This week, the blog turned 11. Eleven years old! A blog! How strange; how lovely to know that this site has sustained my writing, sculpted my voice and kept me sane (as sane as any human can be) for more than a decade. I’m grateful that I was born in the time of the internet.

So, here is why this blog was born. I really, really wanted to make a zine because all the kids who were older and cooler than me made zines. They were pressed in Xerox shops and distributed via the underground — somehow.

But I lived in the suburbs and didn’t have a car. There was no way on earth to get to the one Kinko’s in town on a regular basis, and even if I could have, where would I have distributed this mystical zine? The local Starbucks was really kicking up the coffee house scene, but beyond that, I was lost.

So I started this page, which later became a blog. And this week that blog turned 11.

I never thought I would make it past thirty years old. I really, really couldn’t picture it. And then I almost didn’t. On the eve of my birthday, I was in a hospital in Bangkok, and then suddenly the birth date on my hospital bracelet matched the day on the calendar. Cheating one’s own demise is pretty rad way to kick off the year. But more than anything, it taught me what matters. The people you think of in the worst moments, the ones who call and write and forgive and give, are the ones to keep for always. And when those people are busy, well, you also have the world. Which you are part of.

I’m a fan of poems; people send them to me and I appreciate that deeply. I’m not sure when I got this one or where, but it seems fitting for a birthday.

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

–Mary Oliver

It’s also my mother’s birthday today. The absolute best part of this fall in Buffalo was estate sale shopping, brunching, giggling and lounging with my mother. As a teenager, I left home shortly after my zine fetish, to go to college and study journalism and find my place in the family of things. But this year I found my place in the family of my family. Which, if you think about it, is the best outcome I could have asked for.

6 thoughts on “Birthdays

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