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Good lord - I started this thing ten years ago. I was already working in this job, living in my current house, and eight years clean - so much the same and yet it feels like a lifetime has passed.

I do most of my writing at Tumblr now - same username - but it's much more chatty than any kind of rumination. I think I may be over rumination. Mostly I'm just trying to be.

I just listened to the most amazing story on This American Life

It’s about a young, unhappy teenager who ran away to Piers Anthony’s house. Setting aside how amazing it is to listen to the narrator describe fanning in a time before the internet, it’s even more incredible to hear this man describe how he determined where Piers lived, flew across several states, and faced sentry dogs at the gate of the “oracle” to learn that, if he just kept his head down, he would soon be able to make his life a safer and more comfortable place.

Part of the story is an interview with Piers Anthony, who relates a little of his own deeply unhappy high school experience. In the author’s notes that end one of his books, he tries to explain to people who didn’t survive troubled childhoods that survival skills are not something some people can just “let go of” or “relax”. I felt like Piers was describing so many of the people I’ve found in so many places and befriended and loved in my life.

How different will it be for kids from now on who have access to the world wide web and only have to log on to find someone, somewhere, who is going through and feels the same things they do? Who can google and find blog after LifeJournal after Tumblr written by those of us who have lived our own versions of the hero’s quest for the places we’ve never been and yet feel homesick for.

Those of us who grew up to understand how fortunate we really are, how strong we can be, and how important it is to pass this message - by every available means of communicating - to others who need it.

(shadesong, I hope you will forgive my borrowing of your tag-line for Shayara. Did I ever tell you that that line - "Have you ever been homesick for a place you've never been?" - is what drew me in to your stories [both fiction and RL]?)

What I read in 2010

(What I can remember of it, anyway...)

Then We Came to the End, Joshua Ferris
Everything is Illuminated, Jonathan Safran Foer
Nightmare Alley, William Lindsey Gresham
Too Much Happiness, Alice Munro
After Dark, Haruki Murakami
The Broom of the System, David Foster Wallace
Infinite Jest (really!), David Foster Wallace
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    geeky bookish
Wake up call

The 90s

VH-1 is rerunning their "Top 100 Songs of the 90s" - hey, cool, the 90s are pretty much when I lost touch with music, right? I mean, the 80s really lasted a couple of extra years and I was clean by the end of the 90s but the middle there - that was my cloudy time. They return from commercial and start with "Sabotage". Okay, I was sort of aware of that one, I guess. From that to "Enter Sandman" - oh! Dino! The record store! I'm still a rock & roll girlfriend! - to "Say My Name" - wait. I didn't get hip hop until I got clean and started going to dances. Vanessa really introduced me to it; I certainly wasn't listening to "Nothin' But a G Thang" in '93.

Oh, god. "Vision of Love"? Was I really still dating Sean in the 90s? I remember him bragging to someone at the bar how well I could sing it (we were all a little inebriated at the time). "Nothing Compares 2 U"? The cabin, standing on the couch, singing at Evan. The debut of Britney Spears? Donnie. I remember asking him why he knew so much new pop when he was my age. I thought I lost track of music, yet every song brings back memories. And I still remember how close to the bottom I was when we were listening to "No Excuses" and "Black Hole Sun".

When the 90s started, I was still in college. A baby. At the end of the decade I'd already changed my clean date and had almost five years clean. From graduation to Europe to the blurry slide down to the kicking and clawing climb back up...I guess it makes sense that my brain can't pull up the memories of the music. They're all still lodged in my gut.
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    uncomfortable complicated

OMG I haven't seen an LJ page in so long!

The nutshell version is they blocked LJ at work and, despite my being higher on the food chain, the cat gives me hell when I'm on the computer too long at home. (Dear Santa, one laptop, please?) All is much the same with me - I really want to catch up with all you guys. Special thanks to Sam, who keeps sending messages to see if I'm alive.
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    chipper chipper

2009 books


Griffin & Sabine: An Extraordinary Correspondence, Nick Bantock
Sabine's Notebook: In Which the Extraordinary Correspondence of Griffin & Sabine Continues, Nick Bantock
The Golden Mean: In Which the Extraordinary Correspondence of Griffin & Sabine Concludes, Nick Bantock
3 Willows: The Sisterhood Grows, Ann Brashares
Kushiel's Mercy, Jacqueline Carey
The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters, Gordon Dahlquist
Moonheart, Charles de Lint
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Diaz
Geek Love, Katherine Dunn
Stardust, Neil Gaiman
American Gods, Neil Gaiman
The Worth of a Shell, MCA Hogarth
The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner, James Hogg
A Thousand Splendid Suns, Khaled Hosseini
Black Swan Green, David Mitchell
Fool, Christopher Moore
Kafka on the Shore, Haruki Murakami
The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Haruki Murakami
Netherland, Joseph O'Neill
The Bell Jar, Sylvia Plath
Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Zombie Jim, Mark Twain and W Bill Czolgosz
Palimpsest, Catherynne Valente
Oblivion (short stories), David Foster Wallace
Revolutionary Road, Richard (as opposed to Robert) Yates


An Open Heart: Practicing Compassion in Everyday Life, The Dalai Lama
The Essential Rumi, Coleman Barks
Genius and Heroin, Michael Largo
On Becoming an Alchemist: A Guide for the Modern Magician, Catherine MacCoun
Spoon River Anthology, Edgar Lee Masters
Letters to a Young Poet, Rainer Maria Rilke

4/28 - Good grief, but I'm behind on this!
6/18 - I'd like to think that what I lack in quantity, I make up in quality. *rolls eyes*
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    geeky bookish

The horror!

They've blocked LJ at work! When I'm already two weeks behind! So you've missed the completely unexpected drama at work with the guy who gave me the sexually explicit note three years ago. The nutshell version is: I finally admitted to myself and my superiors that I could not work effectively with him, I was immediately switched to another team (after I explained the reason) and moved to another desk (no longer sitting across from him YAY); unfortunately, they did have a meeting with him telling him he was not to contact me in any way so I am now holding my breath waiting for him to make some kind of retaliatory move.

Fun, huh?

Hope you're all well. I will try to find a couple spare hours to catch up over the weekend.
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Cute but

The surreal thing that happened Monday.

Scene: Tal has had no good sleep Sunday night, having gotten an extremely confusing, terse, and cold couple of text messages from the guy. She dragged herself to work on Monday, but went home a couple of hours early to get some sleep. She sleeps a little too long, waking up just in time to put her hair in a ponytail, throw clothes on, and get to her meeting.

I'm sitting and waiting for the meeting to start, still a little groggy. Someone pulls my ponytail - it's V, with whom interactions have been a little strained lately, but I'm too bleary to go there now. I stand up to hug her, she says hi, and then sort of stops. "Paul Y. is dead."

I blink. "Paul? Paulie?" Which is what I call him, thank you, Sopranos. "How? When? What happened?" She isn't sure - over the weekend, some kind of sudden aneurysm, very fast, boom, gone. She's going to the funeral home after the chairperson, who is celebrating her second anniversary, shares.

I nod and she goes to say hi to other people. I feel my eyes start to well up - Paul and I weren't that close, but I'd known him since I got clean and we were baseball antagonists (he a Yankees fan). A couple of people asked if I was okay and I said I'd just heard about Paul. One guy asked for more details and said he'd come with us. While this was going on my cell rang - it was the guy. I told him what was up and tried to have a conversation with him while talking to someone else...confusion, frustration, wondering if it was too soon to joke about one less Yankee fan. I go in, sit down, and start that thing where you think you see someone you know can't be there out of the corner of your eye.

So once the celebrant is finished sharing, the four of us stand up (along with a few others going to smoke or get more coffee), go out to the parking lot, and caravan to the funeral home. V. thinks she knows where she's going. We get there, find parking on the streets of the neighborhood, and go inside.

I look towards the front of the room, and I see Paul. Talking to someone. No, it's not just someone who looks like him - it's the person I expected to never see again. I look at V. and try to speak. "Bu- Paul's righ- what?"

V. looks at me strangely. "Paul's father died."

I just stood there. "I thought you said Paul died."

"What are you - high?" And in that moment I felt like I was. I wasn't quite making contact with anything; neurons were firing but not aimed anywhere in particular. I stood there, dazed, as Paul worked his way back to us. I hugged him in turn and tried to fade into the wallpaper. Oh, god. How many people did I tell that Paul was dead? Oh, god.

V. made the rounds and came back. She looked at me and put her arm around me. "Poor Tal. I can't imagine what that must've felt like. You know I'd've been way more upset if it had been Paulie." Well, no, V., you aren't the most demonstrative person when it comes to your emotions, but I certainly wasn't feeling like I had any firm ground to stand on. I was embarrassed, I was relieved, I was confused.

So I stayed for an acceptable length of time - the guy who'd followed us had left as soon as he found out that Paul was, in fact, alive - and then walked out to my car, alone. There was a text message on my phone. The guy, saying how truly sorry he was for my loss. "Funny story..." I texted him back, knowing it would be funny eventually.
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