Wednesday, April 7, 2010 @ 21:24:56
I know, I have been woefully neglectful of my blog. Between planning a vacation, wedding, honeymoon, and continued home renovations, I have allowed my blog to suffer. My apologies to a virtual non-entity.
My New Year's Resolution for April is to blog more often. It's Naw-Ruz - the Persian New Year, so it's as good as time as any for new beginnings. My entries may not be long, or that particularly thoughtful, but I'm feeling the need to write.
I have several entries that I started but never published. I might publish these - it is kind of fun to go back and read what I was thinking with the ability to edit for stupidity and self-interest. For those of you who keep a journal, you understand what I mean. Looking back on previous writing can be painful.
Case in point:
In 1989, I went to the Tennessee's Governor's School for the Humanities at UT-Martin with a wonderful group of creative and souful geeks. We honed our fledging skills in creative writing, philosophy, social sciences, psychology, the visual arts, and other areas I can't recall at the moment. This was the summer after my sophomore year in high school when my friends back home were hanging out having fun. I was in something akin to school. It was a weird mix of PBS, a Cure concert, Monty Python, Stephen King, and Weird Science. Not my typical crowd, so this was an interesting departure for me.
I spent afternoons sitting underneath a tree listening to my short story instructor talk about his ex-wife, "bless her little black heart." I was introduced to what it meant to be "alternative." I had a crush on Shad Gregory until he declared that he had a crush on me. Ah...to be fifteen. I learned how to dance without moving my arms. Those of you who wore black and combat boots in the eighties know what I mean, admit it.
It was also the second time I was officially published as a writer. The first time was when I was fourteen. I wrote a short sob story for English class that ended up being selected in a contest for a journal of some kind. All I really remember was a formulaic O'Henry ending, and I thought myself terribly clever. I was writing about angst, death, pain, and horrible tragedy - things I hadn't experienced yet.
At fifteen, I was sooooo much more sophisticated as a writer.
So, at Governor's School, I was inspired to write a story from the perspective of a wife beater. Mind you, I grew up in a fairly happy family, at least from my perspective. The only violence I experienced was the kind that siblings create out of boredom and creativity. The idea of writing from and about my own experiences was silly, boring, and just bad advice. Who did these people think they were? I was fifteen. I had angst. I had emphathy. I was a freakin' Betazoid.
So I wrote this absolute jewel of a short story called, "Sadistic Pleasures."
Fast forward twenty years.
I thought this story was lost to the ages. I even forgot I wrote it. Blissfully, I went on with my life, ignorant of the knowledge that everything - and I mean everything - comes back around.
So, Doug and I happen to be regulars at a little Mexican place in Knoxville called Chez Guevara. Best queso ever. Try it sometime.
We've been going there for years. This is one of those places where the wait staff have been there forever - zero turnover, great service, and they always remember us. Somehow, in this place, one waitress and I failed to make a connection for over 7 years. We failed to recall that we attended Governor's School together almost 20 years ago. Her name is Lisa, which I knew, but somehow I was remiss and never told her my name. We just always smiled and said hi, never remembering the shared connection. Several months ago, I put down my credit card for the bill, and she noticed my name. Honestly, how many Haifas do you know?
"Haifa...? HAIFA?," she asked incredulously. "Did you by chance go to UT-Martin for Governor's School?"
Instantly, we traveled back in time. Of course. THAT Lisa. No wonder I liked her!
We caught up after so many years, and she brought in something I never expected to see again. The publication that contained my story - "Synechdoche - the Anthology of the Tennessee Governor's School for the Humanities."
Dear God. How delightfully horrifying!
Reading my story and trying to keep Doug from doing so was pure torture. To travel back in time to obtain insight and to be embarassed at the same time at my utterly juvenile writing - it was like being face-to-face with my fifteen-year-old self and not being able to warn her about anything.
I was not nearly as sophisticated as I had led myself to believe.
So, I did let Doug read my story about the wife beater. And, I lived through it.
And, I will continue to blog, even with the knowledge that, in twenty years, I will be shaking my head.
Dear God, what was I thinking???
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