A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within, more than the lustre of the firmament of bards and sages. Yet he dismisses without notice his thought, because it is his. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

My favorite quote of all time is Alan Kay: ‘In order to predict the future, you have to invent it.’ I am all about inventing the future. Decide what you want the future to be and make it happen. Because you can. Write about your future now.  (Author: Cindy Gallop)


I was originally going to write a post talking about how I don’t believe in all the “invent your own life” stuff.  That I think it’s affected and presumptuous and more than the slightest bit brash considering how large the Universe is.  But then, I got a FB message from one of my best (like BEST) girlfriends and all I could do was wish to be closer to her to share in her current joy.  So what I ended up with today was a sort of written pity-party.  Sorry about that.



There’s a claustrophobia to this place, an austere anxiety that can be felt by just locating it on a map.  The Tri-Cities, WA popped up and developed over the last 70 or so years around the Hanford site, which is a nuclear facility in the early stages of shutdown, clean-up and closure.  Coming from Seattle, a driver will, within three hours, view astounding panoramas of Mt. Rainier, climb up, over and through Snoqualmie Pass and then watch as all trees, mountains and color disappear into the stark, rolling and sunbleached land of Eastern WA:  The high desert.  With the promise of world class vinyards (an industry that’s a fairly young 20 years old) and sunshine for most of the year, he will drive into Richland, into Kennewick, into (god-forbid) Pasco and feel a little sick in the stomach.  It’s a let down.  Kennewick is a growing suburb (stupid, since the government money that was pumped in is now gone) built on top of the ruins of Richland (a product of the nuclear boon after WWII) and both (along with the surrounding rows of grapevines and apple trees) are staffed and populated to a large degree by the uneducated and unskilled migrant farm workers.

It’s barren and boring and long since past redemption.  There is no coastline or urban center, no theatre, no mountains.  The libraries are run like coffeehouses and the best steak? Applebees.

Believe it.

Close friends are no fewer than four hours away and any plane trip requires multiple layovers in larger, more equipped airports.

I can’t think much about The Future when I’m so surrounded and suffocated by the view from my balcony RIGHT NOW.

Today I woke up in good spirits, and the past three days have found me in a rather manic state, full of devilish mischief.  These days are few…oh so few…and far between.  They’re punctuated by the rolling hills of the blues, and are nowhere near as long.  They’re precious, these days, when a smile comes easily and adventure is possible.  I covet them, try to take care to enjoy when I recognize them on my doorstep.

The trouble is, enjoying them also means sharing them.  Given my location, there’s not much chance of that.

The laundry list of faces I miss rolls past and away.

In this mood, I’d kidnap DE for a hike and some champers in celebration of her engagement to one of the true knights of this realm.  I would fly to the eastern end of Long Island and wrap my arms simultaneously around baby BAM and his mother, crying tears of wonderment at how she and I had made it THERE.  I would travel to Kentucky to hug my brother who is just back (and for good) from his second tour in Afghanistan.  I’d be at a beach, or on a Go-Kart track, at Caffe Lena or Marshall’s or East Berlin, CT.  I’d be anywhere, doing anything, as long as it was with people in my life.

Everyone’s life is moving moving moving.  My Facebook feed marches on in a relentless roll call of news.  Things I can’t participate in drive past my eyes and each one aches a little bit more than the last.  The melodrama builds and the black clouds roll in and the isolation of this terrible place weighs down.  Sitting next to each other, the hugs that I would give out but for distance and the distance itself compound each other like little magnifying glasses.

So?  The Future?  My future had better have people in it.  People who I can get to within an hour.  Who I can hug whenever I feel like it.  Who I can look in the eye when I’m saying “Congratulations, the baby is beautiful” and “Really!?!  Where’s it going to be?  What will you wear?  Is there a theme?!  Let’s go have martinis!!”  My future will not waste these days anymore in solitude.


3 thoughts on “I’d Like Some Actual Face…Hold the Book

  1. Dang, Jen. I can’t tell you how much I relate to this lack of closeness. I have my hubs and kids, but beyond that my family is a minimum of 1000 miles away. It’s daunting and depressing and downright unbearable sometimes.

  2. I have been in the same type of place. I am not good alone. My mind wanders in unhealthy directions and plays mischief with my emotions. I have lived too far from family and spent time hating the town I was stuck in. When you’re in it, it’s hard to see a future other than where you are bogged down. I hope that your situation changes, so that you can focus less on the things you are missing and more on the things that make up your life. From where I sit, you do some pretty splendid, exciting things.

  3. I hope it happens soon for you–maybe there’s no way it can be soon enough. All I know is that someday you’ll have a date. A month, maybe, or “six months from now” or something that will give you a target and a countdown. I do know this feeling (uncomfortably well) and thinking about a way out of it, and what life will be like afterward, is something I can do for hours.

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