2009 is gone and I feel like a part of me has died. Even writing this now, seems near transcendental. I've never attached as much sentimentality to a year as I have to this one and I miss it so much, already. It provoked more change in me than I have seen maybe in my entire life to date, some painful, some incredibly beautiful. If I could sum up the year in three words, perhaps they would be
I hope every year is like this. Please read my new blog, the link is http://phoebfurr.blogspot.com/. Write to me! I love all of you. Thank you for reading this; this blog is an exposition of my mind, heart, and soul, and I feel incredibly honored that anyone would allow me the privilege of being heard. I encourage everyone who has ever felt the urge to write to do so; do not let the fear of being judged ever touch you. Never be ashamed of your mind, your passions, your creations, or your desires. My mind will forever be set on fire by the brilliance of others, and especially, by those close to me.
Here's to 2009.
on the edge
the view is clouded,
the majesty of weather
seeps through my skin:
Another food picture today. Food is so nice-looking lately. I left my mittens in a taxi cab. They were awful mittens though, so cheaply made. I bought them standing in line at the Guggenheim because I forgot mine at the hotel and ten dollars was more than worth the relief I would get from shielding my pink and raw fingers from the bitter, biting wind. So my mittens had a lifespan of about a day and now they are in the backseat of a yellow taxicab. Maybe they were reincarnated by someone less fortunate than I although I don't think the less fortunate rides in taxi cabs. The decade will be over in less than twenty four hours and I'm waiting to feel a change in me. Today I saw Hair the musical and it was incredible and that's saying a lot because I'm not a fan of musicals or of the music in them but I was a fan of this one. One of them said he liked my nose ring he also climbed on top of me and Emily with a loin cloth on and it was fun and we went up onstage during the finale, anyone could, who wanted to, and danced around and made peace signs and lovingly touched the shoulders of the cast members but only so lovingly that they wouldn't notice we, I, were, was, touching them. The lights were so hot and bright and I was dancing on a Broadway stage and I was accomplishing a dream that I never even dreamed in the first place, it was someone else's dream. Speaking of dreams, mine are graphic, and meaningless, like one two nights ago where I had my eyes cut out of their sockets and little lines cut with a knife and outlining my mouth and my head was inflated and red, the color of a roasted pig, the kind with an apple in its mouth, except in place of an apple on my head was an ovular gash, fresh, red blood beneath, drying in the open air. One more day.
I just read my blog from the entire month of August. I think August was my favorite month of this year. Good job, August. It was my favorite because it was so emotional: every emotion, rampant in me. And it was beautiful, and warm, and the end of my summer and thus my childhood. Is that too melodramatic?
In two days I'm going to post a link to my new blog here. I don't know if it can live up to this one, I don't know if I have it in me. But I will try. Also, I would like to request a favor.
The only reason I've kept up this blog every day this year, I mean the only reason, is that people read it and (I presume) like it. I've always wanted to do this, and I'm still not so certain it isn't pretentious (what is more dangerous than being pretentious?). If you are so inclined, please let me know if you've been reading or liking My Year in Photos. Like in an email or something, or a comment, or a message, or a letter, or a smoke signal, or a telepathic brainwave (the last one might not get to me). Or anything else. And you don't really have to say anything. But I'd love love love to know what you thought of it, or what it made you think while reading it. Especially if you have never told me. Also especially if I don't even know I'm writing to you! Alright that's enough talking about myself. Oh wait, that's all I've been doing for a year.
Do you know how people remember flashes or certain incidents from the past? I remember the bear cave from the Ecotarium when my mom used to take us when we were so young. I also remember the thermos she put coffee in to bring on those trips. But I don't remember anything else about them. Today I was thinking how greatly I wish that I would know, or at least have an inclination, that what I'm about to see is something I'll remember for years into the future. How much more I would pay attention!
take me back to the two days in summer
where the metal bridge in the distance
held the promise of adventure.
the rain on the highway, drowning out my senses -
no match for the swell of music, the smell of fish in the air -
was fleeting, just like that weekend.
our swords lay peaceful those nights;
taut mesh and loving resolve
kept out the mosquitoes.
Right now I'm blogging from a hotel room in New York City, although it's not actually New York City but Jersey City, in a different state all together. But it really is, literally, close enough to count. Today in the car I wrote a poem and it was the fastest I ever wrote one. If you are wondering, Auraphice is in the works! Hopefully we will finish it by the time we go back to school, but I don't know. The waiter in the restaurant tonight said "Happy New Year" and that was the first time someone wished me Happy New Year 2009. But for 2010. But in 2009.
List of reasons that 2009 was great (not in any particular order):
- I graduated high school. And after graduation we all went to Kathryn's house and slept over. And I went outside with a couple of people at five in the morning and we found a scooter and rode it all around the street. And then sat in the car and talked and the windows fogged up and there was so little room that I was touching like three people, just by sitting there.
- I went to Florida with my family and the day after I got back, which was the last day of vacation, I went to Loren Marshall's party at her house and Jenn Naze and Leah Barwise sang and played guitar and it was so beautiful. Then Kelsey drove me home and I remember thinking that it was the first day of the year that felt truly like summer and also that Kelsey was my favorite new friend I found in a long time.
- I stopped being afraid to take pictures in public, with strangers around. I also became generally disinterested with the judgments of strangers, which is a good thing I think.
- I went to Toronto for a band trip and it was so fun and I made friends with Will, who was probably my best friend in the world, but only four days. I miss that, but like I always say, wonderful and transient friendships are so wonderful in part because they are transient.
- One time at the lake Michela rode a kayak and I held onto the edge and told her a really long story about something that hasn't even happened yet. And also that day, Liz and I sang the Rilo Kiley lyric "Somedays, they last longer than others/ but this day by the lake went too fast" while laying on top of surf boards, in the lake, in the sun.
- I skinny-dipped.
- The whole first week of college.
- In California, we stayed at a tiny inn on the coast of San Francisco that was so beautiful and that made me think of Ireland even though I'd never been to Ireland. The next day one of the cooks offered to drive us up a steep hill to the next trail head. He was twenty years old and a surfer. He reminded me of someone I met the year before.
- I kissed all my friends cause I love them.
- I had a realization of sorts when I visited Graham in Pennsylvania. The realization was in the bathroom, and it was that I could suddenly imagine myself in the position of everyone who I believed to have wronged me. If you try this, it becomes very easy to forgive. It is also very humbling. We are all people, all searching, and all deserving of finding what we are looking for.
Today I went to Boston. I hate when I miss opportunities to take good pictures, especially because potd on the fourth-to-last day of the year is this dumb green horse. Taken out of context it's kinda cool though (like why is there a green horse in my house). Anyway, I have a headache that's been plaguing me almost all day. Tomorrow I'm going to New York City with my family. We're seeing Hair, which I'm told features a lot of naked people.
Since I spent the whole day shopping, my mind is kind of blank. Do you know the feeling? So instead of writing more, here's a poem.
The Pink Flamingo State
tinted windows are my last defense against the
pink flamingo state of disillusionment
sometimes I see an armadillo resting on the sawgrass
or the wrappers from the nestlé crunch of the masses
littering the edges of the interstate
the high noon heat in the everglades melts away first my dignity,
then my empathy
two three where was i? i saw a phone number on a bench
i called it for sex but instead, I got the underbelly of a
scarred manatee, hungry and licking the dripdropdrip of a garden hose;
or was that a garden snake?
we drop old bread through the slits in the walls and see
seventy kinds of fish desperately watch it:
dissolving in air, infinitesimal in water
Today Parker put a really exciting idea in my head. He wants to go through a program that sends volunteers to organic farms anywhere in the country next summer. He said he needed someone to go with and I got so electrified and we looked online and found this amazing farm in Carmel, California. I'd only go for a couple weeks but reading the farm's web page I found myself feeling an inherent need to do this. It seems like something so pure and honest and as of late, working outside and seeing new and beautiful views of the world is what I crave. So much excitement for the future today - how motivating.
If you haven't already noticed, I attach a great deal of meaning to the ends and beginnings of years. That's why I started this blog though - I guess I wanted to chronicle the progression of the year, and of seasons, and of change in myself. I feel like I should wrap up this chronicle now, but I don't even think I can put into words the difference I feel in myself from the beginning of this year to the end. I've seen so much more, not all beautiful. I did see a lot of beauty, though, thanks for that.
Song of the day is "Calendar Girl" by Stars.
All through the winter, I'm alive
Today is Christmas and it didn't feel too unordinary for me. I went to Boston with my family to visit my twenty-three year old cousin who lives in a house in Cambridge that makes me eagerly anticipate my out-of-dorm days. She is living an awesome life. We went to the movies and saw Up in the Air - which was fantastic, I highly recommend it - and then to a Japanese restaurant where I had to cook my own food on the stove built into the table. If I were a restaurant critic, I would give this restaurant an A for chic atmosphere and charming and good-looking wait staff, but a lesser grade for my dinner, which was essentially boiled meat and vegetables. And since the boiling was up to me, it was boiled meat and extremely soggy vegetables. And two pieces of overcooked tofu. Do you know what overcooked tofu feels like? I'll tell you, it feels like something entirely inedible. Note to self: do not follow Japanese-chef-career-path.
Today I renewed a passion of mine that has been withering lately: photography. At Borders I bought a photography book that I've wanted for a long time and have never bought because it was too expensive. Today I was reading it in the store and it made me want to take pictures so badly and I remembered being really passionate about photography and wanting to learn so much more about it. For some reason, I haven't been taking many pictures at all the last few months, and I'm starting to miss it. So I finally bought the book. Because I realized that this blog has really forced me to take pictures and document this year. Next year, I need some incentive, or else something really important to me which I could possibly become really good at will start collecting dust on my bookshelf. Also today, I made Ramen noodles for the first time. Verdict: entirely too salty.
Oh yeah it's Christmas Eve! I almost forgot, mostly because today was absolutely not at all out of the ordinary. Yeah, so I guess tomorrow's like the most imortant day of the year for a lot of people. In my world, Christmas is a day of isolation and disillusionment. It feels so odd to be completely estranged from everyone besides my family. Isn't it weird how winter and winter holidays bring back so many memories? Winter is the most nostalgic time of the year; that's why it snows in winter. Nostalgia is snowy.
When the sun welcomes us in
and the Earth's protective skin
falls and peels back, face to chin
then we start it all again
Today was a wasted day for all intents and purposes; this is because I spent it sitting at a desk for ten hours and answering phones for the HoneyBaked Ham Company in Framingham. Everything about my day was either depressing or funny. For example, the mass of people who came to the store to pick up their "special" HoneyBaked Hams mostly looked and acted the same. They were all middle aged to elderly, all white, all preparing for a massive celebration of materialism and excess, and all had a peculiarly strong affinity for cheesy potatoes. This was the depressing part. The funny part was Stephanie, the thirty year old black woman who answered the phone next to me, talked like she was either rather sleepy or on a heavy dose of narcotics, and routinely cursed out the manager, company, or effectually her life as a whole. Wow, that sounds incredibly depressing when I write it here, but I promise, Stephanie made me laugh a lot today. If nothing else (overlooking my paycheck), what I gained from my temporary job at HoneyBaked is a true appreciation for what education will allow me to do. That is, it will allow me to stay far, far away from the nickel-and-dime hell-hole world of indifference, mediocrity, perpetual slumber, and big ol' Christmas hams. Merry Christmas everyone!
This year will be over in a week - strange to think about. I personally don't feel like anything's ending. Quite the opposite, in fact.
In other news, I just got back from going to New York City and coming home with Lanny and Michela. It was so fun! I didn't even realize the extent that I missed my friends. I'm so glad I'm spending a month here. On the way home, we listened and screamed along to music that I can only best describe as "shit music." Shit music in the sense that we all are made extremely happy to hear any of it. Steve describes a certain form of laughing as producing tremors long after the fact. I have a few of these tremors now. For example, every time I think of Lanny's interpretation of a Jewel song. My friends!
Tomorrow I have a one-day job at a honeyed ham store. That is not a joke, as far as I know. To be honest, I can't really describe how I got this job, what I will be doing, and why I agreed to it. Actually, I will make money, something that I don't see too often these days, so I guess that's the answer to the third part. I have to wake up at five thirty. I haven't woken up before eight in four months.
....This is gonna be fun!
I still remember, fervently, the year when I kept my parka zipped to the collar, all through the day. And the walk between buildings; between days, I walked between the eyes and legs of others and no one saw me. Invisible to the naked eye, I was a microbe, orbiting, around the transitory. I remember when she whispered in my near-deaf ear that she was starving herself. They was eating her food, they were growing stronger and meaner and fatter and she was putting safety pins on the hems of her polos and pushing her hair out of her eyes. I guess I had noticed those polos, and the safety pins, and the brand names sewn onto the breast pockets but I never thought to look at the skin underneath, and to see how much was left. You told me facts and woke me up, broke me up. Between pencil sketches of the fantastic, you scribbled in cursive what you always knew as true and what took me one year, from one March to the next, to see. Walking home in the snow, feeling the corners of my world thaw and crack, I was on to something.
I'm home! It's wonderful! I have a new bed; it's queen size! This is like at least four times as good as my college bed. I've already started to make a lists of projects to do in the next month. One pertains to the mini camcorder my dad gave me for Hanukkah tonight. Oh man, so much excitement here. I love living rooms. I think what I missed most at college is living rooms. And cars. And my cat. This is the best bed I've ever felt. Today was fun. Both times I had to take an art history exam this semester I learned so much about art history. That class was so worth it. I think I was delirious on anticipation of relief even before I took my exam. Walking to Thompson, Dan and I kept singing Ruben Studdard (sp?)'s "Sorry 2004." Why anyone would release a single with a forgettable year in the title is beyond me. It makes the song completely irrelevant in any other year besdies 2004, overlooking the fact that it was already irrelevant then. Anyways, this entire concept was so incredibly hilarious to me all day, and I don't know why. I guess I don't really have a stream of coherent thoughts right now. I want to write poetry. Monday I am going to New York. I'm going to visit Mr. Tarmey! Okay I should go to bed. Tomorrow I'm going to get things done for once.
I wonder if people would like if I ever put some of my (real) writing up here.
Almost everyone around here has gone home for break. I feel like I'm the only one left in the world. There is no time. I'm staying up so late because there is no one in the world to tell me to go to sleep and no one will be affected if I wake up or not. Don't worry I know that's not true, I'm not being self-deprecating. It's just an illusion. The view outside my window is the same at nine as it is at four. I can't believe there are only a couple more hours to my semester. I just have to take one more exam and then I'm going home. I am so ready. I am so ready. My heater makes a noise that sounds like crickets. It's so peaceful.
One of the biggest regrets I have from the semester is my and seemingly everyone else here's tendency to isolate themselves from others. It seems as though we are universally suffering and yet it is somehow so much easier to retreat into ourselves, pretend to perfectly happy, pretend to be someone else. No one can know we are troubled; we have to be having more fun than everyone else. I regret this pride that quarantines us from unity with other people. I hope when we come back from break we can all stop being so selfish and focus on making other people happy, instead of desperately trying to portray ourselves as those we believe others will find most attractive. That's my biggest regret.
Song of the day is "Song of Our So-Called Friends" by Okkervil River. Tomorrow begins the end of a three month journey. How wonderful it is to be part of this crazy trip.
Don says he thinks I am good people. Somehow this means so much to me. Today I couldn't wait to go home. I can't say why, cause I don't know. I am ready for a change. I think everyone is. If you're not ready for a change, feel free to speak up. I want the way things used to feel like. But I guess I always want that.
Two down, one to go. Looks like the end to this week is going to be remarkably anticlimactic. Then one eighth of my college career will be over... weird. Today I took an anthropology test and I think I did really well on it. It was warm and it felt like spring and that was cruel.
Getting lost in routines this semester allowed me to metaphorically fall asleep, and the irregularities of this week are waking me up. Every night, Butterfield is so quiet; everyone has either left already or is studying quietly in their rooms. My next test isn't until Friday, so I didn't fit into either of those categories tonight, and as a result, I felt like the only person left in the world. It is so late. I am so tired. I don't even remember what I did for most of the day today. I'm sitting out in the hall and someone's door is banging on its hinges. I guess the draft from the heater in the hallway is enough to make that happen. There is no one alive in this building, I don't think. I hope someone comes out, just to prove me wrong. Tomorrow Laura is going home, so I have the room to myself. I will slowly pack my belongings until the room is stripped bare and then me and my extensions of self will leave and come back a month later. Oh also, today I made a winter playlist. It has like eighty songs.
Bedtime? Yes, for lack of other options.
Well, I stayed up entirely all too late tonight. Tomorrow I have a final at one thirty, then one on Tuesday at one thirty, and another on Friday. It seems to me like this week is gonna consist of way more free time than schoolwork time. Today I felt kind of bad but I feel good now. Mostly because Liz called me on the phone and we talked for two hours. I appreciate Liz so much. It's so good to know I have someone who genuinely cares about me, because sometimes I doubt I do. Lighting my menorah (pictured), perched on an empty makeup mirror box, in the drab stairwell, made me kind of sad. I wish I were celebrating Hannukkah at home with my family. I am so excited to go home and see what it does to me.
A year ago today was the day after the ice storm. I couldn't blog yesterday, but if I did, it would be ice-storm-anniversary-blog, because the ice storm was one of the most memorable times of my life. I remember exactly what I did today last year. I went to the Umass Med school to take a shower in the locker rooms. My mom showered in the shower next to me, and we both talked about how it was the best shower of our lives. Not because we hadn't showered in a long time, we had only been without power for a day, but because it was so warm. Then I worked on my Connecticut College essays in the library on the computer. One was 150 words and about Stella. And Lanny came and picked me up and we went to Panera. And we met Lauren there and she wore a big red sweater because she had no other clean, warm clothes. Panera, the Med School library, and Lanny's car, will always make me remember the ice storm.
Now I need to go to sleep and get through this week.
I just watched a movie called "Man on Wire." It's a documentary about a French man, Phillipe Petit, who tightrope walked between the Twin Towers. It was great and I heartily recommend it to anyone who wants a life wake up call. At the end of the movie, Phillipe says in his heavily-accented English, "I say live life like you are living on the edge of life." He lived like nearly no one has lived before. What am I doing to live on the edge of life? I do and see the same things every day. I am on the same path as everyone else. Sometimes, I don't even know what defines me from any other college student/ eighteen-year-old/ human. But the film gave me hope. Hope that there is so much living in front of me, and I am going to see and be part of all of it. One day, I am gonna grow wings. And so are you, whoever you are. Even if you're already like, old. You have so much life waiting for you and most likely, you're going to do what no one has ever been brave enough to attempt, ever.
Song of the day is "Breakin' the Law" by the New Pornographers. My room is ready for some kind of big holiday or something.
april is in four days and we have to prepare; the rain started last night and flooded the sides of the road; pooling sporadically, the pine needles weave themselves together and build roofs; remove those needles from the streets and from my body of water and flesh; we have to prepare for april. when driving, take special care to avoid the toads; they jump into the middle of the roads; your car will run over them and crush their bones and flatten their skins and you can’t take that; you can’t take killing, what is it now, four? four dead? when driving, avoid the bad dreams that stab at your windshield; that pool sporadically at the sides of the roads; to prepare for the oncoming month, we will remove the black water from the roads; scoop black water and pine needles and dirt and toads into the sewers. then the streets will be clean and we can finally start forgetting. bake muffins; plant bulbs; hang musty sweaters out to dry; write letters. go through motions and put your black clothes in the back of the closet; with the moths and the ants and the worms; the worms that pull their bodies into the middle of the roads and drown in black and blue water; get rid of them; get rid of the dirt and stains on your black clothes and sweaters; forget about january-march; april is in four days what if i don’t forget? this is how to sweep the streets clean; this is how to drive a car; you will want to watch the bright lights on the construction sights on exit 27 and when you drift into the other lane, this is how you go back; this is how you hide black clothes; this is how you hide black; forget forget if i can’t forget; this is how you hide old photographs (so you can find them again); last night the rain and this morning the streets; the green pushed through the black and blue and brown; the green found salvation just like our mother found salvation; this is how you sweep the foyer; this is how you sweep the bedroom; this is how you hide clothes you won’t need again until someone else dies; the green rain flooded our road and we can’t drive our car out; stay inside and hide and sweep and forget; i will never forget you; forget january-march and killing animals with your car in the dark in the rain on march 22 now april is in four days. four days 4 days when april is here i’ll forget where the worms come from
It's the last month of 2009. I can't believe I didn't blog yesterday. I didn't really have time and it didn't occur to me that it was December 1 and I forgot about all the faux-sentimentality I planned to attach onto it. I can't believe it's almost a new year and almost time to make new resolutions. I don't remember if I kept any of my resolutions I made last January. I wrote them down in a journal, but I hate looking at that journal now. I remember that one of my resolutions for 2009 was to write in a blog every day for a year. I guess I kind of kept it, even though my blog upkeep got pretty spotty since I came to college. But I'm really glad I can look back on these posts. Also, it's almost time to wrap up the year. I haven't really figured out what I'm gonna do in these last few weeks to celebrate a blog that essentially documented every mundane activity in which I partook for 12 months. And oh yeah, there are pictures. Wasn't that supposed to be the point in the first place?
Last night I stayed up really late with Alex, Dan, Liz, and Bethany. Me and Alex went upstairs to go to bed and climbing up the stairs we noticed, looking out onto the parking lot, that a light snow had dusted the tops of all the cars. It was so cool and magical, and only enhanced by the fact that seemingly NO ONE was awake and we felt like the only people in the world to witness the first snow of the year (not really but whatever). This morning it was gone and we felt like we had a secret that no one else had been lucky enough to be let in on. How fitting, that December 1 was the first snow. I don't give December enough credit. To me, it's the only month of the year in which winter's presence is not only appropriate, but beautiful and peaceful.
This is a call for submissions: If you are reading this, and you like writing, please submit to my zine, Auraphice! You will be published and you will feel awesome about it! We want the submissions to be handwritten, so send them to my mailing address (email me and ask for it, or look at the facebook event), but if your inexplicable hatred of sending mail is the only thing standing in the way of your submitting, than you can just email them to me (firstname.lastname@example.org). RELEASE YOUR INHIBITIONS! LET YOUR BRILLIANCE SCREAM OUT FROM YOUR AURAPHICES! SUBMIT!
Oh yeah, song of the day is "Arms Against Atrophy" by Titus Andronicus. I smell an illegal substance.