Friday, December 31, 2010

Ow, man.

I just split my pinkie finger open like a freaking butterfly shrimp. Dammit.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

haze. post-holiday jottings...

I have this fascination with pretty china cups. I would like to own a bunch of them with tiny roses and thin gold rims and I would drink from them every day. I might possibly make tiny sandwiches and buttery little scones with raspberry jam and eat these things while watching my yard get all foggy as the snow melts and all the tiny little rabbit prints fade away.

I daydream about leisure, about slow, slow time and doing nothing in particular.

I am dreaming of ordinary things and miss the fever dreams but not the fever.

M made me laugh so hard today I had a coughing fit and my lungs felt dry and papery and I can almost imagine them as these little dessicated things shriveling up in my chest.

The temperature is rising and everything looks like a soupy haze just hanging there at shoulder level. I should like to walk the dog in this weather but he is very old and not quite up to it, I imagine.

This whole melting and freezing again thing is sickness weather. I feel dread. I am so tired of being sick. I feel like I have been sick forever.

The other day I came home from work and nuked some takeout pizza (I am officially tired of soup) and watched Candyman, which I think is a really creepy movie, but I am afraid of bees, so maybe that's why.

I want to make something complicated in the kitchen. Gnocchi, perhaps? Or a really fancy cake? I need a distraction, but I am too slammed with things that need to be done and I have totally failed at prioritizing them.

I am feeling maudlin. I would probably feel better if there were new poems, but alas, there are none. I did get a personal rejection from Spoon River Poetry Review, which is kind of nice, as rejections go.




Scary Vending Machine Item of the Week: Anything with Cream Filling that Does Not Require Refrigeration.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Today I am made of ick, but still, I persevere. My turkey was just perfect, despite my fears of messing it up. It was *hard* to cook while feeling like the walking dead, but I am Irish and tough and all that. I prepared the whole works in my jammies. I took lots of thera-flu. I drank copious amounts of green tea. I cooked a lot, but ate very little. I am still alive. Plus, my family thinks I'm awesome.

I am no longer afraid of turkeys. I also made cranberry sauce, which has scads of vitamin C. (Z prefers the stuff that is shaped like the can, but I need the real thing.) Now I just need to survive tomorrow. I am entertaining people other than just the nuclear family and must wear real clothes. M has bought me more flu medicine. (I got vetoed on the whole "Let's reschedule xmas until I'm feeling better" thing.) It's all gonna be fine.

I haven't wrapped anything yet. My sinuses still feel rather fiery and my stomach isn't totally happy but I am eating sparingly and have have plenty of tea. No coffee! It makes me feel awful when I'm already under the weather. Hope I feel better before I have to go to work on Sunday. Bleh.


I drank ALL the cranberry ginger ale. It was delicious.


Ho Ho Ho.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Yesterday I told M that I feel like my lungs are filled with hot jalapeno cheese. I had a Fishermen's Friend cough drop that's been sitting in my work vest pocket for like, a month because I figure anything that medicinal can't get contaminated in there. I probably should have gotten a flu shot this year. I have mixed feelings about flu shots, which are full of little microbes and maybe minute amounts of neurotoxins and that wouldn't help my brain any, I'm sure. I hope I don't die from this weird chest cold thing.

It's been a hard week and I was feeling blue but then M and I went out for margaritas tonight and it was even better than Robotussin. Cough? What cough?

I'm still afraid of my turkey but I've decided that if it all goes terribly wrong we can have spaghetti, which is my favorite food anyway.

I have had my fill of mean people and general snappishness. I grow tired of bad manners.

There are no cookies in this house, only cranberry ginger ale and a big, scary turkey.

Have a roast-beast-o-licious holiday.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Random xmas angst

Today I went to the supermarket after work and bought a (small!) turkey. I was stoked at first but I've never actually made a turkey and now I'm having second thoughts. It's just the three of us on xmas eve so this will be a grand experiment. (It's just like cooking a really big chicken, right?)

I'm making a big dinner again for family on xmas day. I'm going to have too many leftovers and it's totally freaking me out. Why do I do these things? Also: I think I have food hoarding issues. I bought two bottles of molasses and came home only to find I already had a bottle and a half in the pantry. I am a weirdo. Like, am I afraid of running out of molasses? Really?

I am perpetually exhausted or narcoleptic. I have not wrapped anything.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Without Professor Moriarity, there is no Sherlock Holmes

December, & I am consumed with various forms of itchy anxiety where everything seems apocalyptic. Nothing creative is happening, but perhaps this will change.

Mired. Swamped. Drowning. It's strange how we metaphorically compare feeling overwhelmed with a large pool of (dirty) water. I think I feel a depression coming on, but I am fighting it. I suppose this time of year is trying for most of us anyway.

I have this love/hate relationship with humanity. I want to be around other humans but desperately need some time away from them. People exhaust me lately. I feel like those fictional psychics who go mad around crowds of people because all the inner monologues reverberate in their brains and crowd out their own thoughts.

Going on an online diet (i.e. avoiding the internet) for about a week. Starting later. Maybe.

Mercury in retrograde brings with it all kinds of returning nemeses.

December, so far:

zombie dreams of being chased by teenagers with bloody mouths

soup

ailing dog with totally jacked-up looking eye

good books & bad movies

melancholy tarot readings

wishing away one's archenemies

failing

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Little Grey Aliens Probed my Brain But I'm Feeling Much Better Now

It's now 3:33 a.m. & I imagine this to be significant. I've been sick, sick, sick but think I'm finally on the mend, although my voice still sounds eerily like Kathleen Turner's. It's my whiskey voice. Ha.

I wish I had a voice like Nic Sebastian's, who makes my poem, "Coyote" sound downright chilling! Check it out at Whale Sound.


***

Dreading the holidays. I don't like shopping. People get downright scary sometimes. Wish I could shop exclusively online but this never works out. I wish I had a funky pink Christmas Tree and some homemade fudge. I have this recipe for spiced chai carrot cake that I think will make awesome cupcakes AND will solve the whole ten-pound-bag-of-carrots-endless-carrots-who-wants-some-freaking-carrots problem. Also: I had a dream that my floor was covered with disembodied human ears scuttling about on tiny legs like a zillion centipedes which surely means I've finally gone 'round the bend.

***

Reading: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

Watching: My So-Called Life

Feeling: Phlegmatic

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Post in which I reference both Pat Sajak & Harrison Ford

I think I had a dream about a puppet that looked like Pat Sajak. I'm certain this was creepy & unpleasant. It's possible his face appeared in a partially melted stick of butter. I suspect this dream means I should be more aware of reversals of fortune, but I'm way overdue for an upswing, anyway. Hah. Recent tarot readings suggest I will find security & succeed in overcoming certain obstacles. I am my own worst enemy. I am held back by my own fears & etc...

I have yet to figure out ways to be hella organized & astoundingly awesome. Basically, this means that I need to scrub my shower & clean out the fridge. I made my favorite salad for lunch today (roasted pears & arugula!) and ate a smidge too much because I have no self control & besides it was salad. Salad is like free calories. Eat as much as you want. I like to pretend this salad does not contain highly caloric ingredients like toasted pecans and salty slivers of fancy cheese. After all, these things are garnishes. Garnishes do not count.

I am hoping to finish reading submissions for blossombones over the next week or two. I'm about halfway through the subs (plus there are a few I'm holding on to for a second reading). Writerly things keep slipping into future time. I'm attending to life's minutiae. I wish someone would come over and make me a lasagna. With spinach. I like spinach.

I took Z to a job interview today & I waited for him in the car. I heard two songs that appeared in The Wedding Singer & I wasn't even listening to the 80s station.

Last night I tried for the millionth time to get M to watch Blade Runner. And he fell asleep. As always.

Man, Harrison Ford was all kinds of hotness in the 80s before he was a smarmy old man with a creepy-ass diamond earring. I am going to pretend they are two different people.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Lost Time

Q: Why do I torture myself?

A: I don't know. Perhaps I like the feeling of being buried alive in a tiny casket with a couple of live crows pecking at my eyes.


***

Reading: Man on Extremely Small Island by Jason Koo

Watching: Random 70s Horror Flicks

Eating: Too Damn Much.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Coyote

This might have something to do with predation, a paper cocoon
in a dead girl’s mouth, a bloody arrow drawn on an oak leaf.

Nothing is so slick as the red marrow from a femur, the red skirt
draped over a thigh. Call her a striptease, a hotel keychain, a pool

of wet painted under the body. She was breathing when you began
whistling between your teeth. Now there are beetles in her hair,

and she is folded over, raw fragments, the knucklebone
you swallowed, the plastic bag of fingernails you keep

under the backseat. She is the pair of lips you tattooed on your wrist
that means something, the secret you tongue when you’re alone

in rented rooms, the damp graffiti you left on the pavement
in the shape of canid claws. You imagine she might return

as a mouse, something dark and skittering in your peripheral vision.
This is a trick. You appear in numerous guises, but her ghost

always knows you by the damage you cause to exterior tissue,
the oval tracks that lead away from the pretty carcass.


(First published in Ghost Ocean Magazine, Issue 2)

Monday, November 8, 2010

More on Hauntings & Random Shite

I have decided I would like to live in a haunted house. It should be creaky & eerie & inhabited by benevolent ghosts. I would hold old-fashioned seances for tourists & the tables would levitate & there would be rattling chains & knockings in the walls. I would have a crystal ball. I would serve tea & biscuits. Life would be relatively peaceful. I suspect I have a stronger affinity for the dead than for the living.

Last night I dreamt my house was very, very dirty. The sofa cushions were stained & the bathroom tiles were crusty. Neighbors were wandering through the house commenting on the general filthiness & I felt terribly embarrassed. This is a lame dream. Apparently I am not as cool as I think I am & I actually care what people think of me. How dreadful.

If I lived in a haunted house, a little filth would be expected. And the ghosts wouldn't care anyway.

***

Poetry Brothel was awesome this weekend. I find it uplifting to spend time in the presence of poets & dancers & musicians. It reminds me that people are generally pretty cool & that humanity does have some redeeming qualities. I read my poem about Elizabeth Bathory. I think people liked it. All of the brothel poets are super-cool & the dancers are amazing & I am now fascinated with the burlesque, with dancing as a means for storytelling. It's such a compelling art form. I love it.

I am very lazy about uploading pictures from my camera. I will post some soon. Probably.

***

Later, in the real world, where people are not dressed in beautiful costumes:

Lately I am very aware of being snubbed, rebuffed, given the stink-eye & other forms of passive-aggressive behavior. I dislike this. I try not to do this to anyone, even if I am not particularly fond of them. I am a big believer in civility. I don't expect to like everyone, but I do think it's important to be polite.

I am very tired of worrying about inadvertently offending people. I don't mean to be weird. Honest.


Scary Vending Machine Item of the Week: Plastic tray of pre-cooked bacon & eggs. Horrifying.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Vice & Verse!



The Chicago Poetry Brothel
Friday, November 5th, 2010
8:00 p.m.
House of Blues Foundation Room
329 N. Dearborn
Chicago Illinois 60654

My alter ego, August Rose, will be reading poems in the voices of female serial killers and their victims. Or perhaps there will be villainous steampunk robots. You never know.

Two new poems are up at the beautifully edited Ghost Ocean Magazine! Read.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Insomnia or the early symptoms of zombie virus?

Cannot sleep. I have the blues tonight. I think I might be turning into one of those hoarders you see on television who cannot throw anything away--broken spoons & plastic easter eggs & socks with holes in the heel & outdated prescription glasses & expired medicine & all manner of weirdness.

According to my November horoscope I should expect to earn scads of income this month. Riches shall rain from the sky upon my roof & whatnot. I think it's unlikely, although I would certainly like it very much. When an astrologist says "riches" they really mean "frogs & locusts" so I am preparing for an apocalyptic plague, just in case.

What I would really like is to wait out the apocalypse with some hot cocoa with Baileys or some homemade caramel corn with sea salt or maybe just a really, really warm winter coat. I have to stop cooking things that no one will eat. There is too much soup in this house. I'm pretty sure the endless pots of soup signify my emotional unraveling. M talked me into buying a ten pound bag of carrots at Costco & I'm not sure how many more carrot sticks we can eat. This situation calls for cake, I think.

I need two full days to myself where I watch movies and eat popcorn and light a fire in the fireplace and hide from the world but this pretty much never happens except in my head. I am planning a femme-centric horror movie marathon to include: Ginger Snaps, The Descent, Audition, & I cannot decide what else. . . I have nothing particularly interesting to say; I'm just clearing the cobwebs tonight.

Wish I could shake this feeling of ick.

Friday, October 29, 2010

How to Fail with Panache

So I get these urges every now & then to cook something extravagant (i.e. time consuming & laborious). I start out all stoked about it (homemade stock! braised haunch of saber-toothed tiger!) & then feel overwhelmed about halfway through. I am made of culinary fail. Tonight we are having a salad. Just greens & grilled chicken & a homemade vinaigrette. There is a giant vat of slow-simmering Italian gravy on the stove & it's freaking me out right now. It smells good but I don't want to finish making it.

I am still in a holding pattern regarding the new batch of poems. Empty brain syndrome. This is accompanied by a bout of profound social awkwardness. When I speak, it comes out all backwards & strange. I am pretty sure I am inadvertently offending people. When I write stuff, it comes out all stormy & full of fucked-up-ness. I need a nice, productive-style creative occupation with practical results. I wish I knew how to knit or quilt or something like that.

There are two upcoming readings in November & I'm feeling nervous.

I could just sleep for days & days.

My dog needs a haircut.

Jellyfish are fascinating. So are spiders.

Samhain approaches. There might be ghosts in your cooking pots. Be aware of the unseen.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

& etc.

My stomach has developed this strange habit of waking up very angry and knotting itself up inside for hours & hours. It might be an ulcer. Or an alien fetus, because it's possible I really was abducted by aliens & just don't remember. I am drinking black tea with honey & hoping for the best.



Recap of last ten days:

Leek-potato soup

Wasp in the house

Family drama

Knee socks

Interdimensional travel to alternate universes

Caddyshack

Buttered popcorn and Mexican Coke

Cuss words

Dirty dishes

Villainy

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I have not been abducted by aliens.

It's like I blink & ten days have passed & I don't know where they went.

I have not written anything much lately except in my head. I am mired in the mundane these days, in the lettuce & the forks & the dust motes floating in the air & driving the car to various places that are not exciting or interesting. Life is mostly about trying to cover the checks I write & making sure the dog has lots of fresh water & selling pumpkins in the rain.

I am watching Warehouse 13 via Netflix (I don't have cable channels) & cannot decide whether or not I like it. Disc 2 should be on its way soon. M continues to Netflix movies that ruin my recommendations with lists of cheesy comedies but I forgive him.

The inbox for blossombones is filling up & I must get busy with the reading of poems & the writing of emails. This is the hardest part.

There have been no interesting dreams. Just repeats, like sitcoms during summer vacation.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

ex haust ed

The weather is strange & I sleep & wake at odd hours. I dislike heat. I am ready for cooler weather. There have been dreams of alien crime scenes, with strange machinery & unidentifiable puddles of gore. I can only imagine what this says about my psyche.

I did not write this week, although I was efficient in other ways. Still, it feels like fail. I came home from work yesterday after a 6 a.m. shift & took a nap & cooked a pot of stew & some homemade soup and a bunch of spaghetti sauce. Sometimes I get a little hyper and want to have things in the fridge for the week. I sliced my thumb with the potato peeler and didn't notice until later. Now there is a tiny flap of disconnected thumb, which irritates me but I am glad to say is still attached & didn't end up in the stew, because that would be gross. I keep reading through my cookbooks & wanting to make fancy things like saffron cookies and chocolate almond gateau but who would eat it all? There are only three of us. (Speaking of cooking, the last poem I wrote was about Mrs. Lovett from Sweeney Todd & I wonder if this has inspired the cooking marathons. Ha.)

M accidentally took BOTH of the chargers for my cell phone out of town with him & my battery ran out of juice yesterday afternoon so I am sans phone for at least another day. This is both liberating & upsetting. I am not much of a phone talker, but I like the comfort of *having* the damned thing, just in case.

I just finished reading Arcadia Falls by Carol Goodman & I enjoyed it very much although it was quite similar to her earlier books. I have been making more trips to the library these days, which makes me happy.

I need to wash my floors & catch up on my reading & bake something pumpkin-flavored & write creepy poems & read the submissions in my inbox for blossombones & organize the scads of paperwork sitting in piles on my office chair. Instead I am writing about it which seems counterproductive but it helps me think.

I have the urge to do too many things at once. My horoscope says that October will be a glorious month. I am still waiting for the impending awesomeness. Maybe someone will bake me a pie.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Ghosts of Octobers Past...



October seems to be a big month for poetry readings. Yesterday I read with the amazing women pictured above at Woman Made Gallery & it was lovely.

I last read at Woman Made in October 2008 with some really wonderful women writers & it feels much more recent than that, but I still believe that time is speeding up, at least in my reality. Maybe yours is slower.

In October of 2009, I read with DGP at Flourish Bakery & I will be reading with DGP again this October here. Maybe I'll see you? There will be sandwiches.

***

Balancing the schedules of three busy adults in one household is getting more & more complicated, like juggling leaky pens and trying not to get ink stains on my blouse. I keep making rules for myself, like "always have a pot of homemade soup in the fridge" & this doesn't make it any easier, but it does make life better. I do not know how normal people do this.

I am still dreaming of carnivorous plants that eat their way inside their victims while causing them to hallucinate, kind of like The Matrix, only without Morpheus to administer the red pill & whatnot.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

This Sunday at Woman Made Gallery:



Sunday, October 3 ·
1:00pm - 3:00pm
Woman Made Gallery
685 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL




Myths, (S)heroes and Revolutionaries

Featured guests include Ching-In Chen, Maureen Flannery, Jenny Priego, Susan Slaviero and Kristen Uyeda. Curated by Nina Corwin.

The reading parallels the concurrent art exhibit: After Adelita, marking the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the Mexican Revolution:

”For many decades, the name Adelita has evoked multiple meanings. Various interpretations of Adelita identify her as a hero, a myth, and a revolutionary. Popular ballads tell the story of Adelita as a young woman who fought during the Mexican Revolution. While some believe that she is an actual historical figure, others see her as a composite of the many women who joined in battle during the Revolution. The image of a female revolutionary, with blouse, skirt, sombrero, and ammunition across her chest, serves as an iconic representation of the Revolution and of Mexican history. Songs, books, plays, films, and calendars have interpreted Adelita as a sex symbol, a brave champion of the people, and a proto-feminist."

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

news flash

I am still alive.

This is probably a good thing.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Blah, blah, blah & various

Perfect.

How I love that break in the work schedule, the mythical unicorn I call My Lovely Day Off.

I spent today making collage, writing, cooking (a pan of brownies, another pot of marinara sauce because Z and I seem to live on spaghetti dinners these days, a batch of Jasmine rice for frying up in the wok with veggies tomorrow) and just generally pretending to be human. I am worried about my sanity. I suspect I am showing the symptoms of premature menopause. I am sweating profusely even as I write this. I am always hot, and everybody else is bundled up in their hoodies. I feel strange, but this is nothing new. Perhaps I will wake up tomorrow sporting a spiral horn in the center of my forehead.

I spent a bit of time taking the Kid to & fro today, as I often do.

No doubt I shall dream tonight of my body imploding.

I found a recipe for potato waffles that sounds intriguing. But at the moment, I am full of spaghetti.

The next unicorn is due to arrive in six days. Rumor has it she likes buttered popcorn, rootbeer floats, and Japanese horror flicks.

I want to get dressed up and go dancing.

***

stats for 9-16-10

What I said to my mom on the phone today: "I feel like I'm living in a David Lynch film. I keep waiting for a severed ear to appear on the front lawn."

What I'm reading: Blogs and Cereal Boxes

What I'm feeling: Mood-swingy, Distracted

What I'm eating : Way too much spaghetti, peanut butter sandwiches with honey on whole wheat, Golden Delicious apples

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Mired

And so today was one of those days when I realize we must all need a nemesis or two (nemesii?) because the universe keeps sending them to me. Really, I don't want them. No, thank you. My life is about to become overpopulated with bad. Yet, I smile and nod and say how lovely and try to remain awesome through it all.

I am still writing every day and this helps, especially because I am pondering the nature of horror with wild scenarios. I also fantasize about becoming a night baker and making bagels for a living. I like bagels. Plus, bagels make people happy. Unless they're crazy and don't like bagels, of course.

I am in that want to disappear kind of mood that is part hormones and part bad freaking day.

I bought some new scissors and two pairs of fishnet stockings because sometimes even the most enlightened need retail therapy. I also bought nectarines, which I really hope don't totally suck. There is something about stockings, scissors and nectarines that suggests femme fatale. No doubt my purchases mean something wicked and symbolic and Freudian. I smashed my finger today and it hurts like mad. The gods are conspiring against me.

I wish somebody would adopt me and give me my own room, a pink bicycle with a banana seat, and an allowance. I am feeling childish.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Hyper. Text.

I find it strange how writing makes me feel all happy and normal, considering the bizarre nature of my subject matter. Yet, it does. I am writing every day and feel so much better. My house is gross, of course. And my office looks like a fire trap with books and papers scattered everywhere. Research! I love research!

{dork}

Yesterday I worked until mid-afternoon (yes, outside in the rain and this makes me happy because I have that gloomy Irish temperament) and then I came home and wrote for a couple of hours and gave myself a monster migraine. I popped a bunch of Advil and and napped for four hours thus losing the rest of my day, but technically, I was still *productive* I woke up and made a batch of veggie fried rice with broccoli and carrots and red peppers and lots of garlic and ginger and it was yummy. Z and I watched the X-files and then I fell asleep again. Have I mentioned that my kid is awesome? He is.

I still have a gigantic piece of gingeroot and I'm thinking about fresh ginger cake or maybe some stir-fry noodles. Seriously, this thing is the size of my entire hand. I couldn't resist it.

I woke up a 4:30 this morning and took the dog out and attended a meeting for work at 6 a.m. and then I went home and I wrote some more. I have to go back later on today and be nice to people and still I want to cook all kinds of crazy things when I get home tonight. I'm going to run out of steam eventually. I know this.

I am participating in this fabulous project and feeling stoked about it because I love the tarot and have cool ideas for collage.

The Chicago Poetry Brothel is less than two weeks away!! I need new fishnets. And I must prettify my journal for the reading.

Wow. I sound really hyper in this post. Also: I want brownies. I might make some. Later.

***

Random Things On My Mind: Harpies, A Cheese Omelet, Striped Stockings, Norse Mythology, Skeletons, Steampunk, Rain

Friday, September 10, 2010

Our Lady of Perpetual Exhaustion

I realize, of course, that I am incapable of saying "no." I have overfilled my metaphorical dinner plate yet again because I associate "mad busy" with "happy."

People keep coming up to me and telling me I look "beat" or "tired." This is code for "You look like shit. What's wrong with you?" My hair is stringy and I am having a weird resurgence of middle-aged acne and my eyes are all puffy. Allergies and exhaustion, mostly.

And still, I find the time to blog and generally mess around online. Ha.

I am doing lots of way cool stuff and I had an epiphany about book manuscript #2 (which has been simmering in the subconscious for too long) and I am banging away at it, writing new pieces and feeling stoked about all the weirdness floating around in my head but by next week I will probably hate these poems again.

I have not sent anything out in a while. I did have a poem picked up by a magazine last week that I'd forgotten about so this was a nice surprise. I might be ready to send things out by October or November. Too many ideas, not enough time. I have not updated my website since, like, 2008. So sad. I keep saying I will and then I just can't get to it. I have sketched out the new design in my journal, at least. Submissions are rolling in for blossombones and I must get reading before I am buried alive. See? Too much stuff. Still, I know people who do so much more and make it look dead easy. I hate them. No, not really.

The weather is finally changing and soon it will be dark, dark, dark. I love this. The leaves will change colors and drop and I will walk through the quiet neighborhoods once it gets cold enough and the people stay inside. I am already making chai for breakfast and thinking about soup and bread and things made with apples and pumpkins and wonderful spices. I want to light a fire in the fireplace and shut myself in and feel rested and peaceful and warm.

In the meantime, I am continually plagued by dreams of the dead.

***

I dream about murderers and vicious, bloodthirsty ghosts. Last night I dreamt I was in my childhood home surrounded by floating women in white dresses with anger issues. They were very stabby. (And by stabby, I mean they were wielding knives and sharp silvery scissors which they would gleefully plunge into one's abdomen if given half a chance.) I felt at such a disadvantage. How does one defeat the dead? After all, they cannot be killed, right? I captured one of these ghosts and forced her to reveal her weaknesses. She admitted to being incapable of moving through glass and said that if I pinned the names of her victims to her dress, she would dissolve. At some point there was a coconut tree, ripe with clusters of severed heads. I shook the tree and the heads plummeted down into the grass. I recognized some of the faces. The necks were oozing something gooey and yellow. Later I was at a literary conference where I was forced to share a hotel room with a pair of dead lovers. They were entwined in the white sheets, stiff with rigor, their mouths hanging open in tortured ovals. I told the concierge, "I cannot sleep here. These people are dead."



According to my dream dictionary I am: a.) feeling oppressed; b.) feeling pangs of guilty conscience ; c.) in need of professional help ; or d.) in the midst of a powerful transformation. Of course, it is possible that I watched too many horror movies this week, too.

I am also researching Elizabeth Bathory for a poem.

I expect the nightmares to continue.

***

Scary Workplace Vending Machine Item of the Week: Twin Pack of Microwavable Chili Dogs

Watching: Dario Argento, David Lynch

(Re)Reading: Swimming the Witch by Leilani Hall

Feeling: Rather like Deflated Bagpipes or Fireplace Bellows

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A new book review and a visit to the dreamspace

***

Evan Peterson reviews CYBORGIA at The Rumpus.net! Check it out.


***

"Last Night's Dream"

Starring:

Blueberry Waffles

A Poem About Cow Pies

A Very Young Heath Ledger




I dreamt about the Poetry Brothel last night, and in my dream I forgot to bring any poems. I tried to read from memory but I kept inadvertently using lines from old poems in my new ones. The audience was perplexed by the poetry mash-ups. I was asked to dance the Nutcracker ballet on stage and had to fake it. I nearly fell over the edge and broke my legs ( the stage was quite tall, as things often are in dreams ) but was pulled to safety by a man I didn't know, yet I knew him in the dream. He was slender and professorial. A younger Heath Ledger with long, dark hair told me he had fourteen children and that life was shite and asked me to write him a poem about cow pies. I did. It involved a robotic cow pulling a chariot made from an old pickup truck. I don't know if Heath liked the poem, but a man in the audience asked me if I wrote it back in high school and I was really offended. At some point, I attempted to make blueberry waffles but the batter spilled over the edge of the iron and made a huge mess. Still, the waffles were delicious.


***

Of course, now I can't stop thinking about blueberry waffles.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Haunted

Heather Cox interviews me at Ghost Ocean Magazine and I try not to sound too weird.

***


Today, at Stately Slaviero Manor:

M: Let's watch a movie.

S: Zombies or Cannibals?

M: Does it matter?

S: Does it have to be in English?

***

I am feeling funky and anxious and all varieties of ick. I want to be kickass for a middle-aged woman yet mostly I am afraid of bees and car accidents and making people angry, which seems rather uncool to me. I dreamed my left hand was a lobster claw, which probably has something to do with arthritis. Next, I will dream that my spine is a broken chainsaw and my brain is a bowl of potato salad. Yeah.

I watched a movie about cannibals tonight and M fell asleep. It was predictable.

At one point Michael Madsen said, "Come tomorrow I'll be gnawing on your bones" and I snickered. No, really.

Why do cannibals always file their teeth into sharp points and wear fur boots in horror movies? Hannibal Lecter is much scarier than mace-carrying savages because the man is civilized (for a cannibal, anyway).

A predictable movie about cannibals. It's true. Maybe I will fare better with the Zombies.

I am celebrating labor day by working. Hopefully, this will be followed by an evening of wine and horror movies, but I'll probably just clean up the mess and fall asleep. Awesome.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Seeds of Sin



Join the Chicago Poetry Brothel for a wicked good time on Friday, September 24th! Bring your corset or your cravat and be prepared for a literary seduction.


8:00 p.m.
House of Blues Foundation Room
329 N. Dearborn
Chicago Illinois 60654

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Automaton

I feel like an automaton. I am all repetition, programming.

I feel like I exist in a collapsing box where the sides close in a few inches at a time. Eventually, the box will snap shut and I will be trapped, compressed into a dense pinpoint of matter, a singularity.

Yesterday I saw twin babies with mohawk haircuts and I couldn't decide if this was kind of cool or totally weird. M votes for "cool" but I'm still on the proverbial fence.

I have made far too many people angry in the last week but (as always) this is unintentional.

I work hard to avoid human pettiness, but this keeps me on the outside of things, always. I exist only on the periphery.

I cannot remember the last time I made a loaf of bread.


Reading : How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents

Watching: I Sell The Dead

Feeling: Ennui

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Things that May or May Not Interest You

Fragment #1

1.) People are bat-shit crazy. Not me, though. I'm fine.

2.) I bought my first ever jar of Nutella and ate it with graham crackers and wasn't terribly impressed.

3.) Yesterday I found a star in my shoe and it was irritating the arch of my foot so I stomped on it and darkened the universe just a little.

4.) My printer is possessed by evil spirits. It makes spitting noises at me in the middle of the night.

5.) Dried blueberries are ever so much better than fat juicy ones in muffins and scones. I hate the texture of large, wet pieces of fruit in my breadstuffs.

6.) Once, there was a pretty little chapel in my head and I kept it clean and swept and well-lit. It has fallen into disrepair and is now overrun with chimeras and large angry spiders. I like it better this way.

***

Fragment #2

Dear August,

You have been hot and miserable. I shall not miss you. You are a succubus with fiery hair that sucks the breath out of my lungs and blows hot cinders into my eyes so they itch and itch and itch. Prepare for banishment, albeit temporary.

***

Fragment #3

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Mythologies

Things that May or May Not be True:

1.) A spider will drink fluid from your eye while you sleep.

2.) It is perfectly safe to buy a pulled pork sandwich in a plastic bag from the scary workplace vending machine.

3.) Zero does not exist.

4.) If you watch the movie Candyman seven times you will die sometime within the next year.

5.) Carbohydrates do not make you fat. It's all a big lie.

6.) Right now I am wearing those rainbow striped socks with individual toes.

7.) It is quite possible to be buried alive. It happens more often than you'd believe.

8.) Chuck Norris loves you.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Random shite or brilliant observations? You decide.

Why can't I get this really bad pop song out of my head? Here's how it works: troubling lyrics invade my brain, simultaneously horrifying and fascinating me. They are utterly phallocentric and beg to be deconstructed.

"So hot, we'll melt your popsicle..."

REALLY Katy Perry? That's not even subtle.

***

Scary workplace vending machine item of the week: "Microwavable Nacho Dog (with Jalepenos!)"

I couldn't make this stuff up even if I tried.

***

Online social networks are insidious. I contemplate self-erasure daily. The Kid tells me this is not possible. I will always exist as a cluster of data. The fact that I ate a delicious bagel in 2008 will be stored on a server somewhere forever & ever.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Dissociation, displacement

I feel as though I have multiple selves & each one is slightly different from the other...One is quiet & one is more outgoing & one is downright reclusive & they are all rather clumsy & foolish because this cannot be remedied.

I have been people watching. As a result, I have seen too many people. People with handlebar mustaches & overalls & strange hats & those awful plastic croc shoes. Those shoes are a terror. Almost as terrifying as a real crocodile. A pink one with a bulbous head most likely.

Dear people of earth,
Discard those shoes. Immediately.

I need one of those staycations where I stay home and do nothing in particular except watch all the weird movies I want & read mystery novels & science fiction novels & poetry collections & make elaborate cakes & pots of gnocchi & homemade bread & all things carb-o-riffic. I don't want to drive anyone around or ask people happy questions or wear appropriate shoes. I don't want to wear makeup or shave my legs or answer the phone. I wish this were possible.

I feel like a misfit today. Mercury is in retrograde. Things will straighten out eventually, I imagine.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Fragments from the magic lamp and other ephemera

1.) I wish I were a wicked queen & I could order anyone who annoys me to do battle with a velociraptor. Of course they would be eaten, more or less immediately.

2.) I wish I had a couple of days to myself. I would wear pajamas & eat chocolate cake & watch David Lynch movies until my head implodes.

3.) I wish I could remake the world into a black & white movie & I could be a femme fatale in a slinky dress with a cigarette in a long holder. Intriguing characters would sip champagne & there would be witty banter & quite possibly a murder which would be solved by my wisecracking love interest. He might have a fedora, but this isn't entirely necessary.

***

Every day I forget myself just a bit more & more until my limbs flicker & fade all ghostlike and full of static. Sometimes I look down & see a mosquito bite & remember I am actually alive. This house is very hot & it's quite possible my brain has been poached by the high temperature. I have decided that when my time is my own, I will be more selective about how I spend it. This is probably unrealistic. I put up with far too many unnecessary aggravations in the form of mean- spirited automata masquerading as humans. There must be some method of gracefully removing myself from such situations. Sometimes it feels as if I have no place to hide.

Regardless of these anti-social impulses, I am feeling fortunate because I am in contact with a number of wonderful people who do not mind that I am kind of a dirty hippie & sometimes the house is dusty and the grass needs to be mowed and my hair is a mess because I am reading a book or making bread or napping on the sofa. I save being meticulous for the things that happen in my head. I am very good at not fitting in. This causes a certain amount of antipathy in this particular dimension, but fortunately, it's only about half the time. Well, maybe three-quarters, but I'm in no mood to split hairs.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A few things...


Please check out the Freudian hysteria going on here. We know all about your dreams. We're going to tell your mother.

***

Got Poetry? Submit.

***

This Saturday (August 14) my illustrious guest editor, Kristina Marie Darling, will be reading at Quimby's! So will I! Come and listen.

Saturday, August 14, 2010
7:00 p.m.
Quimby's
1854 W. North Ave
Chicago, IL 60622


***

There will be cyborgs and music and strange machines. Don't miss it.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Tonight!

Monday, August 9th
7:00 -- open mic sign-up begins
7:30 -- open mic (5 minutes per reader)
9:00 -- featured reader

Molly Malone's Irish Pub
7652 Madison Street
Forest Park, IL
708-366-8073

Hosts Nina Corwin and Al DeGenova invite you to the Molly Malone's Open Mic and Reading Series. Be part of one of the longest running and most highly respected open mics in the Chicago area.

featuring poet and editor Susan Slaviero

Susan Slaviero's first full length book of poetry, CYBORGIA, has just been released on Mayapple Press. She is also the author of two poetry chapbooks: An Introduction to the Archetypes (Shadowbox Press, 2008) and Apocrypha (Dancing Girl Press, 2009). Her work has appeared in journals Fourteen Hills, Flyway, Caffeine Destiny, wicked alice, Mythic Delirium, Goblin Fruit, Eclectica, RHINO and others. Susan is also on the editorial staff of blossombones.

$5 if you can, $3 if you can't

Poetry/fiction at Molly's is the second Monday of every month.

Feel free to forward this notice to your writing pals...we love new faces with new voices.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Good Things

August begins with a bit of happy literary news:

Janelle Elyse Kihlstrom had reviewed CYBORGIA at Melusine! Go visit.

***

This morning I woke up to a lovely monster storm. There's something cozy about the rain; it reminds me of playing checkers inside and baking vanilla cupcakes and haunted houses.

I am thinking about autumn. I am ready for summer to be over. You can almost smell the harvest coming, all smoky and crisp. I want apples and pumpkins and mums and dry leaves under my feet. I want to switch from iced Luzianne to hot chai. Or perhaps a spicy cider.

Soon.

I woke up early to make these wonderful muffins that taste like donuts. Guh and double guh. I did a crapload of laundry at 6 in the a.m. and I am working tonight until 10. Who needs sleep anyway? I am hella efficient. Ha.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Clearing the Cobwebs

I have a Saturday to myself which is wonderful and strange and pretty much never happens anymore. I am at loose ends. I am unraveling into long trailing tassels because I can. This is lovely. I have three pages left to construct for the summer issue of blossombones (almost done!). I want to read horror novels and write fake personal ads and cook impractical things like elaborate desserts that nobody will finish because there's only three of us. I want to watch black and white movies where dangerous women smoke cigarettes and talk really fast. I want to drink icy cold white wine out of my prettiest glasses and hang tiny white lights over everything and pretend it's a party.

Things I want to cook:

Broccoli Soup

Salad Caprese*

Gnocchi

Foccacia Bread*

Tiny Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches


This probably won't all happen at once, but it would be awesome if it did. Also: I don't care what you say about carbs. I like carbs.

*Spellcheck suggests I replace the word "Caprese" with "Caprice" (Ha!) and "Foccacia" with "Moccasin." I would not eat moccasin bread (as both snakes and shoes seem like bad flavorings for homemade bread) and I prefer my salads to be stable, although I am not opposed to a bit of whimsy.

***

I saw a bunny in the yard the other day and I know I'm supposed to dislike them like all the neighbors do but I like bunnies with their twitchy noses and whatnot. I don't really care if they eat your petunias. Sorry.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Where am I going? Where have I been?

I have been living within the quiet spaces, away from the interwebs whenever possible. I am trying to find a proper balance between reality and electronic reality but this continues to elude me. My brain feels swollen inside my head but this is probably just the humidity.

I think I have abandoned twitter once and for all. It's too frenetic.

And now, notes from the dreamspace:


Last night I dreamt that I was under the spell of an evil dog. It had a gigantic head and seemed very sweet at first, cuddling in my lap and following me around. It asked me: "do I have your loyalty and your protection?" and I said "yes."




The dog controlled my movements, as if I were a puppet. If I tried to break free of his canine spell, he squeezed my heart with his telekinetic powers until I thought my ribcage would burst and the contents of my thorax spill out upon the floor.




Beware of dogs who speak in human voices.



***

I am cooking as much as possible, trying to get some good, homemade food in the fridge for the week ahead. I dislike relying on takeout for survival. I have homemade tomato & basil soup, a big jar of sun tea, a vanilla pound cake, & deviled eggs. (I have never eaten a deviled egg, so this is a first.) I'm thinking I might need a rice salad or quinoa. I'm hoping to bake some bread this week, too. For some reason this makes me feel more human. I like the simplicity of chopping, stirring, mixing, tasting. I like feeling wholly involved in the present moment. It's a sensory thing, I think.

Appropos of nothing, I just saw a news headline that read "Cannibal Squid Get Rough" and I think this would make an excellent title for a poem.

Friday, July 23, 2010

inspired meme-age

((I like this. Sarah and Kathleen inspired me.))

Is half a stone still a whole stone?

A quarter of a stone is as delicious as a whole stone. On the molecular level, they are identical.

Do grains of sand get tired of being recycled into mountains?
Do mountains get tired of being broken down into grains of sand? Is it impolite to answer a question with a question? If the grains of sand between my patio stones grow into mountains, I will climb them and live upon the peaks and become a guru. Go ahead, ask me a question.

If you crossed a bat with a mushroom, would you get an umbrella?
No, you would get a brown, earthy stew. I wouldn't recommend eating it.

Do the glasses one wears in a dream require a prescription?
Yes, but one can morph into an eye doctor or a wizard in order to obtain the perfect pair of spectacles.

What songs do they sing in a school without windows?
In schools without windows we hum the songs of bees. Sometimes we are a school of fish and our songs cannot be heard by human ears. Our mouths create songs that look like this:
OoOoOo

Do the daisies love us or not?
The daisies only love us when we push them from the earth with our corpses.

Is there any reason to believe that we’ll have working mouthparts in the next life?
If we can evolve into higher beings, working mouthparts will be unnecessary. We will communicate through scent and make our own food by processing moonlight.

What kind of cartilage connects us to the stars?
We are connected to the stars by filaments of invisible flesh. We are made of stardust, but our stars have forgotten us. Sometimes the strands of cartilage vibrate and the stars ask "What was that? A mosquito?"

Thursday, July 22, 2010

* * * / * * * * *

This has been a rough week peppered with many small unkindnesses, but my mantra is I am not unhappy, though I wonder why I cannot simply say I am happy. I dreamt I was a diabetic & had to check my blood sugar every twenty minutes. I dreamt I had a poetry reading & there was no audience & I just read poems aloud to an empty space. The show must go on. These dreams lack panache & so do I.

I have finally begun writing new pieces, though it feels something like a slow recovery from sickness, each tiny bit requiring more effort than I remember. Everything is running in fast-forward these days & the people are blurry & I find it hard not to let things like the flavor of good tea to slip past my notice. Time moves faster in some places & slower in others. My good days remain slippery & brief. I suspect this phenomenon is universal.

I would like to have a week to myself, where I do nothing but read & cook. I wish there were time to withdraw from the world for a short spell. I am tired of the word frantic, of the arthritis in my fingers, of the telephone & the doorbell & the bank & the post office & the dust that gathers on headboards & chair rails.

According to my horoscope I am subject to allergic reactions. Also: the stars are aligned for professional success. Unfortunately, I am allergic to success. And professionalism. Alas.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Footnotes

1 Day gazillion of crazy heat wave. I am making a mock tabouli salad with brown basmati rice because I have a giant bag of said rice and it doesn't keep the way white rice does. My hands smell like lemon and mint. I will probably eat this salad for the next three days.

2 I wish I did not have so much to do. It makes me think things like swarm, lockbox, undertow.

3 I am reading American Gods and Chimeric Machines, but only during the rests between the notes.

4 You can read a little something I wrote about the sea witch in this summer's issue of Goblin Fruit. Then go eat a mango or something delicious. Beware of wicked strangers and unexpected gifts.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Dear earthlings, tell me the secret to your success. Is it spreadsheets?

I am in this awful place where I cannot make decisions such as whether to go to the library on my day off or whether to eat cheese & spinach ravioli or grilled swiss on bakery rye or what book to read next or what movie I want to watch. Mostly I work & I sleep & I dream about malevolent witches which give me cool ideas for short fiction stories that won't ever be written, at least not by me. My allergies are insane & it feels like my eyes are itching to crawl out of their sockets. This humidity leaves me looking very frizzy which reminds me hey it's summer & I haven't really done anything particularly awesome like throw a party where we burn citronella candles and drink beer out of coolers filled with ice and watch fireflies. I have, however, brewed one helluva lot of iced tea. I am going to see The Sins of Sor Juana at the Goodman on Saturday. I'm looking forward to this.

How do all the normal people keep their lives in order? My floors are perpetually dirty & all I really want to do is bake chocolate cake and read random books I pull from my shelves when I should be paying bills & going to the bank & to the post office & making phone calls. The next four days are going to be mad-busy but after that I think it will all slow down for a minute. I keep pushing back my self-imposed deadlines & this is a bad thing, but necessary.

I am chipping away at it all with Sisyphean determination.

It's possible that I am simply mired in some kind of hormonal funk & it will pass. I am impulsive. I bought a plaid shirt yesterday because I can picture myself wearing it around the house while making spicy gumbo & biscuits. What can I say? I am not even remotely glamorous.

***

Reading:
Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link
Night Songs by Kristina Marie Darling

Watching:
True Blood, Season 2

Thursday, July 1, 2010

View from the inside of an impending panic attack

I am plagued by elaborate violent dreams, with witches and serial killers and carnivorous plants, and terrifying weapons with multiple curved blades. This puts me in the mood to write a horror story, or at least read one, preferably on the shady front porch with a glass of iced tea.

I am convinced that we all experience time differently, that it moves at a fluctuating pace and we can sense this but do not possess the technology to prove it. Time has sped up as I've gotten older. Perhaps this is true for everyone. Perhaps I can expect the next cycle to feel like a temporal slowdown. I spend too much time thinking about this sort of thing. Right now the normal people are probably thinking about concerts and barbecues. I am wondering if time is real...if it actually exists or if it's just another social construct.

Clearly, I'm having a bout of anxiety. Here's hoping I can confine it to a tiny, tangled knot of ganglia in my brain.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

editorial miscellany

I am behind schedule with the Freud issue of blossombones. Life has been weird. I have been weird. It's coming soon! I promise.

Also: Just a heads-up: we're open to submissions again beginning August 1st for an all-poetry issue. All concepts/themes are welcome.

***

Monday, June 28, 2010

All Who Wander Are Not Lost

Have you checked out The Annandale Dream Gazette? I could wander around in there forever.

Friday, June 25, 2010

I like these things


I like these things

1. ) Cauliflower. I like it. You should roast it in the oven with olive oil, salt & pepper.

I made a pasta & roasted veggie thing today (because I am working later & won't have time for a proper dinner). It was an awesome combo of roasted cauliflower (so carmelized & delicious), toasted walnuts, GARLIC & olive oil, parsley, lemon, and pasta. I have a giant vat of leftovers which I will probably eat for the next two days & that's just fine with me.

2.) [[ the internet place of rebekah silverman ]] You should visit. Check out the hipster bullshit rainbows. Also, I like knowing what people are doing with their veggies, especially if they get random stuff from their CSA. Mostly I'm just jealous because I didn't do the CSA thing & I wish I did. The farmers' markets will spring up soon enough, I hope.

3.) Book trades! Do you have a book? Do you want to trade? C'mon, it'll be fun.

4.) Coloring books & crayons. Kind of like therapy. Only cheaper.

5.) Sending people gifts for no reason whatsoever. It's way cooler than sending birthday presents. Gift-giving should be random & unexpected, not obligatory.


I don't like these things

1.) Stupid migraine headaches that last for six hours. That was yesterday. It sucked.

2.) Curry. It's gross.

3.) There's a fly in my office. It's big enough to knock over the furniture. I hate that.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

This Is Not a Poem

Today is stormy and pretty and orange-gray and there are blackbirds under the canopy and I have black cherry soda in the fridge. I am saving it for something, but I cannot say what that might be. When I imagine the future there are less people and bigger plants and we all wear tunics. I am reading The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K LeGuin. The house is full of books and this makes me feel comfy and safe although this is probably an illusion. I have the whole day to myself tomorrow and I am thinking of roasting a big head of cauliflower and eating it.

I have all kinds of ideas these days but have been lax in writing them down.

I have had too much time to spare and I fear it has made me lazy. I seem to move slow, as if walking on sand in backless shoes. I want to sit on the porch and smoke cigarettes except that I have never smoked cigarettes and in fact, don't even like to be around secondhand smoke but somehow the idea is appealing and brings to mind a previous era and I would like to revisit a past that I have never lived.

I have decided I might like to spend a year traveling in one of those shiny silver campers. I would make homemade jewelry out of semiprecious stones and colorful beads and sell them by the side of the road and cook meals over a campfire and meet all kinds of different people and it would be wonderful.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

:: If I were a better person I would dream of falling and I would pull weeds every other day and twice on Sunday ::

I wonder what it says about my psyche that I am always dreaming of severed heads in glass jars? They float in greenish liquid and there are nerves and arteries hanging from the neckstumps like roots and for all the world they remind me of hydroponic lettuce except sometimes they twist about in the fluid and seem to smile as if happy to be free from the burdens of daily living. I have been told that normal people dream of falling off buildings but I have never had this dream.

***

I went outside last night to light the barbecue grill and noticed we have monstrous, jungle-sized weeds in the backyard after all this rain and I might need some kind of metallic thing with many clawed mechanical appendages to remove them. They are spiky and awful. I think I saw some poison ivy, too. Maybe I'll just stay inside and pretend it isn't there. I feel guilty about the yard, but life has been crazy with work and transition planning for Z and literary events and racing events and weddings and baby showers and trips to the doctor and the dentist and that sort of thing. It's a miracle that the grass isn't three feet tall by now. I never intend for the yard to look weedy and neglected but somehow, it always escapes my notice until it's a godawful mess. Crud and double crud.

Let's be honest: I really suck at this whole suburbia thing.

***

I do, however, like sitting on the porch at dusk with a glass of iced tea and a book. That's actually pretty nice.

***

My poem, "The Reaper's Wife" is featured at on the Mythic Delirium website! (Scroll down a bit.) The illustration by Paula Friedlander is *gorgeous* isn't it?

Scroll down a bit more and read "Song for an Ancient City" by Amal El-Mohtar. It will leave you all short of breath and stuporous for it is unbelievably beautiful.

***

Life is pretty good, despite the severed heads and monster weeds, I think.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Notes from the other side of the wormhole

My brain is in an ordinary place, where I dream of dogs and tomatoes and little saltbox houses from the 1950s. Perhaps this is what contentment looks like. I am, for the most part, surrounded by good people. This is metaphorical, as I live in the fourth circle of hell, somewhere in middle America, USA. Luckily, the world remains a beautiful place filled with hilarious strangers and brilliant books and childhood friends and smeary watercolor sunsets and spicy ginger ale and I love it so much sometimes I cannot bear it. Actually, this might be a parallel universe and the real me is living somewhere else, surrounded by talking chickens and automatons with purple metallic skin. I can't really be sure. This might be the summer of sci fi, as I just finished reading The Sparrow and think it's one of the best novels I've read in a very long time, perhaps ever. I didn't want it to end and it made me want to laugh and hit things and travel to previously unexplored worlds but only if I could hide in the unpopulated forests. Terrifying and beautiful. I watched two really fabulous movies last week: The Man From Earth and Moon. Highly recommended. I want to spend more time pondering the nature of reality. All is not what it seems.

Friday, June 18, 2010

This Is A Ghost Story


I often dream about the dead. These are the hauntings I know best, the ones that take place in dreams.

The dead man follows me, pale and powdery, mustachioed and aged. I don't know him, or at least, I don't remember. I am not afraid of anything composed of mist, ethereal and unbodied. I approach him. He is saying things. Ugly things. I recall how they make me feel in the dream--angry, embarrassed--but I can't remember what he says. I try to disperse him with my breath, blowing at the misty apparition as hard as I can. The white, powdery coating is gone, and the ghost is corporeal. His face is dark and rich as garden soil. I am horrified when I realize he is something solid. His head is obsidian, perched upon a rickety set of ivory bones. I don't want him to move. Unless I can immobilize him, I am certain he will pursue me forever. I take his leg bones, pull them up behind his back, and draw his legs through the ribcage. He is a bone pretzel. I am frightened by by my own capacity for violence. Until now, I have always seen myself as a woman incapable of intentionally causing bodily harm. This has changed. I am a different person when threatened, animalistic and cruel. There is another woman in my dream. Perhaps an alternate version of myself? She carries a small box, containing the essence of a female ghost. It is the anima, part of the old man's soul. The boxed sprite calls out to the twisted bones. She escapes from the box, and the corporeal ghost is young again, with long hair and a muscled torso and bright, dark eyes. He looks at me and it reminds me of that moment in Rear Window, when Raymond Burr sees Jimmy Stewart watching him from across the courtyard. Chilling.

I always wake up before the worst happens.

I cannot stop thinking about this dream. According to my Dream Dictionary:

Ghosts signify "unused or wrongly applied intellectual activities." You are chasing a phantom. "Often an expression of guilty feelings, pangs of conscience."

I am especially intrigued by the image of the female essence in a box. Surely, Freud would turn this into something overtly sexual. Oh, Freud!

Speaking of Freud, I have a big chunk of time off next week, which I intend to use for getting the latest issue of blossombones together. We should go live sometime around July 1st. Stay tuned.

***

Also: REQUITED!

My latest series of poems has much to do with spooky things, monsters of both the human and supernatural variety. Four new poems are up in the latest issue of Requited, which is a fabulous journal. Be sure to visit them and check out the gorgeous words of Kristen Orser, Arlene Ang, James Tadd Adcox and more.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Radio Silence

I have been quiet. People out in the great gray midwest are tense and troubled and this makes me feel like I need a little quietude.

Sometimes, I wish I were more oblivious.

It's been a keep-your-head-down-stay-out-of-trouble-expect-the-worst kind of week and I see no signs this will get any better. I am considering a career as a pizza artist or high-class panhandler. I would like to be a stage magician or a professional psychic who sees omens in your lawnmower clippings or a babysitter of rare fish or a zombie film set cleaner (I would not like to be a zombie who cleans film sets but rather, an ordinary woman who cleans up the fake brains and entrails and eyeballs left lying around after a zombie film has wrapped).

I would like to be a bartender on an alien planet and serve shocking pink and electric blue drinks that have a charming tendency to smoke and swirl inside beer mugs and brandy snifters.

I would like to open a tea house / independent bookstore / art gallery / playground for grown-ups. We'd *totally* have a big wavy slide and serve popsicles and fudgesicles on hot afternoons.

I think it would be pretty groovy.

***

I cleaned the bejeezus out of my bathroom today. I also organized drawers full of buttons and hairclips and safety pins. I put everything into categories and stored them in ziplock bags. It's quite possible I have officially gone insane.

One must create order in a disorderly universe.

Friday, June 11, 2010

On being human, reading books, and shameless self-promotion

Every now and then, something will grab my attention and I awake from the stupor of dailiness. Yesterday I stopped in the middle of the road to let a family of geese cross. There were two big ones and four grayish-brown, fuzzy baby geese. I love the way they cross in a straight line, with the little ones walking between the big ones. It reminds me of people. It is so easy, in the midst of going to work and paying bills and folding laundry and taking care of everybody to forget to be awake. I am guilty of this. I am happy when I see the unexpected. Yesterday was one of those A+ days where I felt wholly alive. It was balmy and beautiful and there were families of geese. I bought gifts for a few lovely people, who are getting married or expecting a baby. I had a strawberry-mango smoothie. I found some nice organic veggies which I plan to cook this weekend. I'm thinking about roasted cauliflower and brushetta with sauteed peppers and basil and fresh mozzerella. I want to make foccacia with pesto and carmelized onions and crispy red potatoes. I hope this happens.

I picked up a few books for myself and this lifted my spirits. In general, I am not one of those people who love shopping. I don't care much about clothes and I hate shopping malls. I notice that cars full of elderly women with bouffant hairdos pay no attention to pedestrians but I forgive them and mind where I cross. I am not as cute as a baby goose. Someday, if I am lucky, I will be a woman of a certain age and I might dye my hair blue and extend my cupid's bow with bright red lipstick and wear a plastic hair kerchief and take tiny samples of grape jelly and coffee creamer home from Greek restaurants. I'm looking forward to this.

***

Currently Reading:

The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell

Loose Woman by Sandra Cisneros

***

There is something about opening a book that makes me feel like myself again. I plan to read both The Sparrow and Children of God by Mary Doria Russell, some Ursula K. LeGuin, lots and lots of contemporary poetry, other stuff. Artifice is blogging about summer reading and Kathleen is blogging about books, too. I hope you are reading something this summer. And next fall, winter and spring as well.

***

And Now, For Some Shameless Self-Promotion:


My contributor copy of Mythic Delirium #22 arrived yesterday! It's gorgeous. You should check it out.

Also! CYBORGIA is now available direct from Mayapple Press. It's official. W00t!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I cannot remember the last time I wrote a poem.

I am easily bored. Fortunately, I am very good at entertaining myself. I enjoy my days off beyond what is reasonable. I like the rain. I miss cooking but working nights makes it difficult to plan meals and such. Tonight we are having garlicky pizza bread and homemade brownies and freshly brewed iced tea. This makes me happy.

Last night I had a dream that I lived in a tiny little house without indoor plumbing. Aliens in gas masks descended from a nuclear mushroom cloud while singing their plans for world domination. They ate everyone on earth who was ill or injured, leaving only the perfectly healthy people alive. They used the heads of the deceased as Jack-O-Lanterns and they drove cars made of giant mammoth bones and had terrifying mouths with long teeth. I tried to escape in a R.V.

I don't think I made it.

Sometimes I think I should write screenplays for surrealist horror movies.

Sometimes I think I need therapy, or at least some designated quiet time.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Brief

Sometimes I write whole blog entries in my head and forget them later. I am dreaming of houses these days--the split-level house I grew up in, creaky Gothic mansions in miniature, houses with shattered windows that remind me of jagged, broken teeth. I am sure this is meaningful, but I am too tired to parse this out.

My weekend was busy, exhausting, hot. Still, I find I like working outside, among the pepper plants and the hibiscus and the Gerber daisies. There are babies in lacy bonnets and Scotty dogs and the occasional breeze. Yesterday I watched the thunderstorm roar across the parking lot.

I think I should try to worry less, enjoy the details.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Tiny pockets of abnormality


Z has given me his summer cold, which, in addition to three days of angry stomach, is making it impossible to sleep for more than a few hours at a time.

I dreamt that I invented a device called the Etruscan Head Clamp. It looked like a gladiator helmet. The EHC was used on customers who check out samples of carpet & linoleum & it would squeeze one's head like a vice until the samples were returned to the flooring department.

I can feel the anxiety creeping back into my brain like squiggly little baby spiders. This begins with a random twitch here & there, followed by another & another until suddenly I am overwhelmed by the swarming, wriggling sensation of ick. Maybe it's the heat. The world seems like a very cranky place these days. Everybody needs a cookie. Or a frozen margarita.

I was working in the garden center today & a little girl of about eight or so told me You are very unlucky to have this job. I replied Things could always be worse. I feel lucky to be working at all, even if it means being outside in the 90 degree heat.

I am having difficulty making sense of things. Also: I could really, really use a lemon-lime slushie right about now, but I think they're pretty hard to come by at 4 a.m. so I shall have to settle for a glass of ice water.

I feel as though I have reached a point where I lack the necessary drive to succeed at anything but this may be an illusion. The Moon has appeared in my last two tarot readings, so it's possible that I am letting my imagination mess with my head these days.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Addendum

It occurs to me that my previous post ought to read "inner MONOlogue" but as I often tell M, there is a perfect version of me living inside my head & we are great friends. So, "dialogue" works too.

More random dialogue:

Z: Did you know they tried to make a video game out of Dirty Dancing?

Me: Did you know they tried to make a movie out of it too? That didn't work out either.

Z: Roadhouse would have made a better videogame. Or To Wong Foo.



***

He has a point, really.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Inner dialogue

I should be sleeping or working on looming writerly & editorial projects. Instead I nap at inappropriate times & then find it to difficult to sleep at the appointed hours. I had a mega-shit day at work yesterday where I screwed something up and I cannot shake this feeling of horror at my own moments of stupidity. On the upside, every other day or so, a customer will say how much they like my hair. It's too bad the brains lurking underneath my curls are so totally made of colossal FAIL. I'm glad I had today off. I painted my toenails bright bubblegum pink & drank a cherry coke to cheer myself up, but I still feel craptacular. I would have made cookies but I was too sad to bake. If I still feel bad tomorrow I might have a rootbeer float for dinner. So much for quitting soda pop, eh? I have to be at work by 7 a.m. I hope I see something that makes me happy, like a baby contentedly gumming his mom's car keys or an elderly man shopping for lightbulbs with his poodle. The other night I got an excited wave from a little girl with sparkly shoes who had scribbled on her own forehead with scarlet lipstick. We should all take a moment to doodle on our foreheads with lipstick once in a while. I hope tomorrow is a better day.

If I find myself unemployed again I shall have to write vivid erotica under a fabulous nom de plume or sell cellular phones on commission.



That is all.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

"Would a temple wear a thong?"



Once upon a time, the author of this blog went to Catholic School. She wore a blue plaid jumper & white blouses with Peter Pan collars & knee socks & saddle shoes. There were nuns clad in black wool & naughty children got the paddle. She shits you not.

Once she got stung on the top of her head by a bee & wanted to go to the school nurse but one of the sisters told her to suck it up. She asked why women weren't allowed to be priests & was told that men would come to church to ogle & leer at them. She asked why the girls had to wear heavy polyester vests over their blouses while the boys got to wear comfy polo shirts & was told it was to keep the boys from looking at the girls' chests.

The girls asked the pastor why they couldn't have a basketball team & they were told because it isn't ladylike.

She had a real problem with all of this.

She used to pray for the poor souls in purgatory, hoping someday, someone would return the favor.

***

Okay, that's enough third-person narrative.

The point of all this?

a.) I am feeling nostalgic.

b.) I am feeling guilty.

c.) While I have not been a practicing Catholic for some years now, I am still fascinated by Catholicism: the cosmology, the saints, the art & literature that examines Catholic culture.

d.) I am reading Angelology because someone gave it to me for my birthday.

Angelology is okay, but rather Dan Brown-ish in terms of style. I like the concept, but (like most thrillers) character development is sorely lacking.

Instead I recommend the following:

The Patron Saint of Liars by Ann Patchett

Holy Fools by Joanne Harris




I feel like re-reading Paradise Lost. And The Divine Comedy. This should keep me busy for about an aeon, considering how slowly I work my way through a text these days.

www.marriedtothesea.com
www.marriedtothesea.com

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

RaMbLe


Today was one of those mad mad mad emotional days. My author copies of CYBORGIA arrived & they are very beautiful.

Missy is a brilliant cover designer & Mayapple makes such lovely books. Even the typeset is beautiful.

We had an awards ceremony at Z's school today & I got all weepy because I am a big dork & it's just been such an amazing thing to raise a child with profound disabilities & see him become a bright, funny, independent young man. I don't talk about it much on my blog but today was a big big BIG day. Next week is his last week of high school & college classes begin the first week of June. It's wonderful & bittersweet & I am feeling melancholy.

I am working a 10 to 7 shift tomorrow. Sometimes I go home for lunch to visit with my dog. He gets lonely & likes it when I share my potato chips. Is this weird?

The thunder is rumbling & I am drinking Constant Comment because I am out of Tazo Zen. I am almost done reading The Girl Who Played With Fire. I used to read a couple hundred pages a day, even when I was crazy busy but lately I am a slow reader. I fall asleep so easily. I might have narcolepsy or some kind of leechlike brain parasite that makes me too sleepy to do anything awesome like read detective novels or bake homemade peanut butter cookies.

There. Now you know everything.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Blogdiggity!

The wicked-lovely Amy at Coffee Lovin' Mom has honored me with a kickass blog award. Sweet. Especially considering I have been remiss in posting these days. After eight hours a day on my feet, I just want to lay on the couch & watch Netflix. Right now, I'm watching Season 2 of Reaper. I like it.

Rules, Such As They Are

1.) Thank the person who gave you the award.

2.) Share 7 things about yourself.


3.) Pass along the award to 15 bloggers you think are hella awesome.


4.) Contact said hella awesome bloggers & let them know you think they are the blogdiggity.


So here's my random weirdness:

1.) My ultimate career goal is to someday hold the giant question mark at Trader Joe's. Go ahead. Ask me about the biscotti. Or the dried Turkish apricots. You know you want to.

2.) I believe that the perfect version of me exists somewhere in a parallel universe. This is the Susan that does not walk into walls, back into the lawnmower with her car or say weird shit on the internet. She probably owns a pair of red cowboy boots & drinks straight bourbon out of a solid gold hip flask. She knows how to pronounce Goethe and Rimbaud without mumbling to hide her ignorance.

3.) I own a pair of socks with tiny shoes embroidered on them.

4.) I like gingerbread. And chewy ginger-molasses cookies. And Reed's extra-ginger Ginger Beer. I also have red hair. In Great Britain, they would find this amusing.

5.) My idea of a perfect evening would involve a pan of rice krispie treats, a bottle of Syrah Rose, and the gold box set of Twin Peaks.

6.) In a former life, I was Morgana Le Fay.

7.) I don't know Chuck Norris, but sometimes I like to pretend we were in the Roller Derby together.

***

15 Blogs I Like

Wait! I Have a Blog?!
Smitten Kitchen
Artifice Mag
Anger Burger
Radish King
Coffee Lovin Mom (backatcha!)
Bread & Honey
The Erin O'Brien Owner's Manual for Human Beings
Doppelgangrene
Ornament & Excrement
My Gorgeous Somewhere
Regretsy


What's that you say? There's only twelve? I forgot to mention the eighth thing you should know about me: I don't like rules. Sometimes I break them just because I like it.

I should also mention that I'm probably too shy to contact those writers whose blogs I love if I don't really know them. I'd feel like some kind of weird fangirl or something. Still, I love all this badass shit. Each writer listed above is brilliant in his or her own (very distinct) way.

Hey! I just realized that the phrase "eighth thing" is a bit of a tongue twister. Bet you can't say it twelve times fast.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

This Is How My Five Year Old Niece Sees Me

I am all sunshine & curly curls & rainbows.

I am off to read some poems tonight.

These things make me feel happy.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Blog Post In Which a Random Stranger Admires My Hair

I have been plagued with nightmares about distressing emails. I should deal with my email soon, or I will be buried in messages. I worked three eight-hour shifts this weekend, but still made it out to the race track last night in time to see M win first place. We had our picture taken in the winner's circle & it was neat-o. M is very happy. I think he has forgiven me for backing into the lawnmower.

I am off today & tomorrow & my plans include such glorious things as cleaning out my fridge & cooking REAL FOOD. I am tired of sandwiches. I might bake something groovy, like spice cookies or banana cupcakes with chocolate ganache. There might be gumbo. There might be homemade baguettes. The possibilities are intriguing.

CYBORGIA will be out in about a month! I'm so freaking stoked. I cannot wait to hold it in my hand.

Yesterday a gentleman at the return desk told me my curls are awesome. This humidity gives me a head full of mad spirals. Ha.