Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Life update from three 1/2 years ago

Life update posted to my unofficial college alumni listserv:

Thursday, 19 Sep 2002
I've avoided drafting one of these life updates, because what I really wanted to write eventually was, "Guess what! I sold my first novel!" I'm still working on that first novel, but it may be another couple of years before I can share that news. I'm optimistic, of course. But I work slowly. Two summers ago, I quit my 30 hour job at the library to focus on writing and storytelling on more of a full-time basis. Since then, I've done substitute work in my library system and have storytelling gigs from time to time.

Since my original posting, I've learned how to drive a car. I got married. We bought a house. And now, there's a child on the way. I am looking forward to the birth of the child (due in late April), but I always thought I was more of an eccentric auntie who would swoop in from exotic places, play for hours with my nieces and nephews, and then give them back to their parents at the end of the day. Afterward, I would go home, make a cup of tea, and read until I fell asleep.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to see Michelle Shocked at the Seattle Arts Festival called "Bumbershoot." It was 10 years almost to the month since I'd last seen Michelle Shocked in Chicago. I saw a woman 10 rows ahead of me holding her baby in a sling and dancing while the baby slept. That's the way I want to be, I thought. Michelle herself was great. Her band has brought a lot of African and Latin-American influenced rhythms into their songs. Michelle said that she had gone through a lot of hardship in the past 10 years, but somehow managed to get through it without being bitter. I couldn't help it-- after the concert, I wrote her a thank you letter.

[Note: We had written back and forth on occasion in the 1990's.]

Tuesday, July 6, 2004
I found a postcard in my mailbox this morning that hadn't made it into our Saturday afternoon collection:

Dear [Alkelda],
Thinking of you as I'm going through mail that's VERY old and found your sweet note. At the time, you had a little baby on the way. By now I imagine it's a two year old. Thanks so much for keeping in touch. I was playing in Madison a few nights ago and ran into some fellow _____ College alumni. Any guess who it might have been? I don't remember his name. Wishing you the best, hoping your life is rich and rewarding. Lots of love, Michelle Shocked


Yorkshire Pudding said...

Wow! Michelle Shocked. I saw her in Sheffield UK once - great concert. As I say I love "Memories of East Texas" and "Anchorage" - great homely images and ideas... Much under-rated songwriter. I'm jealous...

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

It's always a pleasure to meet another Michelle Shocked fan! When you saw her in concert, did Michelle sing the song to which she referred in "Anchorage?" (For those who listen to the song for the first time, the "love song" referred to is "The Water is Wide."

Yorkshire Pudding said...

The water is wide... I canot get o'er...And neither have I wings to fly... Bring me a boat that will carry two... And I will bring my love to you...
It's one of those songs that my memory decided to save at a conscious level - as if it were a necessary part of my psyche. Funny that don't you think - how the memory selects and rejects. We have no choice in that process because it's to do with something deeper than everyday thought.