Tags: letters

cap, captain miss america

Dear Boston,

I lived in Boston and Cambridge during two very tough years.

It was hard, it was cold, and for this spoiled New Yorker, things closed early and often seemed to take too long. I didn’t have a job, I burned through money, and I couldn’t make friends.

It was also a beautiful place to live. I found four-leaf clovers in your parks. I sat in the Prudential Center at four in the morning, eating Krispy Kremes as they came off the belt, hot and sweet and sticky with glaze. I meandered quietly through your cemeteries, looking at the epitaphs and the carved skull angels on red stone. I followed the red-marked path of the Freedom Trail, sometimes to learn and sometimes just because it was like following the Yellow Brick Road. I dressed like a pirate and got mistaken for Sam Adams. I sat in bars until (too-early) closing time, shrieking like a gleeful child through the 2004 MLB postseason, and sang Sweet Caroline with a brass band in Harvard Square.

I bundled up and walked through feet of snow to the Galleria. I peered at the lovers’ tomb in the MFA. I rode the Green Line just because sometime it’s fun to ride a trolley. I sat in South Station feeling the immensity of space; I cried on a bench in Harvard Square.

I wrote a novel, a novel about cities and home and wandering and places as characters in their own right. A story I would never have written without Boston.

And Boston is the place where I really began to learn to be myself. To be strong against odds, to love and forgive and forge ahead even when it feels like the world hates you. I would not be the person I am today without Boston.

Scary things happen. Painful things happen, and while they’re happening, you’re stuck between numbness and denial and tears. I’ve been there, in that place where you want to claw someone’s eyes out and ask them why, why my city? This is my city. Why are you cutting it open and making it bleed? It feels raw and makes your eyes burn. It makes you realize how much passes between you and the city every time you take a step, how interconnected your bloodstream is to the pavement, how permeable your skin is and how much of you is made of the air and water and dust and stone that surround you. You feel cellular, as if you are just a tiny thing that is part of this larger organism that is under attack.

And I thought I would only ever feel that for New York. This place was my home before I chose it. I didn’t expect that two years of being comforted by the skies over your city would make me feel like a small part of my heart was left there. From far away, I feel myself straining toward you in my mind, feeling my blood wanting to run northward.

Love you.

Mirrored from Antagonia.net.

cap, captain miss america

My Letter to Senator Grisanti

For those of you who are unaware (perhaps you live in another state), the NYS Assembly passed a Marriage Equality bill for the FOURTH time. The Senate keeps voting it down. It's incredibly distressing and demoralizing. Anyway, this time, it looks like the vote will be very close, and potentially hinge on one Senator, Senator Mark Grisanti. Here's a link to his website.

If any of you can spare a moment to write to him today, I would sure appreciate it, and so would lots of other New Yorkers. Here's the letter I just sent him.

Dear Senator Grisanti,

I'm not one of your constituents, but my mom grew up in Buffalo, and I was hoping you would take the time to listen to a fellow Catholic and a fellow New Yorker on the important issue of marriage equality for GLBT New Yorkers.

When I was thirteen, I was working hard to finish my community service hours required by my parish to receive my Confirmation. I picked the name Victoria, after my grandmother's youngest aunt, who was still alive and a great inspiration to me.

It was also the first time I had a crush on a girl.

I remember, at that young and confusing age, laying awake at night praying for it to go away. My parents were loving and openminded people who would never have judged someone for being gay, but that didn't stop me from feeling the pervasive feeling that it was wrong, or that something was wrong with me. I remember praying to God that I didn't want to be a lesbian, because to my thirteen-year-old mind, it was freaky and terrible, and when you're thirteen, all you want is to be normal and like all the other kids. I didn't want there to be one more thing that was different about me.

But I couldn't help it. No matter how much I tried to squash the kinds of feelings I felt toward other girls, I kept having them. Of course, I liked boys, too, and I tried to concentrate on that, because at least that was normal. At least I could talk to other girls about it without them singling me out for ridicule or deciding that there was something strange or unnatural about me.

The secret I carried ruined my best high school friendship, because I was afraid to tell my friend that I was in love with her. Maybe she would have understood, but maybe it would have made things even worse-- I'll never know.

I'm an adult now, and much more comfortable with who I am. But one thing I am not comfortable with is the fact that if the person I choose to spend the rest of my life with is a woman, I won't be able to marry her. I've made peace with the fact that I may not be able to marry her in a church, but I believe fervently that God made me who I am, and makes each of us with the capacity to love that He wishes for us. I can't help but believe that that is not what God would want for me-- that I would have to make such a difficult choice just to spend my life with someone I love. And I hope I might appeal to you as a parent when I say that I have to consider the fact that my parents would miss out on seeing their only daughter get married. My father would miss out on dancing with me at my wedding. And I would not wish that on any father, or any parents, that a law would stand in the way of their opportunity to celebrate the joy of their child's marriage.

Thank you so much for your time. I sincerely hope you will consider this matter with an open heart and an eye to the future. I may not be able to vote for you, but I have friends in your district, and if you make this brave decision, I will absolutely do whatever I can to help support you.


Tea Fougner.

Senator Grisanti's email address is grisanti@nysenate.gov


Unpacking boxes, I am finding all kinds of things I forgot about.

Tonight, I was about to pack it in and go to to bed at about 1:30.

Then, I found the longest love letter I've ever written. It's a book. One of those blank journals? I don't even know how many pages it is. Definitely fifty; maybe a hundred. It took me a full three months to write.

I obviously didn't send it. I feel like Beatrice Baudelaire. And there is a very reckless, very hopeful part of me that is tempted to send it now, years after the fact, because I don't feel any differently than I did when I wrote it. I do about some things; I've grown up, I've mellowed out, I've become more pragmatic and poised.

But not so pragmatic that I throw out fifty-page love letters I'll never send. It took me till three before I put it down-- and I didn't finish it, mind. I set it down, skimming through the second half. Only skimming. Finding the part where I finally declare "I love you," a full three quarters through the letter.

I am finding poetry and stories. A novella, illustrated, that was another love letter to someone else, also never sent. Never given, I should say, it was meant as a gift and then somewhere along the way I realized the person it was intended for would never care that I had written a book for them and them alone. I don't know. Maybe they would. There was a time when they would have cared immensely.

It's pretty wretched prose now, though. I would be mortified if someone gave this to me.

So far, now that the love-letter-book is found (and oh, how telling it is, and wonderful to read the intellectual curiosity I had at that age at work and on a page and swelling with fervor to find someone else who understood it and challenged it without competition), the only thing not found that I truly care about is my Pez collection. What does that say about me, really, that the things with the deepest meaning to me as reminders of a youth well-spent are an unsent love-letter that took a season to write, a Ouija Board from 1920, my tarot decks, collections of juvenile writing, books, and my Pez dispensers?

Really, what does it mean?

The most wonderful thing about reading that letter is now I feel inspired to live up to being the person I hoped I would be when I wrote it. And oh, god, I want the person I wrote it to to be what they wanted to be.

Remember, all of you, even though this letter was not to you (because it was only to one person, so it could not be to all of you, and it was to someone I knew before the advent of this journal, and that rules out all but a select few of you), that there is something in the universe that is deserving of your deep and complete love.