Sometimes I feel like I’m watching the world/And the world isn’t watching me back
But when I see you, I’m in it too/The waves come in and the waves go backSilver Jews
I find the DVD in the bottom of a desk drawer where I put slides I haven’t thrown away. It’s labeled 2003wedding. An hour-long video I used to watch to wallow in self-pity and personal failure. A recording a friend of my parents made of the party my parents threw in their backyard for Deborah and I after we’d eloped.
Watching now, the feeling of failure has faded or been assimilated, so it’s lost its bite. I get hung up on how young everybody looks and the ones who are no longer friends and, of course, the dead people. I count five, at least. Deborah looks good. I avoid the camera like the plague. Mostly I’m shown from the back, stooped posture and dumb too-long curly haircut.
I have no trace of memory left what that day felt like. Now, as in the months after the video was shot, I feel bad for making my folks work so hard to celebrate a doomed thing. I don’t regret the marriage, but disappointing them still weighs on me. They didn’t deserve that.
I submit art and writing all over the place. There’s rarely an answer; acceptance, even less often. So I was happy an online publication called Blue Arrangements took a couple collages. A thing named after a Silver Jews song can’t be all bad, right?
There’s a community of younger writers and artists I’m learning about. They’re making their own thing away from traditional publishing or any of the other longtime gatekeepers. I laughed out loud reading the colophon of a recent poetry collection where, instead of an ISBN, it says, Fuck Bowker.
Right on. Who needs them?
Feels good to learn something from the kids. A lot better than rewatching old wedding videos and feeling old.