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“When I first met you, you were the drunk girl in 11B,” is the thing that one woman says to the woman she’s with, sitting next to me at this bar, where I am having dinner, alone, save for the stream of text messages between my mom, brother, and aunt, spread over 1000 miles, in three states, all of us talking about our days, our drinks, our soaking wet grocery-toting selves. It is raining everywhere we live.

Years ago, the conversation next to me could have been material, if it weren’t so boring, and if the Sazerac, too-heavy on the absinthe, with apologies from the newby bartender, wasn’t doing the job of clarity. Which it ultimately is. I used to find things, steal things that way, now I know better. I still steal–but I wait for better. Now they are talking about a wedding they went to and who was tagged in what photo and who they haven’t seen in however long it has been. See what I mean? Not everything is usable.

I sold ramps again today for Rick Bishop, maybe 30 cases, which is something like 500 pounds. It was colder than it should be for May 4, disturbing actually, and we were all texting each other from under our tents: “How is it there?” “WTF” and “What time are you leaving?” That last one more than once. I like that deep down somewhere we all have a cohesive brain. 500 pounds of ramps isn’t actually a huge day. It fell off at about 1pm, when the real rain started.

Rick and I talked novels and strawberries while his partner, Kellie, went to Whole Foods to buy us each slices of Buttercream Birthday Cake. This is a real thing. Surrounded by local sustainable incredible agriculture–it was no one’s birthday, but it was the one thing that could keep us going. We were desperate. We had reached the edges of ourselves.

Not really.

That’s how I described my first novel today–it’s a story about people at the edges of themselves–to Rick, who wanted to hear the long version of that story, how it came to be. How it was to write. How it was to be seen in the way a novel reveals you. I told him, “It hides you, too.” It was nice to do that talk again, rusty after so many months of not speaking about it. Not everyone at the market knows about that part of me–and I am never sure how to feel about their surprised reactions when they find out. I wonder sometimes if they expect you to go around with the book cover tacked to my forehead. Actually, that is a good idea.

I am seeing Shuffle Along tonight, with Audra McDonald, who is always a fucking flawless delight. She is an artist who makes me glad to live in her time. I’m also glad to live in the time of text messages, when I can hold, in my hand, *almost* all of my family, so that dinner alone, which sounded at first like everything you ever wanted, is actually pretty boring until your mom and aunt and brother show up.

I ordered the panna cotta. I can do what I want.



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