The moon is not quite fat & there are spiders in the garage, hanging from the ceiling like squirmy little pendulums. M is catching them on slips of paper and setting them free. The days are rainy & dim, which seems to bring them out of hiding. Everything in the yard looks green & swollen.
Mercury is in retrograde. I lost something important & must replace it. A vital document that proves I exist. I'm fairly sure I exist, but this must be documented & stamped in order to be proven. I have too many books & not enough shelves. My house is messy. My horoscope is sending me mixed messages & I find this problematic. It tells me to expect good news. It tells me to be wary of good news. I cleaned out three junk drawers & found my high school transcript, a CD of Native American flute music, about a dozen of Z's baby teeth, a receipt from a sandwich shop dated October 23rd 2001, a pair of jade earrings that I haven't seen in about 5 years, McDonald's gift certificates (the kind that look like a coupon book, which they don't even make anymore) lots of nickels & paperclips & buttons, a big glob of candle wax. I need to clean out my drawers more often. I also found 3 dollars tucked in to an old day planner from 2004. Yep.
My hair is getting out of control again. Sometimes, I think I ought to just give in and let it grow unchecked like a swath of wild lilacs but I don't want the bees to nest in it. I admire their work but still they terrify me. I think it's all the humming. Humming is creepy. Only bees & serial killers hum. This usually happens right before they attack.
I cannot decide if I feel like making a big pot of soup today or if I want to make pasta with garlic & roasted cauliflower. Both of these things sound really, really good. A pan of foccacia would be nice, too. Maybe topped with carmelized onions and tiny slices of red potato? Yummy. I have fancy things like rye flour & semolina in the fridge. I should bake something.
I started training at a new job yesterday. This is very good news & I am choosing not to be wary of it no matter what my horoscope says. Dear Mercury, Saturn & Uranus: Please be kind to me.
Last Sunday I bought one of those fundraiser candy bars that little kids sell door-to-door because I am incapable of saying no to six year olds. So, I took a bite of it yesterday & it was so foul I had to throw it out. Yes, there is such a thing as bad chocolate. Really. Bad. Chocolate.
Maybe I'm just picky.
I am cooking again, which is yet another sign that the deep, deep funk has passed. I made a big batch of stir-fry with Jasmine rice yesterday, which beats the bejeezus out of frozen pizza. I enjoyed my dinner with a nice, cold glass of Reisling (which M claims makes my breath smell like racing fuel) & we watched Californication on Netflix Instant which is a tremendous time-suck, but I don't care because sometimes we need to just chill. David Duchovny is adorable even when he looks seedy. I still have my Fox Mulder action figure. M understands this.
I have added all three seasons of Arrested Development (funniest. show. ever.) to the instant queue. I love Gob. He makes me want to be a bad magician and ride around on a segway.
(Speaking of segues & a magician named GOB) I am waiting to hear back about a job this week.
My contributor's copies of Kaleidotrope arrived yesterday & I cannot wait to carve out a little time & dig some wicked sci-fi zine-age. My poem "If Snow White Were a Cyborg" appears in this issue.
I also woke up to an acceptance from a very exciting anthology project this morning, which led to the happy desk-chair dance, because I will never be too cool to dance in my chair.
Last night I dreamt that Mike & I sold our house & moved into a very tiny, dilapidated dwelling with cracked, mismatched tile & peeling paint. He was trying to fix the floor with pieces of vinyl & scotch tape. There was an odd, U-shaped kitchen. Zach had (apparently) moved away, so perhaps the dream takes place in the future. I had so many boxes to unpack, but not enough space for our things--cooking pots & books & piles of paper & unraveling sweaters & holey blue jeans--it was all too much!
Sounds like a run-in-the-mill anxiety dream to me. Still, I am thinking about Jung and his dream of exploring a house--the kitchen representing alchemy & transformation, especially. The U-shaped kitchen & the house in general feel like yonic symbols...The house is symbolic of the body of the dreamer. Perhaps I think I am falling apart & cannot be easily fixed? Intriguing.
I am drinking Contant Comment tea because it was my mother's favorite & reminds me of my childhood. I am finally catching up on things, yet I still feel perpetually buried in minutiae. I also feel like baking something today. I'm thinking about Snickerdoodles, Blueberry Scones. I have some mega-awesome cinnamon from Penzey's. I have dried blueberries from TJ's too. And demerara sugar! I am in the mood for some kitchen alchemy. Must have been the dream...
Last week was mad-busy with job interviews, getting college stuff in order for Z, annoying paperwork & metaphorically putting myself back together after a rough patch. Ish. I saw many actual human beings for purely social reasons & this was good. Last weekend I had lunch with some friends from elementary school & they made me laugh so hard my face hurt. We looked at old pictures & tried to remember all the names of the kids in our first grade class. We talked about Aqua Net hairspray & fe-mullets & tails. The waitress asked us if we were sisters & I thought this was funny.
Yesterday was my profoundly belated birthday lunch with my sister & mother (we tend to run about 2-3 months behind schedule). My sister always tells hilarious stories about barista life. They usually end with her needing to discard her shoes. There was also sangria & key lime pie. I like key lime pie.
My five year old niece drew a picture of me last week with curly hair & a smile, she says, because "Aunt Sue is always smiling." This makes me feel happy. The last picture she drew for me looks like a mandala. It's hanging on my fridge. We are kindred spirits.
M & I had dinner with some of the racing crowd last night. I have eaten too many restaurant meals this week, but it was fun. Z says he misses my cooking!
Kristina sent me some knockout submissions for the Freud issue this weekend. There's still time to submit! The deadline is April 30th.
Maybe it's the glimmering, the doppelganger that hangs in the oval, the concavity.
The way you can't help but smile with a spoon in your mouth or the way they make a fairy ring on a round table, like toadstools following a rainstorm.
Maybe it's the precision of the handle, suggesting a bowl of soup is as delicate as surgery.
It brings to mind our fascination with appearances, the perceived obscenity of a woman's belly, burgeoning & convex, outhrust & shining, a gravid uterus.
If you balance a spoon on its edge, it appears to ask a question.
Have you had your fill today? Will you consume the pulp of a lemon, a bowl of rice?
What quantum force tugs them from their drawer, makes them turn up tucked behind a picture frame on the mantel, or half-buried in the flowerbed? Where are they going? Why don't they stay put, each one gently curved into the next, like a polyamorous lovers?
When they return, their cheeks are cool, unfevered. Sometimes they are dirty.
They are done with me. Sometimes they don't come back.
So the horrible, twitchy anxiety is not fully attributable to my inability to handle stress. Thyroid hormone shite is all out of whack again. Still I've had heart palpitations & the shakes for weeks. It's maddening because it totally feels like I'm cracking up, but hopefully the adjustments will kick in & I will feel semi-normal soon. In the meantime, I'm watching an insane amount of Battlestar Galactica (only one disc left for the whole series!) & trying to keep the caffeine to a minimum (although I am made of caffeine-avoidance FAIL today). Tried to write something new this afternoon but I am way too jittery. Revised a few of my newer pieces, though.
I have an overwhelming amount of paperwork that I am avoiding. I will regret this later, but my powers of concentration have gone all funky.
My mother tells me the new lenses they put in her eyes have serial numbers.
Does that make me a cyborg? On CSI they always identify the dead bodies by the serial numbers on their breast implants.
The conversation always, always leads to a body.
In this house, there are coffee cups in the bathroom & the doors close for no reason. Spoons disappear from the kitchen and misplace themselves in laundry baskets or between the pages of cookbooks. They dive off their plates into the garbage & are buried beneath the browning lettuce & forgotten. The spoons always go missing. Sometimes this is permanent.
I am waiting in a paper gown & have lost count of time as the clocks do that slowed-down twist, each minute eternally taffy-stretched to its penultimate second. The supposed laws of physics break down in examination rooms, where the only way to mark time is to count the words the swim up out of the whispered conversations in the hallway--platelets, anemia, fungus. It takes at least eight symptoms for the doctor to arrive.
I seem to be the only person who does not see the logic of owning a gun.
I buy fanciful things at the market: black bread that nobody in the house will eat (except me), two bottles of rose, that desert mesquite honey that tastes so smoky & floral on a buttered biscuit, two bags of trail mix. I do not need these things; I need these things.
I sing Jimi Thing at the top of my lungs in the car because I am alone. When The Kid is here, we do a little Bohemian Rhapsody, a tone-deaf duet. We both have horrible voices & ridiculous hair.
Sometimes I write a blog entry & then I have blogger's remorse & wonder if I should delete the occasional post by my alter ego, Susie Crankypants (as she can be a tad snarky & negative), but I am too compulsive. Still, I would like communicate via sea monkey on every other Thursday, at least. I write in this electronic space because it helps to get me started, to play around with words a bit before I play around with them For Reals. My monthly horoscope warned me against posting too much personal stuff on facebook & twitter as I might offend some random human. It didn't say anything about my blog. Heh.
Yesterday was Easter or Whatever Spring Holiday You Celebrate & it was mostly quiet over here, just a handful of us eating & talking. I made the usual roast beast, a fingerling potato salad vinaigrette, a veggie casserole, a chickory & strawberry salad, some rolls, red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese icing. I have leftovers. I am not having them for breakfast, although M took a cupcake with him this morning. I would have loved a big pan of homemade macaroni & cheese like Rachel was having, but I am the only person who appreciates such things & I cannot consume a whole pan of that by myself, no matter how delicious it is with the panko crumb topping & oh man I shoulda just made it anyway.
My husband's grandmother brought us a bouquet of Easter Lilies & the whole house smells very floral.
I slept with the window open again so I could smell the rain. I am thinking about all things olfactory this morning. This weekend, the house smelled like rain & lilies & chocolate-y cupcakes.
I like to listen to the rain too. It's soothing.
I am throwing caution to the wind & having a cup of coffee this morning. This may or may not be a horrible decision. I don't care, but I might care later.
This day was long, long, long. I spent the day downtown seeing a mediocre play that neither bored nor interested me. Sometimes that's how it is. On the upside, nobody sat next to me. Even better, nobody with wicked B.O. & nasty, pointy elbows sat next to me, which is awesome. A man in a green coat admired my green coat & thought we should converse in the street (he promised it would be fun) seeing as we both had green coats & all, but I declined. Perhaps on some other day I might have discussed the bitchin' nature of green coats & how much cash I had to spare & whether or not I needed to be saved by Xenu High Dictator of the Galactic Confederacy but not today. I wanted to go to Borders & make fun of the bestsellers, but alas, I only had time to mock a few of those wacky tomes (ostensibly) penned by conservative pundits that seem to be popping up in Evil Chain Bookstores Everywhere. Sometimes to demonstrate my literary disfavor I turn these books face down & walk away. (I cannot flip the covers the bird in front of my mom. She wouldn't like it.) My reasons have less to do with a general distaste for conservative ideology than you might think; mostly, I am angry at the conservatives for ruining the concept of a tea party for ever & ever. Tea parties should have scones & pretty flowered teacups & earl grey with lemon, not misspelled signs & ill-fitting novelty shirts & promises of an armed revolution. Instead, there should be tiny cubes of superfine sugar served with a delicate pair of silver tongs.
They had a sign up for national poetry month on the end-cap, but all they had to offer was Emily Dickinson & Charles Simic & Billy Collins, which is okay I guess. Still, it would have been way cooler if they had brand-spanking-new books by contemporary poets, but of course I know better, because it's Borders for cripes sake. People buy Twilight T-shirts there.
I ate lunch in a restaurant that tried to sell me a wedge of iceberg lettuce for seven dollars but seeing as we have not yet had an apocalyptic food shortage, I thought this rather optimistic on their part. I was not persuaded by their hoary promises of maytag bleu cheese. Seven bucks is too much for a wedge of crappy lettuce. Period. Also: I cannot spend an entire day talking to people for hours on end. It's exhausting. I have decided I hate talking & will happily write back & forth with everybody but real-time reciprocal conversation is just too taxing. Instead of calling on the phone & arranging a real-time visit with me, people should just send unexpected presents in the mail. Anything would do. Send me an oven mitt or a magic 8-ball or a packet of sea monkeys so I know you are thinking of me. That would suit me just fine. I will send you something awesome in return, like sparkly ribbons & tiny bottles of super-fancy sea salt. I think this would be a great way for people to communicate. Remember how Maggie Gyllenhaal leaves an earthworm on James Spader's desk in Secretary? Yeah. You know what I'm talking about.
Today, I want to be a surgeon or a waitress, so I can take something wrong & make it right, whether it's eggs-over-easy or a spastic pancreas.
Today, I want to have pralines & whiskey cocktails on the front porch, wearing a red dress & mules.
Today, I want for everything to slow down & soften & blur & grow slightly green, as if we are underwater.
Today, I want to be the kind of woman who does not gasp at the sight of something moldy in the refrigerator.
Today, I want the goddamn telephone to be as silent as Yorick's skull, for I am not capable of infinite jest.
Today I have opened all the windows so I can smell the newly-minted April air (shit, that's a brand name for something, isn't it? An air conditioner, perhaps? A refrigerator?). I wish I could block the sound of those clumps of identical platinum-moms that stand on the street corners in their capri pants & sandals gossiping & stopping to yell "NO" every couple of minutes. I am trying to pretend they are just really, really noisy crows. As if no-no-no-no-no were some kind of rare & wonderful birdcall. This might be more effective if I visualized a blonder species of birds. I would prefer living here if the crow::person ratio were higher in favor of crows. Yes, there would be more poop on the roof of my car, but quite possibly less overall unpleasantness. This would be nice. Nevertheless, there is no denying that the day is just spring-lovely & the air licks your skin like a velvety tongue & the chattering of insects is rather pleasant. I am wearing a skirt. I am drinking iced tea. The house is full of books & there is a huge pineapple on the kitchen counter that I plan to disassemble shortly. Also, there are teenage boys on go-carts & dirt bikes & I think this is a good kind of noise, because it's happy & utterly unselfconscious & doesn't seek to deaden the world around them but to enliven it.
Last night I dreamt of a party crowded with everyone I had known as a child, but had forgotten as an adult. The people were all quite androgynous but I recognized them as they approached, the names & faces flooding back as if they'd never been lost in the first place. I find androgyny to be a particularly attractive state, in which beauty is de-gendered and recreated as something other than what we are told it ought to be. When I woke up, the dream was still gathered at the brain-edge of wonderful. I cannot even begin to isolate the dream symbols & to pick it apart, as I prefer to let it simply be what it is & nothing more. Sometimes this is necessary.
Today, I want somebody to tell me it's okay to use the phrase "grisly corpse" in a poem about something beautiful. I want to wear an unsuitable shade of lipstick. I want my hair to stand on end & still look amazing. I want to overcome my fear of honeybees & talk to them on hot afternoons & find them charming.
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.