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2006-07-25 - 5:35 p.m.

David Sedaris sent me a letter. I'd sent him a short note about six months ago--through his publisher, I think, in New York--saying that I admired the way he puts his essays together and could he possibly take a look at my stuff and, you know, do something for it? And while he politely declined the offer, he said he liked what I sent him and that the reason he took so long in responding was because of a tax audit. The envelope was hand-written and the letter was done on a typewriter. If I were still in the fourth grade, David Sedaris would be sky rad.

I spent the weekend at my parents' house. It was great. The whole family was there, which doesn't happen much, especially since the little brother and his family are in Kansas. We threw a lot of frisbee in Constitution Park in Cumberland, a place where I'd smoked many cigarettes in between the final high school bell and the beginning of soccer practice when I was seventeen and eighteen. And the older brother and I went to Lions Field in LaVale and threw more frisbee and that's where I played a lot of rec league baseball when I was in high school.

It's true, that the longer you're away from a place the only thing you can seem to notice is what's changed. In the little subdivision where we lived for a few years when we were especially poor, there are all these shiny new silver Mercedes and brand-new, giant-roofed houses. And landscaping and probably hired help and other things that this particular part of the world isn't supposed to have. I suppose that people like trees and mountains and a low cost of living and it was only a matter of time. But, my mom and my older brother and I hung out on the downtown Cumberland Mall and drank beers outside under an umbrella. They're revitalizing the downtown part, finally getting the idea that those old bank buildings and those cornices and lions' heads three stories up are something worth using again. My nephew, when you say, "What's the lion say?" throws his little arms up in a rollercoaster motion and says, "Aaaarh!"

Took today and tomorrow off. Got four rolls of film at the CVS, getting one-houred. I had to stop at three different places before I found one that still did one-hour processing. I may have to start buying chemicals. At a coffeeshop now. The music here: The Flaming Lips and now R&B that could be any place in America. Trying really hard to get a draft done of My Map of Baltimore. All I can think, though, when I reread it, is Go Deeper. So I'm trying to feel, rather than think. It's easier, sometimes, to be clever than it is to, you know, Go Deeper.

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