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09.25.03 - 9:33 a.m.

alas! the elusive home search has come to an end and Brad and i are the proud new owners of one Box With Walls. (For all of you who still surmise that i am living in sin with this "brad," please rest assured that its Mandy BRADley, ex english major and Blue Ribbon winner in the Molly Ringwald look alike contest.) Our little place; quirky, teeny, wood floored, back porched, tree ladened. Conjure up the cottage you imagined hansel and gretle finding in the woods. In this case the witch testing our fingers is one Paul Arnold who smells like old fish but in all other aspects seems like a pretty nice guy. He is, however, one of those people who are constantly struggling to the surface of their own poor thinking. Hes the guy who always locks himself out of the house, whose car wont start, who spills his nightime glass of water on his sheets and spends the next hour looking for a king-size fitted sheet.

On this occasion, his tiny car wouldnt start to take us to our cottage so we managed to curl ourselves into his japanese convertible and our day went on with brad in my lap ducking over the speed bumps and me, trying to avoid knocking our little buggy into neutral with my knee.

And it needs so much work, but i look forward, more than anything else in the world to these few things:

1) putting my toothbrush in the toothbrush holder and trusting that when i need it it will be where i left it (on casserole street my purple reach toothbrush was never on the shelf where i left it and im not altogether convinced that gavin wasnt using it to clean the toilet, or worse, brush his own teeth.)

2) my record player which was the first gift my father gave my mother and the mere mention of it makes her weepy. Sometimes she even sings loudly and with disarming passion "One Heart, One Hand" from West Side Story over the phone which was, apparantly, the song she feel in love with Stephen to. This involves a lot of crying and insisting that i involve myself in the young catholic's group so that i can "meet a nice boy" who will, presumably, buy me a record player.

3) Unpacking my boxes. Imagine all of my teeshirts in a drawer!

4) Naked Time: not that gavin and jason would have been interested in a naked girl but it will be nice to know i can walk from the shower to my room without contracting some sort of lethal filth borne disease.

So i will move all of my things in brad's corrolla box by box by box across town in between reading book after book by Princess Complex Imagery, Virgina Woolf and learning what exactly a comma splice is so that i can then relay that message to student after student after student and make sense of william wordsworth and memorize dates and critisize blooming writers and so on and so on and so on. But eventually my toothbrush will be in its holder, God will be in his heaven, and all will be right with the world.

To answer specific questions now:

1) My writing is going fairly well. I will wake up in the middle of the night, realize a conversation is written all wrong, scrawl "rewrite conversation" on my hand in the dark and then transfer it to my face as i drool back to sleep. With all of my fellowship stuff its hard to make enough time but as i think of nothing but characters and plot lines and situations, i will hope its only a matter of disciplinging myself. Which is the hardest.

2) Our house is a mile away from the metro and then about 15 minutes away from school. Of course i dont like the idea of walking a mile everyday in the mid atlantic cold but i HAVE been eating a lot of peanut butter lately and could definitely afford the exercise.

3) i am NOT dating anyone. Im too busy eating peanut butter.

4) i am thinking about coming home at thanksgiving and i will certainly let you know for sure.

and here, is our new address, many of you have promised paintings and welcome mats and (peanut butter cookies, please, please, please) once we are settled so i am including our address which we are, by law now, required to stay in for 9 months so you should be safe.

Thank you as always for all of your replies. I do miss the lot of you. And of course, you are always always always welcome in rockville. My first story is workshopped on thursday, keep your fingers crossed.

Love, and love



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