Tuesday, October 12, 2010

that time i took photos, often outside, far away from computers

First Alex drove me to the airport from New York City after everything got packed all in a hurry.

Then I flew to Detroit and my Mom picked me up in the airport and took me back to her apartment which felt familiar and nice even though I'd never been there before.

On October 1st Interlochen, my boarding school, was hosting its class of '99 reunion and so my Mom drove me to Kalamazoo and then Ingrid and I drove upstate to Interlochen and everyone was there.

I went away to boarding school for my last two years of high school. My Mom and I were fighting one night and I wanted to say something dramatic and so I said I was going to boarding school. I don't do things like that anymore.

There's a part in The Big Chill where someone says to someone else, "I was the best I've ever been with you people," but she's talking about their time at the University of Michigan which I also, incidentally, attended, though I was arguably perhaps at my worst with most of those people. But at boarding school, I was the best I've ever been with those people.

So it was good to be see faces that have only changed a little bit and people fully intact. We changed I think, for at least a little while there. Or maybe we just did that thing you do where you have to put on certain personalities for someone else because you've always suspected there's something inherently unwired and abnormal and unacceptable inside of you and you have to at least give it a try -- to be something other than that.

Maybe I am just speaking for me. Maybe everyone else kept it all this time but regardless we all got it back.

See it's Saturn Return.

Sarah says, you know I'm supposed to say how we all have changed but we haven't. Delp (our writing teacher and surrogate father) said, the craziest thing is that you all look exactly the same. Then I said no I look haggard and weathered and I think I want a face transplant and everyone said the thing they always say about how dumb I am to say these things.

See Interlochen was a place where I felt authentic. Somewhere in the woods, there's a center in me I am simple without. Most people have places like that, or I hope they do.

When I first got to Interlochen I was fifteen and sad. I was catastrophically sad. I was sad like a person who doesn't think sadness ever stops or changes and then it did. I left boarding school liking things I'd been discounting for a while as overly sentimental and more importantly too painful to lose at the end: friendship, poetry, the apple fritter things they served at breakfast.

On the last day went to Delp's new cabin. Everything felt peaceful. I was with Meg and Ingrid and Sheetal and Delp and everything felt right.

When people asked me what I was doing I told them about Autostraddle and everyone said they liked it or was impressed that I get to do what I get to do which is write, and work with other writers and edit and have ideas and be creative and work with other creative people, which is the thing I was doing and the program I was in At Seventeen. Unlike every single other person I've talked to about my work, not a single soul at Interlochen asked me how we make money (I'm amazed, honestly, at how f*cking tacky people are sometimes). It was just good.

Then we drove back and then I was at home with my Mom. She was really nice to me and made sure I had everything taken care of before I left, like my teeth.

Then I got on an airplane and the airplane landed in Oakland, California! So far away!

From there I did not use my technologies, except for ordering pizza. bcw and I looked at a map and a travel magazine and decided to go to wine country because there's an attraction there which promised famous fainting goats. If you would not drive 1.5 hours north on the West Coast Highway to look at fainting goats then I don't know what to say for you besides I'm sorry.

See two French children hugged and then the geyser exploded. It only explodes every 45 minutes.

Then to the big castle we saw out the window which was a winery also by this rich man who wanted his own castle. So we drove up there and conducted additional photoshoots in the spirit of fitforafemme. Eventually in the future you'll probs find out what we were wearing on her website.

Also later to Twin Peaks to smoke and look at how big the whole world is and how we were smaller then. I could see everything, even through the clouds & fog afterwards which will always be there, sometimes. There's nothing a person can do about it. Sometimes you just have to get through it, and grope in the darkness and remember earlier how the sky turned purple and you were glad to be here.

We are reading Inferno for Autostraddle Book Club

Sunday came and wasn't the best day ever for some reasons so we sleepwalked through Alcatraz where we learned that men are powerful and they know how to control other men, especially the bad ones. Then there was dinner and then I went to Taylor & Kelsey's and we had wine and later me and Kelsey got sick. All of these things were fun however except the sick part.

Everyone ran Autostraddle without me quite well, even if Laneia was driven slightly crazy by the task. Let's be real, we're all crazy already otherwise we would be at Buffalo Wild Wings right now.

I'm at Taylor and Kelsey's new apartment in Oakland. It's nice to be here with them. I usually hate crashing but this isn't a crash so much. It's a landing or something, although temporary.

Sometimes I get super scared and most of the time I just try not to think about scary things and instead think about things that make me laugh or smile.

On Sunday my grandfather died and now it's Wednesday and I am still scared to call my Grandmother because I don't want any of these things to be real. I call but it rings and rings.

I just want the ocean right now.

I just want an audio tour of my life in a foreign language I don't understand, and someone who can translate it for me.

I just want a home by the ocean I'm lying I want to never have a home ever again. I do I want a home by a lake. I want to be in charge of a thing.

I just want to get into a space where maybe I could stay for a while, lying on the kitchen floor reading Inferno.

I feel relaxed and the sun goes down behind the buildings every night.

When I get a place I will feel better. I know there is fear underneath my ribcage and my stomach and all the other parts. The visible parts. I am lying on top of it, smiling and eating tomatoes.

New York City is a hard place to live. To fight all the time for a small patch of overpriced land. I love the city but the living was hard, and at some point it wasn't worth it. You fight against unspeakable strange malice every day at least a little bit, you go somewhere overcrowded or get elbowed on the train or you are forced into an overpriced cab ride due to emotional circumstances of some kind which are making you feel bad enough, thank you very much, city, I do not need that expensive cab-ride in my life when I am so sad or mad or in a hurry.

So I feel good, I think. I'm behind on all my work. I just read two pages of Inferno and looked through my bag for chapstick, which I couldn't find, and then i thought my phone was blinking but it was really just this mobile Virgin web thing I had to get.

I just want a tree. I just want ice cream.

I got ice cream, I want a treehouse.

I feel like everything is about to change for everything, even you, I said in the car.

I just want to do things when I want to do them and most of all help people. Is what I want. I need you to trust me on this even though I seem so far away. Not geographically but like in my brain. I am. I mean, that's exactly it. How I want you to be happy.


laneia said...

if you never wrote another thing, this would be the best last thing.

Anonymous said...

Hey you.

I don't comment anymore, haven't in like 2 years.

... You've made a surprising impact on my life. In a small way, I suppose. I have no idea.
I started reading your stuff when I was straight straight straight.

I'm in love with a girl now. I met her online. She lives in California. I want that. I want all of it.

... thanks Riese.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

this makes me feel so much.

i'm glad you took the time to drive and go places and feel the california sun on your skin.

you're beautiful, riese. welcome home.

laura said...

i'm really happy that you made it there and i can't wait to see what happens now.

Clay said...

You look really good, you look and sound happy.

I'm glad that you finally got to Alcatraz.

Unknown said...

Sorry to hear about your grandfather.

I hope you found your chapstick.

e. c. said...

this is beautiful, riese, and you deserve all the happiness. all of it.

Amy said...

I'm glad you made it safely and have had some fun. Really sorry about your grandpa; that really sucks.

I live in a world where people are all wrapped up in their writing, but there's so much other life that has to happen at the same time. I think that's why I romanticize places like Interlochen because the only other life you have as a teenager is being a teenager. Plus, it's still acceptable to be off-the-handle batshit when you're sixteen.

a;ex said...

I can't wait to see you in your new world in San Fran. I miss you.

agc said...

oooh welcome to the left coast! did you find a place to live?? and eat truffles at dolores and have salted caramel ice cream? craig's listing can be hellish here (be prepared to show up w a credit report, i kid you not). i have a friend that's trying to sublet her place for a few months if you're still looking. it's on 18th on a quiet street off of castro.

i just realized how creepy that might have sounded - apologies. ps. check out the grand tavern in oakland. awesome beers.

riese said...

thank you, dear special people who still ready my blog. also who else is curious about rachel's deleted comment, i am.

laneia: i love you

anonymous: that makes me so happy

lasthonestlook: thank you

laura: me too.thank you laura

clay: you have to come next time but we're going on the night tour, they kept saying the night tour was better. idk.

bren: i have not but i have found other chapsticks.

emily: thank you emily choo.

amy: yes being a teenager is special, it's the last moment we're permitted to seek self-awareness without being called selfish or stupid or oversharing.

a;ex: me too and me too

agc: i have not found a place on the left coast, but i will probably be looking in oakland. taylor & kelsey have a really comfortable sofa so I am just going to keep lying on it.

dewey said...

I would like to reply to your comment with,

Why the hell wouldnt we still read your blog!! We all know it kicks ass.

Also, rather of topic but something i would like to share, i am writing this is a new pc at uni and the keyboard is really nice to type on, the keys are really... soft :D (telling you that was just an excuse to keep typing on the nice keyboard, as is this bit here)

alphafemme said...

welcome to our coast :)

also I would like to second Anonymous up there that I've been reading you here at autowin for oh 3-4 years now? since 2006 I guess, that would be 4. and I know you know this but maybe just another voice in the chorus will make it even stronger -- but you are a beautiful, hearttugging, lovely writer. every one of your autowin posts is a gem, and I mean that not just in the clicheed sense of the word gem but in the literal definition.

It's 11:11...

Anonymous said...

Another anonymous chiming in to say that of course we still read autowin. I've also been following for three or four years now and I still get very excited every time another post pops up on my google reader. Keep doing what you're doing.

Sincerely, anonymous.

agirlwhowearspants said...

I wish I had something more eloquent to say but this is just a pretty piece of writing. And honest. Honest is good.

Sarah said...

Are you looking for a place on your own? I can pass you shared housing listings in Oakland when I get them. Hope we cross paths sometime randomly round these parts, that would be fun. Welcome to the East Bay. <3

jordan said...

If I had to choose one comfort object to bring along, should I be dropped off stranded somewhere, I would choose your words. I have this blanket that I love and when it touches my face I can fall asleep. Falling asleep is really important, but I can't just sleep. And when I'm awake but mostly asleep to anything but how scary it all is, your words kind of brush my face a little and I can fall awake. Does that make any sense? Thanks for that.


ps... remember when we used to all share our word verification? mine was baySF. That seems appropriate.

AK said...

Well, god damn it, Reise, welcome to the Bay Area. I'm last here to comment as usual and breathless at the possibilities. I'd invite you to stay at our house, but we gave the guest bedroom away to out of work brother-in-law. You would like that we have dogs now. (Cat left us for the great beyond.) Anyway very honored to be sharing geographical air space with autostraddle captain. Hope you find a real nice space. And if I can be of service I offer a very nice price (as in free for you) on my move-in organizing services.

Unknown said...

I'm happy you're writing here regularly again. I've been reading it since 2006 when I was a wee baby gay and your L Word recaps and your post about life in general were the bastions of sanity and gaiety in my fun little slamming out of the closet period. I love Autostraddle, it helps me keep a sense of levity about the world at large, but this blog has always been the one I could read and know that somewhere in the posts (if not the whole post itself) would contain so many feelings that I was so sure I only had, and was worried about.

Yours Truly said...

First, I want to start out by saying you have no idea who I am but I am about to leave a very long message here! Please, bear with me?!?

I read this when you first posted it. I have been having a pretty shitty time with my life lately. The day you posted this, I woke up and just did not want to think, or feel or do anything every again. I feel quite useless, confused and upset. But that's another story...
I was sitting on the couch with my one year old daughter and began reading. I was in tears within five minutes. Sobbing, if I'm honest. I sat there, reading and crying as my daughter wiped my face and smiled and it was one of the saddest, most gorgeous moments of my life.
I have no idea what you're going through, but whatever it is touched me like I have no idea how to explain.
I had wanted to send you a note after I read this, but I couldn't find a way to say what it made me think and feel. I felt silly and awkward infringing on a stranger's intimate moments. I wanted to tell you I hope you felt as hopeful and encouraged as I did when I finished.

So, I found another way to tell you how much I appreciate this blog and what you've done with Autostraddle.

I present you with The Honest Scrap Award!
I'd be very honored if you would accept! (Also, very understanding if you choose not to participate!)
In any case, I really hope that what you have done for others is not lost on you. And I sincerely hope that you find peace and contentment are just hanging around right next to you!

Attachments to the award:

1. You must brag about the award.
2. You must include the name of the blogger who bestowed the award on you and link back to the blogger.
3. You must choose a minimum of seven (7) blogs that you find brilliant in content or design.
4. Show their names and links and leave a comment informing them that they were prized with Honest Weblog.
5. List at least ten (10) honest things about yourself.

Then pass it on with the instructions!

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