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After years and states and books and etc I have made the jump to a new website, which I have named after myself because I’ve heard that’s the rage.

This blog will continue at www.laurakochman.com/blog and you can keep up with all things The Bone and the Body at www.laurakochman.com/the-bone-and-the-body. Once I figure out how redirects work, I will set one up and you’ll go right over to the new blog, so give this one a hug while you can. All of the posts here have been migrated over there, so you’ll still be able to read everything all the time, but you know. If you’re sentimental like me, even this web space is a place, and you know how I feel about places I have called home.

Love you, WordPress.

The next morning, I stepped out of my motel room and into the furnace of Monroeville in August. The Best Western is on Highway 21, which becomes Alabama Avenue. To reach the courthouse, according to the clerk at the motel, all we had to do was follow the road about five miles. It ended right at the town square. We passed an unremarkable stretch of auto parts places and assorted businesses. Next we came upon the Monroe County Hospital, up a short, steep hill to our left, then a strip mall with a Winn-Dixie supermarket, a Rite Aid, and a dollar store.

That’s about as far as I got into this book excerpt on Huffington Post before I had to get up and leave the room and sit quietly being sad. I’ve never even been to Monroeville. These roads are familiar, though, strips of commerce laid out across yellow fields. One corner down 82 was always overrun with giant sunflowers, not long before you found the Northport Walmart.

I’m wary of idealizing / idyllizing the South, seeing it as some simple place where people are all good neighbors—that’s not how it was for me. I don’t want time away to change that. But I had so many pockets of calmness, and long drives, and the heavy pollen on the breeze that wasn’t enough to cool me. I had dread when it rained. I had the cows along the bike route and everyone I knew ending up in the same backyard on a Friday night. I had the intense green leaves of any 100-year-old magnolia, my snakes in the water. I had confrontation with a history, all the time, in the big white houses, in the biased rental codes. Bad roads. Wet winters.

It occurred to me I’ve been too busy here to take time to miss anything, and so the missing occurred to me all of a sudden, in a public place, mostly alone, memory jogged by someone else’s words.

This morning I’m rereading Juliana Spahr’s This Connection of Everyone With Lungs, which I grabbed from the free pile in the grad lounge a few days before we left (of course, we were packing up everything we owned and actively trying to get rid of books, but I had to take it). The MFA who owned it previously has written notes in the margins here and there, and now I’m realizing why this bothers me so much. In prose works, little notes have always distracted me, but in poetry they drive me a little batty. The page is important, the shape is important, the balance of text and empty space is important, and so, etc, the little notes are like the bug smears on the windshield of my Penske truck that the inadequate wiper fluid never wiped away.

Every year, my MFA friends and I have some sort of conversation during the summertime about when we start calling ourselves second-years instead of first-years, third-years instead of second-years. No one’s brought it up yet this time, probably because it’s intensely frightening and sad and exciting and overwhelming to think about leaving this place. The latest batch of first-years are starting to arrive over the next few days, so to avoid thinking about leaving, instead I’ll think about getting to live somewhere new.

My list of requirements includes: coffee and food culture, public transportation, a medium-sized city, a natural landscape to explore that is not very far away from the city center, modern art, a writing community.

Denver, CO

 

Portland, OR

 

Seattle, WA

 

Minneapolis, MN

 

Santa Fe, NM

 

Philadelphia, PA

 

San Francisco, CA

 

Richmond, VA

 

Austin, TX

 

Please, future: give me any one of these things.

Today I have flea-medicated three cats. Have I found a new special skill set?

Also, I think, maybe, I don’t know, we MIGHT be moving at the end of this week. O to have a home!

I am the drying meadow; you the unspoken apology; he is the fluctuating distance between mother and son; she is the first gesture that creates a quiet that is full enough to make the baby sleep.

My genes, my love, are rubber bands and rope; make yourself a structure you can live inside.

– Aimee Bender

 

I read all of Willful Creatures on one of my flights last week, the whole book in less than 2 hours, gulping it down at first to distract myself from being suspended above the clouds, and then because I couldn’t stop. I decided at some point that I had to finish before we landed, because interrupting my reading for unloading was just unacceptable.

I’m still in the midst of packing, and because of some uncontrollable factors, I’m moving myself and the cat to a friend’s house for a week (or more), and then moving us both again to the new apartment. I’m also teaching every morning, and if my days continue the way they’ve been going, I’m not going to read or write much until the end of June, which is disappointing. This isn’t really how I envisioned spending this time. I thought I was going to read and write most days, and figure out what I want to work on thesis-wise, get a solid start. These days are feeling mostly wispy.

I do have a strawberry shortcake in my refrigerator, though. So that’s okay.

In the interest of shaping things, I’m running a 5K on Saturday.

IMG_1815

 

It’s my second 5K ever, and I got these new shoes, and I’m making a playlist. If I beat my first 5K time, I’ll be happy. I’m just proud of myself for being able to run at all, since I spent much of my life begging out of mile runs in gym, joining the field team instead of the track team in high school, getting winded and asthmatic after 5 minutes of jogging. These shoes are SO MUCH BRIGHTER in person. When the sun hits them, they’re so bright I can’t even look at them.

I’m starting my new job, emailing and organizing and asking questions. Putting labels on every kind of email. Starting to see a shape for the year to come, the arc from event to event. Tomorrow, I’ll start cleaning up my physical space, too, throwing things out to make this move easier. Somehow all I’ve managed to do so far is acquire new things (couch, end tables, shoe rack). There are only 3 weeks left in my airy pink house, so the least I could do is keep them clean.