You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your
knees for a hundred miles through the
desert, repenting. You only have to let the soft
animal of your body love what it loves. Tell me about despair, yours, and I
will tell you mine. Meanwhile the world goes on. Meanwhile the sun and the clear
pebbles of the rain are moving across the landscapes, over the prairies and the deep
trees, the mountains and the rivers. Meanwhile the wild geese, high in
the clean blue air, are heading home again. Whoever you are, no matter how
lonely, the world offers itself to your
imagination, calls to you like the wild geese,
harsh and exciting– over and over announcing your
place in the family of things.
Artwork above is You Are Not Alone by the incredible April Deacon. Go see more of her work here and be thrilled.
And get yourself a Mary Oliver collection why don't you? She makes me swoon.
Step Two: Avoid a mess by cutting head and arm holes into a trash bag and making a protective tunic.
Step Three: In a shallow ceramic bowl combine one part powder bleach with one part 20 volume creme developer. Mix these with your long tinting brush from Sally Beauty Supply. Are you wearing gloves? Great!
Step Four: Paint the bleach mixture onto the bottom five inches of your hair. There's no turning back now. Open a window and let it sit for 25 minutes, or until your hair starts to feel and look like straw. Rise the bleach out. Dry your hair carefully.
Step Five: Take a picture of your trendy new ombre 'do.
Step Six: Consider just stopping at this point. Isn't this the boost you were after? Doesn't this look cute enough? Spend some time feeling OK about this while you watch the Internet.
Step Seven: Start to meditate on your lost punk youth, specifically the bright colors you wore to match your spritely teenage personality. Think about how happy and how simple it was to sit with your best friend Lauren, watching The Real World London and eating frozen lasagna while she carefully tinted your hair violet or fuchsia. Recall how when you became an adult you made a big show about renouncing your former colorful look, declaring something vague about beauty on the inside. Think of the years you spent being studiously dull looking, buying your clothes from Old Navy and letting your hair become long and brown and forgettable because what did you have to prove? Remember how wrong it felt to look into a mirror a see such a bland reflection, but how silly you thought it would be to have pink hair at your age.
Step Eight: Get over yourself.
Step Nine: Put your trash bag back on. Start painting dye onto the bleached tips of your hair, layering the light pink Manic Panic at the top with the deeper Punky Color toward the bottom, creating an ombre effect similar to what you did for your ikea lampshade. Try not to think too much about how you are carefully matching your hair to a lamp...
Step Ten: Tape the bottom end of the trash bag to your shoulders to trap the mess you've made and avoid it getting onto your nice things (like the white sofa you got from Craigslist that was originally from Pottery Barn, aka Grownup Land.)
Step Eleven: While you are waiting for the dye to set, consider whether or not you think pink hair is actually about youth. Make the argument that it is more about brightness and beauty and living the one life you have in a way that feels honest and fun.
Step Twelve: Realize that no one is arguing with you.
Step Thirteen: Rinse your hair in the sink until the water runs clear.
Step Fourteen: Begin to dry your hair with a dark towel. Get overly excited. Take a laptop picture to send to your sister while everything is still wet. Start to feel like some sort of rock star. Get suddenly embarrassed about being so happy over something silly and superficial like pink hair. Wrestle with your feelings while you put your shoes on to go walk the dog. Realize on your walk that you have a spring in your step. Take the long way, feeling the sun on your shoulders and the soft breeze in your colorful ponytail. Come back home and look in the mirror.
We flew to Iowa City this past weekend. It looked like this:
We stayed with our wonderful friends Will and Kerry.
This is a 'can we please get some coffee' photo
They have a very noble and handsome dog named Winston, who is about the cuddliest Vizsla known to man. He and Loki happen to be best friends. Someday they will be reunited and it will be like this.
We spent Friday afternoon with our dear friends John and Beth and their absurdly adorable one-year-old Margaret.
And their cats Max and Irma.
They served us gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches and potato chips and opened a giant bottle of champagne. We all hung out on the screened porch overlooking their lovely garden talking and eating until the sun got low.
Margaret sat happily in her little chair at the table, feeding herself peas and bananas and little macaronis, and we couldn't help but marvel at her comportment. It's like she read that French parenting book herself and knew just how to impress us.
That night we met up with a gaggle of old MFA buddies at the neighborhood writer bar, and I'll spare you those pictures except for this one, which is a tarot card reading by my friend Rachel. It happily informed me that I am supposed to chill out and stop driving myself crazy over my book.
Also that my spirit animal is a majestic flaming eagle, and that's pretty cool.
After the bar we tucked into a late night rom-com with Will and Kerry, which hit the spot after a long day of reunions.
The next day was sort of gray and rainy, so we hung out indoors, had lunch, maybe watched another rom-com, and then headed back to John and Beth's to celebrate Beth's birthday with pizza and a delicious selection of rosés.
Did I mention John is a wine distributer? :)
We met up with a few more friends after that, and pushed through the night in order to catch our 4 am taxi to the airport. We were pretty delirious by the time we got to Chicago around 6:30. The morning light in the airport looked pretty to me as we spread out on some benches to try and get some layover sleep.
It was too short a visit, really. We miss our friends already!