The summer of 1994


Last night, I got a lot accomplished on my book again. Thank god. Because the other two nights in a row, I did nothing. (One night was hang-out-with-my-family night, which I loved… and the second was the results show for So You Think You Can Dance and there was no way I’d miss it; yes, I am lame, and yes, I actually cheered when Chehon and Eliana won.) Anyway, one of the advantages of getting a lot done on the book is that I end up having a better night’s sleep afterwards. Even if it is usually a shorter night. I regularly work on that thing until midnight (sometimes, starting around 8pm) once I get going. It must be the resulting sense of “ahhhh” that lets me sleep through the night.

Speaking of sleeping, I did a little experiment to see if I could manage to sleep naked. NOPE. I can’t do it. I woke up a bunch of times, hot, then cold, then hot again, etc… And I hated what my boobs were doing. And, I kept thinking what I would do if my house caught fire and I had to run outside really quick, as implausible as that is. I can’t be the only one who hates sleeping nekkid! Right? Who’s with me on this?

I wrote about it on The FB yesterday, but I woke up wanting to listen to old CDs I haven’t played in years. In some cases, entire decades have passed without me putting the CD into the player even once. For instance, I have about 8 different Tori Amos albums; several of them are bootlegs of her doing covers and they’re actually very good. I didn’t play any of them yet, but I marvelled over them as I tried to pick the first album I would play.

I finally chose “Throwing Copper” by Live. Which I’m pretty sure I have listened to in the past 10 years, but that’s because this was once my favorite album.

I associate it with the summer between freshman and sophomore year in college. My best friend Kristen went to an all-girls’ college in Pennsylvania, and I used to drive out to visit her once in awhile for the weekend. We started listening to it at the end of that school year, and then when she was home for the summer we had it on repeat as we drove around in either her white Eagle Talon or my amazing ’86 Chevette. That was a fun summer, except for the point where my boyfriend at the time got to go to Woodstock and my parents would not let me go. I was so sad about that. In retrospect, I honestly don’t think I missed anything.

I probably would have been miserable there with all the mud, the crowds and the stinky, violence-prone people. Anyway…

That was the summer I was writing a story that ultimately fizzled out and I never finished. It was called “Jason and Donovan” and it was basically a M/M, twisted romance. One of the guys was a rich chemist, and wooed the younger, beautiful guy with designer drugs he created himself–and then wondered why the kid couldn’t really love him. It was a depressing, horrible story, but the song “I Alone” inspired it. What a shame, because I do like that song. But I hated that story.

But the rest of the songs don’t hold any specific meaning to me… they’re just great. I listened to the album a total of 3 times between yesterday morning and then while I was writing last night. It did remind me of when I was younger, more energetic, openly passionate about things I loved, and HAPPY as HELL because that summer, I finally got my sciatica under control after months of physical therapy. I could walk for long distances again; I could walk without being hunched over; I could sit through an entire class or a movie without a ridiculous amount of fidgeting and shifting around. It was amazing, and I didn’t take any of it for granted, because I had come from 8 months of constant pain, to a point where I wasn’t in constant pain. Anyone who’s dealt with that sort of thing probably knows what I’m talking about all too well. The absence of pain is beautiful. And, to have it come without painkillers or drugs? So much better. And long-lasting. I was a lucky person that summer (Woodstock notwithstanding, ha!).

It’s so hard to believe that was 18 years ago already. Holy crap.

I wonder sometimes if I’ll ever work my own life experiences into a character’s life. I experimented with doing that a few weeks ago, when I wrote a short story about a ghost in a woman’s house. It was fun, and it made for easy writing overall, but I think I just prefer going way outside myself when I write. There is nothing I enjoy more that coming up with some fantastic, new world, person or idea. I think of characters all the time. The majority of them never make it into a story or anything. But I do that thing where I see someone, sitting at a bus stop, and I make a quick character sketch of who they could be. That average-looking woman with a toddler crying next to her? She’s an ex-assassin. There’s a gun in her diaper bag. The old man working in Wendy’s? A widower who’s actually scoping out a new wife and actually thinks he has a shot with one of the young, stupid teenage girls who work there. There’s a woman in my neighborhood who’s mentally-challenged, and I usually see her carrying groceries home from the store. She wears her hair in a long braid down her back, has glasses and usually wears frumpy jeans and t-shirts that are too big. I once imagined that, when she gets to her house and closes the door, all these magical creatures come out and talk only to her. She actually can create them, by drawing their sketch on a piece of paper and then leaving it in a patch of sunlight as the sun goes down. The house is getting too crowded for all the creatures, but she can’t just kick them out. So that’s why she is always walking to the store to get groceries… she has a lot of tiny, magical mouths to feed.

As I write this, I think I figured out just one of the many reasons I feel stressed out in crowds. There are too many people to observe; too many possible characters. 😉 Well, maybe that’s true to some extent, but I know the real reason is because people can be so freaking annoying. A whole lot of them in one place is just the worst.

I don’t really have a point to all of this. I’m just rambling again.

My mind just bobs along wherever it wants to most of the time. No wonder I’m fine living on my own and remaining solitary 90% of my free time. I have enough flitting around upstairs to keep me occupied. For better or for worse. (Mostly for the better, thankfully!)





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