Welcome To My Bed

Sports-related revelation.

I watched the NBA finals tonight. And was legitimately freaking out about the Lakers. New hero:

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But really, who am I kidding? Derek Fisher's clutch three-pointers all over the place are where it's at. Maybe I'll actually stick with the sports thing this time because I have no team allegiance. With baseball, loving the Mets was a definite downfall in the end. All that Willie Randolph bullshit last summer really soured me on the whole scene. But with this, I am simply enjoying watching a good game. Yelling at the television never felt so good.

Give a listen.



James stumbled upon this band when he was living in LA this summer and now we listen to them all the time. Even though they don't have a full length album. Or even a Wikipedia page. I guess that's what happens when you're signed to Myspace Records. I hope they don't get lost in the record company shuffle. We need more bad ass female vocalists. And since no band website pops up on Google, here's their Myspace.

Guilty pleasure, if you could call it that.

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Most women my age probably wouldn't agree, but I am kind of in love with Entourage. And not because I have any kind of crush on one of the guys (although if I had to pick, it would be a tough call between E and Ari...I know it sounds crazy, but I stand by that). If it was something so simple, it would probably be more about my love for Lloyd. However, while most of my peers have spent too much time obsessing over Carrie's shoe closet, I prefer settling in and rooting for the guys. Even though most of the female characters, barring those in positions of power and even then there's a fine line, are simple sex objects. Even though there's really no one I can relate to now that Samaire Armstrong has been off the show for ages (and every other female character has massive cans and is acting sexy all the time). Even though it is just the kind of show I should put a feminist foot down about. Not that I'm a militant feminist, but some things are a little over the top.

Okay, I admit, everything points to me ignoring this show like I ignore most of television, especially the TV that occurs on channels I don't even get. But I can proudly and happily say that I watched the entire latest season of Entourage today, and it was the best season yet. And I don't believe in guilty pleasures, I just believe in enjoying the things I enjoy, regardless of how much they don't fit with my personality. Britney Spears. Vampire novels (vehemently excluding Twilight, which I refuse to dignify with italics). Funyuns. Smirnoff Ice. And Entourage. Hopefully the next season will be at least equally as delightful. Although then I'd probably have to follow through on the drinking game James and I devised based on how many times per episode I gush about loving Lloyd. Which wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing. I'd just end up slightly hammered, at best.

"Fall"ing in love.

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It is fall. Soon. I know it. The leaves haven't quite changed yet, but that's okay. The nights are pretty brisk sometimes, sometimes it even smells like frost when I breathe a little too deeply walking home from seeing James. I know that things are getting there. We watched Sleepy Hollow last night to get in the mood for all of it: the gray days with strange burst of color, the walks in the woods, the strangest version of Christopher Walken ever put to film (and he wasn't even playing himself!). But I am not here to speak on the season that is fast approaching. I am here to tell you about a movie. But first, an anecdote.

In spite of my school status, I am stuck living in the freshman dorms. Yeah, it's kind of awful, but I have my space, and I am learning to enjoy being so secluded. About a week ago, my next door neighbor and I made a Staples run for some class necessities (the only school supply I have purchased this semester is a binder, go figure), and on the way home, I made sure to stop at Best Buy, because new movies come out on Tuesdays, and a movie very dear to my heart was set to be released this particular Tuesday. When I walk in, I make my way over to the new releases stand immediately, so excited to finally own my favorite movie of the summer. Yes, I liked it even more than The Dark Knight, and I know that puts me in a very small minority, considering how few people saw this movie when it was out and how much money (nearing $500 million last I checked, and getting a rerelease in January to remind the Oscars that it happened) Chris Nolan's masterpiece made, I really must be crazy. I loved The Dark Knight, it really blew my mind. But in terms of pure escapism (with a heart, of course), I would take Tarsem's The Fall any day. And that's what I was trying to do. However, in spite of its new release status, the DVD was not in the rack. I cursed the day that entertainment superstores started cropping up. I was forced to dig through the drama section. And on the very bottom shelf, turned sideways and completely hidden from anyone who wasn't dead set on buying it, was the movie I have waited all summer to see again. I took a whole heap of mass transit to get into New York back in June so that I could be at the independent theater on Houston at the exactly perfectly right time in the middle of an on and off rainstorm to see this movie. I got there an hour early and ate all of my popcorn while reading Jane Smiley's Ten Days in the Hills by myself on the floor outside of the particular room the film was showing in. I wanted this movie so badly. And Best Buy, in its infinite wisdom, thinks it isn't worth the time it would take to display it properly. Or even have more than one copy.

Anyway. I bought it. The one copy available for purchase at the Hampshire mall. And now, the only question I am left with is why do pieces of crap like Baby Mama get to be sold in bulk and plastered all over said store, while a piece of true art is thrown on a bottom shelf all by itself? Granted, limited release and visibility have a lot to do with it. Movies that only see the art houses of New York and Los Angeles have a tough go of it. I guess I'm ust frustrated with the treatment of the movies I love. The Fall, hidden in plain view. Fur, Nicole Kidman playing crazy again, and therefore forgotten because of more famous efforts where she is unnerving (see The Hours and Eyes Wide Shut, particularly the stoned bedroom scene). The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford, a movie that got shuffled around for years before getting a release date, and outside of the festival circuit, very few people saw it. All of these tragedies, and many more, and yet, whenever Judd Apatow takes a dump, somebody wraps it in tinfoil and sells it to you as if its the most mind-blowing hash brownie ever fabricated. The only truth to that claim is that his movies have ended up only leaving me confused. As to why he is still working, because clearly his jokes (and a lot of his actors) are funny for the first maybe...eight minutes of a script? And from them on, it's just downhill. Look at Pineapple Express. What a piece of shit that was. I spit on everyone who dragged down James Franco's brilliance. I spit, especially, on Seth Rogan, who is a likable guy, and I do like him in movies. But he is NOT an actor. He just isn't. He shows up to set stoned and improvs a lot. Sparkle and fade my friends, sparkle and fade.

I am constantly wondering what will make the pop culture sum-up-my-decade show about now. Will we all look back on Apatow & company like people look back on the Brat Pack? Because they shouldn't. I think he's more of a Pauly Shore than anything. One day, we will glance over our shoulder and sigh listlessly, wondering how it was that we ever thought he was all that great in the first place. In this, I am quite confident.

Quick study.

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I like to think I read people well, but sometimes I am completely (well, maybe that's an exaggeration) blindsided by huge character flaws I should've been able to pick out from miles away. And so, a poem concerning the most recent of these situations, written in LAX while I waited on a flight that was delayed for over two hours. The writing was cathartic. A red-eye being delayed is another story entirely.


All in preparation,
I poured whatever I could find
of courage
patience
and good sense
into the approved bottles
but none of it helped.
I left the gate 3 times to smoke
and with each cigarette,
I couldn't help but look down at the band-aid on my forearm
and wonder if we played chicken
because we knew we'd hurt each other anyway.

I met you in a cloud of smoke,
a house with walls worth of apathetic cave paintings, obscenities in poster paint,
passing around a glass flask of Jim Beam,
a glass bowl of forgetful, of smiles, of rose-colored glasses.
I was wearing my heart on a chain around my neck
and through the haze
you looked like you hadn't eaten in months;
you looked at me like you hadn't eaten in months.
Like all you knew was Jim Beam and dirty floors and poster paint obscenity
but you looked at me
and that was more than I knew to expect.

I left with no intention of coming back
but I left you with a secret.
With my index finger,
I traced my silence into the wall under the front window
in the shape of the ink I carried under rolled shirtsleeves.
It was a riddle you would eventually whitewash and never solve,
but I left it there
hoping you'd at least get hungry enough
to wonder a little.

Months passed,
my hair grew back,
and the house shifted and changed,
residents coming and going in guitar cases.
Thirteen, thirty-one, things moving backwards and forwards like the Seaside Heights tide,
a flophouse, more like an arcade, more like a dive bar, more like
the crash and burn rubble of an asteroid science fair experiment.

In the summer,
you kissed me with Franzia-stained teeth
pressing me into the walls you made white in exchange for a security deposit with liquor-swollen balls.
I had stopped leaving my heart in such obvious places
but you grabbed for it,
settling instead for collarbone.
With your glasses askew and smudged
you looked sweet enough to trust
but I left anyway,
driving home half drunk on the turnpike
with a rearview mirror missing
hoping against hickeys and sunrise
hoping I hadn't been seeing you through haze again.

And now I'm lying on the floor of LAX
waiting out New York thunderstorms,
waiting on you.
All through with my bottles, my smoking.
Just staring at the slow-healing mistakes on my arm
and thinking of us
side by side on a blanket in the wet grass
weighing the options
and deciding that instead of waiting until after the dust settled
we would get the hurt out of the way right up front.



It's still in rough form as of yet, but I'll be working on it, just like I'm always working on everything. Packing to move is a bitch. I wish I had more than four days to accomplish everything I need to get done. But we make do with what we have I guess.

On the fence.

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Almost August, which means that I am so close to LA. Almost August, and I am so close to not even wanting LA anymore. Things are so complicated right now.

The events of the past few days have left my mind so full that it is hard to think complete thoughts, find the beginning of an idea and follow it to a conclusion, or otherwise file it away to consider again later. I am not capable of that right now. I just miss a person. It's no longer the idea of a person, what they symbolized to me, what they are supposed to mean, like it has been for most of the summer. This is much more concrete than that. This is something I can hold in my arms and ask not to disappear. This is something that is absolutely terrifying.

A week from now, I will be a world away for a little more than a week. I don't know if I'm mentally prepared for such a thing. I am not prepared in general. I have to start packing.

Some place on the edge of town.

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better times


As people fall into the background, he is coming out of the shadows, holding me and pulling me out of the gutter, even when he's three thousand miles away. My exhaustion at the prospect of even leaving the house is overwhelming. I am consuming a steady diet of Netflix and cigarettes. I have lost my appetite for anything, most of all social contact with pretty much anyone but James.

Last night, while on the phone for a good three hours (we discussed Funny Games, Christian Bale's mysterious London legal situation, our lack of motivation to get laid, etc.), we ended up talking about the status of our relationship. I guess I was surprised to even start thinking about it in such terms, because in my mind, the only thing that has changed is our physical proximity to one another. He made the point that we won't be back together until we see each other again and decide that it feels right. This small turn has thrown me off balance in a way that I can't decide if I like or not. I really need to talk this out with somebody, but there's really no one available as a result of this bout of seclusion.

The people that I love keep throwing me for loops, and I am tired of hoop-jumping just to please their circus sensibilities. There are so many other things I could do with my time. I just have to figure them out first.

At this time, two weeks from now, I will be eating In & Out Burgers, getting more sun than I ever thought possible, falling in love all over again, and hopefully forgetting about all the things that have grated on me so far this summer. There are so many people I'd like to give a good talking to right now.

Project of Betterment.

My calendar has never abided by the normal Julian (is it Julian?) calendar that is accepted pretty much throughout the world as we know it. My calendar operates by school, at least in terms of the changing of what year it is. Months seem longer or shorter depending on how much school they contain, or at least they used to when school was a more regulated and odious thing. College has changed all of this. Summer vacation seems interminable now. Even day to day things seem so far from one another. I have so much more time to sleep and eat and do all the things I had to squeeze in if I managed them at all, like reading for pleasure, talking to my parents and siblings about things I actually care about, etc. The amount of time, even after subtracting for work and sleep, is overwhelming. And so I have decided I need resolutions. I have passed Division I and am moving on to phase II of my III phase education. So begins a new year, at least by the way I calculate things. So here is my list of things to do to sponge up time that is spilling into everything and creating a great deal of boredom.

1 - Read at least three books a month.

This is something I am willing to be flexible about, but I have already reread White Oleander, read Ten Days in the Hills, and am working on House of Leaves. That last one is going to take some time, being that it is very dense. The goal is something I don't expect to meet, but I expect to try. On the reading the list to follow are War and Peace (I need my Tolstoy), a collection of Kafka short stories, some Margaret Atwood, some Toni Morrison, some Dave Eggers, Neil LaBute, Zadie Smith, and various teach-yourself-French books. All of this is part of a larger effort to take care of the lack of time I had for myself this past year, and also the lack of time I will have for myself come September. I am trying to fit as many books into this summer as humanly possible. Anything in the house or on Amazon is fair game. Not even my sister's library of Sedaris will be safe. I want it all in my brain as soon as possible; I'll cram it in to whatever space I have for it.

2 - Watch at least three movies a week.

This is something that is not at all hard. This week I have watched Hard Candy already, and have a Friday plans with my dad to watch I'm Not There. Wednesday night Chrissie and I want to watch Wristcutters, the latest from Netflix. And in a day or so, Teeth should arrive from them as well. I want to return to school with a head full of movie, so that there will be at least five movies I have seen that James hasn't. I am a competitive person. And he is living in LA. This is as close as I can get. (On a side-note, I have yet to see The Incredible Hulk, and this weekend both Wall-e and Wanted come out. I have been summer movie slacking.)

3 - Dance for at least three hours a week.

Today I called my ballet teacher of I don't know how many years to ask about the summer schedule for adult classes. I haven't taken a class in about a year, but my body aches to dance. I did barre exercises and a bit of center work along with a bunch of jazz and hip-hop for about forty-five minutes earlier, and my body was literally screaming in happiness. My muscles have been so bored. And also, I go to the beach in about two weeks for the dreaded annual family reunion (how I got dragged into it when I swore it wouldn't happen is beyond me) so I would like to lose five to ten pounds if at all possible. I'm pretty sure I need to start eating breakfast if this is going to happen. It is the most important meal of the day, and I always skip it. Anyway, even if I don't start taking class again, dancing makes me so happy, and even if it's just me being silly in my room, it feels good to move again.

4 - Send James at least one piece of mail a week.

Now that I finally have assurance that he is not living on the streets of Compton, I plan on bombarding his mailbox. We talk on the phone about once a week for however long it takes for us to say what we need to in order to catch up. But I like the idea of being able to mail him things. It's very romantic. And when I'm in North Carolina, I plan on writing him a postcard every day, or at least every other day. I think that it will be fun to give him an idea of the day to day antics of my wacky family. And receiving mail is something that brightens anybody's day. Unless it's junk. I get more junk mail than I should be getting. And all of it is from my Amherst bank. Ugh.

5 - Write something down every day.

I haven't been keeping up with my paper journal with the usual vigilance. I feel guilty. To change that, I am letting it just be a memo book for me. Anything I want to remember past the next five minutes will go in it, and this will make for an interesting record of the summer.


In other news, I bought my plane ticket to LA the other day and am currently trying to restrain my brain from doing mental window shopping. I have never even been to the city and already I envision myself shopping far too much to be allowed to have money when I get there. Anyway, I am going to get back to reading, and hopefully get to bed at a reasonable hour. I am praying that I make decent tips tomorrow at lunch. At least at work I get paid to be bored, instead of being bored at home, where my fidgeting and sudoku puzzles are all for naught.

Goal-oriented.

_ read a poem
_ write a poem
_ watch a movie
_ catch up with my bicoastal boyfriend
_ read at least 20 pages of Joyce
_ make a collage
_ crochet Totoro's tail
_ ride my bike for an hour
_ start a painting
_ work on care packages

A list of things to do tonight and tomorrow. I'll probably end up watching two movies. And do a lot more than read 20 pages of my book. I'm trying to allow myself to be more ambitious, because that way I will be able to have full days instead of boring ones. I made art all afternoon with Maggie, and wrote a bit in my new paper journal. I also left James several crazed messages where I probably laughed more than I talked, because Maggie and Sherry kept trying to convince me that all he was doing was hanging out at the Playboy mansion, drinking carrot juice with whey protein, shooting porns, having sex with his yoga instructor, falling in love with many many many blondes who were not smokers, and forgetting all about the East Coast and me. Granted, they were kidding, and I definitely thought it was hilarious how stereotyped the New Jersey view of a typical California day is, but it just made me miss him even more.

Long distance relationship business is sort of awful. I am so lonely. I try to fill my days with as much as possible, but even in the moments when I'm not idling around trying to find a decent movie channel, I am constantly wishing we still lived together and I could just walk ten feet and find him smiling at me. It's kind of hard to wrap my head around the fact that he is a 43 hour drive away. No joke. I don't know what I'll do when him living out there isn't just for a summer. Next May, when he leaves for good, I am sure I am going to be a mess. I'm trying not to think about it. I don't want to be with anybody but him. But this never seeing each other situation...I'm not sure how long it could possibly last, especially when I have at least another year of school after he's gone, and no guarantee that I'll move out west once all is said and done. But I don't want to get all worked up. I already have a headache.

Former-ish smoker.

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So I'm quitting smoking. It's been nearly four solid years of nicotine. But I'm doing it. I just have several complaints. Not about the quitting in general, just in relation to smoking.

1 - The Busy-bodies

Why does everyone and their mom feel the need to tell you that smoking is so horrible for your health? Do you think I am unaware? I know the statistics. I have read several studies. Sure it causes cancer. I know about that. Yes. Yes. Yes, I am aware. Thank you. Now let me find my lighter.

Just because you inform me of the health risks doesn't mean I'm not going to do it anyway until I decide to stop. Just like my mom won't wear her seatbelt. She knows it can cause injuries which can lead to death. So what. She hates seatbelts. I like smoking. No one can convince you that you should or should not do something just by their own force of will.

2 - New Jersey

I can't legally buy cigarettes here, but I can buy them anywhere else in the country? That's just not right. I'll get them anyway. You're not saving anyone.

3 - Menthols

After-dinner palate cleansers and tobacco were never meant to have a love child. Just because both can conceivably follow a dinner out does not mean they should be taken care of in one fell swoop. God...why? Chew some gum. You shouldn't be smoking if you want fresh breath. And it doesn't taste better, it tastes like something has gone horribly wrong with the sensory receptors in your mouth and you need to see a doctor.

4 - Accessory of the evil

Only villains in movies smoke. Yes, I am aware that this is because we don't want to send the message to children that super-cool superheroes smoke a pack a day, nor do we want anyone to be seen as having human habits, but come on. In the eighties, a decent amount of people smoked in movies. Even in movies about the future back then(BLADE RUNNER), there were still cigarettes, and those people were living in LA, the wacky healthy-wealthy-"wise" capital of the world. No one ever pretended they could completely blot them out of the fabric of society. But now, only low class people (Amy Ryan in Gone Baby Gone to give an apt example) or dangerous people (both bald men in Iron Man) are smokers in our portrayal of American culture. And that's just not true. Johnny Depp is not low class, and probably is only slightly dangerous when provoked. In like fashion, plenty of actors smoke in real life. They're the only people in Hollywood who can get away with it. Because everyone else is too busy telling each other how it is the cause of several types of horrific death. But really, smoking doesn't make you evil. Being evil could arguably make you smoke, because being a bad guy is stressful, with the good guy always getting the girl and whatnot. You need an outlet. But anyway. If we're going to show something happening at all, at least be realistic. But I guess we are talking about fictional things here. I can't be so picky.

5 - Birth control

I do not want a perforated uterus. No IUD for me. I do not want intense upper arm pain and effective sterilization as a trade in for excruciating periods. No contraceptive injections either. Cervical caps and spermicides and all that jazz creep me out to no extent. I don't want to have to put something up there to prevent something else from getting up there. I'm sure you understand the vague language. So why is it that the simplest and most commonly used form of female contraceptive discriminates against smokers? I don't pretend to understand the science of it, all I know is that smoking on the pill leads to blood clots and/or cysts in places you don't want cysts. Not that anybody ever wants cysts. But seriously. This is unfair. I am quitting smoking so that I can go on the pill, but don't think I'm not going to complain about it. Yes, I know smoking is bad for my health, I have been told countless times by various nosy people who probably don't care if I live or die anyway. I can't technically buy them where I am right now, and bumming them is almost always out of the question, because I am invariably having to choose between Parliament Lights and Newports, neither of which seems right to me. And clearly I am a super-villain from some unwritten graphic novel series that will one day be a blockbuster mega-hit. But that doesn't mean I don't deserve to have a convenient form of birth control that doesn't involve some foreign plastic/metal object being inserted into my body for whatever amount of time it takes to keep babies from happening. I don't relish sex through a plastic bag. Somebody help. Why is there no pill for smokers?? Why can't vices coexist happily, without producing life-threatening circumstances? Kidding. But I think you understand what I mean.

Sigh. None of this is going to stop me from quitting. I just thought I'd complain before I lost license to do so. And I also want to say that I really love cigarettes. I miss then already, and there's four more left in my last pack.

No rest for the broke.

There is no such thing as summer work anymore. Everything requires permanence. I am going to have to rely on the upcoming garage sale revenues of the summer to get myself to LA, and who knows if that will even be enough. This is incredibly bothersome. I picked up applications to TJ Maxx and Harmon, but I don't want a sad excuse for a part-time job. I want to get paid to interact with people, not to look dead-bored behind a register. I guess there is no such thing as pleasant work anymore? I miss Rohrs' so so so much.

Speaking of, the world is incredibly devoid of cool coffee shops. There are two in the Amherst area that I know of, which is ludicrous because there should be more just by virtue of the fact that it's a college town. With at least five college within 15 minutes. And here...well I guess it's more understandable in suburban New Jersey for there not to be independent coffee shops, but come on. Cool Beans in Oradell really isn't that cool. And the next one is across the border into New York state, somewhere in Piermont. I want Rohrs' to come back so that I have a job and a guaranteed cool place to hang out. But of course, my job choices are reduced to begging restaurants to take me or filling out my age rank and serial number and handing it over to a filing cabinet for discount wares. Neither is thrilling.

I think that it is getting to be the time where I call my art school and badger them about modeling. Yes, it is getting to the point where I will take my clothes off for money. There isn't much to draw, but hey, if I am getting paid, I am getting paid. It wouldn't be the worst thing in the world, not by a long shot. Liberating? Let's hope so. Lucrative? If only.

I loathe being stuck in this rut of joblessness.

Back Downtown, among other things.

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A baptism by fire into the things I have always loved and forgotten about a little too readily. I haven't seen true live music since I saw Brand New a year and a half ago, and that doesn't even count cos it was at Madison Square Garden and there was too much space between me and the stage. I missed sweaty little rock clubs. I missed things being real. I missed Lower Manhattan so much, but it doesn't seem the same to me anymore. At any rate, X was utterly fantastic. Thirty-one years as a band, and they sound exactly like they do on their albums from the 70's.

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Additionally, I have been watching movies like it's my job lately. To kill the boredom I guess. Last Tuesday was a John Malkovich Movie Night, and I watched The Man in The Iron Mask and of course, Being John Malkovich. Yesterday I watched The Pianist and The Assassination of Jesse James by The Coward Robert Ford. Casey Affleck has only proved himself to be more of a god in my eyes. Everything I have ever seen him in, even that awful excuse for a movie The Last Kiss, he steals out from under whoever he is acting alongside. Brad Pitt may have won best actor at the Venice Film Festival for this gem, but Casey Affleck is the one who everybody else nominated and congratulated all over the world, and with good reason. He is so ridiculously talented. Assassination is definitely in my top ten movies of the year, without a doubt. The cinematography alone is absolutely breathtaking. Apparently the same director of photography worked on No Country For Old Men, a movie I feel asleep during. But I guess I'll have to give it another chance, because this guy's work is absolutely amazing. I don't care about the Coen Brothers at all, but we shall see.

This week, I'm Not There, Scorcese's The Age of Innocence with Daniel Day Lewis, and a guilty pleasure, The Rules of Attraction will all be arriving. And I reopened my Netflix account, so there will be plenty of movie watching happening this summer. I love escaping into my television set.

James will be in LA by the end of the week, setting up his temporary West Coast life. Maggie will be going to school at Pratt in the fall, and she wants me to spend a semester at Gallatin in a year or so. I am heavily considering it. We would tear up the town if we lived in such close proximity. There are so many things to think about.

Rainy.

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In New Jersey, laying low for awhile and enjoying eating and shopping for free. My mom gave me money to go pick up some essentials this afternoon, so Maggie and I drove around in the rain and ran errands together. Everyone we encountered drove like an asshole.

The day is basically gone already, and I haven't done anything seriously productive. Tomorrow I'm working with my mother in the evening, and the morning will most likely be a tag sale spree with Maggie and my other mother.

Last night while I was trying to get to sleep, my sister kept me up for nearly two extra hours talking about all sorts of things, even though she had an AP exam this morning. I took a really refreshing nap on the couch between the end of Oprah and a dinner of tuna noodle salad and some delicious avocado something-or other. I want to bake some bread really soon.

I left a calendar, a painting, a set of keys, and a mood ring in Massachusetts. Along with my dishes and cookware, but that I left so that James would have them for when he moves to Los Angeles, whenever that happens.

Today while Chrissie and I were hanging out in her room, we somehow got to talking about flying places, and it eventually turned into an argument about whether or not we'll be able to plausibly take planes anywhere without it being exorbitantly expensive. My economics class has soured me on optimism in that department. I feel like I know too much to be optimistic about oil prices and everything tangled up in them. At any rate, I've been thinking a lot lately about what I want to do and where I want to be after college, and I think what I'm most interested in is moving out to the west coast to Seattle or Portland (California seeming impractical at this point, but who knows) and making my own life. It's frustrating to be here; it's necessary, and I know that I'm going to try as hard as humanly possible to graduate early, but I think that the best way to get what I want is to get as far from being dependent as possible, and that means physically too. There's a considerable amount of time until all of this becomes more pressing, but I think that's it's never too early to worry about. I don't want to end up stuck where I can't be happy.

Hectic.

I am busier than I imagined I could be. With a course load that really doesn't seem all that crazy on paper, I have reading that verily trumps anything I was doing in the fall. But there's less writing. So I guess things will always be a trade-off.

LA has fallen through for me, after all the planning and hoping and crossing of my fingers. But in a way, it's a little pressure off, which is welcome right now. Living with James right now is a condition I am incredibly grateful for. I know it won't happen again after this spring, at least not in the near future. He'll be gone for the summer, and I'll be on the coast opposite him, working and hopefully saving up for a car. There will be visit of some type at some point, because I know I can't go nearly four months without seeing him. And then there will be the fall, where things will be different again. Cassandra and I plan on living together again just like last September, without the old semi-permanence.

Poetry is something that just doesn't come to me anymore, at least not like it used to. I missed my first Slam Collective meeting all year because I felt like death and was waiting around for my roomie to get back from his day with Mr. Martin Scorsese. It's strange to think of him appearing in the same movie and Leonardo DiCaprio. Things in New Jersey are continuing on in the same way they were before I left the last time. I spent last weekend at home (thanks to too many hours on public transportation) and the only difference I noticed is that Pascack Valley Hospital closed.

I have compiled a concise but ambitious to-do list for my summer back there. It's probably just me hoping and praying for the warm weather to get here as fast as it possibly can. New England isn't all that different from where I grew up, but I never liked mountains of snow all that much in the first place. And winter just seems interminable when you're living in the middle of nowhere. I want the sun back. The temperature has been hovering around the mid-40s for a bit, but that's not enough to keep me happy right now.

I take more naps than I should lately, and the loss of time is having a really strange effect on me.

Forward motion.

I am filling out job applications and preparing to work again at my current but unspectacular job. Editing my book in the evenings and journaling when I have time. Sometimes I wonder if I am better suited to life than school. I guess I'll know that when classes start up again at the end of the month. I'm thinking of dropping things, but the two classes I could possibly drop are both ones I desperately want to take. Maybe once I make it to spring semester I'll realize one or both of them are unnecessary. Or maybe I won't get into screenwriting after all. The professor still hasn't emailed me back. At any rate, currently I am looking to take five classes and somehow carry two jobs. Possibly only one job. There will be no time for the poetry shenanigans of last semester.

Slam has drifted off into the distance as something I was once good at that no longer excites me. Spoken word was taking over my life, and though I still love readings, I can't see myself competing for bragging rights anymore. It makes me feel like a whore. And also, I smoke too much on the ride to and from Boston.

Another job means more money for my summertime relocation, which I ideally don't want to struggle with. If I can make at least half of the money I'll need for rent for the three months I plan on spending in LA, then it will be easy to get a part time job and spend a good deal of my time writing and/or in the sun. To be fully independent, or at least as independent as is possible when living with two roommates, is something I've been wanting since September. I want to have enough money by the end of May to be confident that I won't fail, but also confident enough to convince the people paying for this life I have now in Western Massachusetts that I can handle a little time off from their help.

I've been giving myself more breathing room lately. I'm officially moving in with James in ten days, and as we get more used to the idea, we're settling down in general. Spending any time apart at all just makes me appreciate falling asleep next to him even more. So much of what is mine sits in a storage closet down the hall, waiting for when I'll have new keys to our new place, where things will be how we want them and I won't feel like such an intruder.

Prose is filtering back into my life, and I had almost forgotten the love I have for a good novel. Rereading Dave Eggers and doing a rewrite of the beginnings of my novel, James says I write like film noir and he wants to adapt the finished product into a screenplay. If only. I have a feeling I'll be able to finish it once I get to LA. Something is missing from my knowledge of the world, and though I've seen the Pacific Ocean before, somehow San Francisco doesn't fit into the story the way another city would.

Some things really only have one way of being accomplished. Here's to finding that one way.

Getting your words' worth.

Things on paper mean that there's a record of them happening. And maybe that's the biggest reason why I write. I want concrete evidence of how I felt on any given day. Evidence as real as the cement in sidewalks.

I had a teacher who used to say that language was power, and that without a language of our own we would be nothing.

My new roommate tells me that one of the things he's missing most right now is hearing me read him what I've written out loud every day. I called him to read him a poem before, but it isn't really the same thing. Being apart for the sake of our families, even for such a short amount of time seems foolish, especially when it creates an unhappiness that is easily avoidable. I almost left here yesterday, packing my things as I yelled about how I could never live in the basement again, about how being in this place at all just makes me emotionally unstable. And afterwards, I apologized for saying it, but my things are still packed.

The car is in the driveway and I'm wishing I knew off the top of my head the way to where I need to be. It would be so easy.

On paper, life must seem great. We've signed away the next several months of our lives and we can't go back on it now. Things are perfect, as perfect as they are allowed to be. Come May, it's looking more and more like California, if only for a little while. I worry that if I don't go, there will be someone else there to fill the space of my absence, someone more interesting, or just more immediate than the girl who let herself get stuck in a place she vowed not to go back to. If the time we're spending apart now is this difficult, and it's only a miniature separation, then four months and 3,000 miles will be worse, maybe even damaging.

Big things can be terrifying. I remember a drive from the late summer, up into the lower mountains right along the border between here and New York, and someone saying that the sheer size of things was enough to be terrifying. Like whales or water towers. Lately I've been thinking that this is one of those things. It's so big; I have no control over what it does to me or inspires me to do. And maybe that is what's real.

A kiss is a question.

I am constantly reminding him not to make promises he cannot keep.

Forever is a promise. New York is a promise. Los Angeles is a promise. Next winter is a promise. Holding me is a promise. And telling me that he's never felt this way before is the best and worst promise there is. Every second is loaded with intent, the intent that will determine how hard I fall for him, but every kiss is an exception. Every time he kisses me, it is tentative, as if he's waiting for me to break my promises as well.

We're in love in a way that's getting there. There are no words to describe intermediate perfection. All I know to do is smile and hold my breath.

I'm really hoping he keeps his promises.