n. infantile pattern of suckle-swallow movement in which the tongue is placed between incisor teeth or between alveolar ridges during initial stage of swallowing (if persistent can lead to various dental abnormalities) v. [content removed due to Bush campaign to clean up the internet] n. act of nyah-nyah v. pursuing with relentless abandon the need to masticate and thrust the world into every bodily incarnation in order to transform it, via the act of salivation, into nutritive agency

Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 =

the year of getting stood up, by friend and foe alike.

Here's to something better.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

End of 2009


The Last of the Cabbage


Walking Around Vancouver

In the Very Recent Dream,
I'd immersed myself in the culture of a small village, where I worked at the children's nursery and as a barmaid at night.

At the bar, I would blank out at times, but wake up in front of one or the other of two ex-girlfriends who looked identical but had different names. I was petrified that they would meet each other and feel slighted.

Soon after I arrived at the village, children started disappearing and a snowstorm made it difficult to maneuver my boat through the parking lot. Finally, after months of the children's nursery and the village throwing nature parties and more babies disappearing, I walked into a room where all the village elders were sitting looking at the door, waiting for me.

First, they told me to look out the window at the ocean, and I refused. They then had me follow this walkway where I kept listing to the right towards a row of covered pots lining my path. At the end of the walkway, I was nearly tipping over I was listing so badly; I felt drawn to the pots but repulsed at the same time, and the thought of touching them nauseated me. The village elders then asked me to look inside the pots... all were full of ocean water.

After staring at the pots for some minutes, I turned to the elders and they told me I was a mermaid, dependent and drawn back to the water, but that I had chosen to reject my nature.

They said the water would always call me, and when I asked them why they cared, they told me that I had been sleep-walking to the ocean every night, wading into the water, and changing into a hammerhead shark, which was the inevitable result of a mermaid who had rejected her nature. They showed me recent films of a monster half-shark, half-human covered in seaweed, and told me I was the one responsible for the disappearance of the children (I had been eating them as I sleepwalked), and that it was my duty to the village to return from where I came.

When I refused, they threw me out the fourth-story window into the bay.

But then the ocean rejected me, fought against me, threw waves across me, in pain of my betrayal. She covered me with seaweed, then all the shores, then she surged and covered the storefront and village elders and people with seaweed, piling it faster and faster on top of them. Finally, when everyone had suffocated, she relaxed, and accepted me back.

Chinatown, Vancouver B.C.

A Date

So, I went on a date. Fabulous unexpected music (harmonica, nice hats, mandolins, real but real talent, hypnotics). Intelligent conversation broken by fabulous music. Intermittent moments. Why am I half-skeptical, half-irritated, half-admiring, half-intimidated of/by self-confident boasting? I feel like I'm too defensive to date anymore. Like I keep expecting to be taken down and judged, like I can think of all the reasons myself, like I'm not worth the trouble, and yet am too fickle anyways. It's an odd mix of feeling like too much hassle for anyone else to deal with, and also too much awesomeness to settle for not just right. And in the space between, not much space at all.

However: fabulous music, a second date lined up.

NM Came to Visit, Belated but Welcome & Adored


Sunday, December 20, 2009

weird does not mean

bad, to those sensitives of the older generation.

I think one of my big fears for the Winter Break, before the next quarter of two uber-full English 101 classes, is that the time just passes lickety-split, by way of visitors and gift exchanges and too much food and the depressing corridor between 2pm (after the lovely stockinged morning but before the okay, something must happen next) and 6pm Xmas day when the visitors show up and eat pie with us.

Well, today was certainly interesting and really quite weird. Not just passing the corridor.

It started for me with a morning text message from my mother's business partner, asking me what I was doing and whether I'd be interested in "meeting someone" then progressing to "for coffee" then to "I'll bring the coffee" then to "at her biking shop, she's hot." Quotations in this case being my means of paraphrasing. I groggily agreed to meet up... chuckling to myself about the ways straight people have of setting up queer people. Flashing back to the film Grand Canyon, where the white people set up the only two black people they know, and for some odd reason, it making sense.

Somehow in my imagination, this simply meant going to a bike shop and being introduced to someone.

But apparently this was not just a talked-about thing between myself and my mom's business partner, but between my mom's business partner and everyone else, including the person I was meeting, whom, I very quickly realized, had been told she was meeting me and that I was a prospect and that a date would be, should be forthcoming. That was the weird part. The conversation was the weirder part, and it made me blush repeatedly. The nice part however is that I would actually like a date with this person.

I mean, I have long since stopped pulling punches, and have let it be known to the near and dear that if someone seems cool, then they should not be shy about introducing me to the someone who seems cool.

Anyhow, the woman I was so very bizarrely introduced to today is a bit older than me. Strange, I've never thought about going on a date with someone significantly (more than 5 years) older than me. It's not that I have objections; it's more that I've never really thought about it. I've always wanted a relationship that, no matter what it means, is about equality and balance. For me, that has meant sticking pretty much to my age range. But all weirdness aside, it struck me today that it's always possible that equality and balance has less to do with age than I thought.

That's not to say that I've jumped the gun (I don't think that's possible for me anymore), but to say that a date with this person who is older than me suddenly seems like a good idea. I guess I liked her...

despite the fact that I spent most of the afternoon bursting into quiet, heaving laughter about the awkward set-up. Fucking hi-laaaarious, I'm telling you.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Reading and Whatnot

Phew. So it's over, and actually it was pretty darn fun.

That is, I ended up organizing a reading that snowballed into a larger affair than I originally thought. When the idea first started a few months ago, it was at my friend NM's suggestion... that we have a reading together, to spend a couple of days beforehand in the studio making stuff, and then have some old friends come join us, and a few new friends as well - in part to get people through my studio, in part as a reunion. I jumped on the idea at the time and decided that I wanted my buddy LH to come join as well... it sounded like a little piece of Xmas heaven to have the three of us together in my studio, putting together Art, and I imagined our dynamics as being pretty sweet. Alas, such daydreams are for the birds (namely, the exotic-type birds were they shipped to Alaska and introduced into the wild).

On a related note, this week I've been, in addition to catching a nasty cold after finishing my grading and being holed up in bed with tea and a couple of mystery novels, a bit melancholy (surprise!) and trying to figure out what it is about life that makes it so hard to organize pleasurable interactions with my friends. It makes me wonder whether friendship is really only maintainable when friends live in the same city? Or maybe my friendships, perhaps due to burning that much brighter, are, for the most part, doomed to fade away quickly and suddenly without warning. I mean, I have been trying not to feel sorry for myself, to instead to look it in the eye, to understand the nature of living and having friends, what is reasonable to want from people, what we have to let go and let happen, when it's appropriate to voice anger or hurt, what is the magical key to keeping things churning, and what's the difference between doing everything it takes to create/maintain meaningful friendships, and doing so much of the legwork that one day you wake up and wonder if anyone else is invested?

Suddenly, none of the answers seem obvious to me, and if I had to typify this past year, to give it a title that makes it clear what the year was for me, I'd say: It was the year of Herald, gardening, waning friendships, and descending hopefulness. Not the worst year, but a slowly falling into gloom year.

I recently came to the decision that my sister hit the nail on the head when she told me she thinks the purpose of life is happiness, simply happiness, and that I was off the mark to feel that life has more ethical drive and responsibility to it than 'merely' striving for happiness. I was startled a couple of months ago when reading the Dalai Lama to see that Buddhism basically agrees with A's belief, the main difference (and means of connecting A's belief and my own) really being that Buddhists see personal happiness as contingent on universal happiness... that one cannot find happiness without extending that same means of happiness to everyone else, with say... compassion, responsibility, and generosity to the rest of the world.

My problem is that, as far as I can tell so far, this belief relies on such an incredibly huge rationalization of emotion and experience that I'm surprised anyone's ever been able to make that leap (personal happiness = compassion). I've been arguing with the Dalai Lama's book from page one practically, because my experience has been that compassion, responsibility, interconnectivity and generosity do not lead the giver towards happiness, nor any reward in fact, but are simply what they are... neutral states of being. I mean, perhaps being the recipient of compassion, responsibility, interconnectivity and generosity could make one feel happy, but the giving of these things, the living of them, is no guarantor of fulfillment. No, I'm starting to think that lies much more within the self, irrespective of others...

Anyhow, I'm wandering, so... to wander back. Starting at the second point, after this last year, I've decided what my New Year's Resolution is going to be for next year. Happiness. To find it, kicking swimming screaming giggling moving biting reading talking clawing writing laughing arguing competing ferociously attacking taking making creating beating applying collaging or whatever the fuck it takes to find it. I am, for a year, going to try to stop feeling so anxious, to stop missing my friends and looking towards the few minutes I have (or might have, hypothetically, if they were to come, if they might write, if if if) with them as the happiness I actually want, and I'm going to find happiness. Once I find it, I expect it to be like a lion, something one has to catch the tail of and hold on tight, and only then am I going to worry about the rest of the stuff, like am I achieving enough, am I exercising enough, am I being a good person, blah blah blah.

Back to the first point, the reading I had organized with NM developed over time, morphed. First, I turned out I was over-hopeful about LH coming and joining, so when he was unable, it made me sad, but still, I thought it would be fun with NM and she kept talking about it and telling me who she thought I should invite, giving me the dates, arranging to have people come down from Seattle, encouraging me to find a new venue when my studio turned out to not be an option, and talking with me about renaming it, etc, so that when she told me a few days before the event that mysteriously she wasn't going to be able to come, I felt like the trap door had finally opened and dropped me through to the basement. And there it had been, that dark hole of a basement, below me the whole time, with only a quick door's opening separating me from its presence, and there I was, standing on it and not knowing it was there, except for that toothy melancholy feeling lurking around the edges.

Having gone through several stages (more quickly than normal, which I think is a good sign) including incredulous disbelief, anger, sadness, and sulkiness, I am now, I suppose, exiting on the side of cautious forgiveness... knowing somewhat that NM had some personal stuff that caught up with her, and although she really ditched me big time, I also know that she's my friend and I love her and although I need to protect against getting hurt like that again, I still can't shut myself off from the good things that happen from the crappy douchevents...

Like, having a great reading, at a great venue, with 35 people attending, and five other excellent readers besides me, and a great laughing group of people cuddled up tightly in a cozy space with sparkly holiday lights behind us and on the wall, and wine and cider in the corner, and a hearth to read upon. And really the first time I've organized an event like that, so knowing that it can be done. I mean, it was incredibly stressful (I had a lot of nightmares about it), and I was scared to death to find myself hosting an event where I had to stand up in front of a bunch of people and introduce them to readers and the event (NM was going to do that part...), etc, but I think I did it well. I didn't stutter too much. I didn't giggle nervously. I'm pretty sure I didn't offend anyone. And we raised enough money to make a nice donation to the Firehouse Cafe for letting us use their cafe last minute, and after-hours (as long as we cleaned up). One of my old profs showed up too from the Grad-School-I-Kinda-Hate, and that startled me, and people laughed at my work. The other readers... well, I didn't know any of their work, truthfully, and didn't know what to expect other than I thought it would be a nice mix of people, and even the last minute rearrangements (one other person besides NM couldn't come, so I asked Neil to find someone since he'd done so much to help me find a venue) turned out to be a pretty good mix... something for everyone, and overall nice quality... I personally really enjoyed the poetry of the woman who went directly before me, and felt smugly pleased with myself that I had thought to create an age-range in the readers to see if it might cover a diverse range of humanity, and it worked out that way.

Anyhow. It was really nice, good. Healthy for me. What I needed. What I want. Good for others too. And it came out of NM's suggestion and pressure and etc, so that even as she ditched, which meant that the part of the reading that involved creating work with my best friend (what I imagined to be my favorite part) was dissolved, it was still her little stone tossed at the top of the hill that created a new experience for us all. Don't know whether to blame her, thank her, or rock back on my heels and say, huh.



On a separate note, my sister and brolaw are coming home from Scotland next week, and that will be excellent. The house is in an uproar and Lambert is getting polished at the dog-cleaners. He will be so beee-youuuu-teeee-ful and shiny white.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


Herald likes to lie on my bed before I go to sleep. When I start to get ready for bed, he jumps up there, watches me move around, just his eyes moving; then when I climb into bed, he spends a few seconds cuddling, then slips off to sleep on the couch. He's a great dog.

I keep trying to stop being disappointed. One of these days it will catch.

Here was my fortune cookie for the week:

You will soon get something special because of your charm.

Something about it bothers me, but I will be charming nonetheless, because there's nothing else to be but bitter and that's very uncreative, ungrateful, and unrewarding. I'll be charming because I believe the only returns we get are from ourselves. And sweet cuddly dogs who love us.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Dear Mister

and Mizzus Students who wrote me emails or shook my hand--

Thank-you. It makes me happy to know I was okay. You didn't have to say that, but it definitely makes me happy.

Buddy who is helping me find a venue--

Wow. I will bring some kind of fabulous food. And booze. And I will find you a girlfriend (most girls I am attracted to are straight anyways, so I might as well introduce them to you, even if you are worse than me in your fickle ways). You have made me feel like my friends in B'ham might eventually extend beyond one person and a bunch of people I feel weird about running into (although I don't)(but still I could)(but I haven't, so obviously it's an okay place to set up shop)(etc.).

Art Studio Landlord Man--

It would be nice if you got back to me about the availability of my own studio for a reading with people who are coming from out of town to read and attend. I realize you have your own musical plays with children on the same day that I was planning my once-a-year reading, and I realize that you're too busy to provide us with calendars of your events, but it would be really nice if you could respond to my emails, notes, or questions, especially when I am panicking (I am) and trying my damndest to find an appropriate venue that I ultimately wish could be my own studio, but it *probably* cannot because there will be a hundred(ish) singing little hearts right below my poorly insulated little studio with a shared entrance.

It would especially be nice for you to respond to my multiple calls after you asked me, with one day's notice right before my last week of classes, to make you spare keys for the fire inspection, which I did and only had to do because you're too disorganized to hold extra keys to the studios you rent. It would seem only fair to trade panic for panic.


You are the most awesome dog. And I swear to god I will take you on a walk tomorrow.

P.S. How do you get so fluffy and cute?
P.P.S. The recent bout of growling at anyone who approaches me is a little overly-protective. Just saying.

Student who offered a letter of apology in his final portfolio--

For some reason I am too freaked out to read it. You kinda made classes uncomfortable for the last two weeks, and I know that has a lot to do with my own sensitivity, but it's true. And now I feel reluctant to read the apology. I don't understand why. I reckon we could've been friends otherwise, since you are older than me and obvious skilled in areas that I am not. But I am too weirded out by the whole being obscurely dismantled by someone who might have been my friend to even want to read your apology.

Buddy who didn't come to visit this particular winter--

I miss you horribly. I think of you all the time. I wish you could have come this winter, but since that's not right for this time of your life, I cross my fingers that you find the next move, and that I see you sometime this next year.

Missus Goddaughter--

I've been working on this for you: