I have a joooooooooob yay. I'll be shelving books at a public library in a northern suburb of Denver.
There's a few reasons why this isn't great in the long term: this job is definitely one of the lowest-paying that I've applied for. It doesn't offer health insurance, and I can't work for this district full time unless I become a manager (which I might do, but probably won't be able to do in the six months or so that I'd like to). And it's a library district that doesn't use Dewey, which obviously is not a problem with the job but an indicator of my own internal snobbishness. Also, I got put on the evening shift, which is going to make finding a job to fit in before that harder, unless I want to go back to coffee shops. Oh, and it's over an hour away by bus. But it's a JOB, in a LIBRARY, so I'm happy. I start on the 12th! Yay!
I spent the last four weeks trying to do activisty work in Colorado trying to get it to swing for Obama (which reminds me, I need to go to the bank)…last night was one of the more stressful election nights I think I've ever lived through. It was so damn close for most of the night, and the popular vote is still so close. I keep telling myself that it goes against everything I believe in to ban old people from voting….but part of me wants to. They lean socially conservative, they'll vote to preserve Social Security over anything else, they tend to be at odds with younger voters…and I know it's harsh and cruel of me (and I know plenty of older folks who don't resemble what I just described, so I'm generalizing terribly here), but I just keep thinking, BUT YOU'RE GOING TO DIE SOON. You're voting for things that will affect our country for the next five, ten, twenty years. Can't you just…..not vote if you're not looking out for the younger voters in the country who are going to have to bear the consequences of what you're voting for? Or talk to your grandkids about what's important to them before you vote?
That's actually a rant that's been kicking around in my head since before election night, the results of which I'm obviously pleased with. I think I just got tired of the parade of old white men on the news complaining that Obama was bad for the country, and got nervous when I saw that only 5% of the vote in 2008 was under the age of 30. So maybe it's not so much about getting old people to not vote as it is about getting young people to vote. I don't know. I'm not so much troubled by the fact that people disagree in this country as I am at the way that we don't seem to be able to talk to each other. Now I'm just rambling.
I'm trying to do NaNoWriMo, in my own half-assed way. I'm not going to blog every day and I'm not going to write a whole novel, but I want to do at least something every day, whether it's write a blog entry or revise the story I wrote two years ago or edit the book my dad wrote (oh, yeah, my dad wrote a book. And sold it. He beat me to the book publishing business) or post my stories online someplace like I've been planning to, or research the book that *I* want to write. So, something writing every day. I think I missed the first couple days of November, but I'll do the first couple days of December to make up for it.
I am having trouble holding all my emotions at once and balancing good and bad. But that's life, I suppose, and finding balance is a step up from hanging out at the bottom end of the seesaw like I was in NY.
I need to shower and go to the grocery. Hope everyone has a lovely day!
Before I left New York, I was awake semi-early on a Sunday morning, and didn't have to leave right away for work, so I was upstairs in my house's living room (I don't actually hang out in the living room with my roommates much). They invited me along for dim sum breakfast (I actually think it was a case of friends of roommate 1 asking her if she wanted to go, then roommate 1 asking roommate 2, then roommate 2 asking me. So I was a bit of a third wheel but whatever). We took a cab there, even though it wasn't that far away--it wasn't along a subway line, and it was a long walk but maybe only a 15 minute drive to Brooklyn's Chinatown. The restaurant, a big spacious room above a bank, was overflowing with Chinese families out for Sunday morning brunch. There was a tank of fairly sizable fish swimming around, waiting to be eaten. I've never had dim sum, so it was a new experience for me, being seated at a table on an aisle, and staff folks pushing carts full of food all come up to you and ask you if you want [something in Chinese], and either you recognize the food or you don't, but generally you say you want it because it's all good and you might as well. They mark down what they've given you on a ticket that sits on your table.
I had little buns that have beefy soup inside, and pork buns, and seaweedy vegetables, and sugar buns with custard inside. I haven't been a vegetarian for a couple months now, and honestly, this is something that I didn't realize I missed about not caring what you eat, something that I didn't do when I was an omnivore because I was a kind of picky eater as a kid and as a teenager. But as a vegetarian, you never just eat carelessly, you never just let people put food in front of you. You look for the one or two items on a menu that you can eat, you make sure that when you're going to somebody's house for dinner they have advance warning. It's not hard to be a vegetarian, not at all, but it's not as careless as being an omnivore can be. Eating can be delicious and can still be fun, but does lose a certain amount of that, "I'm going to go into this random restaurant and eat the food that this person puts in front of me and not ask questions" spontaneity. It's the kind of mindset that Anthony Bourdain has in the extreme, of being willing to go to some remote corner of the earth and eat anything.
So now I'm back in Denver, looking for work, staying with friends. I already feel so much better, so much more ready to do stuff and leave the house. In New York I was in danger of becoming a shut in, I don't know what it is about Denver, but I just….feel so much better. I've already had people ask me to help them with things, hang out. So, lesson learned I guess, about what kind of adventurous my psyche can handle.
The heights you'll reach,
The depths you'll delve to,
Depend on the propulsion
systems that propel you.
Methods that compel you,
Messages they sell you,
Punishments they give you
for doing what they tell you.
But we've got passions,
they've got prisons,
You've got the freedom
to make a decision.
Will you abandon all your addictions?
Take your stand and live your convictions?
What've you got to lose?
What've you been taught to choose?
What're you so hot to prove
with your beautiful socks and shoes?
The costumes fray,
Cloth covers skin like a shroud.
Exhaust fumes fade off in the wind
Like a cloud.
I went to two Quaker gatherings this summer--IMYM (which I always go to and have gone to for years) and Gathering, a more national gathering that I'd never been to before. I sort of took stream of consciousness notes while I was there, so I don't know how much sense any of these make, but I'm still too scatterbrained for much coherent writing.
Things I Remember.
Piling into the rear of a fifteen passenger un-airconditioned van smelling of sunscreen, sweaty teenagers, and dust.
Anchoring my salad with the rest of my dinner, lest it blow away.
Picking cottonwood cotton out of each other’s hair.
Watching young people be tender with each other and knowing that the best thing to do is to let them be, that they can help each other better than I can help them.
Catching the eye of a person I haven’t seen for a year and knowing they love me.
Not noticing the no-see-ums until it’s too late.
Wondering who will break the silence.
The the smothering warmth of the sun’s light and heat wrapping around you, and not wanting to complain about it because it feels like home.
Playing guitar in front of people for the first time ever. Playing with them. Realizing it’s not the end of the world if you screw up. It’s not humiliating. It’s fine.
Realizing that I need to learn how to transpose keys in guitar.
First impressions aren’t always the right impressions. People surprise you.
Getting used to not noticing a clock because it’s wrong, and then doing a double take and realizing it’s actually right now.
Setting up the microphones for a Meeting for Business attended by both young and adult folks, I forgot to set a mic low enough for the middle school kids to reach. A reminder to myself to deliberate and think through my actions, not just do things out of habit. A reminder to myself that being an ally and helping people find their voice happens on a number of different levels.
Done so many things this week I didn’t think I’d do. And not done some things, too.
Realizing that my depression evaporates so thoroughly when I’m here that it’s hard to talk about the whys and hows and whats with people, because I don’t remember.
At IMYM, I always think I’m going to do a lot or read a lot or get stuff done, but I never do. Every year, I realize it’s more about being in the moment, and the rest of the world receding into the background. Be Here Now and all that simplifiedness.
Watching one of the girls in the group writing a story in a notebook, remembering that I used to be that girl. Challenging myself to find that girl in myself again.
Watching the kids do a sweet, nurturing thing for a kid in their group whose emotional problems make him awkward and hard to get along with. I fucking love these kids.
Making friendship bracelets for the first time since summer camp in high school.
What do I want? And what will help me get there? Will writing? Will Facebook? Psychiatrists?
Why did I decide to read Twilight? Why?
These kids. Oh, these kids. These smart, sensitive, bright kids who want nothing but good things for themselves, the world, each other. They’ve been raised to be skeptical of the government and of power struggles. They’re smart enough to spot bullshit. But they haven’t exactly found their places (and neither have I, have I?), and they don’t have the wisdom yet to hang in there and trust the universe a little. Which makes them so vulnerable. Do these kids know how incredible they are? I don’t pray for much, but I pray for these kids. To take some time. To not harm themselves. To take some time.
From my friend: “And let us not forget our delight. A blind Frenchwoman being guided across the acid ocean. The 90's Pop defense against Molly the Space Moose. Clapping Animals, Mafia, Psychiatrist, gales of laughter. A quiet room full of Friends weaving friendship bracelets on their toes. The solid teamwork and pure fun that are so much a part of who we are.”
I wish I could take photographs of the stars, but I’m also glad I can’t. It makes me make sure I remember them.
Todd V. said I was a gem made of stardust. And when I was crying, he gave me the sort of hug that I don’t remember ever getting from my dad. The sort of hug that I’ve needed from a dad, though.
If God is love, then “the infinite love of God” becomes “the infinite love of love.”
Talking with Patricia about faith not as belief, but as action. Something that was taken for granted before Martin Luther. I like that this turns the question from “So what do Quakers believe?” and towards “What do Quakers do?”
Love is an action, but sometimes it can be a non-action. Intentions don’t matter as much as actions. But they matter.
Learning to have patience with my crises of introversion.
The Bible is written from a human perspective—how can we look at it from alternate perspectives? Is God really that smitey?
Maybe I should lay off the ice cream and pasta at dinner.
Is God necessary for my understanding of divine love? I believe that God exists in people, but I don’t know if I believe in an external God. I don’t know if it matters.
Belief necessitates doubt.
Realizing that the reason I agreed to do Local Arrangements for next year’s Gathering not because I really care about the Gathering or the people there, but because Andrew and Sarah are my friends and I want to support them. This Gathering is not my communty. But Andrew and Sarah are. I want to be part of that work for them.
You notice things when you're walking slowly through the woods in the rain. Like the way, when the wind picks up, the water blows off the leaves and makes it sound like it's raining harder even though it isn't. The way oak and maple leaves can look like deer antlers in the mud.
I woke up at 5am to go to the bathroom. Barely dawn, cloudy and grey, the clouds sunk to the ground and drifting through the trees. You could imagine ghosts and mythical creatures. The forest seemed quiet and a little sad. Walking through the wet grass made my feet and sandals wet.
Walking through the woods forces a particular sort of clarity. Do you want to get out of your sleeping bag and go pee? Put on shoes and abandon your warm place? Want to walk to the lake? Put the wet, stinky hiking boots back on when you already took the trouble of unlacing them and taking them off? Everything you want to do is weighed against the effort it would take to accomplish that thing, and it takes enough effort that you don't bother doing anything you don't really want to do. Back in the city, it doesn't take two hours for me to immediately lapse into doing things I don't want to do or don't care about.
One thing about New York that I have trouble handling is how thoroughly it's obliterated the landscape. Like the city has always been there and will always be there. There's no horizon that isn't manmade. I can't imagine what it looked like when Europeans first laid eyes on it. Even open space, like Central Park, is carefully managed. In the west, at least, you can still see the original landscape peeking through man's overlay.
"When I look back on my life, it's not that I don't want to see things exactly as they happened. It's just that I prefer to remember them in an artistic way. And truthfully, the lie of it all is much more honest because I invented it. Clinical psychology tells us, arguably, that trauma is the ultimate killer. Memories are not recycled like atoms and particles in quantum physics. They can be lost forever. It's sort of like my past is an unfinished painting, and as the artist of that painting, I must fill in all the ugly holes and make it beautiful again. It's not that I've been dishonest. It's just that I loathe reality." --Lady Gaga