Far From Home
“The book I would like to read now
Is a novel in which you sense the story
arriving like a still-vague thunder, the
historical story along with the indivi-
dual's story, a novel that gives the
sense of living through an upheaval
that still has no name, has not yet
taken shape . . . “
— Ludmilla, in Italo Calvino's If
On a Winter's Night a Traveler (1979)
Dear Rowena, Oct. 23 (Thu), 2003
I am tired, now, unfortunately; but I will try to respond to your last missive as best I can, for I fear I won't have another opportunity anytime soon.
I think — in fact, I know — that you are taking things much too hard, much too seriously. I know college is, initially, bewildering and strange and intimidating (after all, am I not in the “same boat” as you?), but freaking out and seizing up about it is not the answer.
Look, I'm here for you as much as you need me; as, of course, are Jessie, Wilhelm, Veronica, and Suzy (even if — I know, I know — you can't stand her, at times). Writing's the only way out. Admit it: don't you feel that much cooler, writing everything out in longhand, taking the time to send a nice envelope (I loved the Hello Kitty stickers on the last one, BTW; but, no, I don't think the HK people would really approve your having her say what you put in the cartoon bubble!) . . . and, then, getting the thrill of receiving your own envelope in your college-dorm mailbox? (Like: this one! Yay! Hi!)
If you didn't have problems to write about — REMEMBER THIS! MARK MY WORDS! — you'd have nothing to say! I know you're farther away from the rest of us, states-wise. I know it's easy to feel overwhelmed as the days slog by and you get more and more “hallowed halls” procedures dropped on you which you're supposed to know, right away (or, feel like a dolt for not knowing . . . )
BUT: playing the “good girl” is not an option, Rowena! I know what it means when you say you're going to “take your studies seriously, this time” . . . or rather, I don't know. I mean: what are you thinking? What do you expect will happen — that you'll be able to maintain a 3.5 G.P.A. or above, and finally feel “at home” with yourself, and at your school?
YOU SHOULD KNOW BETTER, ROWENA! YOU'RE AT YOUR BEST WHEN YOU'RE BEING A WISE-ASS!
I love you, kitten, but you fray my nerves with your whining . . . even in print form.
Keep up the good work, kiddo. Fight the good fight.
Love, kisses, and strawberry parfait,
(Ruler of Planet Earth)
P.S. Sorry if I ran out of gas on this one . . . but I'm tired, really, I am . . . and I did answer yours, didn't I?
Soooo . . . it's your turn, now!
TAG: YOU'RE IT!
Dear Darla, Oct. 28 (Tue), 2003
You know: you're my favorite record label.
That's why I'm taking the time out to write you today. No, it's not because I don't have anyone in the letter-queue to “vent” to, and I'm writing to you, instead, a record-label and therefore incorporated entity rather than a person, simply because I am awaiting an “answer back” letter from one of my real friends just so I can fire off a “yeah? Well, whaddaya think of this!” missive which may or may not directly or indirectly refer back to (or even acknowledge) the recently-received “letter from” in all but the most tangential or obscure fashion(s) . . .
And, no, it's not because I'm in a required, “core” science class right now, and am simultaneously succeeding in distracting myself from a subject I have no interest in, keeping myself awake, and fooling everyone (but those nearest to me) into thinking I am frantically taking notes when I am, in fact, instead cracking wise in a letter that has scant chance of even being sent!
Oh . . . where was I . . .
Oh yeah: do you still have that “old” Grifters CD — the one with the word “sock” in the title — that I first heard over at Rowena's brother's place, still in print?
You know the one I'm talking about, right? I mean . . .
Oh, wait: that was SHANGRI-LA Records . . . not “DARLA”
Sorry . . . no hard feelings, I hope?
Keep up the Good Work,
Ms. Leanna MacFarlane (Esq.), Ph.D.
P.S. You doin' anything this coming Friday? Not that I “swing” that way — or anything — but I sure could use another gal to chat with.
Call me. IM me. Text me.
We'll “do lunch.”
P.P.S. Sorry if this sounds scatter-brained; it's just that class is about over and I really have to---
Dearest Veronica, Nov. 1 (Sat ), 2003
Well, the "blessed event" has finally happened.
You're such a nag! "Get it over with" you'd say. "I want the details!" Geez — could you at least sugar-coat your ravening hunger for "dirt"?
But anyway . . .
Yeah, so, here I am, throwing bloody fish to the sharks (that being YOU, of course), and, yes, I have to admit, having someone hungering to know does make me feel important, and does make me feel like both: (1) telling and (2) like I have something to tell. You've successfully "primed" me.
So: I'm implicated, because now I want to, as you've mentioned a thousand times when I balk at your brazenness.
Yes, yes, you're right: I wanted it.
So: here's the details:
- his name's Tom, and
All rights reserved.
Leanna's my "kid" (i.e., I've decided I'm NOT -- and NEVER -- having one!); she's like "Juno" crossed with "The Yes Men" (i.e., we'll see where she goes, where she can establish a plausible-enough "presence" -- in addition to being consistent with her back-history, which I also have to keep straight!).
The later works I'm hoping to collaborate on with two (2) other folks in a three-person "writing collective" -- sort of like a "band," of sorts -- but this is from the "college novel," which -- for some reason -- I've decided should be 600+ pages (to give readers, I suppose, the same sense of victory I personally felt when finishing Murakami's "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle"; also, it'd be a good venue to cover a lot of ground, and get more-than-a-little "off my chest").
Leanna's got her own MySpace (http://www.myspace.com/oldmacfarlanehadafarm), her own Burgerville rewards card (which keeps earning ME free coffee & sundaes -- at least, so far), and, oh, so much more!