I've been using Empedocles—his company in exchange for mine. I've been using him every chance he'll give me because something literary always comes out of it. He doesn't press for more, and while I don't push either, I haven't left the possibility for more unvisited as topics go. Skittish. And most of the time that's really okay.
Take this weekend:
We went to dinner on Saturday. Dutch. It's always Dutch and shall remain so as long as I have my way.
On Sunday we went to see The Summit—a documentary about the 2008 tragedy on K2. I will never try to climb K2. Empedocles, however, has already been to Nepal three times. On the way back to Happy Valley he began reminiscing and it sounds like he's ready for a fourth excursion. Before the movie started on Sunday we discussed his editing work on the Pie Tin's lit journal; not in great detail, but as much as he felt like he could divulge before editorial decisions were released to the general public. I didn't push for more. This is the pattern of life with Empedocles. While in commute from Happy Valley to SLC where we saw the film I told him about a weird dream I'd had the night previous. One of the Poetry Boys from LDS University of Choice invited me to an elite dinner. I dressed in a vintage lacy dress and walked a great distance through mud in order to attend. When I arrived at the building where it was meant to take place I had to climb several flights of stairs. I entered the dining hall muddy, glistening with sweat, and out of breath. The Boy who'd invited me was nowhere to be found. Instead, two young women from the University (whom I know...we'll call them Snob 1 and Snob 2) told me I wasn't on the guest list and that I wouldn't be admitted. I didn't push. I went back down a number of flights of stairs until I reached what looked to be a 70s man cave. In the center, Empedocles sat working over the lyrics of a song he was writing. This is significant because Saturday at dinner he'd filled me in on more backstory from his heydays as a folk guitarist/songwriter. He told me he hadn't been at songwriting in quite some time. In the dream I came into the room, knelt next to him and just listened. In recounting the dream on the drive I stopped there. But truthfully, in the dream, Empedocles put down what he was doing and kissed me. Dream kisses are the best. So when he got nervous to get out of the car when we got back into town and quickly said goodbye without even looking back at me I got a little evil. I texted him and told him the end of my dream. I told him it was a nice dream, that I'd enjoyed our time at the movie, and the I love how real his is. All of which are true.
This afternoon, the editor-in-chief of the lit mag and Empedocles were talking outside the door of my creative non-fiction class. The EIC asked to speak with me. We're friends, so no big. He said he'd spoken with my CNF professor and that both he and she would like to publish my essay (it's a doozy) in the upcoming journal. Because he's over prose in the journal, Empedocles is now officially my editor. I'd been avoiding eye contact with him, but at this point we apparently nonverbally agreed to ignore any awkwardness and squared each other up.
1) Getting through the revisions necessary to get this piece where my professor wants it is daunting.
2) Empedocles is a wicked savvy editor.
3) It's a damn, damn good piece even now, but I agree the revisions and oversight of an editor will bring it to remarkable polish.
4) Ethics. Life is always complicated by ethics.
Empedocles and I walked to the library entrance together. He had to TA a class. I needed to get home. We talked over our mutual recent rejections from another lit journal. It's good to have rejection in common. Thick, unresolved tension exists in this relationship.
It makes for great poems. It makes for fabulous embraces in dreams.