Monday, February 26, 2007

Hi Everybody (Or, When Things Come Back to You)

Sarah Harmer has a line in her song "Go to Sleep" that says something to the effect of, "If you wait, and stay true to yourself, those things you miss will come back to you." I'm totally adding my own words and meaning to this line, but you get the picture. This past weekend, well, some things did come back! Memories and feelings and childhood shadows. While the weekend overall led me to feel smiley and goose bumpy, it came with that added price of nostalgia, melancholy, and understanding through suffering. I won't do any of it justice here in this entry, but I cried and laughed this weekend, and needed both. I felt in tune, and a part of that was painful, but most of it felt great. The pain and "greatness" held hands and got along, actually....Mom, Tara, Karin, and I went to see Bridge to Terabithia; I'd "forgotten" how much I love this story and how much it's affected me, my life, my writing....I had some friends over to watch the first season of Twin Peaks on Saturday, and I was flooded with its beauty/humor/mystery/magic, and I was grateful to share it with those who have seen it and those who haven't....Yesterday Mom and I took a lovely walk with Ollie, and had a great chat over coffee and delicious hot chocolate; we follwed this with a nice viewing of the Academy Awards. The Oscars, along with my birthday & Christmas, really take me a step back so I can view the last year of my life, "where I was at on this day a year ago," and take things in. I always end up feeling pretty good about things, about my Nathan Development.

Today I'm a touch sad, but also incredibly strong. Again, I don't think these feelings are isolated. I recently mentioned my Warrior Status in a post. Yep, the Kind Warrior is here. He's scared, but knows he's doing the right thing. Or, if there's no such thing as "right," maybe I'm just doing a good thing. A healthy thing. A tribal thing.

p.s. I now have a little snake in a basket--with a magical poem--to keep me safe, grounded, strong, resilient, peaceful, creative, and loving. A very special someone gave him to me, and I am blessed to have a new charm bracelet friend for my Life Arsenal.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Vancouver, B.C. (Or, How to Have the Perfect Vacation)

Vancouver is just a lovely city filled with kind people, wonderful restaurants, a vibrant nightlife, cool shopping, and Stanley Park. Ben and I truly made the most out of our time together this past weekend; we are perfect travel buddies! We both went with the other's flow....walked for miles and great rest....and had pleasant times of music, silence, and conversation in the car....

1) Pausing at the rest stop of your choice to hide a few pages of your favorite book, for the return trip once back in the U.S.A.
2) Staying at the Victorian Hotel. Picture: high ceilings, hardwood floors, yummy continental breakfasts, old creaky heaters, bizarre room layouts, and close proximity to the New Amsterdam Cafe.
3) Eating at least one breakfast/brunch at Slickety Jim's Chat 'N' Chew. Imagine: French toast with chocolate sauce, walls with weird doll heads and 3-D stuffed kittens inside otherwise empty picture frames, sassy service, friendly patrons, and an overall kick-ass atmosphere. Then walk up and down Main Street, with its industrial-meets-gypsy-artist vibe. Stop in the Petri Dish and look at the Damned Dollies. Purchase a card and a cute purse for your roommate.
4) Find out from me where to find your favorite book -- and then head to the New Amsterdam Cafe and read there.
5) Dine out, shop, and and dance on Davie Street. Start your evening with drinks at Sugar Daddy's and The Fountainhead Pub, then eventually mosey into Numbers for some dancing (with two lovely stops at the Oasis for dinner....a piano player....mellow waiters in tight shirts. Got the picture?....The second stop is at the Odyssey, where you should have a beverage out on the very cool veranda/porch. Look up at the stars, and climb the steps until you're eye-level with the mossy roofs wrapping through the trees.) Make sure you shake your booty hardcore at Numbers. Leave the mechanical peacock you bought your mother back at the hotel.
6) Go to Stanley Park and work your way to the harbor. Emerge and take in the fresh air. Slip back into the park and stare up at the trees, and hold hands, and pause to admire everything.
7) Sleep in. Sleep in again. And again.
8) Have dinner one night at Moxie's, a cheesy-chic restaurant that is EXACTLY what you're imagining when you hear "cheesy-chic." Did you picture stone walls, red drapes, and desserts like flan? Did you imagine a cross between elevator music and Barbra Streisand? Yep. You were right.

Be prepared, fellow travelers, to have an easy-go of it crossing INTO Canada, and a longer wait LEAVING Canada. Set your alarm clocks on that last day accordingly.

Next time: The Foundation for breakfast, that great Indian restaurant a fellow Slickety Jimm-er recommended to us, another stop at the gelato place on Main (which I hit up the first time in Vancouver with Alison and Jess), the smaller-more-underdog suspension bridge, and the Granville Market (which Ben and I tried to find to no avail).

Voila! I've just planned your trip for you. Enjoy. Have a drink on me.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day

Hi everybody. Happy Valentine's Day. I'm feeling pretty good now, but earlier today I was hit with a wave of melancholy. Mom and I sat down on the couch and exchanged our cards, and I thought about A) how happy I was because I get to see Ben tonight, but B) I wouldn't be home with Mom. After all, V-Day isn't just about one's partner, but about family, friends, other loved ones, even strangers. On my ride to work--while listening to Tori's B-Sides from the Scarlet's Walk album--I almost wanted to cry. And I thought: Am I almost crying because of Valentine's Day? Is it because I haven't had a good cry in a while and my body is gearing up? Plus, my stomach felt all rumbly, and I was over-caffeinated. Now I feel a bit more peaceful and calm. I'm letting things just wash over me. I had a lovely time this morning writing out cards for Mom, Ben, and Karin.....I just put on my headphones and let in Trespassers William/Madonna/Rosie Thomas/The Church/many others....

And to you all: Happy Valentine's Day. Many universal hugs to you!

Got to see Charlotte Martin (and Aqualung) with Mom and Ben on Friday. A magnificent show, and so great to hear "Stromata" live! (And to hug CharMar and her kick-ass manager, Erin.) We followed the lovely show with a stop at Voodoo Donuts. Nothing quite like a maple and bacon donut, a chocolate cocoa puff donut, a fruit loop donut. Is this heaven?

Mom and I had a lovely afternoon Saturday, followed by a great evening with Karla. Showed her Contact; she hadn't seen it before. While certain things have not stood the test of time--the CGI Bill Clinton, the slightly (but only slightly) over-dramatic score, Matthew McConaughey's smarmy scarves and off-kilter hair-do--most things are still Hollywood Poetry. That's right -- let's give credit where it's due. This is a piece of cinematic magic that involves: family, questions about God, questions about humanity's place in the universe, and our connections to each other -- and why we seek them out the way we do. Jodie Foster and Matthew Mc.--Ellie and Palmer, respectively--find a way to balance their yin-and-yang relationship of science and spirituality. (The main point? It's all the same thing -- one big web of mysterious, illuminating, purposeful Existence.)

The rest of my weekend & subsequent week have included: yoga with Julie, working on my novel, cleaning the house, sending out a fellowship application, being rock stars with Karin, and planning my trip with Ben. Life is good. And you know what? Veronica Mars last night was VERY good. I haven't laughed like that in a while! Ronnie brings out the best in me. You go, girl.

Finally, to my brother Fake -- I didn't know you starred in Christina Aguilera's video for "Beautiful"! Why haven't you admitted this to any of us?!?!?!?!

And a p.s. I love teen horror movies with beautiful people who transform into werewolves. Exhibit A? The trailer for Blood and Chocolate. I've always wanted to read the novel by Annette Curtis Klause (am starting it today, actually) and now I will devour it (haha) before I take in the movie. And who can beat TaTu or Evanescence or whoever the heck is playing during the trailer! This movie will be a blissful package of beauty, puberty-as-shapeshifter mythology, cheesy storylines, and some gay undertones. Yay for teen werewolf movies that take themselves seriously!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Today I Feel Like a Feminist Amazon Warrior Who Is in Tune with the Jungles of the Purple Universe.

That's right, you heard me. Blame Alice Hoffman. I just finished reading her amazing book. One of the best I've read. And I've read a lot of books.

Here is's (isn't it ironic?) description:
"This atmospheric coming-of-age fantasy tells the story of a teenager who is destined to become queen of the Amazons. The product of a rape and shunned by her distant mother, Rain struggles to find her identity and prove herself. Her first-person narration is accessible while evoking a sense of otherworldliness. She talks of animals and people as sisters. The story unfolds at a measured pace with little dialogue, but the language makes it compulsively readable. Readers will be drawn in by Rain's attempts to win her mother's approval even as the teen begins to question the Amazonian way of life and see a new future for her people. Like the best of myths, this story finds truths in details and emotional insights."

I connected with this novel in the way I connect with the Weetzie Bat books, with Lawn Dogs, with Contact, with The Perks of Being a Wallflower. And lately I've been trying to tap into my inner tribal warrior anyway. I've been pushing past some of my inner yucky bullshit to yank out my spears and war-paint, my shields and strength. It's like I'm standing on a hilltop, ready for battle. The good kind of battle. The battle to do away with the parts holding me back. Back from what? I'm not sure. Back from myself. Back from God. I'm sick of turning my back on Nathan: Warrior, Nathan: Writer, Nathan: Whatever Else. I'm learning to trust that I got handed my emotional-weapons for a reason.

It's been a tricky couple weeks. "Barb" has been on my mind a lot. I stayed with her in the ER while she waited for a bed in the psychiatric ward, visited her there, laughed with her about wanting to shove my enemies out the nearest window (and how maybe that wasn't the ideal location for my sick sense of humor)....K told me that D's mother wanted to speak to me, catch up with me, have me talk to someone for her. D has been dead almost a year; gosh, has a year already gone by? I called her this morning, and--when it went to voicemail--I expected to hear N's voice. But no. The greeting said, "Hi, this is D. Leave me a message!" I was caught off guard, but in a good way. I never thought I'd hear his voice again; I'd forgotten, a bit, what he sounded like. Interesting that the last time I saw Charlotte Martin was with D, and now--right when I'm about to see her again in concert this Friday--I hear his voice only three days before. Hmm. Also interesting that I haven't been back in Providence Hospital since he passed, but I was there just last week with "Barb." Another hmm.

These weeks have also involved some paranoid self-doubts, an outing to Washington with Mom and Ben, plenty of laughs, a renewed appreciation for Veronica Mars, a great chat with Charlie, an amazing weekend with Ben on Saturday and Mom on Sunday, anticipation of Patty Griffin's new album, some breakthroughs in my writing, renewed vigor for eating better and working out, chats with the moon, anticipation of receiving The Last Unicorn Special Edition on DVD (along with the signed and illustrated sequel-novella), the perfect V-Day present for Ben, the perfect B-Day present for Jennifer, and lots more.

Hope you all are well. Oh, and read The Foretelling. Got that?