Monday, August 07, 2006

Tagged By CandyMinx

Truth is, I love memes. I love equally the being tagged part, the structure of the exercises (yes, I'm a fan of writing exercises) and reading the other tagged bloggers' responses.

Yeah.

So.

10 years ago, August 7, 1996:
Ten years ago today I was living with my boyfriend Carlos in a two-bedroom apartment in Columbia, MD. We’d moved down the year before after graduating from Penn and our three-year-old relationship was nearing the end. I was getting ready to start my first year at American University’s MFA program in writing and was excitedly going over all my stories and drafts so I’d have something to workshop the next month. I was 60 pounds heavier than I am now, a pack-a-day smoker, a heavy drinker (Carlos was fond of tequila and jaeger shots and I of course joined in), and riddled with the sort of angst and self-loathing most people lose after adolescence. I was desperately unhappy and had no clue how to go about changing that. Lucky for me, Carlos broke my heart in November of that year and by January I was living on my own. I say lucky because even though it didn’t seem like it at the time—he was sleeping with a coworker named Jen and flaunted his indiscretions in front of all of our friends—he did me the biggest favor anyone has ever done. I didn’t really love him and would never have been happy with him, but for deep-seated psychological anomalies would never have had the guts to leave at that point in my life.

5 years ago, August 7th 2001:
Five years ago Rod and were living in Charlottesville, Virginia, working on our novels. We’d rented a three-bedroom house with a full fenced-in backyard where I was growing eggplants, tomatoes, banana peppers, collard greens, basil, dill, melons, and green peppers. We had His n’ Her writing studios and only had to work three days a week at our editorial jobs. The other two days were dedicated to writing. Ah the joys of the (then) cheap rural south. We had four cats: Zelda and her babies Janus, Jasmine, and Jubilee. (Zachary ran away six months before that.) We had two dogs, a psycho 9-year old we adopted from the pound who tried to bite every single person who came into our home, and my childhood beagle, 15-year-old Zoe. We were still drinking a lot and not exercising but we had both quit smoking five months before. This was by far the most artistically productive time of my life.

1 year ago: August 7th 2005
Married a little over a year, we were in the process of settling into our Brooklyn apartament. We’d moved in a month and seven days earlier, but the cats were still freaked out and cowering under the sofa and in between the unpacked boxes. I wasn’t sure I’d made the right choice moving here even though I told Rod I was. I knew no one while my husband, who grew up on Long Island, had scores of friends and family here. Some of which I liked. Some of which. Well. We all know how that goes. I’d finished my novel a few months before and was editing away before beginning the search for an agent. My office was a fold-up table in the living room (still is) and everybody I saw on the streets seemed so thin, so fashionable, so inexplicably rushed, and constantly irritated. Those first few months we spent a lot of time in Manhattan—ambling to the West Village to visit R’s sister and college friends; to Union Square to visit R.’s painter friend T., and to Midtown to visit R.’s Dad, B. B. lives on 59th and 9th, steps from the new Time-Warner building and Central Park. I remember one moment in particular when we were waiting for B. and his then-girlfriend L. at the northeastern rim of Columbus circle. It was nice—not as hot as it had been all week, and for a few seconds I felt this powerful energy coming from the city’s crowds as they pulsed around me. I’d never been around that many people for that many days in a row. I was stunned by the hundreds of different ethnicities and nationalities and languages and clothing styles and masks and economic subclasses. New Yorkers and tourists together swarming through the opening to the park, sometime only couples or loners, but mostly in packs of threes and fours or more. It was amazing and intense and overwhelming. One of the biggest natural rushes I have ever had.

5 songs I know all the words to:
Landslide by Stevie Nicks; White Trash Wedding by the Dixie Chicks (inexplicably and shamefully); America by Neil Diamond (we can thank my Mama Rosie for that one); Blister In The Sun by Violent Femmes; and Casino Queen by Wilco.

5 snacks:
Yogurt-covered almonds; chocolate-covered almonds; honey-coated sunflower seeds; trail mix heavy on the chocolate and raisins; frozen yogurt.

5 things I’d do with $100 million:
1) Buy a penthouse in Manhattan, a cabin in Big Sur; a villa in Costa Rica and a cabin in the mountains south of Breckenridge. I’d split my time equally between all homes; 2) Go to India to study yoga for a summer then immediately afterward to the Bay Area to study running with ChiRunning guru Danny Dreyer; 3) Buy my parents’ house outright for them; 4) Buy my sister a house in Berkeley; 5) Hire a personal shopper so I never have to go shopping for anything ever again.

5 places I’d run away to:
Costa Rica; Point Reyes, CA; Big Sur, CA; Rocky Mountains; Russian River area of Sonoma County.

5 things I’d never wear:
false eyelashes; a nose-ring (I know too many people who got infections while wearing theirs); orange-colored anything; fur; snakeskin.

5 favorite TV shows:
This is hard since I don’t really watch TV. But the shows Rod watches that I enjoy listening to while I blog, do the dishes or play with the cats, are: The Colbert Report; The Daily Show; Buffy; Alias—all on DVDs we get from Netflix; and RockStar SuperNova.

5 greatest joys:
1) That moment when I’m so deep into the story or chapter I’m writing that everything else fades away in quiet whoosh; 2) euphoria after an intense yoga session; 3) One of Rod’s five course organic meals made especially for me; 4) drinking a great cup of coffee in bed at a fancy hotel (ah the luxury) while reading a good novel and 5) that sore-euphoric wave that you get right after a ten-mile trail run…

5 favorite toys:
Rubik’s Cube; Slinky; stress ball (a nerf palm-sized ball); my camera; and best of all: my laptop.

5 people I’m tagging:
Red (I think she's supposed to be back from Italy around now); Red Queen Affair; Carmen; Perfect Blue Buildings; and Stuplicated.

9 Comments:

Blogger Carmen said...

How about if I give my answers here? :)

10 years ago - i can't even begin to remember. I think I was in Nashville trying to be a songwriter

5 years ago - I was working at AOL and living in DC (again, crack smoker that I am)

1 year ago - I was ending a summer of being laid off with no job (and sort of enjoying the pool time)

5 songs I know all the words to - I can remember words to any song from the 80s but often not my own phone number

5 snacks - anything sweet, I can't pick

5 things I'd do with $100 million - travel EVERYWHERE, let my parents retire happy, charity work, buy my company and fire everyone who ever made me mad, and go to NYC shopping.

5 places I'd run away to - Sydney, Rome, Venice, Paris, Vegas

5 things I'd never wear - I'd never wear fur, and then I don't know

5 fave TV shows - Buffy, Big Brother All Stars, Hell's Kitchen, Firefly, Angel

5 greatest joys - travel, cat purring, travel, travel and family

5 favorite toys - ipod, tivo, Nikkon camera, ??

You lived in Charlottesville? I went to UVA!

3:01 PM  
Blogger Minerva Jane said...

Thanks, Carmen. Weird about 80s songs, huh? Guess they all used subliminal messages. Yeah, I lived in Charlottesville for 6 years and my parents are still there. Beautiful town.

6:40 PM  
Blogger Pie said...

Ooh, thanks for the tag. It's a big one today.

Love the personal shopper idea. Oh that would be bliss.

5:38 AM  
Blogger Red said...

Hey, we're back, all tanned and well fed - and, in my case, stung by a jellyfish too. I'm a bit busy catching up with work stuff at the moment, but I'll get round to your meme this afternoon.

Hope all is well in sunny Brooklyn! I've heard the temperatures in New York were causing blackouts and all sorts of nasty stuff. Are you okay in your neighbourhood?

6:36 AM  
Blogger Candy Minx said...

Thnaks for doing this one...I too actually like being tagged and doing memes. I like the challenge of working within a set of "guidelines" as an exercise...and each time I usually land up thinking about something I haven't for a long time.

I think you hit a great idea with the personal shopper, I hate shopping and have always dreamed of having a shopper. good one!

Carmen, I really enjoyed reading your responses!

3:50 PM  
Blogger Camie Vog said...

Ahhhh! I WAS tagged!! I was over at Pie's today, commenting about how great a tag was. I even offered to be a back up tag in case his 5 didn't respond!! Silly me, You DID tag me. I didn't have the computer on at all yesterday, and today was filled with work. I promise to have my tag up by Wed. afternoon. Thanks for the inclusion.

8:27 PM  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Some cool things in there, MJ.

10:18 AM  
Blogger Martha Elaine Belden said...

i loved reading this! what a fascinating life.

i have a nose ring... it's funny how you first take an afront to reading that someone else would never get one... but then you think about it and realize, that's a good thing... 'cause otherwise everyone would have one... haha... i'm a nerd.

3:32 PM  
Blogger Minerva Jane said...

Hey Martha, Thanks for stopping by. Actually, my desire not to have a nose ring has less to do with noserings themselves and more to do with my own laziness-- ie knowing that I'd not take care of it... and boy would that be ugly.

3:50 PM  

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