I have received three great compliments in my life.
to wit (and not necessarily in chronological order):
the first time I met Emma,
she didn't know me,
but had stumbled across a story I had written a few years prior
and she said that,
after she had read that story,
she had always wanted to meet the kind of person
who would write something like that.
we became close friends,
I take at least partial credit for her marriage
and I played Prince songs at her wedding.
someone very important put a hand on the back of my head
and kissed my cheek.
"you're so gentle," she said,
immediately after which
my composure melted like an ice sculpture
and I stared at the clock and counted minutes,
hoping to be able to try and quantify
the arrival of these waves of peace
that so recently began to crash onto my shores.
as soon as I got a hold of myself from #1
Katie and I sat in my car in that institute building parking lot
and we talked about my recently dissolved engagement.
"You need to know," she said,
"that I've seen you do a lot of crazy, insane, bold things
to try and find a piece of something good in this world.
whether it's love or truth or beauty or knowledge,
in the--what, ten?--ten years that I've known you,
I've watched you burn bridges and make monuments,
and no matter what,
no matter what fires catch or what comes crashing down,
you keep doing it.
and it doesn't always work out,
but that doesn't stop you.
so whatever happens,
wherever you end up after you find your feet,
don't stop doing that,
because somebody needs to.
and you've got the most practice."
it's been a very eventful few months
and I drove for nine-point-five hours today
thinking all about #3
and how at least one other person thought about #1
but an awful lot of focus on #2
and how my brain is packed full
of a whole lot of crazy, insane, bold things
except that this time,
the only crazy thing really seems to be
the idea of sitting on my hands,
watching minutes pass on the clock,
make that two times, then,
I could've been doing something far more important.