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BY Helene

10/01 Direct Link
I am wrestling with the decision about whether to send links to my September words. Responses to August ranged from people not having time, people impressed or interested in the details that somehow we missed in daily conversation and people who just plain didn't get it. I know that writing these is good for me. What, I wonder, do others get out of reading them? I do read some of the other posts - people I know or people who somehow draw me in with their style. But perhaps I'm in the minority. I admit I like the voyeuristic opportunity here.
10/02 Direct Link
I feel like I've mended some bridges these past few weeks: James and Matt specifically and that's nice. Lindsay sends me an email today that he and Heather are expecting. That too is nice. I wish I could wash this malaise away though. My numbness is beginning to either wear off or I'm getting too used to it. I'm sure that drinking so often isn't helping but I've figured out that everything I do somehow involves food and alcohol. Must return to ginger ale a few days a week. Will call Scotland tonight and try for a more natural high.
10/03 Direct Link
Everyone I meet these days is named Bryan (or Brian) and most everyone are Cancers. Laurin says that this is supposed to teach me something but I'm not sure what. Anyhow, a cool call to Scotland although we were hampered by a less than perfect connection. Got an email from another Brian from my recent past, which I didn't expect but which made me happy. All of this serves my long-standing fear that I can't make friends in NYC though since they are all from Europe. My goal for the next year is to figure it out and overcome it.
10/04 Direct Link
Burned more than a few bridges last night but I'm fed up. I didn't realize how unflappable I'd been since September 11 - hoping that my priorities were in order. But last night, going head-to-head with the two personality traits that bother me the most: blind arrogance and lack of loyalty, broke through my malaise. I have to look at things positively - that my split with the band will free me up for other things and, knee-deep in a special piece for the magazine and an article on volunteerism for the synagogue, I could use the time. Must keep reminding myself.
10/05 Direct Link
I'm writing a piece on Dervish's show here and am including info on Lusana's show at the WTC two weeks before. I am also compiling a piece on the B'nai Jeshurun volunteers for a two-page article in the December issue. On the phone with a PA colleague at work, I hear his story about being stuck in Canada and what it's like to go to D.C. for work our company is doing, seeing snipers on the roof of the White House. The wind changes and you are encompassed with the smell of burning metal. Everything has changed, even the air.
10/06 Direct Link
We try to return to normal, but then the wind changes directions or you talk to someone new. A colleague tells me about work we’re doing in DC and the bio–warfare suits that have been distributed “just in case.” He wonders if his family will be taken care of should anything happen.

I’m compiling volunteer’s stories for the synagogue and a piece for the Magazine on Dervish’s show near the site. This morning the Church was filled with police in dress blue and bagpipes. I can’t imagine that the rest of the country is bombarded with these constant reminders.
10/07 Direct Link
My mother kept her diary on a Rod McKuen Calendar. No lengthy prose, just a word or two, or marks when she was trying to get pregnant and got her period instead. I've learned a lot about her - that she was upset when my dad worked late "again" on their anniversary, the she'd decided to adopt (but didn't) if that was the only other way to have another child. The older I get, the more I understand these jottings and identify with her feelings. In many cases, at 36, I am older than she was when she wrote them. Unnerving.
10/08 Direct Link
I don't feel hurried to unpack at home or work and it still hasn't really dawned on me that I go to Dublin in two weeks even though it's the dream trip of my life. I'm in this strange mode of trying to work, writing, socializing, sleeping and getting up and doing it again. Every once in a while a phone call or e-mail breaks me out of this feeling of being trapped on an emotional straight line but then it subsides. I think I need some intensity although thinking about it, there's been enough lately to last a while.
10/09 Direct Link
We've moved in at work and I don't get it. Being in cube hell is one thing, but then we've got the paging system working and people screaming and various other distractions. I don't even answer my phone when I'm writing. They can't understand why a writer might need quiet and hey….a little less florescent light might be nice. But all they care about is that the furniture matches and that everyone at the same level has the same equipment and the everyone in a department has the same computer programs even though they're doing totally different work. Go figure.
10/10 Direct Link
I feel like I'm on both sides of the seesaw at once. On one hand, I get an e-mail from my editor asking if he can use my "State of the Union" as the cornerstone of his editorial and I send e-mails off to members of two huge bands and on the other I can't seem to navigate the politics of this local band. I suppose I should learn something from this about business versus pleasure but, frankly, I don't want to. Similarly, now that I'm living in a neighborhood with things to do, all I'm doing is staying home.
10/11 Direct Link
Got together with an old friend who is getting married next week. That sounds fine until you know that their relationship began a month ago. She's known his family for years and they've danced around for the past year but the 9/11 events drove them into bed. At first I was condemning - marry someone you've seen for a month? But she's so happy I had to accept it. Maybe it'll work and maybe it won't but that's the way it is with all relationships so why not? She seems happy, which is rare and wonderful enough so really, why not?
10/12 Direct Link
Had a chat with someone in a pub about Anthrax. What cocktail conversations we're having these days. It's hard to pick out the smart ones these days since everyone is up on current events. Packed to go to Boston although I must admit to some intense guilt over leaving NY for hedonistic reasons. Everyone tells me I'm wrong, so I must be. I guess I should loosen up and allow myself a few days to breathe freely somewhere else but it seems like I should be here "doing something" although I'm not sure what that is. Unpacking at the least.
10/13 Direct Link
The leaves are changing in Massachusetts. I'd forgotten what a real autumn was like - trees in New York go directly from green to dead. But here - orange, yellow, red - a living rainbow. It's strange to remember that colors exist besides the red, white and blue of the flag that NYC is wrapped in.

Yes, Dean, my romantic life is like a dartboard right now. I keep throwing them - eventually one has to stick. I had a palm reading once that said I would marry twice. The second would come late but would be happy. And so I wait.
10/14 Direct Link
Hung out with Emilie and Dervish. What a combination! Got lost on the way to the pub in Em's minivan, which resembled a toxic waste dump, but ended up at an amazing session. Had the chance to have some interesting conversations in the "secret" back room after last call which came to0 early. Leaving NYC for a weekend was a healthy idea after all although I realized that while others should be censured for drinking and driving I should never be allowed to send e-mails after the third pint. Always gets me into trouble. We'll see how much this time.
10/15 Direct Link
I'm frustrated when I find things that I can't express in words. This happens at work when I'm writing about a project I don't understand or don't care about. It's even more frustrating outside of work. For instance - why can't I explain why I can't focus on anything in a pub when a session is in swing. How can I describe what the music makes me feel. It drives me nuts that I can't pin it down. But then the music is like that for me as well - close to being ingrained but always slipping away at the last moment.
10/16 Direct Link
Have begun Operation Mending Fences. I feel very mature these days. Trying to make amends in a situation where I think I'm correct. But I'm looking at a large bigger picture. I can either repair my friendships with what could possibly be the best band to come out of New York or I can be against them. Only I can't be against them because I couldn't possibly deny their talent so it just made sense to deal with the situation before it degraded into some sort of junior high "he said/she said." Let's see if I can pull it off.
10/17 Direct Link
Spent 10 hours with John talking about everything that's been going on. I wish I didn't like the guy so much. He infuriates me but he's smart and makes me laugh and has this wild edge to him. I won't be able to tell if anything will come from it for now but it feels good to have that anger put aside. In true fashion he tried to push things physically and I let him to a point. It's been a while but I surprisingly found my mind somewhere else. Funny what it takes to make you realize things sometimes.
10/18 Direct Link
Okay. So I have a crush on the guy. So what? It doesn't mean anything, it's just a crush. Forget that he's an ocean away and that we don't really know each other. I'm getting paranoid that I haven't gotten a response to my e-mail. I'm trying not to review Sunday evening and my e-mail for errors. What did I do wrong this time? My rational mind talking about scheduling and practical things that need to be taken care of when you've been away from home for a while. But my emotions just scream REJECTION. Boy, I need a vacation.
10/19 Direct Link
I have one of those head colds that makes you feel drunk. I forget things; opening computer folders and then not remembering the file I was seeking. I could sleep and wake up next week. But I'll be practical this weekend, getting ready for my trip. I hope.

A courier told me he loved my hair. Some women are, I suppose, used to this. But I wonder if there is some sort of curtain covering me that others see but that isn't really there.

Still no e-mail as I struggle to remind myself that it's really only been 3 days………
10/20 Direct Link
I think I‘ve been taken in by a married man. I try to put myself in the place of someone who wants companionship badly enough to lie. At best I understand it at a first meeting, when unknown potential exists. But to continue correspondence and contact beyond that when nothing but conversation came out of that meeting, when I know his friends – seems absurd. Or perhaps I’m wrong and have just been up against some of those coincidences that all point in one direction when, in fact, the truth lies in another. I’ve always had a bad sense of direction.
10/21 Direct Link
I'm going on vacation alone and, in general, I'm not suited to meeting people in unfamiliar situations. Going to a country where I know no one, don't recognize the money and can probably get lost without a second thought is taking a chance. I'll chalk it up to personal growth but my most recent flirtation-gone-nowhere (which will go nowhere until we see each other randomly and not even then if I have my wits about me) has served to raise my defenses at a bad time. My project for those 6.5 hours of flight will be to lower them, I guess.
10/22 Direct Link
With the purchase of 185 Irish pounds, my fear has turned to elation.Plans are changing but I'm starting to get an itinerary together. Was wired and went to Maggie Mae's. Great musicians playing garage music, if you can imagine a garage reel. Crazy, young scene in there - the bartender was thrilled to find out I was in my 30's and "proposed. Good talk with John during which he invited himself over for tomorrow. Will have to dispell that. My head is elsewhere and we're good friends right now. Would prefer not to rock that boat if I can avoid it.
10/23 Direct Link
A talk with my editor Sean, and I'm drowning in work; covering Paul Brady's show, trying to set up an interview with Cathy Ryan, putting the finished touches on the Dervish piece to make room for Tony DeMarco's story. I should have known that Tony, who lived across the street from the Towers would want to talk. I hate cutting my own stories though it's like pruning a tree that you've grown from seed. I love this work though. More than anything I've ever done. Almost but not quite enough to divert me from the flirtation that has fixated me.
10/24 Direct Link
I leave in 7 hours. Fifteen years of planning and I could never imagine going like this. Sean has arranged for me to sit in on a TV filming of Altan playing a session. I don't care how tired I'll be - this is a once-in-a-lifetime event. This trip is a moment of transition. My life is in flux and for once, that seems positive. Emilie is right. My passion has a home and even though it isn't where I thought it'd be, its comfortable and right. Now if I could just find a way to explain it to anyone else.
10/25 Direct Link
My first gaffe is committed when I ask for seltzer and the stewardess has no clue what I’m talking about. Then I check into the hotel and the clerk tells me that he was in New York on 9/11 working construction. Delta had to fly him home through Brussels. So much for escaping but it’s okay. The warmth just emanates from this city, from the people. After a nap that last too long I taste my first Irish Guinness in Mulligan’s on Poolberg where Altan is playing in session for French TV. If I’m dreaming, please don’t wake me up!
10/26 Direct Link
I spend my first night exactly as planned; in Gogarty’s listening to incredible music, drinking Guinness, talking to people. It doesn’t matter that I can’t figure out the phone booths which eat my coins, I buy a cell phone which gives me more in credit than I paid for the phone! It’s great to talk to Sean about the problems of interviewing Shane McGowan – I’ve arrived! I can’t get over how comfortable I am just wandering around Dublin. I don’t feel this at home in NYC! Eating smoked salmon in Bewley’s overlooking Grafton Street. Can’t possibly get better than this!
10/27 Direct Link
Against all odds and intentions I’ve met someone. Not the type of holiday someone that you hang out with for something to do but someone important and special. I fall in with him and his friends as if I was slipping into the Liffey. They follow me to gigs, we wander together.; they’re wonderful It is easy in a way that I’ve never experienced. I go to the Abbey for “Whistle in the Dark.” Great play, incredible acting. If only this could be my life; this guy, this city…..do people actually get to be this happy on a daily basis?
10/28 Direct Link
I owe J & H. Instead of going to Cork as expected they’ve booked a room in Dublin so that John and I can continue being together. Can anyone be that cool? We meet for lunch and then I’m off to the Paul Brady show. Too much smoke in Vicar Street drives me out earlier than I would have liked but I catch up with the guys and feel at home. Gogarty’s has become the only place to be. Using James’ name has given me a good in with the musicians and, embarrassingly, I have songs dedicated to me. Yipes!
10/29 Direct Link
I meet Louise for lunch and drag John along, needing someone to meet him and prove to me that this is real. She’s happy and engaged and understanding of what I’m feeling with John. I think back to all that has happened in the wake of my wandering into Thady Con’s last January and am in awe of what was set in motion. I owe my life to that day and that choice. Did I finally get it right? Are all of the paid dues coming back now in a karmic wave? Am I really allowed to be this happy?
10/30 Direct Link
Coming home is jarring and strange. The tears in John’s eyes last night almost made me just abandon everything in New York to stay with him. But we’ve already planned a return in December and I feel oddly strong, not even crying myself until I’m on the plane and listening to Paul Brady sing “The Island” which we heard someone at Gogarty’s perform. But for now I’m alright. The turbulence on the plane doesn’t even jar me. If I’m going to go, let it happen like this – when I’m satisfied with my life. And for the first time I am….
10/31 Direct Link
Back to work and what passes for real life. We e–mail all day. I go to Paddy Reilly’s and he gets up at an impossible hour to tune in. The boys give me a fair amount of shit but even John R. takes it seriously. The last time anyone loved me this much I screwed it up. I repeat to myself that I will NOT make the same mistake again. There is no point if I can’t get it right this time. The 3,500 miles between us are nothing compared to my capacity for paranoid thought and stupid choices.