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Life, Liberty, and the Purfuit of Happineff

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5th November 2006


I've created a new journal.


Clickity-click above and add if it feels right and I'll add you back.

29th October 2006


The Keystone School Garden will be officially born on Sunday, November 5th. The garden features a drip-irrigation system, a two-bin compost system, totally organic practices, and lots of community love.

Other good things include nice folks, big spaces, the future, the past, good teachers, little brothers, Alice from the L Word, hummus, this weather, and songs.

23rd October 2006


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5th October 2006

6:52pm: Free and easy

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Played some pool, rolled in some leaves, made some music, spooned with some cuties. Now I'm back and busy and lacking in work ethic. Like you do.

30th September 2006

2:14pm: Don't wanna be canonized

a) I'm in Santa Fe. Last night One World Coffee Shop had a save-our-business show that lasted until 7 AM. I ended up meeting and playing mandolin with an endearingly shy music major named Mike Lawless. The night also provided for some canoodling- the good kind where you trip and fall and embarass yourself and the other person kisses your hand and makes you feel better. Hubba hubba.

b) I'm scared of the world. I'm scared that I won't be motivated to spontaneity, or to communication or passion or anything but routine. I know that I'm wasting a year in the sick embrace of convention, and I'm afraid that I won't know how to unwaste myself when the circumstances evolve.

20th September 2006

6:41pm: Something in the deli aisle made you cry?

The Blow last night with Architecture in Helsinki. Epic road trip, prime standing area, new friends after the show, the drive home at six AM, punctual arrival at classes this morning. Khaela Maricich, if you're reading this, I'm totally crushin'.

I don't know though. I feel a little dead some days and I don't even realize it until I catch glimpses of the madly living forces on loan from distant metropolises, passing through and making encoded promises about Elsewhere. So I think about where I want to go when I leave and I get scared because what if it's all just fiction, you know? What if the Sears Tower is just stack of ground floors?

12th September 2006


My life is a mess right now. My father is home and he might have cancer and he might not. I won't go into further detail. I don't have anything heartbreaking to say about it anyway. No handsome tragedy, no crushing beauty.

The saddest things always hit you with such unflattering mediocrity.

13th August 2006

8:20pm: The high lonesome sound...

Back in Texas, where my littlest brother, from a throw-pillow fort on the floor, is asking me, "Are you on the rocket, Meagan? Are you on the rocket?"

I left the Neck early and went down to Portland to see Max Pitegoff for the first time in two years. We sat on Munjoy Hill above Casco Bay, just smoking Nat Shermans and watching the sails. A good way to bid farewell to Maine, I'll say.

So no more farming for this lady. Only academia from here on out, and maybe some Netflix. Yes, baby brother, I believe I am on the rocket.

11th August 2006

12:32pm: Give no retort, leave everybody guessing.

Today was beautiful. I harvested fresh tomatoes and melons. We had a fresh farm lunch. I have a fresh academic year ahead. Margaret walkie-talkied from wherever she was weeding to say that the pollen-pods blowing off a nearby tree looked like a thousand tiny helicopters.

Then, as I was throwing my full bodyweight onto a broadfork at the perimeter of the cucumber bed, a Strange Rain rolled in. It was the kind of Rain in response to which my old West-Texas Grandmother would have exclaimed, "Christ-almighty, the Devil's whoopin' his wife!" (Brad only said, with crisp, unaffected articulation, "Hm, Strange Rain.")

Status: Sad to leave Maine & positive about going back to Texas. Currently compiling a list of resolutions in my head.

10th August 2006

5:39pm: May your place be set, may your promises be kept...

I should really buckle down and enjoy my last few days in beautiful, agrarian Maine, with its sunlight hours growing shorter and its blueberry rash a-spreading, before they slip into yesterness. But first I have to stop feeling so unloved and unlovable. Cue violins.

6th August 2006

8:44pm: Today has been the most rewardingly grueling day.

Up at the mostly arbitrary time of 5:41 and off to chores, where the cow kicked over the bucket and the chickens shat on my boots. After breakfast I played some touchy-feely folk music for the usual sunday service held on the Neck, then fell into a drooling slumber in the grass on the quad.

We got the call to attend a bailing, so I packed into a truck with my diabetic, liberal-arts educated co-farmer Brad and my teenage, bald-headed co-farmer Lilly. We were greeted at our destination by a wriggling little haymutt, tongue lapping at my chickenshit boots, and a pair of turkey-necked, beet-knuckled Mainers with gleaming buttcracks and twinlike grey stubble.

The others arrived and we all sat in the shade of a row of old pickups drinking lemonade while the bailer's son, glistening with machismo under hayfilthy jeans and a dirty straw hat, ran the hay tetter through the field once over.

Then the machine broke and the bailer, asscheeks like a pair of harvest moons, pun noted, set to work fixing it. His lobsterhued wife handed him lugnuts and wrenches with exasperated sighs as he cursed under the growling twine-spool.

By the time we started to load the bails, the day had begun to wane. Preempting the hayflecks that threatened to chaffe our nipples, Lilly and I removed our bras, plopped them next to Brad in the driver's seat of the Ford, and began to lug the forty-pound bails, titties afly.

We loaded bails 'till seven, unloaded 'till eight, and deliberated 'till eight-thirty over whether or not we should risk accepting damp bails for the second load. [PSA: Wet hay is prime real-estate for bacteria (see composting), and if left unattended, can become so hot that it actually combusts and lights all of your other hay, and subsequently your barn, on fire. We decided to forgo the damp bails.]

When we got back to the Neck for the evening, Brad's wife Emily had pizza and root beer waiting for us, so we all took off our haystuffed shoes and ate like slumpy ragdolls in Brad's living room while his seven-year-old nephew repeated the phrase "rip roarin' rootin' tootin'" in various contexts.

And now I'm here. And I'm ready to go to bed. And I'm ready to wake up at 5:41 again tomorrow, because that's what my alarm is set to, and that's how I like it. Glory, I love this place.

2nd August 2006


Today the weather went from sweltering to thunderstorming. A lot of nice things happened today, among them harvesting, swimming, playing music, and a potluck with some organic small-farm apprentices, but, having decided upon waking that today was going to be a terrible day and having resigned myself to that notion well before noon, I was not swayed one bit by the various glimmers of quaintness.

Slow down, brain! It's the company I've been keeping and the work I've been doing, and the absolute grandeur of every decision, and being surrounded by unyielding prime-of-life panic. This is what it's like to live and work in the company of post-undergrad twenty-somethings.

30th July 2006



My weekend in terms of songs by The Softies

  • Splintered Hands- I got lots of tiny cuts from harvesting squash and cucumbers.
  • Tracks and Tunnels- Roisin (pronounced ro-sheen) showed up via bus from Boston.
  • Hello Rain- It stormed all night and we talked by the garden shed and hung our clothes up to dry.
  • The Best Days- We borrowed a car and drove north and sat out on the rocks by the lighthouse watching the sails.
  • Sleep Away Your Troubles- We slept in the yurt and spooned.
  • Perfect Afternoon- We lay on the bridge with the frogs and lillypads and we played music with nice friends.
  • Pack Your Things and Go- We borrowed another car and I drove her to her bus stop at Huber's Market.
  • Me and the Bees- I am tired and I miss her.
  • Excellent- But I'm ready to resume farming tomorrow, bright and early. Squash waits for no man.

26th July 2006


I am back in Maine and I am happy! I love my farm crew. I love harvesting. I love drinking lemonade on the porch with my fellow workers after a twelve hour day. I love feeling bone-tired and muscle-sore and accomplished.

As for the summer camp aspect of the Neck, I don't know how I feel about little boys wiping their ill-formed boogers on all my old furniture.

18th July 2006

9:55pm: Your text that would incite a light, "Be lit!"

An intergral element of my life at present, and probably the reason why I can't seem to stay settled, is the never-ending quest to figure out what I like, and consequently how I should conduct my mighty little life.

I like the ski basin in the summer, sans snow and spandex. I like being dangerously close to falling in love, and I like talking on the phone for two hours to prove it. I like mixtapes and quaking aspen and the smell of fire. I like hummus and ginger ale. I like figuring out the chords to songs. I like naps.

15th July 2006

2:00pm: We are what we are, get in the goddamn car

I have an inappropriate habit of hurtling my romantic feelings over really tall hierarchical fences. I'm a poor navigator of theoretical boundaries, I guess.

10th July 2006

10:42am: Sweeter than a drop of blood from a sugarcube

There has been one unambiguous motif to my reactions to everything that's happening around me, and that is an overbearingly cliche cocktail of fear and excitement about personal responsibility and pending adulthood.

As it turns out, someone on ye olde farm crew in Maine has unexpecedly bailed and I was offered the position for the end of the summer. So I'll be in Maine from late July to mid August. Though it lacks the gritty chutzpah of the Southwest, New England is charming in its own right. And I just keep coming back.

29th June 2006

2:06pm: Horses and parades in passing

Stayed up all night with my co-workers and caught breakfast for probably the only time all session. Walked around the pond into the early morning, played scrabble in the Student Union, made a boat out of furniture, asked each other, "What's the most romantic thing that's ever happened to you?"

Around 4:30 AM it occurred to me in plain English that as much as I'm not interested in letting cultural paradigms dictate my thoughts and actions (yadda-yadda), I'm equally uninterested in being a living response to all that.

I'm just so tired of irony and subversion. I could use some humility and simplicity and frankness. And kindness.

We stumbled upon the community garden last night and tiptoed around the leafy beds. I'd like to see it by light of day. I think I'll go this afternoon. Perhaps I will find something very good there.

24th June 2006

10:16am: Drunk on a couch in Nashville in a duplex near the reservoir

Finally, I am nestled and cozy in the high, plush, foggy Berkshires. The rain is just the way I remembered it.

Some highlights in recent memory include being stood up by Karl Blau and Your Heart Breaks, a little bit of dancin' and romancin' on the sidewalks of Albuquerque, and two lovely people knocking on my window late at night.

My friends are really gay. And it's good to feel giddy and nervous and excited again.

I now await some rudimentary R.A. training and the swift arrival of legions of young minds yearning to be molded into literary juggernauts.

17th June 2006

5:23pm: Summer flowers

Market again today, and I fell in love more than once.

"The rutabaga is a dollar a head," means I'll do anything for you, and "It's the second harvest of kale this growing season," means Let's get hitched.

16th June 2006

5:21pm: Currently or recently:

Farminfarminfarmin'. And dragonflies from the bosque swollen as big as chickenfeet.

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And also the long-awaited reunion with that metallic saint, and those creeping cooling nights, and the way we all collapse into the yucca and pay silent homage to our irrelevance and inability to ever touch anything. And the way we're satisfied with all that because it's not really worth it to be anything else. Yeah, and friends, and being brave.

10th June 2006

1:01pm: The girls of the nineteen-nineties formed an army of belly dancers

My life feels pretty charmed. Yesterday was my first day farming at Camino de Paz, and it's beautiful. I weeded the berry gardens, did some carpentry, bunched some turnips, peeled some garlic, and generally prepared for market.

Then today I took the produce to market and met all sorts of friendly people and sold out by 11 am. There's nothing like sitting in the shade and listening to the marketplace chatter: Oh, these sugarsnaps are so much bigger than last year; what do you do to make them so hearty? and I hear you're having problems with the grasshoppers this season; you should ask so-and-so about his flock of guinea hens, and Do you know if anybody is selling bundled cilantro? Does anyone have a late crop of radishes this year? Where can I find whole artichokes? And everyone is so nice and people use recycled bags. I could do it every day.

My new friends Molly and Greg from Camino de Paz told me about a contradance tonight at Oddfellows Hall. I'm going. Maybe I can find someone there who can propel my mandolin skills to the next level.

6th June 2006

5:04pm: We won't stop until somebody calls the cops

Sunday was my last night in San Antonio for a while. Annabelle and I went down by the shallow creek in between the railroad tracks and the zoo and listened to the cicadas and the stray cats chasing fireflies. Then more friends arrived, and trees were climbed, and plums eaten, and the old libraries revisited.

Then there was an airplane and a straw cowboy hat, and that old familiar drive through the desert. We had no air conditioner and Morgan drove too fast over the bumps just past Bernalillo on the way to Santa Fe and I laughed and wiped the sweat from my brow and sang songs in the back seat with Jenny.

And last night, in celebration, we all danced on pool tables and in sandboxes and I said to Ari, 'Look at these splinters in my palms, just like last summer up in the mountains, under the statue of Saint Francis.' And we couldn't stop listening to that one song, and my boots fell apart at the soles and I thought that life's terribly absurd but, and, and I like it that way.

It is now officially that season where these things happen. Thank heavens.

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