Friday, September 29, 2006

Hungover from reading

I feel like I watched a movie last night, but then remembered I just stayed up late finishing the devil wears prada book. It was like reading a really long teen magazine. But it made me giggle b/c I was finally getting some more perspective on my own life and current situation.

I grew up in the suburbs north of NYC, taking our view of the Hudson River for granted from the apartment we are still renting, in one of two Korean families in our three-square-mile village. English was my second language and I didn't like sports. After flunking the test for math camp, my mom forced me to go to music camp kicking and screaming, where I completely fell under the spell of "real" music (instant love: Mendelssohn's "Italian" symphony). I was in the passenger seat when my friend was pulled over for speeding while she was racing another friend's car, and she went along w/the cop when he asked if I was her mom (we were sixteen). I gave a graduation speech about fish shitting in a tank that I learned from a Boston conductor, and mortified my parents when I went to a "hippie" school in OHIO instead of an Ivy League. "How did it all go wrong?" should be the gold sticker on my diploma, instead of "valedictorian," if you ask them. In 7th grade after a CPA came to visit for career day, I thought I'd be an accountant. In 9th grade I did a term paper on The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and thought I was going to be a writer. I went to Ohio thinking I was going to be a concert violinist, even though Sarah Chang's mom told me to stick to the books. I gave up almost immediately once I figured out how much time I'd have to spend in the practice room.

Fast forward through college, teaching myself how to quilt and cook and make Calder-esque mobiles, a summer on the west coast being depressed about the fog, the Egypt Air crash, and the JFK, Jr. crash, a hellish managerial position at a symphony orchestra back east, diving into the depths of "new age" life with a man 14 years my senior, teaching violin, watching tons of TV, giving tons of money away to artists in NYC, two trips to Sweden, more organic food than not, moving to Chicago thinking it would be a second honeymoon in the midwest, blasting into enormous debt to get a sub-par education at a school with the same name as an Ivy back east, filing two police reports, increasing sugar intake by 1,000%, and witnessing my friend, who had pretended I was her mom to avoid a speeding ticket, die.

Where does that leave me? I am living on a farm, in a building made up of four barns shoved together, free to read trashy books, sleep in, pick apples, and generally do whatever the hell I please, b/c someone thought that I deserved some time to make art. Based off of a 5-minute DVD and a mouthy application about a dream I had where I had to line up trees and Santa lawn ornaments in Chicago. This girl who stayed up late laying on the sofa, reading Crime & Punishment and never breaking curfew b/c she never went out in the first place, who did a pointillism study of Toto in 7th grade and drew melting corkscrew openers in 9th; this girl who hated running outside during phys ed or recess, who still obsesses about walking on her hands and climbing the sky by grabbing nothing at all; this girl who started crying in bed one night when she was 10 b/c she didn't want to pay taxes, who might not even have to file for 2006 b/c she hasn't worked; THIS person has a month left to do whatever she wants on the prairie.

I thought about it last night, and laughed about all my recent drama and my past drama, and thought, I am SO lucky.


  1. This was the most beautiful post I've ever read. This defines blogging as artistic and profound. I laughed, I recognized myself, I felt sad, I felt sure, I felt surprised, and ultimately, I felt inspired and like I was learning. That's pretty amazing.

    All that because of a good long night of reading a silly book. And of being exactly where you are right now. I swear, reading your posts is making a hippy out of me. (That's me pretending I'm not already one.)

    Finally, at Interlochen my friend (who I still think is the smartest person in the world) who gave the valedictorian speech mortified the administration by talking about everything from drooling in class to becoming a trucker and threatening to run over the faculty. She spoke of her dead plant and how much she related to this object. I wish I had a copy of her speech, maybe I'll send her a message and see if she's still got it.

    But back to your blog, I feel so lucky to read beautiful writing like what you've shared. Thanks.

  2. ellie9:55 PM

    This is by far the best post on your blog yet! You should write a novel... your writing in this reminds me of natalie goldburgs long quiet highway. you've read this book right? you are beautiful all the way around. your life means something important and your search and struggle will lead you HOME!!!! It will all make sense someday... it seems like it is starting to already. love you bunches of oats!

  3. Paulettasaurus4:19 AM

    Oh I love this post. Thanks for emailing it to me, too. Wonderful.

    Aren't you so happy things turned out the way they did, though? I think you have so much to be proud of:

    - art is taking off
    - residencies
    - completed MFA
    - single and doing well

    All you need now is a dog.


thanks for visiting!