stars in my hands

take it in. give it back. deglobalize.

On Transitions February 7, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amanda McRaven @ 1:15 am

Today my roommate informed me that she has decided to sign a new lease on our apartment with my current subletter. That means that when I return from New Zealand, I will be homeless. I have spent the day with this.

But I have spent the evening with dear friends here in Aotearoa. We hiked to a secret kauri tree, watched a ring around the moon, spontaneous fireworks, and then the fireĀ  in the home-made brazier slowly die.

And I thought, these are the people you want next to you. The ones you don’t have to fight. I have spent a year fighting with a roommate because I love her too much. That’s not love. It’s selfishness dressed up like love.

So here’s to homelessness! It’s freedom. It’s independence. It’s the chance to jump and be caught.



you do, indeed, take yourself with you wherever you go December 15, 2011

Filed under: Gourmet Spinster,Uncategorized — Amanda McRaven @ 1:17 pm

It’s raining in New Zealand. This is ok. It’s summer and the town is popping with old friends all saying “welcome home!” so I reveled and curled up in all that goodness. But then a ghost put it’s cold mouth over mine. A ghost of intimacy. A man who still lives here. Which was something I could lose sight of when I was there. Now here is not the here it was for us. Once. So all the hereness is colored by that. That foray into something you knew wouldn’t work but you were caught up in here’s impetuous sister: here and now.

And why, always, no matter what, no matter who, no matter how much time passes, and how many blessings are sent, does it always feels like crap when you hear that he is with someone new? You don’t love him and you wouldn’t wish yourself on him. But you don’t want to be alone. And that is where you always end up. And him not alone just makes your alone stand out in sharper relief. Against the sheets of rain.

But you chose that. Alone is where you would rather be than somewhere that feels too tight, too lopsided, too undefined, too rhetorical. You own this alone. Good. Yes.

This is the rain talking. Rain and airplanes. That has been my week.

Single white female ISO sunshine. Here. Wherever i am.




Peculiar December 3, 2011

Filed under: words — Amanda McRaven @ 11:56 pm

The Peculiar Ending of December” is the article on right now. I hope that December does have a peculiar ending. I should like to experience more things that are peculiar. Not just strange or weird.


c.1000, from O.Fr. decembre, from L. December, from decem “ten” (see ten); tenth month of the old Roman calendar, which began with March. The -ber in four L. month names is probably from -bris, an adjectival suffix. Tucker thinks that the first five months were named for their positions in the agricultural cycle, and “after the gathering in of the crops, the months were merely numbered.”

If the word contains an element related to mensis, we must assume a *decemo-membris (from *-mensris). October must then be by analogy from a false division Sep-tem-ber &c. Perhaps, however, from *de-cem(o)-mr-is, i.e. “forming the tenth part or division,” from *mer- …, while October = *octuo-mr-is. [T.G. Tucker, “Etymological Dictionary of Latin”]


On Being a Third Wheel

Filed under: guitar,john denver,roommates,winter — Amanda McRaven @ 11:44 pm

Last night my housemate and I, whom I also consider one of my closest friends, did something we haven’t ever done. I played my mediocre, soulful, verisimilitudinous version of guitar and sang lead while she sang harmony. Amazing Grace. Country Roads. Both Sides Now. Sloop John B. That was it really. We just looped those four. But, it was shape shifting, those harmonies. At the neighbors house while they listened aimlessly, confounded by the old tunes. It was just me and my friend telling a story neither one of realized the other knew.

“Your low notes are really lovely,” she said. I can’t sing harmony, so I am usually unremarkable when I’m in a group. I had nodules as well, so for years my voice was just a wispy grunt. And until last night, I hadn’t sung or played in nearly a year. But, always, when I sing, what I imagine comes out of me is a rich, husky alto. And sometimes it does.

I held on to her words all day, the way she said it – open and slightly surprised. And held on to how she closed her eyes and slipped her soprano into the chords. And how we were sitting perched in the corner to make our own space for singing.

Tonight she came home with her boyfriend and it was just like most nights here. They cook and laugh and kiss and offer me a portion — mostly soup. That’s what she eats. And I eat it. It’s delicious. But I leave them at the table and I sip it on the couch and invent something I have to do on my computer. I duck the strange inclusions that he lobs at me from the kitchen. He answers my rhetorical questions and makes irritating puns. This is all okay. I have learned to let be. I spent too many months letting him drive me (what felt like literally) crazy.

But what I am missing right now is those harmonies. That buried all the hatchets J and I have thrown at each other. That filled a winter night. With no room for anyone else.


Words I love at the moment November 30, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amanda McRaven @ 9:56 pm










old love November 29, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amanda McRaven @ 2:48 am

It’s weird to realize that you actually really loved someone. Not that crushing infatuation or obsession, or really wanting to be with someone so you don’t have to be alone. But looking back and knowing for certain that what you were feeling was actually love. And now he’s married and having a baby and that love is permanently unattainable. It doesn’t really make you any more sad than you were already, but it’s surprising.

Small things spark a momentary thought of him and then the thoughts plunge deep. And it’s so strange to suddenly be trudging through a morass of an emotion that you don’t ever visit on a normal basis. He’s not a person you think of every day. He’s not someone you carry your torch out onto the moors for.

When you think of him it is with a unique sadness, something that aches the way an old injury aches. Or the way old people must feel their arthritis – all those years crawling into their bones. And you don’t want him there, in your bones. He doesn’t belong there. He didn’t love you back. Why does he get to set up camp in your marrow and roast marshmallows whenever he feels like it!?

And that’s how you know it’s love, I think. That certainty that there is nothing you can do to get rid of him. Because you have done everything that one does to take care of one’s heart when it gets broken. Break ties, move on, move away, date other people, trust the passage of time, let someone else love you. But he is resisting that. Or this version of him is.

You hate the swirls that he sends you into because you hate that you can’t control them. As we age and become wiser – that is the thing I most love about myself – we learn to control what hurts us. And here’s this thing that won’t be tamed. A rogue bucking memory.

And you know. What you should do. Is call him up. Have dinner with his wife. Don’t mention anything of the past where you were so close that you were starting to know his next gesture. Don’t do that. Just be there. Drink the tea she makes. And then go back. Meet the baby. Be there a lot. With kindness. Make him exist only in the present, in a house you don’t know, with a woman you don’t know. Find the stranger. Because that’s what he is. Or you would not be here now. Writing this. You would be singing that old spiritual while he plays guitar, your hands resting on your belly.




Home, Thanksgiving November 23, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amanda McRaven @ 9:24 pm

I feel like Emily in Our Town.

I am sitting at my parents’ cluttered kitchen table. The flowers from two weeks ago wilt in the vase, vitamins and boxes of tissues are strewn across the dirty tablecloth. The kitchen stove is coated in years of cooking goo, the walls are crammed with messy collages of children and grandchildren.

And I love it all. All this mess that I was raised in. All this chaos. All the never enough room and the too many people and the why can’t we all just relax!?

I want to hold on to all of this, slip it like rings onto each finger, clank it around with me all day. When I’m not here, it’s just a place where I’m from that doesn’t suit me anymore. When I am here, I never want to leave this spot. This spot exactly – the big dormer window full of cushions, tucked next to the smells of the kitchen and the chaotic front porch.

I call the airline to add two more days. Two more days of ducking all my adult responsibility so I can nest here, eat my mother’s weird dinners and my father’s hot chocolate and be ten again. But it is 600 dollars. And then I wish I was the kind of success that always had a spare 600 dollars. Because I would pay it.

Every minute seems wasted right now as I sit alone up late after everyone has gone to bed. The word “treasure” is trite and stupid, but when I am here in this after dark silence, I understand it. Understand how someone first said, “love. that is a treasure. value it.’

And then it sounds stupid again. But I know what I mean. This is diaphanous. This home. These people. Fleeting already into memory. Hold on to it Emily says, it’s over so soon.