I know, I’ve been inexplicably missing. WHAT HAVE I BEEN DOING WHERE HAVE I BEEN AM I OK?
Yep, I’m ok. Busy few days, yo.
There was the wedding of panic-attacks (I did end up leaving right after the ceremony; thank you all for your kind comments. The ceremony was beautiful. Utterly gorgeous. I’m so glad I made myself go to that part, at least. I was sobbing throughout – but it was only maybe 50% panic-attack crying. The other 50% was seeing two people I love so, so much marrying one another; making that leap into the forever with each other. I’ve known the bride for almost a decade now, the groom for three years, and I don’t know if I know two people who are more well-matched. The universe got it right when it put the two of them in the same place at the same time that day three years ago so they could meet. Sincerely.)
Then there was work on Saturday, which wasn’t INSANE, just BUSY (usually it’s so bad I want to collapse and weep after, so that was ok.) I then ran home and made ALL THE COOKIES.
Why, do you think, did I make all the cookies? I mean, it’s not like a single person could eat all these cookies alone, could they? So what, exactly, could have been my impetus for ALL THIS BAKING?
(Yes, they were as good as they looked, thank you very much. I’m an EXCELLENT baker. I kind of half-ass everything else, but I take my baking VERY seriously. Ghirardelli chocolate chips and EVERYTHING, you guys. I’m not screwing around with my cookies. That’s not a euphemism.)
Well! I made all these cookies for a VERY GOOD REASON:
SUNDAY WAS LAURA DAY!
Laura is one of my fellow Booksluts. We’ve known each other for a while, and I knew she lived in New York, but it was kind of just a thing I KNEW, not something I was all ABOUT. (I’m easily distracted, leave me alone.) Well, Laura is moving away soon, and we started talking about it, and I realized…well, shit. Laura lives two hours from me. When she moves, she’ll be STATES away from me. It’d be FOOLISH not to take a drive on a lovely summer day for a couple of hours to meet someone I very much wanted to meet and talk to face-to-face, right?
Let me talk to you a little about Laura. Laura is a brilliant writer. Not just her reviews, but her creative writing. Listen, you guys – she’s about to blow UP. Give it a year or two? You’re going to be like “Oh, Laura? From the Booksluts? The one who has an award-winning short-fiction collection out? Yeah, I knew her when.” I know that sounds really over-the-top (and I’m a total exaggerator) but in this case, I’m not exaggerating in the least. The woman can WRITE. She has these words and phrases in her that are so bright and so crisp and so fresh – I can’t even tell you. Here, read one for yourself. You’ll see. She has a head full of poetry and words and light and shadow and explosions of wonder.
She’s also funny as hell, quick-witted, kind, and so intelligent that it just makes you so, so happy to talk to her. She’s a total find.
So into the car with the cookies and some beverages for the drive! Off I went to the wild, wild west of New York (where I had never been, actually! Well, I’d been in the area, but not on my own, and not for years, and not from this direction, so it was all new!)
It was a very pretty drive. Very green. There was a river to watch for a lot of it with these weird bridgey things in it that I asked Dad about and he was like, “Those are parts of the old canal system, I think. Cool, right?” and he was so jazzed I’d noticed them. There were funny signs to notice like the signs for things at the rest stops, like the one that touted “FRESH FUDGE!” (as opposed to old, decrepit fudge? Who pulls off the highway for fudge? Good grief, fudge is like the easiest thing to make ever) and another one that said “HISTORY HAPPENED HERE!” (here…at the rest stop? What history could have happened at the rest stop, someone famous peed on the seat? I told Dad that, and he said, “History happened in the AREA, Amy. Not at the REST STOP. You’d be so wacky to go on a trip with. You’re way too literal.”)
I pulled off at a rest stop and nervous-peed (I wonder if, when I’m famous, I’ll get a “HISTORY HAPPENED HERE” sign?) and then I was in Laura’s area! Which is kind of gritty and cool and working-class and I totally want to go back and have an adventure there. (And there’s a ZOO there. You KNOW how I feel about zoos!) And then I was into Laura’s little town! AND THEN I WAS AT LAURA’S HOUSE!
Laura was sitting outside and she was ADORABLE! She was so excited to see me even though I almost butted right into someone’s car when I was parking because I’m awkward, yo. And (this is totally strange) usually, I’m petrified of meeting new people? Even knew people I adore? Like, I almost ran away before meeting Andreas, and we’d been emailing a billion times daily for MONTHS? But I was not the most nervous to meet Laura. I don’t know if it was because I’d used up all my panic from the wedding earlier in the week, or I’m calming down as a human (yeah, right) but I was only a LITTLE nervous. Which was nice. That seemed normal. Who’s not a little nervous when meeting a new person whose writing you admire so, so much and who seems so awesome?
Laura is this…she’s this force of nature. I don’t even know how else to describe her. She’s got this awesome retro look to her, all bobbed hair and red lipstick…but also this rockabilly look that doesn’t even dip a toe into hipster douchebaggery. It’s all Laura. It’s totally original and amazing and she’s so confident in her skin. I was just in utter awe of her. She shines like the sun, you guys. I can’t imagine people NOT wanting to be around her. I would think she would pull people to her like she was the center of the universe and they were all just orbiting her in amazement. You know how people say someone’s an original, and people are all “Yeah, yeah. WHATEVS?” Nope. Laura IS. She’s got this mind that just comes UP with things. And they are FILLED WITH AWESOME. Awesome that shoots off RAINBOW BEAMS. I can’t even describe.
And all of that…it sounds kind of scary, like “ZOMG I WOULD BE DAUNTED BY THIS PERSON!” but NO. Like, the OPPOSITE. She makes you feel immediately welcomed and loved and important and comfortable. The comfort level is IMMEDIATE.
In a sentence – Laura: I liked her very much.
Laura and I met up at about 11. We spent the day talking. We did eat at one point (in-between talking – she is an AMAZING cook, and the cookies were a hit!) but mostly? We talked. We talked until we got gravelly-voiced with it and then we talked more. We talked about books and writing and people we both know and people we didn’t know; we talked about both problems and things we were rejoicing in; we talked about huge things, and we talked about tiny things. We talked, which led to more talking, and that would lead to another thread of talking, and we’d be off on ANOTHER thread of talking. We’d talk until we were like “OMG I HAVE GOT TO PEE” and then run off to alternate bathrooms and pee and then meet back up for MORE talking.
I was planning on leaving around 3. Then 3 came and went, so I planned on 4. Then 4 came and went. At 4:45, I was like “ZOMG I HAVE TO GO!” because poor Laura had a party to throw AT HER HOUSE and I was taking up ALL HER TIME. But the talking. SO MUCH TALKING. Like, important talking. The kind where you have your heavy load, and the other person also has theirs? And you say, “Hey, I’ll help you carry yours, if you help me with mine, you cool with that?” and when you each shoulder the other person’s load, it’s like that load, it’s so, so light now. It’s like it’s almost not there anymore. That kind of talking…that kind of person…how often does that happen?
(Also, Laura lives in an awesome old house that has the best energy ever, and people were in and out and there was so much love in that house and it was so safe and so warm. It was home. That was a home. I was just beaming the whole time. Oh, AND? I wore a skirt. ON PURPOSE. And you know what? I LIKED IT. I think more skirts and/or dresses will be worn by me in the future of my life.)
Leaving was very sad. Because – well, listen. A lot of you are internet people. How often do you click with other internet people? Or with ANY new people? As you get older, it’s harder to get that click. When we’re young, we make friends left and right…but when we grow up, we get shut off. Our hearts die, you know? The Breakfast Club got that part right. We don’t trust as readily. We see people as competition, not potential allies, or even friends.
Laura was a click. Laura was a TOTAL click. A big old click, and it was so sad to leave.
However, I will see her soon; she’s coming to see ME, for a whole WEEKEND, and we’re having a huge Albany adventure. Shopping and theater and all the food and I’m going to tour her around Albany until she either falls in love with it, or is all, “Amy. YOU ARE OBNOXIOUS. STOP.”
I then drove home and marvelled at the pretty drive again and then I was here and Laura wrote this very nice post about me HERE, which made me a little weepy, and Andreas’ comment made me even MORE weepy, and how do I know the best people ever? How is this even a thing? I don’t deserve this at all.
(At one point in our day of fantasticness, Laura was all serious-faced “Listen, and ABSORB this: YOU ARE KIND OF A BIG DEAL.” And that made me be all “Nah.” Then I was all “blush.” Then I was all “Nah” again. Because who can’t take a compliment? That’d be me. But my dearest Laura: I promise, even if it hasn’t sunk in yet, it is in my head. It is not forgotten.)
Counting the days til I see you again, Laura. You are magic and wonder and joy and fantasticness and light, and I am so, so happy I know the person behind the beautiful words now. Because the person behind the words? Is more beautiful than the words are. And those words are pretty damn beautiful, so how beautiful does that make that person? Thank you for an amazing day. Thank you so, so much.