Many people have asked me why I don’t write about My Monhegan. I do. Just not in the way they would like me to. I often write about the way the island is part of my genetic makeup. They want to hear about the one room schoolhouse and what it was like to learn with seven other students. I write about the way I can breathe when completely alone in Cathedral Woods. They want to hear about kerosene lamps, Kohler generators and going to the well for water. I write about searching for purple sea glass and letting the salt air tangle my hair and stick to my skin. Breathing deep. They want stories about dirt roads and no mail for nine days. Different but the same. they same yet different. Very.
My love for the island is complex. Trapped in the memories of a beautiful place is a lot of pain. I was a child desperate to please, hungry for attention; a girl who grew up with boys, boys and more boys. You do the math. I thought That was normal. I grew up without really interacting with girls my own age, participating in organized sports or even experiencing the idea of socially acceptable activities (like going to the mall or seeing a movie). When I finally left the Rock I left my sanity on the shore. I came out of 1983 thinking I landed on another planet. My sixth grade math level was no match for Mean Value Theorem. My Bonnie Bell lip balm fell short of Shiseido chic. These are the memories I find hard to detail despite the fact there is much more to tell.
When I get around to censoring the mistakes; when I get around to veiling the vile, I will write. I will. I said my love for the island is complex. Maybe it’s my job to figure it all out – make it less complicated.