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on the record

I started off last week with healthy doses of Phil Collins and Night Ranger, which certainly is not an auspicious beginning, but sometimes I need comfort music. Just like comfort food, it calms me, brings me back to a simpler state, when I am twitterpated.

By Sunday night, I was happy to be soaring into a different musical state altogether.

There’s not much for me to write about last week, and then there’s everything. I returned from PA with the certainty of two things: firstly, that I was living too far away from my parents for my own sanity and happiness. The second thing I was sure of was that I hadn’t healed enough emotionally to be in a relationship yet.

My homecoming was in turmoil, and while I usually enjoy turmoil to a certain extent, all of this was pain and sharp edges, confusion, anger and hurt. I wanted to reach out to those I love and yet I wanted nothing to do with anyone who could possibly hurt me. Of course, I turned to computers. On Tuesday night, when I brought Tentacles home from the hospital, I wrung my hands over him for hours, trying to get him to turn on. Nothing would work.

Quite suddenly in the middle of the night, he woke up, and has been there for me ever since. The first thing I did when I realized he was up and running was to make a playlist in iTunes of the sappiest, cheesiest love songs in the world: something just for me. I say “just for me” because I think I’d be horrified if anyone got a copy of this playlist and made rude comments about it. Again, more comfort music, and I am really too fragile to be sharing my self-restoring secrets with even this select audience. With anyone.

The first session of the creative writing workshop went well on Thursday. I hadn’t realized that I would be one of the most experienced writers in the class when I signed up for it. My self-perception is such that since I haven’t been significantly published, I am not a “real” writer. Yet almost everyone else in the class is new to even journal-writing, let alone any other form of creative writing. Our first assignment was to write a poem (yay) including 7 words selected from a wonderful list of words our instructor gave us. I wrote a poem I actually like, which went over well with the class, but now I’m keenly aware of becoming one of those “o, I’ve done this before” people in the workshop. Ick, I hate those.

For a while, I rode the high of Being A Writer — after all, I can’t deny myself that, now that I’m in a workshop and actively writing — then I encountered an emotional landmine on Friday night. After blubbering to FunkyPlaid for a while, I returned home and resorted to music once again. Everything I listened to reminded me of my failed marriage, so I turned it all off, crawled into bed, and tried to sleep straight through until Saturday night. I met Chad for dinner, and discovered the landmine was a two-parter. I wish I could write about this in greater detail, but I have always been respectful of his privacy and I won’t stop now. The second part to the landmine wasn’t as horrific, but I drove home somewhat shellshocked.

Sunday I had difficulty getting out of bed, just wanting to hide from the world, which had turned from my precious ocean filled with beautiful, incredible sights and creatures into a huge, ugly, brambly swamp, rife with quicksand and sulfur. When I finally pulled myself together, FunkyPlaid was waiting, and we drove into the City on an adventure. It turned out to be one of the best days of my life. First we had delicious crepes for lunch and perused the wonders of a small magickal shop that carries the best sandalwood oil I’ve ever smelled. We stopped by a few more places on the way to find rose chocolate in the Castro, which I had remembered from years before with Jen. They don’t make it anymore, but they had rose fudge, so I bought a little bit. It tasted like roses, of course, but didn’t have the chocolate to lend something interesting to the whole.

We spent some time talking while sitting on the bike-messenger wall in the financial district. How many times I passed that wall when I worked for the architectural firm! Every evening, Sarah and I would walk past it on the way to our buses. I miss her so much; I miss working with her, her sense of pushing everything just a little bit further for the hell of it. There are certain places so full of memories that they become little batteries for me. All I have to do is visit one and become recharged. Being so near where I worked with Sarah is one of them. It also left me a little sad for my younger self, because I was so naïve about my marriage then.

After that, we went to FunkyPlaid’s friends’ home and played this hilarious card game called Pounce. His friends are so warm and fun; I felt comfortable around them immediately. Soon after, we all piled into cars and went up to the Marine Mammal Center, where FunkyPlaid volunteers. He gave us all a tour, and we got to see lots of sea creatures, particularly seals and sea lions who had been brought in because they were injured, sick or malnourished. It’s a wonderful place, with so many people who are doing so much to help. I don’t think I could interact directly with the animals if I volunteered there because of my tendency to accept pain from beings who are hurt. My boundaries are pretty poor in that realm.

After the Center, FunkyPlaid’s friends went home, while he and I went to see “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl”. Johnny Depp was ridiculously fun to watch, and it was neat to see the scenes from the Disney ride that were replicated in the movie. Arr, matey! I returned home, much cheered and heartened to see the world as beautiful as ever, just different than I expected it to be. With the strains of Jane’s Addiction and Goldfrapp still echoing in my brain, I fell into bed and reminded myself that even when it’s all coming apart, I can still write about it. And that makes it all right.

H&D, July 2003

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