Posts from the ‘Realizations Whilst Driving’ Category

Closing The Book

It is an impulse decision to turn right instead of left. Left would have taken me to Whole Foods, but right took me to Little Portion, now Hope Academy, I correct myself, but I don’t care. It will always be Little Portion to me. I had dropped my charge off at school, and decided that I would go to Whole Foods. Normally, I go straight from one job to the next, but I had received an early morning text message informing me that my second “shift”, as it were, was now free. I needed eggs, and Whole Foods sells the cashew drink I like at a fraction of the price that Wild By Nature does. From school, Whole Foods was also not substantially out of the way.

It has been well over a year since I’d driven out to what used to be Little Portion Friary. I could never forget the way. It is the location for so many important events in my life, and its closure and new identity as Hope Academy is something that I don’t know I’ll ever resolve. I was on a good stretch of Nicholl’s Road, and traffic was moving. I’d gotten the email about this weeks’ bread offerings a few days before, and though a person with celiac receiving emails about glutenous bread is either ironic or masochistic, I can’t bring myself to unsubscribe. Friday is bread day. In my pre-celiac life, when I spent semesters and summer camp sessions subsisting solely on Friary Bread, I made many pilgrimages to the bakery at Little Portion, depositing my money in the box and picking whichever loaves I thought had the most raisins, and breathing deeply. The whole downstairs of the Friary always smelled like bread, and it was as comforting to me as the scent of my mother’s old Chiropractic books. I don’t have cash, but I remember that there is a bank on the way, and the details with which I recollect this surprise me. I stop, get cash, get back on 347, and once again, drown in my thoughts of Little Portion.

I first went to Little Portion as a child with my mother, and when I came back to the church in college, Little Portion became a second home. I attended Daily Offices and Eucharist there because I didn’t want to be in my dorm room alone after the Southampton students were sent back to West Campus, twenty minutes from Little Portion. I spent my days off from Camp DeWolfe during the summer there. I found out that I had been accepted to grad school late one night in the library after the Brothers had gone to bed. I lost and found so many callings there, and it was there that Mom and I went after we found out that I didn’t have leukemia, when we wondered what my future would look like with lupus and not going back to Hawai’i. I pictured my wedding being held there, on the labyrinth, and when Little Portion ceased to exist as I had always known it, and when my Godmother died, I had no idea how to contemplate marriage. I didn’t, and don’t, want too much in terms of a wedding. I’d rather have a good party than something formal that everyone leaves from still hungry. But I wanted it at Little Portion. That can’t happen now.

I am wearing my sunglasses, but it is a bright, hot day, and I have a headache forming and re-forming behind my eyes. Proof that I am stressed, run down, and trying not to cry, no matter what I may tell myself. There are many cars in the parking lot, and workmen at the foot of the driveway laying down asphalt patches. I am surprised, though it is 10 AM, a few hours after bread has gone on sale, by how many cars there are. Anxiety radiates off me in waves, and I am glad that I am here alone as much as I hate that I am alone. I will only have to deal with my emotions, but I am not sure that I can handle them alone. I wish, not for the first time, that my ESC boss lived closer to New York. His gift for always getting me to cry–despite my disdain for crying and my insistence that I will be fine–might help me to handle the internal war being waged between my brain, my heart, and my stomach. I go into the bakery, breathe deeply out of habit, but the door has been open, and the smell of the bread has dissipated into the open air. Cinnamon Raisin, Olive Oil Rosemary, and Cranberry Sunflower. I debate getting a loaf of Cranberry, but who am I kidding? To come and not stock up on Cinnamon Raisin is akin to blasphemy, or heresy. Maybe both. I answer an older woman’s questions about the loaves, and what to do with her money, and prepare to bag my loaf when a young man, a resident of the house, comes in to say, “I was coming to bag those for you. We bag them after lunch; they’re really fresh.” I don’t mind bagging my own loaves. “Fresh is good!” I tell him.

I bag my loaves, taking pictures of the racks of fresh bread, with only a few empty spaces where loaves used to be. The labels are different. A former Brother, a friend of mine then, had written the labels when the Brothers still lived there. I had wondered about that on the way. There are men everywhere, and when I am rearranging the contents of my front seat to make room for the loaves, a few of them are debating whether the gas container that says ‘Mixed’ is really mixed. They are preparing to do yard work, and I remember all of the debates that ensued about that very subject in Hawai’i.

I don’t understand it, but everything is different. I don’t explore the grounds, but I see dumpsters in the back where I used to park, honestly that was the only visual difference. The house doesn’t look different. It might even look better. There seem to be more flowers than there had been in some time. I had gone expecting that it would hurt to see and feel “my” Little Portion so different. But when I got there, I didn’t feel like I belonged anymore. This wasn’t the place that was my home away from home for so long. It was something new, something different. We have both changed, Little Portion and I. We have found new lives and new meanings, and though I will likely mourn what I lost forever, I must also rejoice to see Little Portion so alive.

This is a book that I can close. Going felt like a release, though not one easily made or accepted, it was a necessary one.

I drive to Whole Foods, and remember Sunday afternoon lunches there after Church in Little Portion’s chapel. I buy juices, a salad, and sit lost in thought as I eat. When I go to my car to drive home, I open the door and expect the scent of the sun-warmed bread to fill my senses, but it doesn’t. I drive home. I don’t know what I was looking for from this impromptu pilgrimage, and I don’t know if I found it, but with what I did find… I don’t know that I need to make another.

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Well…

It’s Holy Week. It’s spring break. I’ve been housesitting, largely without internet access (which is a long and frustrating story… Electronics should just WORK). It’s been nice, though. I bought a new book at an independent book store yesterday, and I’ve been able to do some writing. Since I’ve been in school so much lately, I decided *and I will hate myself for this next week* that I’m not going to do school work this week. I need a break, and it’s been so long since I’ve been free to just write and sleep. To not do schoolwork, I’ve been watching 16 and Pregnant (I downloaded all of the episodes to watch while I was sick with infection after infection and literally couldn’t do anything else). It’s been nice. Today, I think I’m going to go out and buy a Moleskine notebook (even though I kind of make fun of these stupid hipster notebooks… Love/hate relationships, much?) and alternate between writing the books and working on a super-rough for a query for TRTL (for whenever it’s finished). A few days ago while I was driving, the way to spin it happened in my head. Now, I hope I’ll be able to remember it and capture it on paper. And I’ll read, too. Exciting.

Clarity

Clarity. I think I’ve figured out where I belong, and how to get there. A steady stream of words trickles out like a freshwater spring in the middle of salt and sand, and that stream is real and tangible. It connects me to you, and to everyone and everything. So, it seems that this is it. That the answer lies below the spring. Imagine my surprise. The answer lies in ecofeminism.

On the Plight of the educated woman, birthdays, blogging instead of writing a paper and other things.

Behold, the megapost!

I’ve been feeling a blog post on these things coming, and now seems as good a time as any to do it.  It also seems like it would be worth it to just roll them all into one post, so…

My birthday is coming up.  21.  It’s a milestone of sorts.  It’s also a rather large reminder of the things I’ve lost getting to this point.  I’d been ignoring the fact that it was coming for a long time, and not telling friends who asked when it was.  I told them I’d let them know when it was over and too late to do anything about it.  Yesterday, on the way to church, my mother told me that my actions were incorrect.  I’m not sure how she always manages to be right, but she does.  She told me that while my birthday may not be important to me, it might be incredibly important to the people I love and care about and that it’s not fair to them to deprive them of the opportunity to celebrate the 21st anniversary of my birth (I thought about and decided against more graphic adjectives.  You’re welcome.).  So, while I still don’t entirely understand why my birthday would be important to other people who aren’t my parents, I appreciate that it might be important to them to celebrate it with me.  So, I told them.  I should be alright as long as they don’t sing to me.  I might burst into tears or throw up (or both) if they sing.

I’ve been thinking about the plight of the educated woman, women’s rights, etc a lot lately.  Part of it is because of my Beyond Eden class, and part of it is from blogging and reading other people’s blogs and listening to people having drama.  I have hope on the job and dating front.  My big concern isn’t that it won’t happen, but that I’ll be too busy, immersed, stupid, fill-in-the-blank-here to notice that something really good has fallen into my lap.

This year, I’m trying to become less of a Type A person.  I’m trying to slow down and not stress and not care as much.  I think I’ll be healthier (important) and happier (super important) that way.  It’s proceeding with mixed results.  I’m also trying to be gentler.  I had a friend tell me that he’s never seen the gentle side of me, but he’s absolutely sure that it’s there and that he really likes it.  I really need to be handled gently, but I’ve realized that I’m not always very gentle with the other people around me.  I’d like to change that.  I’ve already changed a lot in the past year-ish.  I think these things will be easy-ish and very good changes to make.  I’m also loving the fact that I’m much less grown up than I was five years ago.  I think that’s a very, very good thing.

I want to go see The Voyage of the Dawn Treader again.  This time, I want to see it in 3D.  It was really different, and really great.  The viewing experience made me realize that I’m a really big fan of the word lovely lately.  After I’m through with finals, I want to celebrate my birthday (I’m not sure how yet), see VDT again, reread the entire series in English and Italian, and do some hardcore writing.  I need to buy carpal tunnel gloves before I do that, though.  So, I should probably get back to eating popcorn and chocolate chips and studying for an exam tomorrow and writing a paper due tomorrow after the exam…

Never fear, though, for I’ll be back!

I’m So Freaking Excited about NaNoWriMo, I can’t stand it.

It’s really unbelievable.  The way things work out is also fantastic.  Almost 2 years ago, I was taking all of these English classes.  It was a very busy spring semester, but very fun.  I was planning on writing a murder mystery (involving a serial killer, of course, because they’re the most fun).  I had all of this preliminary research done, and I was super excited to write it, but it never really happened.

A few months later, I started writing The Return To Love instead.  My (completely unrealistic) goal is to have all of my school papers and TRTL finished by Halloween so that I could spend November doing NaNo with a clear conscience.  I was driving out to talk to Roger, and all of a sudden on 24 somewhere between Riverhead and Hampton Bays, I had this brilliant flash.  If I could do NaNo, I would finally write that book that I’d started planning!

And, now I’m all set to start writing when TRTL is finished.  I’m so freaking excited, I can’t stand it.  It’s been a long time coming, and it’s a complete change of gears.  It’s refreshing and exciting.  I haven’t been involved with a large-scale creative piece since I started writing Symilia.  Fresh material (and lots of it) makes me squee with glee.  That’s right, I am positively giddy.

Cherry Loves Murder has me more energized than I’ve felt in a long time.  Not just about writing.  About everything.  CLM should be the creative breath of fresh air I need before I can write any kind of follow up/sequel to TRTL…  Another A Greater Story!  (<— not the next title.)  My life is so rich.

Driving back to school

I’ve noticed that I tend to do things differently than most people; or at least, I tend to do things out of their prescribed order.  For instance, most people go to a school, and then transfer and stay there.  Due to circumstances beyond my control, I went to a school, transferred, and then got sent back.  The result is that the Stony Brook University West Campus has book-ended my undergraduate career.  When I was a freshman, I hated the campus with a burning passion.  I was perpetually miserable and depressed, and I came home every weekend.  Now, as a senior, I still hate the campus, though for different reasons.  I hate it because it’s not Southampton, I hate it because I never agreed to come back, I hate it because of what it did to Southampton…

All things considered, I’m in a much better place now than I was when I was a freshman, and I’d like to think that that will help me make the most of the opportunities this year will present, as well as simply allow me to keep my head down and get through this year healthy and happy.

When I was driving back earlier this evening with the sun almost completely obscuring my vision, I remembered how I used to cry every Sunday night when my mom was driving me back to my dorm.  She used to cry, too.  I think saying that I was miserable is a horrible understatement, but it’s the word that I keep coming back to.  I wasn’t miserable to be speeding back to school today.  Certainly, there are other places I would rather have been speeding to…  Mexico sounds much nicer than Stony Brook…  But, I digress.  There are other places that I would rather have been speeding to, but I was speeding back to the Brook.  My interview this afternoon put me in a different frame of mind.  I realized something…

As a Franciscan, I’m called to love everyone as Jesus loved, and to preach the Gospel at all times (using words only when absolutely necessary), but as a former Southampton student, I’ve been charged with the responsibility of explaining what the campus was and why it was and is important to me, us, them and the world.  The ruling of the lawsuit proved that what we’re fighting for was right, and there aren’t that many times that anyone gives or gets that definite an answer in life.  So, tonight, I’m going to do the rest of my readings, and maybe even get a head-start on the project I managed to ignore all weekend.  Then, if there’s still time, I’m going to go back to work on my book.  Fears of contamination and diva characters aside.  Because that book and the friendships that Southampton gave me are the most important things in my life.  Southampton taught me how to love and how to live.  I’m a much better person because of the 2 years I had there, and 2 years of having everything is so much better than never knowing what it feels like to have it all.