It’s been awhile since I’ve chronicled anything and I’m kind of rusty. Even my journal has stopped…my interior world which used to be all I had has suddenly turned external, and now I find myself concerned only with things like asparagus covered in feta, or card games at night, or new sheets. It makes me want to go places. I can’t believe I’m 22 and have never seen a firefly, for example. I can’t believe it took me this long to eat an avocado. I want to look in the dusty window of a voodoo shop in New Orleans and own a golden retriever named Honey. I want to drive a pickup truck. I want to camp alone in the desert at night and know how to hit someone and just once, I’d like to see an arch enemy in a bar, chug my beer, break the bottle against a tabletop and fling myself at his exposed throat.
It’s hell, and also terrific, to live where you grew up. I go other places and cultivate friendships with the natives specifically in order to be shown something small and treasured and unknown. In Washington it was the Spokane river. In Como it was the frog carved on the church door to mark the level of a medieval flood. In San Diego it was the dive bars in Hillcrest, and Trattoria Fantastica. In Berkeley it was the saber-toothed tiger statue and the kite festival. Now I’m living somewhere that I know so intimately I can close my eyes anywhere and know where I am. (Though not how to get anywhere else. I know where the white owl used to live on Morello Blvd., but I couldn’t get to the mall from there.) I think it’s important that this town has me sticking around to love it, since its personality is so buried you couldn’t find it with a Bobcat, but on the other hand I’m too young to feel this married. Here’s where The Lad and Katie got ticketed for parking in the handicapped zone; here’s where we had the picnic and I tried to foist that kitten I found off on Michele; here’s where I used to go drive around at night because I was sixteen and frustrated and most of my friends were off somewhere getting drunk. It’s a litany of all the little me’s and them’s running around forever and I inhale and exhale the ghost smoke. After awhile all the history makes it hard to stand up straight.
I was reading stuff from the old Carthage and I realized that although I sound perfectly normal to myself at the time, after a little while I find my syntax surpassingly wacky. I guess it springs from whatever I’m reading at the time. This theory is supported by the fact that I’m reading Pat Conroy, who some of you may remember from Beach Music, and consequently used the word florid in a sentence today. He writes these lush, sensual novels about the American South, and so I have an image of it as a palace of marsh grass and secrets ruled by elegantly cruel women with charming accents and long skirts. I am assured, however, that it is a wasteland of strip malls where everyone is fat and undereducated.
Next on my list is the end of the bio of Zelda Fitzgerald, so prepare yourselves for some feminist tracts shortly.