Monthly Archives: August 2003

Steve, here, again. This time

Steve, here, again. This time writing from back home in California, having dropped Chopin at the kennel and flown home from Columbia County earlier in the week.

Ian, meanwhile, somehow sprung unexpectedly directly from Acadia on the shores of Maine to a remote Pennsylvania hilltop above the Delaware Water Gap, whence he called weakly on his cell to ask me to fill in again. If Ian and I were attached with a long bungee cord, we would fly past each other and be flung from the world altogether.

A word about blogs: Blogs are neither diaries, nor columns, nor serialized novels—and yet blogs are all of these things. A blog is whatever each blogger makes it, whether purposely or not. A blog is expression without obligation. Each blog, whatever its character, has an audience. If a blog doesn’t speak to you, there are millions more to try.

When Ian began blogging, I urged him to blog like ’01 bloggers did, in pithy, one-line comments linked to interesting finds. Fortunately, he ignored my advice and made his blog his own medium. It serves him. It often serves us family members and, I think, a fairly wide circle of friends. It is worthwhile whether or not it serves anyone outside of that circle, as is every other blog, whatever its form.

Ticket Stub: Pirates of the Triplex Finally, and for no particular reason, here is the ticket stub from the movie we saw in Great Barrington, which for some reason I can’t find in IMDB.

8/20/03 Portland, ME Well, this

8/20/03 Portland, ME

Well, this blog just got more hits yesterday than ever before, which shows what a little controversy will do for you. I’m afraid that makes me feel like Lewis Carroll following up “Alice in Wonderland” with a math textbook, but I’m still on my honeymoon, and would prefer to keep my head in those lofty clouds, thanks. But I will address one point: certain detractors seem to think a diary and a blog are different things. I suppose it all comes down to semantics, but that wasn’t really my point. I said this: calling a personal blog “self-involved” is a poorly-thought-out, un-nuanced and ultimately specious way of re-stating the obvious. If someone’s blog is bothering you because “it’s all about them,” then perhaps you should go surf porn, where the intentions are better spelled-out for you.

Speaking of which, the new Harry Potter book is providing some real difficulty for both Tessa and me. We’ve never purchased any of the five actual books, opting instead for the incredible performance of Jim Dale on the audio tapes. We listened to the first three books during our massive post-9/11 road trip, the fourth on a cross-country Thanksgiving jaunt, and this new one will dominate the honeymoon driving. It’s a really fabulous way of hearing the story, even if we don’t know how anyone’s name is spelled.

Anyway, we’re about a third of the way through the “Order of the Phoenix” – and the behavior, speech and philosophy of Professor Umbrage (and the Ministry of Magic in general) is reminding us so much of the Bush administration that we have to turn the tape off every once in a while and seethe with rage. When Umbrage cancels all student groups, sports and gatherings (because of Harry’s proposed secret Dark Arts class), the self-impressed, smug, mind-numbing monkey face of Bush, Ari Fleischer and John Ashcroft flitted into view, and made it all too real. I know self-convinced righteousness has been in books since man begat characters, but I’d truly like to know if J.K. Rowling – who delayed this book several months after September 11 – had any current events in mind.

Oh, we hiked to the top of the Beehive in Acadia National Park today, and it was rough but beautiful. I’d like to make one request to all the white folks in New England: can you PLEASE untuck your polo shirts out of your pleated shorts? It’s driving me batty. Thank you.

8/19/03 Northeast Harbor, Mount Desert

8/19/03 Northeast Harbor, Mount Desert Island, Maine

In sporting events I always root for three kinds of teams:

a) us (meaning Carolina)

b) anyone playing Dook

c) the underdog.

In Canada, it seems like New Brunswick is the underdog; all guide books begin with “The much-maligned New Brunswick…” or “The province everyone seems to ignore…”

So, of course, I engineered that we should swing over the Confederate Bridge from Prince Edward Island and see a little slip of New Brunswick, just so we could pay our regards. And it wasn’t half bad:

Having read an article about digital cameras in MacAddict, I’ve tried a few shots by sticking my polarized sunglasses in front of the lens for effect. These particular sunglasses are rose-colored (with a silver lining, in fact, O! The poetry!) which made for a nice New Brunswick stew. By the way, N.B. has the “highest tides in the world,” which means the water on the Fundy Coast ebbs and flows the height of a four-story building every day. I mean, you gotta give a country something, right?

The maritime provinces have been a blast, especially given we were here during the Nicest Day of the Year. Every single Nova Scotian and Prince Edward Islander was outside today doing their laundry, walking around in a pheromonal haze, swimming in public pools and chatting with like-minded fellers basking in the blessed sun. In Charlottetown, the tourists lined up for the local musicals, despite the fact that the promotional posters were among the worst I’d ever seen in my life:

That picture of Anne of Green Gables was so hauntingly awful that I stared at it for hours this morning. P.E.I. is pretty gaga over Anne; she appears on jam, cordials, books and places like the Anne of Green Gables Chocolate Store. I went to a rugged elementary school in Iowa that would have disemboweled me if I’d read “Anne of Green Gables,” so I don’t understand her thing for cherry drinks and getting ice cream all over her face, but I’m sure it’s relevant to the text.

We’d planned to stay in Nova Scotia for the night, but found ourselves in time for the Cat – the high-speed ferry to Maine that is the largest catamaran on earth, going a jillion miles an hour, serving up hot chili and slot machines (and apparently slicing through the occasional sperm whale). So here I sit back in the U.S.A., missing the Canadian play money and the gas measured in litres.

Here’s the one thing I can bring to Our Northern Neighbors: I read today that Canada is waiting for a partnership with XM Radio in order to start beaming satellite radio to the provinces. Let me share a secret with you: you don’t have to wait. Our satellite radio worked fantastic all up and down the maritimes. Just go to Maine and buy one. Yes, it has Fox News, but it also has a ironic lounge channel!

And in the Cool Stuff About Canada Dept:

– the green stoplights are round, the yellow is a diamond shape, and the red is a square. Just like a tape deck, sorta.

– Canadians stop their cars whenever a pedestrian even thinks about crossing the road.

– they have Cadbury bars and Bounty chocolates (think Hershey and Mounds, but twice as good)

– and my favorite… on Canadian warning signs, the outline of the driver wears a very nice hat.

8/18/03 Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island,

8/18/03 Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada

Before I get to how great this place is, I must take a little sojourn back into the land of mean-spirited snarking. Like any weblogger with an ounce of curiosity, I occasionally check the “referrals” page to see how people are getting here. Many times it’s through cool people like Ev or Alan or Diane, but occasionally it’s the sort of judgmental hoo-hah that attempts to belittle the political views expressed on here, or perhaps just tell me that I’m full of shit one way or another.

I had not, however, had to deal with people talking shit about what I look like and the perceived inequality of my marriage until I began getting referrals from The Perfect World message board, where a fairly mean thread was started about me and my wedding. Now, before I say anything else, let me add that the person who started it has very nicely apologized for the way it devolved. I won’t link to the actual page here, because it’ll bum Tessa out, but since it’s now a matter of public record, I’ll paraphrase it for you:

a) apparently my statement of a few days ago – “I am so happy to be free of the burden of finding other women attractive” – is so stupid as to “make one’s head explode”

b) that I am apparently so unattractive as to warrant serious sociological theory as to why someone as pretty as Tessa would deign to marry me

c) paradoxically, that I was also a “massive womanizer” and picked Tessa because she had cash

d) my blog is hopelessly, hopelessly narcissistic

e) AND MY WEDDING TUX WAS UGLY!

Now, the first four I can handle, but the last is below the belt. My tux rocked!

Seriously, though, why do people have a problem with someone’s blog being self-involved? It’s a DIARY, for fuck’s sake. It’s not about anyone else. It’s certainly not the way I talk in public, and it’s not even necessarily how I feel at any given moment, but it is necessarily about ME. Reading someone’s blog and complaining that it’s self-obsessed is like going to a whorehouse and complaining that you didn’t feel loved.

As for my comment about being “free of the burden of finding other women attractive,” maybe I should flesh out that thought a little more for public consumption. I simply mean that all of us, when we were in the dating world, were held captive by the tyranny of other people’s beauty. At least guys are – obviously, I can’t speak for women. When you’re at a social function, at school, talking to someone who is charming, attractive, sarcastic, funny – you long for them, you try to find ways of being with them, and it can haunt you. You walk around with this sensory application on overdrive, trying to parse through all the people you find alluring one way or another. I had a problem with it – as did a lot of us – hence my “massive womanizing.”

But time passes, you find you get older, your energy for this sort of tomcat bullshit wanes, and best of all, you find someone who utterly erases all these omnidirectional desires, and concentrates them, redirects them into something positive and constructive. Men are rotten; I think most women forget that, or are lulled into complacency by the great man they are with. Men have to be taught to be decent creatures, and it took some of us longer than others. I’m not being precious or gloating about the “burden of finding other women attractive” – I consider it desperate and pathetic that I was ever like that.

Now, about this thing about me being “goofy-looking.” All I have to say is “no fucking duh.” There are a trillion pictures of me all over this blog, but if you need it spelled out for you: I’m about 10-12 pounds over my target weight, I never had braces, I have acne scars from the Duran Duran years, and I have the neck of a bloated sea lion post-afternoon feeding. I get by on a certain Welsh ruddy charm, and the rest is conversation.

But there is one thing I have never done in my life: I have never talked disparagingly about another person’s looks. I may have used heavy descriptive phrases while describing unnamed groups of people in general, but having grown up feeling uglier than sin, I made a point to never refer to anyone’s unappealing physicality in particular, especially someone you know. It’s a rule. Another rule I’d suggest is that “you’re not allowed to say anything about the way someone looks on the internet unless you have a picture of yourself next to it.” As for me, I’ve anted up.

I gotta tellya, blogs are a really shitty way to get to know somebody. Don’t any of you understand that I get it? The blog, despite my valiant efforts, seems to exude the idea that I am a navel-gazing, latently misogynistic, whiny twit so lost in a prep-school, money-induced fever that I have no idea what a buffoon I look like. Don’t you know that I know? People on that message board seem to think I have no idea that I look like Philip Seymour Hoffman, or that Tessa and I first met at a Public Ivy, or that we’re both hopelessly white – I mean, what the fuck, do you think we possess ZERO self-awareness? I have half a mind to rename this blog I Know What This All Must Look Like To You But I’m Continuing To Write Anyway.

The only difference is that I DON’T CARE ANYMORE. Sure, I care enough to make it a blog topic, but that’s about it.

the Nova Scotia coast – never visible

But on to happier news: Canada rawks. Nova Scotia was a happy place, made even better by a visit to Lockeport, the summer getaway of our friend Jace – the place is windswept, socked-in and gorgeous, reminding me of what I thought Wuthering Heights might look like.

We got to Prince Edward Island last night, and stepped right into the four week-period when it truly springs to life. Men wearing heavy sideburns, 1847 morning jackets and top hats walk around giving tours in incredible Maritime accents, and the drawing rooms of local inns are bursting with merriment. According to Peter Rukavina, this sort of thing is short-lived, and soon the island will go back to hibernation.

Dinner with Peter and his partner Catherine was a blast, one of my first ventures into a face-to-face meeting with a longtime blog correspondent. He asked a lot of questions about the artistic side of the movie business, forcing us to exercise muscles that have been dormant since Bridezilla and GrotesqueGroom

8/17/03 Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island,

8/17/03 Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada

Wow, so much to say – and yet I’m stuck in a car on a deserted street in Charlottetown, P.E.I. stealing wifi internet from a bank three floors above me. Suffice to say this: I have never been stunned by the graciousness, affability and overall kindness of any nation on earth as I have been by Canada on this trip. These people don’t need Prozac, these people are Prozac. Every single human being – from the gas station attendant in Yarmouth to the pharmacist in rural Nova Scotia – has gone out of their way to make this trip better for us.

The landscape is like a Scottish dream with a smattering of the Berkshires and Eastern Iowa thrown in for good measure. I will post more tomorrow; I’m running out of petrol.

Steve, here. Ian just called

Steve, here. Ian just called from “a pay phone in rural Nova Scotia,” where they wouldn’t know if there were a blackout, because there’s no electricity. He asked me to post a short note promising that he’ll return to civilization or, at any rate, blogging, tomorrow.

I’m at the farm in Columbia County, dog-sitting Chopin and working. Chopes and I went up in the top of the barn tonight, flashlight in hand, to try to figure out how to turn off that last set of sparkly lights that somehow escaped the striking of the wedding decorations. It’s dark and empty up there, a surreal contrast to the hundreds of gyrating friends that occupied the space a mere week ago.

So that you don’t suffer too much from Ian withdrawal, let me leave you with one of the better blackout photo-blogs I’ve run into, documenting the descent of Manhattan into darkness and thence into a bongo street party.

8/15/03 Bar Harbor, ME God,

8/15/03 Bar Harbor, ME

God, I am so glad we weren’t around for the Great Blackout of ’03 – I know it’s been blogged all to death, but hanging out on the tiny islands of coastal Maine is exactly where I want to be in case this shit ever happens again. I’m struck by many things: first, that we were the last to know (yay!). Second, that the pictures of people lined up at NYC payphones yesterday looked identical to the sidewalk outside our apartment on September 11. Third, a Republican congressman from Louisiana has already blamed the Democrats. Fourth, our nation’s power grid must be STUNNINGLY fucked-up for this to happen – I mean, that’s a clusterfuck for the ages. Fourth, being away from the internet – except for 15 minutes a night – can be an unbelievable blessing.

We’re taking a 7am boat to Nova Scotia tomorrow morning, so I am going to bed before midnight for the first time since I had trig homework. I am going to puke all over Nova Scotia.

P.S. look at my bro Steve’s picture of the wedding reception – pretty goddamn cool!

8/14/03 Monhegan Island, ME Get

8/14/03 Monhegan Island, ME

Get ready, kids! You thought My Kidney Stone was self-indulgent? You figured that My Daily Celexa Diary was all about me, me, me? Wait’ll you get a load of this, a little ditty I call…

MY WEDDING!

Or, The True Misdaventures of Two White Kids in Love

Yes, I know all of you had no electricity last night and the stuff in the fridge is ruined. Yes, I know hearing about other people’s weddings can be the conversational equivalent of Benadryl, but I’ll try to make it as interesting as possible to disinterested parties, and besides, as Morrissey says, “this one’s different because it’s mine.”

Thursday – Rehearsal Dinner

I kinda screwed this one up. Tessa and I both found the whole idea of a “wedding party” to be exclusionary to the point of silly; I mean, you’re basically saying there’s a cutoff point between the closeness of one friend versus another, and neither of us think like that. If I’d had my druthers, I would have at least 45 people of my own at the rehearsal dinner, and that would have sent my dad and Carole back to the stock market for some day trading.

So we set a limit, and just invited who seemed natural for that number. In lieu of a designated wedding party, my idea was to make those in attendance part of our Major Arcana, and develop a personal Tarot card for each guest. This was an idea I had last September; by the night of the rehearsal dinner, I was still working on it.

Photoshop, especially if you care how something looks, cannot be rushed. Some people – I’m looking at you, Salem – were harder than others, but by the end of the evening, I was pretty happy with most of them.

these are all funny shapes and sizes (and you have to turn your computer upside-down to see Dana and Jordana) but you get the idea, hopefully

Unfortunately, this project kept me holed up in the library batting away at the screen while my favorite people in the world began to filter into the house. When I finished, everyone was already at John Andrews Restaurant, beginning their third drink. Needless to say, when I showed up, a drunken chorus erupted.

And that set the tone for the night. The food was terrific (rare tuna!) but the toasts were divine. I had been set for a partial evening of roasting, but the ebullience flowing from the mouths of our loved ones kept us in a state of ecstasy. Everyone should sit through a night like that, especially self-loathing creatures like me. Lindsay brought up an oft-told tale of me conversing with an inanimate object (the “thank you, chair” story), Rick wondered aloud why nobody had mentioned that I was a transsexual, Neal said he didn’t really like me when we met, and Sean brought up the story of how he farted in the elevator just to keep me happy. Obviously, I am much easier to toast, since Tessa has been a beacon of brightness for decades, and I have only recently become suitable for public consumption.

top: wedding gurus Laurie, Neal and Tessa; bottom: Kendall, me and Chip talk shit

L: I toast Tessa; R: Tessa beguiles my father

The most heartfelt toasts belonged to Laurie, Nell and my Dad, all of whom bask so obviously in the candlepower and delight that is my newly betrothed. Tessa’s friends are less obnoxious than mine, but their dedication is equally fierce.

Having tied one on, and hotter than hell, the majority faction went back to Columbia County to swim in the amniotic rain-spackled womb of the Celerohn Motel pool, where Summer came barging in with a full half-gallon of Jim Beam, no chaser. After several dives and a soul-gripping hour in the car with my oldest girl friend Kendall, I don’t even remember hitting the pillow.

Friday – Picnic, BBQ and Watersports (no, not that kind)

It was really nice to have a recovery day between the rehearsal dinner and the wedding; if your friends won’t kick your ass for it, I recommend it highly. Friday started for most of us in the afternoon, where we met at Bash Bish Falls in Copake for a picnic lovingly (and painstakingly) crafted by Tessa’s mom Sandy. It was the kind of production that only Sandy or Tessa could have pulled off: the morning sandwich-making apparently rivaled the early Ford assembly lines in terms of efficiency, and the sandwiches themselves were color-coded by ingredient. It rocked.

The ore pit, filled with water and lifeguarded by the bronze teens of Dutchess County, certainly had a major demographical shift change on Friday, as a chorus of show queens, actors, singers, overbearing writers and their spawn overtook the docks. Pretty soon, we were engaged in a Busby Berkeley musical, with a choreographed diving line and synchronized swimming courtesy of Rick Gradone.

As if the day couldn’t improve, we shipped fourteen cubic tons of barbeque from Kinston, North Carolina all the way to French Park in Massachusetts (about five miles away). That’s when the real crowds showed up, including Tessa’s brothers, the Texas clan, Ricky Bell with the giant squishy Chicago softball, and mounds of others. We split up the softball team by bride and groom and played well past sundown, when the chances of losing teeth became a looming possibility. “Fun” doesn’t begin to describe it.

Afterwards, Tessa and her inner circle took off to the B&B to do the seating charts, while me and my posse of ne’er-do-wells headed to the bowling alley in Great Barrington to commiserate with the locals and do some non-sensical Jaegermeister shots. My game sucked (my first gutter balls since 1978) but you can’t beat the company. I actually got to spend some time with the Budster, who has been sorely lacking from my life since 1994.

1 AM? No problem. We started up the blackjack at the farm, a one-dollar table accepting all comers. The “house” (me) had an impressive run, but Sean Patrick, Jon Gray, Lindsay, Gill Holland and Sean all managed to make money. Everyone else broke even except for Walt Boyle, whom I love dearly, but should never be allowed near a casino. I think he ended up paying for part of our honeymoon.

Saturday – our wedding day

My wedding, thus far, had been about two things: “logistics” and “doing stuff.” I’d had no time to ponder about the mystical nature of what I was about to do. The Groom’s Basketball Game didn’t help, either – it was all of us from 15 years of hoops, but a few elements made it slightly contentious (not to mention hot and slippery). By the time I got back to the farm to get dressed, I felt decidedly unready on all sorts of levels.

During my shower, the water pump breaker went out while I had soap in my eyes, and I had to travel into the basement, through an inch of mud, wearing nothing but an oversized dishtowel to turn it back on. Half the catering staff was down there, too, which kinda sucked.

My undershirt, bought all special-like for the occasion, hadn’t dried in the dryer, and was threatening to give me pit-rot. And then came the clincher: I couldn’t tie my bowtie. I’ve been tying bowties for decades; I could do it with one hand on the way to prep school while driving with the other. After a half-hour of grueling tries (documented by Lars), I retreated to the bathroom for privacy. After 15 more minutes of frustration, I collapsed in a heap against the wall. It was as if an ancient skill, like cutting meat with a knife, had mysteriously vanished. The collective frustration, heat, fatigue and nervousness of the past three months came down to a single moment, and I was paralyzed.

and then…

Then, in a black halter dress, came my salvation. Betsy Towns, a quiet, lovely, old friend from Chapel Hill came up to me, put both hands on my shoulders and smiled. “I’m going to do this thing,” she said. She has been one of Tessa’s best friends for years, but now she was an angel to me. As she fitted the bowtie, I stared at her and wanted to cry. From that moment forward, everything was going to be okay. It was the moment I never knew I needed until it happened. The relief was palpable. I was ready to give my life over to this day, whatever it may bring.

Let’s be honest: it fucking rained. It rained hard. Despite my beseechings to the contrary, we had a drizzle all through the ceremony, and a galloping downpour all through the reception. But, like Oscar Wilde said, the gods punish us by answering our prayers, and in many ways, I’m glad mine weren’t answered. The “sacred space” on top of our hill took on a more intimate, personal setting for 170 all huddled together under the collective tortoise shell of umbrellas, and the chuppah held by Laurie, Dennis McFarland, Kent and Steve seemed like a protection, a prophylactic veil against an angry sky and a small room with a view.

To say Tessa looked beautiful does a disservice to clichs around the world. When she walked up the hill, both the bagpiper and the thistle melted. I did what Susan Stava told me to do – try to “remain in the moment” – and I was probably 85% successful. Officiated by Dr. Peter Kaufman, who was loud, life-affirming and brilliant, the ceremony really came down to Tessa’s vows, which I consider her best writing (not to mention geometrically better than mine). I made people laugh, but she made everyone cry, and we all know which lasts longer.

The receiving line seemed a little masochistic, as the rain came down harder, but everyone stuck through it; I remember hugging Julien McNab and coming away sopping wet from his suit. The receiving line itself is kind of a funny little throwback idea from the Middle Ages, but it does provide a nice, singular, sober moment with each of the guests, which is a godsend when you’ve got two hundred people that are so important to you.

And then came the hardest part for all of us involved in the wedding production: the reception upstairs in the barn. I won’t bore you with the details, but we had to implement an entire new beam structure to hold everybody. Laurie’s friend Tim, who was just off a job lighting both the Empire State Building and a museum in Panama, took over the chandeliers and ambient lights. God knows how many hours Laurie Williams and Neal Lerner and Tessa put in there, but my GOD it was beautiful. We don’t have any pictures yet (these photos here are from Lars, who did candids exclusively) but it was like entering the mystic enchanted castle in a Jungian dream.

My big project, which was another 3-month foray into Photoshop, was to find a picture of every single wedding guest and print it on archival paper. Then Tessa glued the photo to foam board and stuck it on vintage swizzle sticks provided by Laurie. It was a huge undertaking, but we finally got everybody. On the backs of the pictures were the table assignments, all of which were Tarot cards themselves (for instance, George Gilmore sat at the Hermit table because of his love for Led Zeppelin 4).

L: Salem holds a plate (?) while Scott wears his escort card – a pic of me, him and Chip in 1995. R: Summer styles a pic of us last year

Speaking of George, his band The True Love Experience played my and Tessa’s “song”: “There is a Light That Never Goes Out” by The Smiths – as the first dance, while Rick sang. The Smiths at our wedding? It was sheer heaven! Later, the band played XTC’s “Vanishing Girl,” Sean and Michelle sang the Beatles’ “Two of Us,” Rick and I sang “Ask,” and even the brilliant Erin McKeown got up to sing two songs, including, amazingly, “The Little Cowboy.” The band rocked into the rainy evening, as guests wandered up to us, asking, “who the hell ARE these guys?” They’re on Broadway, baby.

Shit, even my wonderful Mormon aunts and uncles stayed until midnight, and Jim Nelson, the previous owner of the farm, made it to 1:15am, which was terrific. Little (and HUGE) dramas played out between family and friends, and by night’s end, we were all wet, sweaty, sated, and just plain happy. I even tried flexing the tiniest curmudgeon muscle, but it wouldn’t budge. I couldn’t have asked for a better wedding, and the next time I begin a rant, I will remember how blessed we were.

Off into the night, we sped in a minivan driven by a guy in a cute mullet, the rain pounding so hard we couldn’t even see. The next day, with my mom’s orange rolls and Dana’s salmon, was to come, but for then, it was just me and my baby, drifting off into the black night, rings on fingers and bells on toes, so we shall have music wherever we go.

or at least something like that…

8/13/03 Monhegan Island, ME click

8/13/03 Monhegan Island, ME

click pics for bigger

The first time I came here to Monhegan was exactly 12 years ago today with my erstwhile girlfriend Susan. We had befriended a girl named Jill McDonough (now a fabulous poet in Massachusetts) who invited us up on a random August week, and it turned out to be one of the best trips ever. Dr. McDonough took me deep-sea fishing at 5am, where we spotted a tuna the size of a small schoolbus. The island itself is tiny, an almond-shaped piece of rock an hour by high-speed boat into the middle of the black sea.

It’s hard to remain in America and still feel like you’re in a village that truly takes care of each other, but this place is a communal paradise. Any islander knows pretty much what every other islander is doing at a given moment. When we went looking for any sign of the McDonough family, three random people told us that one of the sisters was at the library.

Tonight we hiked over to the “backside,” the impressively high cliffs that jut out over the ocean, the kind of view that says “there’s nothing between you and Irish coast.” We sat on a high precipice and talked about when we – meaning she – is going off the birth control pill. We came to a happy decision and sauntered back through the woods. It takes a place like that to provide the canvas for life’s huge decisions.

When I was here in 1991, we sat on the Adirondack chairs and waited for the Leonid meteor shower that comes every year – and we didn’t see shit. Tonight, Tessa and I sat outside on the cool lawn chairs, and after 2 minutes of staring into the sky, we saw the biggest shooting star either of us will EVER see. It took up fully 25 degrees of the sky, and was so bright that it left an afterglow in the back of your eye. Knowing that we saw the Michael Jordan of meteors, we packed it in. I mean, sometimes having a superlative moment can be very relieving.

I spent the evening going through the pictures of our wedding using the Mac’s iPhoto program – and I was struck by two things. First, iPhoto is slower than hell. Second, my buddy Lawrence Lucier is one of the greatest artists I know. Tomorrow I’ll write my wedding recap, and you’ll see what I mean.

Goodnight from the deep sea!

8/12/03 Monhegan Island, ME Tessa

8/12/03 Monhegan Island, ME

Tessa says that in order to bounce back to normal, one’s body must reach the depth of what it can tolerate. In terms of fatigue, I may be reaching that fathoms-deep trench right now. I am speaking to you from the middle of the Atlantic Ocean – or at least a nice long boat ride – on an island off the coast of Maine called Monhegan. It is the first day of our “mini-honeymoon” and I have been mustering all the mitochondria I can gather in order not to get truly sick.

Most people get drunk or high on drugs and alcohol, but I believe it is also possible to get drunk on love, intensity, and the feelings of those around you – and the hangover can be a bitch. The wedding weekend was such an amalgamation of last-minute heroics and pure joy that I need a breather and three extra-strength Excedrin twice daily. I thought I was going to be ready to function by today, but it had become worse. By the time we got to Freeport, Maine and went shopping at the 24-hour L.L. Bean Factory Outlet (more white people per square foot than anywhere else in the Northern Hemisphere) I was truly showing signs of a big ol’ flu. As of yet, I have remained victorious.

I thought I would take the honeymoon off from blogging, but I still feel a need to connect to the mainland. There is one phone at this entire hotel, tucked away under the stairs, a tiny copper line that allows me to eke a few words to you. Tomorrow I plan to write down the emotional highlights of the last week just so I can have the faint whiff of the era when I read these much later. Until then, the midnight tide rises up the cold, wet island and I can finally sleep.