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June 28, 2008

MEMOIR WRITING. It’s my last college class. I go to a room on the top floor of a building built in the early eighties, sit next to a seventy year-old man named Joe (whose adventures as a Naval pilot, and 47 year-old marriage make me distinctly aware of the ridiculousness of taking a memoir-writing class at the age of twenty-two), and discuss read memoirs and snatches of our own written memoirs for two hours, every morning monday through thursday.

It’s feeling like exactly the wrong time to be doing this, though. I’m about to graduate, inconspicuously, and start a new life in a new (small) city, a mere fifty miles south. The reading is good (as far as I am concerned, that’s what God made summer for anyway), but the writing is presenting me with problems. Having just come off of writing a genealogy-driven poetic series, I’m temporary exhausted by my own past. Writing childhood stories seems a distraction from the task at hand: FIND A JOB AND A NEW APARTMENT.

I’m essentially living like a kid at the moment anyway. After ‘school’ I mostly have time for reading, writing, and drifting off to find adventures in the woods, which is precisely what I did as a child. The day before yesterday I spent all afternoon traipsing through waste-high grass by some of the Battlefields, clutching my newish Diana+ camera and allowing my feet to be ravished by briars in the name of finding mimosa blossoms, wildflowers, train-tracks, and odd rock formations, not to mention hopping a ditch and climbing the defunct railroad watchtower for a view of more woods and more tracks.

When I was a kid, my adventures were almost always accompanied by long, impromptu songs that I would make up to accompany my discoveries and the things I was most pleased by. The swings, especially, provided natural rhythm for my songs, and I could entertain myself by myself for hours on end, if necessary. That hasn’t changed. But these summertime outings provide only brief reprieve and reflection on my current position.

There’s much I need to teach myself, and I am ready to grow. I’m ready to ditch my scholarly robes for now, and enter the workforce, meet people, negotiate territory that makes me uncomfortable and figure out that– yes– the girl with plenty of brains and no common sense can be an effective employee full-time.
I’m feeling as though my retreat into painting and photography, writing and reading and watching documentaries, is becoming an isolating hindrance to growth, rather than a facilitator. These days almost no one depends on me, and that can be demoralizing.

It’s time to aerate the grass.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. Momma permalink
    June 29, 2008 9:39 pm

    A most interesting mindset, and one that I think I actually “get”, believe it or not. You never have ceased to amaze me with your insight and your view of the world. I have been thinking of your childhood a great deal as of late, as well. Maybe because of your recent birthday, or the juncture you have arrived at in your life. The memories are so sweet, as is the girl who created them. There are countless memories in my mind, ripe for the picking, if your own memory should need jogging. I assure you that I have not, alas, shared them all with you yet. Could some of them have occurred too early in your life for you to remember them on your own? Much love for the journey, Momma

  2. Momma permalink
    June 29, 2008 9:57 pm

    PS. I want you to know that I depend on you. You are my only much-beloved daughter, whom I happen to really miss seeing, hugging, talking and laughing with and being with on a regular basis, very, very much. You are also becoming a unique kind of friend to me, as well, whom I am learning to listen to with care and intention, as you tell me things straight up. You are irreplaceable in my life, and I need you to be in it, actively, as you feel you are able. You are the only you that God has put on this earth, and there are people everywhere who love and depend on you, for your wisdom, for your friendship, for your love. Please do not be demoralized. We need you in our lives. Mom

  3. June 30, 2008 3:30 am

    I depend on you.

    Though we haven’t met face-to-face, you have always been there for me, in the most unorthodox of ways. You didn’t think twice about allowing me to be in your life, you have been wonderfully open, you never judged me or questioned my motives… and I am always thankful for that. I value our writings to each other immeasurably. I hope that helps a little.

    I’m thinking about you, girl.

  4. June 30, 2008 5:23 am

    thank you and thank you.

  5. Sarah permalink
    June 30, 2008 11:21 pm

    I stumbled on this somehow, but I wanted to let you know (from one slightly impractical dreamer with little common sense to another) that the workforce is used to souls like us. It’s fun, too. At the very least it provides interesting characters for stories further down the line.

    -A fellow poetry lover and Mara fan who met you far too late.

  6. July 2, 2008 4:25 pm

    hello, my beautiful whitney, i have been visiting with your two momma and reading your beautiful writings.i have also been looking at your works of art for sale.my,my what talent in those small little hands of yours.i’m impressed and proud.you are soon to be on a new road to this great highway of life.please know that i depend on you to keep us up with all the new and amazing things you have dicovered in your journies to places i will never grt to see unless you take me there through your eyes. whitney, you are the free spirit and lover of art that i may have been if i had not made oh, a million or more mistakes in my life.no reqrets there,for every major screw up i got at least one blessing back.so remember that we do need you to bring us the world through your eyes,we have so much common ground in some areas it would scare the hair off a cat.i have been working back in nursing now.but would love to spend spome time talking,oh,i still have myu can drive a u-haul truck and load furniture license,so i am all yours if you need help moving.i know you are laughing your head off at this wonderful spelling and typing thing i have going on here,so here’s the news flash. in the 11th grade my typing teacher was married to a minister, since i only have 9 fingers that work i was a big screw up in typing,which meant i said oh,shit under my breath alot!!!! she asked me to leave typing call so she would not lose her religion.i never learned to spell,grammer was a nightmare,and so here i am writing my beautiful,talented,gifted,Whitney in all of my pitiful attempts at the artform of writing to tell her i love her and that i’m here for her if she needs anything except typing,spelling,and writing done,love aunt lisa

  7. greeneyedmuse permalink*
    July 3, 2008 7:34 am

    Thank you all so much for your outpourings of support. I didn’t mean the post to come off quite as disheartened as it did.

    Momma– I love you very much.

    Erin– Your response touched me so deeply! Thank you, thank you. I have learned to trust the kind of unorthodox friendships we get handed by the Universe sometimes, and I definitely treasure ours. You’re a kindred spirit, and someone who inspires me. I also appreciate your willingness, and openness, and grace in seeking me out. :o)

    Aunt Lisa– I love you to pieces, and got quite the chuckle out of your typing story– just like you to be saying ‘oh shit’ at school! the typing doesn’t matter at all— you made my day! I miss you a lot and teared up to think you might see yourself in me, even a little. It’s so encouraging to have such a sprawling family, and to hear from you all that I am understood, accepted, appreciated, and encouraged. It feels good to know how I fit in the family tree. A thousand I LOVE YOUs to your whole crowd. I miss you all so much. Kisses and hugs, and I will hopefully see you late July/early August, if you can steal away to the beach. xoxoxo

  8. Joe O'Malley permalink
    July 28, 2009 6:26 pm

    Whitney:
    I’m the seventy-year old Navy pilot from your last class at UMW. You said you wanted to come see me, but I never heard from you. I’m still in school, getting ready to take a class from Rafferty. Wish you’d be in it.

    I’m in awe of your abilities!

    Joe

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