Extraordinary stories from everyday life.


the best thing about us is the people we know.

Leather Lane // Saturday, a day after the storm

[Warning: this post might not make much or any sense.]

I haven't been doing a great job. And like most things, I wonder if maybe public confession might help it.

I'm embarrassed of this project. Of all the people who I've told about it, who want to have a look at it, naturally...and I don't want to send it to them because I haven't got as much done as I'd like to.

I want it to be great for all of them. For Patrick, who started following me at the Wordpress site before there was hardly anything there. And Patrick looks like a guy who's got his shit together...what is he following my shabby little blog for?

For Liz, who introduced me to the word "ethnography."

For Mimi, who ought to read how awesome she is in writing.

For Brian, who didn't need me to explain what or why, at all.

For Philip, who was such a good listener so so long ago.

For Seth and for Jeff and for Katie, who need to make some money.

For "Danger Darren," who was just about to go to Europe for the first time.

For the other writers and travelers and anybody who gets a little wistful look in their eye when I explain what I mean by saying that I live in my car.

For all the people who say "What a cool adventure!," as if I'm a freaking student backpacker.

For all the people who refer to the General by his given name.

For the lost girl, bored out of her mind and sitting in front of an administrative assistant desk, waiting for something to do, not just for the day but with her life, whom I used to be, not that long ago.

I want them to read it and say "Yes. That is what I meant."

- - -

Is that what I want?

Or do I just want to impress them?

I want to give them the very best thing. The thing that they got in their minds, that I saw enter and lodge there, when I explained what I'm doing.

If it weren't for them, maybe I could take my time. I feel accountable to them. I feel like I'm letting them down by not being prolific and famous and trenchantly profound.


I don't feel it helping.


The light is fading now, and there will only be another 3.5 hours before the dark sets in.


If I only did this for myself...just waited on my own self to write when I felt ready...well, I don't know what that would be like. I really can't imagine it too well.

Katie says this must be how missionaries feel. Which reminds me of that being-a-burden feeling that I can't seem to shake.

Diane said I am a missionary. Which is way too much pressure to think much about.

And anyway, that's not what I want to be, at least not principally. I want to be a kickass writer who maybe helps people incidentally. On the side, as it were.

And now I'm looking at those sentences, and wondering if they are true, and if it is, if I want them to be true.

I want to help people through writing, a certain kind of writing. Not mainly through having conversations and being a good guest--I just want those things to be progress toward writing. Always toward writing.

Damn it. If I was going to write about creative frustration, I could have stayed in California.

But I have to admit, I like better to be on the move and feeling this way, than stuck in one place feeling this way. Progress of a kind. Be grateful, I say unto me.

I'm sorry, everyone. I'm really trying. Thank you for your investment. It'll come out one of these days...I really believe that, and I hope you do, too.

This very post feels forced, fake and hollow. I'm trying to make an ode from of a tantrum. A silk purse from a sow's ear. A bang from a whimper. If I keep going, it's only going to get worse, and I'm only going to insult more great writers by cheapening their profundity with my metaphors.

I should be shot.

- - -

What this shows me is that I still need people so badly. Unfortunately, I haven't learned any other way to get what I need than to buy it. While I don't have money, but I have the ability to present people as beautiful and strong and the stuff of epic--as I indeed see them--if I could just get it together.

I want to be able to walk into a music show and say "You guys are awesome, can I write you up on my site?" and have them look at my site and say "Yes." And when they say yes, as many do, I want them to feel the way that I feel about them.

It's a weird mode of giving. One that, when you look into it a little deeper, don't look much like giving at all.

Person whom I love and admire, I need you to sit there and hold all the stuff I can give you...just hold still...don't go anywhere, it's really coming...don't put it down, you really need it.

- - -

Last year, I had this vision of being presented with a gift...like a gift box, with a bow on top...but it was enormous, towering over my head. It was God that gave it to me, and the box was his love for me, and he said "You can have it. Take it and open it. It's all yours."

And I was really excited, and stretched my arms out to reach around the box so I could lift it. But I couldn't get it off the ground; I couldn't even move it. I started laughing, and God was laughing, too, because of course you can't heft God's love for you, right? That's what we're told.

But he said I could have it, it was mine to take and open. So I tried again to lift it, and I couldn't. I wedged my fingers underneath the box, and tried to lever it up off the ground. My arms were shaking with the effort, my neck tight and my jaw tense...I remember how it felt. And I only got it off the ground for a minute before the effort was too much and I dropped it. And I looked up and God was still laughing, like a parent laughing at the cuteness of their child's frustration. And I laughed, too, because of course it's ridiculous. But I also started to cry, and get a little frantic, because I wanted to get the box open and have my gift. And I couldn't do it.

- - -

I have so much to give people. Stuff that I think they'll like. And I'm afraid they just won't wait for it...that they won't trust me that it's coming.

I wonder if the Spirit ever feels this apologetic.

Sometimes I look in the mirror and think I really do look nice--it's a shame there isn't anybody to take advantage of it.

Sometimes I look at my writing and think it really does kick ass--it's a shame that I don't have someone to hold me accountable to a production schedule and make money off it.

It's an awfully weird feeling to see the best we have going to waste. Beyond all the feeling of betrayal and grief and anger that God must have felt when Adam and Eve forfeited their right to the garden, he must have also felt so much frustration. The same as when the Israelites couldn't hang in there and wait for the Promised Land, and he had to wait another 40 years to give it to them, and even then it wasn't to the people he rescued, but to their kids, who didn't appreciate it the same way because they hadn't been given the promise directly.

It's an awfully weird feeling to relate to God on this level.

I'm not even sure what I'm asking, at this point. Maybe looking for the answer to what to do with my wasted best qualities based on what God does with his. When we, in our damned free will, won't take advantage of all his many best qualities, what does he do to keep from being depressed?

I guess he just stays at work. Maintaining, improving, making more.