pointed out the other day, the latest Facebook craze, "25 Random Things," is already 400 years old in blog years. But somehow it seems more compelling in this incarnation. Maybe the context makes it more meaningful. My non-bloggy family and friends are in on the game. Or maybe it's because declaring myself in lockdown from 9-12 everyday while writing a book was a triple dog dare to the universe to tempt me.
I hope my editor is okay with me turning in 300 pages of Facebook memes in the fall.
The truth is, I have to cut way, way back on Facebook, Twitter and other guilty pleasures. It's hard to say how my new writing commitment will impact Notes. I need the blog to keep me loose and limber, so I suspect not much. But it does give me an excuse to repurpose stuff like this, and beg forgiveness. 25 Random (or Not) Things About MeI am from Newfoundland, but am actually a mainlander on a technicality: I was born in New Brunswick, Canada and lived there until my parents moved back to the island when I was nine months old.
My first memory is of being in the plane that took us there.
I have been wandering off and freaking out my parents since I could walk. The first time I went missing, they were about to have the river dredged when it was discovered I had toddled across the TransCanada highway to visit a neighbor. In my defense, I knew I where I was the whole time.
I turned ten years old in the West Indies. We lived in Tobago from November 1979 to April 1980, while my dad was writing a play. The first morning I woke up there, I set out on foot to explore the village. Didn’t tell anyone. Got lost. Two friendly guys in a really old car gave me a ride home.
Twice, I have lost almost everything I owned and started over from scratch. Once by fire, and once by divorce. Both were traumatic, but they made me very resilient. I am good at starting over, and I hold material “stuff” very lightly.
My parents had a cottage that had no plumbing or electricity. We spent a lot of time there. I feel lucky to know what it’s like to read or play scrabble by the light of a kerosene lamp, to play in the woods all day, to dig clay from the river bank, to pick wild strawberries and fiddlehead ferns, and to watch my mother stew them over a cast iron wood stove.
I was bored and miserable through most of elementary, junior, and high school, but I always had a few close friends, so I have lots of happy memories outside of class.
My high school summer job was canteen girl at the golf club.
In college, I was a cook at McDonald’s. After every shift, I would make myself a McDLT with cheese and as many pickle slices as would stay on it.
I was even more bored and miserable in college, and I quit after three semesters with about a year’s worth of credits and a whole lot of incompletes. If I was interested in the subject or teacher, I would complete a paper and then just not turn it in. If I was happy with it, I didn’t really care about the grade. If I wasn’t interested in the subject or teacher, I just checked out completely. Most of my professors were extremely exasperated with me. I heard, "If you'd only apply yourself" a lot.
My first office job was in accounting. Hilarity ensued.
My first “real” job was an editorial assistant for an industrial magazine in Toronto. I got around being barely nineteen with no degree by writing a personal essay that persuaded the editor to give me a shot.
I learned to cut and paste when it was actual cutting and pasting. I was working at the magazine when desktop publishing was introduced.
The wax pasting machine was a good place to accidentally on purpose bump into the art director, who I thought I was madly in love with. The art director I was actually in love with was in Little Rock, Arkansas at the time, probably flirting with some other editorial assistant over the wax pasting machine. We wouldn’t meet for another six years.
I met my husband on a Liz Phair BBS in 1995. If you don’t remember what a BBS is, or know who Liz Phair is, the rest of the story is bound to be lost on you.
I had come back to Newfoundland by that time (the art director married someone else), and thought I would live in St. John’s the rest of my life. I loved it there. On January 16, 1996, I packed a bag, boarded a bus, and left.
I ran off to Mexico with Patrick, to a little colonial city called San Miguel de Allende. My parents, to their great credit, did not freak out, though I did not really know where I was this time, or what the hell I was doing.
I moved in with Patrick, into a one room apartment in a foreign country, after having spent a total of ten days with him over a period of a year.
We came to Little Rock just long enough to make enough money to get back to Mexico, six months tops. Thirteen years, three kids, and two houses later...
I hated Little Rock when I got here. I love it now. Its small town-ness presses in on me, sometimes, but that is also its principal charm.
I will turn 40 this year. I love everything about getting older on the inside. I sometimes struggle with the outside, but I wouldn’t trade experience for perky bits.
I would like to get in shape enough to wear a bikini one more summer, but I’m probably not willing to suffer for it.
I am an optimist. I really do believe things are getting better over time, and that most people are doing the best they can at any given moment, given the circumstances.
As long as I can remember, I have had a very strong sense of the nearness of God. I don’t talk about it much, because that word conjures up images for a lot of people that are not even close to what it means to me.
The older I get, the less tolerance I have for judgmental attitudes. I realize that this is judgmental and intolerant of me. I’m working on it.
The portrait is one Patrick did by hand, using Illustrator CS4, based on a snapshot of me at about twenty-one. My mother would like everyone to know I haven't smoked since 1997. Anyway, it was turning my skin green.
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