It's hard to actually believe it's over. Grad school has been my *life* for so long, especially in the last six months, that I'm not sure how I'm going to reconstruct my life following it. Sent out a tech writing resume, though. :-) Anyone want to hire me? You know I work hard...
It's another Seattle morning. Clannad playing, mug of chai in front of me, same drizzly rain that we had for the first weeks of Clarion, and there's even a beautiful vase of flowers in my room (that Ellie brought in before she went away for a tech job, saying my room needed flowers -- white irises and lilies, flanked by broad, dark green leaves that are almost exactly the shade of my curtains) -- I had flowers (bought and picked from the roadside) on my windowsill for most of Clarion; the rooms were somewhat antiseptic. And Alex is in town...
Speaking of which, Alex, if you happen to be reading this, let me explain something to you, dear. When you call someone, three times in one night, sounding increasingly frantic about reaching them and leaving messages, it *is* customary to also leave a number at which you can be reached. Especially given that if the call switches immediately to voicemail, that probably means that the person you're trying to reach is in fact at home, but simply logged on, and so you've knocked her off the computer, but haven't left a way for her to respond to your message. Clear, dear?
To return to Seattle...or rather, to return to something Heather and I were talking about a few nights ago as we went through my photo album (she wanted to see a picture of my sister dancing; we had just watched Kama Sutra, which has a fair bit of bharata natyam in it, and I had shown her what little I remembered, and told her that my sister was much much better, which is definitely true. Both my sisters, actually, but I only happen to have dance pictures of one of them). We hit the Edinburgh section, which are mostly just pictures of buildings, but somehow even that took me back so sharply to that week.
I'm sure I've talked to y'all about that before; it made such a strong impression, the week I travelled alone to Edinburgh and stayed with a friend of a friend (poor woman. She met me at the train station, said, "I'm having a horrible time in my personal life -- I'm sorry. Here are keys, a map, and bus schedules; I'm not going to be around very much. You're in the guest room on the first floor and my roommates are expecting you." Then she disappeared, and I barely saw her for the rest of the trip). I wandered the streets, and hung out in the Ceilidh House pub (this must all have been a few years before I started keeping this journal, which is too darn bad) and listened to Freddy play.
Freddy was this stunning fiddler, so good that the owners paid him to just hang out there and play when he felt like it, because other musicians would come every night just to jam with Freddy. The first night I was there, I sat at a neighboring table and wrote while they played. The second night, they recognized me, and said hello, and when they heard the American accent, insisted I come over and join them. They played all the Mary Anne songs they knew (lots! I wish I'd had a tape recorder), and cajoled me into singing with them.
Freddy sort of unofficially adopted me for the rest of the week, and took me out for Indian food to this wonderful place -- wish I could remember the name! -- and told me to be careful, and did I have a safe place to sleep? The night before I left, they all told me to come find them if I came back to Edinburgh, or needed crash space during the Edinburgh Music Festival (which someday I will, I swear!), and sang the song I'd written while sitting at the broad wooden table.
The memories are so vivid. I haven't told you about climbing King Arthur's Seat, or trying to find a kilt for Kevin (McLeod, of the clan McLeod (actually, the McLeod plaid is not very attractive, sadly)), or my adventures buying Scotch, or the comic store guy. Or the way the city looks, at night, spread out in a calm glistening against the solid blackness of the water, the Firth of Forth.
Or maybe I have told you -- I wouldn't be surprised -- and if so, I'll probably tell you again, because that one week burns so sharp in memory. Funny how the weeks and months of the routine roll by, and even if much more important things happen in them, they blur together, so that it's difficult to even remember what month or year an event occurred in. Half the time, these days, I have to go to Kevin and say, "When was that?" And he'll think about what we were doing at that point, and reconstruct it for me.
I also remember how glad I was to come home again after that trip. I wouldn't want my life to be all stunning moments, exclamation points. You need the long, calm sentences as well, the sweet paragraphs. It's a rule they taught you in grammar school, after all -- use exclamation points sparingly. Generally, commas and periods will do.
This is the end of a long chapter. This is the end of a pargraph. This is a very definite period.