notes from somewhere in the back row

I’m moving and rifling through four years’ worth of notes and books and clothes. Here are a few fragments from notebooks that didn’t make the storage cut.

Summer 2011, Fiction Writing II:

I’m kind of in love with my professor for only calling me Beatrice.

How to be an asshole:

1. Mention your typewriter

2. Humblebrag about how post-modern your work/question is

3. Say these things:

3a.“I think, for all of us, youth might be our greatest fault,” and

3b. “I read a lot of Native American poetry,” and

3c. “You all know who Kerouac is, right?” and

3d. (on Indians) “Not Columbus’ misconception(????), the Asian ones”

Spring 2010, Earthquakes and Natural Disasters:

We lose dollars; we tend not to lose people

Unknown Class, Unknown Time:

New Mexico is for introspective writers/actors and geologists. Give it back to the Native Americans (96)

Summer 2011, Fiction Writing II:

“cousins”

Golf ball through the kitchen window

shortshorts

This guy did not. Get. It.

Every (f) Good (a) Boy (c) Does (e) Fine (accompanied by a picture of a treble clef and scale)

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Don’t Fear the Reaper

The souvenir cowbells in my trashcan rattle every time I hopscotch across my floor to get to my bed or my closet or my bathroom. They are marketing tools from an event I volunteered at in April. I grabbed two because my friend didn’t want hers – “They’re just going to end up being something else I have to throw away,” she said. I knew she was right, but I pretended like I had space.

Now, my desk is covered in lesson plans and notes crisscrossing from 2008 to 2012. I’ve packed them in boxes labeled with KEEP because they’re worth something, whereas the cowbells are worth nothing. I can’t keep the cowbells. There’s no space or point to them. When has anyone ever needed less cowbell? When did I rewrite that script?

The soles of my shoes are covered in berries that the overzealous sun has forced to ripen before their time. I want to remind them that it’s still May, that for everything there is a season –to ripen, to rot, to start all over. But, even nature has rewritten her script, so I shrug and learn to trust the process.

Seasons don’t fear the reaper

Nor do the wind, the sun or the rain

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and again, and again, and again (I’m always falling in love)

The other day I was giddy on nitrous oxide and genuinely thought my teeth were loose because of course I did.

“Do you remember the last tooth you lost?” I asked my hygienist. It sounded a little more urgent than I wanted it to, so I continued.

“I remember it–I remember thinking ‘I guess I’m an adult now.’”

With that we speculated about where I’d be years from now and I gave her Plan A, Plan B and Plan C.

It’s funny to think about the things that are supposed to initiate us into the adult world.

I’m almost 100% sure that years from now, under the influence of auld lang syne or a particularly beautiful day, I’ll turn to whomever’s close and urgently ask: “Do you remember…?” and try to trace the time from there to here.

from my dentist

 

“and mostly, I am grateful that I take this world so seriously”

It’s time to tuck a few notes into the Internet time capsule.

The abstract ones and the notes scribbled on legal paper with phrases like “we are all the sum of our contradictions” and “it’s hard to pull off anything, take as long as you need.” Cheesy book quotes, like: “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” Or essays that start with, “It’s a long story…”

Because it is a long story, so save the Playbills and the concert tickets and remember the funny phrases and the pizza and the good weather and the love (and shame) and love. Always, always, always love. And balloons.

21, thanks for the drinks.

Thanks for the goodbyes and hellos.

Thanks for feeling like a million Alanis Morissette songs.

Thanks for Big Bear and the beach.

Thanks for graduation and the discovery of deer.

Thanks for The OC game and Joan Didion.

Thanks for good lighting and simple songs.

Thanks for Pet Sounds and Born to Run.

Thanks for the uke and Dream a Little Dream.

Thanks for cute faced kittens and dogs with a sense of humor.

Thanks for belly laughs.

Thanks for family and long days in pajamas.

Thanks for “Shall we dance?”

Thanks for Beyonce.

And thanks for Harry Potter. Because that had to happen.

22, I want even more karaoke.

And finger picking ukulele songs

More give

More patience

More poetry

More accents

More songs of myself and long walks and Xs and Os.

And maybe a little Mahler spilling through those songs.

22, there’s something about you that I really like already.

I wanted to thank the mockingbird for the vigor of his song.

Everyday he sang from the rim of the field,

While I picked blueberries or just idled in the sun.

Every day he came fluttering by to show me,

and why not, the white blossoms of his wings.

 

So one day I went there with a machine,

And played some songs of Mahler.

The mocking bird stopped singing,

he came close and seemed to listen.

 

Now when I go down to the field,

a little Mahler spills through the sputters of his song.

How happy I am, lounging in the light,

listening as the music floats by!

 

And I give thanks also for my mind,

that thought of giving the gift.

And mostly I’m grateful that I take this world so seriously.

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oh, the weather outside is weather

day34 001

The only reaction to finishing a two-hour final writing exam over a segment of American literature ranging from Tuscaroran oral narratives to impassioned fire-and-brimstone sermons to the Gettysburg Address is to raise your arms in the air and mime yelling “Woo hoo!”

OR, doing that is the flagrant foul of test taking. Win some/lose some. More specifically, lose 2% of your final grade. Like Pee Wee said: “I’m a loner, Dottie. A rebel.”

Two years ago, I took a survey class on Latin American society. The main text was titled “Born in Blood and Fire” and every Tuesday and Thursday I would sit and consume over an hour’s worth of media on the past and present atrocities in South and Central America, Spain, Portugal and the Caribbean. It didn’t always make me happy, but it made me more informed. Before this class, I had no idea a banana republic was more than a department store in mid-sized US cities. That’s important information! It also piqued my interest in nonfiction literature and, like Charles Darwin, it made me crave fictional media in a different way.

Scanning in his mind so many times and places,

he’d had enough of dying species,

the triumphs of the strong over the weak,

the endless struggles to survive,

all doomed sooner or later.

He’d earned the right to happy endings,

at least in fiction

with its diminutions.

Now, my consumption of media in all its forms is a little out of control—at least, that’s what I learned after filling out a 24-hour time sheet in my media and psychology class. I also learned of the third-person effect—the belief that media can and does affect the way other people think, but doesn’t affect you—and I learned that words and theories are only as good as the counter ideas and actions. That if you think Americans consume too much and give too little, you should consume less and give more. If you think your generation is narcissistic and lazy, then spend more time appreciating the world around you and less time looking at the worlds you create through social media.

Last week, Louis C.K. was on Fresh Air promoting his five dollar comedy show, “Louis C.K.: Live at the Beacon Theater”. Here’s what he had to say about actions and words:

I see soldiers fly all the time, because that’s how they get to the war. You think they get to go in a cool green plane with a red light – go, go, go. No, they just go to Delta, and they just wait in line to go to a war. And they always fly coach…every time that I see a soldier on a plane, I always think: You know what? I should give him my seat. It would be the right thing to do. It would be easy to do, and it would mean a lot to him…Because I’m in first class – why? For being a professional asshole. This guy is giving his life for the country… He’s told by everybody in his life system that that’s a great thing to do, and he’s doing it. And it’s scary, but he’s doing it, and he’s sitting in this shitty seat, and I should trade with him.

I never have, let me make that clear. I’ve never done it once. I’ve had so many opportunities. I never even really seriously came close.

And here’s the worst part: I still just enjoy the fantasy for myself to enjoy. I was actually proud of myself for having thought of it. I was proud. Oh, I am such a sweet man. That is so nice of me to think of doing that and then totally never do it.

It’s hilarious and he’s a hilarious, but it’s also a good reminder to just do it–give up your seat, stay offline more often–whatever, just do it. Because the world is already bad and mean and selfish, we all know that, but sometimes we can make it a little less so.

a sort of reasonable discussion on tablets

versus

TL; DR version: HP is having a fire sale, selling their tablets for $99! I recently decided to buy one and if you’re in the market for a tablet, here’s an argument for why you should try to snag one

Sometime at the beginning of fall, I was having a seriously awesome day so the universe intervened and when I went to close to my laptop, I touched the screen and the LCD lights got all dramatic and broke under my thumb. I’m stronger than I look apparently.

I took my laptop to Best Buy and they asked if I had bought my computer from them and if it was under warranty, which I understand as shorthand for: “We can’t help you.” They couldn’t help me even if it had been under warranty, because Best Buy is The Worst.

I bought the cheapest monitor I could find, which ended up being a pretty nice (and fairly large) HP monitor. I assumed I’d find some computer guy in Kansas City or Lawrence that would be able to fix my screen, but all this tomfoolery happened on a Wednesday night and I had a paper due the following Monday (and a test that next morning and two seconds between that test and work to find something/figure out a way to fix the screen — woo hoo!) Of course, I never found that computer guy and the return policy on the monitor expired months ago, so my laptop was accidentally, but successfully, converted into a desktop.

On school days, I would pull up PDFs on my iPod and various documents on my BlackBerry between classes (and sometimes in class) to review and/or read over important lessons. My strained eyesight and chronically dead phone battery were screaming at me to do better than this.

So, I found a repair guy. His company was based in Texas and guaranteed a good-as-new computer screen in three weeks or under. I’m not really the type of person to send a valuable electronic with years of school and personal work on it to the boondooks based on trust and cute colloquialisms scattered about a website. Especially not for the price he was asking for, which was reasonable, but not for me. To put $300 into my laptop now would be to invest in it and tie myself to it for another two years, at least. That just seems illogical to me–it’s working fine as a desktop and I’m kind of enjoying having a larger computer screen, although it does make Skype video conversations a little awkward, as it looks like I’m super engaged with something directly to the right of the webcam. Nevertheless, I’m not investing in this laptop. And thus began the search for the perfect tablet–preferably one that cost as much as, or less than, the cost of repairing my laptop screen.

The first thing I did was go to Amazon and compare the Kindle Fire with the iPad. Amazon makes a lot of great arguments for how they’re basically the same product, but the key distinction between the two–the deal breaker distinction–is that the Kindle has yet to come up with a way to edit documents on their OS. While I would never write a long form essay on a tablet, you bet your ass I’d be doing edits on it. The majority of this was written on my Blackberry. My love for writing on the go is river deep, mountain high (so much so that I’m hesitant to ever step away from RIM and into Apple, I could blaze through an entire Dickens novel with this keyboard and that is an acquired skill I never want to let go). This was only the beginning of my search, but I proudly proclaimed that if you were any type of writer there was no other tablet you could get but the iPad. It had a wide-screen, document editing capabilities and an app store full of entertainment options for especially boring classes or pompous professors (because let’s be real).

Awesome! Done!

Except, the iPad doesn’t exactly fit into my predetermined budget. Like, no-fucking-way-I-could-ever-justify-that-even-if-it’s-the-holiday-season-does-not-fit-into-my-budget.

The second part of this search became my LOTR: Two Towers (oh yes, this shit just got epic) and I began scanning the Internet for articles cross-checking the iPad and other tablets in the same way the Kindle Fire compares itself to the iPad. SPOILER ALERT: comprehensive lists like that don’t exist. My psychology professor made the argument that “my generation” doesn’t know how to think critically because we have Google and I was totally trying to prove her right, but the “Top ‘Generic #’ Tablet” lists didn’t actually list features or compare anything the way I needed them to (CNET does a really fantastic job with reviews though–I just need more “man on the street” input). Consequently, in my free time, I would search tablets, read the reviews (users and critics) and then scour the Internet for some hyper-specific comparison article on that tablet vs. the iPad because, remember? It was the only thing I needed!

Honestly, this is where the search got a little exhausting because I was prepared to do little to no grunt work and even the slightest bit of investigation made me want to turn all Frodo and abandon The Ring. But! Turns out finding the information I needed was pretty easy. Amazon’s tablet section lets you compare the tablets to others listed in the marketplace. Apple’s tablets are only sold by individuals not the certified marketplace, so when you type it in you’ll be redirected to a page full of individual listings of first generation iPads and a defiant link to the iPad vs. Kindle Fire comparison page.

In the tablet section, I selected my most basic requirements: a 7″ screen, 32 GB capacity (at least) and 4G capability (but will settle for 3G) (standards! who’s gotta stick to them?) and went from there. I loved RIM’s tablet, but if I’m going to have the Godzilla sized version of a cell phone without the “phone” part, I wouldn’t choose Blackberry. I know, doesn’t really make sense, right? But everything I like about my Blackberry has very little to do with Blackberry (and there was a month when I was regularly tweeting mean things and just generally trolling their Twitter account) (and I say I’m busy–HA). The tablets I was most interested in at first were the tablets powered by the Android network, which got me super excited because THAT is how you compete with an Apple tablet. I would love access to the Android app store! The best part was that almost all of these tablets were at or near $300.

There were little problems I found though, like “tinny speakers,” low battery life or the worst thing of all: no customer reviews.

Then I found the HP Touchpad, a model HP discontinued in August with a memorable fire sale wherein they were sold for $99 for the 16GB version and $149 for the 32GB. It’s specs rival the iPad– most notably, the identical 9.7″ display and 1.2GHz processor (which is .2GHz faster). It’s also backlit for outside reading and the speaker system was designed exclusively by Beats by Dr. Dre. It comes with wi-fi capability, but not 3G or 4G, which is probably for the best if you’re like me and don’t really need to be paying for the extras anyway.

Right now, the Touchpad retails for a little under $300 on Amazon. HP discontinued the model after deciding they didn’t want to take part in the tablet game. They originally sold it at the same price as an iPad and were met with little success, but a demand was created when customers went wild over August’s fire sale. The company hasn’t definitively decided if it will still develop the webOS system or continue to build it’s app store, but they do offer Touchpad support services and carry accessories for the device ($10 herringbone sleeve, stop tempting me). Also, it has an awesome wordpress app and 300 other apps that PC Magazine has boiled down to a convenient Top 20.

If the company’s position in limbo between developing new apps or keeping their apps “fresh! (for August 2011)” here’s some awesome information: the Android OS can be installed on HP tablets. Did the Hallelujah chorus ring in your ears when you read that? Because it did for me. Beware though: downloading the Android OS voids your warranty, so see if HP’s webOS fails to satisfy or if Instagram really is coming to the Android network before you do anything rash. Both operating systems can exist on your device though–it’s just a matter of which system you want to enable and how badly you need that warranty.

HP is having a second fire sale, starting at 6PM tonight on their official Ebay account, selling the tablets for $99 again. If you’re buying the HP Touchpad in this sale, you will only have a 90 day warranty anyway, so there’s no point voiding it before seeing if there are any real problems with the tablet. All of the tablets sold in this second sale will be refurbished.

I ordered my Touchpad a day before reading about this fire sale, because OF COURSE I did, and it should be here before Tuesday. I can’t wait to test out the speakers, tinker with webOS and cross my fingers that HP decides to continue developing apps for it.

Do you use a tablet? Would you consider buying one? What are your tablet “needs” and should we refine Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to fit today’s society and its growing technology? Do you feel a little guilty looking at the phrase “tablet needs” and reflexively and simultaneously imagine starving kids in Africa being fed cornmeal by UN aid workers, holding their hands out Oliver Twist style because they want some more? Or…is that just me?

They day I get over my constant guilt about everything is December 21, 2012.

no one would riot for less

Film is a reflective medium; it’s only successful when it finds ways to tap into the public’s subconscious and provide some sort of mirror or escape.

I once read an article from 2008 that addressed this from a political standpoint: the Bush years, the inhumanity of extreme capitalism and There Will be Blood; the Obama campaign, hope and cute films full of possibility like Away We Go.

In that context, what does it mean that we now have critically acclaimed films like Blue Valentine and Like Crazy? Films that document falling head over heels for an idea and then getting (1) exhausted by working at it and/or (2) disillusioned. Similarly, what do our blockbusters mean now?

Almost two months ago, I worked an advance screening of Hugh Jackman’s Real Steel. In case you don’t know, it’s about robot boxing. Robot boxing. Despite coming into the film expecting to hate it and actually hating the first twenty minutes (the phrase “robot boxing” was actually used and I felt so disappointed and embarrassed for this screenplay’s writer), I liked it.

Real Steel is set somewhere between now and the 2020s. There are no flying cars, no Jetson-style homes (ps, I’m so glad we’ve all collectively realized that shit is just not ever happening), nothing to scare us or indicate that we’re too far from where we’ve been. But there are robots and almost no human emotion.

In the first pivotal scene, the robot that the story will revolve around, Atom, is described as being second-generation, while the robots that they have in the present are third and fourth generation. Second generation robots were dismissed as being “too human-like,” they’re used as sparring robots and, consequently, are made to withstand hits.

This second generation robot saves the life of the main character, a little boy. In a sense of obligation to his hero, the boy cleans him up and connects with him. He decides to enter the robot into boxing matches, despite everyone telling him that the robot is old and a piece of junk. But he doesn’t listen, and Atom is thrown into matches in the only place that will take him: “The Zoo.” This is a bacchanal, junkyard of robots run by people who still exhibit human pleasures: girls and boys, boys and boys, and girls and girls hang off each other, drink beer and yell and make bets while Atom fights.

It’s a Disney movie, so of course the robot wins and keeps winning, and this is where you can see the world that these people are living in.

Robot boxing (oh, that phrase) is the new American basketball: it’s popular and profitable and the fighters are unreal—literally unreal, because they’re made out of steel. That’s where the title comes in—the “World Champion” robot, a robot described as “the champion of this universe, and any known and unknown” is named Zeus and is tons and tons of steel.

He was created by an international hipster and is owned by what looks like a Kardashian. They run around in an extravagant penthouse suite filled with even more Kardashians and indistinguishable blondes.

Everyone glorifies the seemingly indestructible and recoils at the human. In fact, the mortality of human beings makes them insignificant; everyone invests in their money-making robots, not people—which is why a robot made to reflect human emotions is discarded. Who wants to be any part of that?

When Atom faces his big-stakes-patented-Disney-challenge he gets three rounds with Zeus and three rounds to teach us a lesson. First he survives when he shouldn’t, he gets back up when no one thinks he can and finally, when he loses his ability to operate on his own, Hugh Jackman steps in to control him in a “shadow-mode” where the robot can only mimic the movements of somebody else. Whether the robot wins or loses, it’s only as good as the human operating it—and never better than that.

In watching the final scenes, I couldn’t help but think of Maya Angelou’s poem “Still I Rise” and feel hopeful. We are the ones that are indestructible and this is a nice reminder.

this phenomenon

“The leather shop where I take my boots has a turquoise kayak in the yard, an old piano with keys that don’t move, piles and piles of bowling balls decorated with plastic jewels and paint that makes them seem like versions of the Earth if the Earth had been created by happy-go-lucky four year olds or Antoni Gaudi.”

Some days I remember my camera. Some days I just remember.

Like, 70 degree weather in the middle of another unbearably hot Midwest summer and spending it at the lake. Briars that lean over and snatch at sweaters forcing single-file lines of couples and families and dogs. Tree branches breaking in the wind, screaming “Caveat Emptor” on their way down but never actually falling onto the path.

Going a different way and finding a mound of dirt promising a Buena Vista at the top and rushing to see before deciding I’d rather meet it than run to it.

Yeah, days like that.

bad reputation

Like everyone else, I have done my fair share of bad things. I have spoken badly about people, I have shared secrets that were not my own, and I have no need to hide any of it—any of my humanity—because the same feelings that have sometimes led me to do bad, have led me to do good, too.

When I was in the third grade, Mrs. Leiker, my 19-month pregnant teacher (I went to a Catholic school and I swear my teachers were always pregnant), pulled the three quietest kids to the front of the room and screamed: “THESE are my favorite students.” I guess we were being loud, I don’t remember. What I do remember is her fury and feeling like a bad kid because I hadn’t been chosen as a favorite. In retrospect, this moment explains the years I spent striving to be the perfect kid. But I can’t pretend like that urge to be the kid at the front of the room has vanished with age.

During that time, what I refer to as “That Time I Should Have Been Reading Harry Potter (Apparently),” I read Beverly Ann Donofrio’s memoir Riding in Cars with Boys. She begins her story in kindergarten, crying in front of her assigned cubby-hole because they were all marked with initials and the kids were making fun of hers. She was B.A.D. She was bad. She spends her life trying to make up for being B.A.D., only to end up pregnant at sixteen and spending the subsequent years seemingly negating all that work she did to be good.

Mrs. Leiker moved to a small town after that year, leaving a forwarding address and weird memories in her place. I only remember two of the three kids that were pulled to the front of the room: one was a girl I got my belly button pierced with in the back room of a salon when we were 18 and belatedly going through our Thirteen phase. The other was a dude who now spouts conspiracy theories and has somehow stressed himself out enough that he has lost a majority of his hair.

And the rest is pointless because you can’t view things through a black and white lens when we live in a Technicolor world.

Even if you smoked in the girl’s locker room (twice, because you were bored and wanted to see what it felt like to be Rayann Graff instead of Angela Chase), skipped school at lunch time and showed up to (a majority of) your high school’s sporting events smelling like winter fresh gum and vodka, were you nice to people that day, without needing applause?

If you went to bed at 10 every night, made sure your skirt hit just below the tip of your longest fingers and always completed the required reading before class, did you do something for the benefit of someone else that week? Month?

I was always a mix of bad and good and I was never too afraid of hiding that because sometimes it’s not that complicated and even when it seems like you’ll never be able to start back at zero with anyone or anything, that’s never really the case. And if it is the case, then maybe you don’t need to be at zero, maybe you need to remember where you’ve been.

The supreme act of courage is that of forgiving ourselves.

That which I was not but could have been.

That which I would have done but did not do.

Can I find the fortitude to remember in truth,

to understand, to submit, to forgive

and to be free to move on in time?

But less "I don't care" and more "I care enough to move on"

FLASHBACK:

March 20, 2009. “Day 54″


“Frankly, Rosebud, you can’t handle the truth!” Have a favorite line from a movie?

For some reason, this prompt took me a while to answer and now looking back on my answer I don’t think this is at all one my favorite lines from a movie but just a line from one of my favorite movies.  Nevertheless, here //EDIT/it/EDIT// is my answer to the prompt:

The Royal Tenenbaums is filled with hilarious quotes but these quotes don’t particularly make sense out of context. At the turning point of the film Royal turns to his family, after being kicked out, and says: “These last six days have been the best six days of my entire life.” A frequent liar, Royal is surprised to realize that this statement is absolutely true.

He then says this:

Royal: Richie, this illness, this closeness to death… it’s had a profound affect on me. I feel like a different person, I really do.
Richie: Dad, you were never dying.
Royal: …but I’m gonna live.

I can’t think of why exactly I enjoy this quote, except for the fact that it’s full of hope.

I think my favorite line from a movie is much more simple than that.  It’s from ‘Half Nelson’, the movie from 2006 that earned Ryan Gosling an Oscar nomination.  He has a one night stand with this teacher who then rummages through his bookshelf.  She finds a copy of Che in Africa and The Communist Manifesto. Since he owns these books she asks him if he’s a Communist; annoyed, he replies back with the question:  “If I owned Mein Kampf would you think I’m a Nazi?”  Their conversation ends like this:

Isabel: Well, you don’t have a copy of Mein Kampf, but if you did, then yes, I’d ask if you were a Nazi.
Dan: Maybe I’m hiding it.
Isabel: Why would you hide it?

Dan: ‘Cause it’s just not cool to be a Nazi anymore, baby.

Ryan Gosling is a phenomenal actor and I would definitely recommend watching this movie.  I always like to watch my favorite movies with the director’s commentary on after I’ve seen them a couple of times and listening to the director’s idea for this film was eye-opening.  It’s such a beautifully written and well-directed film, with profound meaning wrapped up in simple gestures and words.  Everything has significantly more meaning than you think it does at first glance.

This is not one of those moments with profound meaning though.  This is just a scene where Ryan Gosling looks and sounds really sexy.

Another favorite line from ‘Half Nelson':

Second chances are rare, man.  You ought to take better advantage of them.

Even if it’s only been a few days, I can’t read anything I’ve written without wanting to take a big red pen and slashing and rearranging sentences. On the Internet, specifically WordPress, it’s so easy to make corrections but it’s so much harder to remember the first mistakes once you’ve taken them out. I want a track record, I want a list of edits in case I want to put something back in its place, keep a little reminder of a longer story for when I have time to tell it.

I spent the better part of an afternoon this summer roping off entries, marking things as private from years past (more because of my gratuitous use of the “F” word and “like” and less because of confidential information) and now I want to retell these stories because sometimes I got it right the first time–like Royal’s quote.

Doesn’t it always feel so profound when you realize that everything is always ending and beginning? That you can always decide to live and it’s always going to be a BIG DEAL moment?

I think the more of those moments you can get the better; I think I got it right the first time (although second chances are pretty great, too, so…you know). And while that sounds much more congratulatory than I intend it to, it’s just right.

At first, the idea of retelling stories (or just straight-up telling them) seemed like an implication that I had nothing else to say, but it’s kind of the opposite.

 

I was happy. I am happy. Hell, I’m often drunk on a complex cocktail of profound gratitude, enjoyment, wonder…

- Jennifer Gilbert, always getting it