letter to barbara

i wanted to tell you that i've been thinking about you lately. i wanted to say that i'm reading nick hornby's collection of columns "the polysyllabic spree," and that i knew no one else anywhere would
love a book about reading books as much as you would. i wanted to talk to you about it. i wanted to talk about being a book nerd in general. i wanted to tell you about how he raves about "the feast of
love" in a way that reminds me of you, if you subtract the snide british humor. i wanted to tell you that i'm not enjoying my second read-through of italo calvino's "difficult loves" as much as i thought i would. i wanted to tell you that i want tim sandlin to write another grovont book or douglas coupland to write a book like shampoo planet that wasn't trying to so hard to be shampoo planet.

i suppose i wanted to tell you about how the air here is so still that i can almost feel the motion of my breath creasing over the tops of the earth and bounding into the mountains only to return to me like some ethereal echo. i guess i wanted to say that sometimes, i sit on the couch on my porch and watch the children playing in the neighborhood, and smile. i wanted to say that everyone speaks softly here, that everything happens in slow motion, that i can feel books unfolding inside me. i wanted to tell you about the great jazz records i've been listening to lately.

i intended to remark on the weight that lifts off of your shoulders when you set one foot out of a red state and one foot into a blue state. i wanted to tell you about this long walk i took the other day that reminded me of the walk we took in arlington park and how, in some little way, every walk through a park i've taken since makes me think of nietzsche and you.

i meant to include a bit about the cool air crossing through the wine country near los olivos and how good the wine tastes when you get it right from the vinyard. i wanted to tell you about how terribly beautiful it is driving up 101 toward santa barbara and how nice the area of pasadena where my brother lives is. he has this little indie film theatre showing all manner of tilda swinton films and how nice it was just to stand in front of it staring at the posters. i didn't have time to watch any, but the posters were lovely and i knew that somehow you'd know what i meant.

i was supposed to tell you about how boring the bookstores in santa barbara were and how the weather's lovely, but it's like dying and waking up in tourist hell. i wanted to tell you that i suppose i was one of the tourists, even though i was only passing through.

i meant to tell you about riding a bicycle up and down the long wine hills staring out at the grapes growing and thinking how fragile they are, how susceptible to the elements they are. it seems like with the slightest flick of wind they could just flutter off to meet god.

i wanted to say something about the drive back through vegas and the long desert and then up into the utah mountains under arches and over the tops of cliffs and the signs that read "watch for falling rocks". i wanted to tell you that i did watch, but that i didn't think i'd angered the powers that be sufficiently enough to earn a rock dropped from the sky on my head. i wanted to tell you that a rock did not fall on my head.

i intended to mention the storm i came back through that spanned a hundred miles of rainwalls so thick i could barely see the windsheild. i wanted to tell you i should have closed the sunroof.

i wanted to tell you that there's nothing else like being out on the american road, feeling the wind in your face, charging over hills and sliding down into valleys. i wanted to say something about how when you stop, there's this electricity inside you that makes your hair stand up. i wanted to say that it comes up and out of the road at you, faster than comets and how it happens most out in the great plains area. the big nothing that keeps on giving.

i wanted to tell you about my love affair with verbs and how it keeps extending and unwinding until only stillness can steady me.

i wanted to remind you of that party where i first met you and how you were sitting there out on lisa's porch not saying anything to anyone and i kept wondering what made you so silent, why you wouldn't speak up about something, anything.

i wanted to say something about how we shouldn't go so long between contacts.

there were so many things bouncing around in my mind that all seemed to circle back for some reason to a version of how i'd tell you about it, how you'd appreciate this detail or that one. of course, when i
sat down to finally write you a letter, i realized i had no phone number, no address. i don't know where you are. so i guess i decided that i mostly only wanted to tell you that i was thinking about you
and even though you might never know it, that i hope you're well.



2007-05-03 | 12:42 p.m.
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