It’s been a long, long time.
I do have a lot to say, and a lot I’d love to say but can’t, and I’ve felt very out of touch. With the people I talk to here, and with the part of me that puts my life and experiences on the line for the purpose of art and creativity and the equivalent of a literary sit-up…my public commitment to something like a writer’s life. So, I’m back, and I’m determined and I’m changing focus.
By way of wrap up, I am going to write about my top ten events of the summer. They are not the biggest things that have happened to me this summer, but unfortunately, the big things are not happy things and not mine alone to talk about. So, I will focus instead on the small things, the little moments of bliss and discovery and shininess that I want to hold tightly to. They are not in any particular order.
1. Riding the train to NYC for my Broadway Teachers’ Workshop. I had figured out Pandora radio, and designed a station based on the Carpenters. I listened to 70’s soft rock for like three hours. Magnficient. And I journaled almost the whole time, the first time all summer. So much came tumbling out, and I felt so cleansed. I was wearing a white dress, and new sandals, and had an adventure ahead of me. It was perfect.
2. I directed 100 kids in Guys and Dolls this past weekend. And it had rough spots, but honestly, from where we began to where we ended up was an incredible journey. I am proud of that, and feel that each child got something of their own from the experience. That, alone, is worth the energy spent to make it happen. And among the coolest parts of it is the fact that a bunch of my middle school alumni, and two of my most favorite high-school kids came to see it…the middle school kids to support their friends, but the high school kids to support me, and it just reminded me how blessed I am by that job. Even though it drains me, even though it’s very hard to find the energy for it, there are wonderful people there, and I love them. There was a whole discussion at my workshop this summer about what the kids call their directors – by first name, or by Mr. or Mrs…and a bunch of them said, “The kids gave me a nickname…” and most usually, it was just their last name. And I realized…me too! Many of the kids just call me KBrowne, which I find incredibly sweet. I’ve been too embarrassed to admit how much I like it, until I heard a whole bunch of other people say the same thing.
3. My house has been blessed by my friends this summer. It is not complete yet – I am missing a key component of that in the form of my beloved Morgans – but still, I have had a number of gatherings in which moments of blessing have happened. Eating lobster in my dining room after a day at the beach. The children running through the yard with glow-in-the-dark necklaces and bug-sprayed bare feet. Chris making snow cones for everyone on the breakfast bar. Cards on the front porch, heart-to-hearts on the sun-porch, pictures of my friends being placed into scrapbooks in the Athenaeum…my home is becoming mine, in the only way it could, by the loving energy of my awesome tribe.
4. Many of the best moments of my summer were in New York, but really only because I took the time and brain space to let them in. I had a wonderful time, and saw some amazing theater. My favorite was a show called Memphis, which I saw after a lovely lunch right on the Rockefeller Center skating rink in front the golden statue, right after a great conversation with a friend, right after a watermelon martini. It was about a DJ in 1951 who was white, and loved “black” music, and called it the music of his soul. I was reflecting on how he was beaten up and arrested for kissing a white woman, and here we are, in 2010, and Barack Obama is our president. And he’s a good man and is doing the best job he can, no matter what the pundits say. He is good, and he is really trying to make the world better. And to find racial equality was really hard, but, as a people, we can do hard things. We have done so many hard things, and we are capable of doing what needs to be done.
5. In New York, Mom and Auntie and I met Jamie and his new boyfriend at a gay sing-along cabaret in the village. It was lots of fun, and because it was my birthday, Jamie agreed to sing for me. He chose “In Lily’s Eyes” from the Secret Garden, which I had seen him do in college, and it was just perfect in his delicious baritone – the music of MY soul from the first time I heard him. He’s pretty crazy about this new fellow, and I liked him immediately. When Jamie got up to sing, he dedicated the song to him, and to me, and sang it exquisitely. At one point, I looked over and saw this fellow gazing at Jamie with a look that can only be described as falling-in-love. And I felt so invasive to be witnessing it, but it was so exquisite and divine that I couldn’t look away. No matter what happens with that relationship, I saw a perfect moment within it with my very own eyes. It was a gift.
6. Last year my book club (Yes, Really!) read Pillars of the Earth, and I loved it. I was really looking forward to seeing it come to life, and I have been thoroughly enjoying it. Perfect casting. And it happens in 8 parts, so it can fill that aching “Lost” hole that has left me flipping through the channels aimlessly.
7. I went to a wedding last weekend. It was the second wedding of a friend that has had a very difficult life, one that I have been intimately involved in at a few critical times. She is very happy now, and had her wedding outdoors at her Aunt’s house in a beautiful garden on a high hill. Patrick was away, and Sean was my date. He was so game to just go out to something fun, to dance and to really enjoy the event, which was staged to be underneath a beautiful arbor of trees on a perfect July afternoon at 3:00. At 2:59, the dark and stormy sky literally opened, and we all ran under the tent. Sean and I took turns taking an umbrella out to the beverage hut, and we passed a pleasant hour under the tent, drinking wine and talking about cabbages and kings. You’ll think I’m making this up, but when the sun finally came out again, it was at exactly the moment where they began to say their vows.
8. I’ve had some great moments of connection with both of my girls this summer. It’s been hard, because I’ve been very busy, but when we’re on, we’re right on. We’ve been listening to the Percy Jackson series on CD in the car, listening to the soundtracks of Glee, singing our heads off to Shrek. We have a bunch of adventures yet to come this month, and surprises in store.
9. In another New York Moment, I emailed my friend that I was in town, and he agreed to spontaneously meet me that night for drinks. We went to two places, both fabulous, and I had such a lovely time having a real talk with a kindred spirit. It was a beautiful reminder that kindred spirits come in unexpected places, and that I always know them when I find them.
10. This moment. This one right here, where I commit to reconnected with this part of myself, and with you, in the watermelon slice room that I designed and envisioned for just this purpose. This is a new beginning for me, a new commitment, and I am full of light and certainty about it.
Sorry I’ve been gone so long, but I’m back now to stay. Thanks for sticking with me.