Showing posts from November, 2012

nothing says “back to reality” like some cancer!

1. who you gonna call In a couple of sessions with my therapist about my ever waxing and waning hypochondria, I said, “I know I’m paranoid. But sometimes paranoid people are being followed!” The last time I said that to him was Election Day, when I was worrying about my annual breast exam that coming Friday. He said, “That’s maybe the worst phrase you’ve said.” We laughed. But reader, sometimes paranoid people are being followed. Friday I went in for my exam. They told me they wanted to biopsy a couple of spots. I had a meltdown. A nice nurse said, “Is there someone you can call?” I launched into a hysterical summary of the past two years of my life: “…and then I had a miscarriage and I was so depressed and angry for so long, and everyone I knew was so nice, and I know they love me, but I’ve used them up. I can’t take one more problem to them.” “You haven’t used them up,” she said. “Call.” She also said, of course, that lots of biopsies turn up not-cancer,

back to life, back to reality

My actual lunch basket. Ridiculous, I know. I’m leaving MacDowell in a few hours. I turned in my key and paid my tab for laundry and postcards. I said goodbye to people, which was the suckiest part—I’m really going to miss the friends I’ve made here, and although we can say things like “I’ll totally come visit you in Berlin!” we all know there’s no substitute for living in the same half-mile radius and eating dinner together every night. There’s a writer who was trapped in New York for a week because of the hurricane, whom I didn’t get to know very well. He said sarcastically, “Wow, it was great to get to know you so well. All those late-night chats.” That was not the best kickoff to my last day. I always felt like I was boring him when we did talk, and I sort of wanted to say, “Late night chats with me are awesome, dude. Your loss.” I had a little meltdown last night in the privacy of my studio. As most of you guys know, I’ve had a hard couple of years. Not catastrophic,

bark and fungus, improvisation and bones

Okay, I guess they don't look that much like anemic zebras. The hurricane blew the leaves off most of the trees, which makes the birch trunks, with their anemic-zebra bark, stand out. Yesterday a man came by with a leaf blower and blew the leaves from one part of the meadow to another. If you want to talk about work that’s never done, watch a guy with a leaf blower tackle three hundred acres. One of the visual artists invited me to come see her studio this afternoon, since I’ll be leaving before she gives the official tour. She’s been enjoying the birch bark too. She does a lot of site-specific work with found objects. Those are the kind of terms—site-specific, found objects—that lose meaning quickly when you overuse them. In this case it means her work is her studio and her studio is her work. She’s staying in Alexander, an old stone building that looks like a chapel. Initially, she said, all its fussy parts threw her off: the big bulletin boards, the arched doorways, the