Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Year's Eve

Prepared for New Year's Eve, i.e., having champagne and food in the fridge. I don't think I've spent a New Year's Eve with a person or group since the Millennium with my friend Sherrie. That was a pleasant New Year's Eve.

I think my best, though, was the next year, when I got a computer for Christmas from my mom and spent New Year's Eve starting the first screenplay I ever wrote (and finished that spring). The worst was probably 1997, when a male apartment neighbor and I (both equally lonely) tried to act like we were having a good time together, lighting some fireworks in an empty lot next door and then making out desultorily afterwards. (Normally, shooting off fireworks and making out should be fun, but...not when you're both faking it.)

I still remember Bill Clinton's memories of New Year's Eves, as he wrote about in his autobiography "My Life." He said that, as a youth, he used to spend the evenings alone, thinking about the past year and the year to come... And, as he wrote, wasn't he an oddball for doing so... Not at all, Bill!

Christmas Canisters!

One of the gifts I got for Christmas that I especially liked was this set of glass canisters. (I didn't particularly want the Christmas ladybug oven-timer, but, as it turned out, it looks kinda cute sitting right there.)
 
I dunno -- in the past, I'd thought canisters were for housewives with huge kitchens and contained only flour and sugar and cookies and such. I liked how they looked, but I didn't think they were for me and whatever tiny kitchen came with whatever apartment. Plus, I'd always been rather poor and kitchen canisters were never even near anything that I wanted or needed for someone to get me as a gift.
 
This year, though, I have pretty much everything I want (well, except for a car), and so I asked for these. Still something that I would have thought too "extravagant" to buy for myself, but very pleasing for a gift! My spaghetti and rice used to sit in their packages in the fridge; the popcorn, in a re-used plastic container in a cabinet above my stove. I like how this looks. Makes me feel kinda homey and put-together, kitchen-wise.
 

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

A Boy and His 50-Year-Old Aunt

When I arrived at my brother's for Christmas, my 10-year-old nephew was alone in the backyard with football gloves on and his dog Blaze bounding around him.

After I took my gifts inside, he asked me if I would play catch with him. I said OK, then after throwing a few spirals, asked him what he'd been doing before I'd arrived:

"Was someone playing with you earlier, or were you just a 'lonely boy in his backyard' throwing up a ball to himself and his dog?!"

I was kidding, but 10-year-old nephew replied, deadpan: "Just a lonely boy in his backyard."

"DAD. I don't WANT any water."

My Christmas was pleasant, so I hate to bring up shit, but... but...

On Christmas Day, which I spent over at my brother's house, my 13-year-old nephew had been feeling sickly for a few hours, missing Christmas dinner. An hour or so later, he was up and about. At which point my brother suggested that he drink some water to help clear out his stomach. A reasonable suggestion. But my nephew felt well unto himself and didn't want any water.

The exchange went on for several go-rounds:

"Drink some water."
"I don't want any water."
"You need to drink some water."
"I don't want any water."
"Go DRINK SOME WATER."
"DAD. I don't WANT any water."

I just happened to break up the exchange at this point, asking what pill the kid had taken earlier to make him feel better, which ended it.

The whole exchange did, though, remind me of something ugly when I was 12.

My parents were watching TV in the living room, and I was watching TV in my bedroom. My dad came in to see what I was doing. I was both watching TV AND writing in my diary.

My dad told me that I couldn't both watch TV and write at the same time. "DAD, I CAN watch TV AND write," I said. "No, you can't," he said. "OK," I said. After he left, I kept the TV on and kept writing.

A few minutes later, he was back. I was still writing AND watching TV. Outraged, he grabbed me by my hair and dragged me down the hallway to the living room.

Listening to my nephew and my brother gave me a hint of this potential for humiliation. It scared me to hear. My dad constantly treated me in an ugly, sadistic way; my brother, as far as I know, has not treated his sons that way. Yet, I heard my brother tending toward that in the way he was talking to his son this time.

I'm glad my nephew stood up to his dad about not wanting any water. I'm glad that I stood up to my dad about being capable of watching TV and writing at the same time. Though being dragged down the hall by my hair afterwards was one of the most traumatic experiences of my life.

My dad visits this blog every day. And so I say to you, Dad: FOR SHAME. Are you proud of how you treated a 12-year-old girl over and over again?


Elvis Presley - Trying To Get To You - Sun Recording 78

Recorded at Sun Studio, September 1954.
 

Sunday, December 27, 2015

I'm Waiting For The Day (Pet Sounds, 1966)

This meant something completely different to me several years ago when I was in the throes of a new love. (I took it quite literally then.) But I just listened to it again tonight -- I still love this song, and it still makes me feel happy, even when it's not referring to anyone in particular in my life.

I especially like the triumphant fade-out:

You didn't think that I could sit around and let him work
You didn't think that I could sit around and let him take you...
 
 

"I will not let people devour me." -- Joan Crawford


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmas With The Rat Pack

This is my idea of a GREAT Christmas soundtrack.
Nobody else that I know thinks the same. Certainly not the family that I'm about to spend Christmas around! :)
 

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Skyline

Views of the NYC skyline from Weehawken, NJ.
 
 
 

All lives are valuable?

I've been having political conversations with a guy at work recently, during which he just revealed that he thinks "every life is precious." Ah...I absolutely cannot agree. Probably 99% of humans are born and die for no reason at all. (Not trying to be unnecessarily harsh, just honest.)

Me, for instance: I'm 50, and during my time on this planet, I've written some poetry and created a Joan Crawford website. The poetry has reached maybe 200 people, while the Joan information has reached several million. If I were to die today, my "legacy" would be that I helped to rescue Joan Crawford from the false "Mommie Dearest" image. (A "legacy" that would fade within 5 or so years. Every Joan Crawford photo that I've already posted on "The Best of Everything" has already been re-posted extensively on Pinterest, etc.)

At  50: All things fade away. For sure, most of my emotions and loves. But what might remain online is the intellectual, aesthetic exploration of childhood heroes such Joan Crawford...

Merry Fucking Christmas

Well, the "Fucking" is being dramatic. As is, I suppose, the "Merry."

After work today, I stopped off at the local Dollar Store to buy some cheap wrapping paper and whatever else. When I got up to check-out with 6 items, the register clerk suddenly put the "CLOSED" sign up on her conveyor belt. I looked over at the 2nd register open: Two shoppers there, with at least 40 items in their baskets, which would take a long fucking time. I called out loudly to my clerk: "'Scuse me! If you're leaving, can you ask someone else to come up and help?"

My clerk muttered to herself, then took the "Closed" sign down. So I was still in.

When I got up to the register, the clerk rang me up. I said "Thanks" when I paid... Only, the woman just rang me up and then left my 6 items lying there! And then she walked away from the register! Now, when I was 20 -- and this did happen to me once when I was 20 -- I would not have said much. This time, though, at 50, I YELLED at the woman as she walked away: "EXCUSE ME, MA'AM! You're not REALLY going to NOT bag up my stuff, are you??"

Had this mercy-hire by Dollar Store been black, she would have, indeed, left my stuff lying there without bagging it up. In this case, though, the 60-ish white woman seemed to be rather mentally ill and indecisive: As she'd re-opened the check-out when I'd first asked, she also came back and bagged up my fucking few purchases. Wordlessly.

Was I mean for yelling? God, I felt so. However, in actuality, even if you work at the Dollar Store, you don't close up a line with only one other person standing there; and you don't NOT put your customer's purchases in a bag. Fucking ridiculous.

Karma allegedly kicked me in the ass, though, once I walked home to my apartment a few minutes later. Where I discovered that my red Christmas bow purchased from the same Dollar Store a few weeks earlier and taped to my front door had been torn down. Not just "blown off by the wind" --- Some of the strong tape and the top part of the bow were still there: Someone had ripped the thing off the door! The rest of the bow nowhere to be found.

What the fuck? And I'd come home in broad daylight. Who the hell would tear off a Christmas bow from a door on a 2nd-floor apartment during the day? Oh, other than the kids now on Christmas vacation running around... (I've never lived in a Section 8 complex before, which is exactly what this feels like, what with all the screaming kids and the black guy below me yelling at all hours. It's a fucking mess.)

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Who's the Fascist?

From Wikipedia's "Fascism" entry: "Fascist states pursued policies of social indoctrination through propaganda in education and the media and regulation of the production of educational and media materials."
[Pauley, Bruce F. 2003. Hitler, Stalin, and Mussolini: Totalitarianism in the Twentieth Century, p. 117; Payne, Stanley G. 1996. A History of Fascism, 1914–1945, p. 220]


I was searching for definitions of the word because of the onslaught of media outlets calling Trump a "fascist" because he'd called for a temporary moratorium on Muslims entering the U.S. until our officials "figure out what's going on" (i.e., get some control of our extremely porous borders).

Trump was exaggerating, as usual, but--as usual--he also had an overall good point: We need to better vet those who enter our country. (Similarly, Trump's summer comments about Mexico's sending us "rapists and murderers" were in direct response to Kate Steinle's San Francisco murder by an undocumented Mexican who had been deported from the U.S. 5 TIMES already. San Francisco is a "sanctuary city," one of 31 in the U.S. which do not enforce federal immigration laws.)

I don't see anything "Fascist" about Trump's opinions. "Sloppily expressed," yes. "Fascist" or "racist" -- I don't think so.

On Chris Matthews' MSNBC show tonight, Matthews and one other guest also called Trump a fascist because he'd earlier called for the deportation of those in the country illegally. ILLEGALLY. I'm honestly puzzled by why calling for enforcement of the nation's laws is now considered "fascist."

This Wikipedia definition made me pause: "Fascist states pursued policies of social indoctrination through propaganda in education and the media and regulation of the production of educational and media materials." This didn't sound like Trump. What it sounded like, in fact, was what I've seen going on in the media recently REGARDING Trump. If someone attempts to express an opinion not endorsed by a very small, elite group, he's vilified. And not only is HE vilified, but his supporters are, as well. I don't know how many times I've heard condescendingly on various news programs that if I support Trump, I must be an "uneducated blue-collar male." (I have a Master's degree, I'm a woman and a feminist, I have a white-collar scientific editing job.)

So, who ARE these people calling Trump a fascist (while themselves "pursuing policies of social indoctrination through propaganda in education and the media")? According to FEC stats, 96% of professors at Ivy League schools who contributed to a presidential campaign in 2012 contributed to Obama. According to FEC stats, 95% of NEA members who contributed to a presidential campaign in 2012 did so to Obama. According to a 5/6/14 Washington Post article, 7% of journalists consider themselves Republicans.

Who, then, is "pursuing policies of social indoctrination through propaganda in education and the media"?

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Manson Says

 
"I can't dislike you, but I will say this to you: you haven't got long before you are all going to kill yourselves, because you are all crazy. And you can project it back at me, but I am only what lives inside each and every one of you."


December 8, 1980

Every year, I remember. I was 15 on December 8, 1980; had just "discovered" Lennon's music the summer before.

My parents had always had a shitty, hate-filled relationship and I'd been forced to be around that low-level cruddiness all my life up until then...but December 8, 1980, was the first time I ever felt deeply, profoundly sad on my own. At the time, at 15, I didn't know how I would ever get over that feeling.
 
 

Saturday, December 05, 2015

Junior Brown - Broke Down South Of Dallas


Holy War

When I was growing up in the '70s, I only knew intellectually, from books, about the wars between the religions. The Christian Crusades in the Middle Ages. The Muslim Jihad. I thought those days were long (and I mean LONG -- many hundreds of years) over. Not so. Aside from 9/11, which I thought was anomalous (and based purely on a left-over grievance from the creation of Israel), I haven't had to think at all about Muslims attacking me.

What with Paris and San Bernardino, though...ugh... The latter co-assassin a Middle Eastern radical Muslim state employee who'd been working among the co-workers he ultimately killed... I've never even thought of the concept of a "Holy War" before. That term formerly seemed extremely outdated and too-intense and not even applicable to anything going on today. But...but... I'm not even a practicing Christian, but I'm getting pissed off. At the constant documented random beheadings and stonings documented overseas. Which is terrible enough. But then you come HERE, to the Western world, to do your shit? ENOUGH, ALREADY. I don't give a fuck what you do or blow up in your own part of the world, but... don't come to the US and think you can pull off the same shit. SICK OF IT. You want a fucking old-school war between Christians and Muslims, like circa 1000? OK, then. Just wait. We've technologically developed just a little bit more than you have.

As a college student in the '80s, I debated intellectually over the morality of dropping The Bomb on Hiroshima... Easy to judge 40 years later. What about in the heat of the moment, though? Now is "The Heat of the Moment." I'm all for crushing the opposition. By whatever means necessary.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

I just volunteered for my first Presidential campaign since 1984!

In 1984, when I was 19 and eligible to vote for the first time, I was a freshman at UT and worked excitedly for the Gary Hart campaign: Vice President of "Students with Hart" on campus, even a driver in Hart's official motorcade when he came to Austin (pollster Pat Caddell was in my back seat). I became a bit politically disillusioned upon attending the Young Democrats group meetings on the UT campus -- the majority of students in attendance that political season were for Hart, but the "lifers" finagled the campus endorsement for Mondale.

Since then, here's who I've voted for in the main Presidential election:

1984: Mondale (non-excited)
1988: Dukakis (non-excited)
1992: Clinton (excited!)
1996: Perot (protest vote against Clinton's sucking up to Defense interests; would have voted for Clinton had the election been forecast to be close)
2000: Gore (I voted for Republican McCain in the primaries)
2004: Kerry
2008: McCain (I voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton in the primaries)
2012: Obama

In 2016, I'm supporting Donald Trump. AND volunteering for him.

Why Trump?

Because illegal immigration is a problem. When Trump pointed out the problem, he was vilified by the media as being "anti-immigrant." When in fact, he'd just noted the need for border control for ILLEGAL (not "legal") immigrants. (As has also been pointed out since then: The United States immigration policy is more liberal than that of most other countries, including Mexico's.)

Because Trump blustered against corporations taking their jobs outside the USA and threatened to penalize those that did so. (I say "blustered" because it's not clear that a President could actually stem the flow of US jobs to foreign sources...but, as an editor who lost a job to outsourcing 10 years ago, I'm grateful to him for pointing out the problem.)

Because Trump is utterly independent. Candidates like Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush who stand for nothing and who are backed by corporate moguls make me sick.

Because Trump was sane enough to decry the idiocy of Bush's post 9/11 overthrow of Saddam Hussein, pointing out, correctly, that Hussein did NOT have "weapons of mass destruction" and that, had Hussein remained in power, he would have kept a lid on Islamic terrorists like ISIS now operating freely out of the country.

Because, over the summer, when I argued with my boss about Trump, she said, "Do you really want someone like that dealing with foreign leaders?" And when I thought about it for just one second, I came up with: "YES! Yes... A tough, extremely competent sonofabitch is EXACTLY who I want dealing with foreign leaders like Putin, et al. And EXACTLY who I want negotiating trade deals for our country."


Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Beach Boys - Never Learn Not To Love - 1968

This is the reconfiguration of the "Cease to Exist" song written by Charles Manson (see previous entry below).  Performed here on TV by the incredibly passive Dennis Wilson and the Beach Boys. (Manson initially gave the song to his friend Wilson; Wilson re-did the thing generically in an attempt to sell it commercially -- and deleted Manson's sole song-writing credit.)
 

Charles Manson "Cease to Exist" (1967)

Manson played "Cease to Exist" for Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys, who turned it into "Never Learn Not to Love" the next year. See the above for Wilson's crappier, more generic version of the song.
 
 

We'll just see about this...

Your love horoscope for December 2, 2015 
 
 Something's going to make you a very happy person today. You have long desired that a special person in your life would make a firmer commitment to you. Now it seems that this is precisely what they intend. You will find that although they often seem very quiet and reflective, once they give their word, they will do their utmost to keep it.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Charles Manson 1967: Arkansas

 
 

Spirographs

I had a dream a few days ago that life/death cycles were like a series of loops leading back to a center. When I woke up, I saw the image that had been revealed, but I couldn't find it expressed online. The first below is a similar representation, of a Spirograph image. The main difference here is that the inner points of the loops lead out to other loops, whereas in my dream, they first led directly to the core before looping out again. The second image is probably more representative, though much cruder. The third image might be the more complicated reality, if indeed anything about the dream indicated reality.


 
 
 
 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Weird passive-aggressive shit

Just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday...

Yawn. Brother and Mother both live within a 2-mile radius of me. I don't have a car. (I sold it in 2007 when I moved to NYC; since I moved back to Austin in 2010, I haven't had enough spare income to get a new car, and am doing fine with public transportation without one.)

Where the weird shit comes in:

Let me first take you back to a Thanksgiving in the early '90s: My brother and I both lived in Austin, my mom in San Antonio, an hour away, south of Austin. My brother lived further north than me, so the initial plan was for him to pick me up so we could drive on south to San Antonio. Only, he got it into his head that I should drive north to his apt, so we could then drive south... Uhhh... No. Common sense said that he should have headed on south and picked me up and headed further south to San Antone.

Recently, a similar issue popped up: A birthday celebration this summer for my nephew at a pizza place a mile up the road. "A mile up the road" is nothing for a car. But for me walking for 15 minutes in 100-degree Texas heat? I turned up at the pizza place with my hair and face sopping wet because my brother didn't want to pick me up at my apartment a mile away.

For tomorrow's Thanksgiving, my brother has again refused to say when he'll pick me up to take me to my mom's for our meal. My mom says that the meal will be served around 4pm. And I told her that there's no way that she, since she's doing all of the work, should have to come pick me up.

My brother's waving his dick around. And there's absolutely no reason for doing so. I absolutely hate this kind of weird shit. (It's already been 100% clear to me for a while that once my mother is gone, I'll be completely alone in the world. It's creepy, though, to have my brother drive the point home ahead of time.)

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Joan Crawford, 1960.

 

Too soon? (11/25/15 from astrocenter.com)

Here's your Tarot Reading for today, STEPHANIE: 
 
 
Love
 
Touchstone
 
Career
 
 
 There's a new friendship on the horizon today, dear STEPHANIE, which will bring you a great deal of fulfillment. The association of the Magician with the gentle Moon means that you are now ready to open up to others again, maybe even to fall in love, after a period of withdrawal, perhaps caused by a disappointment in love. Leave the clouds behind, life is good! In the professional sphere, a new opportunity is on the horizon. Signing a contract, obtaining a loan, a large order from a client - nothing's impossible. Under the combined influence of Justice and the Magician you can be sure to have the necessary qualities to take new things on board and handle them with intelligence. You also know how to weigh up the pros and the cons, and you are able to make well-informed decisions...

I'm so fucking good at what I do!

Yeah, I am! (That's either "YEAH, I am" or "Yeah, I AM.")

My job has its irritations, but... I really am a GREAT editor.

After coming back to Austin from NYC in 2010, I temped for 4 years, usually as a secretary. Twice after long-term gigs, I was up for the permanent position but didn't get it. And I WEPT each time. I felt traumatized: They didn't want me/What was I gonna do, etc.

In fact, I was only a mildly competent secretary. I was, indeed, COMPETENT, but I certainly wasn't SUPER at what I was doing. The first rejection that upset me so: A friend of the head secretary got the job. (I checked Facebook: The two were indeed longtime friends.) The second: A Hispanic friend of my Hispanic boss got the job. (The woman applied after the job listing had been closed, but my boss made an exception after they both attended a university "Hispanic Faculty/Staff Association" meeting and my boss encouraged her friend to apply. The friendly, talkative new hire told me this while I was training her for the position I'd held for 3 months.)

Each position would have paid close to $40,000 per year, with full State benefits. After temping for years, I was desperate for such. And, as I said, I wept (not cried; "weeping" is much more from the gut) after being rejected. While I knew that friendship/race had indeed played a part in the two hirings, I also knew that I was not EXCELLENT at what I had been doing. While I liked and got along with most of the execs I was working with, I also found a lot of the smiling and posing pretty tedious. And when my immediate secretarial bosses asked for stupid things, I'm afraid that I did, indeed, roll my eyes, at least subconsciously. One example: My Hispanic boss at the second job weighed about 275 lbs and could barely walk up stairs. One day, she sent me upstairs to retrieve some office supply, which I did readily. Only, it wasn't the right supply (not my mistake, but rather, she'd asked for the wrong thing). So she sent me up again. And it STILL wasn't the right thing. Back up I go... When you're a secretary, you have to deal with this kind of low-level bullshit constantly.

After numerous temp rejections, I now have an editing job (paying much more than the losses that I wept for) that is intellectually stimulating, and with a boss who was a good teacher when I first started, and who now leaves me space to do my job, sans bullshit stuff like "You must leave for lunch exactly at 12:00 and return exactly at 1:00." (RE this: My latter above-mentioned secretarial boss once chastised me for leaving for lunch at 12:20 --- because I'd been finishing a project for HER boss, a professor. I'd stayed past 12 to get the job done; the professor appreciated it, but my secretarial boss could not grasp the concept of rearranging a schedule slightly in order to accomplish something.)

At any rate: I kicked ass today at work. My boss is out for this Thanksgiving week, and she left me in charge of incoming editorial assignments. I juggled things left and right, and got a thousand things done and a thousand things assigned, all with pretty good clarity. It felt GREAT. Almost like wrestling a poem to completion. I was completely in tune with what I was doing. I am SO grateful for this job. And I can't explain enough how having one part of your life in a rational place carries over into the rest of your psyche. Sometimes nowadays I actually wake up feeling GOOD and looking forward to what I'm going to be doing in the day ahead. I haven't felt like this for more than 5 years. I'd forgotten what it was like to be able to BREATHE and LIVE a little without feeling like shit.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

CAROL Trailer Deutsch German - Cate Blanchett & Rooney Mara - Drama 2015...

Thank goodness for seeing Cate Blanchett touting her new movie on Jimmy Fallon last night. Until I saw her glimpse back in the fur coat, I'd almost forgotten I was a lesbian.
 
 

Lecture: Jonathan Bate on "Ted Hughes: The Unauthorised Life"

Something I'm looking forward to going to on Wednesday night! I just bought this book a couple of weeks ago, am about two-thirds of the way through. Just found out from my mom about the lecture tomorrow!

Lecture: Jonathan Bate on Ted Hughes: The Unauthorised Life - UT Events Calendar

This is EXACTLY the kind of thing that I want to be doing, but haven't been doing.

One thing in the back of mind about this: There's a guy that I work in the same area with, whom I often chit-chat with while we're waiting for the bus. He's @60, always (ALWAYS) touting what "Austin event" he's just participated in the weekend before. He still goes to SXSW, he still hangs out at clubs, he participates in City Meetings (his idea, for instance, of a solution for the rent problem in Austin is to build 12 x 12 apartments --- how affordable!). Just last week, he was going on about the usual bi-annual "studio tour" in East Austin (where he's never lived, where I lived for a decade), complete with 19-year-olds floating fluorescent inner-tubes in a local creek. Sigh.

I like the guy, and I don't want to be mean, but... Why in the world are you still, at 60, "into" completely generic things like SXSW and "East Austin Studio Tours"? These were once stimulating 20 years ago, but today, they're barren hold-overs of an IDEA of Austin. They're not "Austin" any more at all, just something to say you did in Austin.

Still, he makes me feel rather inferior with all of his goings-on. I want to run into him the Day After Ted and, when he asks me what I've been doing, say snootily, "Oh, I was at a discussion of the latest Ted Hughes biography at the Harry Ransom Center. And you? (you glib, shallow, desperately-trying-to-be-relevant motherfucker!)"


 
-------------------------------------
 
A post-script: I didn't feel like going all day (too much trouble, I feel tired), but at some point in the afternoon I told myself: "Just do the fucking thing just to DO IT. Just to NOT go home and get on your computer for once. Do something different." And so I talked myself into it. About 40 people there, mainly 60 and over. (I overheard one lady in a group of friends as I was walking in: "I see the same faces.") Also 2 gay guys concerned with "Ariel" and Hughes's re-ordering of the poems years ago.
 
The author, Jonathan Bate, read the most obvious quotes about Hughes from his book. I didn't learn anything new about either his work or the subject.
 
Overall, though, it was indeed good to go out and DO something, be in a different environment for a couple of hours.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Buying Christmas candles...

...as if I'm going to be a Holiday Hostess, or something! :)  Ha!
 
I don't care if I'm single and live in a crummy apartment and will feel no Christmas Spirit from anyone... I personally enjoy the Christmas season and putting up a wreath and lighting the fucking Christmas candles! Dammit!
 
 

Working on a wall...

 
...behind my desk, of photos devoted to early emotional idols: Plath, Sexton, Crawford, Jessica Lange as Frances Farmer (and Farmer herself). As I've aged--say, past the age of 40--I've grown away from them. But, for instance, I just saw the below lobby card from "Frances," which flashed me back to EXACTLY what I was once so infuriated about and driven by -- in a good kind of way. It wasn't the "die" in Plath and Sexton, but rather, the utter emotional and intellectual honesty of all of these women (though it might have killed them).
 


Schengen comes home to roost


http://www.dailymail.co.uk/…/Paris-attack-sees-150-dead-Eag…

Schengen Agreement, anyone? If the results weren't so horrifying, it would make me laugh, the multiple warnings that have gone out from Conservatives over the years re having open borders in the EU. France just got a taste of it. Germany, thanks to Merkel's inviting in over 100k Syrians, is about to.

p.s. Sweden (!) and, now, France have closed their borders; France for the first time since 1944. Things are truly serious now, huh? Imagine if you'd thought so a few years ago.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Tarrytown, Austin, 2015

Here's what drives me nuts: I used to walk around with lines constantly coming into my head from the ether and could later turn them into a full-fledged poem. Now, though, every now and then something will come to me and I'll do something half-assedly clever with it... but not profound. I used to be able to see intellectual seeds through to germination; now...ha!

That said, here's a sad example of an idea I was really interested in: Back in June of this year, I'd spent the night with someone I once had a crush on back in the '80s, and was re-in-love-with via the Internet (with occasional meetings) since 2008 or so. Our "time together" went stupidly, despite what I felt ahead of time was a deep connection. Here's the haphazard poem that I was not able to flesh out to its full potential:

Her wrist rests on mine, just for a sec
Later I wash/wish her back

We hold hands briefly on a black listless street
where a judge will later be shot

A swish, a flick
of the wrist --
all gone.


OK: "Later I wash/wish her back" is fucking brilliant! :)  In the Olden Tymes I could have built something around that. Today, I am obviously creatively incapable of doing so! Aside from my time with my love interest back in June, I was also interested in the fact that a federal judge was just weeks ago shot in the same neighborhood where we were walking my friend's dog out in the dark. It's a rich neighborhood, but with hardly any streetlights. Conducive to grabbing hands for support in the dark, I suppose, but also, if you were so inclined, to hiding out and shooting someone when they pulled up in their driveway.

You see? There are billions of things going on here, but I was only able to distill "Later I wash/wish her back." I have lost the mental capacity for taking the idea further than that.

Monday, November 09, 2015

Prayers and personal ads...

...are answered only when a person draws himself, his own needs and prerogatives, so movingly that he conjures an "answering" presence where none existed. This is also what poems do, always leveraging old losses to reap the next harvest of fresh and unforeseen gains.

[-----Dan Chiasson in the 11/02/15 New Yorker (review of poets John Wieners and John Updike)]

And I suppose a blog could be used for the same purpose!

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Stevie Nicks - Edge Of Seventeen (Live 1982)

...the sea changes colors
but the sea does not change.
And so with the slow graceful flow of age
I went forth with an age-old desire to please
on the edge of seventeen. 
 


Sunday, November 01, 2015

Joan Crawford - Young and Beautiful

Will you still love me when I'm no longer young and beautiful?
Will you still love me when I've got nothing but my aching soul?
 

Halloween and Time Change

Used to feel interesting to me, different. At clubs, there'd be the "exciting" setting of the clock back one hour for an extra hour of drinking --- wooooo!

Now, it's nothing at all. Getting dark an hour earlier isn't interesting, it's just making sure I catch the evening bus home from work before it gets dark. If I'm carrying something up the stairs, making sure I don't fall because the stairway is completely unlit.

How do people make love connections?

People connect especially in college, in clubs, at work... Where I work now is mainly straight male academics. (Some of these guys are attractive looks-wise and intellectually and monetarily since they're making 100K a year, but... I like a little bit of "weird.") There's one researcher--a big, loud dyke--who hollered at me when she first spotted me: "WHO'S THAT?" I'm repulsed by either men or women who act like that. There's another dykey woman in my department who, when I first started at the job, invited me out to watch a granola women's band play... While I'm completely isolated and in need of human companionship, I also completely did NOT want to go watch a granola women's band (!).

Good lord.

What would I like to actually do? See an art or classic film. Go to my nephews' football games. Go out to Sunday brunch. A few years ago, there was a "Yoko Ono Hoot Night" at a local bar --- I went to that with a blind date who sat there cluelessly all eve (and then asked later why I didn't have sex with her); I'd love to go to something like that with someone who got it.

And I'd like to go home to bed with someone after a family holiday get-together.

When my mother lived in San Antonio and my brother and I had to travel an hour to get there, things were better: We all usually spent the night. Today, though, since my mother moved to Austin in 2010, my brother and his wife/kids will stay for 4 or so hours and then go home. And then I go home to my apartment by myself. Doesn't feel very holiday-ish at all.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Lonely

I think I've gone about as far as I can go sans human companionship. I'm not that interesting any more. Since childhood, given my extreme emotional -- and sometimes physical -- isolation, I've usually been able to find something to be intellectually/artistically interested in. And gotten genuine pleasure from that. (I wasn't the most popular girl in school, but I got lots of attention for winning academic awards, ranging from the school spelling bee in 6th grade through high school subject awards to a statewide editorial writing award as a senior.)

I fell in serious love for the first time my senior year of high school, though in '83 I honestly didn't know that this was love -- we were both girls, but all I knew about "gay" was the two lady coaches we students made light fun of and my male manager at Kmart, where I worked, whom we employees made light fun of.

When Ginny, my high-school love, abandoned me emotionally my very first year of college, I was lost for about 5 years after. All of my previous precocious high school academic accomplishments were forgotten. I went to dorm parties and went out to clubs a lot, got drunk a lot, did Ecstasy (still legal in '83-'84) a lot; tried pot and cocaine for the first time, did these sporadically (pot made me paranoid, loved cocaine). I had people, and one dorm-mate in particular, to party with, but I didn't feel close to them at all, except when we were out partying. Often, the one girl that I hung out with the most, when we'd go out, ended up with some guy that she'd go off to have sex with...many a time I was left stranded at a club or in an apartment talking to the guy's friend...It was depressing as hell.

After about 5 years, in early '88, finally met a true friend at the university library where I worked. She and her sister and boyfriend had all come to college the year before. We all started hanging out as a group at home, going to clubs as a group. "Clubbing" was different this time. It was fun. We would go see bands we liked. We'd talk up a storm the whole time. I felt close to them. This all "went wrong" when they left school to go home to their mom in Ft. Worth, who was dying of cancer. At the beginning of that summer, they came to visit me in Austin, I went to visit them in Ft. Worth... I fell in love with the twin of my friend. I moved to live with them that August. Their mom died at the end of September '88. Much trauma.

I moved back to Austin by myself in early '89. I met my first lover, a 36-year-old longtime denizen of the club scene, a former convict (bank robbery when she was 19).

My friends moved back to Austin that fall. We all were friends again; they were my "group" again, while I lived with my lover and then stopped living with her.

By 1994, my first lover and I had been broken up for 3 years, and the twins had married and moved away. I moved to San Francisco for a grad writing program. (My initial friend and I were still close; she flew out for a visit in SF.)

Once I returned from San Francisco is when I consider the true Wasteland to have started. 1995 to 2000 were truly Lost Years. I had no one at all in my life. Was clubbing 4 or 5 nights a week. Working at the same library where I'd worked years earlier. Contacting my first lover. (A big thrill came one night when she called me...turned out she wanted money: remember when she paid for my car battery back in '91?)

2000, I found a rental house that I liked a lot, and finally had an editing job that I liked. My cat Gracie found me. My mother got me my first computer, and I got online for the first time, where I first discovered the "Joan Crawford community." Having a computer and the accompanying companionship, however electronic, enabled me to stop going out clubbing constantly. I'd previously been doing so because I was extremely bored and lonely. Websites offered some kind of communication. I was completely over my first lover.

From 2000 to 2007, stayed in the same house, started my "The Best of Everything: A Joan Crawford Encyclopedia" website, worked for the same publishing company. Had a few friends that I went out to clubs with occasionally, and to holiday parties, but had no real friends. Had an online relationship with someone who claimed to be a bi woman but who turned out to be transgendered. The "trans" part wasn't the emotional shocker; it was that this person had claimed to have had an abortion, had claimed her mother was a suicide, had claimed she was British and living in Norway with a sugar daddy...As it turned out, she was a 40-something pre-op trans living with her (alive) parents in Norway who was coming on to teenagers online!

By '07, was feeling my oats and decided to move to New York City. Blah-blah-blah. That's all been documented here. Loved the city. Couldn't find regular work. Gracie died while I was there. Got over the tranny while I was there, only to get emotionally involved online with someone from a poetry class back in the '80s...

Today, in 2015, I've been back in Austin since 2010. Had my 4-year-stretch of the one-room apartment and the temp secretary jobs. I now have a nice, "appropriate" job as an academic editor that I like a lot but that still leaves me living in an apartment around screaming kids, and slackers hanging around in stairwells, and roofs that cave in when it rains. I make in the 40s per year, yet still can't afford my own car, much less my own home. I've got a Master's degree. But even after finding a decent job I like a lot, I'm still forced to live around a bunch of haphazard people.

This isn't an "Adventure" any more. I'm 50. I've given it my best shot for a long time now. Really nothing to show for it. No love. Now that I have a little bit of extra money to spend, I'd kind of like to go DO SOMETHING with SOMEONE! :)


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Fleetwood Mac - Songbird (Rumours Outtake)

And the songbirds are singing
Like they know the score...
 

Fleetwood Mac - Go Your Own Way

Loving you
Isn't the right thing to do
How can I ever change things
That I feel
 
If I could
Baby I'd give you my world
How can I
When you won't take it from me...
 
 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Who'll Stop the Rain?

Rain Repair: What started out Friday eve as a ceiling drip with a 6 x 6 puddle on the floor beneath it requiring only a bucket and towels as a stop-gap measure turned into a massive ceiling-and-floor renovation of my apartment by Saturday. Why? Because the idiot responding to my emergency call on Friday (after the first rain deluge had passed) said, "Oh, we can't do anything about the roof while it's still wet outside." Overnight, another wave of rain came in and flooded my apartment through the leaky roof, severely damaging the ceiling and floors. Luckily for me, nothing but my carpet was damaged. But because the rental company wasn't proactive, they've now got thousands of dollars of damages/repairs. Wonder if they learned anything...



Saturday, October 24, 2015

Fleetwood Mac/Stevie Nicks: Rhiannon Live 1976

Good lord, I'm turning into a Stevie Nicks fan, 40 years later. "Landslide" was too great (see my October 17 entry). That song was literally in my head at about 20 different times today. I don't think that has EVER happened with any song before. Maybe 3, 4, 5... but 20? So I had to listen to "Fleetwood Mac" and "Rumours" tonight (which I never owned at the time, by the way, just bought online within the last 6 months or so). "Rhiannon" is from '75's "Fleetwood Mac" album. I heard this song constantly on the radio when I was a kid just learning to listen to the radio and pick out favorites, and I hated it. Thought it was generic and boring. Hated the hippie sound/feel/vibe, never listened to the lyrics. Tonight, though, in awe of "Landslide," took out the CD sleeve, read the lyrics for all of the songs as I listened (like I used to when I was a kid)... Stevie Nicks is a poet. "Rhiannon" is a really good song. And this is a really good, intense live version of her singing it.
 
She is like a cat in the dark
And then she is the darkness
She rules her life like a fine skylark
And when the sky is starless...
 

Friday, October 23, 2015

Were You Alone?

This is the type of thing that Hillary Clinton was being asked all day today during the televised Benghazi Hearings. I started laughing before Hillary did.
 
 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

A Box Full of Darkness

I've had my moments (ha! try weeks, months, years!) of darkness, but they've usually been situationally generated: unrequited love, inability to find work, etc. Sometimes, of course, an extended "situation" has led to deeper malaise -- such as my ongoing coming to terms with the fact that, at 50, at least two-thirds of my life is over and that I'm going to die -- but for the most part, I don't psychically live in a deep, dark pit of hopelessness and sorrow. One reason, I think, is that I have a pretty active and curious mind. I can often find SOMETHING to be interested in looking at or learning about; I can often get excited or inspired by SOMETHING, whether a song or a book or a political candidate or a really great pair of shoes or a raccoon peering in my window, what-have-you. Because I have this capacity, I am, however, often incapable of understanding that not everyone else does have it. I have been "shocked" time and time again over the years when confronted straight on by people who are TRULY dark and enamored of hopelessness. Part of me is constantly thinking, "Oh, they don't REALLY mean it" or "Oh, I can help 'snap them out of it' with my pure-of-heart Leo-ness." Ha!

Darkness is often celebrated in the arts, and I'm attracted to darkness in the arts because it seems "profound," deep. Plath's poems, Van Gogh's art, movies like "The Wall" or "Blue Velvet" or "Brazil." But by the time the depth of suffering has been translated to something palatable for mass consumption, it's been much watered down. It's relatively easy to relate to when compared to the initial impetus for the artistic shaping. I have not been thinking of the impetus, of the state of mind or very BEING of the creator, just of the result that they're able to wrest into a shape for their audience.

I have been thinking about this for the past several days in particular because of the recent gossip news about Lamar Odom, estranged husband of Khloe Kardashian, being found comatose after days of partying at a brothel. Their union and, later, troubles had been well-documented via "Keeping Up With the Kardashians": Most seemed to agree that it was a love match, even if Odom didn't act like it; although Odom eventually left KK to pursue drugs and whores, and Khloe was the one who filed divorce papers, she still expressed publicly that if it were up to her, she would still be with him. Then came the overdose, and she immediately flew to his side... "How Romantic," a part of me thought. "True love." I thought Odom's behavior over the past couple of years has been reprehensible, and yet I also semi-hoped that he would "snap out of it" and go back to the woman who loved him.

Well, as it turns out, Odom has the same birthday as someone I've been in love with for almost exactly 7 years now (Scorpios). Someone whose darkness I have been enmeshed in for 7 years, and whom I've been making mental excuses for. There is a connection between us, but she will not acknowledge it. She will be incommunicado for months, then suddenly "turn up." She's in AA and doesn't drink or do street drugs, but she's on quite the cocktail of psychiatric prescribed drugs, and has childhood and sexual addiction problems and a cloud of darkness that are similar to Odom's. And, like Khloe, I range in reaction to this person from "fuck you" to true worry about her well-being. Also like Khloe, I have made sincere efforts to help this person function in the day-to-day world: in my case, helping her with her resume, job leads, etc., and making it known that she would never be homeless as long as I myself have a place to live. Sometimes she has listened (a bit), sometimes she has cruelly said things like, "Get a life."

Sans any dramatic overdose or turning-up-on-my-doorstep on her part, there ain't gonna be a reunion, although my Romantic soul might have secretly wished for one. My words/thoughts/feelings don't reach her. What the whole Odom situation reminded me of was that there are people who simply don't want to be helped. There is a true darkness that they carry with them, and silly little things like "love" or "heartfelt wishes" don't mean anything. It's rays of light being sucked into a black hole. And for the person constantly sending out said "rays of light" and receiving not only no energy in return, but also a mega-dose of profound Nothingness, which is, I think, close to Evil... It's disheartening personally at first, but then the realization:

The sheep has stopped crying.
All morning in her wire-mesh compound
On the lawn, she has been crying
For her vanished lamb...

...It was not
That he could not thrive, he was born
With everything but the will --
That can be deformed, just like a limb.
Death was more interesting to him.
Life could not get his attention.

(Ted Hughes, 1974, from "Sheep")

And then today, I found this, by accident, on an acquaintance's Facebook page, from the poet Mary Oliver. Her words, too, are a gift. I have not wasted 7 years of my life. I have, instead, learned something true (however disturbing) about the soul of a person. I learned something profound.


Sunday, October 18, 2015

My Favorite Months in This Order

October (weather and Halloween)
November (weather and holidays)
December (holidays)
August (birthday and promised end of summer)
April (beautiful weather)
March (circa the 15th, spring buds)
September (end of summer, and football season)
January (I like cold weather)
February (I like cold weather)
July (end of dramatic Texas spring weather with humidity and storms that scare me and make my hair look like shit; just hard-core hot and sunny)

Have never liked at all:
May
June

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Fleetwood Mac - Landslide

I used to hate Fleetwood Mac. This is all I used to hear on the radio as a teen in the late '70s, and it was nothing that meant anything to me then.
 
This Fleetwood Mac song from 1975 is meaningful to me now, though, in 2015. Not on purpose. I just heard it by accident this evening and started crying.

One of the reasons I was crying so hard is that back in high school, Ginny liked Stevie Nicks and Rickie Lee Jones and Heart... She was in to a female groove, which I didn't understand then. I was busy, in 1983, listening to decidedly non-groovy post-Beatles John Lennon and U2. I made her listen to 1972 Lennon and 1983 U2, which she did because she liked me. All intellect and no groove: my ongoing problem. I never, my senior year of high school and the summer after, stopped to sit with her and listen to HER music.
 


I took my love and I took it down
Climbed a mountain and I turned around
And I saw my reflection in the snow covered hills
Till the landslide brought me down

Oh, mirror in the sky, what is love?
Can the child within my heart rise above?
And can I sail through the changing ocean tides
Can I handle the seasons of my life?

I don't know (I don't know)
Well, I've been afraid of changing
'Cause I've built my life around you
But time makes you bolder
Children get older, I'm getting older too
 
So, take this love, take it down
Oh, if you climb a mountain and you turn around
If you see my reflection in the snow covered hills
Well the landslide will bring you down

Friday, October 16, 2015

How fucking depressing IS this, Lamar Odom?

Number One, I'm just not a fan of the desert landscape. If I were going to go somewhere to die, I would NEVER pick any place in the desert. Ugh. I can't stress how much I HATE the desert landscape. Before I ever knew a thing about geology and the history of the planet, I FELT that the desert was only the leftovers from former oceans.
 
Number Two... All around are shitty billboards and shitty fences and shitty clapboard houses and shitty potted plants. My god. If I had $75,000 to spend over 4 or 5 days and wanted to die, I certainly wouldn't come to this landscape. (But then, Odom was from Queens...maybe this sparcity was exotic to him. Being from Texas, it's all too commonplace and ugly to me.)
 
Number Three:  The bedroom furniture, and the too-short comforter, at the so-called "VIP Suite" at the so-called "Love Ranch" looks like a set I just bought for $1000 last year at a consignment store on Burnet Road in Austin! Which is fine for a 50-year-old middle-class editor who is finally able to afford some substantial real-wood bedroom furniture, but... it's supposed to be "sexy" and "exotic" for a millionaire guy visiting a whorehouse?
 
Number Four: Ryder Cherry, the Girl in the Picture: You can't pick up someone like this for free at any local club?
 
 
 


 



 

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Last Day With Lennon

Yoko Ono, in 2010, on the last 2 days with her husband. The "seeing airwaves in the room" gave me goosebumps. Not goosebumps because I think Yoko Ono is in any way "spiritual" -- I don't; I think Ono was/is, for the most part, a huge hustler, a psychic, in tune only with vibes that she picked up on and how to ride them. I also believe that she saw these airwaves.

The last Sunday. I'm glad in a way that we didn't know that it was our last Sunday together, so we could have had a semblance of normalcy. But it turned out that it was not a normal Sunday at all. Something was starting to happen, like the dead silence before a tsunami. The air was getting tenser and tenser, dens­er and denser. Then, I distinctly saw airwaves in the room. It was wiggly lines, like on the heart monitor next to the hospital bed, just before it becomes a flat straight line. "John, are you all right?" I asked through the density. He just nodded and kept lis­tening to "Walking on Thin Ice," playing it loud. Walking on thin ice. Walking on thin ice .. . "John, John, arrre youuuu alllll riiight?" I heard my voice vibrating. I could not go near John, for some reason.


Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/features/johns-last-days-20101223#ixzz3oAUDh6Uj

John Lennon - Help Me to Help Myself

John Lennon's birthday was yesterday. I thought about it all day yesterday and yet chose not to go out of my way to acknowledge it yesterday. "I'm big now; childhood heroes aren't meaningful to me any more." This song breaks my heart.
 


Well, I tried so hard to stay alive
But the angel of destruction keeps on houndin' me all around
But I know in my heart
That we never really parted, oh no

They say the Lord helps those who help themselves
So I'm asking this question in the hope that you'll be kind
'Cause I know deep inside I was never satisfied, oh no

Lord, help me...

Sunday, October 04, 2015

OJ on the Run: The Bronco Chase

OJ Innocent verdict released October 3, 1995. Below is the Bronco "low-speed chase" and taped conversations from the car with Simpson and a detective from June 1994.
 
When I watched the chase on TV in the summer of '94, I was in Austin preparing to move to San Francisco for grad school that fall. When the verdict came down the next year, I was at a San Fran bus-stop on my way to campus when a carload of black people drove by, screaming "OJ! OJ!" Their joy over getting away with murder made me sick. (As did my father's own verdict: That Nicole Simpson had been "bought and paid for" -- that's something that you might, if you're a creep who doesn't like women, tell your buddies after a few beers. But something that you tell your own daughter when you're sober? That's my father, folks.)
 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Blue Victoria Crowned Pigeon of Happiness

In the wee hours of Tuesday morning, I had a series of intense dream images.

(1) Donald Trump was lying next to some carney performers, observing some sexual act (but not participating in it). I was next to him, watching the show, then pointed out to him that media people were approaching. As the cameras and microphones descended, he passed me his credit card (!). It did not have his name on it; rather, it had an African name (no, not "Barack Obama"). I did not expect to use the card in the future (in fact, I felt self-righteous about not planning on using it), but still it felt very nice/warm/protective that he had given it to me.

That dream segued into:

(2) I'm watching 2 blue birds with crests, plus their 2 babies, flitting around a pond. All of them, for their food, are dipping into what I, in the dream, call an "artichoke."

I wake up then. What was that bird?? And immediately upon waking: OH, it's wasn't an "artichoke" but rather, a "lotus flower"! I had to search on the Internet today for what-in-the-world type of bird that was: turns out, a "Victoria crowned pigeon."

 
 
No "official symbolism" that I could find online for "Victoria crowned pigeon" combined with "lotus." But these felt good to me both in the dream and when I woke up. Trump, too. It was a good night.

Donald Trump Full Interview With Erin Burnett 9/28

This was interesting psychologically to watch. How to handle Donald Trump. If you're an aggressive male interviewer (or rival candidate), Trump tenses up and gets aggressive and defensive in response. Erin Burnett, though, has had a history with Trump (appearing on his "Apprentice" show in 2009 as a guest judge), and he clearly feels comfortable with her. He's still fast-talking and opinionated, but her persona is not interfering with his (as a journalist's should not be), and he's a lot looser/calmer/more comfortable in his communication style. 
 

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Morning Star

I've learned that all the stars that I see now
might have burned out years ago, their light just taking longer.

Not Venus, though. I know that she's still there.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Pope Francis and The Poor

I got goosebumps watching Pope Francis at St. Patrick's Cathedral in NYC tonight. I have long missed feeling a sense of community in my life, and have long searched for such. But I was also somewhat torn: The age-old pomp and circumstance of the Catholic Church were inspiring, but then I remembered what Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation were all about: Things have always gotten corrupt within the established order!

This quote from Pope Francis is inspiring to me: "The Eucharist is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak."

But then Francis is also quoted as saying that it's not enough to give charity to the poor/homeless--that one must meet them, encounter them... As one who has "met" and "encountered" "The Poor" and "The Homeless," let me tell you: The Poor and The Homeless don't behave on a daily basis like they might when meeting the Pope. I've met some of "The Poor" and "The Homeless" up close and personal at bus-stops/on buses: I've been cursed at, lunged at, belittled for being a "white woman on the bus." I've had to listen to assholes cursing at the top of their lungs--- just in general, or at exchange students or similarly weak-seeming women next to them. I've listened firsthand to a guy behind me on the bus spouting off to his buddy about how he was going to get his girlfriend pregnant before he had to go back to jail, just so she'd be eligible for extra government money.

I've been poor. Working poor, that is. I have ZERO sympathy, though, for the Pope's generic absolution for the slackers. "The Poor" are oh-so-humble in the abstract, but absolutely shitty in reality.
 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Flying with Ted Hughes

Yeah, yeah, the last time Ted Hughes spoke to me was when I was in a completely ridiculous graduate writing program in San Francisco, back in '94. (And the man wasn't even dead yet. I wrote him about that dream, and he wrote me back. I framed his response, and I still have his card next to my desk. Hughes died of cancer in 1998.)

Last night, in 2015, I dreamed that I was flying with Ted Hughes. I was scuttling around some sort of town festival, worried about having to go pee. Ted Hughes came wandering along and grabbed my hand and we stepped off a cliff -- not a drastic cliff hundreds of feet down to the sea, but a maybe 20-ft cliff. And we sailed on down. We were both smiling after we landed. But when we landed, I still had to pee and I was still complaining about THAT. After just having flown.

I didn't wake up feeling great, though I should have. Hughes doesn't appear to me very often (TWICE exactly in my life), but when he does, I believe it's serious. My Spirit Animal.



Sunday, September 20, 2015

Fuck You, Homeless Guy on the Bus

Not EVER right if he's just lying/sitting there minding his own business.

THIS guy, though, on the bus I was on this afternoon... He kept nodding out, would "perk up" every few minutes to curse out someone who had just gotten on the bus.

After 10 minutes of listening to his shit, he went on his "Fuck You" rampage to a lady sitting across from him. I, at the back of the bus, saw red. I yelled down to him: "FUCK YOU."

After his initial surprise, he yelled "Fuck you" back to me.

We went back and forth with the "Fuck you"'s, and then the bus driver took over and told the guy to shut his "nasty mouth" or else she'd kick him off the bus. He shut up.

I hate riding the bus. Now, I get on it with an attitude. I'll probably be stabbed on the bus or punched in the face before I die.

With this guy, though, I felt absolutely fearless. While most homeless guys' bark is much worse than their bite, the guys are still a bit scary when they're mouthing off. In this case, I looked right into the man's eyes and told him, "No, YOU fuck off!" Adrenalin flowing. Wondering what I would do if the man approached me physically, but also prepared to punch him if he punched me.

I'm 50. I have a Master's Degree. I have a father who reads my blog but who has never protected me from anything. My father doesn't think anything of his daughter having to ride buses with nasty, psychotic, drunk guys on a daily basis. Sad.


'The Great Gatsby' (2013)

 
I just saw Baz Luhrmann's "The Great Gatsby" tonight for the first time (with commercials, on AMC). I'd read F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel too young (in my teens) and didn't quite understand the emotional gravitas and heartbreak. Also as a teen, I saw the crappy '70s version with Redford (and his '70s hair) and Farrow, and the ridiculous ennui (so apropos for the '70s and utterly un-apropos of the Roaring Twenties) and hated it -- and so have rather dismissed everything about "Gatsby" for the past 30 years. 

Luhrmann's version, though, was moving and thought-provoking. I first discovered him via his "Moulin Rouge" in 2001 -- I saw it twice in one week, it was THAT good to me. Since then, I'd lost touch with what he'd been doing artistically.

I do tend to mistrust those who attempt to bring a modern sense to a period piece... "Gatsby" is decidedly of the '20s, and decidedly of Fitzgerald. And Luhrmann had a modern soundtrack to this "Gatsby"... But the soundtrack fit in almost seamlessly at Jay Gatsby's decadent parties. Yes, you know it's not "period music," but the "feel," the "mood," is almost exactly right.

And the editing also fit in perfectly. (For example, when the rich characters left their glowing world of West Egg to venture into the more working-class Queens for a night, the Queens World turned to black-and-white, based purely on the characters' perceptions -- a brilliant touch.)

For the first time, after watching Luhrmann's version of "Gatsby," I actually GOT the utter hard-core reality/sadness of what Fitzgerald had been saying... Daisy's (Zelda Fitzgerald's) emotional weakness was horrifying, but honest. Nick Carroway's (Scott Fitzgerald's) breakdown in the face of witnessing this, and his understanding of Jay Gatsby's (Scott Fitzgerald's ID) desires, equally so. The movie made me understand the book and the author more -- that makes it a great movie to me.
 

Monday, September 14, 2015

Football Season

 
Joan Crawford has been a constant in my life since 1987.
The Dallas Cowboys have been a constant in my life since the early '70s.
Sunday night's last-minute win against the Giants in their season opener made me extremely happy --- Romo/Garrett happy! :)
 
 


Tuesday, September 08, 2015

If I had the money...

...I'd be back in Weehawken. And I do have some money, but not enough to establish myself there again. Back when I moved to NYC in 2007, I trusted myself to Craig's List roomies and the idea that I'd immediately find a job... The 3 roommates I found before getting my own place were all gay and either drink/drunk-addled or nuts. And, aside from one 8-month freelance gig that paid $28 an hour, I never found steady work, enough to pay the expensive rent there.

I was forced back to Austin in 2010, and have since established myself here with a steady job... But I don't particularly want to be here.

I'm definitely not ungrateful for what I have now (a steady job, a decent place), but... this isn't ME. I may be 50, but I'm not dead yet. I'm not quite ready to give up yet.

I want good sandwiches and good pizza and beautiful trees and a beautiful skyline again. I don't want more smoke breaks in parking lots. I don't want my only future to be looking forward to inheriting my mother's house in a subdivision.

That said, this time I'm not leaving any of my furniture or books or CDs behind. A dilemma. (Well, not that much of a dilemma: Get a job lined up up north.)

The Avett Brothers - Open Ended Life

 
 



Pack a change of clothes and a pillow for the road
for when you drift off to sleep
Put the sketches and the notes in the box labeled 'burn with furniture'
We will watch the fire burn the whole entire house we built
down to ashes
From the mirror we'll admire how the flame quickly retires
We won't waste a long goodbye on the smoke or foolish lies
that finally passed us
 
I was taught to keep an open-ended life
And never trap myself in nothing

Let's find something new to talk about
I'm tired of talkin' about myself
I spent my whole life talkin' to convince
everyone that I was something else
 
And the part that kinda hurts is I think it finally worked
and now I'm leaving
I get the feeling things have changed
But the mystery to me is where and when along the way
Did anyone decide that they believed me
 
I was taught to keep an open-ended life
And never trap myself in nothing
I was told to keep an open-ended life
To never trap yourself in nothing

When we settle down in another nowhere town
let's tell our neighbors
We won't be here long and we'll be quiet
but don't go askin' any favors
 
I can't stand the unexpected uninvited visits
from too many strangers
My trust has dwindled down
And I can leave just as abruptly as I came here

I was taught to keep an open-ended life
And never trap myself in nothing
I was taught to keep an open-ended life
To never trap yourself in nothing
I was taught to keep an open-ended life
And never trap myself in nothing