F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Great Gatsby holds a special place in my heart. It was the first classic that absolutely captivated me (in middle school) and I have since read it approximately 20 times. Interesting factoid: Boz has definitely never...and will never...read Gatsby. This is only interesting because my life's goal is to turn him into either Jay Gatsby (with a few noteable personality/fatality exceptions) or Mr. Big from Sex and the City. Square one was much, much closer to Big...and Gatsby is a bit of a stretch...but, fortunately, time is on my side. Stay tuned over the next 40 years for updates.

Anyway, I recently came across an article written by F. Scott Fitzgerald (<Boz, Fitzgerald is the author of Gatsby.) for his daughter, Scottie.  I love and appreciate all insights into the minds of brilliant writers, so this article really excited me. Here ya go:

http://www.nytimes.com/books/00/12/24/specials/fitzgerald-father.html


After reading this absolute piece-o-perfection, how can anyone resist making a current-day list??? Impossible, right!? Let's indulge!

MY LIST:

Things to worry about:
Worry about courage. (< and, if they are well-considered, take ALL the risks!)
Worry about authenticity.
Worry about loyalty.
Worry about dependability. (<this will be difficult and seemingly impossible at times...but just try.)
Worry about empathy.
Worry about loving completely (your family and your friends.)
And definitely worry about horsemanship. And then just go ahead and worry about horses in general.

Things not to worry about:
Don't worry about conforming.
Don't worry about mistakes.
Don't worry about time (utilized or wasted).
Don't worry about your 20s (or, for that matter, the better parts of ages 30 and 31).
Don't worry about money (miraculously, God does provide when you least expect it.)
Don't worry about happiness.
Don't worry about disappointment. (<disappointment will undoubtedly go hand-in-hand with happiness. It's just the way things roll.)
Don't worry about losing contact with people. (<it won't happen...permanently...with those who matter most.)
Don't worry about social media.
Don't worry about fashion or your hair (<but be forewarned: the hair thing will be seemingly impossible up until age 37...at the very earliest.)

Things to think about:
1. Scholarship (Fitzgerald is indeed a genius. No need to mess with perfection.)
2. Full utilization of your God-given talents.
3. Engagement in fulfilling work. (ie, Do your daily activities fulfill you enough to take away the need to weigh/compare/challenge yourself against anyone/anything else?)
4. Transparency (ie. If tomorrow were your last day, would everyone know what you wanted them to know?)
5. Kisses (ie. Have you really kissed your dog enough today??)


Postscript notes:
1. How sweet is the address??!!? Pie!!! I can't handle it. What a beautiful letter. I can barely stand it.

2. I have yet to hire a web-techie person to help me with spam/comments/blah blah blah...so I know commenting on RV has, at (most) times, been a nightmare...but if you want to add any personal notes, I promise to find a way to publish them. (Or, as always, feel free to just email me. Y'all know I'll respond.)

xoxo,

Ab

or...as my mother-in-law just christened me (today): Ab-boz. (insert cartoon hearts fluttering overheard) Cutest new nickname ever!? As y'all probably know...Matt is Boz...Adam (the brotherman) is A-Boz...and now I am Ab-boz. Aaaaaand...I just got choked-up typing that. There is simply no hope for me ;)



...sentimental to the core.

Just the head shake.

Warning: this is super duper long. Read this in the dentist's waiting room.

Irrelevant backstory:

Boz and I recently hired a new dog sitter as our previous gal moved away with her new baby and soon-to-be husband. We will be spending a week fishing in Canada in July so we arranged for this new sitter to spend the night last Saturday. We wanted her to get comfortable with our condo and Pancho while we  were still relatively close by, so we spent the evening at a little boutique hotel in Fredericksburg. F'burg is in the hill country and is packed full of wineries and German restaurants. It's a pretty popular weekend destination for Austinites and the residents of lesser towns in central Texas.

The real stuff:

We had a fantastic getaway and returned on Sunday afternoon with the intention of chilling for a few hours and then going for a run around Town Lake. Boz sat down on the couch to watch golf, Pancho curled up next to him, and I innocently browsed the internet for a few minutes before being absolutely rocked to my core. I discovered something that is now insiduously ruining my life. In the spirit of goodwill towards mankind, I've been keeping this to myself for three days...but it's getting overwhelming and I see no option but to take y'all down with me. Read on at your own risk.

Have you guys heard of Marina Abramovic and Ulay?????

I'll pause here for 10 hours so you can follow my lead and read every single article ever written by or about both of them.

...

Ok, so you watched the video of The Artist is Present performance, right?

http://themindunleashed.org/2015/05/she-sat-with-many-strangers-that-day-but-when-this-man-shows-up-i-got-goosebumps.html

I mean...I can't even. Of course y'all already know this...but they fell into a completely crazed, all-consuming love affair in 1976, collaborated oh-so-intimately on absolutely everything for 12 years, and then went their separate ways for a few decades. Ulay apparently found fidelity to be a bit challenging towards the end of their union and they both admit the unparalleled intensity and depth of their relationship couldn't be sustained for a lifetime. Considering their mutual goal was to destroy their selfhoods and become one entity, I must admit I can see how it could all become a bit much. That being said, I'm not sure I will be able to enjoy my own life if these two don't get back together. I've listened to the song by How I Became the Bomb a gazillion times and the (absolutely perfect) arresting image of Ulay shaking his head, the eye contact that betrays SO.MANY.FEELINGS, the tears...it is all just seared in my brain. It's so powerful, right!? It's killing me!!!

And...of course...it's got me thinkin'.

Boz and I are at a pretty exciting crossroads right now. We need to move out of the condo as the HOA has officially had it with our blatant disregard for the no-pets policy. Boz is considering his future career path and we're open to a move out of state in the semi-near future. There is a LOT up in the air and B regularly (and wisely ;)) asks for my input. And this is precisely where I get all freaked out. Boz and I moved to Texas separately and although we met about 15 seconds after landing in the Good Republic, we lived our own lives and established our independent identities here without considering marriage for a VERY long time (<practically an eternity in the eyes of B's grandma). Of course the move to Japan was a giant leap forward in terms of intimacy and building a joint life...but we knew it was temporary. We assumed (and, most of the time, hoped) we would head back to our established lives in Austin. But this next move will be permanent. This next move will rip the roots up.

And I'm just nervous. I'm nervous to leave everything and just go along with my man and my dog...to who-knows-where-or-what...and dig a little deeper towards the very thing I admire about Marina and Ulay. Occasionally Boz will ask how I would feel about accompanying him on a sabbatical...touring around the U.S. in a giant R.V. for a year. It is his #1 dream and while I don't know if it is 5 years or 15 years away, I know he is very, very serious about it. Y'all know how I feel about camping...and travel...but I am also an extreme introvert and every time he mentions this goal, I think "oh my. holy hell. how will i find alone time? what if it's the best thing ever??? and what if it's the worst thing ever!?!?!?"...and then my brain short-circuits and I go for a run around the lake.

Where is the line between Marina/Ulay intimacy and mutual destruction? How do you attain that completely perfect head shake of a million unspoken words...while simultaneously maintaining a healthy independent identity...while simultaneously helping each other pursue dreams that might include a YEAR IN AN R.V.!? Is it possible to move way beyond a run-of-the-mill partnership without dipping a toe into crazy? A Catholic theologian and psychologist of whom I'm quite fond feels the goal of a marriage is for each partner to help the other become what Christ intended for him/her. This seems quite lofty to me...and also quite enticing...and also extremely dangerous if at all misinterpreted.

But then...(while running around the lake)...I inevitably ponder what it would be like if Boz and I were 90 years old, and I am immediately certain my only wish would be to have ten more years to drive around the U.S. in a giant R.V. with my man and my dog.

Boz and I went out to dinner with two other married friends last Friday and towards the end of the meal, one of the gals remarked, "I have never seen a couple talk amongst themselves so much!"...as Boz and I had spent a majority of the evening sitting across from one another, immersed in our own private conversation. She was good-naturedly teasing us...but it was definitely the greatest compliment I've received in recent memory.

I know B and I have an awesome foundation and almost a decade's worth of experiences to bond and buoy us. And I'm pretty confident my incredibly well-developed natural defenses will always prevent a hijacking of my identity. But I also know it takes a lot more digging to get to that Ulay head shake. I really want to be able to sit across from Boz someday without the conversation. I want just the head shake.

So...folks...it looks like the roots are comin' up...and it's time to start digging.

xoxo,








Craig

I am an avid reader. I finish at least four books each month and still get anxiety about all the books I will inevitably leave unread. I am (and always have been) just completely obsessed with reading.

Boz absolutely never reads anything offline so this is a hobby I generally pursue when he isn't home (aside from the few pages I read every night right before bed). Fortunately (I suppose? In a way?) Boz isn't home all that often so marriage hasn't negatively impacted my reading time. One of my very favorite times to read is during my daily 3-mile walk with Pancho. We head out just as (or slightly before) the sun comes up and head through the neighborhood for about ten minutes before popping out at one end of our local park, Pease Park. Our path through Pease is about a mile long and Pancho is able to run off-leash as I walk. We've been on this routine since I returned from Japan and I have been stopped by other park-goers a good dozen times already. They are curious about my books. They want to know what I'm reading, why I'm reading, how I manage to walk and read at the same time...they are just super perplexed by this little morning activity. I was really surprised and delighted the first time I was stopped. I couldn't wait to tell Boz about the unexpected interaction and was just so enchanted by the curiosity of a stranger. Now I practically expect to engage with someone every morning. I find this really odd simply because I would never interrupt someone to ask about his/her reading selection. It seems like such a personal question! Who does that!? (<everyone, apparently. Straight up everyone.)

Austin's homeless population is out of control and our park is the preferred stomping ground of a few elderly homeless men. Boz has lived in his (our!) condo since 2005 so I have spent innumerable hours in Pease and am very familiar with its homeless residents. And yes, this worries Boz to no end...but I have a huge soft spot for homeless people which he has slowly come to accept. He's buoyed by the fact I'm still alive after a decade of bringing them snacks and lunch money (<which Boz claims is really beer money. However, if I am ever homeless, I will definitely choose wine over gas station sandwiches so I'm totally cool with this. Lets be real.)

Pig and I passed one of the regulars, Craig, this morning. We've chatted with Craig many times and on any given day, it may be completely incoherent.  There have been many a morning when I am simply providing a comforting human presence rather than actually engaging in real conversation...but then there are mornings when he says "You have such a good dog" and I tear up because it's so sweet (and true) and curiously touching. On this particular morning, Craig tipped his ball cap and said "Whatcha readin', girl?" I held up my book and answered, "It's called Middlesex. It's about a Greek hermaphrodite who settles in Detroit." I'm 90% sure I would have been slightly uncomfortable discussing Middlesex with any non-homeless (homefull?) park-goer, but I don't see the point in bs'ing a homeless person. I'm pretty sure they've all seen enough to handle an unexpected conversation about a fictional gender-identity crisis. Craig responded, "Wonderful. Beautiful. Thank you."

Thank you? Thank you for...reading? reading Middlesex? Talking to you about my book? I can't handle being unduly thanked!

So I gave him Middlesex. He thanked me again. At least then the reason was clear.

Boz is in Houston right now and will read this story in disbelief. I NEVER give my books away. I love them all so much and aspire to own a bursting-at-the-seams home library someday. He'll probably be pleased with my generosity, but it will be undeserved as, truth-be-told, I hated Middlesex. I read The Marriage Plot and absolutely loved it, so I assumed I would enjoy Middlesex. However, I have been struggling with the book ever since I bought it in 2010. Middlesex is Pulitzer Prize-winning torture.

This book-gifting encounter all went down at 7am this morning and I'm still bothered by it. Craig probably doesn't have many (any?) books. His one piece of entertainment should not be Middlesex. So I have a plan: I'm going to set it all right tomorrow and take Craig Alice In Wonderland.

Because:

The Mad Hatter: "Have I gone mad?"
Alice: "I'm afraid so. You're entirely bonkers. But I'll tell you a secret. All of the best people are."

Lets all pray for Craig tonight, friends.

xoxo,

Ab








On an unrelated note: the Austin Rodeo went down last month. I held a baby piggy.
Best evening ever.