I am back — well sort of. A handful of people have asked why I haven’t been blogging recently, and to be honest I don’t have a good reason. I have been lackadaisical in my approach and one of my dear friends wasn’t impressed. So (s)he who shall not be named decided to inspire and rewire my thinking with a surprising alternative — ghost writing. No no, not when a person moronically hops from their vehicle and dances around their car (this is ghost-riding – although it sounds a bit fun, right?), but rather to write a blurb that I can ultimately take credit for. But since I enjoy giving credit where credit is due, consider this to be a hybrid between guest post + ghost writing. Something that I can definitely consider being done more often. Or perhaps it will be the vehicle to get me to start writing again 🙂 Enjoy.
If you are anything like me, you miss the occasional ramblings Natalie has shared here. Unlike me, however, you probably did not offer to write a post in her stead. I am going to guess that is mostly attributable to you not realizing how fun it is to say, “Guest Ghost” – or maybe you know the definition of ghostwriter better than I do, which apparently is supposed to seem like it is written by the expected author, but secretly written by someone else. Nom de guerre is likely technically more accurate for what is happening here (as I am just hiding my name), but it feels pretentious in even knowing how to spell it – and if I said it aloud, you’d punch me square in the mouth if I didn’t beat you to it. Anyway, I wrote this. And the views and opinions expressed below are not necessarily shared by Natalie.
This is Natalie’s blog. It’s labeled a “candid representation of life”, but that is not totally true. It is a candid representation of Natalie’s life. She is always going to be the best one to comment on that. What I can do is tell you what it is like to be the occasional interloper in her journey. I’d venture to guess that time and distance have kept each of us from Natalie more than we would like, and hopefully my share helps bridge that gap, if only for a moment.
This is not a primer on Natalie – that would rob you of the joy of discovering her for yourself, and I am certain my experience would not be yours. This is best described as what it is like to know one small sliver of her today. Nearly 25. Confident and doubting. Up for anything and quick to say no. Boisterous and demure. Mercurial – and worth the trouble.
Natalie likes to take it all in. In a new environment you can feel her drift away, but it is not really away, it is actually in deeper, just on her terms. The first time she visited my home, conversation quickly trailed off as she began rifling through shelves, dragging her hands across various surfaces, scanning the rooms, assessing furnishings, imagining the life lead there. She is an anthropologist of what is easily ignored as the mundane trivialities of modern life. If you wait for it, however, she snaps back, as if from a trance, present but with a deeper understanding of her environs. And given enough time, she will circle back to something she saw, even days later, incorporated meaningfully into that new sincere moment.
Her anthropological ways are not limited to the inanimate. She treats people, all people, similarly. She moves without pretense – “I shared a meal with my Lyft driver”, “the woman at TaskRabbit is going through a tough time”, “his daughter just moved here, I met him in the elevator”. Natalie’s questions are never perfunctory. She is always hungry to know what someone else’s life is like, what it was like, what it will be like. I have watched her stop her whirlwind of motion to engage and connect with a stranger on the street merely for the sake of knowing them and honoring them in the moment.
I am never quite sure what Natalie does with all this information, but her deliberate collection of it makes it all feel important. My guess is that it is part of her own process – understanding the world around her and what she wants to make of it. And if you know her, you know there are no limits to the possibilities.