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Monday, 9.13.04: Third Person

My novel-reading pseudo-vacation was supposed to be over as of Saturday. Our meeting on Friday had generated lots of work on the latest video project. But wouldn't you know it, Stella blows in.

Yes, I guess you could compare Stella to a hurricane -- organized at the core, but not beyond leaving chaos in her wake. "This won't take long," she says. "I've got a million things to do." Sometimes she'd prefer to be a tornado -- faster, untrackable, but she'd probably miss all the attention.

As her story begins spilling out, I uncork a bottle of wine. And when she gets to the part about who she is actually talking about -- "You've got to be kidding," I say -- we move from my cramped studio out to the back deck. Some stories need time and space.

Saturday is one of those perfect days we wait all year for. Warm and breezy. We plant ourselves in the plastic chairs, feet up on the railing, facing into the woods. Bottle on the table between us. The rustling in the trees is hypnotic.

"It was bound to happen," she murmurs. "Look at the life I've been leading."

Work hard. Play hard. Set a relentless pace. Drink too much. Sleep too little. Your judgment begins to suffer. You don't see the crossroads ahead.

I am quiet. Should I warn her or simply remind her to find her magic bead before she proceeds any farther?

Orderly lives are, well, nice. Regular hours, planning ahead, mindfulness. But I can't deny it: sometimes if you throw all your cards in the air, they make pretty patterns. Hurricanes might be bad news for the trailer parks, but sometimes radical rearrangement is called for.

To be continued...




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