Monday, May 4, 2009

But those things are mine.

Today was a really difficult day at work. One of those days where it's hard to remember anything I truly liked, but I know one of the reasons I was drawn to the work I do is that I remember so vividly what it was like to be 13 years old and how it was so different from being 15 or even 19. And it's hard and awful but it's a time that creates such powerful and defining memories.

One of my favorite memories was of one night, swimming in a pond in the middle of summer. I remember we had gotten off work late. It must have been two in the morning. We swam in that pond for hours. There was nothing particularly significant that happened but I remember every time I drove past it afterwards I felt like in some way it was mine. Part of that is what makes being a teenager so magical. One of my favorite writers is Steven Millhauser because he so perfectly captures that feeling of being a kid a sneaking out late and knowing every part of your neighborhood and feeling like it is yours alone and not part of the adult world. He hardly ever does interviews, but in this quote I think he really sums up that experience:

"The other thing that springs to mind is more difficult to express. It’s the sense, given to me by growing up in that neighborhood, in that town, of what an American small-town street feels like and smells like, what kitchens and cellars and attics are like, what roadside weeds and telephone poles are like. There’s plenty I don’t know about American life, but those things are mine."

And finally, I cannot get enough of the old REM song, Nightswimming. There are so many beautiful moments in this song:

Nightswimming deserves a quiet night

I'm not sure all these people understand

It's not like years ago,

The fear of getting caught,

Of recklessness and water

They cannot see me naked

These things, they go away,

Replaced by everyday

Nightswimming,remembering that night

September's coming soon

I'm pining for the moon

And what if there were two

Side by side in orbit

Around the fairest sun?

That bright, tight forever drum

Could not describe nightswimming

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