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Archive for September, 2008

|| September 14, 2008 || 12:41 pm || Comments (4) ||

and here is the blackness that we dance around.

….some writers-Hemingway was one-seem to take years composing their suicide notes right under our very noses.”

::: :: ::: :: ::: :: :::

If my life was a distance / What mile would you claim / And if my life was a story / How I wish you would explain / All this

If you leave me I will / Go down with the ship / Your love breaks me right in two / Still I follow you / That just won’t quit

If your voice was a siren / With nothing left to sing / Oh down below broken skylines / I’m still here listening / To this

If you leave me I will / Go down with the ship / Your love breaks me right in two / Still I follow you / That just won’t quit

I’ve been here under / For the longest time / I’m your restless child / Over state lines / So don’t you let me down / For once in your life / We’re all growing up / Faster than our skin / Looking for our fathers / So where have you been / Don’t you let us down / For once in your life / For once in your life

If you leave me I will / Go down with the ship / Your love breaks me right in two / Still I follow you / If you leave me I will go / Down with the ship / Your love breaks me right in two / Still I follow you / That just won’t quit

// The Damnwells, ‘Down With The Ship’

This weekend –yesterday, in fact– was the suicide walk in Birmingham. We’ve collected money, Tess and I and her family, and planned to be there, to participate. We were unable to go, so we’ll be headed to the Nashville walk later in the fall.

Life sometimes gets too big for certain kinds of people and they need a hand, whether or not they can find a way out. A hand to hold, sitting there in their blackness, makes a great deal of difference. Remaining connected, no matter how small the fashion, feeds hope. Lord, let us all be dealers of hope.

|| September 13, 2008 || 11:19 pm || Comments (3) ||

another one of my character flaws

I’ve yet to learn how to say, “You’re so full of shit.” to someone without it sounding angry or like a total indictment of them.

Sometimes I just want to say, “You’re so full of shit.” to someone and it come off as me patting them on the head in an awwww fashion. You know, like you would to a two-year-old who’s potty training and has whoopsied in their pants for the third time that day. Just like that child cannot seem to control themselves and their urinary functions, some adults can’t seem to help being full of shit and I want to convey to them that while, yes, it’s okay that they are full of shit, it is not okay for them TO CONTINUE BEING THAT WAY.

That’s good logic, right? If a two-year-old can learn to stop pissing themselves (and is expected to, really), shouldn’t a grown person be able to learn to stop being full of shit? Or are my expectations for humanity at large just too far-reaching?

|| September 12, 2008 || 10:36 am || Comments (4) ||

extolling the virtues of good ale

“Any beer with a turtle playing a sitar on a label bedecked with flowers and a rainbow has gotta be good shit.

*smack, smack*

“They are making good beer in Athens, Georgia.”

He was referring to Terrapin India Style Brown Ale.

The hippie then respectfully read the label aloud to me, which described the aforementioned beerybeer as “….a head-on collision between a hoppy, west coast IPA and a malty English brown ale [ed. note: "God, Maxim, they make it sound so fucking queer"]. Brewed with five varieties of hops and seven different malts, this hybrid style represents the best of both worlds [ed. note: "Hey, I think their marketing department should have totally gone out on a limb and put, in all-caps, 'DAMN FINE MULATTO BEER, Y'ALL.' Pussies."].”

When I said ‘mulatto’ Maxim began describing this albino laydeh he’d seen the day before, recalling that upon noticing her he mused that “I feel bad for her, because I think people give that girl a lotta shit.” He came to this conclusion because of her body language.

We went from turtle beer to albino laydeh’s posture in four seconds flat. I can assure you that this dramatic shift in conversational flow is not at all unusual around here.

|| September 11, 2008 || 8:10 am || Comments (5) ||

I hate when people refer to it as ‘nine-eleven’

one / two / three

A schoolteacher friend quietly (and almost embarrassedly) confessed to me yesterday afternoon that ever since the attacks, she cannot bring herself to write today’s date. Really, I said, and she said I’ve tried, I just can’t. She goes the entire day without dating a thing.

We all do what we can to manage I told her. We all do what we can to manage, especially in light of all the changes to this country since that day seven years ago.

On discussing what Maxim dubbed The Current Campaign of Crazy

Here I am, doing what you never thought I’d do here at [Abuantg.]: I’m going to discuss politics. Okay, I’m not really gonna discuss them, per se, but I am going to scribble out a couple-three thoughts because right now my country is in a divine state that I can only describe as Nutbasketry.

A little over a week ago, I opened up this here box and typed in the words, “I love how everybody’s all, ‘Palin is gonna take it on the chin.’ before the woman has really even opened her mouth. She miiiight just do so; take it on the chin, that is. But from where I sit, the set of her jaw looks pretty square.”

That is one symptom of everything I view as being wrong with America right now: Everyone is all lathered up, frothing at the mouth, so senselessly fucking froggy that their warts are overtaking their brains.

I would like to request that everyone in the blessed and holy United States of byGod America have a seat, take a breath, shake out their hands and then fold them in their laps. If you like chamomile tea (I don’t), then by all means, have a cuppa. If you have a bong, wrap your sweet little mitts about it and have one strong pull thereof (but only one, my dears, we must remain lucid and functional). If you don’t jive with either herb, then hum something soothing for a minute. Pretend you’re taking a bubble bath, getting a blowjob, something that puts you a little closer to what we’ll refer to as Your Zen Place.

Point is, EVERYONE TURN OFF YOUR MOUTHS AND TURN ON YOUR BRAINS and let’s have a wee moment in silent contemplation. All of your frenzied hopping up and down is STRESSING me, and worst of all, IT IS HARSHING MY BUZZ.

I am about to reveal one of the most personal factoids I’ve ever laid out here about myself; long-time readers will appreciate the gravity of this moment, because they know my stance on talking either politics or religion in a crowd: As a rule, I do not do it. Hell, I don’t even really discuss either with my very most near-and-dears, because even the most polite and respectful of people tend to turn into slobbering, unreasonable lunatics when presented with those particular topics. Then I’m left standing there, my Important Ideas that I was ready to exchange gracefully falling to the wayside, my face agog (Oh poker face, why couldn’t you have been part of my birthright?), going all, “HELLO SATAN, WHEN DID YOU SWEEP IN TO POSSESS MY OTHERWISE GRACIOUS AND ARTICULATE FRIEND HERE?”

Most personal factoid is this: I am registered as a Democrat. Only I typically say ‘Democrack’, because it makes the silly giggler inside of my head terrifically happy. I’m a rogue Democrack, though, in that I’m pretty conservative in quite a few areas. I think the whole fucking party needs a good overhaul, but that’s something that we can avoid discussing at a later time. I don’t necessarily vote along party lines as a rule, I use a divining rod and a list of impossible standards and carefully-cast runes dipped in fish guts the best sense of judgment I can muster in choosing with whom I will ally my forces as Strong American Voter. I’m not a fickle sidekick, but I’m not a stupid one, either.

Oh my God, I love my country. Oh my God, I am terrified for Her future. I stated as much to Maxim –whose views sometimes do not line up with mine at all– the other night while the RNC was in full swing. I shot off a fast litany of sentences at his calm face, a rare and unexpected happening in our home, and he settled himself further into the loveseat, pondering. After a moment he asked me a question.

“Look, what has you all torqued?”

Whereupon I began that I feel we are living in the middle of a misinformed, confused mess of people and some three minutes later ended with “…and if folks here don’t believe that it’s possible for the right lunatics to link up arms and figure out a way to make Nebraska –Nebraska, of all places, the very epitome of hard-working guileless innocence, for Chrissakes!– a smoking crater, they. Are. Foooooliiiiish.”

Then Maxim began to tick off a list of all the ways that The Powers That Be have in place to preserve the populace of Nebraska and their sweet-faced innocence, totally digressing and missing my overall point entirely. This was likely my own fault. This is what happens when I forget to breathe while talking: I overshoot my own damn point and make it hard for the listener to decipher.

“You’re not getting what I’m really saying here,” I told him.

“Okay. Would you feel better if our country had more weaponry?” He asked that. (!) and also (?). But mostly (!). Settle, I told myself, Enunciate. For ham and hell, be coherent.

“No. I would feel better if we had more sense. We make The World really fucking nerrrrvous. Collectively, The World has a pretty stout trigger finger.”

….and, I think, pretty much views us as the once-capable sheepdog who has gone slightly bugshit from rabies or lack of sleep or fillintheblank. Haha, I just characterized our fair and noble country, the one that I love with the kind of passion that makes your stomach all wobbly and breaks your heart, as a crazed cowdog. If my momma is ever gonna delurk and comment on a post, it will be this particular one.

(But she’s really mad at George Junior, and I’ve never heard her speak ill of a president in my entire bleeding life, much less to call one a deluded sonofabitch.)

Somewhere in Cyberia this week I read a comment that said, “Living in the UK… the anxiety coming this way from the US is … palpable. Europe is laughing at the Republicans’ choice but it’s more like a nervous laugh. Whatever happens in the US has long-term affect on Europe.”

Because, of course, they’ve allied themselves with the heat-exhausted cowdog.

A friend of mine from literally half a world away said something very insightful to me late last year, connecting some dots that I’d not really consciously considered. We were talking about some random thing in my life, and he said, “I can’t even imagine what it’s like, living in a country so stress-filled as yours, to have all these issues just hanging over heads every single day,” and went on to emphasize imminent threats as the overriding stressor curtaining the U.S. And I saw it immediately, even more clearly than before, the basic strain that everyone seems to be heaving under. The underlying whisper of uncertainty in basic day-to-day living. The staccato beat of a nation’s heart as it rides a wave of unchecked adrenaline and the strained tendons of that nation dividing, dividing, dividing, pulling on itself in a way that cannot possibly be sustained or fruitful.

I have never in my life been so uncertain of whom to cast a ballot for so close to an election; on each side I find compromise that I don’t feel comfortable making. I have never before been so fearful for the future of the place I was raised to so love and respect and admire. These things both sadden and shame me.

|| September 8, 2008 || 4:07 pm || Comments (5) ||

more like this!

Matt Allen just wants to drive around giving away ice cream, seeing shows and being generally awesome.


|| September 6, 2008 || 10:11 pm || Comments (5) ||


In the course of my lifetime –and, more especially, certain jobs– what I’ve seen, as far as parenting styles go, runs the gamut. As a parent, I think I’m pretty good-natured, pretty protective, fairly strict, forthright with my kids, and not stingy with hugs and frequent with ‘I love you’. I try and do what my mother did: Give them plenty of room and opportunity and the resources to explore the world. Essentially, I give them enough rope, but should they choose to hang themselves, I will yank it back sharply.

Recently Sam has been taking the painful steps to become a man, to fully decide what kind of person he will be when he steps out of the environs of our home and into the world. I want to write some sort of love letter to him about who he is to me and also others, about what red flags I see popping up around him, about the scope and the breadth and the responsibility of just being a human being.

Words, of course, are crazed, slippery things when trying to convey things of a large or grandiose nature.

Before he was even born, I began scratching in a dark blue (coincidentally, what Sam now claims as his favorite color) leather-bound journal, intent on giving it to him when he turned eighteen. By the time Samuel was six months old, though, the task of quantifying the knowledge I had gathered to that point and the knowledge I was still gaining and my feelings toward/about him became too big. There was just far too much to capture, and to dismiss even one iota of it seemed reckless and somehow unfair. So I sat the journal aside.

In the past year or so, Sam has been taking an interest in this here voyeurnal; he drops in from time to time to see what’s going on in my head that he has and has not heard about. He spends up to an hour at a time taking in chunks of entries that I’ve made over the years, much as he does with our old home movies and our photo albums. He is my wholly sentimental child, the one that asks me questions about family and wants to hear our oral history. Every so often he will pull out the ‘baby box’ that is stored in his closet: It is a medium-sized Rubbermaid tub of mementos, mostly from his infancy and early childhood. The last time he went spelunking there he pulled out his dedication (the Baptist version of a christening) outfit and called to me. When I got upstairs he smiled and said, “I want you to see this,” then placed his hand over the center of it. His whole hand, heel to fingertip, near-covered the thing.

He was twenty-one inches long when he was born; he is now seventy-four and maybe still adding to that.

There is a lot of talk in voyeurnalling circles as to what of your children’s lives to share and what to keep as your own. I have my own thoughts on the matter, but I am loathe to chime in with them at this time. What I will say, however, is that Sam has come to me over the past year to discuss things that he has read here. The last time he did, he expressed to me his pleasure in the way I have framed our family up and presented it to the world, even in our less attractive moments. “I like the way you are able to catch things that we’ve said and done and felt.” He told me that he appreciated the manner in which I convey that which is Us: Lovingly, brutally, humorously.

This makes me happy, that I’ve not thus far overstepped any bounds. I’ve never put any active thought into where our own personal boundaries lie, really. Sure, there have been instances where my husband has clenched his jaw and protested a bit, but mostly I’ve had liberty to just set my mouth, crack my knuckles and begin to type.

And now, to Sam, the occasional reader, I would like to say, “Nothing I have ever written or will ever write can possibly sum up what it is I feel for you as my son and as a person independent of me. You were my first –and for a time greatest– love as a mother; you bore my heart up on the wings of a truckload of caught breaths, a thousand infinities. You are to my life a wholly gorgeous and undefinable song whose melody I never could have imagined but now would mourn terribly should it be removed from my throat. I love you and I love you and I love you and I love you some more, you sixteen-years-old mess of heart and humor and defiance and exuberant life.”

studio time