Welcome To My Bed

Magic Morsel: Ekphrasis

At times, it's necessary to empty your head of all personal imagery and just let writing become the mechanical process.  I've heard tell of both Ernest Hemingway and Hunter S. Thompson re-typing great novels by other writers to learn the movement of genius.  I've never gone so far myself (though it intrigues me to think what I might make after such an exercise).

But last night I did a little exercise.  After retyping a scene from the novel (no editing allowed in the process), I was in a very floaty, empty-headed working mode.  I tend to create best with nothing current immediately on my mind.  Then I did an ekphrastic experiment(ekphrasic writing is done as a direct response to another art object)--a song came on in shuffle, and while listening to it several times over I brainstormed images based on the musical features.  The guitar line was lonely and wandering.  The drums sounded like the slow turn of gears.  Before I was sure of what was on the page in front of me, I'd written a three stanza western.

Here's the song:

It would be interesting to see what other people would write in response to the same song, though I haven't quite thought through how that might be collected.

Anyway, I plan on doing this at least once a day.  It's an effective trap door out of always writing about myself, or at least an escape from the ever-larger manuscript of hospital/death poems.  Maybe for National Poetry Month (April), my project will end up as thirty ekphrastic poems, each a response to one of my favorite songs.

Magic morsel #48, private Idaho's.

This song came on four or so times yesterday at work. (This means someone put the 80's playlist on shuffle and then promptly forgot all about it.)

And then my mind wandered away from me (I was working in the dressing rooms and had two customers over a six hour span of time) and got really sad because this scene just kept playing over and over behind my eyes.

Thanks a lot, Gus. Now the B-52's make me cry.

Magic morsel #46, or, post-hardcore on Paper Street.

Remember when Fight Club was a cultural phenomenon and you watched it twice a night in your best friend's basement, quoting the lines with one of you as Tyler and the other as Cornelius? Kind of like how you used to divide up the singing parts in TBS songs into "Adam" and "John" and each sing one set of lyrics? No?!

...I mean, I guess growing up in Jersey, I assumed everybody listened to the Long Island bands and wanted to beat the crap out of their imaginary friends. My bad.

Magic morsel #45, or, the holidays make me morbid.

In honor of driving home for Thanksgiving this afternoon, I thought I'd spread a little holiday cheer, courtesy of Christian Alexander:


And a holiday haiku, courtesy of my dearest SPC (and my exhaustive journals, circa three years ago):

Get your head out of
the oven. Somebody needs
it for the turkey.

Don't get me wrong, I'm excited for the family time that's about to take place. I just know that it all comes with its fair share of strife. I'll see you on the other side of the weekend, hopefully less scarred (charred) than I'm expecting to be.

Magic morsel #43, Manic monday.

I have two manuscripts due this Thursday. Welcome to crunch time. My bed has turned into an odd headquarters of sorts--I sleep next to/under/spooning legal pads, six or seven fat stapled drafts of both poems and the novel, three or four jackets, a basket of my clean (and yet to be put away) laundry, my shark, various magazines, books, and at least seven hats. I ate ice cream for breakfast yesterday. I fell asleep at roughly nine PM and slept straight on and off until about seven this morning. My body and mind will not meet me halfway on this.

At least the Bangles know how I feel.

Magic morsel #42, teenage dreams.

I love the shit out of this song before I'd ever swallowed a drop of liquor, probably sometime around sixth or seventh grade.

It makes a lot of sense that my first boyfriend and 2002 Ben Kweller had pretty much the same aesthetic.

And then this is what I'll pretend actually happened to me when I got to legal drinking age, mostly because this turn towards real cold is making me long some beach time like nothing else. As much as I adore fall, I will always be such a sucker for late summer and all that windows-down, bare legs, bare feet, seedy motel kind of adventure.

Magic morsel #39, dub-step remixes etc. near daybreak.

Whenever I wake up from a dead sleep in the middle of the early morning, I look up Rusko remixes on youtube and dance myself back to sleep. Or maybe that's only tonight's remedy.

The dancing cigarettes in this one makes me a little bit too happy.

After a few good go-arounds at dancing, I then let things derail a bit. Which, tonight, means that I get on the Amanda Blank train and refuse to get off.

I suppose this is meant to make up for being a total homebody all Friday night.

Magic morsels, birthday edition.

These are things that make me happy, since it's my birthday and all.

And just so you know, the photo-insanity has already begun. I don't own, nor have I ever owned a digital camera, but that will not prevent this occasion from being exhaustively documented. We (meaning my current roommates, my former roommate, and my male brain twin) went out dancing at midnight last night to ring in the day properly--"properly" meaning six inch heels, Patron shots, and a sweaty old school mix. When we walked up to the bar, I heard one of the guys at the door say to another, "We're hanging out with them tonight." It made me giggle. Once I gather the evidence of at least the pre-party, it will most likely make its way into a post. I wish I had a picture of the happy dance I did in the street that stopped short only of a flying heel-click. The next few days are going to be non-stop.

Magic morsel #37, those Bette Davis eyes.

Check out how she downs that martini! And picks over those chocolates! And that gown! Oh, jeez. I am smitten with this movie. Jericha and I watched half of it last night before bed and dissolved into giggles so frequently it was alarming. We also got quite moony-eyed over the clothes.

Mostly, I just want such snappy dialogue in my life at all times. Where are all the well-dressed men to argue me off my high horse?

Magic morsel #35, or, still not sleeping.

I know I said I was going to sleep. I still can't.

This is my sleepy song. Is it an odd compliment to say that Yellow House is one of my favorite albums to sleep to? Because it is.

I can see the sky changing color in preparation for the sun's arrival. At least I've pushed a poem through two more drafts during all of this not-sleeping business.

Magic morsel #34, or, ways to effectively numb the mind.

I have found, in my endless hours of struggling through novel-writing, that the best music for literary achievement is not my favorite ambient noise, nor soft strings, nor instrumental film scores or any such nonsense. Not in the slightest. My writing music is mindless--and I really mean liquid-brained--pop music, preferably with autotune and lyrics that are a big fat middle finger at any self-respecting poet. Yes, I enjoy being offended while at my typewriter. By making playlists of blatantly awful music, I ensure that I will not be distracted into singing along. Cos honestly, who sings along to shit like this:

I am saving my rockabilly for the triumphant after party, sometime around December 10th.

Magic morsel #?: the new house.

This was my parents' wedding song. I am nearly all moved in to my new place, and it feels amazing. There will be pictures or some such nonsense once I'm done setting up my new cave. And have a non-faulty internet connection. But. Great excitement!!

And this is what I thought my parents wedding song was for years.