in my journal, while in chicago for awp, i wrote "i cannot sleep and am made of 10,000 feelings at once. i am proud, and scared, and ashamed, and want to be in love, and love to be alone, and adore my friends and cohorts, and ache for the whole world and want to make it all perfect, and also give up on the whole thing. i want to die die die and live forever and ever. and i am tired but cannot sleep." that sums up how i felt- so overwhelmed with conflicting feelings. all the good feelings- no, not good, incredible- brought on by meeting so many people i admire and adore for the first time. eating lunch with the kates and feeling so intimately understood and supported in a way that is so specific i can barely think of how to name it- might it be the crevice of sisterhood that lives in the part of me which alternately glows and pours shit out like steaming mulch? sitting on the floor of the hilton hotel with kristen and exchanging books, connecting in these small moments which sound mundane but are hugely important. this past week it was driven home to me again and again that the people who make things which save me are all saving each other. a network of support, understanding, and fierce determination. we are determined to find each other, and live.
kate durbin as painted by ji yoon lee
again in my journal i wrote "the greatest fear feeling is the one of total elation and joy fighting it out at the same time w/great fear, sadness and anxiety. all living inside you at once...i push against my own damn self, bang against the door of my capabilities." it is frightening for things to be good and exciting, for hope to be on the horizon. it is frightening to sit in the face of so much ambition. i want to be equal to it, and i want my life to move ever forward beside it.
kate x 2 + me
god keep kate d. forever and ever because how else would i have survived such madness as our neo night? first adorning our bodies together, then managing to somehow manage the insanity of a jam-packed nightclub fronting as a literary event. the cops shut us down and it only inspired people to take it further, to keep reading, to put on more make-up, to dance harder. in all my terror that i had done the wrong thing, that i was disappointing people, there was kate and kate and anna joy telling us that it was wonderful. i want so badly to please, to be good, to be more good than anyone can possibly be, but when i am around these brilliant, inspiring people i don't have to be that good. they are fine if i am just as i am, a little messy. oh, my heart. it is hard to be human.
i square-danced with my bff and it brought my life back into the picture, a reminder of what is to come. i held stranger's hands and i thought i was done bleeding but blood came gushing out again while i do-si-doed. i bled through my pants twice this trip.
carina finn and i had matching purple nails, kate d.'s nailpolish matched the streaks of yellow in my hair. i danced to tjy's tunes which will never leave my head and there is meghan lamb singing karen carpenter right next to that too. dancing to bow wow wow while waiting at the bar with carrie. smoothing the word "witch" in black glitter letters to kate's back, marveling at oprah in a cab w/danielle p. gushing to rebecca wolff about how much i loved her novel, gushing to vida about how i love them. just a constant gush gush gush. it was, actually, too much to bear. i was constantly exhausted, sleepy as a limp baby.
all of this is to say that i've come back from awp so thankful, so inspired. i cannot believe that this is my life- that i could have grown up to stand next to people so wildly excellent and full of such unrelenting love. it must be love that drives us to do this, and i know it is love that leads us to each other with such anticipation and kindness. there is the terribleness of the world to contend with, too, but here we are, knowing each other.
you are all saving the world, we are saving each other.