So, hey, look at this shiny thing over here! It's the internet and a story.
Yep, it is the end of the decade. I have had a crazy decade.
Ten years ago, 2001, I was starting my last semester at university. (Yes, it took me ten years to graduate. Shut up.) And it was post Y2K, does anyone even remember that? The turn from 1999 to 2000. I will never forget sitting with my friend who was raised a fundamentalist Christian. We always met at a bar aptly named Dirty Frank's, mainly because if he wasn't waiting tables, that is where he was. That year, in fact, he would receive what is known as the Golden Roach Award for Patron of the Year. Let's just say, it is not exactly a bar in which you want to be known as the King of the Drinkers. At any rate, it was December 1999, and me being a student in Religion, we used to just sit and drink heavily and argue Scripture.
I miss those days with hours at my disposal to formulate my ideas. Now, I just spout off the first offensive thing that comes into my little pea dinosaur brain. He was so well-versed and smart. This was the kicker. He is gay. And so he grew up with a kind of self-loathing that made me angry at Fundamentalists in general and his parents in particular. And so we would argue--me trying to convince him that he was not damned and he trying to convince me he was. It was a fool argument, and most people avoided joining in our shenanigans. So we were left for hours to talk. Those evenings are amongst my most coveted, I love him with the fierceness of 10,000 apocalyptic suns. And I just wanted him to see himself as God's son. To have him feel worthy of love.
As more and more y2k crap was obsessed about in the media, he became more and more convinced that it was really the end of times. It was the Rapture, he said. The signs are everywhere. And he wasn't sure if he was going to be saved, so in case God did not call him home, he was stockpiling good water in his studio apartment. He had cases, he said. And freeze-dried food.
We were drunk. And I was going through the Book of Daniel and Revelation and trying to convince him that it wasn't surely the time, based on Scripture. And he reached across the table, his beautiful eyes meeting mine, and he said, "Angie. I love you. God, you know, I love you. But I am not sharing my water with you. You are on your own."
I walked the streets New Year's Eve in a silver ball gown and Doc Martens. I watched an Eagles game with my friends earlier in the night, then went to my lovely friend Sid's place. I remember a kind of 3 am hush over the city, and wondering, if perhaps, 144,000 people were suddenly gone from the world, would we notice? And then I thought about my water situation. How I didn't have any. And I didn't know anyone who had water in the city who would share. I mean, I knew people who would knock on my door and ask for water, but those stockpiling it weren't sharing. I cried walking home, because my marriage dissolved a few years earlier, and I was hopelessly waterless without anyone interested in water either. Maybe that is all I wanted for the decade of 2000-2010, to find a people who would share their water with me.
Tonight, I made a salad of baby lettuce, fontinella cheese, walnuts, portabello mushrooms dressed with grapefruit balsamic vinegar and walnut oil. I had a glass of Pinot Grigio. Thomas Harry screamed in his high chair every time his peas ran out, and my daughter asked me what a parade is. Sam leaned back and savored his glass of red wine. It's an ordinary night here. I am on the computer. Sam is reading.
I have no moral here. No large reflection. It is just a moment. A million-gazillion moments of life strung together. And now, I have a people, Sam, and people, y'all, who would share their water with me, and more importantly, I have a people and people who I would share my water with. Thank you and happy new year.
On a few separate, but no less interesting notes for the New Year, I am going to be doing a reading Sunday, January 9th at the Newark Free Library (750 Library Ave Newark DE 19711). Janel Atlas, Nina Bennett and I will be reading from They Were Still Born from 2p until 3:30p. So, please consider joining us for the event. I will be selling copies of the book there for $30 a piece. The event itself is free, and here is the write-up about it.
Finding the Words
When faced with traumatic, devastating loss, many people turn to books for information and comfort. What happens when those books don't exist? Three authors will share not only their personal narratives of loss, but also how their book came to be. Janel Atlas, along with contributors Nina Bennett and Angie Yingst, will discuss their newly released collection of essays, They Were Still Born. Free.
I am also hosting a workshop on Exploring your Grief through the Creative Journal at the Grief and the Arts Workshop. No art experience needed. You simply come with an open mind and a desire to explore your grief creatively. I will be mixing creative prompts with journaling in my session. This is held Saturday, January 22, 2011, 3:00pm - 6:00pm at the Newark Arts Alliance, 276 East Main Street, Newark, DE 19711
It will be an afternoon of making and sharing art, both visual and literary. All who have been impacted by the death of a baby at any time during pregnancy or infancy are welcome. Participants will choose among several guided workshop sessions and get to take their creations home. There will be four workshops--two running concurrently. The other workshop leaders are authors and artists Janel Atlas, Nina Bennett, Angie Yingst, and Stephanie Paige Cole
Pre-register by January 12 and pay just $12, or pay $15 at the door; tickets cover materials and light refreshments. To register, e-mail Janelatlas@gmail.com or call 302.737.6088