On Friday my sister got back from her 18 month mission for the LDS Church in Indianapolis. I drove down to meet up with her in Provo and we were able to spend the week with each other and all our other Utah family and friends. It's been quite a non-stop, emotional, incredible, thought-provoking and nostalgic weekend. I have too many things bouncing around in my head to be able to focus in on one post topic, so I'm just going to thought vomit, if that's okay.
The level of nostalgia driving in to Provo was insane. This is my home town, and it's so weird to come back after being gone for a full 18 months. It's nice to see the mountains again. All these buildings I drove past all the time, all these streets I took. I spent this morning walking around BYU campus and that was maybe the weirdest thing of all. I walked around the top floor of the JFSB (the English department building) and past the offices of all my favorite professors, just to see their name plates by the door.
Weird things from my past are gone. My grandparents sold their house and moved about the same time my family moved to D.C., so my sister and I have been staying at their new place, which my Grandma has imbued with as much flair and personality as she had before. One of the biggest holes is Meridian, my school from first grade to graduation. The building was bulldozed actually only a couple years after I graduated, so it being gone isn't new, but its still looming. More than anywhere else that building was my second home. My family moved all over Utah Valley, never staying in one house for more than about two years, but there was always Meridian. Once I got to high school I stayed in that building from 7:30 early morning Seminary to sometimes 9 or 10 at night for drama rehearsal or basketball practice or getting ready for the upcoming creative writing competition deadlines. All of that--my whole Provo "world"-- no longer exists.
Which is neither good nor bad, I've decided. I miss certain things, but as I walked around my old campus today, I realized I needed to separate my desire to move forward with my education from my nostalgic desire to repeat the past. Learning from the past and getting momentum from it is good, but wallowing in it is not.
It's interesting how much being in my past makes me think about the future. I feel like Utah was one era for me, and I'm just now beginning the next one. All the things popping around in my head are for making this next era what I want it to be. I'm thinking about blog domains and social media all the time, and trying to make good progress on this new novel, and trying to teach myself and figure out the best strategies for submitting the old novels to agents, and how much easier certain things will feel when I finally find an agent, and all these things that I hope will build the future I want for myself. Hopefully a future as meaningful for me as my past has been.
My trip here from Vegas was mostly in the dark. I finished one audiobook (The Cardturner by Louis Sachar=AMAZING) and didn't feel like putting in another, so instead I put in some music and thought. And I think my road trip here might feel a little like what dying will feel like. Its a long, dark trip and then you wake up at home. Not that Provo is Heaven or anything, just that when we get to where we're going, I think it will be very, very familiar.