Tag Archives: stacy effing campbell

Your birthday.

Stacy, I don’t remember exactly when or why you and I became friends.

We weren’t, then we were.

There was no gradual easing into that hot tub, testing the waters, seeing if we recoiled as our knees touched, feeling out the awkwardness and tension until we were comfortable baring it all. We just dove in, our naked souls jockeying for the best seat, immediately basking in the essence that was us. Two teabags in a cup of instant friendship. Not steeped and cured until finally ready to sip. Lipton friends. Delicious friends, with sweetness and tartness and ready for the world.

We weren’t, then we were.

There was no series of meetings or conversations during which you and I slowly realized that there was this spark and we clicked. We didn’t meet by sharing a casual laugh over a funny situation or the mutual derision of a snack food. There was no oh-you-like-this-movie-too or i-love-this-song moment. In fact, we didn’t even have the same taste in movies or music or books or art. We appreciated each other’s appreciation for different things, but our interests didn’t bring us together. Your love for the hardcore, my passion for pop; your interest in absurdity, mine in romantic optimism – we were polar opposites in many ways. But despite those divergences, friendship rocketed forward, light speed, throttles to full.

We weren’t, then we were.

What we were was more than friends. Soulfriends. Soulmates. It’s a weird phrase, but it suited us. Our first conversation was as self-referential and fulfilling as each subsequent one. Our talks were deep yet easy, hovering on the precipice of being pretentious and overthought, fascinating and too big, spanning entire universes of ideas and concepts. We were always soulmates. The world just hadn’t lined us up yet so that we could meet. Before we knew, our souls did.

We weren’t, then we were.

Today would have been your 39th birthday. We had big plans for our inevitable he laughs cynically at the concept of inevitability now fortieth birthdays. Big, grandiose, ridiculous, if we were both single at forty we would get married and build a commune of thinkers and creators and writers and artists types of plans. And you know what? It would have fucking happened. When we got together, tremendous things occurred. Mountains shifted, gods bowed on bended knees, and the unlikely became SOP. Our friendship had always been like that. That intensity – that force of nature – that Wonder Twins form of water and form of animal – it had been there from that first nanosecond.

We weren’t, then we were.

Your voodoo dolls hang in my office. Our photo hangs prominently on my wall. That smile – your smile, dives into your eyes and takes over. It’s beautiful. Everywhere I look, I see memories of you and me. The weird. The random. The non-sequiturs that made us laugh. We were always in on The Joke. But then you had to know the punchline before the rest of us.

We weren’t, then we were. 

But now, when I’m foraging for humanity in the wilds of the world, and I see the odd, fucked-up absurdities that were our cornerstones, my heart hurts. No longer can I share those with you. My soul sister – the one who would appreciate them, no matter how dark, how inappropriate or how too-soon. You were the only one with whom I could share that. That was our friendship.

We weren’t, then we were. 

Anastacia Campbell

But that’s not true anymore. There are others now. When I lost you, your other soulmates  – these tendrils you connected to each of us – found me. And I found them. They’re in my life now, and we carry you in our hearts. In our thoughts. In the twisted laughs and fucked-up memes we share. Stephanie. Tom. Krystyna. Racheal. And so many more.

Stacy, it’s our commune! Of a sort. It’s the best kinds of people joined together. By you. And I will always remember exactly when and why all of us became friends.

You were, then you weren’t.

Happy birthday, Stacy. I love you.

The Voodoo Shop

It was cold when we walked into the shop. December in New Orleans. Of course it would be.

Her eyes shined like the Christmas lights we’d traveled for hundreds of miles to avoid, trying to consume every piece of visual candy. The masks and dolls stared at us, tempting us with charms for our loved ones and curses for those we loved no more.

Marie Laveau House of Voodoo in New Orleans

She was Daddy Warbucks; each doll, Orphan Annie. Who would get to go home with her, blessing her household? She already had beauty, intellect, and personality, but a smart gambler always hedges her bets.

Marie Leveau's House of Voodoo in New Orleans

Incense and jewelry provided relief from pain and sexual prowess. Velvet bags filled with mysterious herbs promised good fortune. We shopped, seduced and drunk on the scent of magic emanating from the back room.

Anastacia Campbell at Marie Leveau's House of Voodoo in New Orleans

The two dolls she chose offered bliss and happiness and good health and wellness. Surprisingly light given the weight of their promises, I carried them gingerly. One tight squeeze was all it would take to crush dreams, crumbling twigs and paper into  dust.

Stacy Campbell at Marie Leveau's House of Voodoo in New Orleans

“I’ll be back. I want a reading from the back.” I held her happiness between two fingers and her health between two more as she vanished from sight. Ten minutes or an hour passed – impossible to tell – and the incense began to make me feel woozy.  The shop grew smaller.

Voodoo Altar at Marie Leveau's House of Voodoo in New Orleans

She emerged before I had to escape into the cold, taking all of her hope with me. “Can we go home?” her wan face and tired eyes told me enough of the story. Her hand slipped into mine as we exited, and I held it gingerly, lest she crumble as well.

Voodoo dolls from Marie Leveau's House of Voodoo in New Orleans

She’s gone now, their promises left brittle and shattered. I’ll give them one more chance.


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A Poem I Wrote On Halloween About Someone I Love

Stacy Campbell in New Orleans

We were supposed to
not like prophesized. We made plans
hunt ghosts in October,
close to Halloween
for that delicious yet fake Alanis irony

Last time, we broke in
because rules are for the rest
to the abandoned theme park,
capturing the rusting corpses of thrill rides
and posting on Instagram. Of course.

Waverly Hills Sanatorium
the home of thousands of dead
and a few ghosts that
we were going to talk to

Instead, I’ll be sitting on your couch
the one with the tags still on it
with my digital recorder
talking to you
asking you why you did it

(written October 2015)


This is part of a series in which I will attempt to write something every single day of 2016 here on Avitable.com. Will I be able to do it? You’ll only know if you subscribe using the form below!

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