People are multitude in their variety.  There is the meeting of three earnest people at the table over there, long black leather coat and houndstooth scarf, the tight gray jeans and infinitely chic sweep of hair over the forehead, big brash Guess snakeskin bag, red converse sneakers.  They are leaning on the table or leaning back in their chairs, alternately, talking about what awesome things they’re going to do once they get back to the City, maybe.  This is the kind of slick scruffiness you don’t often see in our town.  And there goes the guy who ducks his head and smiles, wearing the awful old running shoes and the tweed blazer with elbow patches.  I’ve come here to Coffee & Chocolate from the library and the post office.  I’ve been reading The Brothers Karamazov and thinking about how easy it is to love humanity, and how hard it is to love a person.  Because I’m loving all these strange and beautiful people, and worried about going to work tonight.

Knoxville now has a street paper, and I bought a copy.  I want this to be a success.  Everybody should buy The Amplifier.

As I’m filling out my application to UTK I’m realizing that I have lame-sounding jobs.  In reality, they are so far from lame.  I’m a caretaker, which means I have a friend that I spend 17 hours a week with, who loves me and makes me laugh, whose life is cracking but whose spirit is almost unnervingly whole.  I get to do that.  I clean houses, which means I have a friend that I see once a week and help with things she can’t do, on account of her health.  She tells me about how she hates being dependent and how she loved learning to cook during her years in New Orleans, and we put our heads together about so many things.  On paper, on a paper being sent to UT in a priority mail flat-rate envelope, that looks stupid.  Oh well.  There’s not much I can do about that.  Best I can do is remember real values, which is the perennial struggle of the human being in general.  Especially the follower of Christ, right?  This morning I was crabbed into a corner of my teal armchair and realized that the God of the universe is larger and kinder than I understood.  Leaves opened and my life is changed again.   Thank God.

Another thing I wanted to hear myself say was that it’s odd how working (again) toward a concrete thing (such as graduate school) makes me feel different.  Like I have opened a window and here’s an eddy of fresh air.  There are other concrete things I’m working toward, of course, like a wedding and a trip to Europe in the summer of 2012, like publication of my writings, like a new car, like a series of quilts, but none of the above have deadlines.  That I can see, anyway.  But here’s a deadline, and if I miss it, nobody’s going to feel bad and extend it for me.  Something is so enlivening about it.

When Marshall and I met K. Woodhull to talk about potential pre-marital counseling a couple weeks ago, we ended up talking a lot about how Marshall and I both need (need) to have a purpose or goal, something in the future to work toward.  Or we both get so effing depressed.  I think one of the biggest things in our life is going to be finding and pursuing those goals, and knowing that is empowering.  Working toward grad school, even if it’s a bad idea, even if it’s impossible, is empowering.  I’m searching out my own heart, here.  Being taught.  Thank God.