I write every day. I’ve written for profit and non: public radio pieces and ghostwritten exec letters, magazine stories and newspaper articles, restaurant press releases and bad short stories, better short stories and lit magazine essays.
For six years, I also kept an anonymous weblog. I wrote a lot of it in my twenties while I was schlepping myself to jobs at coffeeshops, a candle store, an events ad firm, various Atlanta nonprofit writing and erranding gigs, and a public radio station. It was all that doubting, hoping, despairing, elated business. First dog. First live-in relationship. First time quitting a promising career to go back to school because I wanted to write books. It was a time of a lot of lost sleep and a lot of worry regarding those big abstractions—relationship! career! money!—and wondering: How did they, on one side, balance out Identity, on the other? I was often a little myopic about the components of said equation. Fuzzy on how the math worked.
Granted, it’s convenient to shut angst away in a storage box labeled “my twenties” in black Sharpie, whether or not that categorization actually means anything. After all, I still worry all the damn time. After all, I’m now fresh out of grad school scrambling my tail off to earn a living yet again, still, still. But I’m a bit older now, and a bit more focused and sure. During the blog-hiatus, I wrote what I think is a darn good book.
Meanwhile, I’ve found myself missing the web journal thing. I like the expectation of a daily entry written for its own sake, even if I’m the only one expecting it. It builds a record, and I like records, roots, history. A solid foundation. It’s comforting to think we’re not waking up every morning and starting from scratch.
Some unasked-for facts for the new reader:
1. Me: Mexico, age twelve.
Trip with grandmother. Dig: fanny pack, half a Best-Friends’ necklace, shades stolen from older sister #1; hair, bleached blond by older sister #2. (Not pictured: sky-high curled bangs, modeled on those of older sisters one and two.)
And of course, the native man whom my grandmother paid to pose with me. She was a jetsetter, my grandmother, whom we called Banny—she seriously had friends in every city in the world. But this man in the photo wasn’t one of them. Banny was also an anthropologist—went back for her PhD in her mid-fifties, 1960s. Now that’s rad, but she was also kind of an old-school anthropologist: A See-the-funny-people-with-their-funny-customs anthropologist, one who encouraged me to nab for a keepsake, a pot sherd or two from the ground at ruins we visited. I kept them at home in boxes for years. Those things didn’t belong to me. The man in this picture—I wonder how many he posed for that summer, that year, or over many years. I wonder how many photos exist of him, standing stolid next to this tourist or that, his expression the same in photo after photo after photo, now closed up in old albums in dusty cabinets all over the world.
2. When I was 24 years old, I moved into a basement apartment whose unfinished ceiling coughed down dust whenever anyone took a step. It was the first time I had moved in with a boyfriend. In pictures of us from the time, we wear knitted hats and scarves—we did not control the temperature and it was wintertime when we moved in. We moved in because we could afford the rent. We moved in after the German Shepherd upstairs bit my boyfriend in the testicle the night we signed the lease. We spent that night at the hospital ER before getting up at five-thirty the next morning to work our shared shift at the coffeeshop. We moved in because we had both been felled by the apartment’s beautiful antique Detroit Jewel oven. There’s more I could tell you—about the bathtub with what my boyfriend soon christened “the prison shower” tap, about the gaps in the baseboard corners of nearly every room, so that if we kneeled, we could peer into the unfinished garage—but I don’t want to belabor the point. After we moved in, we found out that the couple who lived in the house upstairs—the ones with the dog—fought every night. After we moved in, we found out that the oven didn’t work.
3. When I first bought this web domain, the generic “Site Under Construction” page offered the following bulleted search terms: Homes for Sale, Dating Services, and Las Vegas. By lucky coincidence, in time this blog will also address all three. Stay tuned.