Dreams of a Memoir

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I do not recommend reading a book on writing memoir right before you go to bed. I did it last night, and it was a mistake.

I didn’t even read that much; just a few pages, and then I was like, nah, dude, I’ll read this novel that I also downloaded when I finished Everything We Keep the other night. So I read that for a little while, and it was fine. I got sleepy, I put the Kindle down, I closed my eyes, and next thing I knew, it was five hours later and I had to pee and I had been having some pretty messed up dreams.

I’m pretty sure that every single bad decision I made in my late teens and early twenties came back to haunt me in my sleep last night. And I didn’t just dream what happened; oh no, my good ole brain had to go and make everything a thousand times worse.

Brain: you had an amicable breakup in the middle of dinner at a restaurant then finished eating together and went home separately? Not anymore! Now you’re screaming and naked and fighting for the entertainment of thirty thousand people!

Yeah. That kind of thing.

I woke up feeling the deepest darkest feelings of failure that I’ve ever felt when I’m not in the midst of a bout of depression. Miserable. Like everything I’d done was wrong.

I slept a little bit more and then I was okay for the most part, albeit still haunted by the sensations those dreams had left me.

And then it went away, as dreams and their effects so often do.

It’s funny now because I fell down an internet rabbit-hole this afternoon and ended up reading about James Frey and A Million Little Pieces. I’d somehow missed that story before.


Playlist Research

How on earth did people research anything before the internet?

I have a file of track listings from numerous MTV compilation CDs from the 90s to make playlists to listen to while I’m writing that memoir.

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I can’t imagine how many secondhand stores I would have to visit to find copies of those CDs. And then I would have had to buy them, of course. Without internet, how would I make a playlist?

I’ve spent an hour copy/pasting and compiling lists and typing in search boxes. Listening to find the right remix. Just an hour. That’s all. Technology is amazing.

I have one CD completed.

So many songs that I haven’t heard in years and years.

And I still know all the words.

But I’m still having a hard time finding Techno Bass Crew’s Music from Beyond. It crashes Spotify every time, and that’s the only place I can find it besides iTunes. I’ll work something out.


408 Down

I have 408 words so far for my memoir about the trip to California. It feels good to finally be starting this project.

I’ve been listening to my new Garbage radio station on Pandora for a couple of weeks now, and the urge has built up to critical mass.

I can see him so clearly, wearing his black shirt with the pink G on it. I’ll get to that. I’ll get there. It was the most color I ever saw him wear.

But then, we only saw each other in a handful of outfits; that’s the nature of road tripping.

So many memories assaulting me, of him, of my mother-in-law.

So much grief; so much grieving.

So many more words to write.


Grief Without a Timetable

Tonight I learned that a friend of mine passed away. 

Not recently, no; it’s been nearly thirteen years. 

When I was nineteen, I met a guy on the Internet. He was driving from Wisconsin to California. I talked him into detouring to Louisiana to pick me up and bring me with him. This was the 90s and we were teenagers; nothing bad could possibly happen. We were invincible. 

Which makes what I read today all the more painful. He died in 2003 of sleep apnea, after falling and hitting his head. 

We were invincible. 

How many times has his spirit graced this blog?

That time a year ago:

I took a road trip to California with a guy I met on the internet days before. On the way home, his car died and we walked for miles in the middle of the night before a truck driver stopped to give us a ride. With a machete in my pants. Just in case, you know?

That time in 2011:

I walked three miles along I-10 an hour from El Paso with a machete in my pants at two in the morning because our car broke down (This was the one trip I didn’t make solo.). Who knows what could have happened instead of my first and only ride in an eighteen wheeler?

And dribs and drabs here and there in between. 

Like when Mel at Stirrup Queens asked us who we’d like to call that we can’t just pick up the phone and call. 

I would like to call the friend I met on mIRC about twelve years ago who took me on his road trip to California. It wasn’t until we were on our way back that I found out why I had to badger him so much to pick me up. He was planning on suicide, but changed his mind when I went. I received a wedding announcement from him almost a year after our trip with a picture of him and his wife, but that’s the last I’ve heard. I hope he’s doing well, and still beating his depression.

Mel and I had an email exchange about my comment, back then in 2011. I dug through my emails for twenty minutes tonight searching for it so I could tell her what I’d learned, with the context. 
The whole reason I was determined to find him was my plan to write a memoir about our road trip. And now I have to write it. I have to do it right, and I have to do it well. 

I’m sitting here on my brother-in-law’s couch writing this post, and Rammstein comes on: one of the bands in our massive CD playlist from the trip to California. 

It’s just–I miss him so much more now that I know I can’t talk to him or send him a Facebook message. It’s so final. I cried for an hour. There’s a hole that I didn’t know was there before. 

I’m missing the co-author of the machete in my pants story. 

 
This sign. I’ve driven past it so many times, but one time, I stopped. And it was on our trip.