Friday, May 27, 2005


I went to bed last night at 6:30 am.

Not because I was writing papers.
Not because I was reading.
Not because I was studying for an exam.

Just because I wanted to.
Just because I stayed outside Willard to talk to friends.
Just because I climbed up on the roof and watched the sun rise with a friend.
Just because.

An incoming freshman's mother emailed me about Willard because she saw my picture up as being a fireside chair on the website. I emailed her back, two weeks late, with every intent of making a short email explaining that she should email current fireside chairs and just say that Willard is pretty-cool-I-guess.

As I got writing, I found myself writing her an epic of an email, professing my love for a dorm that is full of people with such passion for life and enthusiasm to do the more unusual and most amazing things. I am so lucky, I realized, to be living here. I am lucky that for two years of my college experience, I've gotten to know the people I think are the most amazing people on this campus.

There's something about the culmination of a relatively disappointing last few weeks with finding new amazing people who refresh you when you begin to feel burnt out that is incredible. I have my oldest, newest, closest and best friends here around me, and I feel so lucky.

From running into the lake, to pudding wrestling; from winter quarter dance parties, to spring quarter euchre; from White Hen runs, to wine cleaning parties; from late nights talking in the Mouse Trap, to early mornings watching the sun rise; from throwing things from windows, to sneaking on roofs; from breaking into SAGA, to breaking into attics; from Quad parties, to Franzia/drum corps parties; from sitting by the radiator with honeynut cheerios, to cheesy movies on tiny futons; from knocking on walls to communicate with friends through rooms, to AIM'ing people next door; from extreme billards, to ultimate frisbee; from late night trips to the beach, to romps in the snow; from long ass dorm meetings, to crazy ass central meetings; from the first awkward New Student Week dance party I attended, to the first NSW dance party I helped organize; from the first nerves that exploded in hello, to the ones that blew up in a hug; from smoking cigars outside Willard, to driving with friends with my feet out the window; from the very moment I stepped into this dorm and saw people I knew in line to get their keys with me (Paul Bryan from Preview NU and Grant from Cincy), from the moment I stepped into my tiny ass crotch room freshman year and Jess and I made it work, from the moment I first felt at home and then had to leave it before coming home again, and even right now, thinking that I will be somewhere else next year, I wax nostalgic and feel honored to have shared my first two years of college with these amazing people.

I didn't intend for this to be my "Holy Shit! I'm Almost Half-Way Done With School!" entry, but it might have ended up being that.


Sunday, May 22, 2005

A Thought From Lake Michigan

The trick is that you take your hands and make a frame through which to see the world. Survey the entire horizon through that frame, slowly. In each crest and fold and dip and wave of life in front of you, there is a place that is yours. All you have to do is step through that frame and claim it.


Friday, May 13, 2005


"I don't want to be a flower," I told my mom as I slid into the station wagon's passenger seat. "I want to be a tree."

My mom smiled and her eyes flashed as she looked at me. "What do you mean?"

That day in my third grade class, Mrs. Perkins had told me I could be a flower.

The specifications of why I could be a flower now escape me. I think it involved something about being pretty or smart or really standing out. Standing out--like a flower? Flowers never struck me as really standing out.

"But I wanna be a tree."

"But flowers are prettier."

I let myself go labeled as a flower, if just briefly, and sat thinking seriously about the foliage matter at hand for the rest of the day. It wasn't until this moment pulling away from Lebanon's Louisa Wright Elementary that I voiced it again.

My mom was quiet and then looked at me as we sat at the stop sign by IGA. She reached her hand around me, running her fingers through my hair. "There's no reason you can't be a tree," she told me.

She was right. There wasn't a reason I couldn't be a tree, if I wanted. Flowers were pretty, sure, but that wasn't for me... to stand around, looking pretty or just doing what everybody else in the grass was doing.
And I guess I never have.


Saturday, May 7, 2005

Hometown Proud

Taken on the surface, small towns are wonderful places.

All is lush green here in Lebanon in May. Lush green spotted with the maroon and white uniforms smudged brown with dirt after a long day of softball. These little maroon and white troops stand in disarray outside the Dairy Queen, flanked by their moms wearing matching two-toned baseball shirts and their dads sporting half-shaven greasy faces that still reek of beer and sweat.

I wonder how I spent 16 years of my life in this one place, doing exactly what these people are doing.

Wearing my maroon and white tennis sweats, standing in line at Dairy Queen, a boyfriend at my side and the keys to my Beetle swinging off my finger.Running about town with John Mayer, Third Eye Blind or Eagle Eye Cherry blasting in the CD player, the sun blinding against the glass-washed windows of the bank and Trish down at the shop on Broadway inquiring after my parents. Swinging on the swingsets down at Harmon Park and going on walks on the golf course late at night.

Did I really do this for 16 years?

The other thing about being home is that there are so few people your age there. You suddenly realize you were unaware of the absence of the 18-23 year-olds in town during the schoolyear. But now that you're back, you notice that they're not around.

The only people around are aged up to 17 or are parents... and that's when it hit me.

Everything is maroon and white here in Lebanon. Everything moves together quietly, even if under the surface there is turbulence, toward some common goal of a town with a purpose. When everyone knows who you are, it's hard not to be part of this community.

Yet, here I am, twenty years old and on my own, essentially. I've been given this opportunity to throw off school colors and punch my fists in the air while breaking free. I don't have to identify with anyone but myself right now, and that's pretty awesome.Somewhere down the line, I might end up in another Lebanon, U.S.A. and I'll port my own child's school colors and stand in line with him at the Dairy Queen. Who knows? But for now, I'm throwing punches at the world and refusing to get tied down in a city where I remain nameless and a campus where, I assume, I remain mostly a mystery.