A Random Image

Posts Tagged ‘a few words on craft bitches’

 
|| October 2, 2012 || 1:57 am || Comments (15) ||

Today I have been taking notes on mothers, on what they are, on what I am, on what we are to them. At first I took these notes mentally and then they began to sort of steamroll me and crowd for space and some of the better bits were sliding away while beseeching me to tether them to something more intractable than my headmeat. Then I remembered I have that fancypants phone with the infuriating Swype technology that makes plain ole straightforward words like ‘kale’ into messily unrelated, inexplicable nonlinear ones like ‘Kryzygstan’. How the fuck, brilliant technology, how the fuck do you imagine that a blip on the map central to nothing even remotely like the Piggly Wiggly down the street has anything to do with my grocery list? This part of technology, I do not get. This part of technology makes me want to abandon all the other parts of technology wholesale.

But the part of technology that is boon to me is the one that lets me forsake all the random scraps of paper and cardboard and envelopes that I’ve spent jotting ideas on and stuffing into a drawer until they come to fruition or I’m so embarrassed by them that they become lighters of candles burned too deeply down in the jar to reach (after that I run them under the faucet, so that not only are those terrible ideas and turns of phrase charred, they are damp and runny and pitiful, as well. They personify themselves on another level, and then I can avail myself of them peacefully…almost gleefully, in fact. It’s a good practice, the murdering of shitty ideas and sentences. It’s a holy and noble practice. It’s a practice I do not practice often enough, in fact — as is illustrated by this whole parenthetical hand job).

I once bought a hand-held tape recorder, a fancy one, with which to catch notes on the fly. I destroyed it or misplaced it or something. I bought another. It was summarily stolen. The two I got after that each got laundered. The first time was by someone ‘helpful’ who had never made a move toward helping –coincidentally enough– until there were copious story notes in my pocket and agony to bear witness to once my words were washed and warped and devoid of anything even approaching human sounds. The second time was by me, because life was getting in front of me at the time and I wasn’t on top of the details.

Fuck a recording device after that, right? Blackfeet pencils with creamy lead, paper with fixed spines, paper with adhesive triangles and see-through windows, paper announcing tallies for corn chips and Mountain Dews and Marlboro lights.

Note-taking. Drawer-stashing. Idea-marinating. Substance being grown there in dark, private places after the words were released from dark, private places. Writing starts in the stutter and sputter of a perplexed soul. Art starts in the confused cracks between points of understanding.

Oh Evernote, where have you been all my scattered, hyperfocused livelong life?

I downloaded Evernote several weeks ago but have only started using it in earnest over the last month or so and it is saving my creative beans, All You Folk. Now I can jot notes to my phone which are immediately synched up in a kanjillion other places in case I fuck one or more of them up with my frail analog tendencies. I can record snippets, too, and they are immediately swished up into the ether and synched to All The Places. I can scribble a note with my very fingertip, in my own handwriting. My literal hand, writing! I can snap a photo and jot to it with that same finger (or another one! if I’m feeling wacky like that). Save, swish, sync. I can sketch, saveswishsync. I CAN WRITE ON PAPER, SCAN IT TO MY PHONE, AND REMORSELESSLY DISPOSE OF THE PAPER IMMEDIATELY. Scan! *stick arms* Save! *exuberance* Swish! *triumph* Sync!

My God! Technology is bending to my mercurial but meticulous whims! Makers of Evernote, I owe you a baby, because telling you I owe you a beer doesn’t seem like a grand enough thank you.

So, babies.  Maxim said to me yesterday that he has been wanting to have a baby lately (Internet. Do not e-mail me. We are not going to have more babies.) and that made me thoughtful about myself as a mother. I try not to contemplate myself in such a fashion, at least not too very often, because being too self-aware as a mother is to invite yourself into all kinds of agony and also probably great heaps of nervous breakdown-ing.  I’m not being the slightest bit hyperbolic or tongue-in-cheek when I say that, either. You mothers know what I’m saying. I mean, be conscientious as shit, Moms, be present as all-fuck but don’t be too exploratory because your kids need you to make oatmeal and sign permission slips, and those things are hella hard to do when your cheese has up and taken a slide off of your cracker.

My own mother is going through something of a hard time, and I’m trying to be her cheerleader. My constant thoughts of her plus Maxim’s admission of baby longing made me think about what we are when we mother.

This song has been chasing me around for months now,

and it is wrecking me, wrecking me, wrecking me. Mary stays behind and cleans up the place.

I am about to mother my father into the grave; I can tell because he is making peace with things that I thought he’d outrun or abandoned.  He refuses to make plans. He tells me freely of the things that he has staunchly decided not to worry himself with any longer. He smiles while he tells me all these things, earnest. Still, he is afraid.

I am about to be the mother of someone who is halfway around the world being a man but who is still –somewhere in time– floating under my ribs as I coo to him, promising him future and love and arms that will always embrace him. I’ll will my ribcage around him when men who don’t consider my oh-so-painful love for him have their rifles and their hatred trained at him. I will rock and snot all over myself deep into many sleepless nights while I wish a vacuum around him where bullets are not even a thing, much less a danger to my boy’s heart, the one I carried in my own before it even had fancy trappings like chambers or valves or beats.

Today, unfathomably and up out of nowhere, I am a human being in a vast amount of pain and in need of mothering myself.

Tomorrow I may have a taste for lemonade and the mouth that comes away from the glass might be smiling, smiling, inviting you in, “Hello! I’ve missed you. Please come sit by me. Can I offer you some refreshment? Some peace? Some understanding or commiseration?

“I’m so glad you’re back. I miss you when you are away.” Tomorrow I may be mothering you.

Tell me something about you as a mom. It has to be private and it has to be liberating. I won’t judge you, and I will tear a strip off of anyone who tries to. Momming is hard, man. All we come equipped to do it with are these puny arms and these ache-prone innards, and that makes me proud of us for showing up, even.

If you’re not a mom in the technical sense, I want you in the fray, too. Tell me about your mother. When we take time to ponder them, they engender SUCH a profundity of emotion in us. Today I am sitting in that emotion and it’s surrounding me on all sides. It’s terrible. It’s transformative. The latter makes the former bearable.

“Drinkin’. Writin’.
Keepin’ stereotypes alive.”

// my friend TwoBusy, late yesterday evening

Sometimes when I am in the studio my Memaw Susie’s voice kind of melds with mine and before I know it there’s this strange hybrid of the two of us saying things like “Now. How can we go about effectively dandying this up?” all up in my head. This is while I’m turning something special –a porcelain hand, a business journal dated sometime in nineteen-nineteen, a length of rusty-and-twisted wire– over with my fingertips.

There are so many things up there in my escape room (a plain-yet-apt name) that lay there humming. Some chance to sing when I pick them up; this is how I decide what I’ll keep pulled out so that I can stare at it loudly and expect something to happen. My fingertips listen for the want(s) of the thing, trying to decipher if it will be the focal point of something whose elements have yet to be drawn together and arranged or if it will be used to subtly pull the eye toward some other highlight altogether.

Two broken wall hooks, a cigar box, a heavy brass mail door (with! keys! hallelujah!) sidle up to one another and become a sweet treasure box that is pretending to be art. An old eight-by-ten of a stoic group, snippets of text from various magazines and newspapers, a castaway picture frame all jostle and slide until there is poetry: a free-form mishmosh amalgamation of philosophy gleaned from this dying age we’re trying to pass off as all hopeful rather than incredulous.

all at once and without contradiction

Tonight, while straightening then cutting lengths of baling wire, I marveled once again at the greasy black-smoke condition of my palms, the mark of handling raw material and manhandling it with purpose. It put me in mind of photographs from my father’s creakingly heavy album, the one that catalogs his time in country. Cinched up between its covers are faces and faces and faces of young men with smoke and sweat and trouble smeared all across them. That, or freshly-scrubbed and thick with drunkenness, no trace of a uniform in sight, arms crooked about the necks of a variety of little Vietnamese women, so dainty.

I am not particularly a student of history, but I like for the things around me to allude to having a story that is ready to be conveyed. There is richness in this, in having a story, and I sometimes I am struck by how many options we are afforded in order to get that story across.

People e-mail me on the fair regular with snippets of this or that, wanting my take on something. I give it to them (sometimes it takes a minute, but I try to accommodate). We all have something to give and we all have something to take, right? “Give enough so that the amount of your taking isn’t bastardy, and then give ten more percent on top of that.” is one of my life mottoes. There are others; we may or may not get around to talking about them sometime.

Sometimes people e-mail me and ask my advice on telling a story. WHAT??!? You might as well ask me how to blink.

“Just, um, do it.”

That seems glib and haughty, though, right? Right. So I never give complete answers, just disjointed approximations of tips and a virtual neck-hug before I send the soul foolish enough to ask me, of all people, back out into the world. How am I a suitable candidate for teaching anyone a dang thing?

While I was at my father’s, attending to the Mathematics of Cancer (now THAT is an almost-complete other post for another time altogether), the mechanics of telling a story came together and I wrote them down on the back of a receipt from a convenience store gas station deli combo joint: Its name, hysterically enough, is ‘Kum & Go’. It’s printed right there on the receipt that contains my Big Ideas About Storytelling. The Universe will always find a way to keep you humble, there Shotgun.

The list has five points on it. They are, exactly as I first penned them on the back of that now-crinkled receipt, as follows:

FIRST
I want you to listen to their stories.

SECOND
I want you to listen to how they tell their stories.

THIRD
I want you to pay attention to the language.

FOURTH
I want you to find the song in their stories.

FIFTH
Breathe life to that song.

That’s it. That’s what I’ve got. So either you learn to pay attention to several different aspects of an experience, or you learn to take a pass or five at it after it’s up there in your Rememberator so that you can squeeze all the juice out of it.

One thing, though….I was in such a hurry to get those handy-dandy tips down that I left out an obvious preface: Go into the world and find people. Interact with them in some way….actively, passively, whatever; I don’t give a shit about the niggling details. Then you are ready to move on to Point the First.

And then (this here is the fun bit)  you are ready to hear, “Now. How can we go about effectively dandying this up?”

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

This looks incredible. Hollywood is trying to get better and tell stories worthy of this world, I think. God bless the writers, every messy last one of us.

 
|| March 16, 2011 || 3:45 am || Comments (13) ||

“I wanted to do the music proud.” // Joan Jett

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

I stood there and looked at it through the window. Only two other places in town had bars over their glass: The jailhouse and the funeral home. The thick iron grates here at the guitar shop, however, were the most imposing of the three. Bowie (named for the knife, not the androgynous rock star) had a lot more to lose than either of the others.

I was squinting against the one o’clock sun, carefully considering the top of the wall and what was hanging there. Though I’d never been a shrinking violet, being a girl in a guitar store struck me as an entirely different animal. Well, at least until I could round up enough money to merit my walking in there and asking for the guitar to be pulled off the wall for me to ‘look at it with my fingers’.

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

Henry has always been one to step into my life when I was fucking up or just barely recovered from doing so. When I am a productive, shit-hot human being we are estranged. It’s the weirdest father-daughter relationship ever, I guess; we haven’t been in touch for a while now. I mean, there was the Christmas before last and everything; that had nothing to do with the disarray of my life, but rather the disarray of his. He and his wife of twenty-something years –who, cutely enough, was also twenty-something years younger than him– were splitting and he imagined me to be a sucker thirteen-year-old rather than a perceptive thirtysomething-year-old.

That particular conversation was cool because every time Henry would lie to me I would say something akin to, “That’s not the truth.” I felt a sense of calm that I had never previously felt when communicating with him.

Digression, regression, aggression, bullshit.

Henry was in my life. I’d just finished fucking up really good and was hemorrhaging dignity when he did me a couple solids that were the emotional equivalent of hauling me up by my blouse, slapping a kevlar on my head and telling me in no-uncertains to keep my ass out of the dirt and on the trail where it damn well belonged.

Hallelujah for the Saviours of this world, even if on the three-hundred and sixty-four other days of the year they are balls-deep in random, big-titted bottle blondes.

(To hear him say as his marriage dissolved that if he’d known where he would end up, then he would have tried a little harder with my mother was The Straw. THE Straw. “Don’t tell me that shit, Henry. Don’t say things like that to me. It invalidates all the suffering we did –crying for you, going hungry because we only got one meal a day, fear, marginalization– as a result of your whoring. Your choices were your choices, and I’ve gotten to a place where I have made peace with that. I can’t for one second pretend like those things didn’t happen, though, because they inform who I’ve become in such an important way. To so easily say that you’d fix the suffering we did then if you had known the suffering you would do later is the most chickenshit thing I’ve ever heard. It’s infuriating that you feel you could have fixed things if you had only tried but you chose to quit anyway and, as a result, you left us swinging in the gap between you and mother while she was clawing for purchase and trying to drag us back to safety at the same time.”)

Henry was back in my life. I was twenty-four. I usually wore no eye makeup and my lips were the color of darkly-bruised berries: There was no mistaking which cigarette butts were mine.

‘Back in my life’ consisted of three weekly phone calls and the occasional card. Corny jokes and cards go hand in hand, did you know? If Henry loves nothing else, he loves a confidently-delivered corny joke. All of my father’s girls have wincing down to an art, as well as those sidelong ‘here we go!’ glances we shoot around chairs and walls and stray hairs when Henry is gearing up for a particularly groan-worthy pun.

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

Dear Henry,
You taught me how to spell ‘Wednesday’ correctly (“Say this, Elizabeth….say “Wed. Ness. Day.”) and you gave me a wealth of material to write about. I can think of lots of fathers who have done less for their girls.
Love,
Jett

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

Do you remember? Do you remember that to this day the reason you think that FedEx envelopes are ugly is because for a span of years they came, overly-formal (why the fuck are you too good for regular old letter mail, Henry and Henry’s legal representatives??) and stuffed with edicts more times than you can attach an exact number to?

You knew that FedEx would have a surprise this time, because he told you so. He felt just superior enough to you and just satisfied enough with you to give you some fiduciary comfort and encouragement. You had learned to take it where he was willing to loose it and not expect anything else, because the ensuing post-expectation meltdown wasn’t fair to either of you.

In the cardboard sleeve was a smallish envelope. In the envelope was a check that you didn’t even look at. You held the envelope perpendicular to the palm of your hand, curling its edges slightly. You liked the crispness of it in your hand and the knowing of it in your brain. You stepped out of the car, gravel crunching under your boot, your skirt hem bouncing lazily against the backs of your thighs.

Bowie was the perfect blend of gruff and professional. The three other males there were startled to have estrogen in their midst. You pointed, Bowie retrieved, you laid a hand on the body and closed your eyes, you paid without bothering to play the damn thing. You walked out of the door feeling like you had owned that case and its contents for a hundred years because it was good there in your grip, and familiar.

It was April the first. The fool had turned twenty-five. The night before, in the waning throes of twenty-four, she had slipped off black Docs and slid out of a green dress and told the world that things were gonna be different.

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

Of course, bar. Of course, guitar. Of course, throwing up before going on because who the fuck plays sober?

Look! It has boobs! It wants to make music for us!

Look.

Look.

My playing is weak, but my voice has always been strong. Mother wrote in my baby book “Cannot carry a tune in a bucket,” when I was eighteen months old. It wasn’t long after that and I was carrying a tune in my back pocket, wearing one like a necklace, balancing one on my head. The voice had a two-decade lead on the hands.

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

He approaches me. He wants to write songs together. I tell him I will think about it, but I have already made up my mind, because he has already offered suggestions for tweaks and he didn’t look at my boobs one time the whole time we conversed.

My voice is strong, but my songs are stuck in ‘A’. We write some that aren’t. We sit down one night on opposite corners of the bed, a four-track recorder between us and trap enough material for an EP in there. There is chatter about mushroom pizza after the first song. Other than that, the only words on that tape are ones I wrote.

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

One week, then half of another. I walk into the music store –mine this time, the one where I am Princess of the Racks, deliverer of obscure bands, finder of songs based on five words of lyric and a desire to not be shown up by an old person’s “You’ve probably never even heard of him, but….” or a young sophist’s “I bet you don’t know anything about prog rock…”; every answer hastily given is a sweet little ‘Ohfuckyou’, a snotty triumph reasonably delivered– I locomote all the way to the back, pull the bolt on the heavy storeroom door and step out onto the concrete, propping one boot on the wall and firing up a cigarette.

It’s three o’clock. The store is starting to get busy. I have a jacket tied around my waist. I clock in at the front, step down around the counter like I am a customer. Christie is glad to see me. She always is, even though we sometimes make one another furious. Partly this is because we are both newly clean for the second time and neither of us has a lot of  ‘chill the fuck out’ to spare, so we save most of it for customers and traffic cops. Partly it is because I challenge her without meaning to and she’s insecure without realizing it.

We are the only sane, intelligent people on staff (other than our boss, who is really just a dadlike presence to a mess of attractive twentysomethings that the home office pushes him to hire) and it’s nice on the days we get to work with one another.

“I have something for you to listen to later,” I say to her. I reach down into the pocket floating in the vicinity of my right thigh and place the tape up on the counter.

“No time like the present!” She moves toward the tape deck, stopping the ceedee that is playing. Silence in a music store always garners strange looks from shoppers.

Then there is my voice, then there is Christie hissing, “Holy shit, it’s you!” By the end of the first verse I have joined her behind the counter and she has placed her hand on her chest and this, THIS is how I know I’ve nailed it, I’ve hit that fucker out of the park: By the second chorus Christie Who Is Made Of Absolute Stone has tears dropping past her lower lids.

Triumph ricochets around my head.

Two guys approach, “Who is this?” Christie’s hand, which is still pressed against her breastplate, curls into a pointing thing directed at me where I am now standing alongside her, nearly shoulder-to-shoulder. I am too dorked to say anything.

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

The last verse was short and to the point:

“Before the winter of discontent / Blows around the fall / Dressing windows for all the world / Is killing us one and all”

…and for as much has changed in my world since I last sang those lines, the world at large has changed dynamically, leapfrogging over itself, keyrings and spare nickels being flung everywhere. To my great surprise, those four lines remain surprisingly true and elegant.

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

Inspiration,  memory-stirring, blame for this post all lie here:

Diving into the Wreck

First having read the book of myths,
and loaded the camera,
and checked the edge of the knife-blade,
I put on
the body-armor of black rubber
the absurd flippers
the grave and awkward mask.
I am having to do this
not like Cousteau with his
assiduous team
aboard the sun-flooded schooner
but here alone.

There is a ladder.
The ladder is always there
hanging innocently
close to the side of the schooner.
We know what it is for,
we who have used it.
Otherwise
it is a piece of maritime floss
some sundry equipment.

I go down.
Rung after rung and still
the oxygen immerses me
the blue light
the clear atoms
of our human air.
I go down.
My flippers cripple me,
I crawl like an insect down the ladder
and there is no one
to tell me when the ocean
will begin.

First the air is blue and then
it is bluer and then green and then
black I am blacking out and yet
my mask is powerful
it pumps my blood with power
the sea is another story
the sea is not a question of power
I have to learn alone
to turn my body without force
in the deep element.

And now: it is easy to forget
what I came for
among so many who have always
lived here
swaying their crenellated fans
between the reefs
and besides
you breathe differently down here.

I came to explore the wreck.
The words are purposes.
The words are maps.
I came to see the damage that was done
and the treasures that prevail.
I stroke the beam of my lamp
slowly along the flank
of something more permanent
than fish or weed

the thing I came for:
the wreck and not the story of the wreck
the thing itself and not the myth
the drowned face always staring
toward the sun
the evidence of damage
worn by salt and away into this threadbare beauty
the ribs of the disaster
curving their assertion
among the tentative haunters.

This is the place.
And I am here, the mermaid whose dark hair
streams black, the merman in his armored body.
We circle silently
about the wreck
we dive into the hold.
I am she: I am he

whose drowned face sleeps with open eyes
whose breasts still bear the stress
whose silver, copper, vermeil cargo lies
obscurely inside barrels
half-wedged and left to rot
we are the half-destroyed instruments
that once held to a course
the water-eaten log
the fouled compass

We are, I am, you are
by cowardice or courage
the one who find our way
back to this scene
carrying a knife, a camera
a book of myths
in which
our names do not appear.

// Adrienne Rich

Hey, I started this entry some five six months ago, left it hanging in my draft posts and just wandered away. In all the shuffling and fixing and getting ready to pull the plug on this site, I came across it again. I think it’s an important enough bit of my personal narrative to warrant hitting ‘publish’ on it. Maybe it’s a post that will stir discussion, because I have seen evidence in the past several weeks that I am not the only voyeurnaller who feels this way. Your comments are always welcome here –dissenting ones included– and I’m pretty sure I’ve made that clear from the time I installed a commenting system back in late two-thousand or thereabouts. On this post in particular I would ask that the lurkers, too, step out of the shadows and talk with me about their perspective on this.

Okay, so, you know when you have that invisible iron band at the top of your throat, and it’s cinched up just enough to remind you it’s there? And then, when you swallow, it’s like your tonsils become two branding irons that send shocks of bonfire heat all around the insides of that most tender of all the neckmeat? And good LORD, the itch! It is way down deep there in your ears and you’re praying that it signifies that something is a-going and not a-coming because that impending ER bill from several nights ago is going to SUCK and you can’t visit any healthcare-type facility again (save the one where you yourself are employed) until February at the very soonest, April at the outside. But April is your birthday month and it just wouldn’t be right for the Everything That Is to allow you to come to harm throughout the month that signifies your arrival on the planet, selah and amen.

That kind of maddening but vague-ish tonsilly-glandy-flarey throat pain that could mean you are getting better but also could mean that the strep dint get kilt fer shore dead?

You know that kind of discomfort, yeah? So you know, also, of how cranky it can make you in a sort of ‘let’s not be doing any fucking around, okay? I expect us to dig all the way to bone tonight’ fashion.

So, my throat hurts. And it is that kind of hurt. A no-nonsense kind of hurt, not bent on being crippling in nature but not wanting you to forget its presence, either.

My throat hurts and I’m back to square one with my ability to tolerate utter bullshit. Pain will do that to you: It will make you instinctual in nature, a person not prone to frippery like patience for your fellow man, no matter how stupid (or insulting) (or tedious) (or shallow) (or ridiculously, ridiculously self-absorbed) he may be, thusly earning him a pass on the basis of your most excellent home training and Southerin mannerliness. There will be no “Well, bless his heart“-ing done, dig? Your throat is on fire, and that supercedes tact, damnit!

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

Did you know that the Willow Ptarmigan is the only species of grouse whose males take responsibility over their young….most specifically, the protection of those offspring? They will distract much larger foes (BEARS) by way of attack to ensure the well-being of their babies. Willow Ptarmigans may be little in comparison to a grizzly, but their desire to go unfucked-with is greater than the bear’s ample curiosity and orneriness. And also greater than that physically imposing stature business.

I think that is just about the fucking neatest thing ever, Fellow Internet Bastards.

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

A little over a month ago the box in my head where I go to be happy was sluiced over with some sort of crazy mud that was cloying and uncomfortable to hang around in, so I was forced into other parts of my brain where things are maybe hazier and not very well-lit. Sometimes I wonder if I oughtta just stick around in the mud –in that sunny, airy room there– to see what happens, because the curtains still shimmy gleefully as they glance off breezes and the wallpaper never gets boring. But (and here is the thing that seals this wonky little deal) even the dark corners and the sundown lanes that trail off into nowhere smell sweeter altogether than that nasty mud. Though its surface is shiny and without blemish, I just know there are things in there, in that mud, rotting things that are just playing possum until I grow complacent. Were such a thing to happen, they would then lace themselves together elegantly and drag me down to the floor, planting my face solidly in four inches of my head sludge with no hope of coming up for air.

You can see, of course, why I would choose the ‘Wander Aimlessly Around Head’ door.

Okay, so I ended up in this mostly-unfamiliar spot that found me all butthurt about the most ridiculous of things, most of which resided right out here in the ether between my interface and those that belong to what I have loosely labelled as All The Rest Of You.

It was a weird state to try on for size, this Total Butthurtedness, and one to which I am mostly unaccustomed, owing to my habit of keeping my heart in my mouth rather than on my sleeve. I was swirled up in drama that was only known to my heart, asking stupid shit like, ‘Why is that person taking a swipe at me’ and ‘How can so-and-so leave me hanging like that’ and ‘Oh my gaaahhhhd, when will I ever just be able to be who I am without inciting fury’.

Ahem.

Said questions, of course, brought forth Total Butthurtedness’ maudlin (yet much calmer!) twin, Embarrassed Mortification. Embarrassed Mortification always goes over –with a fine-toothed comb– the ground that Total Butthurtedness flopped around on, finding every fragment of every thing that will enable her to hammer the fuck away at whatever aspects of you that Total Butthurtedness was kind enough to allow to hang around.

Are you still with me?

So at some point I began to get my bearings (and my medication, bahDUMpum!) and got really mad that I let Cyberia actually affect me this way. It’s not really ever been an issue before, and I began to root around for the source of why it all of the sudden was one.

Typically I’m not an especially insecure person whether on the page or off. In this case I had to remind myself of accomplishments cool digital-type shit owing to this: In the past you have been Instalanched! Kottke has linked you! You have even been cited on WikiFuckingPedia somewhere! It is a great likelihood that Norman Reedus probably read the entry where you praised him and dogged the fuck out of Armand Assante, hear you roarrrr!

….and so on.

I don’t give much of a shit about hits or traffic and have been more than willing to say so on more than one occasion. Let me get one thing straight, though: This is not to say I don’t give a shit about people. I care at the point where people take shape out of these strange and persistently-tabulated digits. ‘Oh, hello, Visitor Number one-hundred thirty-two thousand and nine-hundred, you are, in fact, Angela from Brighton, Colorado? Pleezdameetcha!’

There are a whole mess of women these days who derive their whole self-worth from their blogs; if their hits are high, then so are their spirits. God help us if a few-hundred of those eyeballs fixed on their sites wander away. I am not, in fact, one of those women. I derive a part of my self-worth from my blog, yes, but it is in one specific sense: That sense being that I am completely true to myself in the words that I heartily fling across the page where you now perch.

Also, and my! God! what an also, it has easily saved my husband thousands of dollars in therapy (my first twenty-five or so years on the planet wound me into quite a tight little skein; it took me five years of picking around just to find the thread that would start the unraveling of the damn thing and five more years after that for it to even look like I’d been working on accomplishing something). Let’s not mince any words here: He’d sure as fuck have to pay it, because I just don’t have it and he likes having me around. I know this last bit because he is one of the good ones that never lets me forget it.

(GET READY FOR THE PARAGRAPH THAT IS GONNA PISS SOMEBODY OFF)

And so, in rooting for the cause of my sudden insecurity on these here interwebs, what I worked my way back to was this: I’ve been sort of slumming it in recent months by dancing around the fringes of a group of people who care about shit like how many page impressions equal how many nickels (did I say that right, savvy persons?) and less about the currency of song and soul. People who weigh out quantity of words as more valuable than their quality. I’m no hater; that’s great for them. It is a method, though, that simply does not work for me and always seems to leave me wanting.

Plus? I am leaving the buoyancy of my self-esteem in the hands of people I’ve never even met, ones that sit in front of a little box and type words (sometimes incessantly! how do some people handle things like meals and peeing?) that I’ve attached some sort of weight to, whether or not that expectation is actually something like, I dunno, warranted or even deserved.

Here is where I head in the direction of sounding like a geezer, sonny, because I remember a time when this medium was a whole lot of creative and unbridled joy. Blogger (which still is such an ungainly, misappropriated word, yeah?) was just a euphemism for Rogue Writerly Person. Rogue Writerly People aren’t hampered by things like form and the conventional twisting-together of words. The RWP of this world stomp, Thor-hammered and big-bootsed, through the literary heather, silencing cicadas and bending breezes to their wills. They are dirty, dirty neologists waiting to sully your dictionary, sugar.

I used to spend the bulk of my online time being romanced by the amazingly adept voyeurnals of Bobby and Michael and Alanna and Paul and Rabi, to name a few. These people dug at the words, sometimes so deeply that loam would have to be brushed from them before they could be stacked into a structure that your eyeballs (and shortly thereafter, your brain) could hardly wait to shimmy through.

The internet was totally my boyfriend in those days. I have been madly in love with words the whole of my life; naturally, then, it would follow that I might be completely knee-swept at the notion of being only one page-refresh away from a stream flowing with clickable links to places where words were consistently fresh and completely delectable.

All I had to do was pick.

Somewhere in the noise of the last little while I’d forgotten all about that ‘pick’ part. I found myself just dully following a trail of (fingerquoteythings)big names(/fingerquoteythings) because they were big names and not necessarily mapping carefully what I took into myself. And not really –as I had done before– rooting out new content and gorgeous voices. Look, I like People magazine as a guilty indulgence from time to time, but if you told me that was all I could ever read again then I would likely say, “Okay. I’m pretty much over this whole reading thing.” Or I’d be all, “PASTE! Where is my fucking jug of PASTE?” and cut the People magazines to bits, then reassemble the words in a more pleasing arrangement. Something.

So. I’ve made up my mind to do two things. First, I’m gonna start giving the majority of my online time (which seems to be far less nowadays than it used to be) over to incredible writing by people that are doing it for the sheer joy of it above all else. Second, I’m gonna start remembering who I am in my own writing and occupying that space with the fierceness that I used to.

I’m not gonna worry too much about who or how everybody else is, because I’ll be too occupied with the flow of my own story to let anybody else’s make me feel somehow incomplete. I’m enough. And when I decide that I am not enough anymore, it will be because I have measured what I am at that time against what I want to be in the future and have found myself in need of work.

Those are things that I should in no way be passive about in making decisions. And if you want to know the truth, then you shouldn’t be passive about them either. I own myself and it’s time I started reading the fucking manual.

 
|| December 15, 2000 || 10:57 pm || Comments (0) ||

Uhhh, hi.

Reading chum’s journal-thingy made me sad tonight. Made me really sad. I can’t really put my finger on why. If he reads this, I’m sure he’ll get it. He’s special like that—has the whole insight thing pretty down for someone so young. Mayhap that is why he is bored with his courtiers.*chumster, any thoughts on this??*

I really hope that I wasn’t one of the parties that he was referring to. I hope that he still likes my dance. Isn’t that sick and sad? It sounds that way on the surface, I suppose. You’ve got to look deeper, though. There are few people that I respect in a wholesome way/look up to. This cat has a great intellect and wit and seemingly possesses an affection for people that I could never muster. He tries to bury that light under the bushel of sarcasm, but it’s there and I for one can see it.

I haven’t been blogging as much lately. And certainly the content mostly blows now. Someone e-mailed me yesterday and said I seem ’subdued’. You know what, Will? You’re right. I do. Please allow me to explain in this very public of forums; and Jesus-please-us please let me put to rest the suggestion you had as to why. Good assumption, but one that is way off the mark.

I started this thing for me. You see, I hadn’t been devoting the time to any organized creative output beyond business-related stuff, and creativity for creativity’s sake is the most cathartic and rewarding kind. Don’t get me wrong, I am glad that I can get paid for something I enjoy, but sometimes it turns into a washout and you cut corners to get over just a tad bit more. Then it sort of taints your output and things aren’t so shiny and terrific anymore. ANYONE CATCHING THIS TRAIN OF THOUGHT, HUH???

So as I said/say/am saying, I started this for me and did it for me and was pleasantly surprised to find a had a small readership with a decent intellectual capacity. And don’t get me started on the fact that I discovered that I was not alone in some of my most out-there obloquies, opinions and thoughts.

I tend not even to scratch the surface out here. Some of you who know me and correspond with me know that. There are parts to all of us that remain only our own knowledge, even in the presence of those nearest and dearest to us. This is what defines one’s self. Obviously, as this is a public forum, (even though only barely public…) I don’t completely flay myself open or really even point to my exposed jugular. I have said it before and I shall say it again. PEOPLE WILL SUCK YOU MOTHERFUCKING DRY AND THEN WHINE AT YOU TEN YEARS’ WORTH OF SUNDAYS WHEN YOU CANNOT POSSIBLY GIVE THEM ANY FUCKING MORE. It’s true. You heard it here first. I write to amuse myself first and foremost, but I would be a lying-ass bitch to say it didn’t amuse me to amuse you. And you, and you. And you, over there in the corner…yes, YOU, ya little cutie.

I have so much to share. Or maybe reword that to say ’so much I could share’….but I dunno. I just don’t know.

I could swear up and down all day that “Oh, ya know, holidays….so effing busy and time-crazed…wah-WAH-wah, wuh, WUH-wuh, wuh. Not to mention blahblahdyblah-blah and such.” Bullshit, and I won’t pour it on you. I like most of you far too much to fake it.

When I wrote the piece regarding my cousin, I tapped into the most real me that there is. You all seemed to catch that. I got TONS of e-mail, even from people that I never had a clue existed: “….and you don’t know me, but I have been reading you for a while. I finally had to break down and let you know that you really get to me sometimes…”. Whaaaaaa? I have readers in motherfucking BELGIUM???

Scary.

So I back off. I shut down. Whoaaaaa, some distance, fellow commuters, please! I am contagious, okay???

Please don’t take this as I sign that I never want to hear from you people. Humanity just makes me nervous. Lots of people out there are unpredictable (don’t get me wrong, unpredictable is good at times) and atrociously, unforgivably stupid. I am quite pleased to know that people who come here, no matter how few, are intelligent and thoughtful and sincere and comically self-effacing. I like their input, be it commentary, suggestion or hapless sexual innuendo (just kidding about that last one, the air was just getting sorta heavy in here).

The long and the short of it is that I am growing, and I feel a time coming that I may just lay it all out there. It’s all been itching in the back of my brain for a few moons now and I am growing dissatisfied with all else.

SO, if you dare, if you care, hang around and sooner or later we’ll play scratch and sniff with my brain. Consider your dumbass self warned.

And oh yeah, fuck every last one of you. >:oD