Aspen Princess: Random thoughts (and I mean really random) from the Princess
You’re not gonna believe this: One of my readers, Joyce Franklin of Creston, Iowa, sent me a handmade quilt for Levi.
We’ve never met. She’s emailed me a few times over the years. I know that she has six grandchildren, she is a professional quilt-maker (which seems to be the perfect profession for an Iowan) and she has a daughter who lives in Carbondale (thus the reason she reads my column in the first place). Other than that, our relationship is entirely based on what she reads in The Aspen Times and what I write, even though I can sort of picture her sitting in a rocking chair on a big wraparound porch of an old farmhouse on a huge piece of land with a big weeping willow in the front yard that has a tire swing on it.
I went through a phase once when I had this weird calling to go to Iowa. I wanted to study at the Iowa Writers Workshop and rent a big old house and find a simpler existence than the one I was living in Aspen, which at the time was rife with drama and heartbreak and a quasi-eating disorder coupled with my best attempt at a drug problem — though truth be told I was always way more averse to drugs than I was to becoming addicted to them. I just liked the idea of it, was into hanging out with bad boys and was probably trying to impress one at the time by doing bad things. It seemed fun — until it wasn’t.
Anyhoo, I never made it to Iowa on account of having owned a rather large and very strong, psychotic dog who was prone to destroying property and attacking other dogs and small children. That meant it was a) impossible to find anyone who was willing to take care of him and b) impossible to bring him anywhere. Had it not been for that damn dog, I may have left Aspen a long time ago, entertaining my various romantic whims that I should go study capoeira in New Orleans or try to make it as a real writer in New York.
I remember calling a Yale-educated yogi from Boulder named Esak who spent a lot of time in Brazil studying capoeira to ask him for advice on how to pursue my interest in this random martial art/dance form that I’d fallen in love with when I’d visited Brazil for Catherine’s wedding. There were capoeira dance troupes everywhere, performing in the streets, on the beaches and even at her wedding. We also got to see a professional dance company perform at an old theater in Salvador, the capital city of Bahia in northern Brazil, where capoeira originated by slaves from Africa who would train to fight but disguised it as dance.
Don’t ask me why a little Jewish girl from Connecticut was so moved by this, but I was.
Esak said, “You don’t learn capoeira. You have to be capoeira.”
And for some reason, that was enough of a turnoff that I just sort of lost interest in it. I did get a cool pair of capoeira pants while I was in Brazil, though. Also, that’s the skinniest I have ever been in my entire life. I would run on the beach for two hours a day, and all the natives would look at me funny because I wore my running shoes.
Anyhoo, what was I talking about?
Oh yeah. Joyce Franklin.
The point I was getting at is I have these amazing readers who are so good to me.
I honestly have no awareness of my audience. When I write, I sit at my desk overlooking the Fryingpan River, and all I see is this beautiful valley that has more wildlife than it does people in it. Sometimes I can see my own reflection in the window or in my computer screen, especially if I’m playing with my Photo Booth app because I’m procrastinating and taking photos of myself to see if my eyelash extensions still look good.
So when I get emails from you guys, it means the world to me. It’s not like I’m so inundated with emails that I don’t have time to respond. In fact, the opposite is true. I get few enough to where every single one means something.
But what’s really special is when I meet people randomly and they know everything about me. They’ll get all excited because they recognize Gertie the pug and Ryan the husband, and sometimes they even know I drive a Mini.
Some readers have been following my life for so long it’s like “The Truman Show,” that movie with Jim Carrey where his whole life is the basis for a television show and he’s the only one who doesn’t know it’s not real.
Is my life real?
Lately it’s hard to tell. It does seem, in so many ways, too good to be true.
That would have been an awesome last line, but I still have like 200 words to go. So I’ll say this: Thank you, Joyce Franklin, for taking the time to hand-sew a beautiful quilt for me and my son, both of whom you’ve never met.
Thank you to all my readers who have taken the time to reach out and be a part of our lives and to share something with me for all I’ve shared with you. Like, you should know that Ryan just microwaved half of a leftover sandwich from yesterday and is eating it with chips. Levi is fast asleep in the Fisher-Price vibrating thing that Txell and Mike got us and is a really easy baby so far. Last night he slept for seven hours, though I don’t want to jinx it.
That’s about all I’ve got — you know the rest.
The Aspen Princess would like to wish Sarah Murray a very happy birthday today. Email your love to email@example.com.
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