This Post Is For Tracy, But You Can Read It Too

The title of this post is inspired by Tracy's blog, which has the note at the top, "This blog is for Alison, but you can read it too." For those of you who don't know her, Tracy was my roommate in college and is one of the greatest people I have ever met. I am in awe of her intelligence, her strength, and her knitting skills*. She is also one of the only people from college with whom I maintain an active (i.e. beyond Facebook and random emails) friendship. Go read her blog after you are done here.

The alumni magazine arrived yesterday and I immediately flipped through to the deaths section and there, as I knew it would be, was Matt's obituary. Even though I had read it online months ago, even though I had written my own memory of Matt before that, even though Matt has been dead for almost half a year now, somehow seeing it in a printed hard copy made it real in a way that it had not been before. I have no explanation for why this is. Maybe I have not completely accepted the technological realities of modern life in my heart and I still view ink on paper as more valid, more concrete, more real when it comes to the dissemination of information. Maybe it is because my remoteness from the realities of Matt's death allows me the luxury of being reminded of it intermittently and, for the rest of the time, it isn't real to me (I noted when Arun died that there was no practical difference between having no contact with someone who was alive and then that person being dead, the thing which changed was the potential of what might come to pass in the future). Maybe it is because I know that now all the people we knew back then, even people who never really knew Matt and have no reason to care, now know of his death, it is no longer an awkward piece of information which I wonder if I should tell people when they contact me randomly (something which is happening more and more as everyone joins Facebook).

So after reading the obituary and crying a bit, I flipped through the rest of the magazine. Looking at the bragging section, I noticed someone wrote a knitting book and felt a bit of irritation, even though I have absolutely no interest in getting my knitting patterns published (I can't even be bothered to update my knitting blog or post them on Ravelry). Looking at the wedding pictures, I had the extremely uncharitable thought that I looked so much better on my wedding day (because, apparently, I am in competition with the whole entire world). Looking at the baby pictures, I thought it would be nice to see the babies with their parents as all babies have the same babyish look to them and they don't really matter to me unless I can place them in the context of how I know their parents (and names are only slightly helpful in this regard as they all blur together with names of people I went to high school with, or did a show with, or knew from girl scouts).

All this is very strange in light of the fact that I have never once sent an update to the alumni magazine. I always thought I would when something big happened in my life. When I appeared in a show worthy of mention or something. But I performed in various shows which I could have mentioned over the years, I even wrote, choreographed, and performed Submission with Jenny, but I never sent in any information. I got married, I directed a show (and was mentioned as a significant director by a reviewer in her end of year wrap up), and had a child, but still, I never managed inform the alumni magazine of my activities. I always intended to, really (I made sure we got photos of all the Reed and Ignatius grads in attendance at the wedding, specifically to send it to the respective alumni magazines**), but in the end I figured that the people who actually wanted to know what I was doing with my life already knew what I was doing with my life. Nothing ever seemed big enough to brag about to all the people with whom I lost touch. I tell myself I will send a gigantic update when I get a novel published (with the wedding pictures, Julian's baby pictures, the theatre reviews, etc.), but when that time comes, I will probably consider that to be not enough.

But considering that I found the publication of Matt's obituary to suddenly make his death more real, is inability to update the greater alumni community an attempt on my part to keep my life in a state of unreality? I don't imagine that the publication of my wedding picture and the knowledge that people who barely remember me are seeing it would make my marriage more real, but it would mean I would lose whatever mystery I may have had (yes, a mystery that is more in my head than anything else) and I would no longer be remote to everyone save those who made the effort. Then I remember that I am writing this on a blog which anyone can read. I am easy to find and no less real because my paper trail is small. I suspect that my ambivalence is more a function of laziness and a sense that college was a long time ago.

*Tracy is the reason I started knitting as an adult. My mom had taught me when I was a child, but I never had the patience to complete anything and forgot all about it. Then, in 1994, Tracy moved to Chicago and took up knitting. She dragged me into Fiber Works (a yarn store which used to be on Lincoln Avenue, it closed in 1996 when the owner died) and I became enamored with and bought some black mohair (Classic Elite's La Gran mohair, to be precise). I never actually made anything with the yarn I bought that day (I still have it), but that was how the addiction to knitting began. All you people who have received knit items from me over the years (or will receive knit items from me in the future) have Tracy to thank.

**I should probably just scan those in and post them here


Tracy said…
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alimum said…
Tracy said the following:

You DID look so much better on your wedding day! I think part of the reason that we don't send things to the Reed Magazine is that it's not "cool" to brag about conventional things like marriage and jobs and children, in the Reedie world. So, it's OK for me to write in about Matt dying (especially since he didn't die in some noble tragic way, but rather in a dark and wastefully tragic way). But what you really need to do is write in with a fabulous picture and some "non-news" announcement that is clever and "cool", like, "Alison recently found the most fabulous black dress at the Salvation Army in Chicago, where she lives with her husband and four year old son, and acts and directs in local theater".

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