Writing with Annie, Northwest Coffee, April 2012

It’s easy to be in the present moment
With Anne Fitzgerald
I want to listen
I want to be receptive
I want to assure her
That Jesus was right:
You, Annie Fitzgerald, are the light of Gibson Avenue
The light beaming whenever you and Becca Feldmann are together
The light giving comfort at your grandma’s memorial service

We were present to each other
That Saturday afternoon in April
We did writing practice
It was your first time in a long while
You had a brand new notebook untouched
I gave us a topic
“Go for 20 minutes”
And off we went

I noticed two or three minutes into it
That you were racing one line after another
As Natalie Goldberg might say
You were really “on”
On to the topic of exploring where you were four years ago (age 24)
And finally truly deeply
Telling the hilarious bitter truth
On how awful it was to be in grad school
And to be writing papers
And to be dealing with panic attacks
Even as you had to write a social work paper on the subject of –what else?–
Panic attacks

I felt like a slacker
I noticed how one-pointed you were
Like a sprinter going for the Olympic Gold in the 200 meter race
So I picekd up my pace
(Later you told me
You were trying to keep up with me)
And before we knew it
20 minutes of life on planet earth had passed by
We were done!

Or, we had just begun
Because then I invited you to go outside
Where it was sunny and seventy degrees
And we sat in a couple of easy chairs
And I volunteered to read first
And you laughed here and there at what I read
And you said, “Beautiful!” when I was done

Then you read aloud
And I thought of Kerouac’s line
“You’re a Genius All the Time”
How funny you were
In your explorations of neurosis
Fragility, hitting the wall
Your worst nightmares coming true in broad daylight
When you finished
I was in awe
There! Your light so bright in the cave of despair

How many people I know would benefit
From reading your wisdom
From laughing till they cried
From recognizing the truth
First recorded there in your no longer empty notebook!

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