Sunday, September 30, 2007

It's been a while.

Last night I went to a blogger's party in West Asheville with a co-worker. The gathering was made up of local bloggers from all over the city. It was an interesting event because everyone there was tied together by the internet. Writing online created a small, intimate community. 'Friends' who have commented on each other's blogs for months met for the first time.
In someones back yard, with stringed lights wrapped about the garden post, with a small fire blazing, people got together and talked about their writing. Most there were writing about their relationship with Asheville: how it's changing, how to have a stronger political presence on the community, and how to drink well and play hard in a mountain town.

Everyone introduced themselves with a question: "Are you a blogger?"
My answer was yes. But my blog is not political, argumentative, or necessarily trying to create community change. I couldn't help but reflect on why I began a blog in the first place. And, though there is no single answer to any question, I managed to find one. I started my blog to write. That's it. To find a space that's more than a journal. A place where I can share something about myself and my life in an informal way. And, to be honest, the small practice of sitting and writing, of telling a short story, does make a difference, if only to me.

Last night was a surreal evening for many reasons. But like every experience, lessons are learned, either about oneself or about others.

The journey down. I have been in Asheville for a month and I've been working here for three weeks. Most of the challenges I face are ones that I'd expect anywhere else: adjusting to a full-time job, learning how to branch out and find a community outside of school. How to make money, how to support myself financially and emotionally . Those are things are part of life and they happen no matter where we are. My choice to be here has changed so much for me on a day to day level- and yet I'm asking the same questions that I always have. This is Aiyanna in a new place, asking the same questions in a new way: learning slowly and everyday, who I am and who I want to be.

Cheers to the blog!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A quiet night at my desk. I finally got a desk! I realize now that I am deeply attached to the idea and practice of sitting down, spreading out my work on a clean surface, and writing. I look out of my window and see a dark green valley. Avery does his homework behind me on a small green couch decorated with colorful tapestries and we fight over what music we should listen to. I can’t get over how much I adore this little routine.

And so I’ve started to write and edit my work from last year.

And I am learning each day both the pleasures and challenges of sharing my life with someone else. It’s a wonderful place to be with many lessons to learn. Communication, support, time apart, time together, are much harder to navigate and figure out then one might think. But tonight, with Av’s music playing, with the cool night air, and this wonderful desk, I realize how lucky I am. Our duo is strong. And I am celebrating my first night of writing at my desk!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Fall is creeping in on us. Seasons change on the mountain before anywhere else. We've started to close the windows at night.

I've started work at the newspaper. I'm working in Arts and Entertainment and am learning about the eclectic weekly gatherings here in Asheville; everything from Medieval re-enactment groups at the Botanical Gardens to local band listings and music venues. It's a good job and hopefully, with time and confidence, I'll be able to make it a more creative one (one that will including more writing). Writing. Another mountain in my life. I seem to have found a routine here, and now I need to find writing. Stories, slowly, about a momma I met who's raising a beautiful boy all on her own. He raises his fists into the air and shouts, "Love". Stories about a family in the middle of great change, about fathers across the sea, about a woman finding her way, somehow, up a steep mountain-side. About new faces, slow car rides, fires and rituals, women and men; about a slow sense of acceptance. And the list keeps going. It grows each day, even from behind a desk. Reflection, thought, fuel. And the greatest lesson of all: slowness is careful. As my father always says, "We have eternity."

Another blanket. Fist to the sky: LOVE.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Watching the sunset over the rolling Carolina mountains and shooting stars at night, discovering small town coffee shops, hanging out with a new group of people, and sampling the home brews, have kept me busy in the past few days. I am enjoying Asheville immensely.

Our house is coming together surprisingly well-- one dusty corner at a time. We eat dinners as a 'house family' and I'm learning how to cook dirty grits, dirty eggs (dirty meaning all the grease from fried sausages-- which is probably only new to me) biscuits, spicy shrimp.

There is something phenomenal about transitions and changes. Adjustment slips by, the unfamiliar somehow becomes comfortable. I wake up in comfortably in my new room. I've discovered a side of myself that takes great pleasure in waking slowly and eating breakfast at noon. Av and I sat out on the roof and watched the stars last night. We saw a beautiful, long shooting star. In the past six months the closest thing to stars that I've seen have been on the ceiling of Grand Central Station. We watched the sky for so long that I felt as if I could see the constellations shifting overhead. It's amazing to think that this kind of quiet coexists with the noise of New York.

I also have some exciting news: I got a job working on the editorial staff for a local newspaper. It's an awesome newspaper called the Mountain Xpress and I'll be working on the Arts and Entertainment section. I interviewed on Tuesday, had an orientation meeting on Wednesday, and begin on Monday. I am overwhelmed with happiness. My mom always told me that when you make the right decision things will come to you. I thought of that after I was offered the editorial position and as I waited for Av on the UNCA quad. I know I made the right decision. And I feel as if this job found me because I'm meant to be here. Not only can I live with the love of my life, but I can be in an exciting work environment in a field I'm interested in.

I begin Monday and plan to stargaze every night until the heart of winter.

Monday, September 3, 2007

I’m not sure which is harder, moving or moving in.

I’ve discovered that I hate cleaning, washing, folding, and scrubbing. I cleaned our bathroom the other day. In the process of bleaching the bathtub, I was filled with a deep sense of injustice. Though the feeling was irrational, I couldn’t get over it and grew increasingly angry every minute I spent wearing yellow gloves and holding a sponge. Two hours later, with my eyes burning from the fumes of the washing liquid and my clothing soaked, the task was finally done. And now, day three of cleaning, I have a newfound appreciation for those who stay home and take care of the house. Though it’s a job I never want to have, I respect it.

I’m adjusting to Asheville. I feel more and more comfortable in this space and with my roommates, who are truly wonderful people. I’m learning to appreciate the Country music they play in the morning and I’m grateful for their patience when I can’t stand anymore.

But the hardest part in being here is finding my independence. My life in New York was, in many ways, a solitary one. In learning to find my way around the city I was also learning how to be alone. Here, in the mountains, I’m struggling to find confidence when on my own. The silence makes me question what I’m doing, or what I should be doing. I went for a run the other day and not a single car or person passed me. There are so many winding roads that we easily miss each other. We can go on and on till we’ve run clear to the bottom of the mountain. And though the quiet is a beautiful change it also generates a feeling of loneliness. In the roundhouse on a mountain, I’m trying to adjust to the silence. I’m trying to sit with it and breath.

I am getting to know the hillsides, constantly reminding myself to breath.