...carry my dog in a purse or ask strangers for condoms or buy a $75 pair of underpants (even if they're red) or ask you what size you wear or poke your eyes out in old photos with a sharp pencil or answer the phone on even-numbered days or call your mother dirty names or paint my living room beige or eat donuts from the dumpster behind the strip mall or throw away a book, even if it's coming apart or tell wicked lies about your cat or sip bourbon from a man's tasseled loafer or fire a gun or join the marines or steal your mail or sneak a look at your paycheck or leave you behind to be eaten by zombies or swallow a bug on purpose or stop believing in ghosts or bury a body where somebody might find it or use water to put out a grease fire or skip breakfast to lose weight or wear a white shirt with armpit stains or argue with a physicist about how to survive a nuclear winter or become one of those people who is always trying to sell you stuff or say something I know is going to make you feel like shit unless you really, really had it coming.
The moon is full tonight & according to Dorothy Morrison, April is the Hare Moon--a time for the celebration of earthly fecundity, for planting seeds, for initiating projects. Romance is abundant in the ether... As an interesting side note, Hans Bierdermann claims the hare is a "lunar animal...because the dark patches on the moon suggest leaping hares" (164). I have never thought the maria looked much like pawprints, but I like this image. I do! Giant Bunnies on the Moon! Sounds like a children's book, doesn't it?
What dreams does the full moon bring? Last night I dreamt I observed the performance of a head-ectomy (I'm sure there's a better term for it, probably something that uses Latin) in an operating theater. Men draped in white separated a woman's head from her body & the body was wheeled away on a gurney & I found myself wondering which part of her they were trying to save & which part might be disposed of as "medical waste."
Yes, I'm still fixated on dismemberment, although this one was surgical, as opposed to accidental.
Surgeon: "By cutting off something, something needs to be healed" (my head, apparently). "Being saved in times of distress" (I'll take a pass on the head removal, thanks.) & (last but oh! not least) "Authority; often the male hero" (can a get a hell no?)
Also: "According to Freud, the head is symbol of masculinity." Say what, Siggy?
What I do find interesting here is the image of a woman's body as a site being acted upon by male agents. ((Here is where I exercise some profound restraint & avoid writing a dream analysis based on feminist theory because it would probably bore you to death although maybe it wouldn't.))
1.) I have a tattoo of a split-tailed mermaid that sprawls across my lower belly & includes the inscription Here There Be Monsters.
2.) I secretly enjoy Cheetos.
3.) I am writing a graphic novel about a sentient female zombie with no mouth who can consume human brain chemicals from a distance of eighty feet via telekinesis. It's called The Neuron Thief.
4.) My natural hair color is green.
5.) I am willowy & stylish & possess unheard-of mathematical prowess. I have the power to stop a human heart with the flick of a delicate wrist & by speaking the word vibrato at precisely seven decibels.
Yesterday M & I celebrated my UnBirthday (as we failed to celebrate my actual birthday some six weeks earlier) with sushi & sapporo & Alice in Wonderland. I am emotionally twelve years old & it is not a (post-post) birthday celebration unless it involves eating with chopsticks & seeing a movie that involves both monsters & madness. I like the Jabberwocky. This movie needed more Jabberwocky.
So, as a general rule I totally dig me some Tim Burton-ness. I skipped the whole 3D thing, because I think it disrupts the narrative with too many bells & whistles & it makes M nauseous.
Overall, it's a yes. Go see it if you like that kind of thing. Visually very pretty to look at although the script (at times) was a little thin.
I loved the reinvention of the older Alice, especially when she's wearing chain mail & looks for all the world like Joan of Arc. Sweet.
I would like to befriend a hookah-smoking Caterpillar that sounds just like Alan Rickman.
Anne Hathaway kept using these bizarre hand mannerisms that were both annoying and distracting. I imagine they were supposed to seem feminine & queenly, but I thought it was a stupid affectation.
My favorite character when I was a little girl was the Cheshire Cat. I kept wanting this Cheshire Cat to be pink because Walt Disney has fried my brain.
I would very much like to host a mad tea party, but I am the only genuinely mad person I know. If Johnny Depp came to my mad tea party, he'd have to ditch those freaky contact lenses & the bozo fright wig. Mr. Depp is all kinds of dirty, dirty hotness when he hasn't been Burtonized.
Speaking of Alice in Wonderland & awkward segues, last night I dreamt I had to climb over a particularly wicked looking piece of machinery that had many buzzing, rolling serrated saw blades extending from its mechanized body like tentacles. I slipped & fell & was nearly split in two by one of it vicious limbs, but I survived.
Machine: lack of meaning, automation; alternatively, a representation of your inner self.
Saw: Something drastic is happening, taking something rough & making it precise; willpower
Dismemberment: (which I only narrowly escaped) the feeling of "falling apart"; alienation, estrangement.
I seem to be quite obsessed with my own disintegration these days.I remember there were people who were angry with me for climbing over the machine. Some of them were poets, but in my dream, they were mathematicians.I think I am feeling anxious about Cyborgia, and perhaps fearful of harsh criticism from other writers? Deep down, we are all insecure about our work, even when we love it & feel like it came together beautifully.
The house is very quiet today. I wrote another poem I really like, something for the final section of the next manuscript-in-progress. I have a bitchin' title but I'm not ready to share. I am researching the ghosts of famous dead women. Seriously. I even googled "famous dead women" but I got a whole bunch of crap about Brittany Murphy & that's not what I was looking for at all. Last night my bedroom door blew shut early in the evening & sort of rolled open (with a slow, deliberate creak--eerie!) in the middle of the night & I wonder if we have a ghost or some bizarre draft coming from god-knows-where because it was hella cold yesterday so it's not like we had the windows open.
I have a voodoo doll that sits in a tiny wooden casket & wears a top hat with a big purple feather in it & his name is Tony. Maybe I need to prop Tony up outside my bedroom door to scare away the ghost because he looks very much like a creepy scarecrow, except for the fancy purple duds. Tony is something of a dandy.
Now, you would think the maybe-ghost would inspire outlandish, haunted dreams, but nope, nope, nope. It was reruns again last night: the dream where I show up at a poetry reading & forget to bring poems & I am frantically trying to remember them but I can only recall the beginnings & the ends & I forget the middles. The irony, of course, is that one could easily discard all the middles of their poems at a reading & nobody would even notice. Poems are not like Oreos.
Speaking of food & scary things, I am thinking about the fact that I do not like beets because they are magenta and kind of freak me out & I understand there is a variety of golden beets & I would like to try them but can't imagine where they might be found here in the glorious, glorious burbs. Sometimes I am standing behind a woman at the grocery store & she is buying soda & canned spaghetti sauce & bottled salad dressing & sweet-sweet sugar cereal & I think about all the HFCS & funked-up chemicals & unnecessary additives and feel bad about the garbage people eat every day. M & Z really like Doritos, which I think are totally gross & the most unnatural shade of orange. I always feel bad when I buy them, but I don't want to be totally insane about the occasional junk food binge. Sometimes, a person's gotta have their fakey-fake foodstuffs & sometimes that person happens to live in my house. Once I saw Michael Pollan on The Colbert Report & he talked about how he got busted buying Fruity Pebbles for his kid at the supermarket & I liked him even more. Into every life, a little high fructose corn syrup must fall.
I am working on another cyborg post but have too many ideas. Must. Boil. It. Down.
Yesterday was a day of ordinary things although some ordinary things have aspects of the extraordinary. I took Harley to the dog groomer & noticed they have the most amazing pictures on the wall of competitions they've won with dyed-blue poodles dressed as the snow queen & other kinds of doggie awesomeness & this makes me happy & I can't quite explain why except it's an unusual art form & I appreciate that. Harley just had an ordinary bath & haircut. I don't think he'd make a very good snow queen, although he'd be an adorable elf.
I made mostaccioli & homemade garlic bread & a big green salad with radishes & spring onions & a garlicky-mustardy vinaigrette that was so good I want to make it again today. The day before I was quite tired & nobody was particularly hungry so we had a big bowl of popcorn & called it a day. I had the most ordinary dream: one of those recurring ones where the house is full of fading Christmas trees & it's clearly springtime & I feel disgusted with myself, with my own slovenliness.
Z is leaving tomorrow for his first overnight trip (sans parents) ever & I am very very anxious, but also excited for him. He's competing in a conference for Future Business Leaders of America. I am cleaning the house like mad because external order helps calm my inner chaos.
Z asked me this morning if we were having a party while he was gone which makes me think I must be kind of lousy at keeping house if he thinks it's a special occasion.
I have a doctor's appointment in two weeks & I wonder if I should mention my anxiety but it makes me feel ridiculous & unsophisticated so instead I just put up with the panic attacks & the creeping sense of impending doom & hope nobody notices but then I tell everybody about it on my blog anyway. Hah.
If my life were a poem I would be stuck at the mid-line pause.
Yesterday I spent the bulk of my day away from the machine & this was good. I bought one of Ian's beautiful woodcuts to hang in my office & talked to Missy about religion, politics & all things Whedonesque. I spent some time in my own company having lunch, browsing the bookstores & reading. I bought myself a post-post birthday present because nobody else did. I considered wrapping it but thought this a bit too eccentric even for me & I am too lazy anyway. I am in this place where I feel very disconnected from everything & I am struggling to reconnect or at least to make sense of whatever it is that's making me feel as though all is merely flux & fissure & my life is like water leaking through these cracks.
Last night I dreamt of a room. In this room, an orca--one of those black & white swirly whales that have been in the news recently for doing violence to humans. The orca was quite large & whale-sized at first glance. At second glance, it fit on a moderately-sized dinner plate. I sat before this plate of whale, with a knife & fork poised in the air. A disembodied voice called out: If you were a good person, you wouldn't be doing this.
I replied: I am not a good person. That's why I'm doing this.
And so I began to cut the whale into slices. The whale had transformed into a loaf of bread--an aquatic mammal as marble rye, with dark & light swirls that seemed especially fitting. I consumed the entire loaf.
Later, I was told we were all required to wear chicken-shank hats. In another dream, this might have seemed odd.
Thematically, the dream centers on the idea of consumption.
Whale: may suggest the dreamer's fear of being swallowed, like the biblical Jonah. (The whale reflects some of the same yonic archetypes as the hellmouth in my previous dream: life & death, rebirth. The womb.)
Bread : the staff of life, sustenance. That which nurtures or sustains us. If one wanted to drag Freud into the picture, orality.
Hat: being positioned on the dreamer's head, having to do with the intellect. According to my dream dictionary, hats also suggest vanity & self-expression (!). "The type of hat points to the personality of the dreamer." (Apparently I am a chicken.)
"We are all dreaming cyborg dreams. While our children imagine "morphing" into metallic cyber-reptiles, our computer scientists dream themselves immortal. They imagine themselves thinking forever, downloaded onto machines"
(There is an episode of The X-files called Kill Switch written by William Gibson (of Neuromancer fame) that deals with this very thing--the concept of downloading human consciousness to create a kind of immortal electronic self. That show just rocked. Seriously.)
Most of our cyborg dreams are a little less outlandish, of course.
Dana has been talking about social networking at My Gorgeous Somewhere & I cannot stop thinking about how much we depend on machines to maintain our connection to the outside world. On the one hand, I am grateful for the opportunities social networking sites like Facebook & Twitter make possible, this closing of distance via the computer screen so we might (virtually) see so many different faces, hear so many different voices. On the other hand, there is something of a disconnect, too. Sometimes I log in to Facebook & read the status updates & think How lonely everyone seems or How anxious we all are to form these networks...
Sherry Turkle wrote Life on the Screen in 1995, but so much of the book still seems relevant today. Our interactions may have moved from Internet Relay Chat (IRC) and Multi-User-Dungeons (MUDs) to Facebook & Twitter but the concepts haven't changed: our protean, cyborgian selves, the resultant fragmentation & disconnection coupled with the instinct to use the computer to "retribalize" (178). It's all still happening fifteen years down the electronic road.
It brings to mind a line from Allen Ginsberg's Howl: "angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly / connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night" & I think he could have just as easily been talking about cyberspace, had it been written about 40 or 50 years later.
We find ourselves in a technological bind. The very nature of of our bodies has become a hybrid of biology & technology. For many, it's almost physically painful to disconnect from our cellular phones, our computer screens, the netbooks & notebooks that remind us we are human when we use them to communicate while simultaneously making us feel a little less grounded in our physical bodies. Who would I be if my computer were to disappear tomorrow, perhaps forever? It's a sobering question. How much of myself have I invested in the machine? Is this dysfunctional, or simply adaptation? I don't think I'd want to live forever, downloaded onto a machine or morph into a metallic critter; my cyborg dreams are much less dramatic. Is it possible for us to utilize our tools without becoming overly dependent on them? I enjoy talking to a variety of people via the internet. I've met many of them In Real Life and I'm very glad that's happened, so they aren't always fully "virtual," these relationships. I enjoy much of the work I do on the machine... But at the end of the day, I'd like to be able to walk away from the machine, to forget about it for while while I engage in something else profoundly human--walking the dog, baking a cake, sitting in the sun--without thinking I gotta check my email or I wonder what's happening on XYZ site today.
I am especially annoyed by the following: "Girls are required to take care of their robot babies for three days and two nights, while boys can either take a baby for 24 hours or write a paper (emphasis mine)." Seriously? This is utterly archaic. Shame on you New York public school system. If a female student wants to explore the ramifications of early parenthood via writing & research, as opposed to dragging around a whiny rubber doll for three days, why shouldn't she? Also: what message does this send the male population about their responsibilities? Does it ultimately suggest they are less responsible than women for the care of their children? Way to support a culture of deadbeat dads, public school system. Nicely done.
With apologies to Joss Whedon: Grr. Arrgh.
RE: Things I Cannot Stand Words like "gals" & "hubby" ((shudder)) Karl Rove, meaningless platitudes, microwave dinners, movies that star Julia Roberts, instant oatmeal, The Amazon Kindle, smug people with expensive haircuts, Applebees, James Patterson thrillers (why does everyone revile Dan Brown & Stephanie Meyer when Patterson is such a worthy target for mockery?), olives & pickles, uncomfortable shoes, linoleum.
RE: The Telephone
I am uncomfortable on the telephone. I like email better. There are no awkward silences in an email, although there might be awkward verbiage. Or typos. I can live with that.
RE: From the "Think About It Before You Publish It" Files
I just saw a headline on the Comcast homepage that read "Huge Pendulum Nails Model" and I laughed at my desk for approximately six minutes.
Today was rather productive & I should be quite sleepy (which I am) but I am also wired. I am having one of those weird semi-symptomatic days where everything aches but I cannot pinpoint the exact cause. Still, I spent three and a half hours cleaning my horrible bathroom until I broke the sonic scrubber trying to clean the grout in the shower but by then I felt like my kneecaps were all swelled up & arthritic & angry & I should not feel this crap-a-riffic at thirty-eight but there you have it. I did have tea instead of coffee this morning and my headaches were less severe.
I have rearranged a series of poems again and it feels right but maybe tomorrow it will feel all wrong. I feel like I should write cool articles about female cyborgs on here but I am too distracted. Maybe later. I always see these crazy news stories about lifelike gynoids on sale in Japan for like, ten thousand dollars & I think This is what I am trying to pick apart in these poems. I could also swear I saw a news headline that read "Fertility Clinic to Raffle Off Fetus" but now I am wondering if I dreamt it. I should write less on this blog and more in a variety other spaces but I have been in a journaling mood. Today M & I were sitting on the couch watching television (yes, we're thrilling) and he said You always watch the most fucked-up things, like people eating each other and I suppose this is true so I didn't tell him I was thinking that I might like to write a story about cannibals.
I am almost finished with Natsuo Kirino's Real World & think she has a fascinating way of speaking in adolescent voices that feel authentic although it is set in Japan so they don't sound quite like the teenagers I am used to but that is what keeps me reading. I am not bored with this book & that's all I ask these days. I am also reading Kathleen Rooney's Oneiromance and I think the concept is so fantastic & the poems even more so but also think I am not astute enough to say more because I am just blown sideways & over the ledge & I hang there reading & re-reading. I have a special fascination with both dreams & divination so I am quite enthralled.
Speaking of divination I did a tarot reading for myself early this morning and the wands were everywhere--ace, four, queen, ten. I must be careful not to pick up too many burdens I suppose. Yeah. Okay. Sometimes that's unavoidable you hear me Universe? Still I am happy to see all that passion & creative energy in the spread. The final card was a reversal of the two of pentacles which reminds me that I must not be so serious about everything.
Saturday is the vernal equinox & I understand it might snow.
I have figured out that these terrible dizzy spells & nausea are not some horrible brain tumor but rather an intolerance to coffee. Damn. I had hoped that if I put enough milk in it I would be able to drink the lovely stuff but my body disagrees. My body is very cranky about comestibles & such. I used to be able to have anything. No more. Perhaps this is what Sartre meant when he described experiencing the body as an obstacle. I think he was talking about climbing mountains, but whatever. I am talking about drinking coffee. Maybe I'll just sniff the can of coffee beans in the morning and pretend that's quite as nice. It isn't.
So, tomorrow I'll have tea.
Despite feeling miserable today, I slogged through my list of phone calls (ugh. ugh. ugh.) and made a semi-traditional St. Patrick's Day dinner. Well, there was potato salad, anyway. I like potato salad! This one was dead simple: fingerling potatoes (still warm) dressed with lemon, olive oil, fresh thyme, sea salt & pepper. Very nice. I drank Belgian beer. Irish beer is too dark & heavy for me.
I need to start thinking about artwork for the Freud issue of blossombones. I hope I can find something that works. Perhaps an obelisk? Heh. I get a little silly when I talk about Freud, yo.
I should not have given M my password for the netflix queue. Now netflix thinks I like action movies with bad dialogue & lowbrow comedies. I'm gonna go watch like, half a dozen brainy documentaries so the folks at netflix start profiling me as a lover of all things "cerebral." I care very deeply about my electronic profile, 'kay? How am I supposed to appear cerebral when the man orders ConAir and Year One? Shit.
The days are slipping by, noticeable but brief, like a swig of whiskey in some black Irish tea. I am wearing the same green sweatshirt I always wear because I am a creature of habit & really nobody else wallows in their own nationality like the Irish. I am forgetful. I left the dog outside this morning so I gave him an extra biscuit. I think I have bought his forgiveness. Dogs are awesome like that. I cannot remember the simplest of things like taking medications & paying my bills & returning messages although I suspect my pronounced hatred of the telephone is subtly playing tricks on my subconscious mind so that I forget. My dreams have been dull & obvious these last couple of nights :: I have a huge trailer strapped to my back which I must pull along with me everywhere I go & it is very heavy & difficult to maneuver :: I comb my hair & my scalp peels away in great sheets of dermis, that sort of thing. Boring.
I am in the midst of two manuscripts--one poetry, which is in the late stages of revision & one fiction, which exists only as a series of notes in a spiral bound journal. Over the last couple of weeks I met a couple of fiction writers who tell me that prose doesn't pay any more than poetry & I believe them. (Unless you write about sparkly lovesick vampires & I am tired of those.) I should write romance novels or chick lit but I am not romantic. As a general rule I find weddings & babies to be nice in a generic sort of way but also very boring. I would rather put out my own eye with a hot pencil than write about romance. I am slow with everything because I am having headaches & chest pains & dizzy spells that I suspect are brought on by anxiety & an excess of caffeine. I keep returning to the same topics. My mind is quite full of repetitions. Stupid, nonsensical worries that wear grooves in my brain cells & spin & spin & spin until until the needle wears out & I cannot think at all. I forgot LOST was on yesterday which has me feeling bummed although I can watch it online but it's not the same.
I am in a shin-kicking mood today. Don't ask me why.
My dreams have returned; this time, they have tentacles.
I have dreamt Lovecraftian horrors before, but not often. Last night someone (me?) conjured a large firepit in the backyard that seemed endlessly deep, although one would never know its depths without leaping into the fire. It was surrounded by a ring of thorny hedge, spotted with reddish berries. The thorns appeared very large & very sharp. There were people clustered around the pit, toasting marshmallows for s'mores. (How this hellmouth did not appear sinister to them, I shall never understand.) They might have also been cooking hot dogs on sticks. I feel like I remember this, but I don't really remember this...
For some reason, I knew that a drop of virgin's blood would summon an enormous, terrifying mass of pulpy flesh and tentacles. Something monstrous. I remember worrying about the exact coordinates of the pit. Were they correct? What if the pit was in the wrong place? What might we awaken? I do recall some feelings of ambivalence. That whole "What have I done?" sensation... This is why I am certain that I conjured this pit in my dream, although the Me in my dream is often simultaneously Not Me. There is always the sense I am watching the tableau from somewhere slightly outside the frame. There were two young women--maybe 16 or 17 years old. I thought I recognized them as younger versions of women I knew in high school. They were not women I knew very well, but somehow, I recognized that if one of them were to prick her finger on the hedges, it could be apolcalyptic. They had dark hair & white dresses & appeared very much like symbolic virgin sacrifices. Someone bled. There was a violent flash of fear & bright light & utter darkness mixed with images of the monster. I woke up.
I am especially interested in the significance of the virgin(s) in the dream. According to my DD: "In a woman's dream, it represents her own unknown, often disowned, feminine side...also a warning about an action that cannot be undone. The action of the virgin in the dream points to unknown characteristics & behaviors in the dreamer."
Juxtapose this with the monster: "Your animal nature is becoming too strong, too frightening, meaning that you are afraid of your own strengths & drives. Mythical creatures...point to moral conflicts."
And, of course, the fire: "Yearning for inner fire & passion...Either it is destroying something or it is giving a signal..."
Holes in the ground seem clearly yonic (suggesting both death & rebirth) to me, although the monster felt distinctly masculine. Again, the DD states: "A deep hole also symbolizes loss, insecurity, and fear of the future. The hole might also represent a blind spot, that area within us we cannot see."
I think dreams fascinate me because I enjoy hunting for and analyzing symbols. I like literature for the same reason, & think the two feel connected in some way. This is also why I read & study the tarot. Symbolism is intriguing. I love the mythical, the archetypal. I have often said if I could afford endless amounts of schooling I should like to become a Jungian analyst. Alas, I cannot afford endless schooling.
I think I read the dream like this: I am always questioning my own actions, for fear that something I do will inadvertently cause someone harm. I fear creating problems that cannot be solved and engaging in actions that cannot be undone. On the one hand, I might be striving for personal power & strength while on the other, holding back for fear that if I embrace this version of myself, I will destroy some other aspect. There is a strong conflict in this dream between the anima & animus, too. Interesting. OH! And the entry in the DD under "monster" suggests seeking therapy if accompanied by extreme fear. Heh.
You know how some people have book discussion groups? I wish there were such a thing as dream discussion groups, but wonder if that would require some kind of shared consciousness, as a dream group would be analogous to a book group where everyone is reading a different book. Of course, that could be interesting too.
Today I think I might like it if I lived near the sea, perhaps in New England or the Pacific Northwest. It is misty & gray & quite lovely in a gloomy sort of way, which makes me want to write things & watch movies & eat something richly spiced with ginger & cinnamon & nutmeg. I might be the only person I know who prefers the gloom to sunshine, but there you have it.
I was late for the poetry reading yesterday because it was raining & traffic was vicious & I felt terrible but everyone was very gracious & kind which made me feel better. I read only my ghost poems & did not read anything from Cyborgia, but perhaps I should have. I tend to think people want to hear something different, but often this is not the case. I bought two poetry books at random by people I do not know, which is exciting. Supporting the literary arts is awesome.
I wrote three new poems this week. One of them feels like a total slam-dunk although I may change my mind about this later. I want to send out a small batch of submissions at the end of this month (or next month or whatever), as I haven't sent out anything in quite some time & this leaves me feeling rather like a cello that is out of tune--all cumbersome and discordant. I am also reworking for the gazillionth time my other manuscript, which is not about cyborgs.
I have discovered that I rather love meeting new people as most of them are quite decent & actually do think about things other than shopping & are not at all like automatons. This is refreshing. They ship a coupon magazine in the mail where I live and call it Consumer Lifestyle Magazine & I find this creepy & dystopian in a Brave New World kind of way, where everyone is wearing disposable clothing and growing designer babies in see-through jars & taking soma vacations. I throw the book away without opening it but I might not if they called it something else, like The Big Coupon Book or whatever. Some jerkwad in a plastic cubicle probably thought Consumer Lifestyle Magazine sounded classier, but it's just annoying & pretentious. M tells me I am always overthinking things, but I cannot help myself.
I finally watched Zombieland & I liked it very much, especially the whole "rules" business & Woody Harrelson is always creepy looking (although I might think so because of Natural Born Killers) but was very entertaining & there was a pretty bitchin' celebrity cameo & of course ZOMBIES so, like duh. I was amused. Still, Shaun of the Dead is better. If you haven't seen Shaun of the Dead, you should.
I am having one of those weeks where I want to read too many things at once & I keep reading the same page over & over because I don't want to miss anything. This slows me down somewhat. I often read poetry / fiction / non-fiction simultaneously because my mind can keep these texts separate as if there are little compartments inside my head for each genre. I have been reading a lot of cookbooks. It feels like spring so we are eating salads. Yesterday I made a salad of strawberries & chickory with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, sea salt & pepper. Strawberries aren't quite in season yet, but I don't care. It was good. The night before I made spinach salad with sauteed shrimp and red bell peppers & that was tasty too. I am reading Alice Waters's cookbook The Art of Simple Food & while I know how to make most of these things already, the section on vegetables is packed with ideas making the purchase worthwhile. It also inspires me to make good homemade food for myself, because it can be so simple to make a pot of soup or some pasta or a nice salad.
While I am doing a good deal of cooking, there isn't much writing going on...I don't want to be one of those people who are always talking about how they are writing / not writing; however, it's an unavoidable topic (solipsism! available right here on a regular basis). Ish. These last few months have been totally dry. I've arranged & rearranged a new chapbook manuscript (which ended up as a semi-finalist in a chap contest) & played around with some older pieces but I haven't written anything new & it makes me feel rather ghostlike & disconnected. I've just started scribbling ideas in my journal again this week. I think these periods of down time are fairly common--even necessary--but there's always this fear that one may not be able to restart the engine, so to speak.
The search for a glamorous job complete with retirement benefits & a fancy title to support my fragile ego is stalled, primarily because I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up. I might be a cowgirl or a detective or an astrophysicist. I'm still trying to decide. Of course, I'm willing to settle for retail or data entry or shampooing hair.
Nevertheless, life has been busy. Lots of family stuff, some fun literary events, the inevitable dailiness that keeps things rolling along. I'm reading this Friday at The Book Cellar with the lovely folks from Oyez Review. I have never been there, but it looks like a totally cool place. I'm looking forward to it.
New poems are forthcoming in a few print journals this spring. This makes me feel happy. Cyborgia will be out soon, soon, soon! This makes me even happier. I still need to revamp my hideously ugly website. I'm setting a deadline for the end of April. There's also a pretty positive review of Artifice #1 (they mention my cyborg poems!) at Big Other.
"The blues are because you're getting fat and maybe it's been raining too long, you're just sad that's all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you're afraid and you don't know what you're afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling?" --Holly Golightly
Last night I dreamt about a young man with psychic powers & a mullet haircut who told me: "You aren't going to make it; you don't dance." This feels packed with meaning but I cannot unpack what it might mean, only that it makes me feel anxious. I woke up to the sound of sirens & forgot that Z. had a delayed start so he walked to the bus stop two hours too early & had to come home. This morning he told me that 90s music is way cooler than what's going on now (musically speaking), which I imagine is a teenager's version of the oldies & I felt very old indeed. Sometimes I forget it's not the 90s anymore.
I finally watched The Exorcism of Emily Rose last night and it was better than I expected. As a lapsed RC, this kind of thing interests me & gives me the mega-creeps at the same time. I couldn't sleep after I watched Paranormal Activity, which is kind of embarrassing if you think about how devoid of real content that movie was...I love horror & am not usually much affected, but certain concepts can worm their way into my brain & make me feel twitchy & hypersensitive.
I can almost always predict how a movie is going to end. I can tell you who the killer is at the end of act one. I find this frustrating. I prefer to be surprised.
Yesterday I was at the supermarket & I heard a woman tell her baby (okay, toddler, but that kid wasn't any older than 18 months, I'm sure of it.) that he couldn't have a certain fruit because it wasn't in season. Now, I am all for buying local produce & shopping for fruits & vegetables in season but does a child that age really understand the concept of "in season"? If it were me, I'd just buy him the damn strawberries & be grateful he's eating that instead of fruity pebbles. Also: I am still finding HFCS in everything, which is disturbing & insidious & feels more & more like we are secretly being stuffed to the gills with toxic crap. I still can't imagine why it's in the Saltines. I'm having a hard time giving up my Saltines. They settle my stomach on bad days & I like them with soup. Maybe I could make my own? I think there are recipes for making your own crackers in How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. I'm going to go & check. I'm sure it's relatively simple.
I am still dreaming of the day when I might have a farm with chickens & baby goats & a kitchen garden where I grow my own lettuces. I would not eat the chickens. I would name them & thank them for their eggs and they would lead happy little chicken-y lives scratching about in the dirt & whatnot. Being surrounded by ugly suburban sprawl makes me feel melancholy. I am tired of beige brick houses & beige minivans & the local crackpot tea party chapter whining in the local free paper about the liberal plot to unplug their beloved grandmothers and take away all their money. Ugh. I suspect I have a reputation as the neighborhood witch, something I find both hilarious & disheartening at the same time. There's good crazy & bad crazy & sometimes I feel surrounded by the bad kind of crazy.
Sometimes people ask me where I got my MFA & I say "I don't have a MFA" and I get this look that I am unsure how to interpret. Sometimes I feel like I'm supposed to apologize for my inadequacies.
March has rolled in and is all growly, but I am not talking about the weather. It has been a hectic week, which leads me to believe the planets are shifting about in their orbits spurring on all manner of weirdness & inconvenience. It looked rather like this ::
Jury duty :: I finished reading Murakami & had lunch with a cantankerous elderly stranger, for despite all evidence to the contrary I am actually very kind. Then there was a real live criminal trial, but it was not at all like an episode of Law & Order. Lenny Briscoe would have had some awesome one-liners for this. I think I could write a poem called "The Baliff Takes the Jury Out To Lunch" and it would be amusing.
Absence :: My dreams have gone missing. By dreams I mean the ramblings of my subconscious during REM sleep. I have awoken every morning with zero recollection of my nighttime brain wanderings. I miss them. I hope they return. When they do, I hope there's zombies.
Self-flagellation :: I have this strange habit of liking the idea of a certain food, and trying it over & over in different incarnations, until I hit upon a version I think is good, or at least edible. I will say: "I dislike oatmeal" and then proceed to try different ways of cooking it until I like it. I think I just enjoy torturing myself. This week, I learned to love oatmeal. Next up: mushrooms. I don't like mushrooms. I also dislike egg salad, but I'm not sure that one's even salvageable from the realm of culinary hatred.
Divination :: My horoscope tells me to expect glorious career news. The Universe shall shower me with job offers that include pensions & annuities & profit sharing. I have a BA in English. Hell hath frozen over.
I am finally ready to sell out to the man. I understand you are offering profit sharing and a 401k, but I am willing to work for Skittles. I am an excellent fit for this position because I know the location of Bigfoot's lair; I can give you the exact coordinates because I am detail-oriented. I know how to use a semicolon. I am not a people person, but for the right amount of candy and incentives, I'm willing to fake it. I am a great keeper of secrets; just ask my sister, the closet pyromaniac. I have extensive experience watching science fiction movies and reading surrealist novels. I play a mean game of Scrabble. Many people think I am pithy. You will enjoy my dry, acerbic wit at staff meetings and company picnics. I don't have any visible tattoos. I am willing to tuck in my shirt despite the fact the effect is unflattering. If I were a close, personal friend of Chuck Norris, I'd introduce you and we'd all share a blueberry pie. Let's have a job interview party! I will bring you apple cider and Jack Daniels cupcakes and three copies of my resume which may or may not be signed by Chuck Norris, because I know a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy. I figure this might come in handy. I appreciate your taking the time to review my credentials and experience. I will call your office repeatedly at inconvenient times until you agree to meet with me.
Susan Slaviero lives on the cusp of a hellmouth, where she vanquishes evil with poetry and cupcakes. She hopes to someday land a job as either a dog whisperer or a telephone psychic. In the meantime, she writes. She has a fondness for esoterica.