1 Oct. 1990

So I found this stack of letters I never sent from twenty years ago that appear to chronicle a month-long, rather one-sided relationship I had with a boy who may or may not have ever known that I thought I was in love with him.

This would be a good segue to explain why I cannot watch the show Hoarders, because while all of you sit back and judge and cluck and wretch, I am breathless with anxiety, clutching my throat, thinking, “How can they just throw out that entire box of old onesies without asking which five are the most important?! They don’t even know why she saved them! There’s a reason!”

But instead, since I’m going to just go ahead and hoard my hoarding confession, I figure I’ll post these letters. I can’t do them all in one post. They’re kind of lengthy, and… well, I think that would be too damaging for my self-esteem. That’s one thing I can’t seem to stockpile: dignity.

Here we go. Enjoy. All letters are typed exactly as written, typos and all. Continue reading

my archived heart.

Looking through a high school yearbook from 1991. Turns out I was quoted on the “Valentine’s Day” page.

Of course, if you happened to be in the unfortunate position of being, well, unattached, then Valentine’s Day can be a little depressing. Pam Ribon describes the occasion this way: “Valentine’s Day is a cess-pool of a black and disgusting wasteland and a paganistic ritual that only ends up smashing my heart into a bloody, massive pulp. Happy Valentine’s Day!”

— Katy High School Yearbook, ’91. ([sic] x a million)

I suppose this could be considered my very first Valentine Poem. I must have been a blast to hang around back then, huh?

smaller world.

Aw, Ragan! Sniff! At work!

Ragan has no idea how much of an influence he was on me in high school, even though we only had a short time together. First of all, I remember him in Noises Off, and I remember seeing him and thinking, “That boy and I; we are gonna be friends.” His Houston high school theatre scene was completely different than mine. They all seemed so grown-up, with how they dated each other and had big, giant drama. It was like they were already in college! And when I went to see Ragan’s show at his school, he was in drag. (“Little girls! I am in the process of putting old heads on young bodies!”) The first time I ever saw a boy in drag, and I was just smitten.

I don’t know if he remembers this, but one night we drove up and down Westheimer in his Jeep, being the most obnoxious teens in Texas, ruining the ending of “The Crying Game” for the poor souls waiting at the red light next to us. (Ragan, I put that in my high school’s yearbook, by the way! I never got to tell you that!)

It’s amazing to me that Ragan and I were living parallel lives all these years, so close to each other without knowing it. He’s always been in my heart, and I’m so proud of him for all he’s done over the years. And I’m not just talking about how he’s a published poet, accomplished performance artist and a teacher. It’s that he’s still brave, bold, fiercely independent and intelligent, with compassion that reaches right across the table and holds you tight.

do you want to know a secret?

I just wrote three hundred words of the next novel, so you know it’s time to procrastinate with so many more words over here. Because it’s easier, okay? Leave me alone! I’m trying to be an artist!

So. The Festival of Books. Yeah, yeah. I know. It was a month ago. Let me see if I can remember anything.

I took Sara with me because

a) she’s geeky enough to appreciate it,
b) had a friend/mentor speaking on another panel,
c) lived over there and
d) takes pity on me almost as much as she supports me in my endeavors.

The night before we stayed up late on the phone looking over the roster, deciding if we were going to attend any other panels. I scanned name after name of authors and then stopped at one.

“S.E. Hinton! S.E. Hinton is going to be there!”

There was a pause before Sara asked, “And I guess that makes you happy?”

She had no idea. Continue reading

Jane’s Addiction: Ritual de lo Habitual

Song: “Classic Girl

Dear High School Me:

The weather is cold and raining, and not unlike the air around you the first time you ever stole one of Mom’s Marlboro Reds because you wanted to see if it felt “cooler” to smoke in the rain, as you were waiting for Keith Randolph to pick you up in his Jeep on the way to school. He overcharged you five bucks a week for the pleasure, but anything was better than getting stuck with those faux-Nazi poseur bullies on the back of the schoolbus. Continue reading

Nine Inch Nails: The Downward Spiral

Song: “Hurt

It was Halloween and I was nineteen and Trent Reznor was singing this song behind a scrim showing images of rotting animal corpses and flowers dying and it was before the video came out and I’d never seen anything like this before in my life and I thought, “This man. This man is the only one who knows why it hurts to be me.”

Continue reading

staying cool below the mason-dixon line.

A memory flashed into my head this morning as I grabbed a bottle of seltzer for the road.

[We now have bottles of seltzer in our refrigerator because stee went through a non-alcoholic phase a couple of months ago, and what has lingered is his love for bizarre bottles of juices and flavored waters. Consequently, I drove to the train station with a bottle of lime seltzer. Like I live in the past.]

Anyway, as I grabbed the bottle opener to pop the top, a memory flooded back. I was living in Jackson, and had spent the night at a friend’s house. I was probably in the sixth grade. When my friend’s older sister found out she had to drive me home on a Saturday morning, she got pissed in a way only sixteen-year-olds can be. She told me to get my shit and get in the car. Continue reading

KT Tunstall: Eye To The Telescope

Song: “Heal Over

Bob borrows my iPod every day to listen to music while he writes monologue jokes. While he’s very patient as I try to sway him toward six thousand songs he’s never heard before (he’s admittedly not that into music), I know that as soon as I leave the room, he’s scrolling right to the Martika and Wham!. That’s okay. I respect someone who knows what he wants.

Continue reading