if i was thoreau and lived in ze woods.
so i guess i should start writing this now, before the feeling wears off. i just finished my last day of work and most clearly my mood is somber. it wasn’t a pain in my chest, but a longing to just stay there. i complained incessantly, in private, about all the shit that bothered me about my co workers but now im just sad im leaving. maybe this feeling is intermingling with the tiny budding of excitement for school. i guess when you spend roughly 28 hours/week with the same 5 people you grow attached to them because they all have good hearts and i’ve known that from the start. it kind of brings me back to thinking about the merits of working versus going to school. working is great, you’re actually making money instead of paying to do school work(ha). but at the same time, if this is permanent job then i would tend to think about it in different terms because then would it be a means to an end or an end in itself( or some combination of both?). i guess school is the same way come to think of it, but then i wonder if you should have a perspective on both that are consistent. like, if you approach school as a means to an end do you also approach work the same way? or can you change it?
My son turned 13 today and I didn’t write a post called “13” because I was blocked. I still am. But here’s the thing. Writer’s block always contains the seeds of its own demise. It can block you from what you want to write about but it can’t block you from writing about writer’s block itself. When writer’s block blocks your subject, it becomes the subject. So fuck you, writer’s block. I win.
When I tried to write about my son turning 13, I couldn’t do it. I’ve read all kinds of arguments about the way we should or shouldn’t write about our kids, about what’s off limits, about parent blogs messing up kids’ lives by making them use hard drugs and become porn stars but I’ve never paid it much mind. I just write what I want. There’s so many rules right outside the door. What good’s a blog if you can’t light things on fire?
Nonetheless, my son becoming a teenager resisted articulation. I was blocked. It refused to be said.
I waded through clichés about how HARD it’s going to be, being a teen. And it is. The breach between being a boy and a man can swallow you whole. But it felt wrong to dwell on all that so I tried to invoke the joy of adolescence because it’s in there. Remember? Do you remember your teenaged friends? The extent to which adolescence was hard created a kind of super fondness for the people who helped you through it. I remember Dan Parker and Bryan Rypstra like old war buddies.
And for all the awkwardness, ignorance, and confusion that accompanied the gruesome mutation into a sexual being, it was pretty damn cool too: those jolting new waves of desire without clearly defined aims. Stacie Scott’s ass was just different somehow. I wanted to—arghhh—do something to her, you know? New feelings, new thoughts, and—good God—so many forms of new actions that created secrets and guilt and the certainty that I was mad but wondrous. My God this shocking body. That poor cat.
I remember writing Kerri Wolf love letters. I remember waiting to give them to her, nervous to sweating. I remember kissing in the basement like we were starving to death with our ears trained to the possibility of footsteps on the stairs. That wasn’t so bad. It was strange and beautiful; it wanted to be poetry.
So turning 13 and beyond was both terrible and wonderful but the fact remains that all these ideas recoiled when I tried to address them in relation to my son’s 13th birthday. And it’s only here, in this 7th paragraph (again, fuck you writer’s block), where my block begins to find its logic. It is precisely this unsaying that defines my son’s movement into teen life. This inability to speak about him, his resistance to being said, the fact of his emerging own life apart from our relation creates the substance of the block.
He’s stepping into the light of being the main character in a story that evades the reach of my narrative. He’s not my character to write anymore. He needs to be partially released to his friends and the perplexity of girls (or boys).
Happy 13th, birthday, J. I ran full throttle as you toddled toward the street and I said no no no when you tried to play with knives. But now, instead of so actively protecting you, I have to allow you to erect a wall—this writer’s block—between us, so you can thrash around alone (sometimes), and forge your way into becoming who you are. But I’m not worried one drop. You’re such a delightful boy, full of jokes and sparkle, and I know I’m going to love the man you become.
When I made your birthday card, after I decorated the front and wrote “Happy Birthday” inside, I paused, wanting to write the truest, most honest thing I could muster. So I wrote “I love being your dad”.
I love being your dad.
elevators. i’ve been on elevators at all times of the day thanks to living in a dorm for two years. From 7:30 a.m. to probably about 4:00 a.m. i think the most exciting part for me is scoping out girls on elevators and giggling(i dont know how to describe it in a more masculine tone?) about it with jae or some other guy. even at 7:30 am! even when you just fell out of bed, sleepwalked to the elevator it’s never too early for a girl to catch your eye or for a girl to compliment your cologne, or for you to catch a wiff of their fruitiness, which i guess i really dont mind that much at all even though it gets overdone and banal after you smell it on every girl.
something about elevators, i dont know, its like you get a small glimpse into the lives of such a random assortment of people; sometimes in a group, sometimes alone. i just like to guess where they might be going, what might be happening to them if they appear a little sad or anxious. countless people probably just in a state of general apathy i suppose. off to take exams and then quickly come back and maybe sleep or maybe that was just me haha. you have the extroverts and the really obscure people who burst out laughing for really no reason at all and i have to smile in admiration. thats what i’ll miss about dorm life. riding elevators with people you would’ve liked to know because in those few minutes you were on the elevator with them their lives seemed so mysterious and had so much room for growth. and maybe i should have gotten to know more of those people, struck up a conversation randomly, maybe i should have been more forthcoming. okay this post brought a cold draft of apprehension. great.
The new TOJ1 is pretty cool, I like the new peacoat/CWU 45/P pockets. I wonder if the zipper is water-tight though, and it’s a shame about the pre-determined colorways though I trust Drew’s judgement. Also, I think I’m over digicam, at least in this format.