Friday, May 28, 2010

Friday's Question wonders why the fuck she owns so many books every time she moves

Will I really have the guts to move?

Moving is fucking hard. It really sucks. This is a universal truth, and I don't care what kind of awesome place or life changing moment it was,there are no exceptions. Especially when you read a lot. And aren't very good at throwing things out. And have a zero packing skillz.

I mean, its hard on so many different levels too. Sometimes the worst part is just figuring out you should move. It can be emotional, or financial, or emotionally financial. It can recognizing how bored you are, or that you are too stressed out to keep in the same place. Moving always involves a large portion of self-reflection.

Then there are the actual mechanics of moving. The saving. The selling. The searching. It's exhausting. It's like going through finals. Are you doing a good job? Are you being fooled? Are you mucking this whole thing up and is everyone else secretly laughing at your incompetency? What if you don't get what you want? How long should you hold out? Are you being unrealistic?

Once you've got the place, then without a break it goes right into packing and culling. I love the word cull here, and it's totally what you do. You examine your life room by room and you cull the excess. You have to go through memories and figure out what is no longer important to you. Even if that's just boxes of nail polish or the hair ties in your bathroom cabinet.

So your question, whether or not you will have the guts, is a good one, because you do have to be very brave to move. You must be brave and stoic and persevering. If you are strong and patient, then there will be a week where it escalates, and you are living hand to mouth, bribing your friends for use of their trucks, worrying about keys and utilities, all while being very tired and living off of takeout. But the weariness in your muscles, the worry behind your eyes, will carry you through this cloud of stress like a burst of toxic, charged, ephedrine. Then it will be over, and your friends will leave, and you will be left alone, the sole resident(s) of this new empty clean place. Before you unpack you will relish sitting in the middle of the empty floor and imagining how everything will be rearranged and new. You will make vows to keep things clean, and look for paint, and buy lightbulbs. It will be lovely. It will be exciting.

So I think the fact that you recognize what this involves, means you have a very good chance. After all, you can't stay in the same place forever.

If you had to leave forever, what would you miss most about Cleveland and why?

Here is what I think about this. I think the people you find here are the people you find everywhere. I think the bars and scenes and streets exist everywhere. I think our characters are the same characters that populate every city. There's nothing inherently special about the man made parts of Cleveland. I like them, sure, but I know other places I can find them.

So once you take all that junk out of the equation what you have left is the land. The contours of the land, and the water sources, and the climate. The seasons. I remember when I lived in Phoenix, for the first part of my stay I was fascinated by how different being in the desert was. The dry heat. The colored gravel in front yards instead of grass, the cactus and palm trees. The first time I saw a thunderstorm that was so high up in the sky, the rain was actually evaporating before it hit the ground. The lightning, oh god the lightning was SO fucking good. When we went out past the city, into the vast nothingness of red and scrub, and then standing in the middle of white cracked ground at night under the moon. I loved it.

Okay yes, I still love it. But I couldn't live there. It was wonderful, but it wasn't where I was born to live. I was born to live in deciduous forests, with dramatic valleys and rivers and a huge magical lake always pointing North. I need blue skies and green, and mud and decaying leaves. Mostly I need soft big shapes to my landscape, curves and corners.

I think Ohio is beautiful. Everywhere you go in the state is glorious, overgrown and fertile and wet. There's so much water. There are caves, and glacial rock deposits. Islands. Even in the city here, there's a deep valley with steep cold rockfaces. There are bare big beaches. There's a placid rolling river going straight through our center. I love the lay of the land here. I understand why, despite it's being a fucking swamp, the original settlers wanted this place.

So that's what I would miss most.
Now I want to go read O Pioneers again.

Ask me anything.


  1. i SO know what you're talking about. we moved right before xmas last year and it was the WORST fucking experience OF. MY. LIFE. we were displaced for almost 2 weeks, living out of boxes and sleeping on pull-outs. the majority of the shit we ended up living "around" during that time were books as well.
    as refreshing it can be to purge or cull, the whole time i just kept telling myself: i will NEVER move again.
    yeah. right.
    also, ive never been to ohio, let alone cleveland, but your description of the locale has the traveller in me very intrigued!
    cleveland has actually been on my list of places to visit (r&r hall of fame, yo) for when i finally take my month long roadtrip. whenever that should be...

  2. Well listen, here's the trick to really getting the best parts. Remember that Cleveland is in Ohio, and without experiencing the Ohio around it, you don't get the full picture of what its like to live here. And you have to go to the Great Lakes Maritime Museum in Vermillion, and look at shipwreck dioramas.

  3. Nest time I move I think I am just lighting everything on fire and starting fresh.

  4. I'm not sure if moving is brave or stupid. Probably both. Like parachute pants.

  5. I live "on the Ohio". Does that count? Bwahaha. Kentucky has very similar landscape to Ohio, very rolling, lush, green. Our winters are milder than yours. Our springs a little less wet than yours. I will let you take my place. I am going West, passing up Arizona, heading for the San Diego. Just have to wait for Drama Queen to finish school. I've been doing this countdown for 2 years already! Gah!!

  6. I love Kentucky, but I can't move move more than 5 miles from the lake or I will turn back into a mermaid. And die.


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