Vision of Love

Waking up after only a couple of hours of sleep and immediately plunging into intense activity can lend the activity the alternately surreal and hyper-real quality of a dream; I was thinking this at 7:00 Monday morning as I wrestled my resistant cat into his carrier.  He profoundly did not want to get into the carrier, he became a clinging little claws-out starfish at the carrier’s mouth and I had to manhandle him into it mercilessly as he yowled.  He’s not usually such a jerk.  But his little life-patterns have been thrown totally into disarray in the past week and a half; I either haven’t been here or I have been here but someone else has too, taking up bed real estate and necessitating occasional closing of the bathroom door.   And now in addition to these insults comes the injury of dental surgery.  It must suck to be an animal and not have the ability to understand that something painful is happening to you for your own good.  I mean, I am a human being and I barely understand it.

After the car service delivered me and my terrified cat to the vet on Atlantic and Bond and after I relinquished the cat to his tormentors, I walked up Hoyt with the thought that I’d get a coffee and a pastry before getting on the G at Hoyt-Schermerhorn.  I forwent the Victory and got a chocolate croissant and an iced coffee at the new fancy grocery (“Brooklyn Fare”) that’s probably putting the Victory out of business, because I wanted to see what it looked like inside.  It looks like a fancy grocery, not necessarily the kind I like.  I like fancy groceries to smell briny and vegetal, like cold fresh fish and basil.  This smell is why people will pay $11 for three pears at Dean and Deluca.  The smell of Brooklyn Fare was a little too disinfectant and old coffee.  My iced coffee was okay though and my croissant was very nice.   Once I had them in hand I found that I no longer wanted to get on the subway, so I decided to walk home.

I passed a parking lot full of elementary school aged children, lining up for some kind of activity.  A mom hugged a crying boy and encouraged him to join the rest of the kids on the other side of the lot.  I smiled at the mom and then, following her gaze, looked down and noticed that my black tshirt was covered in cat hair.  On a deserted stretch of sidewalk about a block further down Schermerhorn I paused, set my iced coffee on the flat top of a water meter and twisted my shirt around so the less cat-hairy side was facing front.

I kept walking, crossing Flatbush and walking past the BAM area then cutting down Fort Greene Place towards the park.  It was still before 9:00, so the park was full of off-leash dogs and people tossing balls to them.  There was a breeze coming off the river a few miles away but the sky and sun were already too blazingly bright; it was going to be a hot day.   Dogless people were walking through the park on their way to the subway and work.  I passed a pretty girl dressed all in white and then, a minute later, a pretty girl dressed all in black.

The first time I ever came to Fort Greene Park was a sunny summer morning in July two summers ago.  I had Doree’s dog with me; I was house-sitting for Doree two weeks after my breakup, it was this crazy time that I feel like I’ve already written a lot about.   Everything was very heightened and intense.  I’d quit smoking pot, I was homeless, I was enmeshed in this very fun infatuation that would not turn gross for another good three weeks, and these things combined to make my neurochemistry produce, basically, a cocktail of organic Ecstasy-Adderall.  I would swim for hours, I would wake up at 3am with an idea and sit down at the computer and effortlessly shoot out thousands of (often dumb) words.  You probably could have gotten a contact high from licking my face.  I was behaving like a genuinely crazy person while believing myself to have discovered the secrets to happiness; I wasted no time in sharing these secrets indiscriminately.   Why, for instance, did Doree not wake up at dawn every morning to let her dog run off-leash in the beautiful park, socializing with the other dogs and their owners and enjoying the stillness of the park as the sun seared off the mist and shops clanked open their metal gates?   (Possibly because her brain was not producing its own organic Ecstasy-Adderall cocktail and she liked to sleep til a normal hour).

I do think I knew then that I was living in a fantasy, but it felt like a fanstasy  I would be able to someday make into a reality — like, someday soon.  This did not turn out to be the case.  But walking through the park on Monday morning I did feel a faint echo of the manic thrum that kept me in motion during that reckless, strange summer, at a time when my only other option, in retrospect, might have been misery just as intense as my fake joy was.  While that misery would probably have turned out to be just as transient, misery never seems finite; I don’t think I would have been able to handle it.

Nowadays when I feel happiness it’s tempered with realism;  nowadays when I feel love that feeling is tempered by  knowledge about how love feels as it begins and as it ends.

But I do get to live, now, near the giant trees and hilly pathways in Fort Greene Park.  This alone makes me suspect that what I felt that summer really was a foretaste of things to come later in my life, a premonition of a kind of happiness that the person I was then would not have been able to recognize as such.  I glimpsed it on Monday morning.  Then I got back into bed and took a nap.

17 comments to Vision of Love

  • I haven’t had much time lately to do things like comment on other people’s blogs, but I have kept reading this one and, like–hey! What the heck happened? These last two posts are like: The Real Thing.

    Rilly nice stuff. It reminds me a lot of something I’m reading right now that I’m enjoying very much, too: Michael Greenberg’s, “Beg, Borrow, Steal: A Writer’s Life” which I would recommend everyone read (especially Emily).

    BTW, I always wondered if “forewent” was a word!

  • Tim

    Keep up the good work, Emily. I think we all go through the same or similar things (I did) on our roads to adulthood. The process of self-discovery – when you are experiencing things for the first time – is fascinating and tortuous (and probably many more things). The fact that you have this highly popular blog to document your life as it is unfurling is no small thing, and it’s no doubt the reason why you are sort of considered the unofficial spokesperson for the whole blogging phenomenon. I personally don’t know why I keep stopping in to follow you on your little forays into yourself, but I don’t think it’s because I’m nosey. That goes for all the other randoms on here as well, I don’t think we’re being nosey by reading your blog (at least I hope we’re not). The accessibility of your little personal prose essays parallels the ease with which you navigate your life and weave through and around the people, experiences and objects populating it. Writers help us see, and there is nothing selfish about blogging as long as a blogger is able to help us see a part of ourselves reflected back at us through the delineation of their daily musings, ramblings, vitriols or anecdotes. Good writing has a mirror-like qaulity, and your blog posts certainly don’t lack this ability to flash glinting bits and pieces of ourselves back at us. This is the experience I get while reading Emily Magazine.

  • What’s wrong with me? I’ve become such a revoltingly over-the-top FAN of yours, Emily. I hate blog comment ass-sucking as much as the next guy–unless the blog’s ass that’s getting sucked is my blog’s ass–but this piece is really beautiful and hit really “close to home” in ways I’d prefer not to go into, and I’m sincerely grateful to you for writing it so I didn’t have to try (and fail) to write it myself.

  • Eric

    i’m glad you write for free. i mean, i hope you makes scads of money, but, i love this blog.

  • dan

    Last month, I started waking up regularly between 4am and 5am. It made me feel like Uma Thurman in Kill Bill. Which is to say: it, too, made me feel like I was on drugs. In a good way! There’s a passage in this macrobiotics book that starts with something like, “We rise before dawn! We greet our day’s work with relish and enthusiasm!” This too, makes me think about Kill Bill. Maybe I just don’t have enough reference points for Asian culture. (That book also claims that macrobiotics can give you the ability to FLY.)

  • reem

    I love this blog and love your writing. That’s all.

  • Doug

    This was a great post, very enjoyable.

  • katie

    happiness tempered with the past taste of sadness, (with the knowledge that sadness will come again) makes the happiness heavier and sweeter. …not unlike a donut.

    i love your blog. i think we could be friends in the real world. (is that what all writing does? or is that just what normal people think before they become internet obsessive stalkers?)

    looking forward to the book, in a non-stalkery, completely benign way. seriously. :)

  • This is a great post. It reminds me of the time I killed that dog… No! A HOT DOG! LOL!

  • dena

    “I do think I knew then that I was living in a fantasy, but it felt like a fanstasy I would be able to someday make into a reality — like, someday soon.”

    Like. And identify with.

  • christine

    why so tight lipped out the book deal? anticipated dates?

    just googled for details and i think the premise is great.

  • Lee and Doree’s apartment were part and parcel of my heartache this winter. In that Fort Greene apt. I sobbed and ate the same peanut butter I spoon fed Lee for his meds (different spoon). I took Lee out at 3am after being up smoking cigarettes, drinking scotch, and looking for jobs. I thought why doesn’t Doree let her dog out at 3am in the park when it’s so quiet and nice? Then I’d come back and stay up til dawn flipping through all her wonderful books. Lee’s morning howl, the park, the svelte couch all conjure up the same kind of manic nostalgia for me. Strange, no?

  • emily

    @Natasha: Jesus, that apartment has SEEN SOME THINGS. Doree needs to burn some sage.

  • Andre

    Every since I read the ny times mag article about you, I stop by in hopes of digesting works of art. I wish this entry was a buffet, cuz I want more.

  • Anon

    Anyone have a link to that gawker post about love being real she’s talking about? I’ve been searching for it for an hours and can’t find it.

  • Kat

    “Waking up after only a couple of hours of sleep and immediately plunging into intense activity can lend the activity the alternately surreal and hyper-real quality of a dream”

    Wooord. I suspect this is why I habitually condense all packing, for vacation or relocation, into one all-nighter. Makes the big day feel trippy and profound.

  • Rebecca A

    Loved this!

    Also, I tried the “nostril fuck” thing, and it didn’t work. Wassup with that?

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