Thursday, June 29, 2017

Words: the Intelligent Woman's Aphrodisiac

Appropriately enough, it's the end of an era.

For Christmas 2008, I was given a Moleskin. The simple lined journal came from a Moleskin devotee, but it was my first and I wasn't sure what to use it for.

But then my world fell apart - I'd lost my job in mid-December, wound up in the ICU by late January, and been dumped by mid-February - and that journal became the blueprint for digging my way out of all that mess.

The first page reads "Get" and is a list I made of what needed to be packed up to move from my ex-boyfriend's house: my hanging lamp, cookbooks, a statue of a fairy. The second page is a list of what I needed to buy: tall drinking glasses, blue paint, a power strip, a bath mat.

Next comes my new public utility account number, my new phone number and the contact for Verizon support. Clearly, I was moving forward on setting up a new life elsewhere, albeit unemployed.

What I love as I move through the book are the random notes to myself, things I wanted to remember. Dates don't appear, but I can use context clues to figure out when things were written.

Here's a note to get tickets for Helio Sequence in Charlottesville (turned out to be a fabulous show) and there's one that reads, "Blog daily." Another says simply "Bat for Lashes," a reminder of a new band I'd heard and liked.

I know by seeing my aunt and uncle's address in Maryland written down that it was around September 2011 because I stayed with them before flying to New Orleans from D.C. that month.

As for quotes I copied - "We live in a place where we can create our own delusional reality" and "Our breakup was a failure" - I have no clue what year they might have been scrawled in my book. Those are timeless truths.

It makes me smile to see a line saying, "Curate Listening Room," a thrill I still recall. It's not often a non-musician gets to pick bands for a public show, even when she's been a regular attendee for years.

After a while, the pages start to contain my writing assignments with their word counts and due dates. The further along in the book you go, the longer the list of assignments (and money coming in). My career progress is charted with more deadlines.

I found the best kind of to-do list for a trip to D.C. in December 2013: National Gallery of Art Parisian photos, Phillips Gallery Van Gogh exhibit, National Building Museum "L.A. Constructs the Future," Rose's Luxury dinner.

Pleased to say I accomplished all that and more that weekend.

Notes to self abound: "Dan Auerbach says guys like treble and girls like bass" and "Words: the intelligent woman's aphrodisiac," for starters.

Peppered throughout are reminders to get tickets: Neko Case, Andrew Bird, the National, Harry Shearer, Churches, Dashboard Confessional. Tickets procured, all shows seen and enjoyed.

Everything gets jotted down in this history of the past 8 years: phone numbers of friends (not that I call much), books to investigate (Rita Mae Brown's "Rubyfruit Jungle") and an ongoing to-do list (pool lessons, hang shade, check moon phases for beach).

The final two pages of this record of my life includes a list of assignments with deadlines of June 1 through August 7, dates of two upcoming shows I need to buy tickets for (August and November, both in Charlottesville), a Lucinda Williams song I fell in love with on first listen ("Six Blocks Away"), some random addition and a book title I intend to buy ("Meet Me in the Bathroom").

But when I went to turn the page, I found that I was at the end of the journal. My 8-year journey to get from the mess my life was in February 2009 when I started this book to June 2017 is contained in a book stained with chocolate, pen scrawls and warped pages from water bottles set atop the book.

It's not pretty, it's full of memories and it's definitely worse for the wear, but I imagine I'm the same. A chapter of my life has closed in several ways now.

Here's to whatever my next Moleskin chronicles.

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