Home > Red Spiral Notebook > [October, 1994] Cut Adrift But Still Floating

[October, 1994] Cut Adrift But Still Floating


“Some days it all adds up
And what you got is enough” – U2

I’m writing this on the train which means bumpy writing.  Today was a great day, one of those times when the little things go right.  I swear I wouldn’t be surprised if I was diagnosed as a manic-depressive.  Mood swings indeed.

Hozumi gave me a tape I once considered getting, Dig.  It was really nice of her, just came out of nowhere.  She’s very cool.  Well, some people actually understood my second story which made me happy.  I don’t care that everyone didn’t, but the people that mattered (the teacher, for one) got it.  Yeah…

“Too much is not enough” – U2



In retrospect, I do wonder whether my oscillating moods were caused by teenage hormones or whether there was something a little bipolar going on back then.  The swings were usually provoked but not always,and small events could set the pendulum in motion to either extreme. If I had to guess, considering the moods did not negatively affect my grades or social life, I’d say it had less to do with manic-depression and more to do with being an angsty teenager.

Hozumi was someone I always liked at Hunter, because she defied categories (though I initially pegged her as a metalhead), got along with everyone, had her own style, and didn’t take any shit. In other words, she was different from just about everyone else at the school. I wanted to be friends with her, but we rarely had reason to interact, and I think I found her too intimidating to feel comfortable enough around her to really be myself.  Or it’s possible that we just didn’t have the right friendship chemistry to form a true bond.  It happens.  Even so, throughout high school we had a few pleasant interactions that I look back on fondly and her giving me this tape was one of them.  Dig was a grunge band with one minor MTV hit, “Believe.”  They weren’t memorable, and neither was the album, but it’s the gesture that I appreciated.

As for the short story, it’s called “cut adrift but still floating,” and is about a high school girl, Nina, who stops talking, which elicits a variety of reactions from her teachers, family, and classmates. The story is written in alternating vignettes of her teachers, classmates, and family offering their opinion about her, with excerpts of letters that Nina writes to T.R., a famous musician who killed himself.  Kurt Cobain had killed himself six months earlier, and while I was not personally affected by the tragedy, it did make me wonder would be like if a musician I really adored died. Considering the important role music played in my life back then, I think it would have been pretty devastating to me. At the time, I practically had a shrine devoted to Trent Reznor, so T.R. was the natural choice for the object of obsession in my story.  To make my love of Nine Inch Nails even less subtle, I also named the protagonist Nina.  Here’s an excerpt from the story:

Dr. T.R.,

It’s hard to function without you.  You helped form me, create me.  You terrified me, initially, but you forbade my fear.  For a while there, I was under the impression that I was immortal.  But then you disappeared, leaving me alone with my black thoughts.  The bravery you instilled in me immediately decayed.  You were supposed to complete me.  Now there are pieces missing from me, pieces that were never formed.  I was almost powerful.  Now I’m nothing.

Just a wee bit overwrought, I know, I know. I’ll spare you the rest.

  1. bloodyscribbles
    March 21, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    I liked it and would like to read the rest.

  2. March 16, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    This entry killed me! I used to work for the real “T.R.” (sometimes he called himself that, btw), and he used to get crazy shit from fans all the time. The one thing that sticks out in my memory the most, however, was this handwritten 14 loose-leaf paged “screenplay” for The Downward Spiral. We assumed a kid (approximately your age during most of the NIN posts) wrote it, but it turned out it was written by a 50-year-old woman who worked as a janitor. So rest assured, what you think of as rabid psychotic fandom was just you being a normal (albeit hilarious!) hormonal kid. Truth.

    I love this blog.

    • March 16, 2012 at 7:51 pm

      Hi Monica,

      Ok, first of all, my inner 16-year-old NIN fangirl is totally having a moment at the fact that you actually worked for T.R. That is too cool! What did you do for him? Are you two still in touch?

      Thank you for the kind words about the blog and your reassurance that I was just being a sane (though let’s be honest, a wee bit kooky) teen. Reading that “screenplay” must have been a riot. And maybe a little bit creepy. I can only imagine the other stories you have from working with Trent…

      • mrusso51
        March 17, 2012 at 2:21 pm

        Sadly, we are not in touch. This all went down many years ago. I was young. I was basically just the studio assistant/runner when his studio was in New Orleans.

        I’m glad I just discovered your blog. I’m working through the archives and having a blast.

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