Monday, July 31, 2006

Tagged.... Willowtree

I'm thinking about: All the things I did wrong. What I could have done, should have done differently. Whether or not it would have made a difference. Why I care so much in the first place.

I said: "It doesn't matter, I'll be happy either way." I lied.

I want to: Be happy. But I'm not really sure how to do it.

I wish: I had more people in my life I could talk to. Sometimes it gets lonely talking to yourself.

I hear: All the things I should have said, constantly, in my head.

I wonder: If I will ever get out of this hole I'm in.

I regret: Not being the person I want to be. Wasting so much time.

I am: None of the things I pretend to be. None of the things people think I am.

I dance: Like a spastic chicken.

I sing: In the car. With the radio all the way up. I know it's stupid but it makes me happy.

I cry: More often than I used to. More often than I should.

I'm not always: Sure I'm doing the right thing. I've become an expert in making mistakes.

I make with my hands: Strange motions when I talk.

I write: To empty out my head.

I confuse: What people say with what they really mean. Or what I want them to mean.

I need: To get it together.

And finally: Thanks, Willowtree, for the tag. I will now of course tag all of you, unless you're all completely depressed after reading this.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

I'm famous. And super-hot.

Just kidding. But it got your attention, didn't it? So, most of you probably know that Flood does a regular interview series on her blog where she talks to writers and bloggers about well....writing and blogging, of course. This week's interview is extra-special because the person being interviewed is yours truly, and I know you all can't get enough of me. So if you have a second, follow the little linky down there and check it out. She's out of town this week so unfortunately, you'll have to wait to tell her if it sucks. But you can tell me, although I'd really just prefer it if you all whispered sweet nothings in my ear.

My super cringe-inducing interview. Guaranteed to make you feel like a better writer.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

27 Things

Because it's Saturday and because I'm tired and because I can't think of anything really profound to write, I have another list for you. This one is 27 completely random things about me because really, you can't get enough of me, I'm sure. Why 27 things, you ask? Because I'm 27 and I'm really not very good at being clever. And did I mention I'm tired?

27 Seemingly Innocuous Random Things. About Me.

1. I do really stupid things. For example, when I was 18, I got a tattoo that covers the entire upper half of my left arm. A word to anyone considering this: don't. Tattoos are permanent. PER-MA-NENT. When you're 18, they're sexy. When you're 80, not so much.

2. I am not as smart as people think I am. I can tell you any random, useless fact about anything but when it comes to politics or current events, I haven't got a clue.

3. Despite the fact that I know pretty much nothing, I still like to act like a know-it-all.

4. When I was 14, I stole a car and ran away from home. I slept on the beach for two weeks. I ran from the cops. I shoplifted. I begged for money. Then I got caught. That was the peak of my brief history as a bad girl. (Again, a word to anyone considering this: don't. Jail is cold. And they take your shoelaces so you won't hang yourself.)

5. When people meet me, they always think I'm a stoner. I have never done a single drug in my life. I'm actually very much against them so I'm not sure why I give off this vibe.

6. I love music and I'm constantly reshuffling the soundtrack of my life. I can listen to the same five songs over and over and never get tired of them. My current top five are: Linger, by the Cranberries; Breathe, by Anna Nalick; Over My Head, by the Fray; The Scientist and Trouble, by Coldplay. Yes, I like Coldplay. I'm not ashamed to admit it.

7. I'm not really sure if I want to be a writer or not. I don't call myself a writer; I'm not sure I'm any good at it. But I don't know what else I'm supposed to be doing.

8. I am deathly afraid of snakes. Deathly. Afraid. I can't even look at pictures of them.

9. I am superstitious, bordering on obsessive-compulsive. I'm one of those people who thinks that if I'm careful enough, cautious enough, I can avoid disaster.

10. I'm always afraid disaster is waiting around every corner. I've never had anything really bad happen to me, nothing that I couldn't survive. This makes me worry about the future.

11. I tell people that I never want to get married. This is a lie. I want the white wedding and the cake and the ring and all that other crap. Mostly, I just want to know that I won't have to do it alone.

12. But I'm not very good at trusting people so I'm not sure if it will work.

13. I like to talk, mostly about myself.

14. But I really don't think I have much to say.

15. I'm terrible at keeping secrets, even my own. I have only one secret that I've never told anyone and never will. But I think about it every day.

16. Whenever people compliment me, in the back of my head, I'm always thinking, you are so, so wrong.

17. I always make jokes to cover up the fact that I really don't like myself very much.

18. I'm completely unreliable. I've lost many friends over this.

19. I'm the clumsiest person on earth. I have absolutely no sense of balance or grace.

20. I'm also very impatient. I hate surprises. I want everything now, now, now. I hate waiting.

21. I feel more sympathy for animals than I do people. I once ran over a squirrel and cried about it for a week but I can't muster this same emotion for people.

22. I am very, very jaded. I'm not sure how I got this way.

23. I wear glasses. And I'm right-handed.

24. I can be very lazy. And most of the time, I am.

25. I worry that I'm wasting my life.

26. But I don't know what to do about it.

27. I just don't want to fail.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Just a note...

Posts will most likely be few and far between the next couple of days since I have to work all weekend. Feel free to root around in my archives or better yet, check out some of the other great blogs in the sidebar. Just so you have something to look forward to, on Monday, my interview will be up at Flood's place. I'll post the link as soon as it's up. So that's it, everybody play nice and have a great weekend. And Chad, if you're reading this, I'm still trying to decide what "the weirdo way" is.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Poetry Thursday

Because I don't have time for a review this week, again, and because I don't write poems about food, at least not yet, and that's the prompt for this week's Poetry Thursday, and because I'm feeling silly, I give you this poem. Enjoy.


by Shel Silverstein

I'll sing you a poem of a silly young king
Who played with the world at the end of a string,
But he only loved one single thing—
And that was just a peanut-butter sandwich.

His scepter and his royal gowns,
His regal throne and golden crowns
Were brown and sticky from the mounds
And drippings from each peanut-butter sandwich.

His subjects all were silly fools
For he had passed a royal rule
That all that they could learn in school
Was how to make a peanut-butter sandwich.

He would not eat his sovereign steak,
He scorned his soup and kingly cake,
And told his courtly cook to bake
An extra-sticky peanut-butter sandwich.

And then one day he took a bite
And started chewing with delight,
But found his mouth was stuck quite tight
From that last bite of peanut-butter sandwich.

His brother pulled, his sister pried,
The wizard pushed, his mother cried,
"My boy's committed suicide
From eating his last peanut-butter sandwich!"

The dentist came, and the royal doc.
The royal plumber banged and knocked,
But still those jaws stayed tightly locked.
Oh darn that sticky peanut-butter sandwich!

The carpenter, he tried with pliers,
The telephone man tried with wires,
The firemen, they tried with fire,
But couldn't melt that peanut-butter sandwich.

With ropes and pulleys, drills and coil,
With steam and lubricating oil—
For twenty years of tears and toil—
They fought that awful peanut-butter sandwich.

Then all his royal subjects came.
They hooked his jaws with grapplin' chains
And pulled both ways with might and main
Against that stubborn peanut-butter sandwich.

Each man and woman, girl and boy
Put down their ploughs and pots and toys
And pulled until kerack! Oh, joy—
They broke right through that peanut-butter sandwich.

A puff of dust, a screech, a squeak—
The king's jaw opened with a creak.
And then in voice so faint and weak—
The first words that they heard him speak
Were, "How about a peanut-butter sandwich?"

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


There's a bruise on my arm, a raised lump just under the skin, sore to the touch. Most likely, it's been there for days but I've only just noticed it now. There are other bruises, on my arms, my legs, in various shades of black, blue, green. Some are old injuries and some are new. What have you been doing to yourself? I think, but I have no answer. These past few weeks, I've been moving unconsciously, weaving in and out of blind spots, oblivious to these small hurts.

I've had injuries before. When I was eight or nine, I nearly cut out my own tongue. I was running around the house with the cardboard tube from a roll of wrapping paper in my mouth and walked into a wall. It didn't really hurt but there was so much blood. I had only seen blood like that once before, when my mother severed one of her fingers. They sewed my mouth back together with black thread and I couldn't eat for a week. But eventually, I healed.

In high school, I fell while getting out of the shower. I slipped and hit my leg hard against the side of the shower door. My ankle swelled to the size of a grapefruit and I thought I'd broken something. I had a bruise for weeks after and a hard knot of scar tissue formed that's never completely gone away. I walked with a limp for almost a month. But slowly, I healed.

In college, I fell down a flight of stairs. On the way down, I threw out my arm to break my fall. When I hit the ground, I felt the bones collide and twist. There was a strange lump in my wrist where the bone had shifted. I thought I would pass out from the pain; I'd never felt anything like that before in my life. The doctor strapped a cast on my arm and told me to be more careful. And once again, I healed.

The most recent injury is nothing you can see. There is no scar, no visible damage. Like those other accidents, this one has blindsided me; I never saw the fall coming. It's left me cautious, unable to trust myself. You should learn to be more careful, I think, but I've never been careful. I am the girl who leaps blindly, the one who only thinks to look once she's landed, and finds that nothing is familiar. These bruises are just a temporary hurt, another reminder to be more cautious in the future. The real pain is deeper, slower to heal. But I know that eventually, it will.

A sign?

"Something is clicking in your brain today that is urging you to take action, dear Libra. You may feel a bit of restlessness in the air that makes you want to get up and go. The problem is, the place you need to go may not be so obvious at first. Tender emotions may be getting in the way of decisive action. Realize that the place you may need to go is straight inside your heart. We all go through moody periods and days of retreat. This could be one of them for you."

This was my horoscope for today. I think the gods are fucking with me.

I want to run away....

...and never, ever come back.

Monday, July 24, 2006


For anyone who reads Fringes' blog, you may know that her grandmother passed away recently. If you haven't already, please stop by and let her know you're thinking of her. A couple of days ago, she put up a post asking her readers to share a story or memory of their grandmother. This is mine.

There are a lot of stories I could tell you about my grandmother. I could tell you how she was born at the beginning of the Depression and grew up in the most extreme poverty. I could tell you how she got married at thirteen, how she had the first of ten children at fourteen. I could tell you how one of those children, a girl, died at the age of nine, and how she never spoke of her again. I could tell you how her hands moved when she sat on the front porch shucking corn or what the sound of her laugh was like. I could tell you how once when I was little, I opened the car door while we were moving and she reached out with one hand and pulled me back. I could tell you how her breath always smelled like whiskey, that sweet sour flavor of mash. I could tell you how a few years ago, she found Jesus and shed that other version of herself like a second skin. I could tell you how when I call her now, it takes her a minute to place me, to remember which of her 30 or so grandchildren I am. Or I could tell you about the way she loved, and what it's taught me not to do.

When it came to love, my grandmother didn't believe in rules. Or really, she only believed in the rules as they applied to other people. One of my favorite stories she used to tell me was how she caught her first husband cheating on her. She could have just divorced him but she didn't. Instead, she shot him. Or at him, I'm not really sure if she ever hit him or not. She used to tell that story with this served-him-right smile on her face, remembering his fear of her. She had shown him, for better or worse, who he was really dealing with.

She married her second husband, my grandfather, and watched him go off to war. There were more children, more years of hard living, more being poor, being drunk, being miserable. At some point, she started seeing another man, a man she eventually became obsessed with. She used to drive by his house every day, silently wishing death to his wife, who knew about the affair but refused to divorce him. When she did finally die, my grandmother found out that she wasn't the only woman he had on the side. My mother told me that when she found out, she threatened to kill him and they had to stop her from leaving the house.

This is what her legacy has turned out to be: pure, unadulterated craziness. It's a specific kind of craziness, the kind that only seems to apply to love. It's a disease among the women in my family, and once the fever takes hold, there's no shaking it. When we love, we love hard and fast and desperately. We love like there is no tomorrow, like the rug is going to be pulled out from under us at any minute and all we want is one last taste. We love the wrong men, the ones who will beat us, steal from us, cheat on us. We love the men who don't really want us to begin with, the ones that we are determined to have, come hell or high water. My mother is an expert at this, at choosing the exact opposite of what she should want. We love to the point of obsession, until we've worn ourselves down to nothing from the sheer effort of it. We love with a vengeance and when the relationship goes sour, we hate with a vengeance too.

This is not the only thing my grandmother taught me but it's the thing that's stuck with me the longest. I'm afraid that one day, I'll be swallowed up by love and turn into someone I no longer recognize. I'm afraid it's happening already, that the face in the mirror is changing, becoming unrecognizable. It's this gradual disappearing that I'm trying to avoid, this slow un-becoming. I'm fighting this history, this legacy, and I'm determined to win. I just wish I knew what it was I might be losing in the process.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Scenes from a cafe

The cafe is crowded. There is a steady stream of people moving in and out, coming for their coffee, their croissants. They're on different paths, each of them moving towards something, but for this brief moment, they have something in common. And for each of them, there is a story.

A woman and her daughter sitting outside. She is late twenties, the girl four or five. Both of them the same shade of cornsilk blonde, the same brown skin. The little girl kneels in her chair, watching her mother eat, talking, chattering in the way that children do. Mom wears a gray t-shirt, glasses, sneakers, no make-up. She's beyond make-up, nice clothes. Appearances are no longer a necessity. She looks tired, harried; her mind is somewhere else. She doesn't hear her daughter talking. She is thinking of bills that need to be paid, errands that need to be run, fixing the car, cleaning the house. She is thinking of a girl she used to know, another version of herself, and she is wondering what happened to her.

An older couple, well-dressed. Married for years, decades. He wears the standard uniform: button-down shirt, khakis, black socks, gold watch. A retirement gift, perhaps. She's dressed all in white; white pants, white blouse, over a blue and white striped shirt. Her hair is cut short, a salt-and-pepper gray that might have been brown once, or red. Their hands are spotted, veiny, fragile. They have sons and daughters they've been good parents to. He's been to war and come back to her; she's taken care of him when he was sick. She knows all of his oddities, his habits. She had dreams once, until this life became her reality. They eat slowly, sparingly, exchanging only a few words. All these years and finally, they've run out of things to say.

A young man and an older woman who can only be his mother. She's in her sixties, gray hair pulled into a neat bun, glasses, white cardigan. Tiny purple veins creeping out around her eyes like bruises. He's late 30s, early 40s, her only son, maybe. The father, dead or disappeared by now. Their conversation is stilted, awkward. He is doing his duty, taking his mother out to lunch. Making up for the mistakes of his youth, for some earlier disappointment. This time together is his way of an apology, although neither of them will acknowledge what it is he is sorry for. When they say goodbye, he puts a hand on her back and she leans up to kiss him on the cheek. They go in separate directions, he to the thick of his life, she to the end of hers.

And then, a girl, alone, sitting in a corner, away from the crowd. Blonde hair, blue t-shirt, BREVARD spelled out across the front in block letters. There is a notebook on the table in front of her and she's slowly filling it with words. Every so often she looks up, her eyes moving across the faces of the people around her. She's studying them, watching them, and always thinking, thinking, thinking. She wonders if anyone will notice, if they will come to ask her what she's staring at, or worse, what it is she's writing. When someone looks in her direction, she automatically looks away, training her eyes back to the page, the words. She wants to observe, not engage; she prefers to study the human condition rather than actively participate. All of these people are strangers to her but she knows them just the same. She is here, collecting faces, collecting lives, collecting people. She is looking for stories but in the end, what she hopes to find most is truth.

Friday, July 21, 2006

My life in heavy metal

Today, Fringes put up a post describing the kind of music she liked to listen to and the reactions said music tended to generate. She included a list of some of her favorite songs and then asked her readers to list some of their favorite inner-dork songs. It's inspired me to tell you a little about my musical tastes, despite the fact that it may just give you another reason to laugh at me.

Judging by some of the responses to these posts, it seems that most of you thought I was some sort of punk rock grunge goth girl with black hair and a nose ring, walking around in combat boots and torn fishnets. Apparently, you all think I'm one of those people who listens to eighties throwback bands like the Cure or the Smiths and walk around bemoaning the general pissiness of the world while contemplating my next tattoo.

Eh....not so much.

While I do have a tattoo (two, actually) I'm not a big fan of piercings or the Cure. I don't own any combat boots or fishnets and I don't think I'd look that great with black hair. Today, my favorite music is decidedly non-mainstream but not too weird. Rufus Wainwright, Damien Rice, Eels, Sia, Jem, Doves, Scissor Sisters. (By the way, if you're not listening to any of these artists, then you don't know what you're missing.)

This is a far cry from what I used to listen to. When I was younger, I was really into hair bands. Yes, yes, I know. I'm not ashamed to admit it. I was a child of the 80's and as such, it was pretty much required that I either be a metalhead or a new waver. I didn't get Devo. But spandex pants and big hair? That was something I could relate to. My grandma didn't get it. I remember her picking up one of my records and looking at the cover. I think it was Poison's "Look What the Cat Dragged In". She looked at it for a second and then said, "Are these boys or girls?" Needless to say, my grandma did not know how to rock.

The basic rule of thumb for liking these kinds of bands was not the quality of the music but the cuteness of its members. The better looking they were, the more likely I was to buy whatever crap album they put out. Musical talent was irrelevant in the face of black leather pants and a hairy chest. The guys wanted to be them and the girls wanted to be with them. What did it matter if they couldn't carry a tune?

I think it wasn't even the music so much as it was my love of rock stars, which persists to this day. I don't know what it is about them. Maybe it's the attitude, maybe it's the tattoos. Maybe it's still just the tight pants. My current rock star crush is Rob Zombie. Yes, that Rob Zombie. I know what you're thinking. Wow, she has good taste. What can I say? I like them rough around the edges, sort of dangerous. And it doesn't hurt that his music absolutely kicks ass. He's the hottest 40-year-old around in my opinion.

As for my list of inner-dork songs, it would have to include any and all of those 1980s power ballad, metal songs. When I hear them on the radio, I instantly feel silly and swoony all at once, remembering those long-ago infatuations. These songs always make me smile and of course, I still sing along. When I see these guys on TV, usually on VH1, which seems to be a haven for washed-up rock stars, I feel a little sad. The most crushing blow was when I realized that a lot of these guys wear wigs. (Paul Stanley, I'm talking to you.) Still, to quote Dee Snider, I wanna rock. And I plan to until I drop dead or my artificial hip gives out, whichever comes first.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

More blogging about blogging

There's been a lot of discussion lately about internal editing and self-censorship when it comes to blogging. Part of the debate has been focused on how much of yourself you share on your blog and what things you hold back. For my own part, there is pretty much nothing I won't talk about here, much to the chagrin of you, dear readers, because my life is pretty much an open book. I wear my heart, my thoughts, my emotions on my sleeve and I don't censor or restrict that in any way here.

As I've said before, there is no real rhyme or reason to this blog. I don't post with any kind of regularity and I never know what I'm going to say here. If I had to categorize myself, I'd label this a writer's blog because I do write about my experiences with writing fiction and poetry but there's a lot more to it than that. I've written about my mother and my father, things that happened to me growing up, what I want for the future, seemingly random lists, the occasional meme, and pretty much everything in between. This blog is not so much about writing as it is writing, does that make sense? It's my practice space, I guess you could call it, but everything written here comes from an honest and true place. (Jesus, that sounds corny, doesn't it?)

I think part of what makes blogging so appealing is the fact that you can make yourself into anyone you want to be. Blogging allows you to show only the sides of your personality that you want people to see. On a blog, you can be witty, funny, clever, thoughtful, heartfelt, sincere, intelligent, or any number of things that you may not be in real life. You can say things that maybe you wouldn't normally say, tell all your secrets, reveal your fears, your flaws, your failures. And the best part is, no one will know it's you unless you tell them.

I'm always curious about bloggers who don't post their picture, even though I'm one of them. I always wonder about the face behind the words, whether it will meet my expectations. (Bookfraud, I'm talking to you.) I know some people probably don't post their picture because people they know may read their blog. Some may just prefer the freedom that anonymity provides. Some, like me, think they are not fit to be seen by the public. But in the spirit of revealing all, and because blogging is by nature somewhat narcissistic, I've decided to lift the veil, for today at least. Who knows, maybe it will encourage others to reveal a little more of themselves on their blogs. Or you could all tell me to put a bag over my head. It's a risk I'm willing to take.

Scroll down.......

So there I am, that's me. Tell me the truth, do I look deranged in these pictures? It's alright, you can tell me. We're all friends here. Oh, and try not to be distracted by my rack. I know it's hard.

Monday, July 17, 2006

I give up

Yesterday, Fringes put up a post that discussed her reasons for blogging and asking her readers what they did to get out of a blogging funk. Reading this post made me think about why I started this blog in the first place and the direction it's been going in lately.

When I first started this blog, I had no idea what I was doing. I just figured I'd do it because everyone else had one and who knows, it might be fun. I didn't know the first thing about what I would say or if anyone would even read it but really, I didn't care. I puttered along for the first few months, studying other blogs I liked and working on the formula for my own. I still didn't have any readers but again, it didn't really matter. Then people did start reading it and suddenly I felt all this pressure to actually say something instead of just posting whatever random thought came into my head. I didn't know how people would respond to the stuff I was writing but overall, it's been a pretty positive experience.

Now, eight months into it, I still have absolutely no clue what I'm doing. There is no organization here, no theme, no rules. There is no pattern to the way I post or what I write about; every day is just as much a surprise to you as it is to me. I never know if anyone is going to like what I've written or if they'll just ignore it and keep going. I feel like it's made me a better writer but in a lot of ways, it's detracted from what I consider to be "real" writing. To me, a blog is just another way of talking to yourself, which I do a lot. What I do here requires no skill, no real talent, so I don't view it as "real" work. Most days, I just want to delete the whole thing and start over again in anonymity but I haven't. Not yet, at least.

So, my reason for this post is this: I want to know what you, all five of you who read this, think. Should I keep going or just delete the blog and start over? Is there something I could be doing better? Is there something you'd like me to write about more or something you wish I'd shut up about? I'm turning it over to you now. Consider this blog yours for the next couple of days or so. Tell me what I'm doing wrong, ask me 20 questions, ask me to link to your book or your project, I don't care. Like I said, this space is yours. Talk to me.

P.S. If this seems at all incoherent, it's because I'm really, really tired and I just want to crawl in bed and sleep for three days.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Once again, for you

Breathe. Breathe, I say, my palm flat against your chest. This awkward fumbling has left you breathless. I can feel your heart thumping, the muscles expanding and contracting under your skin. It's come over you again, this shaking, shuddering feeling. I think of your lungs: soft, pink, treacherous, and I hate them for the way they fail you.

The other night, I caught sight of the two of us reflected in the window and I thought, yes, this is right. This is what happiness looks like. We were there, perfect, for just a second and then the image changed, dissolved. These days, I see visions in the strangest things, and all of them are of you. You ask me what I'm thinking and the rush of words threatens to suffocate me. I want to say so many things but to you, my silence, is perfect. My inability to speak tells you everything you need to know.

We are always saying goodbye, you and I, on doorsteps, in parking lots, over the distance of the telephone line. The connection crackles, fades; for a second, I think I've lost you but then your voice returns and with it, reassurance. I've been waiting for this moment for so long and now that it's here, I'm afraid. Afraid that you will disappear and there will be no getting you back.

All or nothing, you tell me. There is no in-between with you. This is a kind of comfort I'm unused to. I'm moving into it carefully, cautiously, like stepping into a hot bath. I'm testing the waters, afraid to submerge myself completely. I've tried to warn you, tried to tell you that I'm fucked up, flawed, not what you should want. But you don't see it. You don't see any of it and this amazes me.

We're moving into this blindly. There is so much uncertainty, so much to be afraid of. My first instinct is to turn and run but I can't. I won't. This is a risk I'm willing to take, despite my fear. What comes next is uncertain but for now, know this:

I'm here. I'm ready. Stay close to me.

Friday, July 14, 2006

26 Questions

Normally, I don't go in for this meme business but I found this one over at Poet Mom's and it looked interesting and well, nobody reads a blog on a Friday night so I figured what the hell.

1. Do you try to look hot when you go to the grocery store just in case someone recognizes you from your blog?
Uh, no. I try to look hot for the guy who works behind the meat counter but that doesn't really count.
2. Are the photos you post Photoshopped or otherwise altered?
I've never posted a photo of myself. Hmm...that could make for a blog post in and of itself.
3. Do you like it when creeps or dorks e-mail you?
Yes, oh my god, are you kidding? I wish they did it more often. I love nerds. Nerds are super-hot.
4. Do you lie in your blog?
No, I don't think so. My life's not that interesting though so maybe I should start.
5. Are you passive-aggressive in your blog?
I don't know if I really understand this question. This blog is like verbal diarrhea so if that's being passive-aggressive then I guess so.
6. Are you in therapy? No. If not, should you be? Probably. Scratch that. Definitely.
7. Do you delete mean comments?
I'm probably going to jinx myself but no one's ever left a mean comment on this blog. Really cool people seem to come here for some reason.
8.What celebrity would you most like to have post on your blog?
Hmm....I don't think I'd want a celebrity knowing what a dork I am, so no one.
9. How many blogs do you leave comments on in a day?
Anywhere between 5 and 20. Yes, yes, I know. I have no life.
10. If your readers knew you in person, would they like you more or like you less?
Who says they like me now? I would hope they'd like me more, I'm much funnier in person.
11. What's your occupation?
I work as a dirt monkey in the bowels of the food and beverage industry. It is a decidedly non-glamorous profession.
12. Do your coworkers read your blog?
Just one, but the most important one. Honestly, in the restaurant business, most people are surprised to find out you can read, let alone write.
13. If someone offered you a decent salary to blog full-time without restrictions, would you do it?
Depends on what I'd have to blog about. If it's just me saying what I want, I guess the answer would be yes, since I already do that for free.
14. Which blogger do you want to meet in real life?
I don't think I could pick just one. I know that sounds like a cop-out but there are a lot of people I'd like to meet. If I read your blog, you're most likely one of them. Although I am curious about Bookfraud. He's an international man of mystery.
15. Which bloggers have you made out with?
I think I'm going to change this question, since all the best bloggers seem to be married. How about which bloggers do you think it would be fun to make out with? And for that, I have to say Quinn, because let's face it, he's adorable. Although I don't want anybody getting all weirded out here so let's remember, this is hypothetical.
16. Do you usually act like you have more money or less money than you really have?
No, that's stupid. Anyone who'd be concerned with that aspect of my life isn't somebody I'd want to hang out with anyway.
17. Does your family read your blog?
No. They aren't exactly technologically inclined.
18. How old is your blog?
Let's see, I started in December, so about eight months old. Trust me, though, the first four months or so were pretty much crap.
19. Do you get more than 1000 page views per day? Do you care?
No, not that I know of. And no, I don't really care. I'm always happy when people come here but I'd still be writing even if they didn't.
20. Do you have another secret blog in which you write about being depressed, slutty, or a liar?
No, but if any of those things were true I'd write about them here. I don't try to hide anything I don't think.
21. Have you ever earned money as a result your blog?
No, but again, who cares.
22. Is blogging narcissistic?
For some people, I'd say yes. Meaning people who get wrapped up in hit counters and crap like that. I just do it because it's fun and it's allowed me to meet some cool people.
23. Do you feel guilty when you don't post for a long time?
I try to post every day so if I feel guilty, it's usually because I'm inflicting more of myself onto an unsuspecting world.
24. Do you have enemies?
Probably. Actually, I can think of one person very specifically but it's unrelated to blogging. I think if you didn't have somebody who hated your guts every now and again, you'd be a pretty damn boring person. But that's just me.
25. Are you lonely?
Yes. But not as much as I used to be.
26. Why bother?
Why not?

Well, after reading my answers it seems I am in fact, quite boring. Feel free to heap shame and ridicule upon me at your leisure.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Reader poll

Okay, since no one seems to be responding to today's Poetry Thursday post, I've decided to initiate a little reader poll. The only thing is, to comment, first you have to go over to Justin's blog and read his poem for the day because it is really good and it deserves to be read. If you don't go, trust me, I'll know. I have sources.

So, today's question is:

Why are boys so stupid?

For my purposes, a boy is any male between oh, let's say 18 and 45. And I'm referring here to the dating scene, male-female interaction, etc. Really, I just want to know why they have this terrible habit of saying one thing and doing another. It's quite annoying, really.

Seriously. Does anyone know the answer to this? Maybe it's because I'm getting older but it occurs to me that many boys (although none who read this blog) are in fact, quite stupid and I'm just wondering why that could be. I'd like to know what you think, right after you get back from reading Justin's poem.

**Just to clarify: there is no connection between Justin's poem and me wanting to know why boys are stupid. I just liked his poem and wanted everyone to read it. The stupid thing is unrelated to him in any way. Sorry if there was some confusion.

Poetry Thursday

This week's selection for Poetry Thursday is Awake by Dorianne Laux. I'd read some of her poems here and there and of course I'd read the Poet's Companion she co-authored with Kim Addonizio but I'd never read a full-length collection of hers before. I wasn't sure what to expect but I was not disappointed.

Awake is Ms. Laux's first book of poems, published when she was nearing forty. Laux came to poetry relatively late; a high school dropout, she started writing poems seriously when she was in her early thirties. By this time, she'd married and had a young daughter, and it's these experiences that shape many of the poems in Awake.

The book itself is fewer than thirty poems, divided into three sections. The first section opens with a poem titled "Ghosts", in which the poet describes watching a young couple paint a room in a house across the street. The couple, who are obviously in love, remind the poet of all the lost loves and missed opportunities of her youth. In the end, she gets into bed with the man she loves, weighted down by the memory of all the others who came before him. In this poem, she sets the tone for the rest of the book as one of remembrance, sorrow, and loss.

The early poems describe events from her childhood, memories of her mother, father, sister. Seemingly innocent events often veer into dark territory in poems such as "What My Father Told Me", which intertwines a simple description of chores with memories of sexual abuse. In many of these poems, there is a certain brutality that makes you wince when you read them. Your reaction is visceral; you want to turn away from the page but it's impossible. Laux draws you in as a silent witness to all this pain that belongs to others but also to herself.

The title poem, "Awake", offers a quiet moment of hope in the midst of all this seeming despair.


Except for the rise and fall of a thin sheet
draped across your chest, you could be dead.
Your hair curled into the pillow.
Arms flung wide. The moon fills our window
and I stand in a white
rectangle of light. Hands crossed
over empty breasts. In an hour
the moon will lower itself. In the backyard
the dog will bark, dig up his bone
near the redwood fence. If we could have had
children, or religion, maybe sleep
wouldn't feel like death, like shovel heads
packing the black earth down.
Morning will come because it has to.
You will open your eyes. The sun
will flare and rise. Chisel the hills
iinto shape. The sax player next door
will lift his horn and pour
music over the downturned Vs of rooftops,
the tangled ivy, the shivering tree,
giving it all back to us as he breathes:
The garden. The hard blue sky. The sweet
apple of light.

The poems of the closing section are interspersed with images of sex, death, war, destruction. These are not poems for the faint of heart. They are not poems for people who like their poetry innocent or who think certain subjects aren't appropriate for poetry. They are poems about life, in its sweetest and most horrific moments; their open frankness may not suit everyone. But beyond that, these poems convey a truthful and honest vision of the world. You just have to be willing to open your eyes to see it.

To read more about Dorianne Laux, click here.
For more of her poems, click here.
To buy her books, click here.

When you're done here, swing over to Fringes' blog and tell her what your poet dreams are. Then, go over to Justin's blog and read his poem for this week. Just make sure not to ask him if he wants any more guava.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The feminine mystique

I love the female body. I can't really say why, other than I view it as a strange and mysterious thing. Being female, you'd think I'd have it figured out by now but I don't. Every woman is different and every woman's body possesses its own set of secrets.

The first woman I ever saw naked was my mother. I was probably four or five and I used to watch her while she took her bath. She used to come home from work and soak in the tub for what seemed liked hours. It was one of those old-fashioned, clawfoot tubs with separate taps for hot and cold. I remember when I was little, I could stretch all the way out and lie down with my ears underwater. I liked the way the world sounded then, muffled and distant.

My mother would lie back in the tub with a damp washcloth over her eyes, her knees bent to fit, and I would sit watching her. Sometimes I'd try to talk to her but mostly, I just sat there waiting while she drifted in her own world. It was then that I would study her, trying to pull apart the puzzle of what made her who she was.

She had small, narrow feet that were covered in thick callouses from working so much. She always kept her toenails painted, some shade of red or coral, a delicate contrast to the roughened soles and heels. Her feet were strong, tough, almost utilitarian but ladlylike, in their own way. She always had a peculiar habit of curling and uncurling her toes, and when she flexed her foot, the muscles in her leg would come to life. They were smooth and strong and perpetually tan, peppered with shiny white scars.

Her stomach was soft and round and almost perfect if not for the jagged red scar that ran from her bellybutton to her pubic bone. This crude red mouth marked the moment of my birth, when the doctors finally cut me free of her to keep from killing her. Her breast were large and full, and hung low on her body. They were threaded through with silver-white lines, stretch marks, more evidence of childbearing. Hers was no longer a girl's body but a woman's. I was awestruck by what I saw but also a little afraid. This was going to happen to me too eventually and once it began, I knew there'd be no stopping it.

A few years later, I discovered my uncle's Playboys, and their version of what a woman should be. Here were women who were not like my mother, women whose bodies were still intact, still perfect. They were strange and exotic and exciting and beautiful. These were women who were not going to grow old or get wrinkles or stretch marks. Instead, they would remain perfect, frozen on the page, vacant, glossy, unreal. For a long time, I thought that this was what real beauty looked like.

Now, at 27, I see these women for what they are. They're all the same, with their silicone breasts and chemical tans, their teased hair and heavy lip gloss. They're real but they're not. They're beautiful but they're not. They're what the rest of us think we should be but they're not. I've learned to look for beauty in other ways, to see it in the faces of ordinary women. I see it in the faces of friends who are moving towards life full of confidence and hope. I see it in the faces of all the women of my family, who are strong and fearless in their own way. I see it in the face of my mother, who will always be beautiful to me. And I see it in myself, in this face I've tried to run from for so long. It was there, this beauty, waiting to be discovered. I just couldn't see it until now.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Tunnel vision

Last night, I drove around my neighborhood, looking at houses and staring up at the moon. It was past midnight; there were no other cars on the road except mine. I didn't know where I was going, only that I wasn't ready to go home yet. I drove to the old neighborhood, where the houses have stood since the Civil War, and the families go back even further. I thought about the people who live in these houses, safe in their familiar lives and I wondered, do they know what this is like?

Lately, I've been stumbling around punch-drunk, bumping my knees and banging my elbows. I haven't been able to write or to read or to concentrate for more than five minutes. I've let everything in my life slide for the sake of this feeling. I've let it completely invade me, take over every aspect of my thoughts. It's settled itself across my brain like a thick, dense fog that I can't see my way out of.

Once upon a time, I wanted to be a writer. I wanted to write poems, stories, whole books, and now that all seems strange, foreign to me. Now I wonder, where did that girl go, the one who was so in love with words? Has she disappeared completely? Or was she ever really there in the first place?

There's a place for this feeling but there has to be a place for these words too. Just like I don't want to let go of this mood I'm in, I don't want to let go of these words, these stories. I can feel them slipping away and I worry that if I let them go, I'll lose them forever, along with that other version of myself. I want that girl back. I want her to remember why it was that she started writing in the first place. I want her to prove what she can do, to herself and to the world. I want her to find herself again. Does anyone know the way?

Sunday, July 09, 2006

For you, again

This morning, I woke up with sand in the sheets, on the floor, in my shoes. Small proof that it was real, that I hadn't just dreamed it. Last night on the beach, we watched the moon change from silver to dusky red, heat lightning flashing in the distance. We stood close, heads bent, whispering words back and forth, until I forgot which were mine and which were yours.

We walked back to the car, shaken and dazed, your hand warm in mine. I wanted to say hold on to me but I didn't have to; you already knew. In the car I told you the answer was always yes. Yes, yes, yes, so that you wouldn't have to ask again.

Smile, you tell me and I do. I'm worried my face will give away our secret, that soon, everyone will know. But still, I can't help myself.

Today as I was leaving you asked me to write something for you, as if it were that simple. You think it's something special, this thing I do, this thing even I don't understand. A talent, you called it, but that word doesn't seem to fit. There is no skill required to open your heart, to let the words come as they will. It's my hand that moves across the page but these words, this feeling, is all your doing.

There isn't a name for it, or enough words to describe it, what's happening. I had given up on finding happiness. Then you came and offered this unexpected gift and for that, I'm grateful. In the end, we may find out that all of this was just a dream. But until then, I hold these moments close to me, as beautiful and mysterious as the moon.

50 words

amazing, exhilarating, incredible, unexplainable, impossible, uncontrollable, lucky, breathtaking, brillliant, sublime, superb, blissful, dazzling, overwhelming, passionate, intense, craving, desire, longing, wanting, wonderful, dreamlike, spectacular, indescribable, toe-curling, tingly, breathless, lightheaded, dizzying, ecstasy, fantastic, delirious, joyous, miraculous, on cloud nine, euphoric, mind-blowing, rapturous, thrilling, frenzied, heavenly, intoxicating, at ease, content, happy, happy, happy

All these words and the moon, for you.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Right now...

...I want... jump...

...for joy...

...and it's because of you...
Thank you.

What the universe is trying to tell me

Friday, July 07, 2006

In love with everything

Today, I'm in love with everything.

I'm in love with the fact that it's summer and the winter is still a long way off.

I'm in love with the way the light looks in the late afternoon, the way it softens everything into shadow.

I'm in love with the squirrels who run back and forth across my roof all day long, playing endless games of tag.

I'm in love with my bicycle and the freedom it provides. The hum of the tires against the pavement and the breeze as it moves over my face and down my back.

I'm in love with words. Mostly other peoples' but a few of my own too.

I'm in love with the father and son I saw playing catch at the softball field, the way his small body tensed, waiting for his father to release the ball.

I'm in love with all the old rambling houses in my neighborhood and the people who live in them but don't appreciate them.

I'm in love with the fact that I live two miles from the beach and I can go there whenever I want.

I'm in love with my next-door-neighbor, who at 70, took a trip to Europe alone. This is the kind of courage I wish I had.

I'm in love with the world, despite its flaws.

I'm in love with all of you, for being brave enough to speak.

But mostly, I'm in love with possibility. The possibility of something new, something different. The possiblity that something big is coming.

I'm ready.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Poetry Thursday

Continuing the Poetry Thursday review series this week is Grace Notes, by Rita Dove. Grace Notes is the fourth book of poetry by Rita Dove, published just after she won the Pulitzer for Thomas and Beulah. The title, Grace Notes, refers to the embellishments added to ordinary music that if played or sung at the precise moment, can break your heart.

The forty-eight lyric poems are divided into five different sections, each with a different theme. The poems in the first section deal primarily with childhood and scattered throughout are images familiar to Ms. Dove's upbringing in her native Ohio. The family figures predominantly in these poems, with parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, sisters, and cousins all making an appearance.

The poems of the second section represent the next stage in the poet's life, moving out of childhood and into young adulthood. The theme and imagery of these poems is environmental, poems dedicated to the earth. The landscape has shifted here too, from Ohio to the deep South, Mississippi and Alabama. At the close of this section, the family begins to take priority again, with the poet's marriage and birth of her daughter.

In the third section, the focus is on the joys and sorrows of childbirth and mothering and the poet's transition from girl to mature woman. The subject of these poems is most often the poet's young daughter, who is just beginning to question the world around her. That curiosity is reflected in poems such as this one, titled "After Reading Mickey in the Night Kitchen for the Third Time Before Bed".

After Reading Mickey in the Night Kitchen for the Third Time Before Bed
I'm in the milk and the milk's in me!....I'm Mickey!

My daughter spreads her legs

to find her vagina:
hairless, this mistaken
bit of nomenclature
is what a stranger cannot touch
without her yelling. She demands
to see mine and momentarily
we're a lopsided star
among the spilled toys,
my prodigious scallops
exposed to her neat cameo.

And yet the same glazed
tunnel, layered sequences.
She is three; that makes this
innocent. We're pink!
she shrieks, and bounds off.

Every month she wants
to know where it hurts
and what the wrinkled string means
between my legs. This is good blood
I say, but that's wrong, too.
How to tell her that it's what makes us--
black mother, cream child.
That we're in the pink
and the pink's in us.

The fourth section is another progression, the focus here on what it means to be a poet. These poems are concerned with the search for inspiration and the poet questioning her place in the world. There is a certain subtle maturity to these poems that signify the poet's progression and a difference in her way of thinking.

The last set of poems are filled with religious imagery and the theme seems to be an acceptance or moving towards death. Some of them are joyous, some of them seem to be lamentations but all of them view the road home as a positive and necessary journey.

I enjoyed these poems because the language that Ms. Dove uses is precise and measured to provide just the right impact on the reader. There is beauty and mystery, joy and also sadness, and an overall feeling of hope. Grace Notes is an appropriate title, as these poems strike exactly the right chord with the reader's heart.

For more poems by Rita Dove, click here.

To read more about Rita Dove, click here.

To buy her books, click here.

Poetry Thursday, sort of

I got called into work so I won't have my review up until later but in the meantime, go visit Justin's blog to read his poem for today. It's called "Why I am not a Feminist Poet" and it absolutely rocks.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

This girl

This girl is sometimes shy.

This girl wants to be beautiful.

Sometimes this girl gets scared.

This girl knows what it's like to be lonely.

This girl is sometimes faking it.

This girl has trouble believing in herself.

But this girl is trying to fix it.

This girl is in love with words.

This girl wants to be a writer.

This girl will do whatever it takes.

This girl didn't believe in happiness.

This girl is beginning to change her mind.

This girl wants to fall in love.

This girl is willing to take the risk.

This girl doesn't want you to worry.

This girl is going to make it.

This girl is stronger than she thinks.

This girl, this girl, this girl is going to be just fine.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy Fourth of July

Unlike the rest of you who are spending today at the beach or at a backyard barbecue, I have to work. But before I go, a couple of things.

First, if you still haven't read Fringes' interview over at Flood's site, you should definitely make a point of stopping by. While you're there, read all the other interviews Flood has done so far. She really knows how to get into the heart of a writer and the interviews are the right mix of entertaining and informing.

Second, Justin Evans' chapbook Four Way Stop was recently reviewed by the Green Hills Literary Lantern. The review is of course glowing and to read it click here. When you're done, click over to Justin's blog and beg him to send you a copy. I've read and reread mine so many times it's practically falling apart. His poems do not disappoint.

Third, as of yesterday, I am officially an editor at a small online literary magazine that publishes flash fiction exclusively. I sort of fell into this job ass backwards but I'm hoping to learn a lot from this experience. More details on that later.

So that's it, until we meet again. I hope everyone has a lovely holiday and really, I'm not upset at all that I'm going to spend the next ten hours at work. Have a great day, everyone.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Where I want to be right now

On Life as a Sarcastic Fringehead

Flood is continuing her interview series today and this week, it's Fringes' turn. Read the interview here and then be sure to go over to Fringes' blog and heap small piles of faint praise upon her.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

The laws of attraction

All this talk about writer crushes has got me thinking about crushes and attraction in general. I'm ashamed to admit that at 27, I still get crushes. They're the most hopeless thing, this moony schoolgirl (or boy) infatuation. But they're fun, in a way. They allow you to ask yourself what if?

My earliest crushes were on the boys in those magazines, boys whose faces were plastered to my bedroom wall and who would never love me back. I loved them in that silly, adolescent way that only a twelve-year-old girl can. It wasn't until seventh grade that I really began to take notice of the boys around me. Middle-school was a series of short-lived crushes, awkward flirtations, and high school was more of the same. It was a game, that uneasy circling of one another, driven by hormones that were beyond our control. In college, the game changed, but only slightly. The chase was different but that underlying current of thrill remained.

The best part of a crush is always the beginning. When you have a crush on someone, the edges soften and blur, everything slides out of focus. The only thing that's clear to you is this other person, who seems to glow, as if they're lit up from the inside. You feel warmer, lighter when you're around them, your own love reflected back at you, dazzling you with its brightness.

There's this feeling of newness, strangeness; a curiosity, a need to know. Your attention turns to the smallest things: the way they smell, the curve of their collarbone beneath their shirt, the way their hands move when they talk. You wonder what their skin would feel like if it brushed against yours, whether their lips would be soft on your own. What the long line of their back looks like, the muscles working under the skin. You can feel it, the want of them rearranging your DNA, turning every cell to this feeling.

It lasts, for a time, and like everything else, it eventually begins to fade. If the feeling is unreturned, it fades that much faster. It's amazing how quickly the velocity of the heart can change. You look up one day and you see that the world is in focus again, that your crush has become another face in the crowd. Sometimes, you carry a piece of them with you, a small reminder of that brief moment of feeling.

My favorite romantic movies are the ones where one character is secretly in love with the other but it seems impossible that they'll ever end up together. By the end of the movie, you've written them off altogether and then something happens to change the course of the story. It's something small, a look or a touch, an imperceptible shift. An tiny moment but one that changes everything.

This is what I'm waiting for, this moment. And I know that somewhere, someone is waiting to share it with me.