Eight things full of memory and meaning

For fun, and because I’ve been spending a lot of time lately thinking about all the places I’ve been these last few years.

1. “Into the Airwaves,” by Jack’s Mannequin. Makes me think of sitting on the floor in my first apartment watching someone try to fix my computer. I’ve always been drawn to the evocative quality of his first album. One song on it has inspired two (totally different) short stories, though at least for the moment, this one brings back the strongest memory—though I’m not entirely convinced the memory is real the same way it is in my head.

2. “All These Things that I’ve Done,” by The Killers. I love this song, and this song brings back lots of small happy moments (more impressions really), but it also brings back one very sad one. My second party while I was in Spokane, I helped pick a song, then turned down an invitation, and had one hell of a bad night.

3. Wicked, by Gregory Maguire. I’ve read this book a few times, and I loved it. In graduate school, however, in front of the professor I most respected and wanted to impress, I named this as the best book in the past twenty years—not because I thought it was a great answer, but because it was the only work of literary quality I’d read from the past twenty years. Since then, I’ve made a real effort to keep up with modern literature. I’m rereading this book now, and I’m hoping that it’s sparkle doesn’t dim for me, but so far it’s only good, not great.

4. Cold days, when the heating vents turn on in the morning. Our dog Jack used to love when the vents came on, and he’d run over and curl up over top of the vent. That in turn always reminded me of when I was a little girl and would do the same thing while my dad got my breakfast (Cheerios with brown sugar) ready for me.

5. Morrill Hall. I once spent a fall afternoon wandering around campus with a camera and a friend, and he took some cool pictures of me on the steps of Morrill Hall. Art, beauty, friendship—and now I hear they’re going to tear the building down.

6. Girls to the Rescue, by Bruce Lansky. I’m not even sure I still own a copy of this book of fairy tales (all of which have the females as heroines rather than damsels in distress), but I still think of it from time to time—and whenever I hear the word persnickety. I took this book to an MSU football game once, and it poured, and I tucked myself completely under my poncho and ate a bag on M&Ms while I read this book.

7. My senior year varsity soccer sweatshirt. And it’s not for the reasons you might think. I left this sweatshirt at the home of this guy I liked (though to this day I can’t tell you what I saw in him beyond someone else to help keep me as down on myself as possible), and after I finally broke away from his abusive attitude, I gave up on ever getting it back. And then one day it was left at my work for me. Then, a few months later, a friend of mine mentioned this guy in the context of having seen my ex-boyfriend, and I flipped out. I still can’t look at the sweatshirt, and I swear it still smells a bit like that house, but I’ve hidden it away against the day that it brings the good memories of soccer success again.

8. Long stretches of highway vanishing into the horizon. While I was in Spokane, feeling so very alone, I used to think that if I only had the guts, I could take the highway all the way home.

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