Thursday, February 25, 2016

The world is rude, silent, incomprehensible at first,
nature is incomprehensible at first.
Be not discouraged, keep on,
there are divine things well envelop’d,
I swear to you there are divine beings
more beautiful than words can tell.

    - Walt Whitman, as quoted in The Heron Dance Book of Love and Gratitude

Sunday, February 21, 2016

worth doing is worth doing badly

-Jack Gilbert, "Failing and Flying" 

Monday, February 15, 2016

President's Day

President's Day
I walk to the bank to deposit some checks. When I reach the bank's doors there is a sign taped to the inside of the glass: The bank is closed. It is President's Day.

Bachelorette party

Technically, my friend is no longer a bachelorette; she got married in a small civil ceremony in January. Still, yesterday we drove to the spa in the cold to celebrate. First I got a massage, during which the Israeli masseuse informed me [does it count as informing if you already know?], over and over again, that my back is so very tenze. She "cupped" me [is that the verb form of "cupping"?], forty-five minutes of silicone suctioning the muscles in my back and shoulders. My muscles appreciated the release, but, in truth, part of me felt disappointed to be touched by silicone instead of human hands. Afterward she said, please drink lots of vater after this. She said, please come back in a few veeks. She said, your back is so very very tenze.

Next I got the first manicure of my life. I picked a color that I liked; incidentally, it was similar to the color on the nails of one of the contestants on this season of the Bachelor, which I had noticed a few weeks ago while she was on that week's group date with Ben. I am not usually wont to notice things like nail polish, so I thought it might be a sign, given that I noticed and appreciated said color of nail polish only a few weeks prior to getting the first manicure of my life. I selected the color with confidence and endured the manicurist filing my nails, the sound and the feel of it a mild form of torture. After that we got pedicures. I have only had four pedicures in my life and I can't say that this was the best, or even the second best, but there wasn't anything inherently wrong with it; it simply was not the best or even the second best pedicure that I've ever received in my life, but it was nice enough.

Because I have had four pedicures in my life, and because I had girlfriends in middle school, I am relatively familiar with having nail polish on my toe nails, and looking down to see ten dots of color gripping the floor at the edges of my feet, or swaddling them inside a winter sock, doesn't phase me much. What has required an adjustment in the 27 hours since I've left the spa is looking down at my hands and seeing perfectly painted and preserved dots of color at the edge of each of my fingers. On any given glance at my hands there is a fifty percent chance that I will think, hot damn those look good, and a fifty percent chance that I will think, what in the hell is that, get it off of me. I took a walk in the snow and was startled, upon entering the local CVS, where I stopped to buy toilet paper, to discover perfectly manicured hands sliding out of my mittens. I appreciated my manicured hands then, but perhaps partly because it did not at first seem to me that they were my hands. Instead it felt as if I was observing a different woman, one who is always well put together and consistently tends to the details of her character and appearance--including, but certainly not limited to, the condition of her hands--and I thought, my, that woman is so well put together, even here in this CVS in the middle of winter. 

For sale

For sale: Dairy-free protein shakes. 11 single-serving containers, unopened. Two flavors: chocolate and french vanilla. Must pick up. Will not hold for more than 24 hours.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Dear Diary (II)

Dear Diary (II)
Terrible news: I have just eaten my last gluten-free waffle.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

allegory (III)

Sometimes I worry that no one else will find that parenthetical as strikingly delightful as I do. When I think about it further I realize that every one of my favorite authors is a favorite precisely because they showed me what they thought was hard or peculiar or beautiful, and I saw it that way too. They did not write something that they knew for certain would be understood. They wrote, and they hoped someone would understand. And I did. If it is possible for these authors to be understood then that means it is categorically possible, according to the laws of logic, that someone, somewhere, might understand me and what I find hard, or peculiar, or beautiful.

New to sewing
If the blond woman sitting comfortably on the purple couch while smiling out from the box can use this sewing machine, surely it is worth spending my hard-earned money on the presumption that I can too.

Clearing snow

When clearing snow off the outdoor stairwell, particularly in 13-degree weather, it is best not to count how many steps still need to be cleared.

Trouble with the lamp
My favorite lamp is hand-molded clay, brown, topped with a beige, woven shade. Because this lamp is my favorite, I placed it on my bedside table the day that I moved into this apartment. That way I could use the lamp every day, which I desired to do, because it is my favorite lamp. The trouble is that something is wrong with the lamp, such that occasionally it fails to turn on. Sometimes it will turn on, but only after I have flicked the switch back and forth over and over again. Often I'll wiggle the switch side to side at the same time that I move it back and forth, which is sometimes more effective than simply sliding it in one direction at a time. Occasionally, despite all my efforts, the lamp simply will not turn on. Other times it will turn on, but I will have barely picked up my nighttime reading before it flicks off again. Using this lamp has become very frustrating, and I have been considering removing the lamp from my bedside table. The trouble is that I do not want to remove this lamp from my bedside table because it is my favorite lamp, and I desire to use it every day.

Two kinds of people

You have the Garth Brooks of the world, and then you have two burritos decked out in sequins.

One thing I like about The Lord of the Rings
Something as small as a butterfly or a forest weed can change the outcome in the battle of good versus evil.

What do small teeth signify?

I have been mildly obsessed with my teeth since February of last year, when that dickhole of a dentist shamed me for having imperfect teeth. I didn't realize that not wearing my retainer for seven years would make such an impact. My two front teeth were crooked before I had braces and they are crooked again now, although not so crooked as they were before I had braces. I've had a hard time coping with the realization that my teeth are crooked all over again, even after living through the hell that is wearing braces for two years of high school, ever since I visited that dickhole of a dentist, because I am particularly susceptible to shame. I have been trying to comfort myself by thinking that perhaps it is actually quite poetic that my teeth are finding their way home. I am trying to think that perhaps there is a life lesson in this about accepting yourself for who you are the first (or, in the case of my crooked teeth, the second) time around. I am thinking that maybe my crooked front teeth are part of me and therefore part of my charm.

Some days I really believe these thoughts; other days I have had some trouble believing them. In any case, I found this comforting:

  • I. Crooked Teeth (especially bottom teeth): You see both sides of every issue. While you might be good at debate, you hate to be wrong, so you will often double check your facts before proceeding. Your challenge is that you hold yourself to impossibly high standards, weighing every decision. (I know a family who’s four kids are all involved in Speech and Debate… and their bottom teeth are very crooked)

-from Spiritual Seeker, Face Reading (Physiognomy): Smiles and Teeth

extraterrestrial experience

I suddenly had an extraterrestrial experience in which I was able to see, much like an astronaut taking cellphone shots from outer space, all of the earth and its peoples all at once. What struck me most is how many people were sitting or standing inside or outside, by themselves or with others, screaming at and shaming the few brave people on this planet who try to do something.

Dear Diary

Dear Diary
Big news: Last night I ate some salmon with mashed potatoes, and this morning I was able to eat scrambled eggs on a gluten-free waffle. It's about time. After two weeks of consuming nothing but chicken broth and dairy-free protein shakes I can see bones between my breasts. That's not really the look I'm going for these days.

Better friends
You read about what happened to Gram Parsons' body and you feel like maybe you should find yourself some better friends.

In need of convincing
These feelings that I'm feeling complicate my mind. I am not exactly sure what I want, which is further complicated by the fact that I am also not entirely sure what I need. Some days it seems I have convinced myself one way, only to discover a few days or a week or, perhaps, even a month or several months later that I have convinced myself the other way. Some days I feel sure, but then I start to question whether I am actually sure or if I am trying to believe that I am sure because feeling sure is much less complicated than not feeling sure, and, in wondering these things, I realize that I must not really be sure. Other days I feel that I am positively sure, but the obstacles to embodying that sureness are very high, and so I start to wonder if I am really sure enough to justify confronting those obstacles and, in wondering this, I begin to convince myself that perhaps I am not as positively sure as I had originally thought. This has gone on for some time now, and, as you can imagine, it all feels rather complicated.

Ice cube
The cat has learned to associate the sound of the freezer door opening with the possibility that he might be given an ice cube or several. He loves to play with ice cubes. He baps them all over the kitchen, down the hallway and into the living room, and occasionally he'll knock them down the stairs and watch them fall all the way to the bottom. If an ice cube fails to fall the whole way down the stairwell, and instead stops on one of the wooden stairs, he will run down to where the ice cube has interrupted its downward trajectory and knock it, once again, off the edge. At times he will bap ice cubes underneath the brown couch in the living room, and then he will sit beside the couch waiting, and hoping, for an ice cube to leap out so that he can bap it back underneath the couch again. He enjoys these games so much that now, whenever I open the freezer door, he will come running into the kitchen, no matter where he was in the apartment prior to hearing the freezer door open, or what he was doing.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

I don't give a damn what the history books say about me

Upon consideration
I've had some time to think about it and I have decided that I am pro compost and anti mucus, only as I think about it further, as I am obliged to do while writing this pro compost/anti mucus declaration, it occurs to me that mucus provides some really valuable services and, despite the time that went into thinking it, I may need to rescind my original statement.

This evening I discovered that at some point in the seven years or so that I've used this phone, I saved the following text to my drafts:

"I don't give a damn what the history books say about me because they're probably going to be wrong." 

I cannot speak for the state or the mindset I was in when I wrote this, nor where nor when. I have no memory of punching these words into the keypad. It seems a bit presumptuous of me, to assume that I will end up in history books in the first place. My life is remarkable but only in the sense that all of life is remarkable; not the kind of remarkable that gets written into history books. Perhaps I meant it more as a rallying cry: "Dance like nobody's watching," and all that. Don't worry about what other people think because they don't know you anyway, and all that. Was I drunk? The statement seems to imply a certain level of defensiveness, which I find unnecessary, because I believe there is nothing to defend. Or perhaps somewhere I read something about myself in a history book after all, and I found the contents upsetting, and I was trying to comfort myself, because even if nobody else was or ever would be aware of it, I myself knew that the inaccurate content was wrong.

Lit Reading
I didn't go to the lit reading tonight after all. At first I felt fine about it, because I was hungry, and staying home meant that I would have time to eat. I was also quite looking forward to taking a bath, and I thought I might do some writing afterward. Now I have eaten and laid in the tub reading for close to an hour. I am wearing clean pajamas and writing on my laptop while Wilson sleeps on my lap on the white chair in the living room. It is a peaceful, uneventful evening, except for the occasional, piercing bouts of regret that I feel for not having attended the lit reading tonight after all.

Trying to explain
There is a cut on the middle finger of my right hand. In addition I have a dozen or so small, dried cuts spread across my knees, the result of Wilson bapping me for attention as I sit at my desk. I have tried to explain to him that I am not covered in nearly as much fur as he is, and consequently what would feel like an inconsequential bap to him, for me quite stings and tears my flesh. So far I do not think he has understood this lesson.

Running inside
Today it was cold enough that I decided to run inside, at the gym, instead of outside, which is where I usually run.

The wounds in the left side of my cheek are healing quite well but the wound in the right side of my cheek, where they sewed in a few stitches (I opened my eyes, for the first and only time, right as the surgeon was pulling the thread through the wound and up out of my mouth), looks like a relatively large, black hole, and I cannot see into it nor determine where the hole ends. For all I know, if I drop a grain of rice in there it will fall out somewhere near my right pinky toe.

What Lydia Davis was trying to say, I think, is that you can tell two entirely different stories with the exact same words.

I need to buy a new toothbrush.

There is so much to see. This used to make me anxious: How will I ever see it all in this lifetime? Now, I think, I find this liberating. There is no way I will ever see it all in this lifetime.

Suddenly and inexplicably I am overcome with the urge to write banana.

I didn't mean to sound so callous. I'm not here to break hearts.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016


The subject lines come pouring in. Project Update #26. Meeting reminder -- this Sunday 4-6 pm. Your blog or Medium? New assignment. Session #8. Top 5 double-decker bus conversions. Poem of the day. Everything that is made beautiful and fair. Is Adele sticking up for chickens?

I care about a lot of things in life, including the wellbeing of chickens. But I cannot fathom caring less about whether or not Adele is sticking up for them.

It occurs to me that nobody writes about suburbia with any kind of romance. It's all urban undergrounds or cabins out in the middle of nowhere, perhaps filled with violent secrets. Well I spent the first eighteen years of my life in suburbia and it was probably way more influential than the year I spent riding the subways of New York, even though that's where all the cool kids go to write meaningful things. I sure do like cabins, though.

Tell me again why I need to have "the whitest teeth."
Oh really, you've found another body part of which I should feel ashamed?
Thank goodness you're here!

I play the word game on my friend's smartphone.
I avoid words liked "glued" and "stuck."
We're fighting again, and it's my fault, I'm sick of this.

I am so fucking thirsty.

This would make a great opening for a short story:
"For reasons of public decency, women convicted of high treason were instead burned at the stake."

Have you ever attempted to assemble a puzzle with a cat in the room? It will not end well for anyone, including the puzzle pieces.

I think we need a signal of some kind. Here, you go by Mac and I'll be Honeybee. Say the code words and we'll meet by the bridge. Bring some water and gluten-free sandwiches. I have fresh air in my tires. Please don't give up on me.