na foine ting
Wednesday, June 02, 2004
I think this is what I was looking for all along.
Falling in, where I bring my bag and my sticks and my crisis du jour (and there is always a crisis du jour) and find myself pulled into this easygoing locker room embrace. Jokes and teasing, the routine of getting dressed. Surrounded in a kind of heavy intimacy of skin and bodies and the smell of gear, yet somehow also distant if I want to be. Quiet, even withdrawn, while conversation goes on around me and somehow I am at once included and left the hell alone.
Teased, flirted with, given shit for my surly mood during Monday's game.
All of it continues out onto the ice, where I am separated by this almost ridiculous carapace of plastic and padding, and then joined by the common colors of jersey.
I skate my own solitary patterns during warmup, then someone bumps or jostles me, and we pick up a puck and throw it back and forth. Practicing the attunement that is almost too-deep connection, where five other people on the ice have my fierce attention, my unflinching loyalty, my complete willingness to physically engage.
There's no part of me left off the ice, nor any reason to hold myself back. It's as safe as it is dangerous, contained by things like fraternity, and the sheer inexorable routine of the game.
The best lovers are like this, who demand this much while giving me this much room to act, to be. Who are as constant and firm as a sheet of cut ice, and as full of possibility in how things might play out there. Capable of reflecting and supporting anything I bring, any cut, any fire. And having their own rules, size and shape, demarcations and lines I follow.
I'll come back to this. To you.
Even separate, now part of who I am.
So. Last night's scrimmage with the Ice Monkeys was great. They're a great team, a nice group of folks, a more grown up, mature version of what I hope the Hounds will eventually be.
Tyler's a good coach. He's clear and concise in explanation and has a sense of humor that doesn't get in the way of business. At this point of learning, a whistle stop scrimmage is perfect: it's good to bring everything to a halt, and have the game and the play explained right there, before I forget what happened. Then start up again, and be able to apply what you now know.
And it was good, sweetly good, to have members of my own team there, to exhale into the familiar routines of banter and flirtation, to have it made known that I behaved badly Monday night, and also that it was ultimately OK.
I remember fire, and all the tension of what I thought I had to be, how I thought I had to act.
It's gone now, gone here. I show up, I play. Anything I bring is accepted and integrated, anything I am worked in with the rest of it. I've stopped tensing for the inevitable moment of rejection, of discovering I'm not good enough and never have been.
There is no moment like that. They've already seen the worst and the best of me. It's just puck and ice and plays, beyond that.
Petaluma was good. Familiar, even with all the time spent away. Morning popovers, and the kids running around being knights and maidens and Robin Hood and random characters from Pokemon.
I got serious fur-time with Alby, who is utterly like and unlike Gil, with her coloring and eyes and wolfish reticence but also having his own doofy sweetness, and some serious brains which he fortunately never uses or he'd be dangerous.
Did a lot of reading and a lot of thinking about writing, including conversations along the lines of intervention with a handful of novelists who were at the "I'd rather shoot myself than finish this" stage.
The ironic thing is that I came out of the weekend really wanting to write another novel, which is really sick and twisted, if you ask me.
I'm almost done the hockey smut collection. A lot of it has been sold, and I'm ready to look for a publisher for the lot of 'em, together.
I have a couple of good stories ready to go out and into the mill, and a general sense of forward motion.
I really want to post Rebecca's new poem here, but you'll have to wait until it comes out in the new American Poetry Journal (http://www.americanpoetryjournal.com/).
But she really is that good. And it really is that good a poem. Still staying with me, days later.
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