Wednesday, July 28, 2004


I’m sitting in a capacioius room in an old home in Port Townsend as I write this to you. The window is thrown wide open, the breeze ruffling the curtain. I’m listening to Keith Jarrett on my iPod, waiting for Kristin to return from her vocal class. When she does, we’ll venture into the sunshine for a long walk down the beach, taking rapid-fire and laughing. Then drive to town (all of five streets--Port Townsend has only 8,000 people, like Sitka), for lunch and the post office. And whatever else might happen.

Yesterday, I sat in this room for half of the day, listening to music and writing for hours. And then the same all afternoon, except I was on the porch outside, gently rocking in a wooden chair. It’s amazing how little it takes to make me happy these days: hours to write; good music on the heaphones; a lack of longing; a clear day; and the chance to see good friends.

Oh, and dark chocolate.

Last night, Kristin and I ate dark chocolate with raspberries. It made our evening. And this, after dinner at the Silverwater Cafe--seared ahi tuna with lavender pepper and gorgonzola rotini. Isn’t it odd how words rarely connote the experience? Not even close. Because gorgonzola rotini really should be: warm sunlight pouring through the window on our shoulders, a loving conversation about experiences about camp passing between us, warm crusty bread already in our bellies, glasses of red wine half drunk on the bar before us, and the rich, stinky cheese, mingled with salty walnuts and wilted broccoli, filling our mouths and making us close our eyes at the same time, confirming once again that we are friends, because we are equally grateful for this experience. And that’s a long sentence. But it’s not long enough. Because all of those sensations, tastes, and emotions are layered upon each other to make up a densely complex experience. But we all agree to speak in shorthand--gorgonzola rotini.

And that’s enough.

And then we went to see Fahrenheit 911, which was playing at the quaint Rose Theatre. Thank goodness we had all that good food in our bellies. Holy shit, that film devastated me. I knew it would. That’s why I have been resisting it for the last month. It’s not that I don’t care about what the film shows. It’s that I care too much. We live in such a miserable time of denial and lies. And it’s all right out in the open, for everyone to ignore. All of the facts Moore presented? I had read them in the Guardian or the Economist or the New York Times, these past few years. Given that I teach a 20th-century Humanities class, and that I’m involved in politics (because I’m fiercely interested in the humanity of this world), I feel a moral responsibility to keep current on the news. But still, there’s only so much that reading can do. And besides, I’ve assiduously avoided listening to W these past few years. When I hear him start to make a speech, I turn off the radio. His voice makes me feel a little nauseous. But there was no avoiding him in this movie. And besides, seeing mothers weep over the loss of their sons teaches far more. As the film proceeded, I just sank farther and farther down in my chair, completely absorbed and horrified. And I cried and covered my eyes at times. When the film finished, I couldn’t say anything for long moments. As Kristin and I walked down the darkened main street of Port Towsend, toward my car, we agreed: we’re done worrying out our own petty concerns, because we’re both so wonderfully spoiled; and we must all do something about this election in November. You guys, we have to DO something.

And now I’m home, typing this up and ready for bed. Tomorrow, Nick arrives for a five-day visit. I’m excited to see him--it has been since October in New York, another lifetime. He has never been to Seattle before, so we’re going to explore. Driving to Mt. Rainier for walks through meadows of wildflowers, hikes through old-growth forests, dinners at Wild Ginger, and maybe even sailing on Puget Sound. We don’t have many plans, just to be together. No expectations. So I’m sure that the week will sing and yield more stories. And that I won’t have much time to write here. But I will, when I can.

And thanks for reading.

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