About eight years ago I moved to New York from my native land, Oklahoma. I had spent a good twenty-three years surrounded by my family and their incessant wonderment of my future.
“Got any boyfriends,” Uncle Thed would badger me.
“Well, got any girlfriends then,” He just wanted an answer.
“I got nothing.”
“You going to use your college degree or be a hippie forever,” Aunt Glenda joined.
“If it all works out, both,” I knew this wasn’t the end of it.
“Do you really think that little band of yours will amount to anything,” My grandmother worried.
“Yep, otherwise I wouldn’t be going to New York, Granny.”
Within minutes the conversation jumped into the latest gossip about some poor soul in our two-hundred folk town. I know most people long to be known like the theme song to Cheers, “Where everybody knows your name,” but all I wanted to was to be somewhere that not one single soul knew my damn name. I needed to breathe for a minute and figure out who I was without everyone else projecting it onto me or reminding me where I came from.
Fast-forward eight years and in taking on a new last name, I also inherited an additional family that is ten times larger than my own immediate family. Theoretically, my wife and I could have plans every single day of the week if each one of her siblings decided to have a dinner. The only difference between this is that the back-catalogue of my greatest hits and the infinite collection of tear-in-my-beer songs aren’t carried in the in-law format so excuses like “I have to write because an agent wants my manuscript” are just irrelevant eight-track excuses.
I could write books-upon-books (pun intended) on Alisa Ben, but Alisa Olander really is the forever hippie weaving in and out of responsibilities that amount to a whole lot.