Addresses

I used to know them. Possibly all of them. Sometime after moving to HelLA, when Google Earth was still a new product, I made a flythrough of all the places I’d lived. A few were approximate, and I’m sure I started only notionally in HelLA before the litany of addresses in the Bay and UK – Unit 1, women’s co-op, Dwight, funny summer sublet that the dead guy from Sublime had rented, Piedmont/Oakland, MLK couch, the Mission, Ward, Warehouse, Fyfield, Iffley, North Oxford, (redacted), Goldhawk Rd, West Ken, LES, UWS, West Village, East Village, Brooklyn, aaaand back to WeHo. And then the list continued – midcity, Silverlake, Echo Park. And now, my ultimate fear, back to the suburbs. As if all the in between places didn’t happen. (Apparently, I do in fact know them all still. But that’s not my point.)

Which of course isn’t true. This isn’t the leaving of Ox, or even the leaving London despair of present and future purpose (though return still looks slim). This is a move cross-town to save time, lots and lots of time, for people large and (more importantly) small.

The tangible scars of my past can live again. Not the burns or pierces or tattoos – the BOOKS. No longer in boxes in the basement, the selves that rose and fall, lived and died, and folded tens of thousands of pages over to varying depths. Who failed to read, and failed to fold, chastened, even humbled, by the staggering expanse of unread pages. On bookshelves, freshly ordered for delivery in 10 days.

A walk up in the wet from a bar I’m fond of, but never lived at. A last hike tomorrow, I think, more meaningful, a thousand loops later. Likely without the 35 pounds, though. Toddlers don’t experience nostalgia, I don’t think, in the ways I do.

Though, I think we’ll come back to look at the mustard flowers.



Overwhelmed
Friday March 09th 2018, 12:34 pm
Filed under: exit,family,HelLA,himself,leaving,nextish Tags:

A new bed, assembled. Small, really, but large. A blue crib disassembled. The days spent sanding and priming and lovingly painting two coats of that saturated blue, not really knowing the person it would be for. A long weekend spent doing the room, while YCT and the dogs were in Santa Monica. Music loud, paint stained jeans, the familiar rhythms of blue tape and cutting in and rolling out. Labor of lifetimes ago, foundational and fundamental competencies in self-righteous opposition to paternal incompetence, to a self that inhabited the life of the mind easily, the world less so. Years of painting walls and caulking bathrooms, of repairing things and building things.

And now, building a small bed, with small hands helping. He’ll never stay in it, of course, so new exhaustions await. And I doubt a week is enough to help him settle in to it before the Big Move happens. A move to the suburbs, really, something too close to the places you will be from. And he won’t remember, not really, the lake and the ducks and the hike. Hundreds of hikes. We’ll shape a different life, of course, and anything that involves 8 more hours a week of living, not driving, can only be a good choice. Inhabit the space differently. Push the angles and round the curves differently. Discover the small sites of possibility. Ignore the dread.

Dread, though, leavened with the small voice of himself, “thaaaaank you, daddy,” tucked up in his new spot, blankets and animals overflowing, blue eyes bright and improbable hair flopped to one side. Anything.

 

[Update: the last real comments to this ridiculously indulgent nonsense-filled endeavor of mine, were to the post “20 weeks” in August 2014, the weekend I painted the room and the crib. And Helen, saying “congratulations.” Just yesterday I packed the Chagall book you gave me when I left Oxford, following a farewell party at that funny flat. It was your father’s, you said. I had forgotten the inscription, saying I would be missed. Now you are missed, rainbow friend.]



Stalker
Monday November 20th 2017, 11:44 am
Filed under: can't make that shit up,HelLA,holidays,nextish Tags:

Well, I missed a month again. I suppose, in my defense, I’m busier than I ever imagined busy being. But there have been a few times I’ve wondered about coming here. Just back from a final spin class – they’re closing. Moderate sadness over corporate failure – there was, in fact, a community, and even rarer for HelLA, an unprecious atmosphere of real people doing real exercise, the lumpy alongside the glossy, and, for the most part, a sense of collective encouragement.

Thæs ofereode, thisses swa mæg.

Speaking of which, the disturbed young woman who has been stalking me off and on since accusing me (falsely) of all kinds of shit re-appeared, first by email a few weeks ago, and then in my office on Thursday. Fun for the whole family. Oh wait. Even my cop-loathing self got the cops involved (who, true to form, managed to insult by asking, meaningfully, “does your wife know”?).

Time flying; deadlines blown; things passing around again; holidays and 90 degree heat projected for Thanksgiving. Just the season to leave the oven on all day. Sigh.



Eleven
Thursday September 28th 2017, 9:19 am
Filed under: nextish,teaching Tags:

One louder, one more year, one more fall, one more class, one more bunch of bright-eyed, ever-younger students wondering why the fuck anybody reads Chaucer.



Stress, and grief

She said, to answer my question what points she was working on. Also, where your spine meets your ribs, so, a major parenting spot. Not really an empty center. And her “hot hands” (shared, apparently, by her 11 year old daughter but not her 11 year old son) healing. And also disturbing, working through old and newer ambitions and desires, aspirations and intentions. A Greek meander left to right, hyper rational and logical, and all I am, a Celtic knot, mystical and magical and all I’m not very good at being and have, frankly, neglected. And a not very empty center.



Platitudes and Attitudes
Sunday June 18th 2017, 10:39 pm
Filed under: Berkeley,myjobfuckingrocks,nextish,seasonal,summer Tags:

20 Fucking Years. 20 years ago, it was outside, in the Greek Theater. A hot fucking day, particularly by Bay Area standards. I don’t remember much – the guest speaker was one of the founders of the ?Center for Independent Living, a heavily disabled man in a full body respirator who had finished college. It was inspiring, in principle, but very difficult to understand. Add a flask of vodka and the buzz of it all on a hot ?late May day, a party which followed, and some complicated, possibly questionable decisions that followed that, followed by a paper on medieval religious history, followed by a series of even more complicated, definitely questionable decisions over a summer neither weird nor good, just next (oh! And a lost pair of expensive sunglasses! At Wall Berlin, no less), and, comparatively, today was much easier. Dog poop, child poop, trains and duplo and kicking a ball around, a few speeches, a handful of hugs, a commute on freeways through a city I still resent but have also grown to appreciate, rely on, inhabit. Fancy medieval clothes in scarlet, a sense of pleasure on behalf of the students and families.

Is it enough? We certainly try to justify it to ourselves as such. That what we do is much, much more than doing nothing. More than buying things, selling things, building things, fixing things, marketing things, or organizing or negotiating some aspect of any of those activities. I’ve no idea, really. It makes it easier to sleep, thinking the university matters, the public-ness of it matters, that teaching them to read, speak, and write critically about words and ideas matters. (Or, trying to. I don’t need them to love what I love. I do need them to care about something.) Everything rings a bit hollow on these days, overshadowed by the realness of the experience they’re having. So grown up and so young, so excited and so somber. Was I wearing the pull-chain choker? Or the one made out of nuts and bolts wired together? That picture with the Campanile in the background the last known whereabouts of those sunglasses. Gone. Like this impossible year, and like that summer 20 years ago, things happen fast.



This Great Big Hill
Sunday April 09th 2017, 9:31 pm
Filed under: birthday,can't make that shit up,nextish,Work Tags:

(Nearly) [42] years of my life and still / trying to get up this great big hill / of hope / for a destination.

Or something. I’m suddenly in the absurd situation of having 8 months to spend a grant that can only be spent as research money. Which is lovely, but I had wanted to _not_ do research this summer, and instead get some fucking writing done. Instead now scoping trips to improbable locations in September. My life is weird.

Which I suppose was the point.

Not that I give that many fucks any more. The glory of the forties, really. The fucks not given.



Once more with….
Saturday December 31st 2016, 11:45 pm
Filed under: Boozy,holidays,nextish Tags:

…something. Exit, 2016, pursued by a [Russian?] bear.

Fuck that shit. Thankfully, 2 year olds are super easy.



London bound
Tuesday December 06th 2016, 11:28 pm
Filed under: Boozy,can't make that shit up,holidays,nextish,politrix Tags:

In a bit. Not quite. One TA mired in depression, bits and bobs of work to juggle, a little boy who won’t stay asleep too many nights. An inability to read the news or make any sense of a world I thought I had, broadly, sussed.

Narrative. Good red wine. Better music. The occasional non-occasional poem. Himself. YCT. Sorted.



Eleventh Fall
Monday September 19th 2016, 9:24 pm
Filed under: calendars,can't make that shit up,nextish,seasonal,tired Tags:

Having been shopping for child seats for a bike, not a great title, perhaps. But so it goes. 10 fucking years. 11 fall quarters. Thousands of students. And today, the 8th volunteer day, sorting canned goods at a food bank. The kids are alright (though, I know I wasn’t a kid at 18. Nope. Not at all.). Amusing that one of them was a junior-year-abroad from London, via TCD, who when I was describing my current book to a crowd tilted his head and said “Ashburnham House”?

Playing with the finally-upgraded new version of Logic, messing with vocals from North Oxford two? three? life-times ago.Double-tracking, re-pitching for harmonies and counter-lines, fiddling with pitch and timing for realism. Oh, the things you can do. Technology. Kids today. Etc.

Mostly, tired. But I try to begin fall with something more than the baseline of requisite enthusiasm. A few days in DC getting actual work done were a nice push to slough off the summertime sadness of another 6 weeks sold for money in a compromise I will always resent. Gonna be a busy year. It always is, but this one looks like more work and less ohmygodchildicanthelpfuckitivegotanexcusesorrybye.