This time last year, I was living in a cabin on Seal Cove Pond on Mount Desert Island, Maine. I miss that cabin, and my roommate, Mairi, and the quietness of mornings, and looking across the plated water at the pond's tiny island and its fire pit, and the eagle I knew often roosted in a tree up above it. I miss the solitude of 7 to 10 in the morning, when Mairi left and I had my own time to sit at my desk and stare out the window at my still, encapsulated world. July. I'd just finished my third semester of graduate school. I was just starting to work with Susan Conley (author of The Foremost Good Fortune, a memoir). In August, after she'd persuaded me into writing nonfiction for my thesis, she suggested I pick up one of Pam Houston's books, Cowboys Are My Weakness.
"It's just a fun little book," she said, "but it helps remind me I have permission to write what I do." And I think what she meant was, just. . . permission to write her life. The mess of relationships, and of messing up in general. Making mistakes. Personally speaking, mistakes aren't things I like to make--and I don't like admitting to them, either--so reading this book was a double blessing: it helped me see that humans have crazy stories, and those stories, by their nature, are full of mistakes. And that's okay.
What is my weakness? Perfectionism. I try too hard at it. But it's really okay to be human.
Am I making this book sound all feel-good? Hm. It's really a pretty hilarious book about a West-loving woman and her various relationships with the right and wrong men. The book is sometimes crude, often insightful, and overall an enjoyable read. I'd recommend it to both women and men. The stories take place in Alaska, Montana, Manhattan, Colorado, and Wyoming (?). Each story feels real. The characters are honest. It's a well-written little book. You'll read it in a flash, I promise.
Anyway, that's it for this week. It's been a hard day, and I'm tired. But glad to be writing (and reading), and living. Blessings, everyone.