Welcome To My Bed

Magic morsel #33, a sing along for your sorrow.

This weekend was the closest thing to a spiritual retreat I've taken in a long time. Boston, you got my head on right, and I thank you. I'll write about it once the pictures are uploaded. But in the meantime, the weekend had a dank soundtrack. The most instrumental part of restoring my mental health (besides the shoulders to cry on and poets of all stripes) was the new Big Boi album. If you haven't heard it, I am concerned for your health.

The following is today's anthem. Turn your speakers all the way up.

Magic morsels #31 & 32: Shock me, shock me, shock me.

A lot has happened in ten days. Three shows, apartment hunting, various incarnations of late night debauchery (replete with my DJ skills, which may or may not find a regular outlet come fall--STAY TUNED), and quite a few helpings of rice and beans later, I am only weeks away from Minnesota and anxious as a foal taking its first steps. Okay, maybe not so cute. Or so metaphor-y. Mostly, I just feel like I work at Empire Records now, which may explain why I shaved my head Saturday afternoon before our show at the Elevens. Or maybe we should all just accept the fact that I hate having hair.



Magic morsel #28, where movement and questions are next of kin.

Life is slightly out of control. The way that I can tell is that I went out and bought more books this morning. Woke up at eight, dragged myself out of the house, had a pot of tea and played with words for awhile. I have been working more than I care to mention, which allows very little time for writing. My novel goes neglected, and has been lying dormant somewhere in the back of my brain since early May. My poems go unwritten. And my shelf of books stares me in the face every night as I fall asleep in this mocking way that is also sad. There are so many of them there waiting to be read, and every night when I get back from the day's dealings, my tank is empty of energy.

What remains in this chaos is my penchant for questions. I ask more of everything I hear, to the point that my co-workers laugh and are unsure of how to respond. Questions only lead to more questions. And all I want to do is watch the World Cup.

Magic morsel #25--my eternal band of summer jams.



I did some star-gazing earlier this week with a friend from work, just drove out to the middle of a field (love that you can do that here) and lay on the hood of her car listening to these dudes. Minus the Bear are far and away one of my favorite bands. Every song of theirs makes me feel like summer and highway driving and the slippage time between day and night. Composed of former members of Botch and Kill Sadie, you can almost hear the hardcore, except they're using their heads full of math and breakdowns to make ambient soundscapes with lyrics about traveling the world and having chance encounters with perfect moments. I am going to stop talking before I make everything they do sound like the plot of some terrible indie film that people like more than they should. Just listen to the song and pretend you're winding up the California coast in a zippy little convertible. It will feel better than right.

For the love of Friday (plus a little magic).

Today is my day off. From everything. I have work I should be doing, but I'm pretty sure I'm not going to do it. I have things to mail, but I probably will not mail them. Etcetera.

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Also, Grössby says I should show you my new hair. I think we can officially diagnose this as an addiction to hair dye. We could also call it my first successful double process in the comfort of my own bathroom. I am strongly inclined to write about it in the area labeled "special skills" on job applications. But then, I am strongly inclined to write a lot of irrelevant things there, like "high pain tolerance", or "lead foot", or "exceptional spatial reasoning".

I am pretty sure that the only thing I am interested in doing (besides video blogging with Cass) is watching my favorite movie of all time, The Fall. No one knew it existed when it was released, probably because it was only playing in New York and LA and then disappeared from the planet, and I try to recommend it to as many people as possible always. Lee Pace is magic in everything. Any film with swimming elephants and silly melodrama that knows it is silly melodrama and frame stories and experimental interludes with string and clay and dioramas and colors to drown in is A-okay in my book. A brief sample:



Le sigh. I am clearly delirious when I have this much time on my hands.

Magic morsel #24, brought to you by time: the only constant.

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This makes me think of summer.
via DETHJUNKIE*


Papa Bear's surgery got post-poned until tomorrow. Waiting only makes things harder. I have been doing laundry absolutely all night and have just started towards doing homework. Cass is watching the Disney Hercules movie over my shoulder and I want to give up on chores and reading to join her. Interviewed for a job as a spa receptionist this afternoon. I am sure to meet some characters if/when they call me back.

I want to U-Haul the bed I bought for a six pack of beer to my apartment with the beautiful hardwood floors and set up my typewriter and my drafting table and finally feel stationary, just for a second. Just so I have a home base to push off from when I hit the road running again. Too much to ask?

Magic morsel #22, 23, and there are medical updates to be had.

Firstly, I would like crawl inside of the speaker cones producing this song every time it is played (really anytime any DFA1979 is played) and feel the rattle in my lungs. LOUD NOISES!



Dad's having surgery on Monday. Last Monday he went into congestive heart failure and has been in the hospital ever since awaiting desperately needed bypass consults and such, and now he's finally had them. We've found a doctor willing to perform such risky surgery, and I am thrilled. If you've been sending good thoughts, thank you. If you can manage it, please keep sending them. Until then, I am moving intuitively, no large motions or big gestures, just the necessities. Cass and I found an apartment. I handed in a sixty page manuscript to my advisor. I wake up in the morning, go to work, come home, read, then sleep. Keeping it simple seems to help in times like these.

Magic morsel #20 (oh, how appropriate) and 21.

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My feet always forget that my wallet actually enjoys working doubles. Even if closing Sunday night is followed by opening Monday morning. I can do this. I really can. Promise.

Cass and I are finally signing for a summer apartment, hopefully sometime this week. Our living room theme, according to a post-it she left on my laptop last night, will be "gypsy camp". Also, I may or may not be getting a pet python? We'll discuss all this later. In the meantime, my current favorite remix:



Happy, happy manic Monday internet. Swallow some sun into that skin and blush for me baby. I am so tired I must've come out the other side of the feeling.

Magic morsel #19, and a very happy birthday to the Little Mandible.

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I am reading We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson for my class, and the narrator keeps saying she wants a flying horse so that she can live on the moon. I wanna know why, if I already live on the moon, I do not yet have a flying horse. I must rectify this situation, immediately. Unicorn tail feathers!

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Also, today is my little brother Owen's thirteenth birthday. I wish I was home so that I could bake him this cake and dance in front of the living room mirror making silly faces. I want to compose songs about outer space and make sure he remembers he will always be young inside if he wants to be.

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And I'd also like to give him this poem.

Little Beast,

Welcome to the interstice.
You are stuck between a hard place
and your own self. You will grow out of it
like a dandelion pushing through a parking lot
and I will rub your round gold face
with my hands and capture a bit of sun
in my skin, simply having found you.

Animal,

You are getting tall now. You will grow to touch
the tops of windows. You are already more than halfway there—
caught in the corner of the living room, grown
so large your shoe plugs up the chimney floo.
When you hug my ribs with spider spindle arms,
you lift me off the ground and hold me there,
dangling for a brief time. This is only
the beginning. Your bones will build you
into a lighthouse. You will spit back
everything the ocean tells you
with that light in your face and a warning.

Little Mandible,

I have never wanted to call you smaller
than what you are. Last I was home, you ate
three plates of ziti to my one. You devour
everything you have been given. I want
to keep telling you, you are a beautiful weed.
You are an accident, a seed leftover
from our parents still trying to love.
When you landed in the yard,
I recognized myself.

We will never be the same age, little one.
We will always be chasing one another.
At the end of summer, when the dandelions puff,
I will take you to the reservoir at the end of our street
through the hole in the chain link fence and ask
for your stories. When you told me
your lungs were stained blue
I knew we were born
from the same pool of ink.




Happy happy day Nohney!

Magic morsel #18.

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There is joy to be had still--today I found it in small doses in the sale aisle at Barnes & Noble before work. There is satisfaction in mailing a fat present home to my little brother for his first teenage birthday. Even this far away, I can make him smile with pictures of porcupines and my love wrapped in brown paper. There is success in getting out of bed every day, in waking up at all. The sun rolls over slowly, just like me. Even anxious and reluctant, I am getting through this. Things will be easier. And in the meantime, my bed is full of books.

Magic morsel #15, and a mini slam update.



I have no idea who it was, but somebody got this song stuck in everybody's heads over here at the treehouse and we don't even know more than three or four lines of the lyrics. But the ones we do know are the ones that matter, such as, "I keep you open all night like you IHOP". Cass and I were semi-horrified/concerned when we realized how much we still have crushes on Justin Timberlake, the residue of boy band love back in middle school. We've been asking each other NSYNC trivia questions from an old board game, and I now know what Mr. Timberlake's ankle tattoo is of, as well as what kind of underwear he wears both on and off stage. I did not need to know any of this.

In other news, the NPS finals (part one) took place last night, and we all had such a good time. I went into the night knowing that no matter what, I'm going to St. Paul this summer regardless of whether it is as a team member or entourage. And the poems everyone put up made me so happy. New things, things that had never been off page, things that had never been seen by an audience before. In the midst of all the awesome happening (and there was a considerable amount of awesome), I realized that the whole thing is really anybody's game. That being said, there is a very serious possibility that we might have an all lady poet team. Excuse me while I go do a happy dance.

Next week, post-slam, Christina and I are planning a Star Trek after party. Hopefully I will have a different song stuck in my head by that time.

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 morsel #12: "It's Sputnik, sweetheart!"

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I had a lot of chatty customers today at lunch (despite it being one of the slowest shifts I've work yet), among them an 81-year-old man who needed someone to tell stories to. I got an earful about UMass's institutional history, the difference between majoring in engineering and business, a breakdown of Cold War dating practices in the Pioneer Valley. The hierarchy was as follows: Mount Holyoke girls were pretty, but "daddy paid for everything" so those dates were expensive; Smith girls we equally spoiled, but not much to look at (his words, not mine); truly, keeping your "biology station" (his brilliantly witty term for "car") on home turf and trying your luck with the "university special" was most likely your best bet.

What a piece of work. Every pub-type job I've had (and they've been numerous) produces curmudgeons like this one who want everything done just so and expect a hearty laugh at every slightly inappropriate joke. Typically I just play dumb. Customers tend to like you better when they think they're smarter than you are. I take very little of what they say, beyond making sure they feel attended to.

But this man's non sequiturs. He blew me away with the strange language he used for everything he spoke about. The most important thing he said to me was, "Sputnik changed the game! Changed everything forever!" He kept repeating the inventor's name throughout his rambling story like a magician's incantation. I know that he meant things were changed forever for him, because it opened up the field of engineering at a former agro-only college. But it was pretty wonderful to think of Sputnik floating in orbit, each blip transforming a life below into something entirely different with it's big shiny face.

Without even thinking, I picked up the book I had to read for next week and then promptly smacked myself in the forehead with it, because the universe basically sent me a telegram to remind me to do my homework:

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It's nice when the world jumps out at you from behind a tree and hands you a bit of gravity's sureness for your trivial day to day activities, like somebody's speaking through a headset into your ear saying, "This is exactly what you need right now!" I could use similar signs in all other arenas.

Got that universe? Drop some knowledge over this way please!


P.S. Happy 500th post everybody. Cheers for reading along all this time.

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.

Magic morsel #9.

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This is how I like to think of mine and Cass's room. It isn't nearly as majestic, but our bank of windows does offer a halfway decent view.

Posting here is going to slow down (if it hasn't already). Work is spilling past its boundaries, and I have a stack of library books that's taller than I am. In the meantime, I made a place to keep a kind of juxtaposition journal for my thesis. Even without as much content here as I'd like, I'll be doing my homework here.

Magic morsel #8.



Inclement weather on a Friday means absolutely nothing to me--it is my one day off a week. Thus far, I have spent it doing four loads of laundry (chores sometimes get away from me), organizing my desk, and singing along very loudly to various songs with Cassandra. Like this one. Being that we live in a tree house, the people walking below can usually hear these impromptu karaoke sessions. They are especially exciting when it is snowing steadily outside and all of the usual witnesses are hiding somewhere warm (definitely not under our bank of windows).

Magic morsels #5, 6, & 7.

Spent most of the day hiding in the tree house cave trying to kick a nasty mystery illness. Thankfully, Cass and I had Tegan & Sara DVDs and Seven Brides For Seven Brothers and the library book request system to make us feel in touch with the outside world. The following are my favorite scenes from the day.



We sang along at the top of our lungs so that everyone in the quad could hear us. And then we watched it a second time. And relived our massive crushes on them from middle school. And watched their tour documentary. And. And...



All that I have to say regarding this is that I would very much enjoy attending a barn raising.

Ten Rules For Writing Fiction


Writers ranging from Margaret Atwood to Neil Gaiman give their rules for writers, and more often than not, the advice offered is both hysterical and incisive. Because I cannot do anything without having at least a small part of my brain used up on the ways writers talk to other writers.

Magic morsel #3.

I'm trying to do a bit of research on sex work, mostly on the performance field of business, for my thesis (it will all make sense once its finished, but for now, its a bit hard to explain). A while ago, my cousin suggested I pick up a copy of I Am Not Myself These Days, which is a memoir by Josh Kilmer-Purcell, a drag queen who gets romantically entangled with a male escort. Besides the author being both snarky and incisive about absolutely everything, Kilmer-Purcell really has a way with pacing. In one of my favorite scenes thus far, he describes the process of sobering up in the middle of an afternoon advertising meeting and grasping around the corners of his formerly blacked out mind for what he was supposed to be pitching to the execs--every excruciating half-detail and hazy movement from the night before is spot on.

And the cover has a goldfish.

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But most importantly, Booklist says, "Again and again in this rich, adventure-filled book, Kilmer-Purcell illustrates the truth of Blake's proverb, 'The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom.'"

Who knew a Harper Perennial paperback was the kind of place they throw around proverbs and weighty names? "Not I," said the frog.

Anyway, I'm loving this book. And I'm definitely including it in my thesis research bibliography. Contempt of the academy be damned!

Magic morsel #1.

I'm starting a new thing here, a kind of shorthand for the things that make me smile. They will turn up whenever I think that a smile is particularly worth sharing. This featured moment will from here on be referred to as a "magic morsel", "magic" because at work there is an appetizer labeled "magic" that is made with some kind of sorcery-related jalapeno bacon (INSANITY), and "morsel" because I never see that word in print except on bags of Toll House chocolate chips. And even though jalapeno bacon and chocolate chips seems disparate, they are both very important. Anyway. Moving on.

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late night at Chinatown Pizza, eons ago


It may be the icy wind chill that feels akin to a large, deadly sharp knife being dragged through the gaps between buildings, but the cause matters not--I have been missing New York. I could not tell you why. Or rather, I would not attempt to pin it down to a single reason. But it is there, shaking inside my chest like a rabbit afraid of freezing. Every time the wind hit my face today while Cass and I braved the cold to run errands, it felt like stepping up out of a subway tunnel to street level and getting blasted by a nasty gust. Whether that is to blame or not for my pining, what I can tell you is that serendipity brought me today's magic morsel, a passage from Kundera (again, I know).

Franz said, "Beauty in the European sense has always had a premeditated quality to it. We've always had an aesthetic intention and a long-range plan. That's what's enabled Western man to spend decades building a Gothic cathedral or a Renaissance piazza. The beauty of New York rests on a completely different base. It's unintentional. It arose independent of human design, like a stalagmitic cavern. Forms which are in themselves quite ugly turn up fortuitously, without design, in such incredible surroundings that they sparkle with a sudden wondrous poetry."

Of course the "p" word shows up, just to mock me for having not written. Reading this on the ouch during dinner made me think of taking Owen to that flea market while I was home for the holidays, how we walked slowly, arm in arm, making sure to look up the whole time we were on the sidewalk so that we'd take in absolutely every detail we could get. And the details one of us neglected, the other would point out. It reminded me of doing drawings in high school and having Meredith scold me for laboring obsessively over one area where all my favorite lines intersected, how she would smile even when giving criticism because she knew how much I loved the mess of it. It's been a long time since I've had a hand blackened with graphite, or been that in awe of a world that's gotten quite a bit smaller as I've gotten older. But a small mess is still a delight. I am holding my breath for the next road trip.