Saturday, August 05, 2006

save the date - making the most of the time we would rather forget but can't

I really have about no use for the month of August. It's hot, uncomfortable, and anyone who has a modicum of importance is somewhere else for the month of August. The only redeeming feature to the month is that I still have summer hours which means I can get out of town early next Friday to hit the road for New Hampshire.

In other news, a good friend is going to NYU for an all-but-paid-for MFA in creative writing. She could have gone to Columbia, but decided to go where she'd be funded. It's all about what you make of an education, rather than go for the brand name gloss. She's staying in Brooklyn which means more dinner parties and nights at Union Hall.

The city is swelling with heat, but the green sanctuaries of Prospect Park, Central Park, and Riverside Park are a solace. I'm looking forward to the green wave of trees outside my window on the bus ride to NH, but nothing takes away from my commutes to work. Iced coffee in one hand and whatever book is currently capturing my imagination in the other.

The anniversary of Katrina and her aftermath is approaching. Some ask how we can commemorate it. I say we're still bleeding. I wish educated people knew more about what happens outside their immediate sphere of interest. I've been trying to read more widely this year and refraining from making blanket statements. Asking questions is a good start. You end up sounding as illiterate as the president when you start spitting out "facts." I listen to my friends from New Orleans and ask how their mothers are. We want to remember this. We want our lives to be changed. We want our stories to carry weight. We don't want this ongoing nightmare to be forgotten.

Every night I find myself in New Orleans or lost on my way back to New Orleans. My dreams betray the way I'm haunted. I know the only way I'll work my way out of this is by writing, but it's always the last thing I want to do at the end of a day. New York is full of unique opportunities, fascinating people, once in a lifetime moments. It's hard to stay home unless you book yourself weeks in advance. If you don't believe me, try living here or visiting me. It's hard for me to hop off the carousel -- well, me and every other New Yorker making the most of this incomparable city. The pretty horses keep spinning around. I need to work harder at grabbing the brass ring.

My ten year reunion is coming up and I'm hearing from so many old friends. We're all on different pages, but we all want to know how our families made out, what we're doing, where we're coming from. I know what I should do, but it takes so much energy to go there and commit all of this to paper. It's hard enough to accept that some people will never understand this story. How do you write the story that breaks down that wall? I can't write a story that reaches everyone. I just need to write a story that reflects this situation and gives people a foothold. If they want to learn more, they will ask the right questions and pay attention to the answers. I can only offer what I have to give.


Blogger R J Keefe said...

Good grief girl, I thought you just had your five-year reunion!

But let us all try to adopt the conversational stance of assuming that we don't really know what the other person is talking about - instead of being a fatuous authority! Let's listen, people!

Sat Aug 05, 11:15:00 PM  
Blogger Ms. NOLA said...

Well, that was my five-year reunion for college... Now I get my ten-year with the women of Sacred Heart on St. Charles Avenue. I've come a long way from that white dress and flower crown in the courtyard, but I still have the ring to prove my Catholic girlhood.

Sat Aug 05, 11:37:00 PM  
Anonymous rachel said...

Wait, how is NYU less of a name-brand education than Columbia?! Good grief.

Wed Aug 09, 07:39:00 PM  
Blogger Ms. NOLA said...

Well, the pretentions of some are unbelievable. You've been California for a while... One of my less favorite things about the east coast is the delightful way people like to be OCD about every bloody thing... including schools.

I miss New Orleans.

Random drunk guy at 2 am: "Where do you go to school?"

Me: Bryn Mawr

RDG: Where???


RDG: Wal-Mart????

Thu Aug 10, 12:02:00 AM  
Anonymous rachel said...

One guy in law school thought I had gone to school in Burundi. (We were at a club dancing, which I guess explains the misunderstanding.) I thought that was the best thing ever. Yeah, Burundi, you know - I went to school in the whole damn country.

Tue Aug 15, 07:44:00 PM  

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