A post you feel didn’t get the attention it deserved: Fangirl, which is about my favorite night of last year’s International Festival of Authors in Toronto. This year I went to Toronto to bask in the glory of Vince Clarke and Andy Bell; last year I did it for David Mitchell. (This year Lev Grossman is going to be there, and OH! It is killing me to stay home. Alas, money is finite and stupid.) Anyway, I do not usually get emotional and become fangirlish about famous people, but I was in the presence of very smart people at that festival; Myla Goldberg and Paul Harding were standouts as well. But no one rocked me like David Mitchell. He was fantastic. It only “didn’t get the attention it deserved” because it was written before Reverb when Heather and I were just starting out, but you might just like it.
The post that you are most proud of: Open Spaces and Heat Lightning, which is one of the truest things I’ve ever written. You may have seen this picture in the Link Within widget below current posts. I know I see it often, and I get a twinge every time. The most wonderful thing that came out of this (besides crystallizing a few thoughts that I have about growing up without knowing very much about my father) is that late last year, one of my father’s nieces got in touch with me after finding the blog. She saw that picture and had to write to me, because—and you guys are not going to believe this—she was actually there the day that picture was taken. She’s been able to send me more pictures of my dad, from when he was younger and looked like a kid straight out of Stand by Me. If I hadn’t taken the risk of writing it, she may not have had the impetus to write me.
I don’t usually take part in viral blog things, but this one appealed for some reason, and I think it’s because of the household purge (which reached full steam this weekend). I’ve been doing a lot of looking back, because looking ahead is a little bit impossible right now. If you don’t wear glasses you might not know this feeling, but there is always a moment when I first open the oven and peer in, and heat fogs up my vision. For just a second, I have to wait until things clear up. And every time I wish that I’d kept my head farther away or that glasses didn’t do that or that I had put in my contacts that morning. And then everything clears and I turn over the butternut squash. Right now, I’m stuck in that fog moment when it comes to everything about my life, and the dissipation rate is out of my control.
So I control what I can. I purge.
The odd thing is that I have no interest in current phone books, but these old ones have been company for me on sleepless nights for years. They remind me of my wanderlust and all the different Kims I have been. I told myself at one point that I might set a book in Lock Haven circa 1996, and this phone book might become invaluable. But no, I know what I need to know about Lock Haven. I know the blast of the trains flying through at night, the way they would wake me up the first two weeks that I lived in that jewel-town by the river. I know the ways we walked the levee and the bat that lived in the corridor that took me to my friend’s apartment and I know the third floor of Raub Hall and I know bottles of Blue Moon and Melanie’s perennial Midsummer’s Night Yankee Candle jars and fried pierogies and the drive home from the shoe store in the quiet snow.
None of those things are in the phone book. It can go.