overhaul / undertow

Friday, September 26, 2003

ah, there's where you're wrong...

Someone wrote this to me: "I like the way you write. You seem to be someone that could talk to me for hours and I would listen, listen, listen and enjoy it."

Never, my friend, equate someone whose writing you like with someone whose physical company or whose conversation you will enjoy. I am very different in person, and it takes a long time of getting-to-know-me before i can begin to trust you enough to talk to you the way I write to...well, to anyone.

I had one horrible boyfriend--we were together for five tortured, stupid years (but in retrospect, after much time has passed, I can see all I *did* get from the relationship, and the parts I played in its dysfunction--but oh well), who told me he fell in love with me when I wrote to him, but that for some reason, sadly, he confessed he never felt that way about me when I communicated to him in person.

Now there's a mindfuck. No wonder I hide behind this computer.

I really shouldn't post this, as you'll all think I'm some mystery creature, comletely divorced from my writing. It's not true at all. The writing is my soul, my heart--the real me. It's my own shortcoming that I am too shy and scared to be as forthright (usually--unless, like I said, I really know and trust you) in person. I think mebbe it goes back to grade school, where I got laughed at for using big words.

Ah well. Life goes on.


feelings you can't quite describe

Parts of the following are fiction. But they almost happened. And some did happen. I've begun taking little steps in my writing to not simply re-tell stories but to follow little threads of possibility, to see where they would go, and see if I can keep it honest and real at the same time.

So, here's something that's almost real. It might as well have happened; my state of mind would be no different.


After I get back to the office from lunch Trish, my boss’s assistant, walks in to tell me I did not get the promotion to instruct adult classes. “It has nothing to do with your ability,” she says, shrugging over her shoulder in the direction of the portrait I painted of her, hanging on my office wall. “Or with your ability to teach. They just think you…” and she paused-- “you don’t have a consistent enough record yet. They don’t know if they can count on you with the training.”

I sit there and think. They’re probably right. I would hate the training. But I would have done it if they’d let me. Anything to get out of the fucking office.

“Are you ok?” she asked, and I smiled and nodded. “Do you have any questions?” “No,” I said.

I get up after she leaves my office and walk into the staff kitchenette. I buy a packet of M&M’s from the dispenser. Inside the bag, a sweepstakes game piece announces in bold letters, YOU ARE NOT A WINNER.

I snort. It’s funny.

At four-thirty I ask Trish if I can go for a walk. She says yes and catches my eye to ask if I am alright; I tell her I am fine. I put my socks and boots on, becuse the sandals I'm wearing in the office corridors threaten to slip off my feet and cause me to have to shuffle down the sidewalk. I walk down the long residential blocks to the Korean market. There is no breeze. The air feels like tepid water, and bland. In the market I notice the sweet pickled ginger I buy at Ralphs for six dollars on sale for two dollars. I’ll buy it here from now on, and I make a mental note that now I have an excuse to return.

I buy paper towels and napkins. I have been out of paper products in the kitchen for three days. It wasn’t bothering me that much but when Cheney was over Monday night and I made us eggs I realized I had no napkins and I felt vaguely embarrassed, even though he said he did not care. The man behind me at the checkout line hustles me out of the way, shouldering his purchases right next to mine as I pick up my bags and thank the cashier. She does not notice me.

I am walking down the sidewalk back to the office when the toe of my right boot catches against the asphalt for no particular reason, and I stumble, and then I surprise myself by actually falling down right there, crashing down onto my chest and left shoulder like a tree. I feel enormously stupid but it all feels scripted, par for the course, and far too easy. There are no cars or people around. Only mute houses and beige apartment buildings, and the sound of the freeway a block away, moving past the vacant homes like a river. I look out over my chin to see leaves on the sidewalk. It’s too early in the year yet for them to have changed to golden or red colors. They are a dull dusty green. I roll onto my back and stare at the sky. There is an odd silence, a suspension of sound and the light hangs in the air like haze. I do not want to work at getting back up. The sky is a distant brittle blue, as though it could crumble into powder and blow away, dry and parched. I feel a delicate heat on my left shoulder where it came down on the concrete, and I look at it to see a small skein of red rising up from the abraded skin; but there isn’t really much blood at all, and mostly the area just looks abused. I do not care very much.

I lie there a while, and when my head starts to ache from the hard concrete I put my arms up behind my neck to hold it away from the sidewalk. Newly-planted sycamores frame my vision; the bland shingled wall of a condo complex next to me casts shade over the whole sidewalk. When I do stand up the world feels unnaturally tilted on its side. I untie my long-sleeved shirt from my waist and put it on to cover the scrape on my shoulder. The rest of the walk back, the clouds I was observing from my vantage point on the ground still do not move or change; they lie so distant in the fragile gray-blue of the sky they seem immovable, like permanent scratches on the lens.

I feel some strange emotion balling up in my chest, against my sternum, and I swallow against it, and keep walking. I think I want to scream. I do not.

Saturday, September 20, 2003

woot woot



I mean, they're not high art, but they're....something.

Nagel-girl hell, here I come!

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

file under: being a grown-up

I am so endlessly pleased. I have installed my own new brakes and
changed my oil. No more Jiffy Lube wonky weirdness and unnecessary
charges and taking advantage of 'lil ole me.

Good thing too, 'cos the brakes were fucking GONE.

Monday, September 15, 2003

Just when I think there's hope for humanity, it goes and disgusts me.

Saturday, September 13, 2003

finally saw it for the first time...

...thanks Ben!!!

"But you can't give your heart to a wild thing: the more you do, the stronger they get. Until they're strong enough to run into the woods. Or fly into a tree. Then a taller tree. Then the sky. That's how you'll end up, Mr. Bell. If you let yourself love a wild thing. You'll end up looking at the sky."
-holly golightly, breakfast at tiffany's

Friday, September 12, 2003

morning-after vanishings

I have a tendency to flee the houses of other people--regardless of their relationship to me--before daylight, no matter how hung over I still am.

When I was dating, I'm sure that--depending on how the person felt about me--this was met with either relief or consternation. Now that I'm just crashing on friend's couches from time to time, I'm still pulling the same trick--leaving as soon as my synapses sense the change in the light outside my closed eyelids--and it just leaves my pals kinda nonplussed...: "But don't you wanna get breakfast?"

It's a good thing I'm no one's girlfriend, or this behavior would be inexcusable; as it is, I'm just "self-contained."

I guess.

Thursday, September 11, 2003

more proof god is sadistic

My love life follows one repetitive and predictable pattern.

If I really like someone,
they do not really like me.

If I do not really like someone,
they really like me.

It's been this way forever. I can think of only one relationship I've ever had where we each were fully met by the other individual's enthusiasm.

Lately I've begun trying to rig the game, not allowing myself to care about anyone who I might remotely be interested in, or have good things in common with. Because, goes my halfass (and largely unconscious) reasoning, if I do not like them, they will like me, and I want them to like me, so I just won't like them, and then I'll be in control, and I won't get hurt for the ten-millionth time.

this is an exercise doomed to failure, I am afraid, and even if it is not, it does nothing but make me sad, and alone. I do not mind being alone (I don't think)--I know *I* am the only person who's really with me come hell or high water on this journey, and any hopes or attempts at finding another constant companion will eventually be thwarted: life changes, people die, shit happens. So you're all you've got, and you try to remember that when you meet someone really neat whom you want to fall into like a waterbed...

Nonetheless, I am tired.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

sometimes I feel really weird, as tho I can't seem to negotiate this world with any degree of propriety or correct behavior.

I guess most people would call it socially inept.

yeah. that's me.

jeez. I'll never learn how to behave normally and acceptably around others, will I? I'll be eighty, and still a massive dork.


Tuesday, September 09, 2003

I miss my girl

Ah, Normal, I miss you like hell. Where are you now? Still cleaning up the playa? Back in Seattle? Somewhere on the road with the Pod? Where is your wonderful Diva Dog?

shit, girl. Wish I could talk to you.

"What do you do when life gets hard? You ride. You ride the motherfucker."

Monday, September 08, 2003

good band alert

Broken Social Scene: horrible name, beautiful music. Kazaa some right now.

Sunday, September 07, 2003

when you're searching your soul
when you're searching for pleasure
how often pain is all you find
but when you're coasting along and nobody's trying too hard
you can turn around and like where you are
-the sundays.

Saturday, September 06, 2003

...additionally, while at my parents' house, I discovered letters my aunt--my dad's sister--has been sending us. For some reason dad seems to delay opening them, as if he wants some sort of separate space from her. I wrote down her new mailing addy--the old one is useless, as she moved some time ago--because I want to write to her. I need to know the women in my family--the good ones--before they pass away. So far I've only known my maternal grandmother, and she was an unpleasant woman--although she loved us, she was very angry all the time. So I think I'd like to drive up the coast to visit my Aunt Joellen. She runs a restaurant in the little NorCal fishing town of Trinidad (decidedly different from the other Trinidad, by the way), and is twice divorced. A single woman living her own life.

I like her already, and the last time we met I was maybe six, and all I remember is the fields of blackberries in the meadow in front of her small clapboard house, and how impossibly beautiful the fuschias were that hung on her porch.

I stopped by my folks' house today in the far reaches of the west Valley, where the wide valley floor narrows to a little stretch of flatness interrupted at increasing intervals by intrusions of low rocky mountains, narrow box canyons, and dry ravines that flood in winter. I hadn't driven through this area in a long time and it felt like someone had given me an injection of something cool and sweet in my veins. I rolled the windows all the way down and careened around the canyon roads for a long time--drove to the small, hidden cemetery where my grandparents were buried, then by the resevoir land with its small chain of lakes and the rollicking road up and down like a rollercoaster to its left--at each dip I lifted my hands off the steering wheel for an infantile "Wheeee!" with the music loud......past the great stone house my grandfather built there on the edge of the lake and then along Valley Circle Road in towards my parents' house which sits on the huge chunk of property--now divided infinitesimally into tiny little suburban blocks and streetcorners that only hint at the bones of what used to be frontier, horse trails, fields of oranges.

No one was home when I got there. My mom has gone to Sedona with her little craft group--they decorate gourds or some such crafty thing, she gets a new craft fetish every few years (thank god she graduated from the geese-in-bonnets meme) and when she left Thursday I almost warned her about how touristy it was there, in Sedona, 'til I remembered I had never told her I'd gone to Arizona. In fact, I straight-up lied when asked to account for the dead air coming from me when she'd tried to reach me during that long weekend...I just wanted that time for myself, and I knew she'd flip if she found out I'd gone anywhere alone.

As for dad, I had no idea where he was, but his old army uniform from when he'd been in Vietnam was lying out draped over the couch, as though he'd been going through old boxes, assessing things. His truck was gone. He is probably out surfing.

I washed my car in their yard and took quarters for laundry.

The clock on the stove in the kitchen there is stuck at 5:52. It has been for years. I think they got it working once, for a week, but then it went back to 5:52 and remained there. It is always the same time--5:52--in their house.

It's such an easy metaphor, I feel cheap even writing with it, so I'll stop now.

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

fuck postage stamps

Things that, in the aftermath of burningman, I have come home with new perspective in order to find that I collect and did not know it:

bottles of never-used mixers such as angostura bitters and blue curacao
years upon years of photos, all in cigar boxes
unfinished paintings
good intentions mislaid
cd's, of course
weird religious crap
unpaid parking tickets and bills

the end.

excerpted from this site of writing advice penned by Kerouac:

SCOPING Not "selectivity' Iof expression but following free deviation (association) of mind into limitless blow-on-subject seas of thought, swimming in sea of English with no discipline other than rhythms of rhetorical exhalation and expostulated statement, like a fist coming down on a table with each complete utterance, bang! (the space dash)-Blow as deep as you want-write as deeply, fish as far down as you want, satisfy yourself first, then reader cannot fail to receive telepathic shock and meaning-excitement by same laws operating in his own human mind.

LAG IN PROCEDURE No pause to think of proper word but the infantile pileup of scatological buildup words till satisfaction is gained, which will turn out to be a great appending rhythm to a thought and be in accordance with Great Law of timing.

TIMING Nothing is muddy that runs in time and to laws of time-Shakespearian stress of dramatic need to speak now in own unalterable way or forever hold tongue-no revisions (except obvious rational mistakes, such as names or calculated insertions in act of not writing but inserting).

CENTER OF INTEREST Begin not from preconceived idea of what to say about image but from jewel center of interest in subject of image at moment of writing, and write outwards swimming in sea of language to peripheral release and exhaustion-Do not afterthink except for poetic or P. S. reasons. Never afterthink to "improve" or defray impressions, as, the best writing is always the most painful personal wrung-out tossed from cradle warm protective mind-tap from yourself the song of yourself, blow!-now!-your way is your only way-"good"-or "bad"-always honest ("ludi- crous"), spontaneous, "confessionals' interesting, because not "crafted." Craft is craft.

Something about the road trip, the desert, the experiences, and the fact that I'm currently reading an excellent fucking book is throwing me back into writing. My apologies for my continued inaccessibility. Something in me is changing. I am also beginning to like the color purple again, and this is also odd. I am living off of Ralphs Brand chocolate-peanut-butter cookies (six for breakfast, two for brunch) and Crystal Light, haven't left the house all day, and am writing insanely.

Ladies and gentlemen, we've got pictures.

Me at burningman, post-shoe repair. That thing ain't never coming off now--thanks Tackett!!!

I'm back from the desert. I'm really not in a mood to talk to many people. Every place I go, every street I drive feels more crowded and random and full of people careening around, living tiny lives.

If you need to reach me please email me at my hotmail addy. My Lycos has been down for the day and will continue to be down for a day or two.