Welcome To My Bed

Magic morsels #13 & 14 (my lady poet head is exploding).

A quote on writing from this interview, because what would I do without a bathtub full of words every day to take a good long soak in?

Often I think it’s brutal—the blank page and my lame brain against endless looping Law and Order: SVU episodes on TV or the temptation of posting on a blog...


It's good to know there are poets as easily distracted as I am.

I found Courtney Queeney's book as an uncorrected advance proof in a used bookstore in Dover, NH yesterday afternoon (there is an extensive photo post from Spring Break: Floodwater Edition on its way). I am not kidding when I say that it is the best book of poetry I've run across in a hot minute, but then again, how could it not be with a title like "Filibuster for a Kiss"??? To crib a compliment I got a few months ago for a more appropriate context, this woman is killing me with awesome. On the jacket for the actual book, the writing is described as having "erotic dissonance", which, regardless of whether the phrase ACTUALLY means anything or not, is such a good combination of words that I yelled about it earlier.

Also, this picture is odd and delightful:

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If I hadn't already stayed up too late, it would make me want to watch Eyes Wide Shut, though on second thought, that is hardly the best chamomile tea movie to send myself off to sleep with.

Magic morsels #10 and 11.

Oh Maggie Atwood, you are such a gem. I think I may be partial to Maggies. I think that may be why some masochistic part of me enjoys Los Angeles.

Momentary digression where I insert a poem video that may or may not apply to the above claim:



Isn't it weird to be so lucky that when you wish people you know were around more often that you can look them up on youtube and watch them talk about things they care enough to write about? Isn't the internet weird??

Phew! Digression complete. Back to Maggie Atwood and being a gem:

"An interview is also a performance, and although a performance can reveal much, its revelations are selective, and its omissions and concealments are often as instructive as its grand pronouncements.... Sometimes a writer doesn't want to tell; sometimes a writer has forgotten.... Writers are human beings; they too inhabit bodies, had childhoods, get through the day somehow, experience joy and fear and boredom, confront death. The rabbits they produce are only common rabbits, after all; it's the hat that's magic. And yet it is only a hat. This is what fuels our curiosity: the mix of the familiar, even the banal, and the radically inexplicable."

From the new introduction to Paris Review collection Women Writers at Work.

On a semi-related note, I am starting the outlining process for a series of personal essays on what different kinds of writing mean to me. On another, also semi-related, note, I was offered a feature today. And there was lots of sun. And both of my sisters made me laugh. Other than that, my current brain is up for grabs here.

Digging in for the long haul.

Remember how I had New Years resolutions? They've been nagging at me like hungry puppies because I've basically been ignoring them. Especially the one where I said I'd read a book every two weeks. That's not been happening quite the way I'd planned it. But I did happen to finish I Am Not Myself These Days (in tears) last night. The need to rescue someone. I know that impulse well. I'd say the last fifty pages of the book would have destroyed me for the next few days had I not read them at a ridiculously late hour and thus dulled my sense of anxiety at seeing shades of my own behavior in a memoir about someone else's life. I wrote the title on my calendar, just like I did Maragaret Atwood's The Penelopiad when I finished it back in January. And now I'm not quite sure where to begin with the rest of my stack.

For my thesis, I have been compiling a bibliography of all of the things that may of may not end up influencing what i write and how I write it over the course of the next year. It's daunting to make a list so bid and broad and general, but I'm trying to be thorough. There are mix CDs for each of the characters and locations in the novella, poems of invented sexual histories, every used page from the notebook I take orders in at work, and then this giant stack of books that will only get larger as this project rolls along, slowly getting larger than me.

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Sorry for the crazy eyes. It's early yet.


Thus far the list of the texts most immediately next to me is as follows-- Communion: The Female Search for Love by bell hooks, A Brief Stay With the Living by Marie Darrieussecq, How We Are Hungry by Dave Eggers, Moments of Being by Virginia Woolf, The Path to the Spiders' Nest by Italo Calvino, Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose (great name, right?), Nights at the Circus by Angela Carter, and An Actor Prepares by Constantin Stanislavski. Don't ask me what feminist perspectives on love have to do with method acting. These are books I still have to sit with, so give me some time for the connections between them to materialize.

Also, it's funny (and frustrating), but lately I haven't been able to write without some kind of order to do so. I had to use a Rachel McKibbens prompt to get myself going for a class assignment yesterday afternoon, and though I really liked what I got out of the effort, I was pretty miffed at myself for needed the assistance. But then again, I suppose these things happen to the best of us. Someone told me once that writer's block is just a fear of telling your truth. I'm desperately trying to get over that fear.

But I shouldn't worry too much. In my final committee meeting at breakfast yesterday morning, my advisors both told me outright that they really respect and admire my work over the past year and a half. It felt really good to hear that after all of this toiling.

Brevity is a burden.

Today is:

twenty pages I must pare down to ten
no natural light strong enough
lazy hours in mountains of paper

an old professor suddenly psyched on my thesis

rereading critical papers from last year
wondering how much more I've forgotten

wanting to give up on physical proof

praying with closed fists to break something

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In short, all of it to wade through and no idea where to begin.

Snow day.

1. This is how I feel about how close Christmas is:

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So much to do, and I feel like none of it's getting done. I sometimes think I look like an elf, but I have roughly zero elf characteristics because Christmas is the holiday I worst at preparing for, and elves are bred for such purposes.

2. This is how I feel about being stuck inside for most of the day because PVD is non-functional:

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Good thing I'm going out momentarily to fetch some soup for Meg and do some much needed catching up. I have missed that girl. It's been since August, for God's sake. C'mon snow, don't screw this one up for me.

3. Just found out that the artist I named and somewhat modeled one of my novel's characters after died this July, apparently from a drug overdose. I remember reading about him in New York magazine sometime recently after I had transferred to public high school. I was sitting in the library, avoiding my homework, and I picked up the issue without even thinking. The story really struck me though, and the guy became something of an impetus for me to write a piece of short fiction that ended up winning me an award and getting me into college. I know very little about this person other than what that article said, and I have never even seen any of his art. He was only 27. I haven't had time to work on the novel in a bit, but now I feel oddly compelled to jump back in after finding this out via Wikipedia as a result of a conversation with a friend about making art nests and possibly starting a treehouse artist collective called the Boredom Assassins. Today has been a weird day. Fingers crossed that it's gonna get wackier (in the best of ways).

Hello, world. No, I am not dead.

1. So much for ever talking about my life in public. The retreat to solitude (or rather, life without much internet posting) of the past week is in direct proportion to how much anxiety I have over the end of the semester. However, this anxiety is apparently unwarranted--I had a peer review of my critical/creative paper on the dangers of reading Plath's poems as solely inspired by biography that went incredibly well. Everyone told me that the paper was basically finished, but for a bit more textual evidence in a single paragraph. So perhaps all of this will be properly finished, on time, and handed in without any major panic attack? Maybe??

2. This weekend was the NorthBEAST slam regional, and I am proud to say that I drove out to Manchester for both nights of competition, in spite of incredible busted-ass-broke-ness and then a pretty gnarly snowstorm. Sophia made the individual finals, which I was absolutely thrilled about. I guess that statement loses a bit of its strength though, considering I was pretty syked to see most people who were competing. I really love living in the midst of the things that I do. Even if it does mean I lose my voice roughly once a week from yelling affirmations at poets (and admonitions at unsatisfactory judges), it always seems to be worth it. For most of the weekend, the question everyone asked me was what team I was on, followed by "Wait, you're not on one? REALLY?? Well, that just beats all..." Okay, so maybe not exactly like that, but the general feeling I got from such interactions was that the world at large wants me to be on a slam team. Driving back to campus late Friday night/early Saturday morning, Charley told me that he would be disappointed in our venue if I didn't make the NPS team this year. All of these remarks have my head spinning a bit--in my own mind, I was still hiding safely in the background--but my own compass about such things is point towards an August vacation to Minnesota. We'll see what happens.

3. Tonight, Sophia features at the Emerson Poetry Project. I am very excited to finally see what they do, as I've never been to another college's poetry thingamabob. And spending free time in Boston is second only in my mind to spending free time writing. Judging by my personal writing history, that's probably why I write so very many poems where Boston figures largely. Although, judging by the catalog, I haven't written one of those in a LONG time. Maybe tonight is the night for it to reoccur.

Five things (11.13).

1. I started in on "Ted Hughes Bakes a Cake" last night while in the Cantab audience, somewhere between finishing my knitting and escaping out the back door for a quick smoke. The draft is in a weird place. Ted Hughes is currently attempting to hypnotize the oven. I'm not sure where it will go next. Probably somewhere too serious for the title, though I'm really trying to keep it as light as possible. Everyone who's heard about this project cannot contain their laughter; it comes out through spitting noises, like their mouths are deflating too quick for their lips.

2. I brought the Dickinson persona piece to workshop this afternoon and felt attacked. The majority of people thought it was too harsh an indictment of Amherst. It's defeating to have a poem I thought of as pretty solid knocked down a peg, but I'll probably just cycle it through several drafts tonight and push it through the problems. I'm trying to have a better attitude about editing, mostly as preparation for the thesis-writing I have to do starting in a rough month.

My second piece at workshop was "The Church of Tchaikovsky", a poem I wrote after a prompt my friend Erich gave me a few weeks ago (he asked me my convictions and after I answered, told me I should write about them). It was a really tough poem to get to-- I must have drafted it nearly fifteen times since I started working with the concept. There are at least four or five more poems to mine from free writes surrounding the thing that I turned in today, but the polished piece of it seemed well-received. I was proud; it's not often that I talk about my relationship to religion at all, let alone in my writing, so it was a tough thing to share in a class setting. Compared to reading in on the open mic at the Cantab last night, I'd say that class is far more nerve-wracking than being on stage, even if I am among friends in both cases. The distance probably helps.

3. As is Thursday afternoon tradition, Cass and I watched ANTM and got a little too giddy during the results portion. It was double elimination, which would narrow the playing field from four girls to the final two, a set of circumstances that some people would also see as cause for freaking out. I want to know those people, so that we can all get together and have a fondue-driven support group. Or a fashion blog knitting circle. Or something similar. Being on a campus focused on "social change", sustainability, and recreating the late 80s/early 90s via the Salvation Army bargain bin makes it very easy to deal with what I lovingly refer to my "schlub" days (the ones when I wear jeans instead of some incarnation of my fairly steady uniform of mini dresses and black tights). It also makes it incredibly difficult to not feel like a freak when I am wandering campus in five inch suede platform heels. Fashion and global-mindedness should not be mutually exclusive. Where are the other secret sequin lovers? (From the mouth of Gaga: "I'm just trying to change the world one sequin at a time.") My roommate and I can't be the only ones. Two of my friends saw me walking back from the library in some pair of pumps the other day and had a serious conversation about how they couldn't understand my impetus for such shoes. But then again, this anxiety could be its own entry, and will probably be further explored in later lists.

4. Rob "Ratpack Slim" Sturma featured in Cambridge last night, and I laughed so hard my abs were sore this morning. I'm not sure if it was the Van Halen, or the waltzing, or what-have-you, but I'm glad it happened. He just released a book with Write Bloody. The more I see of the poets in their catalog, the more I want to get all of them in a room and have a semi-trashy cocktail party with many ashtrays and spanakopita. Then, once everyone was properly liquored and trading stories, I would stealthily extract their brains one by one and secret them all into mason jars. So that I could study them. Perhaps to understand why they all find butterfly knives so aesthetically appealing. But mostly because I keep lending out their books and not getting them back from long, intolerable stretches of time.

5. I crave a conference with Sean, a trip to New York, any kind of small vacation to keep me from getting so buried in books and the mad woman-poet lives of the already-dead that I can't crawl my way out. Being back last week was a short breath, followed by a long a serious plunge under water again. I am bad at scuba diving. In fact, I've never done it before. This feels like drowning. I am taking serious advantage of winter break this year. Sophia said she would take me to her synagogue, and her writing spot. And then there's that Gaga concert. Sometimes I wonder how I manage to convince myself of my love for any other city.

Cheers from the land of academia!

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The fever pitch of the week has somewhat subsided, and now Cass and have confined ourselves to the living room (mostly because the cold is party prohibitive, or maybe we are just already spinsters) to do research for a final paper not due for another month. She is reading Christina Rossetti: A Literary Biography, and I am reading Rough Magic: A Biography of Sylvia Plath. I suppose our friends don't refer to our place as the Lady Poet House for nothing.

Other than that, peppermint schnapps and hot cocoa all around, and I welcome winter-- I dare the cold to breathe on me like it's January. Just watch, Western Mass, I will defy you. I will continue wearing slip dresses under my wool coat until the bitterest of nights, and there is nothing anyone can do about it!

We are perhaps bordering on a cautionary tale: buried in library books, enthusiastically reading passages aloud to one another, making exclamations about the ways in which women of the canon were crippled by the expectations of their environments but still somehow managed the life of a writer (too frequently at the price of great personal strife), and then, on a lighter note, getting mildly delirious--

Me: "You can't italicize a picture..."
Cass: "It's not done. It's just not done, Emily."

Ten things about today.

1. I am reading a psychoanalytic perspective on Sylvia Plath's work at the reference desk called Sylvia Plath: Poetry and Existence. It is very wordy and from the seventies. I am not sure if the writer is angry at Plath for her suicide or defending her behavior in talking about her schizoid personality and its manifestations in her work. Basically nerding it out for the first time in weeks. I have a taken a turn towards the academic, a process of throwing myself back into books that I tend to restart every time I get seriously overwhelmed by the rest of the world. Case in point: last winter, from about January to early April.

2. I am concerned that all of this reading about Plath is going to make me psychoanalyze my own writing. I don't think I'm ready for that, but I'm also pretty sure I wouldn't even know how to go about it in the first place. David Holbrook, in the aforementioned text, has thus far talked a good deal about Plath's reliance on an interior world to support her when her articulations were not understood by their intended audience. To be plain, she retreated inside of herself looking for answers when no one else had any for her, because no one understood her questions. He argues that her answer was the wrong one, quite passionately, saying a bunch about the glorification of modernist literature in the current (1970s) school system being responsible for rampant narcissism and nihilism.

3. The facsimile of the original manuscript for Ariel is one of the required texts for the class I'm doing all this research reading for. We haven't gotten to it in discussion yet, but we will soon, and I have to do a presentation. All the included scans of her type-written final drafts (in the order that she originally intended!!!) live at one of the Smith libraries. I suspect that I will soon make a pilgrimage, so that I may cry, and swoon, and wonder aloud what has changed about Smith since she went there on scholarship forever ago.

4. My aunt sent me a Halloween card from West Palm Beach. I never get mail, and I was definitely not expecting any from her. It had birthday money in it, which made me wonder why she didn't just send a birthday card.

5. I skipped work this morning because the pile-up of exhaustion from the events of the past week proved too crippling for me to get out of bed. I literally opened my laptop, which was next to my face, wrote a two-line email to my supervisor about feeling "under the weather" and hit send, promptly falling back asleep with my hand still on the keyboard. I did not write anything while asleep, but I kind of wish I had.

6. Every Thursday we end up talking about some aspect of space in our poetry workshop. I mostly blame Charley for this. Today's space topic was the space program during the Cold War. Sophia whispered to me that "cosmonaut" is one of her favorite-sounding words, much better than "astronaut". I would probably agree that "cosmonaut" sounds better to me, but that's probably only because I am less familiar with it.

7. I am getting very tired of my vocabulary. I need to read a book translated from another language so that I can think about sentence constructions differently. This method usually yields great results-- last semester, my seminar on the contemporary European novel drastically altered my writing. I produced some of the cleanest prose I ever have as an indirect result of the reading I did over those few months. I think I'll email the professor and ask for some suggestions, although she'll probably just recommend that I read more Sebald, and then I'll get terribly depressed and have World War nightmares that only subtly hint at what is truly going on in the background.

8. Kat Mott is sitting in my living room waiting for me to leave work. I feel like an over-acheiving employee for staying ten minutes past the end of my shift, especially because there's no one here to even see if I show up or not.

9. Cassandra bought groceries, the (arguable) best of which is my current favorite snack: Ruffles and Philadelphia cream cheese. Esme and I discussed the delightfulness of chips and cream cheese today, and it seems like we three have stumbled onto a goldmine of simple yet delicious snack food. Although Cass keeps buying fat free cream cheese, which sometimes creeps me out if I think about it too hard.

10. I have to do a presentation on the origins of microfiction tomorrow afternoon and have not done a lick of work for it. Time to slave over some photocopies of Baudelaire.

Armagedon.

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let the light in


It's Charley's birthday party (as an aside, happy happy birthday Charley, and fuck you for having your party during a MONSOON), which apparently makes it the end of the world tonight? At least that's what we're told by the theme of the party. I somehow interpreted this to mean that I needed Egyptian make-up. Ask me no questions, I'll tell you no lies.

I have a somewhat serious sewing project in the works. Not serious in that the outcome is somehow crucial, but in that the skin on my right middle finger is a little bit angry at me (meaning that it is somewhat mangled since all of my sewing callouses have disappeared). It has a fair amount tot do with Halloween. Coincidentally, Charley will probably be very jealous when he sees it.

It feels like everything I say lately is "I was going to go to college for fashion design" / "I was going to go to college for painting" / "I was going to go to college for graphic design" / "I was going to go to school for _______". Odd that all of this comes out just as I'm getting my thesis project together in order to graduate. I am such a public mess. Check for updates about that whole writing thing over on Fiction Pays The Bills (I swear I'll update it soon, really).

Attempting homework; the ensuing distractions.

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What's that Grössby? You think the bourbon is hindering the writing process?!


I have to write a microfiction for workshop tomorrow afternoon and I'm trying to compose a piece of pseudoscience that I'll footnote with philosophy and poetry, but it's not coming as easily as I'd hoped. It's about sharks, which should make it come easily. But I got to Ampullae of Lorenzini and choked on the beauty of that name for an animal's organs and then got lost for a little too long to write anything coherent. Grössby keeps frowning disapprovingly. I want to do his cousins justice; this poem has been mentally in the works for awhile. I keep thinking about House of Leaves and how effective footnotes can be to telling alternative or, if you'll excuse the blatant (but somehow necessary) pun, marginal stories. The way that sharks are made, there must be some rhyme or reason to it. See that! It,s odd - I've been awfully reflective about otherwise trivial things lately. And then there's the fact that I cannot get a decent amount of sleep. I'm not really helping myself at the moment. This week has been so long, and I had a weekend that technically lasted until this morning.

Highlights of today: Sean on speakerphone while Sophia and I coached him on killing New York City cockroaches, the heat coming on for the first time, suddenly recognizing "Claire de Lune" and thinking about pineapple upside-down cake and the upright piano and Tabby stretched out in the sun, reading Wikipedia for a very long time, telling stories that made people laugh loudly in the crowded elevator.

Apparently there is a Lady Gaga party somewhere in the five colleges this weekend. I want one of those.

Bookmaking, in the trenches.

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I won't lie. I haven't been much for world commentary, frivolous or otherwise lately. But I can promise, it is for a very valid (and maybe even exciting) reason. In the background of my mad rush to figure out college requirements and defy logic by passing out of anything and everything as early as humanly possible, I have had a project brewing. This project has been gestating for nearly three hundred poems and will not be fully formed until it is close to four hundred. To give you some concrete point of reference, this is a somewhat simplified version of what my computer desktop has looked like for most of today:

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The long and short of it is that, somewhat at the behest of one of my poetry professors, I am putting together a manuscript of the poems I've been writing, one per day, during 2009. It is a hefty piece of editing. I feel a bit overwhelmed, but I managed to plow through 100 of them this weekend. The whole thing has to be finished in the next week or so and given to the aforementioned professor. I'm probably going to get it printed and bound at the duplications department just so that he doesn't have to deal with how inadequate staples are going to be for this particular stack of pages. Already 86. We're not even halfway.

The first weekend of the year.

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Myself, Danica and Georgie getting silly after large liquor doses and lots of story-telling.


Things are already flying off the handle bat shit insane here in terms of all the running around, getting forms signed, making appointments, figuring out schedules, having mini heart attacks, buying books, reading said books, seeing people I haven't seen in months, seeing people I didn't think went here anymore, remembering my post office box combination, settling into my room, finding a place in the world that feels right now that I am such a different kind of puzzle piece. But in spite of things being hectic, we've still managed to have some seriously good times in between all the flurries of semester-starting.

Tuesday night was the first meeting of the Hampshire Slam Collective, and even though it was technically unofficial, we were blown out of the water by the sheer size of the audience that night. Our NPS team did a feature that had everyone in the room roaring with applause and nearly jumping off the edges of their seats. I had a new friend visiting to see what slam was all about, and the show was so strong that she told me she's coming back every week before leaving for France because she was so epically blown away by what went on that night. And after the feature was our first slam of the season, something I've been jonesing for since the last time I slammed way back in June. Apparently this jonesing has made me a slam superhero, because I was one of the final two performers left, going up against my dear friend Sean and losing by a slim margin. This seems insignificant, and in most cases it would be, except that he is our venue's IWPS rep and I nearly beat him in a slam. He asked me when I was planning on touring, and even though I greeted that with a nervous laugh, I told him I had ben thinking about setting out on the open road a year from now when I'm done with school and attempting to find my bearings in the world. Stay tuned for further developments on this front. After all the poetry, we retired to the Lady Poet living room with a gaggle of near-and-dears and shot the shit into the wee morning hours.

Wednesday night we made our first pilgrimage to the Cantab of the semester, a journey that had fantastically funny car rides to and from the city, a whole pile of free sandwiches, and most importantly, it contained the realization that I am actually starting to have a real career as a poet. It's been happening over the past few months - people, usually writers and performers I really respect from afar and sometimes even the poet who's featuring at the venue that night, will come up to me and ask me for my book or for a copy of the piece I read that night in the midst of praising me with high compliments and asking about what I do and where I come from. It's gotten to the point where I now have a collection of email addresses spanning several countries and most of the United States, all from people wanting to remain updated on my movements as a poet. So I gave birth to a new blog dedicated solely to my work as a poet and performer; it's called Fiction Pays The Bills and it went live yesterday. It's still a 90 lb weakling right now, but soon (fingers crossed) there will be things to update you about. Maybe a new chapbook is in the works? I'm not sure yet what's in store, but I'll be sure to let you know when new things are happening.

And then there was last night. All I'm going to say is that my living room was full of bourbon and forties and lots of laughter, and I am so happy to feel at home. Cass is making coffee and bacon and I'm about to pour myself a big bowl of cereal and start getting it al together for the day. Cheers to all of you - I hope your days are as full and bright and shiny as mine have been this week!

Preventative technology.

There's plenty to talk about- the show on Tuesday went swimmingly, New Jersey is much better than I expected, bar hopping in Brooklyn is now part of my repertoire, etc. But I didn't bring home my laptop, and the computer I'm on now is barely functional, so there's no way I can trust it to allow me the huge update I need to make (which includes a litany of cell phone pictures from the BK adventures). I can't wait to share everything that's been happening these past few crazy days. But in lieu of making an attempt at the moment, I am going to give you more Kaki King:



And there will be a real update as soon as I'm back in the 401 with proper internet capabilities and the comfort of my futon. The Peter Pan bus tomorrow should be mind numbing, but I'm hoping to get some good poems out of it.

Unplanned hiatus: zine and a haircut.

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Sean was teasing me about how happy I am here the other night and said, "Jesus Emily, you've been living in Providence a month and you already made a zine." Above you will find that very zine/chapbook/most recent project I've been filling my days with. It's called Daily Silence and the sequence of the poems and drawings/collages illustrates the emotional arc of moving to Providence and the considerable shift in my outlook that's taken place as a result. Oh how deep and meaningful. Ugh. I hate talking about my work in abstract synopsis. You should just come to my show on Tuesday night and purchase one. With money. Or you can trade me other valuable things. Like your own artistic merchandise. Or you can bring me strange gifts. Surprise me. I can be fairly receptive to strange gifts.

I would like to say that I have been vastly busy lately, but really I've just been mentally vacant. I finally broke an involuntary poetry fast and wrote three or four things in the past few days. I feel good.

And I gave myself a haircut.

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It didn't turn out the way I had anticipated because the trimmer went rogue. But we have good days and bad days. Hats tend to help with both. I am getting to the point where I don't even care that the back of my head is prickly and uneven because of an accidental buzzcut. I am trying to embrace the fact that no one has asked questions. Maybe the world just thinks I'm more punk rock than I see myself as when I look in the mirror.

More, please.

I am sad to admit that I was the only woman competing in the Grand Slam last night. Not too sad though, because two of the already-selected members of the Providence team are women. But it was still jarring, coming from a scene like Hampshire's where I'm surrounded by quite a few strong female voices in a pretty evenly split community, and from Boston, where people like Simone Beaubien and April Ranger routinely kick my ass with their command of the English language. I showed DC and another friend the two following videos last night, and both blew their minds to the point of speechlessness. I want to have that effect. And I'm proud to have found strong female role models in the slam community, but I feel like beyond a lot of the role models, there is a dearth of female writers on open mics and under the up-and-coming status in people's minds. I want to see more of us.




Finding places to hide.

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Lately, I've been getting the feeling that I cannot do work in the same space twice. On Saturday, it was the library. Or maybe that was Friday. Fairly frequently, it has been taking place in some form at Cass and Sophia's house (we call these gatherings study parties and drinking the ever multiplying cans of PBR that hide behind jelly jars in their fridge; we don't know how there can still be beer after all this time). And today, the location is Emily Dickinson Hall. I figured that since I was attempting to write a literature paper, I should go a place named after a writer. But really, my room is too much of a mess to study in, my living room in constantly serenaded by the dulcet tones of VH1 voice-over, and no one is ever awake as early as I am, so going over to 40 is still out of the question. I guess this couch will have to do.

Last night was the screening for Evan and James' final films, and I just want to say that they made me so proud. All the time and effort that went in showed in the best possible way. There was a huge audience too, which I was thrilled about, and not just because so many people came up to me afterwards to tell me that I did a great job acting (I guess it's easy when you're friends with both directors?), but because the guys deserved it. I even got to see James' parents again, which was not the boatload of awkward I was expecting it to be. They are such sweet people.

And then there was the after-party. We drank champagne from the heaviest bottle known to man - the thing literally had metal embellishments - and sang a decent amount of Queen, which is just the way I wanted it. There were fireworks. We watched Spaced, as any group of cinema nerds would after the first real premiere. Not counting Upstaged of course.

As for right now, I'm attempting to write a paper on the articulation of identity in reaction to familial handling of the past in Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon and Beloved. I found some great articles on Project Muse, so now I'm actually writing instead of just brainstorming, but I can't trust myself with academic resources: I got side-tracked by the search bar and ended up downloading about twenty articles about Virginia Woolf. Why yes, I do plan on nerding out hardcore all summer. And yes, that plan does include reading a serious amount of scholarly literature for no reason other than that I thoroughly enjoy it. Why am I not going to grad school for literature again? Oh right, I have no capacity for focusing on the task at hand. Hence why my entire paper is still in scatter-brained legal pad form. Time for some restructuring. I'll let you know when I move on to my discussion of the failure of love in Michel Houellebecq's The Elementary Particles using that bell hooks book on love that April gave to me and Diane Ackerman's A Natural History of Love (which has the most poetic introduction of any sociology book I have ever seen). Somuchreadingtodo.

Countdown to (Rhode) Island living: t-minus 1 week and counting.

The busiest of bees.

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This is the face of someone overwhelmed by the sheer amount of work she has left to do, even with only two more papers left to write before the transition into her final phase of higher education begins. I woke up at ten this morning and plowed straight into my work. I was working on that same fiction workshop revision from yesterday and I realized something a little bit ridiculous. It was initially an eight page piece. It has since grown to be eighteen pages. Yes. I know. Eighteen. I wrote my professor a note at the top that apologizes. I hope that will be enough of an explanation. I just could not stop myself. Im afraid to reread it too many time for fear that I'll end up adding more. And that is really the last thing that I need.

At any rate, I'll be done with my workshop portfolio momentarily (all that's left to do is print!) and then I can focus on the big meaty papers. Oh joy. These are the reasons why I will never go to graduate school for literature. A consideration of the gendered journeys to adulthood undertaken by Milkman in Song of Solomon and Denver in Beloved. And then a serious consideration of Houellebecq's assertion that love cannot properly function in a capitalist individualistic society, made in The Elementary Particles, a concept that is still making me have panic attacks, not because I don't think I can write a serious paper about it, but because I am scared that he's right. I don't know when I became such a feminist. I don't know how it is that I decided it was time that I take on gender differences in literature. It was never really something that interested me before this semester. It's the academic community taking hold in my brain I suppose, in addition to that bell hooks that I've been reading. I am having serious issues putting down All About Love even though I know that I have so many other things I need to get done before I go home on Thursday. Like packing. And those papers. I have a copy of Diane Ackerman's A Natural History of Love sitting next to me right now, begging to be read. So much to do.

Swans.

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photo from Eric Antoniou


My longing to dance again is manifesting itself around every turn. I am in the midst of revising a piece for my fiction workshop portfolio, and while one of the characters was always a former ballerina, I am finding more and more reasons to write about ballet within her sections. I just spent the past twenty minutes reading about various incarnations of Swan Lake and the many possible origins and different endings that exist for it. I want to see a ballet so badly. It's been far too long.

Instead of thinking about high culture though, Cassandra and I are going to see Mallrats at the mall tonight. The irony of this is not lost on us. The experience will most likely make me nostalgic for New Jersey. I'm trying not to think about it too much.