I have plenty to be doing right now, numerous things that should be keeping me off of this computer, but I don't care. I haven't been able to put up a regular post in weeks, and blogging is something I enjoy entirely too much to surrender to the hands of a crowded schedule.
I've been absent the last fortnight because of the ongoing ordeal that is finals for any college student, a long stretch of exams, projects, papers, and presentations that feels like it will never end. By the time it finally did on May 12th, I was ready to run off campus screaming.
At the end of this school year, much more so than at the end of the ones that preceded it, I've felt completely emotionally uninvested in my courses. Maybe it's the knowledge that I should be graduating right now, walking diploma in hand with the Class of 2010 to a place where homework and tests are things of the past, but I've been disconnected from all of it, impatient to be moved on. Perhaps my age is the culprit: I'm twenty-two now, and I suppose my inner self is increasingly uncomfortable playing the schoolboy.
I ducked out of the dorms at Major University on the afternoon of the 12th and left the next day for Grand Ma Normal Family's house, Blonde Boy in tow.
Blonde Boy, twenty years old, is my brother Powell's best friend, and one of the most fiercely loyal he has ever had.
A good illustration of Blonde Boy's faithfulness comes from 2007, when Powell, then a high school Junior, played host to a wild house party in my parents' absence. They telephoned in to check on us, deduced fairly quickly what was going on, and immediately called the police.
When the dozens of teenagers had scrambled into cars that raced off and the police cruisers were winding their way down our street, Blonde Boy was one of but two of my brother's friends who stuck around.
When Powell's overall situation deteriorated very dramatically in 2008, Blonde Boy was virtually the only companion who stood by him.
Powell, for his part, is doing much better. My grandmother, while admittedly difficult to get along with at times, has provided him the adult's motivation and oversight he clearly needed, giving him the vital push to enter counseling at a local church, find a job, and cut back on his smoking.
Not all of this can be attributed to her will, however; Powell has matured, one might even say been forced to mature, through the loss of thousands of dollars, expulsion from his own home, several arrests, and a stint in rehab that, while voluntarily undertaken, was essentially mandatory.
During a visit he made here two weekends ago, I was surprised and gladdened by his attitude on certain issues.
"Look," he said as we discussed some of the problems that had led to his departure in the first place. "I'm not saying I'm never going to drink again. I'm sure that at some point in my life I will drink. It's just that, right now, it's not a good idea for me."
Powell's outlook is pragmatic but self-aware; he understands that he never had a physical addiction to alcohol but can also see that he let himself get too far into the party scene. He's waiting to have more time away from that milieu, so that when he does allow himself to indulge in the occasional drink again, he can do it with the self-control that he did not have before.
His plans for the immediate future are promising as well; after dropping out of school twice, he's headed to community college this fall, where he's seriously considering pursuing a degree in journalism. I am obviously thrilled with this, as it would mean that I could help him with his course work and that we'd be able to have the experience of working in the same field.
For the first time in a very long while, I can say with full honesty that I am happy with and reassured by the direction my brother is going in. Even six months ago, I worried that he would be lost as Anne has been, to a life of perpetual misery, poverty, and underachievement, sustained only by its victim's unwillingness to use the ready tools at hand.
He has crossed the threshold where I think that's a real risk for him anymore, and I'm so relieved. Throughout his adolescent years, even when around eighteen he reached his nadir, I saw the talent and intelligence that I knew could take him far shining through. I despaired that they would be drowned, but they've surfaced. He has realized, at some cost, his errors, and he is taking what actions he can to right them. I see in Powell a calamity averted.
Our trip to my grandmother's, meanwhile, was very fun.
While she's a bit much to handle at times, it could never credibly said that she lacks anything as a hostess, and Blonde Boy reacted with delight to the endless dishes of home-cooked food and a level of pampering that suggested he was her own grandchild rather than just the friend of one.
On Saturday, Powell, Blonde Boy, and I trooped outside to help her with the yard work. Blonde Boy, plied with turkey, candy, and a trip to a local mall, was only too happy to jump on the riding mower and cut down the unruly grass in the backyard.
We headed back to Mountain Town this morning, Powell coming along for a visit of several days.
For me, the new routine of summer begins tomorrow. I'll rise at six o'clock in the morning to leave here by seven so that I can arrive at Major University by nine. I'll be working in the school's public relations office until August. I'm fairly familiar with the job functions I'll be performing--conducting interviews, writing stories, meeting deadlines--but am still excited and anxious to see the kind of work they'll actually be giving me. I wonder how much time I'll be spending in the office, and what I'll be doing between stories?
An interview only takes so long to do, but I'm slated for twenty hours a week. I can't imagine that they'd have me doing paperwork, but I guess I'll find out. Meeting my new co-workers should be interesting, too. I'll be sure to write about it.
The internship is Monday through Wednesday, and on Thursday I'm going to seek out a lawyer in Mountain Town, as I have yet to have anyone competent look at my recording contract. I don't distrust the people at Local Records, but I'd still rather not have any nasty surprises jump out at me. For example, upon examination of the terms presented me, I discovered that the label had intended to keep me under contract for five years, something I told them flat out I was uncomfortable with when I came upon it.
I'm assuming that I'll be back in the studio on Friday, despite my voice not being completely recovered from the laryngitis that I came down with about three weeks ago. It's gotten progressively better (a few days ago I hit the high notes in "Behind These Hazel Eyes" and "Since U Been Gone" for the first time since before finals), but I'm still not in fighting form and am impatient to be fully recuperated. Rest is all that I can do for it, and, at least vocally, I'm bad at that.
I'm sorry that I've been gone a while, but I should be around fairly regularly now.
I look forward to penning the story of this summer.