Hello from the land of cardboard boxes, packing tape and the lingering psychedelic smell of permanent markers. I'm moving in two weeks. The familiar of my home and office will soon be gone – or at least belong to someone else.
My feelings are mixed. I had a rough go of it on Friday when I sold my couch, which was really Emily's couch. I only sat on it once or twice since she'd died. An hour before the couple buying it showed up, I took one last lie down on it, in our corner, wrapped in Emily's favorite red blanket, and sobbed – big, gulping sobs. The grief is no longer persistent, but it still smacks me in waves, often at unexpected times.
I am starting to feel slightly excited about what's next, but it's hard. I loved this house – and of course I miss my dog (one of the reasons I picked this house was so she could have a backyard). I'm sad to go, but the plans I have are pretty great too, and it's stuff I wouldn't have been able to do with a little angry old dog in tow. I don't think I'll really feel like that's all happening until I sign away my house to someone else.
I joke that Emily left me when she did because she didn't want to move. She would have hated her things going, and all these boxes. I kinda hate it too.
I have two!
On March 16, I'll be speaking to the South Jersey Writers' Group, which meets at the Barrington VFW (109 Shreve Avenue, Barrington, N.J.) No run – I'll start talking at 7:30pm (a half hour after their meeting, so if you're coming, be mindful that the meeting may still be in progress when you open the door).
On April 26, I will be making my way north – really north – for a run/chat at Mill City Running in Minneapolis! Run is at 6pm; talk is at 8pm. I'm giving a symposium the next day at St. Catherine University, so I figured I'd drop in a day early to make that happen. Minneapolis was on my original list of goal places for the 2016 book tour and I couldn't quite get there – happy to be able to make up for it this year.
The potential NYC event is still in planning stages – if it happens, I'll let you guys know (of course – like I wouldn't. Please).
What I'm Reading
I read two books by two badass women: Called Again by Jennifer Pharr Davis – she's the woman who held the course record for the fastest supported completion the Appalachian Trail until Scott Jurek broke it in 2015 (a record that was then broken again in 2016). Then I sped through My (Part-Time) Paris Life by Lisa Anselmo, which a friend recommended I read before I go on the Paris trip (that got diverted to Daytona). Neither book is perfect (Davis really doesn't like journalists, and both narratives wandered a bit too much for my liking), but they're good stories and I'm glad I read about their experiences.
Here's a key passage from My (Part-Time) Paris Life: "Maybe it's finally leaving that dead-end job, extracting yourself from a bad marriage, starting your own business—whatever it is, there's a point when you realize you can't keeping living this way: your head spins all day, you do't sleep anymore, you can't shake an overwhelming sense of dread. The only thing that keeps you going is the dream of something better, something more. You fixate on that, and it helps you wade through whatever muck you're mired in. You tell yourself, one day. One day you'll make that move, and your life will begin for real. But you're waiting. Waiting for that moment when everything will line up, when you'll feel stronger, when you'll have more money. When you'll be really ready to make a change. Except, I'm here to tell you that moment is never coming. You're not waiting to be ready; you're waiting for someone to give you permission. Forget about it. Just tart clawing your way out of the bucket."
The bucket line is in reference to an earlier image of crabs trying to get out of a bucket after they've been caught. I've crabbed enough in my life to get that. I've also had my life upended enough that I get everything else she wrote here too. I'm about 80% sure of what I'm doing this summer, and I've thought of 1,000 reasons I shouldn't. I'm sure if I do it, I'll hear those 1,000 reasons too. But you know what? Fuck it. I didn't quit my job to become a writer by waiting for permission. I didn't buy this house at 26 years old by waiting for permission either.
Speaking of fuck! I'm now reading F*ck Feelings by Michael I. Bennett and Sarah Bennett. I bought it when I was stuck in Jersey City during my Jeep debacle. It's OK – probably would have matched my mood more then than now. But it's amusing with some kernels of advice that I could use.
What I'm Watching
I finished The Collection (and just got an assignment to write about it so I'll stay mum here). I'm now into the second season of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. It took me a few episodes to get back into it. It's goofy and I'm not feeling goofy so, so my mood didn't quite match up. But I'm enjoying it now.
I also saw La La Land. Slow first half, great second half and that end sequence was heart ripping. I've been having a lot of doubts about myself as a person who works in a creative field – freelancing hasn't been too kind to me lately, in part because I've had a hard time working through all this mess (and when I don't work, I don't get paid). I identified with the characters in that way: do you keep pushing because your break is around the corner? Or just stop because this job can be essence crushing? It was a good afternoon moving to take myself to. I didn't think it was Oscar worthy though (and yes I saw the debacle at the Academy Awards). I also kept wanting someone else to sing the songs – they're great actors, but not that great vocally. The whole thing also made me want to see Moulin Rouge in theaters again. I think I'll go listen to that soundtrack again now (which I listened to a lot while writing Running: A Love Story – and yes there's a reference to it in the book).