Sponsored by foundations dedicated to defeating Communism, creative-writing programs during the postwar period taught aspiring authors certain rules of propriety. Good literature, students learned, contains “sensations, not doctrines; experiences, not dogmas; memories, not philosophies.” The goal, according to Bennett, was to discourage the abstract theorizing and systematic social critiques to which the radical literature of the 1930s had been prone, in favor of a focus on the personal, the concrete and the individual. While workshop administrators like Paul Engle and Wallace Stegner wanted to spread American values, they did not want to be caught imposing a particular ideology on their students, for fear of appearing to use the same tactics as the communists. Thus they presented their aesthetic principles as a nonpolitical, universally valid means of cultivating writerly craft. The continued status of “show, don’t tell” as a self-evident truth, dutifully dispensed to anyone who ventures into a creative-writing class, is one proof of their success.
I’m at AM’s house for Thanksgiving, and it was the best decision I could have possibly made.
His family is beautiful. They have such a great relationship; it’s evident in every aspect. Their home is covered in family photos; their decorations are all family crafts. They eat together, hike together, watch TV together. And watching AM and his brother together made me feel like I was back at home, hanging out with my own two brothers, except with a family that didn’t fight.
And I skyped my family, and I just projected my warm feelings onto them.
Is it good that I love them more from afar?
I think I saw for the first time JKm *not* at his prime.
We went to an art exhibit and he just thought it was kind of strange – I could tell he was just bearing with it because I was so excited. And then I had to help set up at a party, and he spent the night kind of down and slightly annoyed – not in any way to make me feel guilty, but he was just not stoked. He was also tired.
He slept over for the first time, which was fine. He went down on me, which was also fine. He was tired and quiet at breakfast.
Just kind of different. I think I’m just surprised because for so long, he’d been so happy to be around me that every time we were together he was on top of the world. Obviously we’re settling into comfort, but it’s just the next stage, I suppose.
From, of course, the Modern Love column of the NY Times:
I took notes on these conversations, snapped photos of card messages and told my favorite shop stories to co-workers, family and friends, but still so much has gotten away. I have lost the Post-its or can’t quite make out what my fragmented notes refer to. Details escape me, and sometimes it seems as if the harder I try to hold on to them, the more blurry they become.
That used to drive me crazy. Shame on me, I thought, to gather so many stories, only to let them go like water through cupped palms. But the beauty, I learned, was that there would always be more, and that made the losing more O.K.
Yes, this article is about adult friendships and I don’t really consider myself an adult, but I still found these words relevant to my life:
By middle-age, people have likely accumulated many friends from different jobs, different cities, and different activities, who don’t know each other at all. These friendships fall into three categories: active, dormant, and commemorative. Friendships are active if you are in touch regularly, you could call on them for emotional support and it wouldn’t be weird, if you pretty much know what’s going on with their lives at this moment. A dormant friendship has history, maybe you haven’t talked in a while, but you still think of that person as a friend. You’d be happy to hear from them and if you were in their city, you’d definitely meet up.
A commemorative friend is not someone you expect to hear from, or see, maybe ever again. But they were important to you at an earlier time in your life, and you think of them fondly for that reason, and still consider them a friend.
The hand hold is a familiar comfort now, as is his fleece jacket, the forehead kisses. We have kissing jokes; making out alternates between being plain fun and actually sexual. I do believe I have my first hickey. We talk about how lucky we were to find each other. We finally went a bit past surface level – he told about his sister’s social anxiety. We talked about going further. He actually offered to go down on me, which is like, how awesome of a boyfriend is he? He held me while I brushed my hair.
Kissing withdrawal after one day.
And WH made out with a girl, apparently – I’m happy for him. I’m happy enough with JKm that I am truly happy for WH.
I called AYl today.
A text from AYl yesterday triggered a 12 – 3am relationship story swap between JJ, DW, and I. And I guess I knew what I had to do.
The call started out rough. My stupid mic was broken, and the serious phone call was awkwardly inhibited by a 5 minute technical difficulties. The video chat was downgraded to a voice call. Clearly the universe was screwing with me.
I came right out and said it: “I’m having feelings for someone here.”
Yes, yes, I know; that’s not the full story. It’s whatever. I can’t hurt him that much.
Partly because I’d pretty much implied that in the tone and frequency of my texts, partly because he’s been expecting this since before I even left for college, and partly because he’s older and understanding and mature, he took it completely in stride. “That’s cool,” he said. “That’s exciting for you.”
And then we moved past that so fast that it was like that wasn’t even the reason I’d called. “What else is new over there?”
I was kind of surprised. “You…you want me to just ramble about my mundane life?”
“Yes,” he said.
So I did.
Thanks, AYl. Really. I can’t thank you enough.