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Come Back to the Five and Dime…

I was driving home from Hartford, CT last Sunday when it suddenly hit me that we’re entering a new season here on the East Coast. I never seem to notice the changes until everything is already bathed in  gold and red. I know some people notice as soon as the weather dips or the birds start to head south but I think that because I am still a San Diegan in many ways, I just never think about seasons except to be sure my coat is dry cleaned before winter arrives.

Last Sunday was different. I was driving back to New York on the Merritt Parkway and I couldn’t help but notice how stunning the trees looked. It’s a shame that all of that beauty has to blow away and it’s even more of a shame that it takes months for the trees to regain their leaves, but I assume they don’t complain so I won’t either.

I do a lot of driving on purpose. Being alone in my car gives me a lot of time to think. On the way to Hartford I had this moment of real clarity. I have a new job. One in which my mind has to be ‘on’ at all times. I admit that it’s different than it was at the Cathedral. In so many ways, doing a good job there didn’t seem to matter as much as it should have. Too often, the leadership focused more on what was wrong than what was right and I never quite fit into that management style.

If I look around at what I’m doing now I have to be very honest and say that I am happier than I have been in years. I feel more confident, more focused and better able to think and it’s almost scary how many things I’ve had a chance to work on in just over a month.

And it’s not just about the new job. I launched another new site a few weeks ago. Or maybe it was a few days ago – to be honest, everything is rushing together so quickly I’m having a hard time keeping up with days versus weeks. I wanted to create a space for writers and readers to come together in a new way. The site is still a work in progress, but will one day be a retreat for writers – and those who love words – to have moments to stop and connect with each other and, if I get it right, with themselves.

I want it to become a modern Saratoga-style haven. It’s not something that will happen tomorrow or even next month but I have no doubt that it will take shape when the time is right.

On a larger scale, that’s what I want for my next ‘season’. Every time I write in this space I want to stop myself from writing about love – but I don’t know how to write about anything else. All I know is love and all I seem to write about is the search for finding it – the desire to get it right – and the redemption I always feel is right around the corner.

The difference is that over the past year all of the changes I’ve wanted to experience happened because I stopped holding out and just put one foot in front of the other – even when it was scary. Especially when it was scary.

What’s next? I honestly have no idea. I want to seriously train for a race next year and I’m going to Paris in just a few weeks (that’s how I count down to Paris, in weeks, not months) and I want to start video blogging here on Sundays and then I want to go out and start meeting some of the writers I love and then…

Then I don’t know. It almost doesn’t even stress me out that things are ‘what if’. Almost.

The title! I wanted to tell you about the title. “Come back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean” – when I was 10 I saw Cher in the movie version of the Ed Grazcyk play and I was mesmerized by these women – fans – who come together on the 20th anniversary of James Dean’s death and share the secrets they’ve held onto for two decades. At ten, I didn’t understand how someone could hold onto someone for so long, keeping their memory so alive that facts didn’t matter – just hopes and ‘what ifs’ – and then in my 30s I created my own ‘five and dime’ fantasy. When the reality came throwing itself at me I wasn’t ready to admit I was guilty of creating a memory more than actually having remembered it correctly.

Now I understand the women of Marfa better than I ever imagined I could.

How fitting that Robert Altman’s ‘Five and Dime” won a major award in Chicago. That’s how life works. Things make sense when they’re ready to make sense.

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Love and Lunchmeat

I have this theory that most blogs eventually come down to writing about either things we love or things we hate, because we either write about what’s important to us or we stop writing. I write about love sometimes too. Technically anytime you write about a relationship you’re writing about love, it doesn’t have to be romantic.

Oh, and it’s also so very zen to say we get clarity when we’re ready for clarity.


I think you are totally right – we write what we know, for the most part, right?

I know love. Or at least I know something about it. Or maybe I just know my heart and that’s what I end up writing about. Maybe I could stop questioning why! :)

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