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Archive | May, 2012

Laundry girl

29 May

Laundry girl

The laundromat in the Mission was hell, but it was also my private escape. The one down the street from my old apartment has terrible cell reception, no internet, and walls the color of congealed French’s mustard. Aside from a few flyers for yoga and writing classes, the only other decor is a wobbly table and two plastic lawn chairs. I sat in one of those chairs a while back while the machines did their thing. Every time I do laundry, I bring a notebook and try to eke out something creative. This time around, I brought art supplies for a new project: a photograph, tracing paper, a fine-point marker, and a blue pencil. I’d just put my things out when a mother and her two children came in to move their clothes from washers to dryers.

“A question in Spanish,” the woman said to her daughter as she stopped her son’s stroller next to her. “Something about soap and clothing that Annie can infer from her limited knowledge of Romance languages.”

“Si, Mami,” the girl said. As her mother hauled a family’s damp clothing out of the washers, the girl sat down at the table next to me. I smiled at her and she tucked her head away shyly, the way seven-year-old girls do. From a backpack she plucked a pencil, Xeroxed multiplication exercises, and a large pink eraser. Her homework was halfway done. (more…)

I am a cliche you’ve seen before

7 May

I am a cliche you’ve seen before

The Southern Gentleman and I were eating somewhere the other day. I can’t remember where, because lately I can’t remember details too well. I blame my 10+ hours of internet each day and its nonstop flow of information demanding to be evaluated, filtered, parsed, tossed away. Too much for the mind. Anyway, the setting isn’t as important as this moment is:

We were talking about our respective birthdays — coincidentally, the same number of days and years apart — and how growing older means grasping new things and letting go of other ones. “I used to be a writer,” I lamented, and I meant it. I tried to remember the last time I’d written something strictly creative, or the last time I saw a byline on paper. I didn’t even try to remember the last time I’d gotten lost in the act of writing. It’s been months. Maybe a year. Maybe more.

Writers write, as they say, but lately I don’t write. I work, I cook, I clean, I occasionally and happily read. I don’t write, though. And writing is something I always did, even when I was three years old. Without it, I don’t really know what to do. Or maybe the things I want to write about are too personal, or maybe you don’t want to read about how much I still miss my father, or maybe — with the noted exception of feeling like a failed writer — I’m happy with my life and just want to sit back and enjoy that rather than work, work, work. (Writing is work.)

“You’re still a writer,” the Gent said, because he loves me.

In unrelated and seemingly (seemingly!) contradictory news, I’ve started a travel website as a hobby. I did it mostly because I spent 100+ days traveling last year, and all of those pictures had to go somewhere. I call it The Website That Nobody Reads, but officially, its title rips off a Joy Division lyric: Admiring Distance. So there you go.