a funny thing happened on the way to the podium

I’m going to start this by saying that I have found my tribe. These people are fucking incredible. My faculty mentor is such a chill older fella who I just know is going to help me move this thing forward. He’s already been reading the massive collection of pages that I sent him and has told me that there’s some really good stuff there. Rough, but good.

Tonight I’ll be working on putting together my reading list and writing a short synopsis for him of the major events and players in my memoir. I was going to go to the Talent Show after dinner and do a short little demo of something I frequently do at work. However, a funny thing really did happen on the way to the podium this morning.

Today was the first batch of (entirely optional) student readings. I signed up. I was going to read the piece I started yesterday about Lancelot. At this point it only exists on my computer, I haven’t printed a copy. So I’m walking my happy little ass up to the podium, carrying my laptop, nervous as all fuck.

And didn’t notice the small riser next to it for my vertically challenged friends.

In my defense I did not entirely go down. I think it would have been better if I had. Instead I managed to nick the top of my right foot, catch the laptop, mostly catch myself with my left side, and come up like an old Chevy Chase SNL skit.

I totally meant to do that, and yes I’m fine.

Shortly after lunch it hit me that I am NOT actually fine. My muscles, most of them actually, hurt like I’ve been on the receiving end of a massage administered by a grumpy Silver Back Gorilla.

I’ve taken Tylenol, twice, and I hit the lodge’s hot tub for a bit. The rest of my night will be spent wearing Lancelot’s t-shirt and working in my room while pleasant music soothes my weary soul.

I still have no idea where, if anywhere, this writing is going to end up. It’s not exactly like the things I normally write that I don’t write here. But since I shared the start I feel like I should share what I read today. Like a boss.

The sadness of having to go home on Sunday afternoons could typically be mitigated by recalling time I had spent with Lancelot on Saturday afternoon, cuddling in a blanket fort. His gray whiskers tickled with every delicate kiss. Punctuated with smiles, those beaming, glowing, face-splitting smiles that started with his lips and spread instantly to his brilliant blue eyes. Kissing Lancelot was like being allowed unlimited access to every feel-good drug known to man, and not having any side effects. His grizzly bear outer wrapping was a clever ruse. Inside he was gentle, sensitive, and kind. I have never known a kinder being trapped in a broken container. But his brokenness complimented my own and together it felt like perhaps we would figure out how to make a single cohesive image.

At 42 years old, with three divorces under my belt, I had long since given up on the idea of love let alone the practice of it. My body, barely medically female any longer and yet still feminine, covered in ink and massive scars. I had removed all of the unnecessary physical encumbrances I no longer needed, skin and tissue and organs that served no purpose. Who needs a uterus when no child will ever issue forth from it? My own body as broken as the brain meant to crown it.

Our first date was breakfast, Crème Brulee waffles on a hot August morning. I completely missed the turn to get to his apartment, my misplaced self-assurance that I knew where I was going. Do any of us know where we’re going? Hell no. But I got my waffle that morning, golden and crisp and covered in pudding, fruit, and whipped cream. I also got my first visit to the blanket fort that morning.

Lancelot is the most beautiful soul I’ve ever met. His eyes are startling blue and hide behind long, thick black lashes. His face is hidden in whiskers, long, gray and white, and soft. Lancelot is tall as a redwood and every bit as sturdy but yet delicate as a violet, hidden in tall grass, vulnerable still. When he hugs me I’m pulled in to the warm open cavern of his love and nothing beyond us holds meaning.

a writing exercise

I wrote this today during a workshop. Still a little rough, but maybe?

The sadness of having to go home on Sunday afternoons could typically be mitigated by recalling time I had spent with Lancelot on Saturday afternoon, cuddling in a blanket fort. His gray whiskers tickled with every delicate kiss. Punctuated with smiles, those beaming, glowing, face-splitting smiles that started with his lips and spread instantly to his brilliant blue eyes. Kissing Lancelot was like being allowed unlimited access to every feel-good drug known to man, and not having any side effects. His grizzly bear outer wrapping was a clever ruse. Inside he was gentle, sensitive, and kind. I have never known a kinder being trapped in a broken container. But his brokenness complimented my own and together it felt like perhaps we would figure out how to make a single cohesive image.

grad school, day one

I may have spent a few hours at the lodge’s bar last night, drinking too much whilst having deep (and sometimes not at all deep) conversation with a new classmate. There are three of us who have joined the program this term, all of us doing different tracks. Yesterday was the first day we were here, but only for the evening so I’m counting today as the first real day.

By the way, they called that a Red Julius and it tastes exactly like Hawaiian Punch, which in my world means it tastes like “more.”

Today we had our first peer workshop, first two faculty lectures, and first grad student lecture. I’m on a break now before dinner time. After dinner there are faculty readings and then possibly more time at the bar. I have also been knitting a bit. This place has some amazing public areas with chairs that literally swallow you. It’s awesome.

I haven’t done any writing yet, mostly because I’m starting to question whether I want to stick with my original memoir idea. There are so many different directions I could go in and I’m already getting ideas for alternative ways to approach this. We shall see.

The other big exciting news, at least I think it is, is that Lancelot doesn’t have to work on New Year’s Eve and we’re allowed to leave the lodge as long as we return on time the next day. My plan is to head back home as soon as the last required session wraps up and spend the night with my fella.

12 notes

Mama, are you in there?

I do actually have some legit stuff to talk about, but I need to vent a little first. Bear with me.

I took my laptop home this weekend so I could do a few things. This isn’t something I do too often, but it’s not unheard of. I was good and early this morning, feeling pretty good about getting up in plenty of time, right until I walked into my office with just my purse and my coffee and saw my empty desk.

My empty fucking desk where my laptop should have been. Only it wasn’t. It was still in my backpack in the back of my car.

Ok, put my office keys around my neck, duck out the side door, back to the parking garage to get my backpack out of the car. The side door is a one-way deal. You can go out but you can’t get back in. The very second I heard the latch click was when I remembered that my car keys were in my purse, not my coat pocket.

Out the door, around the building, back into the office, get the car keys, out to the garage, and finally back.

I should have worn my fucking Fitbit today.

On to the legit content…

Lancelot loved the hat and actually asked for another, identical, hat. When it gets really cold out he evidently layers hats. Not a problem, I had left the yarn and all the necessary supplies in their bag. I just need to cast on, 128 stitches, and start again.

The title of today’s post, a little more obscure than is typical even for me, but is sitting with me. I went with Mom yesterday and saw “A Star is Born.” I’m not going to spoil anything here, there are plenty of websites that will happily do that for you. The end is sad but it has to be. The story is very well told and the music is amazing. I do highly recommend it.

There is a scene towards the end where Bobby, the main character, Jack’s, brother, comments that Jack always said everyone gets the same 12 notes in an octave and that’s all you really have to tell your story.

As a writer I have the same 26 letters that I can combine with some punctuation to tell my story.

The real question, Jack’s question and mine now, what do you have to say? That’s what I’ll be working on.

on writing

I don’t remember exactly when I got the idea to write my autobiography, but somewhere along the line I decided that I really just needed to. It’s not like there aren’t some really great books out there written by amazing women who also live with Bipolar Disorder. For some reason I felt like my story deserved to be told, too. So I started.

The latest grad school adventure with be a Master of Fine Arts in Writing. I’m pursuing this in order to be able to see this project through to the end. But it’s not a guarantee I’ll get in, I still have to apply. I have until October 1st to turn in a 30-40 page writing sample.

That kind of scared me, at least until I remembered that somewhere I had started this beast. And then I thought I lost the file. And then the flash drive I thought it was on didn’t have that file but some other (disturbing) crap.

And then, praise dog, I found it. All 74 pages worth.

My task now is to whittle that down to a reasonable length and make sure it all makes sense. Lancelot and K have both offered to proof read for me. Thank dog for friends who don’t judge and can spell.