It’s been awhile, but I’m still importing posts from my old blog like this one from June 2008.
This week, my friend Leo came to visit. She left this morning. I am sad that she’s gone, and at the same time, just so glad we had this time together. It was the best. Leo and I have had some wild times over the last eight years of knowing each other – shared concert experiences, drunken debauchery at her house with friends, trips to Seattle, trips to the Gorge, a “porn hotel room” (it had a hot tub, and the doors or windows or whatever between the hot tub and the rest of the room wouldn’t stay shut), rituals of feminine spirituality, trips to Philly with her kids to the science museum, discussions about books and politics and the meaning of life, commiseration over unrequited love. I saw my first Tool concert with her.
I used to call her in the mornings, when Adrian still lived with me and things were horrible and I was careening in desperation, and whisper all my troubles to her. She once took the craziest trip ever (including buses, trains and an insane ride with a friend’s younger brother) to come see me at my parents house in NJ when I was visiting. We’ve turned each other on to music, to authors, to concepts, to spiritual principles, to philosophies, to movies, and on and on and on. This really only scratches the surface of what we’ve shared.
And this past week, or rather, five days really, was the most time we spent one on one. She came here, away from kids, just us. As everything always seems to be with us, getting here was a complicated journey. After driving to the airport, flying cross-country via a connecting flight, getting on a shuttle to the ferry terminal and then taking the ferry to the island, she rode on the bus for the camp I work for (they were picking up some of our international summer staff at the same time), and so came to where I work, saw me in my stupid work uniform and got to eat some premium (really) camp food. And then we walked all the way to my apartment. It was cool, because earlier this spring I went through another decorating, rearranging and purging phase and feel like the apartment is really me now. So it was awesome to have a friend see that.
My boss gave me extra time off, without me even asking for it, which rocked, and we had a blast, non-stop, sun-up to sun-down. We took the ferry to Sidney, BC. I have lived on Orcas for over five years (and lived in Seattle for a few months before that), and in all this time, I have never been to western Canada, ever. I had a passport that had laid dormant for two years. Well, a few days ago, Leo and I got our passports stamped in Canada. It was really cool, the ferry goes right there, then we took a bus, totally winged it, found a hostel, visited a castle, went on a ghost tour, hung out in the hostel lounge drinking, reading tarot and eating samosas. The next morning, we took the bus back to the ferry terminal and began our trek back to american soil. We had to stop in Friday Harbor, and as we are prone to do, spent the whole time we were there in their used bookstore, Serendipity.
We did a fair amount of shopping. In Canada, we bought matching journals and I got some sage. On Orcas we visited the bookstore and both gave in to our insatiable addiction to buying books. It was an awesome experience, being in the bookstore together, because we kept looking at books together, recommending books, talking about this author who references that author, whose book reminds us of this other book, making connections and just feeding each other’s hunger for stories and knowledge and literature. I have a handful of friends I can be that way with, really, really, be that way, and Leo’s one of them. I realized for like the millionth time this year, that the books I’m drawn to almost all take place in other cultures. It’s interesting, when Mr. O and I were together, and this goes along with all that soul-squelching stuff I wrote about in my last entry, I barely read. That is not like me, at all, and it’s almost like now I’m trying to make up for all that lost time. Even during Leo’s visit, whether on the ferry, in the mornings or at night before bed, I was always reading (right now my book of the moment is The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver). I’m lapping up words and stories knowing there probably aren’t enough days in ten lifetimes to read everything I thirst to read.
So what else did Leo and I do? Well the one surprising thing is that the one thing we didn’t do was listen to music. We were too busy talking. Or playing with tarot cards. Or dissecting and discussing our lives, our troubles, our dreams (literal and figurative). Or looking through Victoria’s Secret catalogs (which is a bit funny or unexpected for both of us). We went clothes shopping together and got a few hot items each. We did spells with tarot cards, intentions and releases on the night of the Full Moon in Sagittarius. We each went for some energy healing sessions with my healer friend Elynn and had transformative experiences. We looked through a journal that has been passed around in a group we belong to, a journal I’ve had for two years (!!!) and couldn’t think of anything to contribute to. As we were perusing it together, reading through others’ entries, I was finally struck with inspiration, and it’s funny, because in a way, the idea that came to me is, in a way, turning all the anguish I wrote about in my last entry, into a strange form of art. So, that’s cool. I made Leo laugh as I pretended I was going to write obscenely sexual things (I’m a dirty minded girl for sure, but anyone who read that piece in Shark Reef can’t be surprised by that) to someone we know, and we reflected on how different I was from when she first met me (I was really painfully shy then, especially about that sort of stuff), and how we both had grown and changed in the last few years. We sort of individually, independently, in different ways, at different times in the week, let go of old things, massively, and simultaneously accepted ourselves for what we haven’t let go of, what we still carry, and I think we both totally came to a place of peace with that.
It was a week of growth, of change, of deep internal changes. I feel stronger. Really. I feel invigorated. I feel excited about life again, and trust me when I say I needed that. I’ve been in a major funk for months. A funk that has changed shape and tone over the last few years even, and has been especially heavy in the last few months, as I think is somewhat apparent here. I think I’m emerging somewhat, and that it doesn’t come easy, especially when there’s been a lot of dimming of the soul. Today I had to go back to work, and say goodbye to Leo before I left, but you know, I actually felt pretty good at work, even physically, which is a first in a looooong time, a radical turnaround from even a week ago.
Part of it, I think, is because I feel some direction about what I want to do. As a lot of you know, I’ve been considering going back to school, and put it off a year because of financial reasons. I’m really glad I did that, because as this voracious reader in me has reawakened, I’ve realized some things. I’m not so sure that Emerson College is the place for me. It’s still hard for me to say that – I had the BEST time there last November, was just bursting with joy on that campus and on Boston Common and riding the T. I still think the school has the best writing program out of any I’ve looked at, for my particular interests. They offer a lot of classes in a lot of genres, including screenwriting, writing for TV and film, the regular fiction, poetry and non-fiction (with possible concentrations in any of the above), and even offer classes in comedy writing (including a class on writing for stand-up comdedy that culminates in actually doing a five-minute bit at a comedy club). I so would have taken all those classes. I have not found any other school that offers that same wide array of writing classes.
The problem though, is that I hunger for so much more. I want to study everything – astrophysics, world religions, international affairs, anthropology, philosophy, political science, biology or chemistry, psychology, other cultures. And I want to be able to study abroad. It’s not that Emerson has no opportunities in these other areas, just that I feel it’s somewhat limited. That’s not to say Emerson is off my list, that writing program is still enticing and I had such a good feel from the school, just that it’s wavering. I read somewhere that they have some exchange thing with Suffolk, where you can take some classes through that school, and if that’s still true (I read it in a college guidebook that was a few years old), that might help. Suffolk also offers a prison literature class that I’m just plain dying to take.
So in the meantime, contemplating all this, marinating as I called it before on here, another idea popped up that I’ve been exploring, and that is Fairhaven College in Bellingham. It’s part of Western Washington University, except that in this college, students design their own interdisciplinary majors. Which is exactly what I need. My brain is split right-brain left-brain, I’m right in the middle, and I wavered a lot on my major when I was in school, because if I was doing humanities type stuff I missed math and science and when I did that I missed the other things. So interdisciplinary classes and majors sounds hot to me. Plus there’s the option of taking any of the classes that Western offers in any department, so there’s a lot to choose from to make my own major. And they have this exchange thing with a few other schools in the country that also have experimental learning setups, and that attracts me too. So does something called the Adventure Learning Grant, which is all about spending time in a culture very different from one’s own.
And that’s what I want – variety, the whole wide world of learning, travel opportunities, adventure. That sounds like a great education to me, and like it’ll be awesome in the meantime. I want to be living the dream, and this sounds like a way to do that and get a degree and really stretch myself intellectually at the same time.
Oh yeah, and a big bonus is that it’s in my state, and a state school, which reduces cost so dramatically, which is always good. It’s funny, I’ve done many tarot readings about different schools and they’ve always been a bit ambivalent, and I did one about going to Fairhaven while riding on the ferry with Leo, and it came out so overwhelmingly positive it almost blew my mind. So we’ll see, my thoughts may shift and my needs may change, but I’m very seriously considering this option.
And it feels good. Just talking to Leo about it got me all excited to make it all happen, to spread my wings and take flight on new journeys. I feel long overdue.