14 September 2007

I remember leaning over the desk at the resturant this spring and telling a co-worker, "I used to write internet spam." There was a severe gravity to the way I said it, my chronic drama. It was long ago, I implied, when I was foolish and naive.

It wasn't even a week since I'd had my last anti-climactic day at the publisher. I made my two months of indecisive quitting much more decisive and noble, "I quit when I discovered that my boss purchased our email list."

I guess that's when I decided that I ought to quit. But it took me weeks to have the guts to bring it up and even more weeks to tell my boss that I actually was leaving.

On my last day I sat and addressed envelopes for the office manager and made two bank deposits for the company and then I wound my green scarf around my neck, pulled on my coat, and went down onto the street.

But no, I was breaking with an evil spam company, and this was brave because I didn't even have any job plans.

Except I knew maybe I'd interview at a newspaper and bide my time at a resturant.

But that was last fall - sitting and cutting and pasting copy - writing reviews of cities I'd never seen.

The best part was the brick face of the opposite wall and the little patch of Providence sky I could see above it. Or maybe the best part was walking to the river for lunch, or sitting in cafes writing letters, or catching bus 30 every morning, or singing in the alley before I reached my office building.

11 September 2007

a good day for soup.

i am drinking a complimentary coffee from dave's - where i stopped on my way to work to buy a $.75 bag of spinach to go in my lunch.

i always feel like an impostor there, like i don't belong, picking out nice cheeses or meats, acting as if i shop there all the time. i guess i do.

but i don't feel like i ought to; starving artists shouldn't shop at dave's.

it has taken me all this time to realize that i have a routine that i've been building all summer long. that little things like sleeping through my snooze and reading a lot of emails from home and never actually going running but instead going somewhere for coffee happen every day. later, when the season shifts up and i have some other job or frame of life, i will look back at these distinctive things as the substance of the time.

this has been the summer: scrambling out the door a little later than intended, coming into the office at newspaper p. and staring for a half hour, rousing myself by a jaywalk over to starbucks, getting down to work just before lunch.

i started reading girl meets god by lauren winner last night. i mistrust the title. i like to think that her publisher forced it on her or that maybe she is like me and gets paralyzed when it comes to naming something that she poured months of herself into.

my best titles are only lifted quotations, a segment of someone else's thought and i do a miserable job writing my own headlines.

i like her also because she is an intellectual and never sacrifices that, but she befriends you with her writing. she shares awkward stories about herself, but has to define a word every other chapter.

her style reminds me of kathleen norris and anne lamott: the fragmented confessional memoir. chapters end and begin with no immediate connection to each other, yet they all gather into a whole of thought by the end of the book. if i ever write a book it will probably be like that too.

i read the first two chapters last night and she made me want to travel again.

"when [hannah] lived in paris and i lived in cambridge, we used to meet in london for weekends. she brought french chocolate and we sat in pubs and teashops for hours. we darted in and out of churches and bookshops and walked through parks."

a year ago i was in berlin and we were sitting on church lawns, journaling on park benches, eating on balconies by the train tracks. we only had 10 days.

i just opened the window so i could hear the rain better and the cars coursing down main st..

raindrops are lining up along the bottom of the thick telephone wire that hangs outside my window and dripping in groups onto the people at the bus stop below.

it's almost lunchtime so i guess i can get to work now.