A few months ago, my husband and I went to hear one of my favorite folk singers. She told, as she does, a long story, this time about dancing: she and friends had been at a club where they had seen a young, demure-looking girl being ground against by a man. The folksinger had studied the girl with concern. The girl finally said, while being bumped:
It’s not my thing!
I will not be attending the AWP Conference this year. We’re skipping for financial reasons (saving for a honeymoon!) but also, personal: it’s not our thing. I regret that I won’t be speaking on a panel with two of my old friends, Ander Monson and Laurel Snyder, and new friend Daniel Nester; and I will miss seeing others, scattered now across the country.
But if you normally meet me in a hallway? Send a letter instead. Find me in a crowded hotel bar? Come over for dinner. There is someone I want you to meet.
Drinking to drink? Not my thing. Mingling? Not my thing. Myspace? Not my thing. You know this if you have tried to contact me using these mediums. My medium is a fine-point with the ink half-dry. My medium is a picnic table. My medium is gravel. My medium is ground.
Last week, I found a corner of a crowded café, and on the second floor, in between helping a stranger with his English, handwrote a letter to a friend. It felt good. It felt like I had accomplished something. I like to think of it making its way to her, my words, through slit and stamp and conveyer.
I guess it took moving to one of the biggest cities in the world to figure this out. My medium is a pressed flower, my medium is ink. I want real friendships. I want conversation. I want a life based on life.
You’re a throwback, I was told when I was a child. You’re an old soul. I just like the air. I like the big sky. I like tasting the food I eat. I like holding the boy’s hand. I like loyalty. We went to a creamery. The horses stalked out of the barn, and when they came to me, I knew what to do. My medium is water. I’m already in blossom.