The Seventh

I love beer in the summertime.

I equate happy moments to that satisfying first sip on a hot summer’s evening. The air is muggy and still. Half of the crickets are too tired to chirp and the other half give it their best. There’s a peacefulness as friends crack open a beer and their voices rise and fall as the fuzzy sun of August fades to black.

I remember my first taste of beer at the sweet age of seventeen. I wasn’t a wild adolescent. I was pretty boring and fairly timid so when I cracked open that Old Milwaukee at my grandparent’s house when they weren’t home, I was sure I was going to hell. I took a fearful sip, swallowed quickly and was in the midst of another sip when the taste hit me. I immediately spewed it out into my grandma’s sink and dumped the rest out, throwing the can away without a second glance. I made myself a little dinner, turned on a movie and waited for my grandparents to come home from their Friday night fish fry.

I hate to admit this, I’m so liberal and free-thinking these days, but I didn’t have another beer until I was 22. Like I said, I was a pretty boring kid.

When beer and I met again, it was under different circumstances–music, summer air, and my best girlfriend, Kelsey, who happens to be my sister-in-law. Legends are born, heroes are revered but a best girlfriend is the universe tapping on the shoulder of an angel who chooses to take off their own wings, dismantle their halo, and give them, willingly, to a human being…who then walks into our lives, heals us, and changes us forever.

So how do beer, my sister-in-law and this first book that should be titled “rejected-so-many-times-this-blog-is-already-becoming-commonplace-with-the-overused-word-rejected“?

As an English major, I’ve been brainwashed to read into everything and while under collegiate hypnosis, I learned to apply this pseudo-philosophical approach to my entire life. It’s like when you have that one beer too many and you’re beyond brilliant in every conversation–if only people could understand you between the slurs. And then the next day, you try to grasp that brilliancy but it slips like desert sand between dry fingers. The best part is that this approach is a lifetime perspective. It’s like a hangover that never lets up.

Which brings me full circle to the paragraph preceding the last. The three elements, beer/sister-in-law/book…they all have something in common. All of them are bright positives in an otherwise ordinary life. Good beer is a symbol of summer. My sister-in-law is a symbol of good conversations and a lot of laughter. My book is a symbol of achievement, albeit rejected and overhauled by the masses, but it is a symbol, to me, of excellent achievement. All in all, these three elements have filled the cup of my life.

When I go through the surveys for my book, I’m reminded of this perspective (a.k.a. collegiate hypnosis) and as a whole, the people who have filled out the survey agree explicitly on one very important detail: why the hell is this book so formal?

Which makes me wonder why I chose to do that in the first place if it’s so unattractive. Was it attractive to me at one time? In the meantime, I also wonder about the people who are reading the excerpt. What is it about formal speech that turns them away? Why do they feel absolute disgust when they read it? Did I read too much of Chaucer and Conrad and Dickens? Did they somehow infiltrate what I figured was freedom of creativity?

When I go back and read my first book, I roll my eyes. Really? Did you really think this was any good?! I ask myself.

I suddenly long for a muggy summer evening with friends. I want to crack open a cold one, kick my feet out and cross my shins and wonder out loud, with all of you, what I should do, where to go, what to think. “How should I write this?” I ask you, as I sip the tiny bit of beer that collected on the lip rim before taking a deep swig.

The sun fizzes out and I feel myself surrounded by friendship, good advice, and the kind of open-ended conversation that leaves a person satisfied and yet eager, ever ready, and completely willing to see tomorrow’s face. No matter what that means.

Published in: on January 7, 2010 at 5:47 pm  Leave a Comment  

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