It’s been a year. I was thinking of The Beatles and their lyric, “and in the end the love you take is equal to the love you make.” Instead of focusing on the love I don’t have, I should think about all the love I do have. I don’t know why this realization took me so long to come to me - or me to come to it. But I’m glad we reached each other as I stared at the golden light reflecting on a building. (And as I write this, my bus drives me down a winding road, sun coming over the cascades, and purple golds washing over Lake Washington’s shore)
Susan Sontag on the violence of photography
“All photographs are memento mori. To take a photograph is to participate in another person’s (or thing’s) mortality, vulnerability, mutability. Precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify to time’s relentless melt.”
This morning I got an email from my sister. She had scanned dozens of slides my grandfather had taken between 1960-1980. He was journalist. There were photos of a parade to burn draft cards for vietnam, protests against mayor daly, barbara walters when she had just started her career (she was watching her co-anchor get his nose powdered), and the fashions of the 1960s. Growing up, I had heard a bit about my grandfather. I never knew much about my mom’s home. What it smelled like, what adorned the walls, what she wore.
It was… unexplainable to see his home, his children, the friction around them in his eyes, in these slides. There was the image of my mom swimming with the family dog - laughing and not paying attention to the camera as the doxin paddled through the water. The pictures of my mom and her sister, inside the home - smiling - while art, sculptures, paintings, and beautiful mid century modern furniture capsuled the shot.
It’s a life I never really got to know. And it was so strange to finally see something that has been unknown to me most of my life. I felt a tinge of nostalgia, although I had never known him or my grandmother (or even, really my aunt.) I felt close to all the people he photographed, because he captured for a split second their honesty, their Selves. And for some reason, that makes me feel close to him.
Best friends come with you to the emergency room on a Saturday night and play with ER equipment (puke bags make awful hands). I love you @anastasiamallillin
For the third time since July, a friend died in a horrific way. This time it was the brother of a high school fling. I would see him at parties and knew of him through my friend’s little brothers. He died by suicide in a jersey mall after sending hundreds into panic. He was a sweet kid. I remember once in college, Ben’s little brother was having a party and us older kids were just hanging out. Rich’s father burst through the back door and demanded Rich to go home. We all found it comical the way he looked like his tail was between his legs. He died at 20.
Last night I dreamt we were raising money by playing skee ball. Tyler walked in the room and after everyone had hugged him for surviving his fall, I slowly went up to him. We both reached our arms out and hugged each other, forgiving one another for our fight and for all the things we said and didn’t say. And I felt at peace.
I woke up and remembered Tyler didn’t survive the fall. And neither did Joel survive being shot at 3 times by police. And a boy I used to know by association killed himself in a hallway in a jersey mall. But here I am trying to reconcile myself with their ghosts and with myself.
Humble brag about an entertainment guide my co-workers and I made!
A Kerouacian drive through the hills of oregon. A north carolinian behind the wheel, Hemmingway’s baby elephant hills under grapevines. We drove to meet Luke at his winery. He had gotten up that morning, fog hovering just over the 34 acres of backwoods and cleaned the house with Jesse. (Jesse’s hands were dyed purple from working at the vineyard. Where her nails met her skin; a deep blue hue.) The kitchen, living room, outside back porch dolloped with beer cans, empty wine bottles, and glasses that held morning dew and remnants of red wine.
But when I woke that morning and stared out the 100 year old window of the old vineyard house, wrapped soft cotton sheets, all I saw was green vines kissing a white sky. The house, quiet after our bodies all moved so fluidly, uncaring about all the drinks we consumed. Unmoved by our outrageous costumes. We had just met a month and a half prior. Our hearts connected in the strangest of ways: 16 individuals from over the country came together at Black Rock City. A barren land that some how provided all my answers, all my questions, all my resolutes, and all the things I would never resolve. It gave, it took away, and it gave me to a gray morning, deep in Oregon wine country, in an old house, with a warm bed. The night before, we came back together in our normal clothes, with stories to catch up on, faces to kiss, and to fall back into each other, as we had during that week in the desert.
Luke told us about the rock sediments and the history of the dirt as he poured us his favorite Riesling. We listened, smiled, asked questions. And I saw all these people, gathered around a hand made barrel, with our friend as our wine teacher, in a place I would have never imagined myself, 5k miles from my hometown, 3 months before I knew almost none of them - I couldn’t stop smiling. Because I was home. Homes are temporary places. But with people in my soul, under every sky, I am always home.
(via Pop Chart Lab —> Design Data = Delight —> The Magnificent Multitude of Beer)
For a few days I had the first line of this blog entry in my head. “2013, you have taken so much from me.” I imagined myself about writing about defeats, but mainly triumphs. How well things were going. How we prevail, always. I started an intense detox program. At first I was on top of the world. But, as I began to detox, and I mean really detox, I have been forced to confront feelings. Without substances like sugar or alcohol in my system.
And I also couldn’t bare to write the entry, because I didn’t believe it. Nothing has been taken from me, done to me. As much as I am the main character of my own story, I don’t believe the world has set out to do harm to me. If anything, these things they happen and I feel their rippling affects. I react. Sometimes those reactions seem to be the best possible thing that could have ever happened. Schrodinger’s cat is mewing in space but I don’t really care because what’s happening now is real. And it’s beautiful.
A year ago I wrote about how a million little moments have brought me to a particularly important night. But every little innocuous moment has seemed monumental in the story of this year. From shotgunning a beer and meeting some canadians during exodus of burning man, to an introduction to people who would soon become my closest friends. 2013, you have taken so much from me. You’ve taken my old body and given me a new life.
I wish we could have talked one last time. And I could have told you I wasn’t mad and what my intentions were. Since I heard, I’ve been thinking about your father and how much he loved you. I think about my friends who have already suffered from a friend’s death this summer. I’m thinking about only the good things and how you were so full of life and made my friends so happy. Your costume box, your kitchen always filled with over ripped food. Your generosity. Your humor. Always the life of the party. Made things happen.
I wish our last conversation wasn’t so bad. That night you had on a ridiculous costume. A mushroom elephant thong. It’s all over now, that fight, everything that happened. Because now you’re dead. And it hasn’t hit me yet. I just wish Sean never had to make that call. The man that’s held all of us up for 9 months now - from one tragedy to another.
I’m sorry. I wish I could hug you one last time. You hugged me so tight on the corner of Loretta and Bellevue when Joel died. Deep in your arms, you held me when I cried and screamed. And now you’re fucking dead. And we can never apologize to each other, never say sorry.
Hey James Murphy. What’s up? #neumos #seattle #capitolhill #love
Kill For Love by Chromatics on Spotify -
This feels especially relevant this week.