Monthly Archives: September 2008

Homecoming

I was fighting it until this morning. After a week of discomfort and tumultuous moodswings (I’m bad with transitions), coupled with infantile foot-stamping (“I don’t want summer to be over!”) the grace descended on me and I spilled out into the cool, damp morning with fuzzy socks to welcome the fall.

It was a slender slice of dream that carried me home. A memory of the magical afternoon I napped above the city in the open window of 610 Beacon St., sun on my face, wrapped in amber and dandelions, with piano music drifting in through the leaded glass. Swimming in a winterocean colored sweater. Hair long, dark and tangled, twirled around me like a mermaid. I dreamed about Eisuke and train bridges. For hours I drifted along in that twilight state, the music mixed in with my dreams and my dreams mixed in with the daylight. I awoke to a cup of green apple tea, a fuzzy scarf, stars in my eyes and tinsel in my hair.

That was ten years ago, the memory etched in my mind like a movie. This morning I opened my new notebook with the autumn ribbon bookmark from VVB that says October, hay rides and pumpkin pie, punctuated with tiny leaves and apples. I wrote about that mystical nap. In my freshly-caffeinated analytical mind – the part of me that sees colors in hexidecimals – I tried to parse that memory, to uncover the formula responsible for its machination. But staring at the neat white pages of my Blueline hardcover A9 journal, I realized I was the formula.

Instant dreamstate; just add girl.

It’s the crap I heap on top of my inherently magical existence that renders Wishville uninhabitable. A theory of holistic healing: don’t add something to an unhealthy state to make it well; see what needs to be removed. I get in my own way more often than I’d like to admit.

I uncovered this realization and instantly began the listmaking – the autumn rituals that make preparing for winter less like readying for war and more like packing for vacation. Mulled cider, pomegranate tea, baking bread in my tiny Parisian checkered tile kitchen. Mounds of velvet blankets, making soup, vanilla and sandalwood candles, new music, tinfoil stars hung from the ceiling. Tiny white lights, colossal honeycrisp apples sliced with cinnamon, a black and white striped scarf. Luxurious hours spent sprawled in a pile of old magazines with an x-acto knife and rubber cement, creating images for people I love. Painting my textured dreams with a fluffy Siamese asleep on my hip. Curled in a swirl of jewel-toned pillows, wrapped in amber and dandelions.

I sat down at my desk at work and several people commented on my appearance. “You must be feeling better.” I called in sick Tuesday because I had projects to tend to; my job is interfering with my work. “You look… happy.” My enormous light box is on full blast, bathing my relieved expression in artificial sunlight. It will suffice for now.

Last night I lie awake in bed, packing for the Rhode Island seashore. But I don’t have to move to Jupiter, FL or Cambridge, MA. I need to stay where I am – stay who I am. Wherever you go, there you are. And I’m pretty good company.

On the Waterfront

Here’s a second installation of “what I did on my summer vacation.” On one of those flawless bright sun, sparkly water days, we cruised on the ferry and wandered the waterfront, praising Rainier in all her mountainous glory. Then the Page took us three girls out to a sunset patio dinner at this incredible crab place where they dump the food right on the table and you eat with your hands. It was absurd and wonderful. I’m still digesting.

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On Morality and Autumn

I can tell it’s September because I’m listening to fall music. Without conscious forethought, the soundtrack changes. Nighttime lingers longer, the air cools, dampens. And I’m riding to the cafe in the pre-dawn chill, listening to Lou Barlow and All-time Quarterback.

The summer has washed past in a flurry of sunsets and cupcakes, lakeside picnics and mountainview drives. This was the longest sabbatical I’ve ever taken from blogging in the past six years. I missed it. I kept feeling like I was forgetting to do something.

Breaking the seal here again is daunting. Like a long-distance friend whose phone calls you screen because the responsibility of bringing them up-to-date on your life is overwhelming. Like the first run after a decadent Thanksgiving holiday. Like three days’ worth of dishes in the sink.

I thought taking a break would open up time and energy that I could invest elsewhere, but I’m beginning to see that’s scarcity thinking. Creativity is not limited. In fact, it’s like exercise; the more you do, the better you get and the more you desire it.

It’s the “shoulds” that drown me. As soon as a task is relegated to “should” status, it loses its charm and becomes a burden. If I ignore the burden, it becomes paralysis. The other day I was ranting about Things I Should Be Doing, and VVB said, “You’re shoulding all over the place!”

Let’s remove the word “should” from the English language. “Should” is a weighted, multi-layered word that can only spell trouble. Take this example: late Saturday morning sprawled quite comfortably in bed, the question arises: “Should we get up?”

Now, “shall we” implies an invitation, and “could we” is a question of logistics. But “should we” implies some invisible jury lurking in the shadows, imposing their moral judgment on my eagerness to lounge another hour in sin. Could we get up? Yes. Should we get up? Probably. Do I want to get up? Hell no.

In any case, eliminating the “should” from my writing agenda changes my world view from one of scarcity to one of abundance. I can update, and I will do so whenever I damn well please.

NaNoWriMo is fast approaching. I anticipate it with a mix of titillation and dread. It’s an insane undertaking but par for the course. I had some ideas flitting about my brain, mostly dreams I’ve had – images flickering across my lobes. At Band of Horses on Saturday, a boy asked his girl to marry him in between songs. My eyes flooded. It was perfect. Perfect as the image of a girl alone in a garage, smashing a guitar in her flip flops, feeling like an adulteress. Perfect as sunset lying palm to palm, ankle-deep in Alki sand.

I still spend my mornings at the Cafe, and I suspect that’s where I’ll write my novel. I’m homesick for the Someday Cafe lately, though the term “homesick” is no longer accurate. It’s faded into garden-variety nostalgia. I was missing the crisp bricked streets of Harvard Sq. last week, September in Cambridge (a good book title, sequel to “August in Winter Hill”), falafel in Central Sq., the deep underground smell of the Harvard T stop.

But then I wonder if I miss Cambridge in actuality, or I miss how I saw it then, who I was. Because life in the Aloha Cabana is absolutely stellar right now, and my plans for the fall brewing like mulled cider, and I am still in love with Seattle after all these years – the millions of tiny charms that tickle me daily, still reeling over an August sunset behind the Space Needle, or the overgrown verdant tunnels of Queen Anne, or the mismatched gingerbread houses of Capitol Hill. The scene never gets old for me. I soak up Broadway on a Friday night, taking that route home even when it’s unnecessary, because riding through the thick of it inspires me and makes me feel like I belong there – like I’m home.

And even now I can be nostalgic for last fall, in all its torrid insanity and upheaval. I was reading my journal from last September and felt a pang – compassion for myself, marked with a fleck of envy at being so wide open, even if it had been a painful ripping that got me there. Cease to Begin on my chunky headphones, the leaves gathering on the Blaine St. stairs as I walked to work, drinking homemade coffee with pumpkin spice creamer, sometimes angry that the Stella was out of commission and sometimes grateful to have an excuse to wander meditatively in the misty morning.

So maybe “missing” isn’t any more accurate than “homesick” – maybe I’m just remembering and appreciating a time that was colorful and alive. Even if the giant Now is just as rich.

And arms outstretched
I embrace
the fall.