5.31.2016

what is remembered forever

I seem to have loved you in numberless forms, numberless times...
In life after life, in age after age, forever.
My spellbound heart has made and remade the necklace of songs,
That you take as a gift, wear round your neck in your many forms,
In life after life, in age after age, forever.

Whenever I hear old chronicles of love, its age-old pain,
Its ancient tale of being apart or together.
As I stare on and on into the past, in the end you emerge,
Clad in the light of a pole-star, piercing the darkness of time.
You become an image of what is remembered forever.

You and I have floated here on the stream that brings from the fount.
At the heart of time, love of one for another.
We have played along side millions of lovers,
Shared in the same shy sweetness of meeting,
the distressful tears of farewell,
Old love but in shapes that renew and renew forever.

Today it is heaped at your feet, it has found its end in you
The love of all man's days both past and forever:
Universal joy, universal sorrow, universal life.
The memories of all loves merging with this one love of ours--
And the songs of every poet past and forever.

[Rabindranath Tagore {1861-1941}, 'Unending Love', from Selected Poems]

5.28.2016

the flowing waters of summer that travel over timeless river rocks

May your essence be the spring air that arouses the ruffled grouse's feathery
wings into drumming on a mossy forest log.

May your legacy be continued on in the flowing waters of summer that travel
over timeless river rocks and envelope schools of brook trout.

May your presence be in the farmer's harvesting of autumnal, golden grains
from the rich, sacred earth.

May your soul be the fire that envelopes and warms us as crystalline
snowflakes descend in winter.

May your spirit be with us through our pining and always evoke us to
celebrate your memory with joy.

[Brenda Pohlman, 'Prayer of the Elements', from Poetic Strokes & Word Flow: Regional Poetry Anthology, 2015 ed. (vol. 9 no. 1)]

5.23.2016

do unto those downstream as you would have those upstream do unto you

  • Put these creatures in order from (1) what you would least like to be reincarnated as, to (10) what you would most like to be reincarnated as--assuming reincarnation ended up existing AND you were given a choice: caterpillar, house dog, wild dog, vulture, male human, female human, oak tree, rock, manta ray, dolphin dolphin, manta ray, male human, female human, house dog, caterpillar, oak tree, wild dog, vulture, rock
  • What do you feel unworthy of? the degree of affection, freely given, that I receive from certain loved ones. I hold myself to a higher standard (in certain ways) and feel quite inadequate to the gift I'm given.
  • Would you rather be remembered for having done something for humanity or being a really nice person? I think I'm more likely to make my mark on the micro than the macro scale, and that's all right by me. Humanity can benefit from others much more dramatically and better.
  • Which do you value more: science or intuition? intuition. (This is my personal answer only, and does not hold sway for anyone else.)
  • Your best friend and your significant other are in the hospital at the same time with the same ailment. Who do you visit first? that depends very strongly on the identity of the significant other--who, at this point, is completely speculative
  • Does the universe revolve around human beings? nope
  • If you are no longer a virgin, do you wish you still were? that's a big 'if'
  • Who is your favorite poet of those who are alive right now? Today, I'll pick Sherman Alexie and Amy Gerstler.
  • What is your favorite song from the 90's? that's a nearly impossible question to answer. I'll just throw something out, from a CD that I've been listening to a lot lately: Sister Hazel's "All for You", from ...somewhere more familiar.
  • If you were in alphabet soup what letter would you be? A
  • Do you believe in fairies, ghosts, aliens, angels, dwarves, elves, etc.? sure
  • What makes you want to be someone’s friend? good question. I really do avoid people, trying to be as unlikeable as possible, but sometimes someone will creep inside the barriers and make themselves known to me in some irresistible way. There are a couple of people at work who are like that. One is a couple of levels up from me, doing a job that I couldn't do in a zillion years (everything that I am about, word-wise, she is, about numbers. It's freaky.). The other is almost directly 180 degrees across the introversion/extroversion continuum from me, so it's sort of hilarious to see us together at lunch or something: she's a laugh riot and I'm, you know, me. But these two woman are kinda awesome, so I'm just sort of riding it along.

    That doesn't exactly answer the question, but it also kind of does. There is no one thing, or even a list of things. It's chemistry, and it doesn't always make sense.
  • Do you troll around the Internet harassing people anonymously for fun? nope. I have some friends who are prone to that sort of thing, though they would never recognize it in themselves. Seeing so much too much of it makes me leery of talking about anything online except nothing (e.g. movies and plants and books) or myself (and y'all know about that already).
  • Have you ever seen the movie A Man Who Fell to Earth? no, I've not even heard of it
  • What is your favorite line from a movie? today, it's from The Big Blue: "Don't look at Jacques as if he was a human being; he comes from another planet."
  • What's your favorite video game? I'm not really the video game type.
  • Have you ever taken something that wasn't yours? not for a few years--I'm reforming
  • What is one phrase people say that irritates you? "I know, right?" I hear it about twenty times a day, five days a week.
  • You allow strangers to read your diary, but would you let your parents read it? to be very clear: there are variations on the word 'diary'
  • Hot steamy bubble bath or quick in and out shower? hot and steamy shower
  • Are you allergic to anything? yes
  • What is your favorite Terminator movie? II
  • What is your favorite fast food? Subway
  • What would someone have to do to get you to never speak to him or her again? not very much. Just yesterday, I threw out entire folders full of cards and letters from a couple of people that I used to call friends.
  • Would (or have) you ever whip someone or be whipped by someone in bed? signs say No
  • Have you ever said 'I hate everyone' and really meant it literally? yep
  • Why do some people want to get more money than they could ever spend? what's the definition of greed, again? It's a deadly sin--we ought to be familiar with it.
  • Have you ever won a carnival fish? I think so. I was around 9 years old.
  • Did it live more than a week? no, those are feeder fish and not long for life in any case
  • What's the best sounding accent a person can have? South African, Australian...anything southern hemisphere
  • What's the most boring thing you've ever read? probably something religious
  • Do you prefer buttons or touch screens? it really doesn't matter
  • Do you think there is a lot of similarity between the Harry Potter books and the Lord of the Rings series? yes. With apologies to Tolkien, I'd still rather read porn than any of it.
  • Would you consider yourself to be naive? "I am older than I once was, but younger than I'll be. That's not unusual."
  • Which of your friends is most likely to go to jail? besides those who've already been? Probably the most sanctimonious of them all, who thinks it'll never happen. I can absolutely see that one coming!
  • What is the smallest amount of money that could be in a public toilet that would make you reach in and grab it? ugh
  • Would you ever wear real fur? no
  • Arachnophobia or Eight Legged Freaks? what?
  • What are your feelings about police officers? although some general problems have recently come to light, a couple of my very favorite and most respected friends are police officers, and I love and honor them among the best people I know--in part because of the job that they do.
  • What is your favorite line from a song?
    There is no place I'd rather be than here with you
    Under the sun, the pouring rain, all of the sky for you

    Oh my love
    (from "Belly Full" by the Dave Matthews band)
  • Is fifty dollars a lot of money? yes
  • Do you like the band Front 242? never heard of it
  • Would you rather have fame, money, or self-satisfaction? two out of three, please
  • What is the absolute limit, the craziest thing you would do for a million dollars? I'm sure I wouldn't be gullible enough to actually commit that to the Internet!
  • Are you good, evil or neutral? Definitely not neutral.
  • Should ebonics be considered a language? that's not an opinion question, but an expertise question for those who know a heck of a lot more about linguistics than I ever will
  • What color is your bedroom? off-white, like nearly all the other walls in the house
  • What color would you like it to be? gray, or possibly blue
  • When are you planning to move to a new home? 5-10 years or so. I foresee a sort of communal living situation in my future, and a possible snow-bird arrangement, too.
  • If you added up the cost of everything in the room with you, approximately what would it come out to be? $5000, maybe a little more
  • Do you blow your nose in public? of course
  • Do you want to follow in your parent's footsteps? in certain ways, yes. We diverge in terms of career path (both my parents are more practical and have skills that I will never develop) but are very similar in a lot of general ways. Emulating each of them, sometimes, is a good thing.
  • What is the coolest web site you know of? pound for pound, I probably spend more time on Goodreads and IMDB than anywhere else. That probably doesn't make them 'cool', but just functional to me.
  • Which cartoon would you most like to see turned into a movie? the ones that should have been, have been. The rest, which should be, maybe don't need to be. Sometimes that sort of thing just ruins the magic.

    Really, can't a movie be made from something fresh, rather than rehashing something that's already been done? I'm super sick of this trend.
  • Of the following, which word best describes you: enthusiastic, fair-minded, generous, helpful? generous
  • Can you eat with chopsticks? only when I'm allowed to poke my food. I've not mastered the scissor motion at all.
  • Could you tell real money from counterfeit? I'm sure that all of us think so, but if it's a good fake, then probably not.
  • What do you think about school uniforms? I like them. Let's just cut down on one more level of bullying fodder, eh?
  • What ancient civilization would you most like to visit? no, thank you
  • What would make a great new Crayola color? I am completely lacking in imagination where these questions come in. My only answer is, haven't they all been done already?
  • If an art project is created with the intent of getting rich and famous, does that cast doubt over its significance as a work of art? yes. I think there is a difference between "material value" (or "market cost") and "artistic significance." I'm certainly not qualified to determine either one.
  • If you became president, whom would you invite to sing at your inauguration? Rush, Simple Plan, and the Sheepdogs--because it would have to happen in Canada. (Please spare me the Canadian civics lesson, I get the structural difference.)
  • Who is the greatest philosopher of your country? Wendell Berry
  • If all the nations in the world are in debt, where did all the money go? corporations and PACs
  • Is it as easy to make you happy now as it was when you were a child? no. As an individual's consciousness increases, so do their emotional demands needs. Consider the simplicity of answers which calmed you as a child. When someone was mean, and you asked why, you may have been told, "Because that person is not very nice." That answer lacks abstractness and depth, but it solves the immediate problem--and it would satisfy a child. Now, as an adult, and someone is mean--can you be satisfied with, "because she's not very nice"? Doubtful.

    Children are, physically and emotionally, flexible. It helps them develop their own coping mechanisms. Does it mean we can't be happy as adults? Of course not. But it does mean that it's not as easy.
  • Who knows more...you, or your parents? we each have our own areas. Thankfully, not much overlap between the three of us.
  • What instrument would you like to be famous for playing? marimba
  • Children fill [their] lungs completely with air. Adults breathe in a more shallow way, not filling their lungs completely. Why the change? I'm sure it's some sort of biological shift, if it's true at all
  • Would you have sex with a stranger for one million dollars? depends on the strangeness of the stranger
  • Are you completely in control of your body? no, plenty of what happens to it is involuntary. And, anyway, I'm subject to laws and social conventions and all sorts of other phenomena, too.
  • Are you completely in control of your mind? more so than the body, but not that, either
  • Which is more romantic: an expensive, glittering bouquet OR flowers that were hand picked as they grew beside the parkway? depends. The "expensive" part of it is inconsequential, except that I kinda like the idea of supporting local businesses. The "glittering" aspect is a turnoff.

    Unfortunately, picking flowers off the side of the road is a little creepy, too. It smacks of cheapness and thievery. That's hardly romantic!

    So. Where are we left? I suppose the romantic thing is a small, rather dull bouquet (or a flowering plant?) from a local seller. Does that count?
  • Do you know yourself well enough to understand why you feel the way you do? yes
  • Which do you do more often: let movies, songs and books put your feelings into words for you or put your feelings into words by yourself? I do both, as y'all already know
  • Do you believe celebrities when they are endorsing a product? at least as much as I believe any complete stranger who is hired to do the same. Probably even more, considering that as a known entity, some aspect of their reputation is riding on the recommendation that they're making.
  • What kind of movies do you wish were made more often? I'm not the target audience for anything mainstream, so my opinion on this could not matter less.
  • Does fashion matter to you? sure. I don't want to look completely out of touch, even though I know I don't quite get there, either. I only need to be making about 50% more to have a real chance at appearing fashionable anytime soon.
  • Should politicians be held to the same legal standards as everyone else? yes
  • What do you get in trouble for the most? having opinions
  • Should parents spank their kids? I'm sure that this is one of the examples where my opinion is immaterial
  • What is your worst daily habit? wrath
  • If you had your choice which one TV show would you have canceled? I don't have cable, so I'm not subject to any of it. However, the one that I am the most tired of hearing about is the Walking Dead. How could there still be that much zombie nonsense to yammer about, after all this time?
  • Do you like the taste of sweet or salt? salt
  • Are you very precise about what words you use to describe your feelings and thoughts? kinda
  • What do you feel the most guilty about? Vegas
  • Do you meditate? not exactly, but I think it's a sort of good idea
  • Can dreams be visions, or do you feel they are always random images? they can be visions, for sure. Not always, but more often than not. I think that dreams are our subconscious way of sorting through the various scenes and issues and people and problems that we face, replacing our first impressions with better-formed ones, so that when we next consider these things consciously, we have the chance to do so rationally rather than with those preconceived notions at the fore. I believe that we don't always remember our dreams because we were designed that way--we don't have to, because we've worked through the stuff and we're done with it (or done enough that all that's left are vague, swirling feelings and impressions rather than direct scenes demanding interpretation).

    People who get nothing out of their dreams, or who refused to accept the messages that their dreams can give them, seem sad and cold to me. If given a map, why not use it?
  • Do you try to write/say what you are feeling in a true and simple way? sometimes. Other times I intentionally obscure it, because what I'm saying is not meant to be told straight out. Or because I can't find a way to say in three words what I can in thirty.
  • The thief _______ that everyone steals. rationalizes
  • What's the most incredible experience you ever had? two years ago around this time, I was heading to Los Angeles to take part in the wedding of my best friend's son. The whole trip seems like a dream to me now; it was such a whirlwind of flying and driving and walking, experiencing many things that I thought I would never see, places that I never thought I'd go.

    Parts of it were awful: frightening, sad, intimidating. Depressing. Most of it was terrific: exhilarating, beautiful, awe-inspiring. Amazing.

    I was there for only a few days. Five, I think? I flew out with my friends but back on my own, leaving them a couple of days together with their son and his bride. Chris picked me up at the airport, which was an event in itself. After nearly a week of L.A. driving, I laughed off the Chicago traffic--and he laughed me off, telling me to shut up and kick back while he navigated us back to the ranch. We ate pizza, drank beer, and made yet another Top Twenty List until I was asleep on my feet. Did I say thank you? Did I hug him? God, I hope so.

    Then I spent a couple of days alone with the cats, catching up on sleep and laundry, eating cereal and PB&Js rather than insanely expensive food, getting myself back to normal.

    It really was an incredible experience!
  • Are you ever afraid to write/say/think how you feel? no
  • Do you write/say/think it anyway or become intimidated and try to avoid it? there's no way through it but through it. The only avoiding is when one must try and keep it contained to appropriate times and places and people.
  • What is one thing you can't do? forgive easily
  • Do you like movies starring Charleton Heston? not as a rule. I mean, I don't seek them out.
  • Are you gentle? probably? I don't know. That's a strange question.
  • When do you feel the most raw and vulnerable? in the morning, before I've had caffeine
  • Are you trying to find yourself? no
  • Are you sometimes afraid of being honest because you are afraid of hurting people's feelings? I wouldn't say that it's a matter of being afraid, so much as being aware. Anyway, honesty is a sort of sliding scale. If I walk into a room and the only person in the room is a complete stranger wearing clothes that are at least two sizes too small, how "honest" ought I to be? Does it change anything if it's a family member? Or a friend? Does it change anything if the person asks how I think they look? Or if they're headed to a job interview in a few hours, with time to change clothes in between?
  • What would make you a stronger person? losing weight, making more money, and doing more valuable work
  • What book would you like to read sometime soon? something else by Matthew Norman. I just finished We're All Damaged and loved it--it was one of the best books I've read in ages. I can't wait to see what else he's written!
[Written the night of 5/22 and saved (my ISP was down)--from The Cat, who got it here; the title quotation is by Wendell Berry]

5.19.2016

broke them up like meringues

When getting my nose in a book
Cured most things short of school,
It was worth ruining my eyes
To know I could still keep cool,
And deal out the old right hook
To dirty dogs twice my size.

Later, with inch-thick specs,
Evil was just my lark:
Me and my cloak and fangs
Had ripping times in the dark.
The women I clubbed with sex!
I broke them up like meringues.

Don't read much now: the dude
Who lets the girl down before
The hero arrives, the chap
Who's yellow and keeps the store
Seem far too familiar. Get stewed:
Books are a load of crap.

[Philip Larkin {1922-1985}, 'A Study of Reading Habits', from The Whitsun Weddings]

5.17.2016

Are you always a smartass? / Nope. Sometimes I'm asleep.

  • Do you keep notes, drawings or letters that people give you?
    Some yes--forever--and some temporarily. Others, no. I send a lot more than I receive, but as a sender, I still probably get a lot more than I might otherwise. Even though I can't make myself look too closely yet, a few of those seemingly innocuous items mean more than I could ever explain.
  • How many true best friends are present in your life?
    Three. Different seasons, different reasons, different ways.

    One person that I would have put into that category has removed herself from contact so thoroughly that I no longer believe that she wants to be friends, even a little. There is no obvious reason to take that personally, but it stings pretty hard, nonetheless.
  • Do you currently have a significant other?
    not exactly
  • Would you be able to stand being in the same room as someone you hate?
    it happens every day. For instance, one of the people that I work with recently revealed that someone else with whom we work--who has always rubbed me the wrong way--expressed displeasure with an unflattering comparison that has been made between her and something else. The funny thing? It was a uniquely phrased insult that I had made, and the only person at work that I have EVER said that to is the one who told me that the woman was annoyed by it.

    Yes, I know, I brought that on myself. But I also learned in a big, bold way that the other person, who I obviously thought that I could trust, will tell anyone
    anything if the payoff is sufficient. (And she's also too stupid to realize what she's revealing.)

    Never again. This is one of those areas in my life where one strike means you're out. Thanks be to Johnnie for that lesson.
  • Do you depend on people at all, in any way?
    I depend upon a whole host of people, all the time. Maybe not as many as some people, and probably not to the degree that some others do. But yes, I do.
  • Have you ever lost a close friend?
    Yes.
  • Has anybody ever held a grudge against you for a dumb reason?
    I'm sure all their reasons were valid. I'm pretty irritating.
  • Have you ever stayed up late talking to someone you like on the phone or online?
    yep, notoriously. It hasn't happened in a while. I miss that, now and then. Text messages aren't the same.
  • Have you ever felt back-stabbed by a close friend?
    oh yeah. The work-person situation above doesn't count--she wasn't a close friend to begin with, so the loss isn't emotional so much as practical.

    The example that comes to mind is a guy that I went out with as a freshman in college. He pursued me, and we dated for several months. I came to like him a great deal. It was only through a complex series of interlocking events that I was forced to discover his involvement with someone else. He had, in fact, been seeing her for a number of years. I was blown away by that betrayal, which was as devastating on the friendship level as it was the dating relationship. I never understood why he pursued me so hard and maintained the fiction for so long, when he must have realized that it was bound to explode in his face eventually. I'm probably still compensating for the injuries sustained there.
  • Have you ever regretted ignoring anybody?
    Chris.

    There isn't any way to say all of that. Just, hug your people. Say the words. Don't take one God damned thing for granted.
  • Has a friend of yours ever confessed their love to you?
    my friends tend to tell me they love me a whole lot--probably because I am full of answers like the last one. And because my friends are fucking amazing.

    Has a friend ever fallen for me, though, and then told me so? Well, I don't know if we were friends first (like, "just friends") or not, but there's a thing with a friend, yes. Former and sporadic and wrapped around and through just about everything else that's ever happened in my life. Do I see that as "confession"? No, it is putting words to something that has always been true. Is it a future thing? Maybe. Probably not. I don't know. The love is there, whether it has any expression other than feeling.
  • Have you written or drawn anything for somebody else?
    maybe once
  • Do you tend to hide your emotions from certain people? How do you hide them?
    since I'm an autistic ogre, I do indeed. I put 'em in your pantry with the cupcakes.
  • Do your friends know how to make you smile in tough times?
    some of them. Some cry with me. Others couldn't make me smile (or cry) at knife-point, with specially-made clowns.
  • Could you picture yourself on a reality TV show?
    only sports. Or eating something mind-blowing (and talking about books) with Anthony Bourdain.
  • Are you better at drawing or coloring?
    I like turtles.
  • Do you prefer meat or seafood?
    I don't eat anything that swims in its own poop.
  • Have you ever read the Bill of Rights / Declaration of Independence?
    probably? Though I generally rely on others to spoon-feed me whatever I may need to know.
  • Would you rather become a police officer or a firefighter?
    I think I'd make a lousy cop (compromised hand strength alone would make law enforcement a challenge) and so I would choose firefighting.

[grabbed from The Cat, who got it here; the title quotation is by Jim Butcher, from Blood Rites]

5.15.2016

won’t breathe without

I’d like to begin again. Not touch my
own face, not tremble in the dark before
an intruder who never arrives. Not
apologize. No scurry, not pace. Not
refuse to keep notes of what meant the most.
Not skirt my father’s ghost. Not abandon
piano, or a book before the end.
Not count, count, count and wait, poised--the control,
the agony controlled--for the loss of
the one, having borne, I can’t be, won’t breathe
without: the foregone conclusion, the pain
not yet met, the preemptive mourning
without which
nothing left of me but smoke.

[Deborah Garrison {1965- }, 'On New Terms', from The Art of Losing {Kevin Young, ed.}]

5.14.2016

those at too great a distance may, I am well aware, mistake ignorance for perspective

Another crossroads time. Six months since Chris' death, today. I think of him every single day, some days as a sting in my eyes and an ache in my throat all day long, other days as soft as a whisper. I feel him here, and I know he's gone. I miss him so much, in ways that I never would have imagined it was possible to miss someone. I used to think that I knew about grief. I used to think that I knew. What has all this taught me? That my brain is insufficient to imagine what is in store, because I still have it in me to be surprised. And to fear death.

Today was an odd, wistful, disturbing, frustrating, strange, funny day. I was along for the ride to go fancy dress shopping with a friend and her teen-aged daughter. That is not the sort of thing that would have happened between me and my mom when I was that age, because we were already butting heads like mad. The task would likely have been pawned off on my sister (ugh) or my dad, strangely, who would merely have driven me to the store and waited outside while I made my choice.  In any case, this was a different scene, and one layered in all sorts of meanings. In the end, three dresses were purchased, and it appears that the one-shoulder red with bling is the big winner.

We finally went to a consignment shop in The City to the Northwest early today, which was one of the destinations for dress shopping. There was no luck there for clothing, but I did get a small ceramic bowl to add to my collection. They had some vintage furniture that I kind of liked--one tall lighted cabinet with glass doors that was really cool, but kind of impractical. Overall, their prices were a lot higher than I was looking to spend, and the general vibe of the place was pretty hotsy-totsy for the area. We can do a whole lot better than that, for both price and selection, elsewhere.

Other purchases that were made today include a small portable stool that was handmade by a local woodworker, and a lamp that looks like a Jenga game (see photo at right)--which I got at a garage sale. It was absolutely freezing outside (there is a frost advisory for the whole weekend) and definitely too cold to be spending time outdoors without a darned good reason to be out there. Frankly, a garage sale is not a good reason to be uncomfortable, in my opinion. Anyway, I had been wanting one of those little bench-stools for a while, and am very happy with it. The lamp is just cool. (I love lamps.)

At the mall (our final dress-shopping destination) I picked up a few books, (see photo at left) since I'm now living in a place barren of bookstores. I got the last couple of Best American Poetry entries, the next in Paul Doiron's 'Mike Bowditch' mystery series, and The Art of Losing: Poems of Grief & Healing (Kevin Young, ed.) I know, that one sounds depressing, but I've read it before and it has been more therapeutic than not for my way of thinking.

The first thing that we did, straight out of the blocks, was to go to a silent auction which benefited a local woman who is very ill. Such a thing is naturally sobering and inspiring, and it was really great to see so many people coming out to support her and her family. We went a little crazy with the bidding but given how early it was, I'll be surprised if we prevailed to the end of the day with any of it.

We also struggled with the shocking news that there was a murder last night, apparently just up the road from my friends' house. That's where the woman's body was discovered, anyway, whether her death took place there or elsewhere. She was, from information pieced together throughout the day, in her early 20s and the mother of small children. Obviously there has been only the most sketchy news coverage, but from what has been reported, this was a crime of passion, an escalation of domestic abuse. I don't know how much that should matter to the average person--it's more an issue in terms of enhancement than of the offense itself--but it seems to be a sort of comfort; the idea of premeditation is patently hard to accept.

Winding through this whole day was an invitation that I received earlier this week. There is a theatre group at my undergrad alma mater (in this town). I was not an official member of the group, but I did spend a surprisingly large amount of time with them, considering that I was working two or three jobs, taking a full load of classes, and had my own sets of friends with whom to be involved. But for the last couple of years of my college career, I was a member by proxy because my former spouse had been one of them throughout his tenure here. And because he (and some of his better friends) included me, they all included me. Well, a few of them really loved me. Others put up with me, to varying degrees. Still others were more grudging, but kept it mostly to themselves. A few were openly hostile, and three were blatantly rude or violent. Given that one was a former flame (ugh), one was my then-boyfriend's ex-girlfriend/fiancée, and one was that woman's best friend, it is not shocking that I was unwelcome in their little reindeer games. (Well, the guy was just a bag of dicks, but the women did have some reason for their ill will. Not sufficient reason to try to run me over with a car, but at least reason to be mad.)

A couple of those group members who fully accepted me have planned a reunion. It is somewhat unexpected, because theatre people are not really known for their stick-to-it-ive-ness, but they clearly thought that this was worthwhile and have done what needed to be done to make it happen. A decent chunk of people have been invited (via FB group) and a bunch of others are being tracked down...

...including my former spouse. I've been in contact with one of the organizers, so he is aware of the trajectory of the marriage, but it is apparently not generally known. I don't know how to feel about this, or what to do about it.

I haven't seen him in 12 years, nor talked to him in about eight. We've been divorced nearly as long as we were married, now. I am not opposed to seeing him; he's still one of the best people I've ever known, and though I have no idea what he's been up to lately, I can't but think that I'd think the world of him now, as ever. But I'm also cognizant of the completely different life that he leads, the totally separate world that he has chosen, and the simple fact that we have not shared it up to now. These were his people first. If he wants to come to this reunion and see these people, the ones that I wouldn't know if he hadn't brought me into their group, then I will bow out and leave it to him. If he wants to be there and is all right with me attending as well, then I will go (at least to some of it) and be confident that it will be between us as it is with all of the others: a meeting of old friends. But if he chooses not to come or cannot be there, then I will go, on my own, and be a part of this thing that is a part of my past, too.

The strange (?) element of this is that one of the organizers (the one with whom I've kept in touch) is planning to stay with me while he's in town. And I'm not quite sure What That Means or How I Feel about it, or about twenty other things that I'm not able to articulate yet. I laughed when I got his message letting me know that it was his plan to stay here, and asking if it was all right. I was taken aback, but also very tickled that he would presume such a thing, after all this time. There was a sort of incident earlier this week at work where someone (who I thought knew me pretty well) described me essentially as a sort of autistic ogre, either incapable or unwilling of engaging in most basic human emotions. It is soothing to know that this old friend--someone who knew me in my teens--feels comfortable and welcome enough to rely upon the relationship this way. The finer points can be decided later, if they need to be. For now, I'll be satisfied with feeling known, and needed. After this full and complex day, that's something.

[the title quotation is by Carl Sagan, from Dragons of Eden: Speculations on the Evolution of Human Intelligence]