturing a marriage, building bookshelves. It is about interacting with and contributing to the world. I never worry about not-writing in ten years or twenty years—the writing is the only thing I have ever done, no matter what. But I am beginning to see how the natural enthusiasm and commitment I possess for writing and reading can begin to infect the other things I love to do: nurture things, make things with my hands.
Next week I am flying to New York to see my best friend. I am the brokest I have ever been but I am healthy and happy and very much in love with her and myself and the world right now. We have a few big things planned — a gorgeous dinner at a restaurant I have been anxious to try for years (I’ll be arriving at the tail-end of restaurant week,) a trip to the Met to see the McQueen collection, maybe a day at the Natural History Museum–but this trip is definitely not going to be the epic culture-gathering expedition that January’s trip was. It is a little heartbreaking to think back on the unadulterated joy of that week–how much changed after I got home; how pure my emotion and how clueless I was about how the love I was RADIATING was being received.
I prefer not to think of it at all, and dwell instead on the massive Lucien Freud portraits and the strange frantic Clyfford Still paintings and Thek’s tea party installations and my stroll through Central Park after a silent morning snowfall and the incredible rice pudding and falafel and pho and cassoulet and banh mi I had while I was there. Instead of the wild and glorious and joyful excesses of the winter, I am going to walk around a lot, take photos, find parks and libraries, slow down and smell things. Write. And of course, I’m going to spend dozens of hours just having the ranging honest emotionally and intellectually nourishing conversations I have with my girl when we get to be together. It is going to be beautiful. But, like all things now, a more moderated, more deliberate, gentler kind of beautiful. The sustainable kind.
It is a very strange and delightful and new experience, being in love but not with a person. Being in love with everything. It reminds me of Rilke’s notion of True Love from the Duino Elegies–the love Rilke says the most perfectly simulates God’s–the love of the recently widowed, a pure, perfect, useless love that radiates, having no direct object anymore, outward and into the world with a blinding incandescence.
Making trouble, eating popsicles, breaking hearts, sleeping all day, swimming all night, laughing all the time, never ever wearing pants, never ever turning on the stove. You know no miracles. This is the only one.
In anticipation of the three days of hard work and no play bearing down on me, I went out and tied one on last night. There was jeopardy and beer. Then there was beer and darts and shots of peach bourbon. There was just a lot of everything. Somehow, miraculously, I made it home and into bed by midnight. I slept dreamlessly and hard for about five hours but am up irritatingly early, and with more on my mind than there has been for weeks.
Mostly I’ve just been thinking, That was my HEART, guy. That was my best thing. How I could love a person who could disregard that thing so utterly–how I could spend months trying to understand and believe in the fundamental goodness of a person who did not hold my heart protectively and gently–my HEART, guys–is just an absolute mystery to me.
I am kinder to my dog.
Or as Riv would say: “Your love is quite finite, and as such, it isn’t free. That shit isn’t even cheap.” So I guess it’s time to get up and make some coffee and read. In the spirit of my summer time food obsession (and it is serious, y’all) I’ve been reading MFK Fisher’s “The Art of Eating” which is really a collection of several of her books. I am currently meandering through “How to Cook a Wolf” and loving it. With my whole, intact heart.