To Ben, to Sarah, and now, to Jack.

So I keep looking at this picture that I got off of Facebook...

I don't want to post it. Mostly because I'm not really sure if that would be okay. I'm fairly certain if celebrities have a problem with random websites putting up pictures of their newborn babies, it's probably not in the best taste to do it on my little tribute to myself out here in the middle of the internet.

But the picture is of my friend, Ben Garner, and his newborn son, Jack.

I've had a unique privilege when it comes to Ben and his wife Sarah. I remember sitting in my room, my senior year, cordoned off in my darkened room, and one of the only visitors I tended to get, who would stick around, talk, was Ben. You see, Ben was the first person I met at Bennington College, a roller coaster ride that involved two men with pony tails looking for a copy of Thriller and disposing of/storing cutler under dorm room beds [okay, it only happened once - and no, it's not a euphemism for anything]. But anyway, senior year. I was less pleasant to be around my senior year, that I'm sure of, but it never stopped Ben from popping by, because he had a girl, which was not odd for him, but what was odd was that Ben wanted to talk about her. This one particular girl. This girl he was more than taken with. Sarah. His Sarah.

He was never bold enough to just out and say that to me. Besides, we were guys. Guys don't say that stuff to each other. But I could tell. There was some lovey-dovey, possessive pronoun talk just under the surface. Dude was in love.

Sarah was one of those women that a lot of guys what. She complimented Ben. She was a little more straightforward, she was less whimsical... but she shared this talent that I always saw in my friend too, which was this ability to see and pull beauty from things that, like many of things Ben appreciated himself, and I personally hardly noticed anymore. Flowers, especially, I remember these brilliant flower arrangements she'd do, gorgeous colors that she'd bring out even when I thought the seasons had faded them, they'd look alive in the vase. Brand new.

I always relate bright colors to Ben. Something about a big bus. That part you'd have to ask him about.

I could say more. I wish, honestly, that I had my wedding toast that I gave written down somewhere, so I might share that. But I chose to wing it, actually I didn't really have any plans to speak, but I had something to say, and I was told several times that evening that it was quite wonderful [so much so, that Sarah's mother offered to put my wedding together in repayment, which was very sweet considering I'd met her just hours before]. It's lost now though, gone in the in the haze of the intense alcohol consumption of that night, washed away by the rain that soaked my suit as I waited for Ben's father to give me a ride back to my hotel. Shame. I winged it then, like I'm winging it now, but I feel like that night was special.

Their wedding, and maybe more so the next, seeing them off on their honeymoon, looking at them arm and arm, dressed more like I remembered them from school [suits and wedding dresses color things]... I count that day among some of my fondest memories. So naturally, when I pulled up Facebook, I saw this, and that same feeling came flooding back to me:

"Jack was born at 8:39 am Monday. He is 7 and a half pounds and 21 inches long. Labor began Friday afternoon." - Sarah Garner

Kind of simple. Straightforward. Certainly expected, as Sarah had well-documented her swelling [in that way where it's not insulting to say someone is swelling], the whole pregnancy for those of us far away to see. World we live in now, the beautiful moments posted up like adverts on a bulletin board. I think it's why the feelings we attach to them matter so much more. I mean, it's highly unlikely Sarah even posted that herself, probably someone else, with access to her account, just to let everyone know.

Still, it's a hell of an announcement. Jack Garner, son of Ben and Sarah Garner, welcomed into the world. And I have this picture now, of my friend Ben, looking pretty different, looking pretty grown up, holding his son Jack. Looking a touch overwhelmed, a little surprised, but more than capable. Beyond capable. And Jack... well, if you ask me, I already see a resemblance between the boy and his mother and father.

Congratulations, Sarah, Ben. Welcome to the world, Jack. It's been my pleasure, even though I wasn't always present, to get to watch you guys become a family.


On the home front, things here have been strange. Had some worries there for awhile about some financial stuff, but it all worked itself out. Also some good news, seems the outfit I do my book reviews through, they legitimately seem to like the work I've been doing, so I'll probably be getting a few more books each month to go through. It was kind of a surprise, I guess when I finish a review I always sort of expect it to be my last, to get an e-mail that says I have totally missed the point and there's no way they can accept this. But the quite the opposite is true, it seems. It's very good news, not just for my ego, but for my bank account.

I wrote previously it was in my plans to work on the peep show screenplay over this past weekend. I did okay, wasn't really getting anywhere, but I was trying some new things, and felt like maybe I'd stumbled on a pretty good fix, if I could just execute it properly. But Mom dropped off a stray box of stuff, something left behind in the move [some days I wonder if I'll ever stop getting boxes of things left behind in my sudden relocation], and going through I found a stack of postcards from my Dad, so very much like him, but also a little like me, in the wording, the tired, almost mopey, but still endearing glibness. One even had a stack of post-its stuck to it, a favorite trick of dad's, a short letter on what was probably about half a pad of those little sticky-backed pieces of paper. I can't imagine the post-office would have let him send those stuck to a postcard like that. They must have been mailed, stuffed in an envelope, or a care package, or some comics, or something else.

I don't remember. Reading them... broke me up a little bit. Kind of put a kibosh on the writing. I remain, sometimes, too sensitive for this kind of work. Sometimes, when people call Sterne sentimental, I laugh, and wonder how that could have been true, when he actually got things done? Oh, puns.

Never stops feeling like a weakness. I don't see my peers pulling off to the side every time some memory gets a little too hard to handle. It is probably not a trait of the successful... which, seems bolstered by the fact that it remains a trait inherent to me.

I've been conflicted about other things too lately. The week+ without a post was not intentional, and is not, for once, a sign of inactivity by yours truly. In fact, I've been writing for a couple of hours most days, but in a dramatic change of pace, mostly on paper, which is killer on my hand, and not great when I'm looking to feel accomplished. As I've complained to some of my friends, for some reason, writing not done at the keyboard doesn't seem much like writing done at all to me, so it's been hard to come on here and say I wrote what could be a romance comic book, everything but the layouts and interludes [yep, it needs interludes], when there's no polished copy in Final Draft to show. It's ridiculous that I don't register writing on paper as "counting" as writing - that seems to be the consensus among people I've asked, though many have sympathized with where I'm coming from. And it's really the best kind of problem to have - a non-problem, and I'm just glad to be filling up a moleskin, and relishing those moments when I can't quite write as fast as what I'm working on is coming to mind.

Plan is to break the habit. Get a little more work done. Post here again much, much sooner.

3 comments :: To Ben, to Sarah, and now, to Jack.

  1. Well said. Also loved the "possessive pronoun talk" line.

  2. Ben has a kid!? Wow. Life goes on.

  3. @Ian: Thank you. I wanted the best for them.

    @Andrew: "Wow" was my reaction exactly, and I knew it was coming. Real reality-shaker. In a good way.