Thursday, September 21, 2006


Yesterday was a wash, because Tuesday is my looong day. I'm either working or in class from 8am until 8pm. By the time I get home, I'm starving and exhausted, so yesterday I did what I normal do on Tuesdays -- vegged in front of the TV and pretended to do homework/study.

Today was a lot of fun. Page was in town visiting. We went to Spotted Dog and I got to meet Nancy. The cute waitress who I think has a crush on me was not our waitress. (Probably a good thing since Page would have done something to embarrass me, I'm sure.) Instead it was this sketchy old hippie woman who is incredibly awkward. Nice, but awkward. Afterward we came back here and Winston modeled his Halloween costumes. (Yes, that's plural. I couldn't decide, so I bought two.) Nancy thinks I should make a calendar of Winston in various outfits and sell it online.

Then I watched America's Next Top Model season premiere because I am a slave to pop culture. So far I only hate about 3/4 of the contestants, so we're off to a good start.

In between all this intellectual stimulation, I managed to edit my last chapter and get started on Chapter 19. I didn't get a whole lot done, but it's something.

current word count: 53,435

Monday, September 18, 2006


Major progress tonight. I finished another chapter and I'm rearing to go for the next one. Unfortunately, this progress comes at the expense of schoolwork. But hey, a girl has to prioritize right?

It feels great to be back in the story again. I was really adrift for awhile, but I think I'm on course again. The next chapter is pretty important for setting up the major conflict, so I hope I can do it well.

current word count: 52,843

Back on track?

After weeks of just cutting and editing, I finally did some new writing. I wrote about 1600 words today. It was hard, but it felt good. Hopefully I can get back into the habit of writing every day. I'm making a big shift -- the courting phase of the novel is over. Now it's all about the conflict and compromise. It only gets tougher from here on out, but I'm really excited about this part of the novel, so hopefully that will keep me motivated.

current word count: 50,820

Monday, September 11, 2006

My Story

We all have a story from that day. I wasn't planning to write about mine, but someone asked me earlier about my experience, and I told them. I thought that since I took the time to write it all down, I might as well post it here as well. So here's my story:

Five years ago, I had just moved from Washingon, D.C. to NC to return to school. I was miserable and homesick. I missed my friend and the city I considered home. I thought daily about quitting school and returning to my life there.

At the time, I was sharing an apartment with another student who had just moved to town from D.C. Normally, I watch CNN while I get ready in the morning. But that morning, I woke up late and rushed straight into the shower. When I came out, I heard Tim's girlfriend (who was still living and working in DC) leaving a message on the answering machine. She was on her cell phone and in a panic. They had been evacuated from their office building, as had all government employees. She was sobbing and telling us that everyone was panicked and no one knew what was going on, only that there were bombs or explosions or something, and that we were under attack. Tim came out of his room at the same time I emerged from the bathroom, so we both sort of stood there in the hall in shock listening to her talk. In the background we could hear the utter panic of the mass of people being evacuated, and it was terrifying. He lunged for the phone, and I lunged for the remote. We turned on CNN just in time to see the replay of the plane hitting the Pentagon and were utterly shocked.

I skipped all my classes that day and spent all day glued to the television and getting error messages as I tried to call my friends. Having lived in D.C., I was far more concerned (in that moment) with what had happened at the Pentagon and with the plane that was still in the air and said to be headed for the White House, than I was with what was happening in NYC. All of my friends at that time lived in D.C. and were working either on Capital Hill or in the Pentagon. Those who didn't work at the Pentagon took the metro THROUGH the Pentagon every morning right around the time of the attack. (Just as I had been doing up until I moved away to go back to school.) I had no idea if anyone I know was killed/injured in the Pentagon attack or whether there would be more attacks on D.C. Jerimie had just recently enlisted in the Navy and was stationed at the time in Maryland and sent to D.C. for crisis control. So my family was in a panic, worried that he would be injured in another attack, or that we would immediately declare war and he would be deployed. I spent a lot of time trying to calm them. Meanwhile, I was terrified, angry and feeling a lot of what I guess was mild survivors guilt -- I should have BEEN there. I WANTED to be there. I was homesick and hating NC and had been questioning daily my decision to move away from D.C. And when this happened, I felt so helpless being so far away. I wanted to be with my friends and family, not two states away unable to even get them on the phone thanks to overloaded circuits.

After the D.C. panic calmed down and it became clear that the damage and death toll there was going to be very minor compared to NYC, my focus shifted. But that was a much more removed feeling of sadness for me. I was obviously upset by it, but not in the personal way that I viewed the D.C. attack. A good friends' father is a NYC police officer stationed near the WTC. He was unaccounted for for two days while he worked at the site, unable to get a message to his family that he was all right. I spent a lot of time trying to comfort his daughter. And I had a number of other friends with family members who were missing or unaccounted for. Luckily, everyone I knew was eventually found and was safe.

I know how incredibly lucky I am that I wasn't there that day and that no one I know was killed or seriously injured. But it was one of the most personally terrifying experiences of my life ,and I don't like reliving it, which is why I hadn't planned to post anything about it today. I understand that everyone grieves/remembers differently, and for some all this five-year hype is cathartic. But for me, walking across campus today and seeing the flags and tributes and hearing the speakers made me feel ill. I'm steadfastly avoiding the television. I do think it's important that we remember what happened that day and honor those we lost. We don't want to forget about it. But I'm in no danger of forgetting, and I don't relish reliving it over and over again.

I'm not sure why all of this attention bothers me so much. I talk about 9/11 in passing on any other day without getting upset. But for some reason today it's really bothering me. I think a lot of it was knowing that CNN was rerunning the live coverage from that day and the idea of watching it like I did then -- glued to the tv for hours and hours on end -- brought me back in a way that just talking about it has not. It's one thing to talk about my experience or remember it briefly, but I definitely don't want to sit and watch the live coverage replayed from that day.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Behind the times

I was in high school when Ellen Degeneres' sitcom was on television. Shockingly, it was one of my favorite things to watch. (In retrospect, this is yet one more glaring signs my parents missed. I always think about that scene in But I'm a Cheerleader when Megan's family confronts her about her kd Lang posters and vegetarianism. If my family had just been a tiny bit more savvy, I'm sure there would have been an intervention where they confronted me with my love of Ellen and softball.) Anyway, I remember thinking the show was hilarious and making an effort to watch it every week. And for the first few seasons, my whole family watched and enjoyed it.

And then...we all know what happened. Rumors started circling that not only was Ellen gay in real life, but that she was going to out herself on the show. There was outrage and a whole lot of name-calling in my house (the oh-so witty "Ellen Degenerate was -- and remains -- a family favorite). And, of course, I was forbidden to watch the show from then on out.

So I never saw the infamous "puppy episode".

Thankfully, the Oxygen network has been rerunning the series in its entirety. And Thursday and Friday, they aired the two-part episode. So, only a decade after the rest of the world, I finally saw Ellen Morgan come out to her friends.

I was just a few months shy of my seventeenth birthday when this aired the originally. And by that time, let me tell you, I had already been struggling with my sexuality for years. I knew what I was feeling "wasn't normal" and seeing how my family reacted to a perfect stranger's coming out, reaffirmed to me that it was not something I should discuss or contemplate personally. So I stuffed those feelings down deep inside and didn't deal with them until years later when I was in college and out from under the thumb of my family and our oppressive community.

So I watched this episode on two levels: On one, it was pure fun. The dialogue and situational irony was snappy and amusing as always. I laughed, I cringed, I rolled my eyes. It was a very enjoyable hour, and I'm glad I finally got a chance to watch it. On the other hand, I watched it imagining what it would have been like to see this as a teenager. And on that level, it was bittersweet. Because I can only imagine how much it would have helped. I can only imagine how wonderful it would have felt to know I wasn't alone and that I wasn't evil or sick for feeling the way I did. If only I hadn't been "sheltered" from this, my journey might have been that much easier. I hope there were others out there in my position who didn't have to wait a decade to see this. So, to Ellen, I say: "Thank you. And I'm sorry it took me ten years to say it."