I fucked up – a lot. I wrote stupid shit, went through a weary, six-month writer’s block, had a general malaise about life and the ‘impending doom’ soon-to-come, been overly melodramatic, i.e cried in the laps of my roommates over people who never mattered in the first place, drank a lot, a lot, a lot, picked up bad habits and in general made a lot of mistakes that still cause me to cringe and my toes to curdle in the shower.
But I also did a lot of things I’m really proud of. For the first time in a long time, I’ve felt like a real journalist. I called people and demanded they gave me an answer; I read about revolutions and uprisings and revolts and decided to do something about it. I came to terms with the notion that it’s okay in knowing exactly what I want and refusing to settle until I found it. I’ve had long, heartfelt, sublime letter correspondences with people dear to me, all of whom still find it necessary to preserve the written word. I’ve also had thought-inducing IRL relationships with people I told to piss off in the first place, but now can’t imagine them not embedded in my daily wonderings. I finally decided to take poetry seriously and with the encouragement of my friends and M.Burkard, publish something that is defiantly mine. I also finally decided to stop taking writing so fucking seriously and just write. Just write for me, just write because it makes me happy, just write because it is therapy and just write because it is grueling and yet, so imperative in who I am and want to be as a person.
2011 was the year of pants. Trousers! Cropped! Minnies! Cafe! Pants with stockings pants with socks/ pants with printed tights / pants with no tights. Pants pants, and more pants. In 2011 I started living with five boys who diluted my rigidness. Handed me tissues, jumped on the couch, pushed back my hair, pulled out the shot glasses and said, ‘angie, life’s a shitshow, just have fun with it.' In 2011, I got so plastered on Gin in Maine that I threw up all over Andrew's mom's tea cottage. I woke up hungover, with vomit in my hair and Ed wiping down my puke. And now, I can't have Gin anymore. But I do have a good story to tell.
And that’s exactly it. All great stories.
"I hope you will have a wonderful year, that you’ll dream dangerously and outrageously, that you’ll make something that didn’t exist before you made it, that you will be loved and that you will be liked, and that you will have people to love and to like in return. And, most importantly (because I think there should be more kindness and more wisdom in the world right now), that you will, when you need to be, be wise, and that you will always be kind."
-Neil Gaiman (I’ve posted this quote before, maybe even twice, but I just find it so beautiful and appropriate everytime the new year arrives. What two better things to be, than to be wise, and kind?)
"I’ve had good times with some bad guys. I’ve told whole lies with a half smile."
Cheerleader, by St. Vincent, “Strange Mercy” (2011)
"If being restored to life doesn’t count as something that doesn’t kill you, then what does? And yet there seems no meaningful sense in which it made Sidney Hook “stronger.” Indeed, if anything, it seems to have concentrated his attention on the way in which each debilitation builds on its predecessor and becomes one cumulative misery with only one possible outcome. After all, if it were otherwise, then each attack, each stroke, each vile hiccup, each slime assault, would collectively build one up and strengthen resistance. And this is plainly absurd. So we are left with something quite unusual in the annals of unsentimental approaches to extinction: not the wish to die with dignity but the desire to have died."
Trial of the Will by Christopher Hitchens, published in Vanity Fair (January 2012)
So, here, for what it’s worth, ladies and gentlemen of the Class of 2011, is my graduation advice. Some of you will say, “This is a fantasy. Pay this man no attention,” but hey, you invited me, so here’s what I’ve got:
If you can… fall in love, with the work, with people you work with, with your dreams and their dreams. Whatever it was that got you to this school, don’t let it go. Whatever kept you here, don’t let that go. Believe in your friends. Believe that what you and your friends have to say… that the way you’re saying it – is something new in the world.
And don’t stop. Just hold on… and keep loving what you love… and you’ll see. In the end, they’ll let you stay.
Robert Krulwich, Commencement Speech at UC Berkeley’s Journalism School, May 7th 2011