Beam me up, Scotty! (part 2)

Poetic Public Domain Image

Due to the faithful forward-paying of germs between daughters and mothers, I canceled my swank plans tonight to go to a Poetry Reception at Bucknell.  Yes, that Bucknell.

Instead, I stayed home and judged a poetry contest.

It was for Category #13 of the PA Poetry Society’s Annual contest.  Here’s a link: Click Contests once you get there.

These were poems with the subjects “Arts, Artists, Artistry.”

A lot of them were very, very bad.

One or two–which is enough–were good enough.

I learned about some artists. I always enjoy learning about artists.

Boris Vallejo is a fantasy painter.  Someone wrote a poem about his painting, “Amber.”

Someone else wrote about Felix Valloton’s  “La Ballon.”

But once more, I find myself ill-equipped to offer any thoughts or perspective on the matter.  I am, instead, beat, exhausted physically and intellectually, and desirous of some horrible television.

Goodnight, Fair Blog Readers.  At least tomorrow is free story Wednesday.  So If I can’t muster any thinking, at least I can paste an old, potentially salacious, story.

Beam me up, Scotty!

Grant me Serenity. Public Domain Image

I read this great essay today in Tin House.  It was called, “Mirror Mirror: A Guide To Pathos” by Crystal Williams.  It is a lovely essay, poetic, and passionate, and brings up all kinds of terrific ideas and issues with cultural notions of beauty.  There are some haunting images from Detroit in the piece.  And it kind of gave me a eureka moment about the essay.  Like, you don’t always have to conclude something, man.  As Williams said, “I think I’m late to that party.”

And I was going to write a laudatory blog post about Crystal Williams’ essay.

But instead, I’m going to wax mom-austic about a decidedly ugly event of this season of sick.


It was Child’s first time today.

She went up to her teacher and said, “Ms. H___, my vagina hurts.”

Ms. H____ was, of course, worried and called me as soon as she could.

Turns out, Child was sharting all day (which accounts for the sore body parts) and spent at least the last hour of her day with a remarkable, yellow diarrhea slick in her poor, un-padded pants.

I asked her why she didn’t ask to go to the bathroom, and she said, “We’re not allowed to go to the bathroom during X”  I said, “If you’re not feeling well, it’s okay to ask to go to the bathroom, even when it’s against the rules.”

After the third bath, Child said, “Diarrhea Sucks!”

Oh, the mouths of babes.

It’s 6 loads of laundry and 3 baths later, and I am too tired to tell you about my lovely day.  I’m too worn out to contribute anything.  Aside from a few crass lines about poop, I’m tapped.


Tin House, Woody Allen, Terry Gross, Soon-Yi, Mia Farrow, Fresh Air, Mag-gie-Ship-stead!

Public Domain Image

Yesterday, Dave Davies replayed a Terry Gross interview with Woody Allen on Fresh Air. You can read about how I feel about Woody Allen here.  I also really like Terry Gross.  She is an excellent interviewer.

This morning, I read this short story in Tin House by Maggie Shipstead called “You Have A Friend in 10A,” that was about a young famous person (actress) who’d been absorbed by a cult, and has a horrible relationship with her mother, a daughter who’s still in the cult, and a bunch of strangely self-conscious ego.

And the piece was lovely, fabulously written, and uncomfortable and funny and strange, kind of like that Woody Allen movie Celebrity.

In the end of the Terry Gross interview, which was done in 2009, and was about Whatever Works  (a movie that Allen did before marrying Soon Yi, Mia Farrow’s adopted daughter, who was 19 to Allen’s 6o-something) that addressed May-December romance, she asked him what parallels exist between his life and his work. Kind of insistently.

Of course, Allen denied that the movie him is really anything like the real him, who is a guy who likes to watch baseball games in his underpants with a beer.  Gross persisted.  Both struck me as deeply disingenuous.

Like Allen was saying, “Everybody thinks you’re such a sensitive interviewer, and I’m going to show you to be a bumbling jerk.”  And Gross was sying, “Everybody thinks your a child molester, and I’m going to corner you into admitting it.”

In the Tin House story, the cult leader is also a celebrity, which is how this young woman is absorbed into the cult in the first place.

The piece opens with her at 14, in her own bathroom, holding the adult male testicles belonging to her movie director while he jacks off, immediately after she bumped her first line of cocaine.

I couldn’t help but think about Woody Allen and Soon-Yi.  Which I wouldn’t have, if I hadn’t heard Gross and Allen posturing at each other.  It seemed like they were kind of beaming each other with deeply politically correct and polite contempt.

I couldn’t help but imagine how watching Woody and Mia do their strange, not-domestic/domestic thing, how being reared in the shadows of celebrities would affect a kid.

I couldn’t help but be a little bit grossed out, couldn’t help but see the parallels:  Woody Allen was that movie director in Shipstead’s story, and Soon Yi was that defenseless, naive innocent.

And I am sad.  Because I strongly, firmly, adamantly believe that other people’s private lives are none of my business.  I don’t want to know about them.  I don’t know anything about them by looking at them from the outside. I don’t care about politicians’ sexual orientations.  I don’t care if they’re faithful to their wives.  It doesn’t matter.

But when people choose celebrity–when they choose to live in the public eye–do we hold them to a different standard?  Do they do ridiculous things just because they know people like me will write blog posts, and other people will write barely true magazine articles, and follow them around snapping photos?  Is it some kind of secret, celebrity in-joke?  Is it that you actually go to LA or Hollywood or wherever these folks live, and they’ve got station wagons and sweatpants, just like the rest of us?

I know it’s old news.  But I’ve been doing my best not to think about it.  It’s just way too close to pederasty.  Which fills me with sadness and disgust.

Will I keep watching Woody Allen movies?  Yes.  Will I suspend judgement?  Eventually.  Why?  Because.  It’s none of my damn business, and who knows?  Maybe it’s a wonderful, healthy, rewarding, beneficial thing for everybody involved.

I hate authority.

Even this kind.

This trait came from my dad.  Or the nature that spawns this trait is from my dad.

My dad never ever just pays a parking ticket, speeding ticket, or any other kind of ticket.  He always goes before the judge and pleads his case.  He once spent a weekend in jail so that he wouldn’t have to pay a fine for speeding.

I am also that kind of asshole.  I’m a little less inclined to go to court to give those mouth breathers (in my mind, every person with authority is next-door-to-comatose stupid) a chance to judge me to my face.  I’m more likely to pay the fine but send a searing letter that nobody will read.  Yeah!  Take that!

I get this little tingling in my fingers, and my knees go weak, and I get so irrationally angry whenever I see police lights in my rear view, or whenever somebody is telling me to do something or not to do something just because they can.

We’ve been watching John Oliver’s New York Comedy Special on Netflix. Unrelated to authority, I think John Oliver is incredibly cute.  Like wanna-see-him-naked cute.  I think it’s the dimples more than the accent.  Which is queer for me, because I’ve always fancied myself a bit of an anglophile (you can all blame Roald Dahl for this.  He has been my standard for good reading & jokes since 1985).  But in J.O.’s case, it’s definitely those deep, deep dimples.  And the cute glasses & hairiness.  And because he’s smart and funny. Right.

But Eugene Mirman, who is cute in a totally different way from John Oliver, said on one of the episodes, “There are two things I’m afraid of, authority and _____.”  I forget the second thing because I didn’t hear it because I was busy thinking about my own feelings about authority, and whether I would describe them as fear.

Maybe I would.  Maybe that ass-cheek clenching moment of gut-sink adrenaline surge every time I get pulled over, or even waved on by a traffic rent-a-cop, is fear instead of hate.  Maybe the hate comes later.  Maybe Eugene Mirman taught me something about myself.

But every time I drop Child off at school, and I watch her get swallowed by that monolithic, public grade school, I swallow a little bit of the bile of this fear, and I remind myself that I’m a grownup, and I tell myself that institutions are good for people, and whatever other psychobabble I can croon to myself (like a mother to a baby–sometimes my inner life is creepy like that) to help me resist the temptation to run over that kindly, old, crossing guard who loves the children.

But he is telling me how to drive with his smug reflective jacket and white gloves.  Who does he think he is?  This is one of the many, may reasons I’m glad that we walk to school most of the time.  Fewer impulses to control.  I have no power in my fists.  Only in my 1.9 liters of Nissan Versa fury.

And the principal, who I initially liked more than last year’s, even though I finally decided that blowhard was okay, but showy and disingenuous in that gelled-hair-I’m-in-my-30s-with-3-kids-and-I-have-a-real-job way, which is really more about insecurity than actual douche-baggery, right?  I mean maybe.

Anyway, this new guy.  Mr. F____.  He’s nice enough. Ish.  I went to pick up Child about 3 days ago.  As I walked up the hill, I saw her going back and forth between the stairs and the mouth of the school, plucking the elbows of grownups.  I thought, “what the heck is she doing?”  As I got closer, I saw the urgency in her movements and the wide-eyed panic, and I thought, “Oh shit.  Somebody’s unconscious.”

As it turned out, some little boy was crying because he ran into a light post.

When I got to child, she was plucking Mr. F____’s elbow, saying, “Elroy got hurt and he is crying” and the weeping boy had attached himself to Mr. F_____’s belt, and Mr. F_____ said to Child, “Where is he?” and child laughed and said, “He’s right there.” and pointed to the blubbering 50 lbs attached to F____’s belt.

Mr. F____ asked Elroy (not his real name), “Were you being safe?”

Not, “Are you okay?”

“Were you being safe?”

Pretty sure the kid was just playing.  Six year olds do not process the safety of their actions.  They are like the extreme sports of the under-ten set.  Child likes to hang out by the stove.  She chooses the moment I have something that’s at least 300 degrees F tenuously grasped in an oven mitt to pluck my elbow.  I invariably screech, “Child!” and she invariably says, “Sorry!”

Saying, “Think before you act” to a six year old is like asking an Ostrich to quit laying such damn big eggs.

So Mr. F____’s reaction to Elroy’s little booboo seemed inappropriate.

And of course, I thought to myself, Mr. F____ is a douchebag. Of course he wasn’t being safe.  Wouldn’t a better question be, “what have we learned?”  Assface.

Six year olds will get it if you connect the dots for them.  They are not good at connecting their own dots, though.

I am uncomfortable having such strong reactions to people just because of what they represent.  I want to like people. I want to think Mr. F____ is doing a good job considering that he spends his whole life policing people who don’t shave or menstruate.  But I also want to think that he might’ve learned a thing or two about child behavior, development, etc. in all his years of schooling.

And I want to send my kid to some hippie school where they talk about thinking as an activity, and kids only get punished for things that really deserve punishment, and there is extreme emphasis on self-directed learning and critical thinking and reading for knowledge.  Or home school her with a cadre of hippie tutors who I’ve hand picked from the catalogue of awesome Ivy-League child-development experts who are also kind and cool and not anal or overly permissive–who strike the perfect balance between firm and fun.

But the economic reality of the situation is that I will probably keep sending Child to public school, and she will do fine, and that will be good, because public school is much more like reality than hippie school, even though she’d learn more and have a better brain.  But really? What good is a better brain?  Better brains just mean you are more frustrated when people behave stuipdly.

In other news, watch out your inbox for junk mail form g-mail security.  They are lying.  They are not Gmail security, because G-mail does not have a hyphen.  Mark it as spam.  DO NOT CLICK THE LINK.  See?  Noticing details in written language has its benefit s after all.

Four Links You’ll Love: or I’m a Lazy Blogger (yeah!)

I took this picture, but don't remember doing so.

I am living just now in that not-space in my mind where all the things I want to say are blurred together, a smear, not distinct from itself or other smears.  There are smears for the grand things I have not done yet, like buy a star for Child’s menarche, or spend a month on another continent.  For the mundane things like taking out trash and doing laundry that I have also not done.

Because I have, all day, swallowed mucous and made hot tea and thought about things, but remained mostly inert.

So instead of attempting to say anything reasonable to you in my muted capacity, I will make some links to things I read today and yesterday that made me happy, and to some nice music that made me sad.

Kristen Lamb is really cute.  I know because I have read her blog, and because she is cute on Twitter.  This post is cute, but it’s also funny in parts, and good advice for anybody dealing with trolls.

I’m pretty sure that I might be replacing Penelope with Justine Musk.  And it’s not for the assonance in her name.  It’s for the rebellion. And for her delicious writing.  

The Rumpus is a great place to get sucked in reading for hours.  This particular post made me really happy, and when I sat down to write for you today, I almost wrote a mimicry of this.  But my brain would not cooperate.  Go forth and read.  And smile.  And then write your own list.  That is my assignment for you.  Post it in the comments or on your own blog and post a link in my comments.

And now for the music that made me a little (or a lot) sad. I mean, it’s sad in a nice way.  Like how sometimes I cry uncontrollably at Johnny Cash songs because they are so deeply felt, so sincere, so evocative.  That’s how these are.  If you know Jim White, he’s like that, too, but with a softer edge, sort of.

Fun Fact from researching the links here: Jim White has a bizarre web presence.  Google him.  Jim White Music.  Click like the first 4 links.  Odd.

Stories I Wrote: Vernacular

When I wrote this, I remember specifically that I was experimenting with fully imagining myself as someone else.  This is a difficult thing, and doing it can be a hazard of writing fiction.

I recall that this protagonist was kind of a mashup my best friend’s girlfriend, and one of my other friends, and myself.  She was kind of the best–or what I thought were the best at the time–parts of all of us.  And sassier than any of us can be in real life.

I am kind of embarrassed by this story now, because it seems salacious.  But I’m sharing it today because I’m thinking about how my process is kind of re-evolving as I re-immerse myself in it.  And It’s going faster this time.  And this time, at this stage–this talking through somebody else’s mouth stage–I’m getting better stuff.  Fun stuff.  Stuff that’ll be a joy for you to read in a few weeks.  Stuff that I’ll feel good about sending out into the world.  Stuff that has Bocce in it, and potential to grow into a novel.


We’re inBoston now.  At a seedy little shit-hole club called Vernacular.  They think they’re so clever, they spell beer beah, and bar bah.  They serve yards with “Bahstan Yahd” etched in the glass at the top.  Some wasted Bostonian frat boys were sucking down yards a while ago, until they got kicked out because they tried to start shit with me.  I just screamed and demanded the manager.  I don’t take shit.  I’m with the band.  I sit here, palm my can of Pabst Blue Ribbon, and sip it between verses.  I don’t like the way these skinny girls to my right are looking at Todd.  They’re all giddy and they think they can take these guys home after the show, because it’s a tiny venue.  They think that “Major Tit” (my boyfriend’s band — I know, stupid name, right?) is going to hang out in the crowd after and get loaded with the locals, like we’re on a tour bus.  We’re not.  We’re riding in this full size Dodge van with the back two seats taken out, and all the equipment, dirty pillows, dirty boy smell, suffocating my four little pink duffle bags.  We take turns driving.  I fucking booked their tour, and we have to get toVermonttonight because we have motel reservations.  I shoot Thing 1 and Thing 2 a look, and the trashy looking one closer to me nudges her sidekick and gives her a look like, “What’s her problem?”  I know that shit, though.  I do.  I used to be half of one of those duos, ‘til Todd and I got together, and Monica, my best friend, had to bite it.

I take out a cigarette and light it.  I have only two left.  I remember there was a convenience store on the same block as this stupid club.  A fucking excuse not to listen to this bullshit anymore.  They’re in the middle of this song, “She’s In Me.”  I know all the words, and I mouth along with them out of habit, but they’re shit, so I’ll spare you.  All you need to know is they’re mostly about me.  I wonder what those bitches over there would say if they knew I was this band’s fucking muse.  Todd writes all the songs.  Well, except for the one the drummer wrote called “It’s Alright with Me.”  The drummer’s the coolest one of the four of them.  He’s kind of quiet, and usually doesn’t say much during their Your Mom Fests.  Plus he has kickass hair.  It’s corkscrew curly, and comes complete with enviable eyelashes like so much DNA injustice.  I don’t know any girls with eyelashes or hair like that.  If I ever saw one, I would punch her.  But on him, it is okay, because he’s unassuming, and I’m still a lot cuter than he is.  His girlfriend, Stacy, was gonna come on tour with us, but she had to back out last minute.  And it sucks, because her parents have a conversion van they were gonna let us use.

They finish “She’s In Me,” and I slide out of my chair, shoot Todd an I want you look, and wink.  He nods, and I go out.  I look goddamn adorable today.  I’m wearing three-inch-square-heeled knee-boots from Hot Topic, and a black mini skirt.  A fitted black lace top, and lace-patterned stockings.  It’s June, so it’s comfortable outside when its dark.  There’s a breeze.  I light my next-to-last cig under Vernacular’s awning, and walk like don’t fuck with me, I am hot shit and I know it.  I don’t want anymore frat boy trouble.  I get to the store, and cigs are almost seven dollars.  Fuck that.  I order them, flash the seventeen-year-old clerk when he puts them on the counter, and pull a grab n’ go.  He’s too stupefied by my perfect tits to move much until I am safely back in Vernacular, nonchalantly packing them on the back of my left hand.

Todd is doing the introduction part.  I hate this shit.  I should have waited and gone for cigarettes during this.  He sounds like such a radio-DJ-reject.  He’s trying to be all smooth, and fumbling with the words, and saying extremely unoriginal things, “We’re Major Tit from Annapolis.  Uh, we gotta mailing list.  We got CDs for sale, four bucks.  I wanna’ thank Poppa Smurf and your mom.”  They go right into their heaviest number, “You’re a Shit Head, but I Love You” before the rotten fruit can fly.  I told Todd that he was trying to be Billie Joe from Green Day the first time he played that song for me.  He always acts like I haven’t said anything when I comment on their music.  He’s such a sexist.  Honestly, if I didn’t believe in this guy, I’d split right now.  It’s not like the band’s that great, but he’s dedicated, and he tries really hard.  Their shit’s about as good as the stuff on the rock stations.   And they’re all hot in their own ways, so I figure, by the time I’m twenty-three, they’ll be signed.  I’m twenty-one now.  Todd will be rich, and famous, and if he dumps me, I can sue him because I acted as their manager before they got a real one.  I have documents and everything.  My own fucking letterhead.

They’re done playing, and Todd is next to me in this booth that goes the length of the wall.  There’s a round table in front of us, and Thing 1 and Thing 2 look at me like, oh, we see how it is, and avert their cat eyes.  Todd’s got his arm around me and is cupping my right tit.  I want to sock him and say, “Not ‘tilVermont, ass.”  Instead I shoulder him off me and look away as I take his cig and drag on it.  I think of this one time, right after we got together.  He missed my birthday party, even though he promised he’d come, and so I took home this Kosovian.  His name was Vladmir or something, I don’t honestly remember, and I didn’t say it because I didn’t really know how to pronounce it.  He had a lumpy cock.  Not cancer-lumpy, fat-deposit lumpy.  He kept saying, “Suck my deek.”  I asked him why, because I hate giving blow jobs, and wasn’t so excited about his thick, misshapen wang in my mouth.  I would honestly rather just fuck.  I don’t know how some girls get off on that shit.  It’s like eating a hotdog popsicle that leaves especially aggressive sugar-film in the back of my throat.  Vladmir kept talking about me sucking his dick, he said, “Because I like eet.”  I said, “Well I don’t,” but he was tenacious, so I finally gave in.  I made him wear a condom, but it was his, and it must have had spermicide on it because it was bitter as hell.  I got to feeling sick during from whatever chemical I was eating, plus it gave me cotton-mouth, and before I could finish him off, I had to run to the bathroom and puke.  He was sweaty as hell, but he wouldn’t kiss me, so as punishment, I just lay there, with a burning throat, and let him fuck himself in me.  I was pissed.  Sometimes that shit is exciting, though, but this Don Juan lasted all of twenty seconds, and so it was disappointment all around.  Anyway, later that night, after I sent Mr. Kosovo home, and Todd was blowing up my cell phone, leaving apologetic messages, I showed up at his house.  Shoved him all the way to his room, and fucked him with Vladmir’s stink all over me.  He must not have noticed, or been so glad I came back, that he didn’t say anything.

The other three guys get a pitcher of beer, and join us at my perch.  They talk about the set, and about how cool it is to play shows at bars because of the cheap beer.  I want to ask them how come they don’t thank me for hooking all this glory up for them, but they’re oblivious.  It’s a lost cause, and Todd thanks me often enough.  Usually, after we have sex, he lays with his sweaty head in my armpit, and talks to the ceiling about how lucky he is to have me, and how I make him happier than anyone, and how he’s glad I go to their shows, and all this other sappy shit that I usually fall asleep during, but I recognize that it’s good of him to say.  I just don’t like listening to his bleeding heart.  I wish he were one of those stoic rock-band boys who pour all their sensitive artist shit into their songs, and not into their girlfriends’ eardrums.

Anyway, at least he’s hot.  And at least I booked us two rooms at the motel tonight.  The other three in one room, and Todd and I in the other.  It will be nice to have some solitude.  I want to take a fucking bath.  And I better get some solitude because my ass paid for the motel.  The guys saved up enough to rent the van, and for most of the gas money from their stupid jobs.  They get paid a little bit at some shows, and we all drink free or cheap, but I work full time, and had to use my vacation time to come along.  I don’t think they know that I paid for the motel.

Todd says he loves me.  I think he’s lying.  Not because he doesn’t believe he loves me, but because he doesn’t know what love is.  I know what love is, and this sure as shit isn’t it.  This is warm up.  After Todd makes me well-dressed and “in” with the rock-industry types, I’ll get a real rock star.  This is practical.  He has his head way up his own ass, he pays lip-service to the concept of love, but he loves his guitar, and his stupid bandmates, not me.

The bartender is yelling for everybody to get out, and the guys go load the equipment.  I stand by the front door and smoke.  My ears ring, and the chaos of the bar-exodus is like a buzz, not a ruckus.  I go to the van when I hear the back doors slam, and we get back on I-95.  It’s the bassist’s turn to drive, and I leave him on his own to look for the exit that will take us west to the motel inVermont.  I write down the name and the phone number of the Motel, in case he gets lost.  I give him my cell phone, and the print-out from Mapquest, too.  I pass out, and I expect that I’ll wake up to the ignition switching off.

It is cold, and I am shivering.  My legs goosebump under my stockings, and I jerk alert.  The van is vacant, and we are not in a motel parking lot.  I feel disoriented, and forget my hairstyle, shove my hand in my hair.  It pulls and I wince.  I fumble with the door handle, and slide more than step out of the van.  I rearrange my skirt, and look around me.  We are pulled off the side of a highway.  I walk around to the back of the van, and the guys are there smoking.

“Pull over for a smoke break?” I ask.

“Nah, man,” Todd says, “we’re lost.”

“Fucking shit.  What time is it?”  I say.

“’Round 4.”

How lost are we?”

“Pretty damn lost.  This is New Hampshire.”  He points, and I look at the exit sign just ahead.  It says, “PortsmouthNew Hampshire.”  Fuck it all.  None of the assholes thought to look at the map when they got off the directions from Mapquest.  I seethe and am this close to throwing an absolute tantrum.  Instead, I get back in the van and fish a blanket out of the back.  I start to doze, and the guys are rapping on the windows, saying, “Aren’t you going to help us?”  I pretend to be asleep.  They got us into this, they can get us out.  They’re guys.  They should know how to read a map.

I wake up in the motel parking lot.  The guys are unloading their crap, and I go to see about keys, etc.  It is6 a.m., the sun is rising.  This is fucking bullshit.  I breeze by them without a word, toss the drummer the key to their room, and hightail it to mine.  I let myself in, unlock the door so Todd can get in, and go to the bathroom.  I start up the tub, dump half the bottle of no-brand motel shampoo in for bubble bath, and get naked.  Good water pressure, excellent.  By the time I’m done peeing, the tub is halfway full, and I slide in.  The muscles in my back loosen.  I fart.  I hear Todd come in the room and he shuffles around for the light switch.  I hear his bag thunk onto the floor and the TV switch on.  He knocks on the bathroom door and asks to come in and take a leak.  I shut off the water and shout, “Okay!”

He always takes down his jeans to pee, and this time his underwear, too, because he knows I like his ass.  He yells at me about not helping them get unlost.  I clench my fists under the water and shriek about how fucking ungrateful and whiny he is for at least twenty minutes, until the phone rings, and it’s the motel office telling us to quiet down or they’ll call the cops.  I am in the tub all this time, and even my ass cheeks are starting to prune.  Todd is holding vigil at the open door to the bathroom, and I want to throw things at him, he is so fucking frustrating.  His goddamn arrogant mood, his self-righteous sense of entitlement to everything I have to offer is infuriating.  I tell him to go to bed, and mean it.  He does not budge.  He is in silent protest, I guess.  I slosh out of the tub and leave as much bubbles on me as I can.  I tiptoe up behind Todd, spread bubbles up and down his arms, bear hug him so his clothes are soaked and hoist myself up on him, straddle his lower back and piss on him.  He shrieks, spins around, and throws me off.  He yells and dances around like a grizzly bear.  I am giddy, simply hysterical.  I am on the floor, naked, red-in-the-face, laughing.  He peels his clothes off, and throws himself into my grayish, gassy tub water.  I laugh harder.  He’s calling me a fucking bitch, and he is genuinely pissed, but I can’t stop laughing.  I get on the commode to finish the peeing job I started on Todd, and then dip my ass in the tub water to rinse it off.  He grabs my ass, pinches it hard so my eyes water, and arms me around the throat, pulls me back against him and snags my ear with his eye teeth.  Not a love bite, but it turns me on.

I whip around, sit on his knees in the water, clench his torso with my knees and grab his dick.  “We have twelve hours ‘til your show.  Whaddaya wanna do?”  I ask.  He stands up, grabs my left upper arm so hard I know I’ll have a bruise, and drags me to the stiff bed.  We have angry, hard sex.  We hump and our pelvic bones beat together.  I’ve got both hands on his ass cheeks.  It’s automatic, easy.  For a moment, I can see us outside of myself.  I am floating in the air, just watching.  I smile.  He’s got one hand on my tit, and the middle finger of his other hand on my clit.  He’s rubbing it raw, and I know it’ll feel like sandpaper in my pants tomorrow.  I love day-long reminders of violent coitus.  We are both pooped:  all fucked out.

I get an oversized t-shirt and slide into it.  It sticks to the smear of cum on my belly.  I get back in bed and lie with my back to Todd.  He does this thing he’s never done before: gets close without touching, slides his hand up my shirt and curls it over my shoulder.  Just leaves it there.  It is not sexual.  He just wants to be near, I guess.  I brace myself for whatever love-babble will ensue, but nothing.  Just his breath on my neck.  Just his beautiful body so close that even though we are not touching, I feel him all around me.

I roll toward the bed’s edge, and Todd whimpers.  His grasp on my shoulder tightens.  I can’t stay.

“I have to pee,” I lie.

“Mmmh,” his breath pushes through his nose and he lets go.

I stand for a moment by the bed and look at Todd’s hair string itself out across the pillow.  The tip of his nose bends upward.  I get my purse and the key.  Open the door gently, close it quietly.  I need a cigarette.  I need a manicure.

She Loves It! New Haven, Interviewing, Place

This is from the Loves It! Facebook page. This is Loves It!

This Just In!

I loved interviewing Vaughn from Loves It! and Jenny when she was in Shotgun Party so much, and think their music is so great, that I’m putting it here.  You can listen all you like, or go to, and download or buy your own copy.

You know the very second I get an extra $12, I’ll be ordering me an old school CD, because that’s how I still listen to music in my car.


I was just writing interview questions for this band called Loves It!.  Sounds like a totally silly band, right?  Wrong.  Well, sort of wrong.  I mean, the name is silly and some of the lyrics are funny, but the band is a pretty serious band.  They are impressive, multi-instrumentalists, and they’ve got this vintage sensibility, and I love their songs.

They’re from Austin, TX.

As it turns out, I interviewed Jenny Parrott before, last time she was in Williamsport with her other, now defunct band, Shotgun Party.  Read that interview here.  Now she’s traveling about with her bestie who’s called Vaughan Walters, and they are just lovely to listen to.  Go forth, people.  Get their album (it’s called Yay!).  If you send them an email, they will tell you how to pay them and mail it to you.

Anyway, I was going to tell you in this post that there are some important things about writing interview questions, and that an interview is an opportunity for some multimedia credits, and you really ought to try to do a good job, etc etc, but then I thought, “How many people who read my blog do interviews?”

I think it’s safe to imagine that fewer than six of you do.  For you six, I’m sorry.  But here it is in a nutshell: ask interesting questions, record it, look for opportunities to re-publish it, don’t talk too much.

So then I was reading about Loves It! on Facebook, and it turns out that Jenny Parrott is from New Haven.  (It’s important to amass some information before an interview.  You can ask more interesting questions that way.)

If you only know me from Facebook, you probably think I’m from there, too.  It’s not really, technically true.  I lived there for most of my 20s, and I feel like I grew up there, became the person I am–or at least got permission to be who I am–there.

So I’m more comfortable calling that place, a place in which I always felt like I was home, my hometown.  I’m less comfortable calling my actual hometown, that still gives me the willies, my hometown.  And it’s the future, and the internet allows us to reinvent ourselves, so I’m being Gen Y in that way, even though I myself am right on the cusp of Gen X and Gen Y, and exhibit way more Gen X characteristics than Gen Y ones.

Jenny Parrott’s name is familiar to me, and was when I interviewed her for Shotgun Party, and now I’m thinking maybe she was playing around New Haven when I lived there.

For the Shotgun Party interview, I dismissed it.  Thought, “well, Jenny, duh.  Then Parrot, that’s a bird.  Of course it’s familiar.”

I’m excited to ask.

Still.  Point making.  I understand blog readers want that.  I’m getting there.

My point is, I was thinking about New Haven in that gushy, nostalgic-for-my-less-fettered-life way in which I sometimes do.  I was remembering the fun times I had there, and where I heard a lot of good, live music (Rudy’s and Toad’s Place), and how great it was to be free and light and learn a city, learn it so well that it was like I owned it.

I met so many righteous people and friends I still have there.  I just love that place so hard.

Part of the thing is that New Haven is kind of a fake city.  It’s small.  But it’s kind of hardcore, too.  Like, I’m always saying there’s no ‘hood in Williamsport.  That is true.  But New Haven has several.  Don’t get tricked by Yale.

Anyhow, last time I was there, I was kind of horrified to see that Rudy’s got a new storefront and a facelift and now looks like one of those posh places where people with designer clothing hang out.  When I lived in New Haven, Rudy’s was like the island for lost, hipster souls.  I met so many interesting alcoholics there, and was a bit of one myself.

I mean, not in the sense that I couldn’t get shit done and I was unproductive.  But I played a lot harder then.  I worked and played wicked hard.

So when I remembered the crisis about Rudy’s, I got a little bit of peace with not living in New Haven anymore. Almost none of the people I ran around with still live there–though some of the important ones do–and the downtown is different.  The energy is not the same as it was in 2003, before we brokeass kids were occupying Wall Street, and griping about the 1%.  And I’m all old and matronly now.

I’ve got more stuff going for me, and fewer itches to tempt fate, or dye my hair green or blue or ___________.  I’ve had fewer residences since then and fewer roommates, and I feel like I’ve slowed down in the way you’re supposed to by the time you get to 30.

And so if I went back now, I’m sure I would love it still, but there would be things that were missing that would make me really sad, things that would make me feel like it was stupid to move back.

Because places–even if the buildings and the roadways stay the same–are so much more than collections of concrete and mcadam.  In being inhabited by living things, places themselves live.  People’s identities and goals and energies change within a place, and the place is affected by that.

Part of Williamsport for me is nostalgia about New Haven.  Part of Carlisle for me was resentment that it wasn’t New Haven.  Pittsburgh was a worm hole of disappointment and failure.

But I think I’m home again now.  There is enough here that is worth it that the sharp memories of New Haven, and how great life was there, are fading and getting replaced by warm fuzzies in Williamsport.  Some things are obnoxious; but this is a good place, and I am glad to have landed here.

A Sunday in Humorous Anecdotes. (funny)

Public Domain Image

A thing about being a blogger is that about every third thing that happens in a given day is blog-worthy.

Being a blogger in the first place requires some self-discipline.  I’m trying to have better self-discipline.  Fella would probably argue.  He says I am no good with suspending gratification.  But that is ungenerous since he has no idea about my inner life.

I would agree that I see more sense in having what you want if it’s available and it won’t hurt you, as soon as you can.  But I also know the value of an insane work ethic, of having to commit to a thing and act hard before it can be yours.

I have not yet developed the self-discipline to write down the blog-worthy items as they arise.  I would probably never stop writing.  That would not be bad.

But we had a really cool time yesterday, Sunday, a couple of times.  The weather’s kind of crummy, so we stayed home.  I edited a pod cast and wrote an article.  Fella wrestled our cluttered abode into a state of lower clutter.

When Child was doing her homework, Fella and I were–in an effort to annoy her into being focused–singing about the beautiful picture she should draw.  Of course our song was terrible and we were both doing caricatures of our own voices, but it worked.

She covered her ears and said, “Please don’t sing about my beautiful picture anymore, please please please please.” The homework was done in record time.

Then, we discussed what we should feed her for dinner since Fella made extra-spicy (like burn-on-the-way-out spicy) chili.  Fella makes bomb ass chili.

We said, “What do you think we should make Child for dinner?”

“I don’t know.  How about snail brains and gruel?”

“Or what about boogies and brain meat?”

“Pus cups?”

Child said, “Ewwww!  No!  Gross!  You guys are really creeping me out.”

Fast forward to dinner. Fella and I spooned our greasy chili onto tortilla chips and Child housed her Grilled-American-on-White with chips, salsa, and a pickle.  Yeah.  Carbohydrates.  What?  Salsa is fruit.  Listen, sometimes I just give up the fight.  Sometimes, it’s better to let her win.

Anyhow, so Child said, “I got a great idea I bet you guys wouldn’t like.”

“Oh yeah?”

“You guys put some of that stuff on a chip,” pointing at the chili, “then I put whipped cream on it, then ketchup.  Would you eat it?”

“No!  Yuck!”

“How do you like me now, mommy?” She said this while doing her funny little dance that involves pointing her fingers in the air and sticking her tummy out and shaking it.

No joke.  I just about blew chili out my nose.


My Kid Is a Horrible Liar, I Am a Rockstar.

Child, ready for school, doing the over-spectacles peer.

Everyone, meet child.  This is a photo of her a short time ago, and she looks the same now, except we no longer have to roll those jeans, and she got bangs.

A cool thing about six-year-olds is that you can have conversations with them. They say things that are accidentally hilarious, and they’re figuring out sarcasm and all kinds of other verbal/social nuances, cues, and tricks.

Six-year-olds like to make stuff up.  Especially knock knock jokes.

Fella taught Child to say “wocka wocka” after every joke, regardless, so that at least we can laugh at the Fozzie incantation.

Here’s a transcript:  “Knock knock.” “Who’s there?” “Cat.” “Cat who?” “Oh no! There’s a dog next to me, I better run, wocka wocka.”

Child is at once sophisticated and deeply naive.

She is coming to terms with the world.  She experiences sadness and empathy.  She has dreams that scare her and delight her.  She tells me about them, and I feel lucky.

When she tells me she can’t sleep or when she seems to be deeply sad, I feel helpless and worried.  And I tell her that it’s okay to be sad, and I ask her about it, and she doesn’t have good answers.  Her go-to is, “I don’t know.”

So even though her emotional experience is visibly complex, her ability to discuss it is limited.

Yesterday, she came home from school with a hole in her pants.  It was a hole that smacked of intention, and it was on her right thigh.

Can you see where this is going?

“What happened to your pants?”

“I don’t know!”

“Clearly you do.  What happened?”

“I just told you, I don’t know.”

“Did you cut them?”


“How did that hole get there then?”

“Well, maybe it happened when I pulled up my pants because they were falling down.”

“Child, c’mon.  I don’t think that your pants would’ve ripped there if it happened when you pulled them up or down.”

“I don’t know!” She begins to weep.

The conversation continues like this, until she finally admits that she did, indeed, cut her pants.  Then she said it was because she was bored, then she said somebody else did it.  Then she said she did it because she was trying not to make eye contact with the little boy who the day before tried to kiss her and was probably on his way to try to kiss her again and then copy her work, when she got called away to her reading tutor.

I explained to her that she should tell me the truth about things, and that it’s important to be honest to that people trust her, and that I was less upset that she cut her pants, and more upset that she lied about it.  I said this for her benefit.  So that she would experience the unpleasantness of regret.  The sting of disappointing one’s mother.  These are extreme sensations to the under-ten set.

She was so scared that she’s not going to get to go to a birthday party on Friday that she would’ve said anything.

I explained that we’d probably go to the birthday party regardless because it’d be rude not to, since we already said we’d go, and because of the rules of child-party-reciprocity.

It did upset me that she cut her pants.  It didn’t really upset me that she lied.  I used to lie ALL the time when I was a kid.  Now, I’m so honest/ethical that it’s sometimes counterproductive.  People found it to be refreshing when I sold cars, and infuriating when I sold cell phones.

So I view the lying as a symptom of her limited vocabulary.  She lies because she wants to know if I’ll tolerate it, and because it’s way, way easier than trying to dig around for the words to use to tell the story of the truth.

Turns out, some people who study child behavior agree with me.

It also seems that I accidentally expressed a reasonable amount of displeasure in appropriate language.

Finally, my parenting instincts are good!  I expect this will be the case as child gets older.  She’s reached an age I remember being, and I think I have a more-clear-than-is-usual recollection of the emotional experience of being 6, 7, 8, etc.

When I was a kid, I lied because I enjoyed the thrill of getting away with something I knew was wrong, and because, as it turns out, I was testing my chops for writing fiction, which is my art of choice, and which was not a choice.

Now buckle in for the grownup portion of this post.

Fella believes that Child should’ve emerged from the chute with adult reasoning skills.  He finds what I view to be regular, childhood, testing-the-water behavior, and picky eating, and other strange, annoying, “these are the only ways I have to control my life” kid things to be cosmically imposing.

Fortunately, he always defers to me.

Unfortunately, I have a strong reflex to second guess myself. And I say all the time, “She’s only six!”

So when he postulated last evening about how “we must think of a way to stop this lying,” and “sometimes I think you don’t think very far into the future!,” I kind of wanted to curl into a ball and quit everything.

Yesterday was a long, mildly disappointing day, and I was emotionally drained from the hour-long pants conversation, and I’d been up since 5, and busy the way through, and hadn’t done zumba for like 2 days, and some other stuff, too, and just ugh.

(By the way, if you are depressed and sedentary, do zumba.  It is like Prozac, no joke)

This morning, I googled, “six year olds lying” and as it turns out, lots of other parents must also google that phrase, because the first five results were sites affiliated with hospitals, some more useful than others, and I sent Fella like 3 links, and congratulated myself, but not too much, and felt much better about things.

Then I went on to another extremely productive day, but I was clever enough to get up at 5 this morning and do Zumba straight away, so my day was entirely without unreasonable disappointment and self-consciousness and I was and will probably continue to be extremely productive.

I like days like today.


Stories I wrote: Love Story

This one is a short-short.  Or Flash Fiction, depending on who you ask.  The best anecdote I can share about it is that it’s kind of a fictional portrait of my best, and weirdest, college relationship-that-wasn’t.

Love Story

“People in cities don’t use their high-beams,” I told you, “they don’t remember them.”

“Sure they do!  Look!  See?” You flicked yours on.

“What are you doing?  You’ll blind people.” We drove down a main street.  You smiled and I laughed.

“So now I have to think about the other guy, do I?” You were prone to goings-on like that. You thought it was funny to dramatize everything.  You did.

You terrified me because I wanted you.  You made me preoccupied.  You made me patient.  You made me mad.  Batty.  You looked at me like I was the most precious thing this end of the universe and I was sexy.  I believed it.

You made me restless and horny.  Just our legs brushing under a table.  We almost never touched in public.  Our tactic was steeping in want.  Want that we thought of as control.  We were masochists.

Not the dirty kind, the emotional kind.

Neither of us wanted to believe us because we were good.  We looked for reasons to be awkward with one another.  Comfort was a symptom of emotional depth, and we didn’t know that.  We didn’t want it, either.  We wanted each other because neither of us knew why.

Your eyes flickered and you twitched.  I was steady.  I wondered what it meant that you always wanted to drive.  We wanted each other for months, until we were both exhausted in it.  Until we were too tired from not sleeping to fight it.  Until we could, and it would be like a dream because we would be so tired.  We would fall asleep in the middle of it, and it would be a dream.  You would have the head of a terrier in mine, even though I loved your face.  You said you dreamed of light bulbs.  You never explained what the light bulbs were doing.

Sometimes we woke up after, and you would smile and rest a fist between my breasts.  You used your fingers sparingly.  I never smiled, just looked at you wide-eyed.  It seemed weird to me.  But I told you that I wasn’t going to force or control anything about us.  I was tired of that.  You were, too.  “Act natural,” we said.

Then you asked me, “What is natural?”

I said I didn’t know.

You shrugged.

So I didn’t ask you “why?” when you opened my car door or let me order first.  Although to me, those things seemed not natural.  But everyone always said it is “the little things” that make stuff good.  I didn’t know anything about making stuff good, so I trusted you in that.  I didn’t trust you otherwise.

You were emotionally unreliable.  But so was I.  I was a slave to ideas.  Jotted them places: napkins, road maps, fliers.  You found the scraps of my brain around, and rubbed your thumb over the letters of some of them.  Like you tried to make them disappear, or make them part of you.  I was never sure.

The things we said to each other were preposterous.  Things people should never say to each other.  “I’ll always be here.”  “You are better than strawberry shortcake.”  “You are smarter than Einstein.”  Not even dipped in comedy, just in sentiment.

Your roommate was a fat man named Carl.  When you were pissed off, you would swear in Carl’s name, not God’s.

A Buick cut you off.

“For the love of fucking Carl,” you said.

I said, “Why do you love fucking Carl?”

“Come off it.  Don’t be jealous.”

“I’m not.”

“Sure,” and you looked like I was lying.

“Are you fucking Carl?”

“NO!” incredulous.

We fought.  We got quiet, and your fuming profile reminded me of my father.  You slammed on the brakes at my house.  I got out and you sped down the road without saying goodbye.  I cried, but when you called later to apologize, I asked you what you were apologizing for.