flynn was like dot com

almost no one makes it out

There is a tremendous, tremendous amount of space between the moment you first say hello and the one where you say I love you. Sometimes there’s so much space that you never even get to it at all; the words wither and die in the back of your brain before they ever come out.

This kind of self-editing is necessary where social constructs are concerned; it would be crazy – and lose its impact – if you were to tell people you loved them from the start. Still, there are moments when guards are let down and things become worth it. When you meet people, you sometimes have to chase them in order to keep them. Once kept, you have to decide how close you can get. Usually, you have to tell them. There’s a leap of faith – or five, or sixteen – in there, always.

Why am I mentioning the obvious here? Because it has come to my attention recently that about 80 percent of the top humans in my life are lonely, and the slow crawl out of that loneliness must begin in order for anyone to ever feel any better. I once re-friended an ex who was going through a rough time and I wrote him a pep talk in the form of a blog entry. To date it is the most hopeful thing I have ever written, and yet there are moments where I feel it isn’t quite enough for us. It doesn’t quite get us at the place where we are our worst. You see, when we’re banding together to commiserate, when there is wine or whiskey or perhaps cheese to share, we have actually already won.

What will help the moments when we are actually so lonely that all we want is to be alone? I asked myself this yesterday while asking a friend to stay for dinner. He was having trouble looking me in the eye; I was having trouble convincing him that my butterscotch pudding was a step towards happiness. It wasn’t the first conversation of its kind I’ve had in the last week. It is easiest to be a shut-in when you need most not to be.

Prior to that conversation, I was pushing a book on a resistant friend. He didn’t understand that I was recommending it not because he needed something to read, but because he needed it. He needed someone else’s rock bottom to use as a guide, and there is only one person who is quite as good as that as William James. That person is Cheryl Strayed.

“The thing about hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, the thing that was so profound to me that summer—and yet also, like most things, so very simple—was how few choices I had and how often I had to do the thing I least wanted to do. How there was no escape or denial. No numbing it down with a martini or covering it up with a roll in the hay. As I clung to the chaparral that day, attempting to patch up my bleeding finger, terrified by every sound that the bull was coming back, I considered my options. There were only two and they were essentially the same. I could go back in the direction I had come from, or I could go forward in the direction I intended to go.” 

You can go back in the direction you came from, or you can go forward in the direction you intend to go. Going forward, at least in the long term, necessitates other people. The future can’t really happen without engagement, and the easiest place to start is at dinner. Or at drinks. It starts at the moment when the question is asked, “can you come outside of your head and be a part of this?” Your only job is to never say no, even though the only thing you want to do is refuse over and over.

There is, at the end of the day, exactly one cure for loneliness and for pain, and that cure is other people. The only thing you can do is take those weird leaps between “hello” and “I love you” and hope like hell you’re saying all of those things to the right people. And there is only one thing you can do when other people around you are the ones with the problem, and that is to help them out by leaping first. You make them stay for butterscotch pudding. You press the book into their hands. You coax. You go forward in the direction you intended to go.

September 8, 2013

in praise of difficult men

I love the weird and wild world between summer and fall with an abandon that almost-definitely ensures I’m going to get in some kind of trouble. This coincides naturally with my three greatest weaknesses: expensive boots, expensive scotch, and difficult men.

A thing about being a single woman in your thirties is that you will be offered boatloads of advice on love. Sometimes you have asked for it, but most of the time it comes from people who are unclear on how you have made it this long in the world without tripping and falling into someone who wanted to keep you. 
 
It’s easy to tell other people what to do.
 
You know who you are by how people respond to you. You figure out things about yourself, however strange, by understanding how they react to the world and their own place in it. I moved to New York and befriended a handsome, lanky pink-haired boy with the kind of feelings so complicated that when a mutual friend wrote him a love note, he responded by never speaking to her again. It was shocking until I watched nearly every man in my life for the next 14 years do roughly the same thing. Some of them did it to me, and yet I have also kept nearly every one of them. 
 
Some of them appear only in certain seasons. It is fall – like clockwork, I will receive at least three unprecedented emails or phone calls. They tell me things about myself, and in doing so they are saying I am sorry, or I love you, or there are things inside of my brain that I can’t tell you about and don’t want to. There will be scotch-fueled discussions in dark bars about art and loneliness and all of the times they (we) have been assholes. 
 
Most of my men are artists. It is possible that this fact alone cements their particular brand of complexity. They tell you too much all at once; they take it back; they run away. In turn they they accept the way you slide wordlessly out of rooms, the way you ask them to verify whether you ate dinner the night before, the way they are all separately and uniquely responsible for your heartbreaks and recoveries. They say sad, beautiful, amazing things with astonishing regularity. They send late-night drunk texts about their brokenness. They screw some things up, but they give the best hugs.
 
This is what we could call my autobiography: In praise of difficult men. Without them it is possible that things would be easier but I somehow doubt it.
September 3, 2013

how to do things with words

Here is a humbling thing: You will sometimes find that, as a grown up person, you can feel the exact same way about a song / a person / your life as you did when you were a teenager. You may mistake this for nostalgia. Do not make this mistake.

What it is, I almost hate to tell you, is the fucking truth. You are wiser now than you ever have been and you are certainly older, but if you think for one fool second that you are not still a teenager, you risk missing the point entirely. That would be a shame for two reasons. The first is obvious: you’re taking yourself too seriously. The second is a bit more subtle than that, but ultimately comes in lockstep. It is that while you can and should change drastically as you age, there is still a core part of you that’s the same person you were at twenty, at seventeen, at twelve. That person tends to be the one you return to when things go awry in your brain, and it’s probably that person who comes out in full force when you fall in love with the right song, the right person, the right idea. You may not like that person and they may be embarrassing, but they probably have a lot of heart. You need that.

I love music and I love trains and I love hanging out inside other people’s brains for a while, so yesterday I did all of those things and in the process remembered what it feels like to listen to Nine Inch Nails “Hurt” and actually feel the song. That feels pretty juvenile to say later, but in the moment it’s anything but. If Trent Reznor, at 48, can sing that song with as much conviction as he does, you can expect that if you ever felt feelings about it, you will probably feel feelings again if you see him perform it.

And so we felt feelings on an hour-plus train ride out of the city. On our way back, I curled up and re-read a Tom Robbins book and felt torn between appreciating the ridiculous shit he does with words and worrying that as an adult I still can’t quite crack that verbal whip in the same manner. When I got home, I listened to “Hurt” a couple of times before falling asleep, remembering that as a teenager my inability to do things with words had the kind of reach that rendered me speechless in front of anyone who mattered to me. You felt that way too, I know. I’ve never met anyone who didn’t. 

The only difference between then and now is that we’ve inherited the vocabulary to talk about how it feels to be that teenager. It’s only a question of whether or not we choose to use it.

August 26, 2013

iso booths

Aloneness affords us a chance to do things with our brains that we are far too busy to do otherwise; it examines and pokes and prods and essentially does a lot of inner housekeeping. It is necessary, but it’s not often wanted. We like to keep our brains dirty to cover up whatever might be hiding on the inside.

And so, most people don’t really like to be alone very much. The trick is you gotta let it happen on your own terms.

My favorite brand of aloneness (and I have a range of preferred kinds) is to be alone in a public place. It can’t be too crowded – I need the illusion of space – but it needs to be a place where other people’s voices act as background noise. I was at one of my favorite bars on Saturday night when some plans went mildly awry and my friends had to leave me to my own devices. I had a burger and I had a beer and I had a book I was dying to finish, and for a little while it turned out to be exactly what I needed.

There is magic in losing yourself in the white noise of strangers: in listening to girls nitpick each other’s faults and know they’re not your problem,  in listening to dudes discuss tour routings endlessly and aimlessly, in eating french fries alone and licking your fingers while believing no one is watching. The funny thing about being alone is that you are alone until you’re not, and I took it as my cue to leave when the tour routing conversation got loud enough for me to understand it was the passive-agressive band dude signal for hitting on me.

Today, alone, on a train home from the beach, something clicked in my brain and I understood a couple of things that have been lying, overwhelming and underserved, in the recesses of my mind for weeks. I’d been actively trying to dislodge them, to be honest; I knew something wasn’t quite right, but I also felt reliant on others to help me sort them out. We drank beers in the park, we brainstormed on the beach, and we sent text message missives into the ether trying to get to the bottom of something I essentially invented all on my own.

All on my own, I got there. It felt good. I went for a run, which felt better, and I thought about the last time I’d gotten myself unstuck, which means I thought again (always) about William James.

Wherever a process of life communicates an eagerness to him who lives it, there the life becomes genuinely significant. Sometimes the eagerness is more knit up with the motor activities, sometimes with the perceptions, sometimes with the imagination, sometimes with reflective thought. But, wherever it is found, there is the zest, the tingle, the excitement of reality; and there is “importance” in the only real and positive sense importance ever anywhere can be. 

Sometimes the eagerness is a thing you forgot about and found on a train from Long Beach on a Sunday afternoon after a couple of margaritas.

 

 

 

 

October 14, 2012

on favorite records

Every young person has an idyllic picture of what their life will be like when they’re “grown up.” (Often, we hold onto these visions for so long that it takes years before we realize they’re still in our heads and that no matter our age, it’s very hard to find a place in life where you believe you have in fact “grown up.” We are all Peter Pans in our minds.) My image of that life started bubbling up in my late teens and early twenties, as I moved to New York and spent considerable amounts of time peeking into the windows of brownstones on the West Village streets where I worked and studied. Those apartments were grown up; they had rows of bookshelves and expensive paintings and always a wall or a carpet or curtains in the velvety dark red that signifies wealth. I imagined that I would someday wake up early in one of those apartments, curling up with a book on the couch at sunrise and putting on my favorite record.

It was during these years that I fell in love with the music of Bruce Springsteen. The songs that resonated on the radio during my childhood sounded worlds better on the jukeboxes of the dirty East Village bars I inhabited; everything he sang sounded better as the younger version of me swooned in the direction of every scruffy dude with an overly effusive opinion of “Thunder Road.” At some point, I settled down a little bit, leaving grad school for a career and moving for a five-year stretch into a studio apartment in (way, way) uptown Manhattan, where I had no bookshelf-lined walls or velvety red anything. I had a record player, though, and on Sunday mornings I’d wake up around sunrise to make coffee and breakfast and put on Springsteen’s Live 1975-1985. I had hardwood floors, which felt important, because it is far more romantic to dance across a hardwood floor to the songs of Bruce Springsteen than to do so on carpeting.

About that: It is, and has always been, deliriously easy to romanticize lives in the framework of Springsteen’s songs. His entire catalog romanticizes our everyday lives to make it just that easy for us to do so. In my mid-twenties, it was an obvious stretch to think of Springsteen as prophetic: with relationships, with life changes, or any time I’ve driven from the Chicago airport to my parents’ farmhouse in rural Wisconsin. He’d called it in “Cadillac Ranch: “Hey little girl in the blue jeans so tight / Driving alone through the Wisconsin night.” He called it in “Thunder Road”, when he evoked the image of the girl dancing across a porch while a radio plays. “It’s not your lungs this time, it’s your heart that holds your fate,” he warned me in “For You.”

Springsteen, for better or for worse, fills in the cracks of ordinary life and makes them sound far more appealing than their realities. He also makes it sound like it’s possible at any given moment to hop onto a motorcycle and ride off into a sunset, but to be home in time to wake up for work the next morning. His songs work best on Sunday mornings, and so years after I’ve grown up and partially into the person I assumed I would someday be, I’m still putting on Live 1975 – 1985 and dancing lightly across hardwood floors while I wait for weekend breakfasts to bake in the oven. Through his rose-colored glasses, every part of aging – from the longing for the apartments that we’ll never afford to the chasing of the scruffy dudes to the pure, simple pleasure of drinking on porches – feels like the right thing to have done.

October 6, 2012

on taking advice

The Carl Sagan quote about how if you want to make an apple pie, you must first create the universe never rings more true than when you are sick. When you are sick, of course, is when you need such things the most: not apple pie, necessarily, but things made from scratch. Things made out of produce and spices, warmed, bubbling. Toddies with lots of lemon, cinnamon-flecked apple ciders, pretty much anything you can possibly call soup. 

These are of course the last things we’re capable of when we’re really feeling down. Yesterday, in bed with a fever, I could think only of cold things and felt no affinity for flavor. When I finally ventured out of the house to find any kind of drug that would help break the heat, what I ended up coming back with was a bagel with pumpkin cream cheese. It wasn’t just that it was the only thing I could find – even the bagel place has soup – it was that it was the only thing I could stomach. When you are particularly sick, there are moments when your taste buds can’t force themselves to do the right thing and you flounder. This is why we spend our entire lives fighting to be healthy: it’s not easy.

There are only a handful of people from whom I will take advice, and only when it comes to a handful of problems. This week alone, I’ve stubbornly ignored love advice, work advice, and makeup advice without a second thought, but yesterday after I ate the bagel, I thought hard about what it said about my health. “I’ll make up for it later,” I said. I wondered if I deserved to be sick, if this overblown cold was simply my body’s cry for an adjustment. I eat well, most of the time, but we can all stand to do better. We can all always do better.

Shortly after my fever broke, Rebecca sent me a link. “Just make this,” she said of a simple coconut curry broth. I had been asleep for six out of the previous eight hours. I was beginning to play mental tricks on myself. Making anything felt impossible.

But I slept and I woke up this morning and headed rather gratefully to the office, making it through the day on a lifeline made mostly out of shumai and a litre-sized bottle of lemon Perrier. As anyone recovering from an illness does, I faded towards the end, and I faltered while walking through Whole Foods this evening half-craving their thick vegan cake slices. I stopped then, breathed slowly, and for once let someone else do the thinking for me. I came home and swirled my purchases around in a pan – coconut milk, herb and sea salt vegetable broth, a hearty scoop of red pepper curry paste – with last night’s roasted vegetable leftovers and some tumeric. I ate it. Rebecca was right: it helped. Then I made the lemoniest hot toddy I can stand and I’m drinking it now with the feeling that it’s all up from here. 

It is true of both physical and mental health that there will be points where doing the right thing not only feels impossible, but that doing the opposite thereof is a relief. At those points, we have to step back a minute and let someone else drive the ship. It doesn’t ever take a million inspirational quotes or even the right healthy recipes. If it did, we’d all be perfect all the time. All it takes is a shove at the moment when you are lying feverish in bed and only thinking about water and bagels. It’ll take a day, maybe two, but eventually you’ll eat the goddamn soup and feel better already.

September 23, 2012

nearly lost you

This year is the 20th anniversary of the release of the “Singles” soundtrack, which almost stupidly changed the lives of most of us when we were a certain age. It’s hard to imagine life without “grunge”, or the overblown Seattle record-label frenzy that led to the signings of so many pop and punk bands in the midst of it all. What started with Nirvana for me expanded easily to the Fastbacks, the Gits, the Posies. To extend those loose connections toward every road I’ve ever taken is not particularly difficult. (Per last post, it may in fact be necessary.)

I’ve been listening to a lot of Mark Lanegan; I’ve been thinking a lot about people. It’s been seven or eight years since I learned that the most important thing I can do in life is play favorites. I mean this in the sense that if something happens to you – if there is a crisis of any kind, be it health or faith – the people you play favorites with are gonna be the ones who step up. Alternately, they will let you down, and in that letting down you will know that it’s time to redirect your energies. By letting you down, they’re letting you go. This is not nearly as terrible as it feels.

Like any good fate worth its salt, “Nearly Lost You” has followed me since it came floating back into my consciousness in June. I’ve heard it at the Whole Foods in Tribeca and at a head shop in Cape Cod. I sang it in the street to Sean, who claimed he’d never heard it, only to find that in fact, he hadn’t. I’ve reminisced with Alexis about how crazy it is that we didn’t know each other when “Singles” came out, because we’ve shared so many other sonic milestones in the past. It becomes comforting when songs and artists follow us like this, particularly because they do so in the face of change.

About that change: It is, quite suddenly, fall. I don’t know where summer went, exactly, but I do know that most of the people I love had one of the worst ones on record. People aren’t supposed to die in summer; their lives aren’t supposed to be irrevocably disrupted; they’re not supposed to slowly watch themselves drown in piles of work and stress. They’re not meant to fall out of love in summer. Winter is the season wherein we traditionally hold each other up; there was no roadmap for real summer heartbreak. And so, we had to make our own. We built a support system out of drinks and snacks and sunshine. Every time I felt tired, I made the two-hour walk home from my office each night, and I felt more able to hold my end of the bargain up again. It all went by very fast, and now it’s fall.

Until I fell in love with heat and humidity and the beach, fall was always my favorite season. I don’t think of it, now, until it’s upon me, and then suddenly I’m batting my eyelashes at it with wild abandon. I want to bake everything, I want to go hiking, I want to mop up stew gravy with fresh baguettes, I want to hold hands, and I want to make as many things as humanly possible. I want all of the sunsets and to never take off my motorcycle boots, and where I thought summer was meant to be full of possibility, I see now that I’m wrong and fall is where it all starts to happen for everyone. I have been thinking very carefully about the summer and its ills and how there are a handful of people to whom I’d like to write overly effusive love letters. Every favorite I’ve ever played came out in full force and now it feels like time to return the favor. I have also spent a good portion of the summer quietly thinking about art, commerce, what makes “good” literature, and food. Now that we’re all back from the beach, here’s hoping that some of those things will come into sharper focus as the weather starts to get cold and we need to feed our brains as quickly as we do our faces.

Like pumpkins, hot toddies, and accidentally falling in love, an appropriate playlist is an absolute necessity of fall. All of the food and all of the favorites will need a soundtrack, and it will probably include the Screaming Trees, because even in the middle of a sea change we find that it occasionally makes sense to hold very tightly on to our scattered beginnings.

 

August 5, 2012

all our dreams were just early plans

There is a period in every person’s life where they look for an open door. It feels like a time of uncertainty, lack of direction, possibly failure, but most of the time we need that indecision to help us see possibility. For most people – I think, based on simple human observation – that period is in the year or two after college, where it stops being fine to be studying a thing and starts being a demand to really be a thing. Sometimes it comes sooner, sometimes more than once.

I was that blank slate of uncertainty in 1999, when  I moved sight unseen to New York in order to attend a college that was well known for a strong writing program and a complete lack of  core requirements.  Without  friends, family, money, or a remote working knowledge of the city I now lived in, I had to figure out  who I was going to be.

The basis for my transformation turned out to be a series of mix tapes shipped across the country in rapid succession by my best friend. We had discovered separate veins of indie rock simultaneously and hurried to catch up with it all. It was only a month or two into my New York existence that some songs arrived to help figure out what sort of person I wanted to be. Okkervil River, “The Velocity of Saul at the Time of His Conversion.” The Spinanes, “Den Trawler.”  Sleater-Kinney, “Burn, Don’t Freeze!” And a smattering of songs from two closely related artists that I would instantly become obsessed with, Neutral Milk Hotel and the Olivia Tremor Control.

For weeks, I listened to my new favorite Olivia Tremor Control song, “I Have Been Floated”, on repeat. It was 1999, which meant that rewinding the tape and hitting play was as good as “repeat” would get until I could eventually afford the CD. It was a song that I felt comfortable wanting to live inside, and I let it take root inside of me, remembering that as a child I had done similar things with ridiculous classic rock songs and grown up to do so with any radio hit that struck a chord.

What made the Olivia Tremor Control different, though, was that the songs were more complicated than anything I’d latched onto previously. For the first time, I needed headphones; I had solid excuses to be alone. I found, even as I started to make friends and carve a teeny, tiny niche into the city, that when the Olivia Tremor Control played the Knitting Factory that year, I didn’t go because I couldn’t find anyone who knew who they were to go with me. In this way, the big city started to feel smaller. There were things that I could still call my own. There were also new layers to discover on each track, new tidbits to hook my mind into to keep myself from remembering that I was in something of a wayward state.

There were more fans than just me, of course, many more, just as there were many musical minds behind the Olivia Tremor Control and the bands that surrounded them. New York started to unfold with time and with it, a sense of solidarity in finding pockets of people who liked the same bands I did, or the same philosophers, or the same places. I grew up in the requisite ways over the next four years, and music stopped being merely a means of recreation and became my means of living. It was only a few years later that I found myself having regular phone conversations with one of the Olivia Tremor Control’s main songwriters, Bill Doss, as we prepared to put out a record by his latest side project. We finalized artwork, corrected liner note changes, coordinated the release of the videos he’d created for each song on the record. Later, he’d call with questions about tour merch and royalty statements.

It was one of the first times I’d ever dealt directly with someone I admired musically, and while it didn’t take long for that sense of newness to fade, I felt grateful to be a part of something. I still listened to the Olivia Tremor Control on my headphones as as I traveled through the city, and one line always stuck on me and hung heavy. “Don’t you ever change your mind on me,”was the directive, and something about it made me try to be a better person as I quit my academic career, plunged myself into music, and fell out of my lost period and into a life.

It is always incredibly difficult to talk about what a band or an artist means to you without sounding pretentious or sentimental, but it’s equally impossible not to talk about it. Bill Doss’s death last week stopped many of us in our tracks, made us cry, and made us remember how we got here in the first place. His music was the kind of music that connected people, and his personality made him easy to work with and to be around. I didn’t know when I discovered his band or when I met him how rare those two factors would be in my life, and I didn’t know exactly how changed I’d be by the people I met because I knew his work. It is relatively insane to say that you don’t know who you’d be without a song or a band, but it is sometimes true. Thanks, Bill, for helping to get me through the right door.

June 15, 2012

summering.

The thing is that the best stories to tell are the ones that people are telling you right at this moment. They’re leaning over the bar, they’re stopping between bites of whatever bar snack they’ve chosen – it’s oysters when we need to feel good about our lives, it’s fried pickles when we have nothing to prove – and they’re grinning as they swallow and take a sip of their drink and start to speak. There is a certain amount of mischief every human being gets into, and if your penchant for this is low, then there is little chance that we are even acquaintances.

These are the better moments; the worst ones tend to come from farther away. The older I get, the more time I spend in hotel rooms, and the more time I spend in hotel rooms, the more focused I can be about anyone else’s sense of falling apart. This is how we are capable of measurement at all: through the less-than-subtle motions of others. I can tell exactly how much I have loved any one person by the number of words I have expended on them; I can tell exactly how different friendships are by knowing that the end of one relationship is signified by as many words as the beginning of another.

(The trick to beginnings is that they rarely work unless one has the foresight to not speak of them.)

It is summer now, and we are summering. This means we are proving our strengths and flashing our smiles and not ever really needing to prove much of anything. This means we are free, in some sense of the word, even if we express that freedom through the selection of bar snacks and the calculated ordering of the next drink. “it is fine,” you say, because you are listening to the story, and any feelings that get carried over into the next day are eventually carefully absorbed in the sand of the beach on the weekend, which comes faster this season than you deserve it to. We all have earned this, because five months from now we’ll be carefully selecting sweaters with our mouths drawn and our decisions unmade, and the only thing we will regret then is not writing down those stories when we first heard them because in the summer stories feel far too important to spoil with words.

May 10, 2012

there’s a joy in every possibility

In the last twenty-four hours, the world exploded with sexual politics: North Carolina slammed a door on gay marriage, one of my favorite rock frontman came out as transgender, and our president spoke out in support of gay marriage. Anything can happen at any moment, always, and sometimes it erupts in a chorus of dissenting voices.

There are times in life when it’s easy to think about all of the things you’ve tried for and failed at, and there are times when it’s hard to see past yourself, and then there are moments like this when you look up and remember everything that’s allowed you the fortune to be selfish.

And so: I threw a bad mood off the Manhattan Bridge tonight while listening to Against Me!, and it felt pretty good.

When I’m in good, less solipsistic moods, I tell stories about my childhood because I got to be a lucky one.i was carefully handed the knowledge that the only things that matter are music, words, and nature, and I was given a long leash on which as long as my action reflect my love of those things, my family is proud of me.

What that means is that there’s a long, long list of things I never needed to care about. I had parents who assumed I was gay in high school because I never brought home a guy, who were more readily accepting of potential girlfriends than the idea that I was too shy to land the dudes I liked. They were parents who let me go to school for creative writing and fall into philosophy instead; they let me fall back out to pursue a career in the music business.

My father drove me to the train station after a recent visit and as he said goodbye, he offered the only criticism I’ve heard him give in years: “I haven’t seen much of your writing lately. What’s up?”

I have been gainfully employed and upwardly mobile for my entire adult life, and my father still pushes me to write more because he sees it in my future. My parents do not care who I love, if I get married, if I have kids, if I switch careers, if I drink too much whiskey, if I swear, if I will always be a little rough around the edges. They gave me that roughness and they raised me not to be a wife, a mother, or even a strong woman. They raised me to be a person and they don’t give a shit what I do as long as I am making art in some way.

And so on the days when everything in the world explodes around me, I can be outraged on behalf of a state, supportive on behalf of a nation, and forever in love with the people who make the art that means the most to me regardless of their personal decisions. I get to worry about my own art because the rest of it was never called into question. I get to walk through life just being a person, and I get to throw my moods off the Manhattan Bridge to the soundtrack of a Laura who used to be a Tom singing, “there’s a joy in all I can see, a joy in every possibility.”

And I can hope for the possibility of everyone else getting to walk through life just being a person, too.