We Are the Normal


Another day that I would like to put up my words as fiction, but instead, the creative non variety will have to do.  It is cold and my hands feel stiff and slow and I am ready to be fast and fleet as fire.

I am reading prompts, perusing memories, and all of a sudden, I think of you.

What makes me special, what makes me real, what makes me me and not some other girl.  And some of that is your strange little friendship with me.  I was young, fourteen or fifteen.  I was in love at the time with Johnny Rzeznik and the Goo Goo Dolls.  I had nearly all their albums.  I must have picked up Hold Me Up along the way.  I remember it started with Iris and that music video which came on VH1 or whatever it was and I found it to be completely compelling.  This emotional, desperate man in something of period-style/distressed/punky looking red leather suit (oxblood is my favorite color) trapped in a tower where he views the world through a telescope had all sorts of fodder for my feverish teenage heart.  Then, because you do this as a fangirl,  I was into their older stuff, when they were this rollicking, searing, self-deprecating punk band that had songs like James Dean which was this melodic moan about “I want to be James Dean / I want to be oversexed and underworked / and look at me I’m such a jerk.”   When you’re a teenager, a song like We Are the Normal feels anthemic.  They had a really weird name.  They were boys, but they weren’t a boy band.

It was a soundtrack to a couple years.  They became something important to me.  I went and saw them a couple times before they eventually lost their luster somehow.  The first GGD show was the first time I’d really stayed out late and been exposed to weed, to live music, to the transcendent experience that it can offer.  I bought stickers and put them on my notebooks.  I bought magazines for Johnny’s face on the cover, I bought a guitar I attempted to learn how to play, I went online and found fellow fan people.

This was how I found you.   You were much older.  You were in your thirties, but you never patronized me.   I was never in love with you, but I was in love with our friendship.  You lived on the East Coast.  I sent you emails and talked about my life, openly, playfully, melodramatically, earnestly.  You were completely supportive about my writing desires.  You talked about being a teacher.  You sent me cassette tapes of rare Goo Goo Dolls interviews, the B-sides I didn’t have yet which I played over and over again, I would put in my walkman and go to school with.  All of it made me feel better in a time when, I was a teenager…I was an outsider…I was this thing.  All of it made me feel connected and alive.

I was young, though.  Too young for the sorts of conversations that we were having, really.  Not that you were ever inappropriate with me.  I’m sure I must have thought something about your attention in that way, but I knew you were married and I knew we were penpals.  That was how I saw it.  I talked casually about our correspondence to my family.  It did make me feel, I suppose, rather cool.

At some point, you let me know that you were cheating on your wife.  You wanted advice from me about it.  This sage, young person who could ply big thoughts into pretty words.  I remember this freaking me out.  I remember being hugely disappointed in you.  I wish that I hadn’t been as moralistic as I was as a kid.  I never saw it that way.    The absolutes were just that absolute.  It hurt me, but mostly, it weirded me out that you wanted me to keep this secret with you.  I know I stopped writing after that.  I also know if you and I had been friends now, I would have reacted differently.  I don’t know if I should have done something else…I was so naive and just young, but I see now how much I’ve tried to replicate the energy we had together over the years.  How much of what I think I need to seek in love, we shared.


All Out of Cleverness

If I wasn’t full to bursting with dinner, I’d want some Powdermilk Biscuits.  You know the kind, comes in the big blue box, gives shy folks the strength to get up and do what needs to be done.

Yesterday’s post was good.  I had some faint idea about poor Lillie needing someone in her terrible life to be kind to her aside from Adrian.  In a short story, you can have two people cling to one another and gloss over the fact that they had days when they were to the grocery store or days when they were in class and not everybody was just hatefully glaring at them.  In a novel form, a bit more of a daily life does start to show through the gaps.  And so these characters are starting to emerge so that Lillie has some support in her life.  And since they’re so new new new, they haven’t really been sculpted or given a backstory, but it’ll be fun to let them play in the murky water of this miserable town.

I also finished, rather abruptly, Assassin’s Creed: Revelations.   Of course, now I’m on tenterhooks to play the last one.   I’m sure if I gave it even twenty-four hours my level of investment would be much less, but in the afterglow, I’m hungry for more of the game’s mythology.  I know I also skipped a ton of sidequests, but, eh.  I’d rather learn more about the underpinnings and ship Shaun and Rebecca some more than go climb buildings.

I ate a big dinner, had way too much Starbucks, am quivering in fear over work tomorrow as a result, but what the fuck can I do about it?  Can’t not go. Can’t change the past.  I need to practice the tapping which I’ve been avoiding because I think it works.  And I’m a genius who is concerned about the way getting better looks rather than just…getting better.


I’m listening to Goo Goo Dolls’ Girl Right Next to Me, from Superstar Carwash – an important album of theirs to me back, way, way back in the day. Back so far that when Johnny Rzeznik sings about having dreams that are 23, I thought that was impossibly worldly and had the cache that now feels so ironic.   I loved that band.  Got high, more or less, for the first time after one of their concerts.  I got dropped off at home and collapsed in the hallway giggling at one in the morning.

What comes next but Miss World by Kate Walsh.  Pertinent lyrics:  “Can I learn to speak boldly when I need to?”

And now, Nelly Furtado’s I’m Like A Bird.  Another song I only would have heard about because we happened to get the Canadian MTV – MuchMusic on our satellite.   Her voice can grate, but I always found this song compelling and I liked this album and bits and pieces of her follow up.  I don’t really follow her.

“I’m like a bird, I only fly away.”

Trial by Fire – ThouShaltNot.  My sister’s band that I don’t follow, but think are SO underrated.  Clever, sharp wordplay, a bit darkwave, I guess, if I want to claim I know what that is, but bubbly and bouncy.

Music is good.  Vital, even.  And in it bears the story of my life.