January 2, 2012

I take the back roads

My car's battery died because we left the lights on. So we jumped it and then I had to drive around so it would stay charged. I just drove, by myself in the snow. I pretended it was 1996 and before I had kids. I almost believed it, so much that I didn't even realize I'd driven to where the road was dry and my wipers were still on. I listened to a new CD but it was still strangely familiar and the kids ruin my fantasy when they text asking where I put the Goldfish pretzels. I am a mom and I know where to find all the things.


I was having a good hair day. I wore my glasses again, they seemed appropriate for dusty book stores. My leggings touched the cold linoleum when I knelt for a better look and the shop owner talked sports with some guy so I just sat on the floor where they couldn't see me and shopped for books like they were groceries, hungry and with a list. The bottom shelf always has the good ones.

Sometimes I'd just let my finger land. When asked, I'd say I'm a writer but this year I'm a student. I move a stack. Reading what I've forgotten, and the writers who inspired them and the writers who inspired them. "I'm raising readers, too."


I got caught up in Midnight in Paris while I knitted all weekend. Like, I watched it about six times. And then I'd grieve in a weird spot -- my life that lives now instead of 1920's Paris. But I know, I know that it would have been an early death of me then. Living now saved me from being lost forever, if I'd been a gal in any other time. I don't think I'd have been able to refuse its allure. I barely made it out of my own era. I still want to dress like that though.

Last night I took the back roads and I think about that One Way and no longer see it as a highway. For sure it's more scenic than that. 

-- linking up w/ just write

30 comments:

  1. I really love this.:) I want to dress like it's the 40's or maybe the 70's but I never do.

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  3. I find myself transported back to a version of me that I fear I'll lose when I drive alone too. My favorite part about living in Texas was the 15 hour drive (alone) from Indiana to TX. Time with my iPod and music that awakened the person who was in 1996. Driving the country roads that I learned to drive on have the same affect.

    I think we would make brilliant friends. ;)

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  4. sometimes I am so glad that I am alive now and not back then (whenever that may be), but then I get all weird like I have to live today like it was back then and prove to myself that I could make it.
    But it doesn't really matter does it? Because I live right now. Oh, the agony I sometimes put myself through. I get you though!

    Gianna
    http://sweetpeasandbuddies.com

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  5. This is so real. I love that about coming to this place.

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  6. um...I'm in love with this. oh your writing, Steph. It drips with this tangible lovely thing I cannot even think of a name for. Thank you.

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  7. You truly write like no other I've ever read. I was just in the car, in a bookstore and in the 20's. Perfection.

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  8. I remember walking to the park with the kids a few years back, having a vivid flashback to my college days (before babies), walking to the tennis courts for practice after classes. (I could almost smell the tennis balls as we passed the courts across from the park.) It struck me what a gift those years were, being able to play tennis for 2+ hours every single day! And as I pushed little ones on the swings, sighing with both contentment and longing, I was reminded what a gift it was to be able to enjoy these moments with my children, that someday my flashbacks will be about my time spent with them! Thanks for this great post, Steph. I love when you "just write." : )

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  9. I watched that movie this weekend, too, and YES to the fashion. And I kind of want to wander around drunk and hope I find a magic car that will take to hang out with great writers of another time. Maybe we should make some flapper dresses and just wear them around. :-)

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  10. Just-wow. I love the image of you in the bookstore; THAT makes me feel longing. I haven't been looking on the bottom shelves for years.

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  11. I would love to shop for books by myself! I miss just spending hours in a bookstore!

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  12. I think it's interesting how when in deep thought, you can drive and drive and then look up and realize how far you've gone (both on the road and in your mind).

    I haven't read a good book in forever, perhaps I'll try to get back into reading and hit up the used bookstore myself this weekend. :)

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  13. Whoa. I don't know what to say except I know EXACTLY what you mean...on all of it.

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  14. I really love about your beautiful thoughts here. Especially though "shopped for books like they were groceries, hungry and with a list" Oh, but so much more filling than the food I throw in my cart.

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  15. Yes, this. I love singing in the car and there's *nothing* that brings you back to mommy hood than the need for goldfish!

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  16. I can count my driving alone times on one hand since the twins were born 8 months ago. Mine are not so introspective as yours. I search the satellite stations for Led Zeppelin or Guns n Roses and I turn the volume up loud enough to damage my hearing. Who knew a minivan could have such a rocking sound system? I spend almost the whole time feeling guilty and thinking about how I should be at home. And then I turn the car around and go back. I'm relieved and resentful at the same time. Will I ever get over that?

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  17. The first time I saw that movie, it wedged its way into my heart and soul. I love everything about it. I'm glad you understand.

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  18. I'd never heard of that movie before. I'm going to have to watch it.

    Love your writing here, as always. The part about the book store made me smile big. :D

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  19. Oh! Time to wander solo isn't it delicious? I like that you verbalize how rich reading is....and for reminding me I too am raising readers. Does Libby not like books as much as PK because that is her make up, or am I reading to her less than I did Portia????

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  20. I love the look, the smell, the feel, and character of old books. Used book stores are a treasure trove of tossed aside gems that are just waiting for me to find them and adopt them. I practically swoon when a book comes with it's own ribbon bookmark. Sigh.

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  21. this is beautiful. i love your writing style.

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  22. and....i tagged you on today's post if you want to join in ;) if not totally understand!!

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  23. love this. I also felt like I was right there with you!

    I need to watch Midnight in Paris.

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  24. You are such an inspiration to me. Your words reflect my thought life and I love coming here to read them.

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  25. Midnight in Paris, I've never seen it. I'm adding it to my "middle of the night up with a newborn" cue on netflix.

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  26. I can feel that good hair day. How light and pretty and feminine and free you felt. It's such a good place to find again.

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  27. isn't it crazy how the moment you get a little freedom that heart string is still there pulling you back and reminding you you are a mom?

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  28. ah yes. I would love me some 40's style everyday. Although, I don't know if there's a 40's version of sweatpants...nevermind. :)

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  29. I love little readers and good hair days.

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  30. I felt the same way about Midnight in Paris. Love!

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