emma b. says

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Ever Late to the Party

I missed my own anniversary, damn. Wait a minute, now that I am looking at the date, I have not missed it -- I thought it was the 27th, but no, it is the 26th... which would make me right on time, but still a dollar short, always a goddamned dollar short.

Since the occasion demands I would like to thank the person responsible for a years worth of oft incomprehensible noodlings.

About a year and a half ago I received a postcard in the mail from a friend I had not corresponded with in 15 years. Our mothers had received Fulbright exchanges and back in the way back of 1986 they were packing up their adolescents for a year abroad. I met D.W. at the orientation in San Francisco, he was from Detroit, I am from a small town. I thought of Detroit as an extremely urban city, begrimed and begritted, full of cars and snow, I still have never been there.

He went off to Switzerland and I went off to an even smaller town than my home town in the South of France, initially, I was very much chagrined. We met again that October, I think, in Paris. But after San Francisco we decided to write letters, I think we were drawn to each other for the promise of trading pithy seventeen year old barbs, also, I really needed someone I could write to who was not my home, not my best friend, not my boyfriend, and for sure, not any member of my family.

And we wrote, constantly. I looked forward to his letters with a sort of ravenous anticipation, to reading and responding, he made me a better writer, because I rose to the challenge, I hoped he would find me witty and intelligent, as witty and intelligent as I found him.

And so the year passed, and it was a very big year indeed, but I returned to my small town to finish up high school and hurry-up-and-get-the-fuck-out and he went home to Detroit and letters became infrequent and then not at all, we were teenagers and life swept us up in the rushing, swooning momentum of early adulthood...

So then this postcard.

I had often wondered what became of DW from Detroit. I wondered where he was, if we crossed paths would we recognize each other, in the intervening years I have sported all wonder of different hair, what if anything, we might have to say to one another.

My old friend DW resides in Austin, a city, that according to Google is populated by bats and college kids, in other words, a pretty cool place, I admit to regarding Texas with a certain wariness that any certifiable (yes) Californian lefty would. Rather than writing letters we began an email correspondence. Timing did, as timing will, intervene. Shortly after we began corresponding I was surreptitiously dumped by R, and I was hugely heartbroken, and again I wanted, needed to write out, not to my best friends, certainly not to my family, but he encouraged my voice, and encouraged me to write.

So I began. I really don't know if I am that much of a writer, but I like words, and I like the ritual of sitting down at the computer where there is usually some form of beverage and a pack of cigarettes near by. Many of the people who read me know me outside blogland, except, thank god, my mother. This has been, and will continue to be my exercise in writing out. P said once, I caught up on your writing but it's hard for me to read, it's like a raw nerve. And I thanked her, that's what it is meant to be, the part of me that etiquette dictates I keep down, the part of me that is kicking and screaming, maybe not the best part, maybe sometimes it is my best part.

DW called from Texas a couple of weeks ago, and again he was incredibly supportive in my venture of caterwauling over the internets. He said I write like the Pixie's sing. I like that.


  • I too delighted in pen pals when I was younger. And I think that early pleasure with words, letters, and acquaintences elsewhere (helping me through wretched times, surely) all help explain my current epistolary habits (counting blogging). So yeah, dig.

    By Blogger MM, at 8:44 AM PST  

Post a Comment

<< Home