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Archive for September, 2012

|| September 24, 2012 || 2:50 pm || Comments (7) ||

SO, I just applied for some work (I think that was what I was doing?) with this experimental magazine, and they asked the awful ‘tell us something about yourself’ question. Here is my answer:

“When my Mother was weaning me from the bottle, she slowly disposed of all of them until I was down to a single one that I apparently wagged around everywhere. To break me of the bottle once and for all, one day she opened up the screen door and threw my last one out into the back yard. Just as it landed, a stray dog came along and picked it up, then trotted off with it. She said I never gave her any shit about wanting it back.”

I forgot to add the part about how it was my way to pitch fits when I felt strongly about something, but that –even at the tender age of sometime-less-than-two–  I know a sign of importance when I see one.

|| September 21, 2012 || 5:17 pm || Comments (4) ||

You got two hours? Mash play and enlarge the view and be mesmerized.

|| September 16, 2012 || 4:31 am || Comments (2) ||

i. A poem with a blunt ending

My heart speaks in tongues,
None of which are really useful
Because your heart speaks plain ole
Midwesterner flat-planed English.

I went to the gate today to cry out,
To bend back the toitoi with my voice,
To see your burnished ginger crown
As you were head down, face to task.

Lotus, your lap, lotus, your bowl,
Lotus embroidered on the silk
And its color was blood and blood and blood–
But I didn’t see any of it.

The gate to my own history was bricked up
Like it didn’t belong to me anymore,
Like things are so easily rewritten
Just because I hazarded to wish I’d never met your dumb ass.

ii. this

…..which Cherie jogged back to the forefront of my attentions by asking after it last week.

I’ve been soaking in Trixie Whitley and Black Dub (Daniel Lanois for President of All Teh Musicks, amen) ever since. Thank you, precious Cherie.

|| September 14, 2012 || 3:08 am || Comments (7) ||

I once knew a girl named Laura whose mother wouldn’t let her watch the show ‘Square Pegs’ so I taught her the theme song. Laura used it like a weapon without even realizing it; she drove her mother crazy by singing it incessantly. I’d made sure she had Patty Donahue’s bored, slightly hostile whine down pat before I unleashed Laura on the world.

“If she complains,” I thought to myself one day, “Laura should just point to the poster above her bed.” It depicted a fat blue cartoon bird in the throes of soulful (constipated?) warbling. It was peppered with pregnant, drunken music notes and bore the caption ‘Make a joyful noise unto the Lord.’

In short, I’ve always been this way.

Later on Laura’s mother would figure out we were Without and find subtle ways to feed me and my sister a hefty meal once a week. We got a long afternoon of play on Sundays after church; we were largely unsupervised for hours at a time in the massive playroom over the garage. Laura’s mom always baked us a pile of cookies to snack on warm out of the oven then tucked a foil packet of them into each of our pockets. I made my sister ration them: If we made it home with three apiece, then we’d split one between us per day.

One time my sister gorged the second day and ate all but one herself; I wanted to pound her in half. We couldn’t afford a doctor’s visit, though, and I knew if I whaled on her I would hurt her terribly, so great was my sense of want and loss and frustration with our circumstances. It had nothing at all to do with cookies and everything to do with the dignity of having something more than what we were usually afforded.

I need to send Laura’s mother a thank you letter, I think. I never thought she liked me overmuch. I’ve figured out that liking is irrelevant though, really, as long as you are acting out of care and love.

You don’t have to like someone at all to do that.


Today I got up with the alarm and sat around typing into the little box and drinking ice water like my life depended on it. At ten thirty-eight an e-mail arrived in my inbox; it told me that yes, of course, I could go to welding school under a specialized grant.

At eleven thirty-two an e-mail arrived in my inbox that told me we had been approved for a short-term housing relief program we’d not been aware of until roughly a month ago. A strongly-worded letter to the State Attorney General’s Office about our mortgage company’s staunch attempts to hide information about programs we qualified for (and which, under certain government settlements, they are required to disclose when borrowers initiate queries for loan modifications or assistance) yielded some very fast results. We have been eligible for this program for over a year. We could have been dug out completely in that time, but we are overjoyed to qualify for what we have while we seek a long-term modification plan.

I pushed myself away from the desk, went to the post office, picked up my kid, deposited my kid at the band bus, then came home, utterly exhausted all of the sudden. I sat down on the couch, tipped myself over, and I slept deep and still and hard for two-and-a-half hours.

I rested. For the first time in many, many months, I rested.

Guys. I’m going to learn to weld. How many times have I told you I want to do that? (Next up: Kickboxing) I get to play with fire without my mom yelling at me. I get to make cool stuff with metal and heat.

Guys. We will keep our house for at least another six months. Maxim’s shoulders will come off his ears!

Thank you so, so much for rooting for me, you over there with your quiet e-mails of encouragement/advice and your surprises in my mailbox and silly songs in my voicemail and spontaneous pizzas at the back door.

There’s still work to be done, for sure. I’ve a business I’m building, brick by painstaking brick; I’ve kids to feed and a husband to soothe.

Right now, though? Right now we have celebrating to do.  Turn the volume way, way up, mash play and lift your booty out of that seat. Flop around the room. Dance, you free things, you.

|| September 5, 2012 || 2:42 am || Comments (6) ||

Today Maxim got locked out of his PayPal account due to a goofy glitch in the system. There was money sitting in there, money that he needed –we needed– and he started to freak out a little bit in his Maxim way, while I sat over here in this chair plugging Very Important Words (these days all the words that are worth eight cents or more are Very Important Words, I’m afraid) into the part of the ether that in my head is called Clientspace.

(Clientspace is inhabited, just so you know, by other fools zooming around on their keyboards and jockeying for the eight-cents-or-more words and making pewpewpew noises at all the other kamikaze writerfolk who want to eat their lunches and steal their house payments, how dare they.)

It was simple: “Maxim. Just call them. It will be no big deal, I promise.” He was also having an issue with getting client e-mails through his domain, so that fueled his angst even more, because not only could he not get to the money that was already there and his, he was losing money that potentially could be his if he were only given air and opportunity. He was doing that thing where he channels his mom and something that is not truly fussable gets fussed over because it is more convenient and safer altogether than Fucking Way The Fuck Out Completely over the big deal stuff (and there is a veritable fuckton of that leeching at our ankles, let me just tell you) that could cause a collective nervous breakdown around this joint should we let it give us our marching orders.

Stuff is not the boss, okay? Not even the big deal stuff.  We are the bosses and sometimes stuff gets all snipey and back-bunchy and whoops, there we go, letting stuff get the better of us just because it’s being obstreperous. Stuff is an errant child and it is up to us to not let it drop its drawers and shit in the living room.

So, at one point about fifteen minutes in, Maxim pushed himself away from the desk, saying “I’ll be back in a minute.” My only response to that was a silent, “Thank. God.” because I had a deadline, you know? Me and Maxim and this everybody working out of the house thing….well, there are some kinks yet. There are no stabbable offenses thus far, but we are teetering Damn Closetm to hit-you-with-a-hammer-in-your-sleep-so-that-you-can-fully-understand-the-true-weight-of-interruption offense. The ongoing battle against writerly interruption has stepped up its motherfucking game, is what I’m saying. Sometime in July he asked me to devise a system by which he might know I was working and not longingly window shopping Amazon for fancy things like new music and helium tanks, so I came up with this,

My husband asked for a better indicator of when I was working, so I designed a simple notification interface for the back side of my lappy.

only that didn’t go so well, because that is a cheapo sticky note (someone perpetually makes off with the good ones [ed. note: SCOUT, ALL TEH MUFFINASSES KNOW IT'S YOU WITHOUT MY HAVING TO TELL THEM] and there are better things to waste money on these days….things like toilet paper and electricity) and it kept falling off, causing Maxim to say, “Hey, is the sticky note on the floor on purpose, or on accident? Because I need to know if I can interrupt you or not.”

Yes, the exasperated sound coming out of North Alabama is me, Entire Rest of the World. I’m sorry, I’ll try to keep it down over here.

So back around to it: Maxim came back into the room some twenty minutes later, armed with his shoulder bag full of important things and his hands full of paperwork, announcing, “I’m going to go sell some stuff because I need a boost to my ego. I’ll fuck with PayPal and e-mail when I return.”

“Great!” I said back brightly, “I’m making BLTs for dinner, so take your ti-iiiime!”

And I thought him a very smart man in that instance, because instead of caving to drudgery he did what he knew he’s great at and what would make him feel like rock star so that he could power through tedious, frustrating mess that he gets no joy from.

This year, man. This year in our lives. Some people know one chunk of it, other people know other parts of it, still others know an entirely different slice.  Suffice it to say it’s been hit after hit after hit. What sums it up for me, I guess, is May the thirty-first. That afternoon I got an e-mail from BlogHer announcing that I was a Voices of the Year Honoree for this year. AIRHORN!! RIDICULOUS AGOG FACE! SELF-PRIDE! ALL THE ELEVENTY!!1! IN MY HEART! because, to be real honest, there was a lot wrapped up for me in that acknowledgement. I’ve long felt overlooked by much of this community because I don’t fit the regular mold (hint: Nor do I have any real plans to going forward. Love me, hate me, I’ma do me no matter what side of the coin you call for yourself). This year’s list of honorees is an incredible roster, and whoa nelly, that was vindication in and of itself, to be bookended by such talent, and sitting in the company of some of my favorite voices in Cyberia. So, you know, super-high.

May the thirty-first, continued: Later that night we learned that Sam is to be deployed to Afghanistan for just under a year. My heart fell down to my toes and just dribbled out the ends of them and onto the carpet. Good thing we’re going to get rid of it anyway, this hideous carpet, because once you get heart-stains on it they never really go away.

Yeah, super-low.

That’s what the entirety of this year has been like, over and over and over again, with so many circumstances both big and small. I am yanked through the clouds at dizzying speeds, then I am flung so viciously against the hard plane of ground that I make dents.

Last week’s cloud flight was the announcement that Sam and Randi were expecting a child. This week’s cratering out was the phone call –on Labor Day, so cute– that Randi had miscarried. The eedle yellow and mint sleepers I have thus far gathered for this child (who I’d already had adventures with in my mind’s eye) sit on the table next to me as I type, in fact. They will go to the local foster parent resource center tomorrow.

It has taken me all the way up until September, but I’m finally learning part of what this year wants to teach me: Just don’t make any plans, either to the positive or to the negative. Just sit with it, this instance in this hour in this day. The Adapt and Overcome portion of my brain was dormant, a little rusty from comfort. It took a minute to get it humming.

There’s still so much looming, I can feel it. I’m not afraid. That seems such a strange thing to say, given all that’s gone on this year and the complete lack of surety here in this place that we’re still inhabiting. I may have hiccups of despair, but I’m not afraid and I’m okay and that counts for something. Some days that’s all there is and alright then, alright.

When he returned today, Maxim came bearing a box of Triscuits; he was convinced they would score him a gratitude lay. “This is what we’ve been reduced to,” I exclaimed in delight, “Triscuits are marital baubles!” We laughed together, long and deep and with giddy gulps.