Louisville, Kentucky, Spalding MFA program, Facebook—where nobody has to know the real you.

May 25th, 2012

Louisville, Kentucky. I took a long walk down by the river this morning, under many bridges. The river is spanned by one bridge after another, and there are steamboats leaving and going out onto the river with scores of people celebrating and taking pictures. The air is warm, green and wet, sort of filmy with moisture. I walked for two hours and felt much better.

Last night we went for dinner at a place called Harvest, Kathleen Driskell and me. Very good food and good whiskey. She and I stirred around ideas like jam making—slow, sweet and warm.

The Spalding people are very nice. I had breakfast this morning with Molly Peacock; she’s looking good. They have me staying at the Brown where all the Spalding students and faculty stay. It’s so comfortable it’s making me think about redecorating and fixing up my own house. I doubt I will actually do it when I get home. I’ll be tired then and the heat will crowd up around my ears and eyes and I will throw up my hands. We’ve just ravaged the house for art for the press which moved into a space with large blue walls.

It’s easy when you are traveling to feel utterly alone. I like to take time to read, catch up on sleep.

The thing about blogging and Facebook is that you can create this whole other you. I had a boyfriend once who lived on the East Coast, I was madly in love with him and he with me. He drove out on a motorcycle to see me and spend a week. The meeting in person was not as good as the letters. In the letters we were the ultimate romantics, we were bold and crazy, we could do anything, say anything, we reached out tendrils of longing, but in person, we were awkward, shy, we didn’t know how to talk with each other. We didn’t know what to say.

That’s the difference between the self you can promote on Facebook and the real self. The self you can be in a blog or on FB or Twitter is an artificial self, a concocted self that works like putting on a dress and heels and makeup, lipstick and perfume and walking out into the sunlight, past the moths and termites eating your house, past ice storms, on out into sunlight where it’s always sunlight and you can tell only the good stories and nobody ever has to know the real you.

I’ve been tired for so much of the last month, a sort of brutal exhaustion that set in and I couldn’t get to the other side of it. I’d get one good night’s sleep and I’d think that I was going to feel renewed, but my eyes looked like they were bleeding. When I got here yesterday, I looked like I’d been in a fight or like was on a serious drugs (as opposed to funny drugs?) I don’t know how it happened.

But now, having slept, having walked by the river, I am feeling like breathing again and I am going to meet the students and to give my talk.


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