Dear Grace

Hey, sista shasty.

Dear Grace,

I love that you are an illegal migrant worker on a garlic farm in New Zealand. Location aside, it’s very Steinbeck of you. I wish you were here, but more accurately, I wish I was there. The coast looks like a rustic fairytale. Just don’t get picked up by the border patrol or anything.

I’m starting to think now that you may never see us or our place in Charlottesville. This is a depressing thought. You get back from Nepal in July, have a few weeks at home, and then you jet off to university. This leaves very little time for you to traipse around C’ville with me, stocking up at the farmers’ market and terrorizing the general Belmont neighborhood with our conversations conducted entirely in quotes from “Little Women” and “America’s Next Top Model.” I don’t want to dwell on it now, but after you’ve recuperated and readjusted to life in America, Priority Number One is getting you up here.

Things you have missed while you’ve been harvesting in the fields: Taza finally had her baby, but hasn’t named it yet (I’m personally pulling for Moonbeam Anthropologie Davis); “30 Rock” continues to be the light and joy of our lives, excepting only Reuben; Guion’s beard; fairly regular quantities of snow and ice; and my reluctant absorption in “Lost.” I know, I know. I swore I’d never watch it, but do you remember who I’m married to? We’re in the fourth season now and I am pretty much hooked, even though I want it to be over. Guion won’t tell me anything (even though I already KNOW that Locke becomes the Smoke Monster).

I have also been eating kale three or four times a week, so you should be proud of me. You’re right; I’m in love. It is the greatest vegetable in the world and yet it’s the cheapest one at Harris Teeter. Well done, Capitalism/Nature.

Thanks for being my sister. Harvest strong. I love you and I pray for you daily. Come home soon.

Kiss kiss,

A.

Five alternate lives

I got to talk to Emily for over an hour on Thursday night and it was SO good to catch up with her; I’ve missed her company a lot. She was telling me about this book she’s been working through, The Artist’s Way. It’s a book created to help artists work through blocks.

One of the exercises she described asked you to write down the five alternate lives you would have liked to have lived (e.g., the careers/vocations you might have pursued that deviate from the path you’re on now). I was thinking about it today, and this is the list I came up with:

1. Australian Shepherd breeder

Australian Shepherd puppies

As totally weird as dog lovers can be, I’ve always been one. I got mocked mercilessly in middle school–by my FATHER–because all I wanted for one birthday was a subscription to the magazine Dog Fancy. (He kept referencing the movie “Best in Show” whenever I got the magazine in the mail, which I hadn’t seen at the time. Now I have and I admit, yeah, those people are weird.) But I wouldn’t breed these dogs to show. I’d breed them because I LOVE these dogs and because I’d love to train them in agility competitions. Or even sheep herding ones. I just think they’re the best dogs around, still.

2. Farmer

 

Guion and me in a few years.

Specifically, I’d like to live somewhere either in North Carolina or even around here in the Shenandoah Valley. Prettiest country around. And I would specialize in either berries or horses. Because I love berries and horses.

3. Graphic designer

Letterpress cards from Seesaw.

This is a skill I’d love to have. I’d love to have a business creating beautiful stationery (and then another one to teach all of the Cool Lady Bloggers how to properly spell “stationery”). Branding companies would also be fun. And I’d definitely want to make my own fonts, too. I’ve always loved fonts.

4. English professor

This is actually my thesis advisor. Hi, Dr. Carlston!

I know it’s hard work and you have to labor six to eight years to do it, but I think I’d really love the life of an English professor. To have a job that’s essentially defined by your love of literature? What more could you ask for? (Cooperative students, better pay, and less academic politics maybe…)

5. Editor at a large, successful publishing house

Streep as Miranda Priestly in "The Devil Wears Prada." Yes, I know she's not a book editor. But still. She's badass.

This one is simultaneously the most ridiculous and the most realistic. Ridiculous because who knows if publishing houses will even EXIST in 10 years; realistic because editing is the path I’ve more or less taken so far. I know editors are somewhat glamorized in film and stories and such, but from what little I’ve seen of it in my internships and work, I think it’s a place I’d like to be. Particularly with fiction. Sorry, Financial Analysts Journal, but you don’t pluck my heart strings.

Common theme in my five answers? All things that people don’t have much use for anymore! The world doesn’t really need more Australian Shepherds, as brilliant as they are. Farmers barely make enough money to survive, much less food. People don’t write handwritten notes anymore, so there’s not a huge demand for expensive letterpress cards. There are probably more wannabe English professors than wannabe English students; grad schools are brimming with them. And, as mentioned above, editors will soon have nothing to edit. Thanks, Interwebs.

But. Even with my semi-dashed dreams, now I’m curious. What about you? What five alternate lives might you have chosen for yourself?