The K + R Carousel: Redux

Then's the moment not to be astounded
When you find you've been merry-go-rounded
--Ogden Nash, Vernon Duke, "Roundabout"

Before I went to college, I specifically resolved to fall in love with someone intelligent and beautiful and charming and woo her and live happily ever after. It didn't quite work out that way.

I did find someone intelligent, beautiful, and charming. I spent all of college and a few years after mooning after her. Call her "Rosetta" (an alias...the woman in question has graciously given her ok for this page, suggested I use her initial rather than her name, but to preserve the structure of the documents I had to adopt the longer alias.)

We had an odd relationship. I'm not sure when, if ever, she would have accepted calling it boyfriend/girlfriend, but at times we were physically and emotionally intimate. But between those times, we were very distant, always her choice. I thought of it as kind of a sine wave of a relationship, or a carousel, hence the title of this collection.

In the early 2000s, I made a large-ish selection of our correspondence and published it on my romance poetry site she had indirectly inspired, The Blender of Love; it's a WHOPPING PILE of emails, and a few "silent conversation" dialogs conducted on my laptop thrown in for good measure.

In 2022 I reformatted the entire collection; the earlier versions put each email on its own page with color coding to try to indicate who wrote which; the new version uses the modern visual paradigm of texting, with her messages on the left, and mine on the right. This isn't entirely honest; email isn't messaging and it has its own patterns (including quoting text) but the rhythms of mid-90s texting were often similar to what came later, and I think the sense of dialog is much easier to parse.

I admit, its a little bizarre to have published this. At times, I thought pitching this woo was some of the best writing I'd done, and maybe it is. But it also shows me at my worst; whining and pleading, trying too hard and generally being insufferable. And then there are other times when the connection was restored that I have a deep, almost prideful nostalgia for. I think mostly, even if this relationship wasn't what I had hoped for, it was hugely important to me that it mattered, that I mattered.

And there's just SO MUCH OF IT. To quote R: "I'm appalled at the sheer volume."

And why revisit it 2022? I came back to to try and understand more about my previous self, before my Y2K fears, before my mortality crisis and resulting therapeutic comic book, before a divorce and a broken engagement and the long term relationship I now enjoy. (I know I engage differently in romance now; but also that I don't always connect fluently in shared emotion with my partners.) But seeing my younger self, even more naive than I am now... I find it fascinating to see the early signs of philosophical and emotional worldviews that would take decades for me to put into thought.

(It's also important to remember that these notes are just the fossils that survived, important in and of themselves, but sometimes just providing hints about conversations and contact that might have happened)

Part One

Fall Freshman Year through Fall Junior Year

Part Two

Spring Semester Junior Year

Part Three

Spring Semester Senior Year

Part Four

Fall and Winter 1996-1997