Best Kept Secrets

Five pounds up, ten pounds down. Two steps forward, three steps back. It’s been a hell of a month, May.

Sometimes I feel like I never went to New York. Like the last twelve months just never happened. How can that be? I look out over the quiet coast, and it looks just the way it always has.

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I run my old routes, see the same dogs, hate the same hills. Pause for the paper — my dad likes that. I speed up, slow back down. Wonder why we live on a MOUNTAIN. Wave to the woman with the yellow house, the one with all the tulips. Worry about the same things I worried about a year ago. Two years ago.

I suppose that’s sort of the trouble, with coming home. As wonderful as it is. And it is wonderful, a lot of the time. I mean, there’s a lot of lobster here, and therefore it doesn’t cost a million dollars! (We only get the tails, because we’re wimpy. We’re not real Mainers — can you tell?)

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We like what we like. And this now includes pink oyster mushrooms, which kind of do cost a million dollars. But pink!

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Left to my own devices (and on a good day), I tend to use a lot of exclamation points. We can tack one (or three — I really like three) onto each of the following:

Hugo’s take on cassoulet, which I felt perfectly qualified to interpret as nontraditional. And good. Very good.

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-A tasting menu for two, complete with the occasional teeny tiny bite sent out from the kitchen. Do you know what I liked? The waiters wore jeans and didn’t use the word amuse-bouche. I also liked the Spanish charcuterie, wrapped around a ramp bulb and draped with pickled mustard seeds.

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-Regular walks in the woods. I simply cannot get over the trees. I’m thinking the novelty will wear off with another week, but for now…you can find me photographing all the green things.

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-Panini-eating and plan-making, both. With my mom, who I have missed something awful. I’m heading out west in two weeks to scope out the scene — did I tell you that? Two weeks means there are now only fourteen more mornings for me to change my mind and chicken out.

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-Two not-totally-twin mugs, for my next apartment. For my next new start, wherever it may be. (Side note: on a scale of one to ten, how appealing are the words new start?)

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There is no shortage of things for me to be grateful for. Just…don’t mind me, while I take ten minutes and remind myself.

I have all the time in the world to write, right now, and that’s a big something. And, even bigger: I’ve been writing! I was a little worried there, for a minute. I’m probably going about it all kinds of wrong (this book-writing business), but I’ve finally just started tapping away, in a Word Document.

I titled it Book and promptly clicked Save. Then I scooted my chair back, stood up, walked over to the counter, and bought myself a piece of peanut butter fudge. Primarily for the paper bag.

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It’s early, I know, but I actually think I might be kind of cut out for this. Sometimes I spend half a morning squishing down something I wrote the day before — if not scratching it out altogether — but I am encouraged by the way it keeps on stretching. It’s just going to take a long time, I think. I wonder if I’ll have the patience for it. I hope so. It’s not really a question of whether or not I’ll have the time. I’ve always made the time.

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It’s already more honest than everything I’ve ever written. It’s an extension of this blog (about how thorny it is to be twenty something), and it is most definitely not fiction. I’ve wasted a fair amount of time obsessing over how I’m going to look, and how other people are going to see me, but I’ve decided that I’m more afraid by the thought of never getting it down. Of never getting it out.

It’s exhausting, to come completely clean. To keep peeling back all the layers, and to put them into paragraphs. Also: to think about an editor hardly skimming the first page before sliding it sideways. Simply Slush. 

If I had to guess, I would say that you probably don’t think that I can do this. I can’t even say it: write a book. I’m not entirely sure that I can do it, either, but I do have a good feeling about it. About where it’s going. And I don’t have any grand plans to abandon the blog in favor of the book, in the meantime. In case you were curious. This blog got me going, and I have the feeling (another feeling!) that it will keep me going.

I won’t be posting as often, but I’m hoping that I’ll be able to lure you back, sometimes. Maybe with the promise of a glass of wine?

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On second thought, we might have to strike that — I don’t really drink. (More on that later.) How about a Sicilian Slab, instead? I know it looks like a regular old slice of pizza, but it really is a slab, and it’s special. It comes from the back of an Italian grocery store in Portland, ME. It’s a Best Kept Secret, around here. And, and, and: it’s another reason to feel good. To be happy.

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