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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
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
derailed: yes or no?
First off, I admit to being derailed for approximately 1 week by the crappy rejection. There. Admitted. Thanks, by the way, to my sister, who left a message for me this weekend (I was up, not sleeping, but not by my phone, ahem) encouraging me to not write for the fuckers. "You don't write for those jerks," she said in the best most cheerleadery message I could imagine from the cynic, my sister. And if that isn't more food for thought, really. No, awesome sister, I don't write for the assholes. But I'm not sure I write for anyone just yet, or right now.
I watched The Secret Garden a couple nights back, as I am sick with a cold and that is tradition. It made me remember the book, how mysterious, how unusual, and how normal it was. About how writing sometimes is about capturing the exotic you know most mundanely.
In that vein, Herald and the cat Mizzen have been cuddling lately. It seems the most perfect thing ever. Just the two quiet elements in the morning, twitching and stretching and reconfiguring as I awake. I mean, just look at them and their parallel pose...
It might be honest to say that my protagonists and characters for the last x years have been bitter, unreliable, wily disingenuous creatures interested in causing philosophical breakdowns and mediating conversations with limbo. Not hell, but limbo. I've been looking at my writing, trying to figure it out. I've got four book projects of various lengths and intricacy in progress and I've vacillated between these without making any genuine progress for at least a year now. In the meantime, last spring I set up a deadline to figure out my shit or get busy with a regular (money-making) job... like getting a law degree or becoming a librarian... and then I passed the deadline. Decision-ville.
Sometimes I feel like I'm choosing between being a failure nothing living on my mother's property with no savings, lasting relationships, children, success or satisfaction... or becoming a capitalist success story. Art or Nearly Everything.
I then got sick.
With a regular cold.
So, no, my absence from the frontier is not motivated by the destructive qualities of one assholish editor who at least was cruelly honest with me. Making me think that maybe my arrogance is responsible for my failure. Not my pride, which is nil; nor my persistence, which is inexplicable; nor my dedication, hope, or desire to be remembered into posterity (naah); not my laziness (not exactly); or loneliness (the remedy); exhaustion, lack of motivation, self-esteem (only partially); but my stalky-walking arrogance -- not so much belief but helium-belief in my own abilities. Mostly though I feel my current failure is a lack of discipline with the time I have available, which is scant. Time will never be handed me, so "in-between" and "down" time is as much of a joke for me as it is for a parent of a baby or toddler. Maybe less is handed actual parents, but that's the gist.
So... I've been having a hard time juggling the time between teaching, prepping, commenting, visiting with friends, walking my dog, being a good daughter, dating someone I care about and negotiating the new territory of adult affection, maintaining healthy distance and boundaries I never knew existed, catching a cold, being a good friend, trying to exercise and physically become the hot me I know I can be, and doing my own important-to-me work. It feels pretty weird to be already planning for next summer and how to isolate myself from everyone, including my own downfalls, just so that I can finish one of the 4 (four, for, Four, FR, FOOOOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUR!!!!) projects I've been working on for the past six or so years. Fucking ridiculous.
1) Is the spider story. I'm reading about spiders. Did you know that a bunch of spiderwebs in the grass on a dewy morning is supposed to be good luck? Or that spiders have occupied every role - from demon to angel - depending on the culture? I am writing about spiders as angels, as my only concept of angels... and trying to make a book both collection of X (contemplation?) and image. The images come more naturally to me right now, but the text is hard for me to figure out. Nonfiction? Fiction? Short stories? Chats about philosophical crap? I've written but not found the voice to cohere the book. The idea is present, the words dissipated, loose like internet news comments or minor explosions.
2) Is the prosthetic-animals story, which I envision as a children's book with a long poem about NeverNoMore-Land and the animals that adopt other creatures' physical strengths in order to survive. It's mainly for my god-daughter, though lord knows whether I will pull it together before she reaches adulthood. I recently re-started on it, thinking that it's what I've been working on, and it's simple and sweet and very much myself, but then got a little panicky when I started to think about how much work it's going to take before I've made the book I want to make (two more bigger creatures plus a whole pantheon of fish-prosthetic creatures). To slow my panic, I started working on the last image, which is of a kid-o -- eventually donning the garb of the creatures she admires... still stumped on what those are, though I've been trying to limit myself to endangered species.
3) the theft manual. I was working on one story, and then got frustrated by the shift in my voice over the years... not from worse to better, but from jabby to chatty, or unreliable to dramatic. sigh. I wish short stories weren't so moderated by journals. I wish I knew how to revise.
4) the stupid novel. grrr. It feels like a drama-fest at this point. Worthwhile to write for the sake of writing though?
What does it mean to have so many projects over so many years, and to lose energy in them all rather than follow anything through? Maybe I should invest in a real job. I've been thinking about research-oriented jobs alot lately. Like which ones would pay. I'm a damn good reader and researcher, and I'm tired of working below the poverty line to not achieve much of anything. It's one thing to rationalize your dreams, but it's another to work without due recompense for little reason at all. Hard to tell. I mean, I like my students, but...
Other things. Hmmm. It's been an up-down road with N again. Not like before, like talking to a wall, but now it's like talking to different versions of the past while trying to connect with the unique situation of the present.
That is, N calls quite a bit looking for advice, or support, or maybe just understanding. And giving advice to anyone is a bit like dodging a minefield while carrying a pomegranate between your little toes. I don't know why anyone would want to do this, certainly not me, except perhaps to help prevent a friend from damaging themselves further in the universe of Reality Eats Present and Chews It Up Thoroughly. I have no more delusions of saving N from her nightmares or problems, but still when she calls I want to help protect her, to tell her that "No, this is not okay" or "Yes, you're doing just fine. You are A-okay."
She's kinda hitting the break-up wall and it's so hard to watch, as if it's in ultimate slow-motion for me and ultimate Nascar for her. For her, it's like she was the Rip Van Winkle of PTSD tramatic breakdown, and for her (ex-)girlfriend like some kind of Fatal Attraction non-vengeful kamikaze fuck-up. A whirlwind everything/nothing and a bunch of bogus fuck-it crap meaningfulness.
I just watched a mouse run across the hallway floor. So. Fucking. Cute. How is one supposed to poison or trap that, I ask you? Grrrr.
Anyhow. It's a long drawn out story that just seems like a great big pile of theatrical bullcrap to me. Strange how noticeable this stuff is from the outside and how inevitable it is from its fecal innards. Whatever it is, it's bloody frustrating to witness, and I pray to god that I have the patience. Okay, not to god, but I pray that I don't tell NM to shut the hell up, considering how long I have tried the ears of whom and whomever over a very brief obsessional tryst with my own bad (lovish) luck.
Tomorrow: more damn papers to grade, then private tutoring, then hopefully I feel well enough to meet with S and have a nice, quiet cuddly evening.
More thoughts and so forth. Herald welcomes any of you taking him on a walk, as I am obviously sucking in said domain lately.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
from the hidden archives of the Luminarius spectatorina
Monday, October 11, 2010
quite possibly the meanest rejection I've ever received
"This does nothing for me. I'm going to pass."And I'm going to go burn my computer now. Why would someone write something like that instead of the rote but polite "thank you for your interest in our journal but..."?
Oh. In retrospect, I was a little tongue and cheek in my submission letter, but it was in response to the fun tongue and cheek tone of their submission guidelines and 'manifesto'.
[In case you are wondering, by "tongue in cheek" I mean that, among other such things, they ask you to prove you are not spamming your work to every known journal by citing an author from their archives who you "really enjoy or really dislike" and that submissions can either be "joint locks or chokes." In my submission letter, I asked them what they meant by the latter (because I liked the way the phrase sounded), and I said something to the effect that their archives held many pieces I really enjoyed, and perhaps a few that I didn't, but that I would cite X because her work is amazing. I thought I was being responsive rather than rude, but it must not have come across that way.]
Mental note: be excessively dry and straight-forward, no matter what. These people don't have a sense of humor, regardless of whether they pretend otherwise.
I guess they have one less reader now though.
I still feel like crap, however.
Friday, October 08, 2010
local conference and buddy meet up
I'm behind on the WriteAThon but I went to a writing session today and got in a few pages, so I just need to type them up. But I'll probably pull another cheat and pretend I didn't miss any days soon.
JS, we've got some good mythologizing revving up here.
And I think I may very well adore my new college friend, MH. She's my newest addition to the initials. Her dog and Herald get along like strawberries and chocolate. I like that she laughs at things I say, and I like how subtle she is. Whala!
I realized today also that I need a writing group. An actual twice a month, dedicated writing group.
And I feel sheepish about sending an email to the old frienemy, but I wanted to know what her side of things was after having talked with her again regarding N. She was not very subtle in brushing me off, but she was timely and polite about it, and I think telling the truth in the three lines she sent back. Though I also tend to think that just because she doesn't recall acting in the way I heard she did from N, doesn't mean it didn't happen. But I'm ready to put it away. Fo' shizzle.
Poor Herald, I can't take him on a walk until Sunday. Okay... I'm off. Where are my friends? Still drinking at the open bar probably - I had to come home early to feed the man-imals. But dammit if I'm not going to go make myself a drink as I wait...
Thursday, October 07, 2010
Conic Ice End
God, I think I might simultaneously feel like crap and green mixed with orange.
Okay, yeah, so it should just maybe be clear: the people who hurt us simply cannot be the people who help us mend -- a downside in the case of "hurting the ones we love the most." Also a downside when we hurt those we don't care very much about. The temptation (if you are me) is to ask those who made decisions to give and explain their reasons so maybe you can understand (behind your own sense of failure), but apparently the arrow is not always remembered, or perhaps we don't intend, or the moments that don't affect us personally won't be remembered in the routine byways of other people's memory. Plus 'we' might be crazy, and use the pronoun 'we' to make ourselves feel better.
Maybe the only thing one can count on others remembering is the pain someone else caused, the trust someone else destroyed, the things nobody else remembered. Sometimes life is most like a two-way street that only goes one direction.
One reason I'm seeking a counselor soon is that I spend significant, horrifying amounts of time going over past injuries, which basically ensures that I spend the most amount of time in my life with the people I dislike, and the least amount of time with those who bring me pleasure or joy. On an every day basis, here's who I hang with: anyone who has made me feel like crap.
But here's who I adore and want to invite regularly into my time: surprising, innovative people; big hearts; black furryheads; impossibly-constructed creatures; success stories who want to give a hand; success stories who are simply amazing; people who recover; people who send baby beast teeth in the mail; people who make themselves over past their past; bright bulging lights that spill out misspoken and exuberant; nearly-autistic savants who aren't brave and tell endless sad sap stories; hidden corners never explored but open like dogs that bounce up cliff edges; daggers and winks.
I want to start hanging out in my brain with the latter and to rarely speak, up there, with the alternate.
Is that what a counselor could help me with: who I speak to in my head? I've become so doubtful that they could change my thoughts, which seem so rigid and limiting. But I want to one day become the person I want to be.
(It may seem off topic, but I am still feeling grateful for Six Feet Under, to remind me that I am not crazy, not too much or not enough to qualify as worthwhile.)
I did something I can't quite decide as stupid or not. Clearly, not stupid = finding a clever smart counselor; getting Herald; stopping the whole friends-with-benefits thing; talking even if what I think S wants to hear is other than what I have to say; befriending the people I have; listening to music whenever I can; listening away from my own experience, and towards my love of other people's stories; anything I can do for my family.
But, what = not smart? Coveting that miniature giraffe on the commercials--the one that gives kisses? Teaching? Taking Lambert on a hike, accidentally letting him loose, watching him go over the edge of a ravine that I will have to carry/push/heave/cajole him back up (I've honestly never been so scared in my life, although there have been other life-death situations)? Okay. What about trying to repair my relationships, whatever that might mean, with XYZ-ABC people I've loved? What about giving someone who's hurt me the chance to speak, to repair, to give as well as take? Isn't it just inevitable that they are all busy, all pregnant, all full-uterused with their created, hard-won lives? I three-quarters agree, one-quarter wonder why I am different.
Ah the counselors of my life. Number one after death of my undergrad adviser, nicey person but solved nothing and spoke of life as if I were only an undergrad in a wealthy private-school environment. Nothing about half of me here, half of me there, none of me anywhere specific. Then the ceritonin-reuptake-inhibitor counselor who didn't talk much. Then the one that told me to squeegy my experience off the windowpane of my mind, though I couldn't sleep, eat, trust, speak, stop crying. Just squeegy, gal, that's all it takes. Then the recommendation from the friend who got together with the woman she knew I loved: it was a cost-benefit decision, sorry we hurt you, maybe women shouldn't invest in love, let me recommend a counselor, my old counselor, and then never go out of my way to speak to you again until our mutual friend is in crisis six years later and I need information from you. Cheers and thank you for your concern. And later at SAIC, wanting a counselor but that option only being in the same school office as the person who told me (in an email during the winter holidays) that since she's pregnant, she can't be my friend outside of work and life's complicated, what a fucking bummer, sure you understand, that.
I need someone to talk to but damn if I'm not scared and worried and skeptical. But I'm not able to be the person I want to be. And I've been trying for awhile.
I don't want to spend a second more with the people I dislike. I want to hang out with so many others--babies, voices, dreams, successes, laughters, grandparents, heat, the prayer flags attached to ropes along my garden, my changing sister, my crazy brolaw, books coming out from friends, books I've only just discovered, wind, books I want so badly to finish, hay bales along the side of the freeway that I want to steal away, the 30GB of music just gifted to me, and the stories/poems I might discover if I wasn't so consumed by the voices I dislike that tell me how stupid, jealous, unworthy, manipulative, unfortunately complicated, wrong, non-parent aware, delicate, untrustworthy, etc etc etc, crazy, mistaken, discardable, can't remember any of that... I am.
Tomorrow, JS, baby creature teeth.
And less people dying in Bville, less truly sad stories.
Wednesday, October 06, 2010
Day 20 (behind! but hey, oh well)
I have spent hours looking at that callus: how did it get there? how is it even possible? when did it happen? and where was I, where possibly could I have been?It's likely that I've been ridiculous today, but I also had a new conversation yesterday and an excellent same walk with H this morning. Teaching was fine, mail was interesting, the weekend appears insane, and no matter what is still matter. I'm house-sitting for a couple weeks, looking forward to it even as I imagine Lambert biting me when I come home late in the evenings after teaching and trying to convince him that change, even dietary change, is just right. I already feel for him.
Monday, October 04, 2010
Day 19 (yesterday)
Railmatt explained it to him: “along the Mangyeong, it smelled like fecus in some places, like humans had done some biological things."
Sunday, October 03, 2010
Day 18 (yesterday)
And so I kept searching until finally, I saw them: the spiders in the architecture, spinning in infinity, spinninininfinitispinning...
still a bit behind, but making my way
Day 16, 9-30
His young girlfriend rode in the front seat or maybe I just remember her always in the front seat, reminding us that Santa was make-believe or my mother a great person, both knowledges I never could thank her for relating.
Day 17, 10-1
Perhaps Chevy Chase was Paul Simon and Paul Simon was Al and Al was someone I knew; it was always somewhat unclear.
Friday, October 01, 2010
well, know, la deeeee dah
I think I might have actually touted my credentials today. Hmmmmhawhoipolloimmm......
At the time, I wasn't thinking that's what I was doing. So-N-So, new instructor at the CC, mentioned his MFA and then I naturally mentioned my MFA and the location from which I received said MFA (not PhD, mind you, you scholarinsiskees). I just kinda liked the guy and thought I'd connect via the creative writing thing, but it came out more like, "and I went here." Then he asked who taught there. Hmmm? What big naaaames, hmmmm? Yes?
Rather embarrassing in retrospect.
By the way, I like the fact that "ass" is in the word embarrass. I nonetheless always misspell embarrass and need the spellcheck to notify me as to error of my ways. You'd think the assyness of the word would have me covered.
P.S. Two pages tomorrow. And time in the studio. I am not showing during this artwalk, only walking, but I have projects brewing in the brainpan.