Sunday, November 12, 2017

People In Your Neighborhood


take a seat and read


I'm obsessed with this video series from The Paris Review: The First Time where authors tell the story of writing their first play, novel, etc

One of my Vitamin Shoppe pieces: A Decade by Decade Guide for Women's Supplements

I frequently have 'high functioning depression' as in this VICE article

I like to escape into this gorgeous place

Fasting fascinates me

Did you ever read Mother, Writer, Monster, Maid by Rupi Thorpe?

Andrea Volpe on complicated grief

Beauty from around the world

Do you know The Marshall Project? They do amazing work.









Saturday, November 11, 2017

i hate people

in my mind are two images 
one is a child sitting next to their 
lower, left leg
which was just then blown off
by a bomb
and the child is reaching out her arms
to her father, screaming,
because her lower, left leg
was just then blown off
by a bomb.

the other is a spider quivering
as she is sprayed
with an insecticide, and releasing
a dozen or so babies in her instinct
to save them,
so they  might run, as they do, 
perhaps just one will 
make it without being sprayed 
with an insecticide.

i hate people.
i don't want to be in this merry go round
of terror anymore
i am moving to the mountains
and if i die
it will be because some bear tears me in half
not because he poisons my food,
sprays me with chemicals, skins me,
develops a weapon to gut me, shoot me, 
or obliterate me-
in fact it is the lack of malice
and creativity
that i used to see as terrifying
which i now see as practically a fucking paradise
compared to what us ugly humans do
with our big, fancy brains
and our empty, diseased hearts.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold -A Review-

The Netflix documentary Joan Didion, The Center Will Not Hold, directed by Didion's nephew, Griffin Dunne, begins with the classic snippets of 60's culture: Go Ask Alice blares next to images of half-naked teenagers writhing in open spaces or in the littered streets of cities, oversized sunglasses and long hair framing faces without makeup or pretense, but instead often the glazed and slightly unhinged expression of the unstoppably high. It might fool you into thinking that this documentary will be about Didion's life as reflected in and through the culture.

Yet halfway through the documentary we are picked up and summarily plunked in front of another screen, another view into Joan Didion's life; we see now not the culture that surrounded her, the culture that she helped shape with her astute and observant intelligent writing, but instead a plunge into the personal: many photos of Joan, her husband John, their daughter Quintana Roo, and the internal experience of Joan and John's marriage, their adoption of Quintana, a long, dark period of Joan and John's marriage, their various works apart and together, their social life, and then a long drawn-out ending that mirrors the dread and intensity of the long, drawn-out ending of the lives of her most beloved; John died of a heart attack in 2003, followed two years later by the death of Quintana.

"People are afraid of dying because they don't want to leave their loved ones behind," Didion tells the camera. After a long pause, she continues, "I have no one to leave behind."

I was surely the target demography for this documentary. I've been reading Didion since my teenage years, starting with Play It As It Lays and most recently with The Year of Magical Thinking (on her husband, John Dunne's unexpected death) and then Blue Nights (on her daughter Quintana's slightly more expected, tragic death after years of serious illness.) Someone, in other words, who already knew quite a bit about Joan Didion, but was hankering to have this first-time interior view of her life and thoughts.

Many of my friends who have seen the film expressed disappointment–it doesn't give any secrets, it doesn't focus enough on her writing, it doesn't delve into Didion's own reflections on what her work has meant to the country and our culture, it does not delve into how prescient many of Didion's points of views, her obsessions in her work were. While some of all of these subjects are touched on (Joan Didion's zoomed in focus on Dick Cheney's importance as a 'truly evil' government player) they were not, for whatever reason that we aren't privy to, what this documentary was to be.

To me, this makes perfect sense; that a movie about Joan Didion, made by her family member with her full cooperation, would cut out all other discourse once the dying of those who matter most to her begins. This is the same writer who said of Los Angeles that everyone there was struggling with the understanding of complete meaningless, that nothing they were doing or saying had any importance. The same writer who went through a long stretch of inability to write because she was struck with the certainty that writing was meaningless. The same writer who wrote that in the wake of her husband's death, she experienced a series of repeated confrontations with the meaningless of life itself. What clearly was meaningful to Joan Didion was her relationships with her husband and her daughter.

There were subjects touched on that I wasn't aware of; John Dunne's furious temper is mentioned a few times, with growing gravity. Didion calls him a "hothead" and offers that he would get set off by "anything, anything." How exactly this terrible temper showed itself in their life, how that played into their period of separation, and how it may have affected Quintana Roo (who later had an alcohol addiction that appeared to have played into her untimely death)–not a word.

A telling moment is when Didion's nephew asks her how she felt when, as a reporter, she encountered a five-year-old high on acid. "Well, I mean," Didion pauses for a long moment, waving her fingers delicately, and finally says, "It was gold." Honest, and sad. Later in the documentary Didion is recounting a huge party she and John threw, and finding, when she checked on her little daughter upstairs asleep, drug paraphenelia on the floor. "Who would do that?" she asks, still upset with the memory. The jarring disconnect between her emotions toward her 'subjects' and her daughter struck me as important to understanding Didion.

An in-depth analysis of her family dynamics or of her work were not meant to be the focus of Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold. Instead, this is in a sense an extension of her two previous books about her husband and her daughter. In an interview, she is asked why she didn't want to finish writing The Year of Magical Thinking and she replied that when she wrote, she was in touch with John Dunne. And when the book was done? Didion responded with her mouth in a line and a wave of her hand into the air: Gone.

Didion produced the magnificent work of The Year of Magical Thinking, which the documentary notes is the first book about grieving written by a non-believer. The book was not concerned with anything but love and grief. In the documentary, we are able to see how both intensely fragile–weighing at one point 75 pounds, shaking with what, I wondered, might be Parkinson's, speaking about dissociation and descent into madness during grief–and intensely strong–funneling the deepest pain into bright, piercing words, sentences, books, creating a play and becoming part of the theatre community as healing–Didion is. She is finding again, she tells us, that it ends up being about coming back to who she is.

Without realizing it, over the last decade Didion has revealed exactly who she is: a woman who claimed not to know what falling in love means, but who loved like an involuble molecule, so deeply bound with the lives of those she most adored that since their deaths, all meaning and all living has to pass through the narrow corridor of Didion's memories of their lives and their loss. Writing is an extension of Didion, clearly, but so were her family. Without them here, Didion wants us to remember her loved ones with her. It makes me wonder what she would have said if she had been asked about writing and meaning now, that her work is centered around John and Quintana.

She is sharing them with us; her experience of them in life and death is what she is willing to give. I for one am glad to take it.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Witches, Switches and Son of a Bitches

Halloween night 
i'll be drunk and un-mothered,
all the children monsters on the outside,
all the mothers gone.
i will have stayed behind,
preying on the suburban men
the ones who have sex with their wives
at precisely eleven thirty almost every evening-
that's my neighbor;
he moans loudly when he comes.
one by one i will blow them,
fuck them, leave a trail of semen and bad costumes
on the floor behind me,
and when i arrive back home
by identity as a slut and homewrecker will follow
and destroy my house like a bomb made of snickers and tarts.
i will be completely guilty and wrong
and pass out on the bed without brushing the dogs or
cleaning the floor or
locking the doors or
checking that the children brushed their teeth or
enjoying a whore bath in the hallway sink.
i will be completely wrong and guilty 
and leave my husband to deal with the children's tears
the neighbor wives' fury
the neighbor men's sudden righteous anger 
at being tricked while in a vulnerable position,
all alone on Halloween night,
when a woman they had previously known to be fairly distant
took their hands and placed one on the curve of her hip,
the other on her right (the better, slightly firmer) breast
and whispered to them that it wasn't their fault,
she was having it all,
that's what she was told to do,
and she would take it by hook 
or crook, nut to slut,
and sleep the dreamless sleep of the damned.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Melatonin

THE LAST few months I've had no problem falling asleep at night which is really (Jim Carrey reahealhealhealy) not like me

Which I am grateful for.

However not grateful for the constant fatigue of the last month. I have always, even as a teen, had problems with fatigue-fatigue dominated my twenties-but it has been manageable the last year for the most part, until recently.

So tonight I'm taking melatonin at midnight because I have watched a movie, it is saturday night, and my when I asked E. if he wanted to watch a movie with me he simply said 'no' and Everkins came right up to me and put her arms around me and said Mama I'll watch a movie with you and I felt sad that at her age, almost seven, it is so obvious to her now what is going on, and how the various people in her life feel about it- how she might feel about it. She talks about it almost every day right now. I bought her a workbook When Your Parent Has Mental Illness and she loves it, the way only small children can love these kinds of things. On her own she opened it and did four pages, which I didn't discover until the next day. I was a little startled because I don't think that's a great idea, for her to do it alone, but then I was a little in awe of the singleness of children, of how just when you start falling into the unconscious lull and bull of living as if they are known completely to you, they go and do or say something to remind you of their singularity. Ever Elizabeth is absolutely singular. That child has the spirit of a pioneer. She is upright morally and physically and yet without the prissy bossiness her mother had as a child. She's a damn good egg. We walk the path together. 

Anyhow I turned to her with a smile and said of course, I'd love to watch a movie with my girl, and we snuggled up and she fell immediately asleep and I lay thinking about some of the hardest, most elusive questions of my life, and reminding myself once again to put Montaigne's writing/essays in my amazon bucket-
so in fact, I will go do that now. I can feel the melatonin kicking in.

edited-
i put Montaigne in. anyone want to read him alongside me? we could talk about it. back and forth on blogs even, like the old days, god i hate that expression. xo


edited-
realized i actually put in a bio of Montaigne, which looks so good and is so cheap i'll start with that anyhow. it's 'How To Live: A Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer'
I MEAN could any book be more necessary for me right now?


Saturday, October 21, 2017

good gracious ass is bodacious

things i did not do today

write the great american novel
write any novel
write

things i did today

post pic of my ass on internet

Thursday, October 19, 2017

the exhausted me i've come to know


isn't this a great photo? It reminds me of the old days of blogging before I discovered photoshop, before my photos were even lit well. It also makes me happy because there are hardly any photos at all of me just being with my kids like this. Almost all the photos where I am included are very, 'here we are with our arms around each other' which is nice, but not as emotional as this, which is a story. it's the story of me having a bad autoimmune flare and taking a hot bath with magnesium salts to try to quell the horrible pain and swelling in my abdomen, and Ever not wanting to be away from me, and me saying 'Well OK then, sit on the edge of the bath and play toys while I read this magazine,' and me reading the magazine but also fussing at her about splashing and noises and then looking up at her and just thinking, If I loved you anymore, I'd be a supernova, and not a human being.

It's a very unflattering photo of me, not the way I like to present myself to the world, which somehow makes me like it even more. My arms look fleshy because they are pressed into my boobs so you can't see the nipple, and my stomach rolls are a'rollin, and I have massive eye bags. But I recognize myself. I look like the exhausted me that I have come to know in my late thirties and early forties.

I'm stepping back from Facebook as much as possible and I hope to be blogging more because there is something about writing here that is very good for my brain and emotions that nothing else has duplicated.

Hello, hello blog readers, I know you are there, though you are silent. I see your little clicks. 

I have submitted my novel to three agents. Two of them requested it on exclusive after my query, and one of those two was my dream agent. All rejected it and all for the same reasons: plot issues. The feedback other than that was amazing. It made me feel like a true novelist, though I haven't had a novel published y.e.t. The dream agent said, hey, if you can't sell this to an agent, and write or have another novel, send that to me- which is unusual and encouraging. My plot isn't steadily propulsive. So people say 'that's silly, don't stop after three rejections.' However the issue isn't my precious feelings, it's that I know the reasons it was rejected are RIGHT, I can feel it when I read it, but I can't see it. I can't figure out how to fix it. I need a developmental editor, I absolutely 100% do. Reader feedback didn't do it for this.

That's where I'm at with that.


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

computer

glowing, faceless
the light shines on my bare, swinging breasts.

i write nude
i fuck nude, i bathe nude, i vacuum nude.

wet, dark
the waves of eternity swing me in pendulum.

i am falling
asleep, i am falling?

i am asleep?


Saturday, July 29, 2017

one and only life

I see a spider crawling near me and I feel reflexive fear, and next automatic protection: protection of the spider from my fear, and my ability to kill it.

Other, worse days, I see a spider crawling near me and fill with a quick and mean rage, and on those worse days, I might kill the spider. I regret every spider I have killed that was not crawling on me in bed or poisonous and near my children.

I do not want to take the life of any single living creature. But I kill the fleas on my dogs and poisonous spiders near my children and sometimes, ants. When I watch the fleas going down the drain I think the entire time about their deaths. I wonder about being a flea. Kafka could imagine the bugs. I like to slip inside the life of everything I encounter for some period of time, small or large, and feel from inside out the true body of that life. The perspective of something tiny. The perspective of something enormous. How, to the enormous life, I am the tiny speck of flea, the thousands of ants, easily dismissed, krill soaring in the millions through the gaping baleen mouth of the blue whale.

Life in any form is miraculous. It is the true miracle, the parting of waters we wait to see has already parted, and the head of new life slid from inside the wet. 

I tell my children from the time they are gently the exact same thing when contemplating the hard, blisteringly black back of a beetle, or the tiny working arms of a fly: 

this is it's one and only life. it is not up to us to decide when it ends.

and they accept this of course so easily, because I am Their Mother. 

To spend your life highly aware of the miracle and singularity and astonishment of that life and of every life around you can be highly uncomfortable and sometimes slide into miserable, but it is also the way a godless speck like myself can without effort find meaning in this insane world, inside the miracle of an ant turning it's bulbous head to look my way, the round eye of the robin at our birdfeeder, the one-eyed baby possum looking at me with his one eye left (the other side a gaping hole from the claw of an owl) and I can see, as clearly as I can see my own hand, that this baby possum is thinking,

are you going to end my one and only life?

No, no, no, I sang to him as he circulated his tiny round ear, I am not. 

I want everyone and everything to turn an eye to something more powerful than them and to see in that large unknown thing that it only means good.

Wouldn't that be something?

The baby possum went to the Wildlife Preserve with Lola, and the woman picked him up and turned him left and then right before smiling at Lola. 'He'll be just fine,' she said.

The next night at dinner outdoors, we were visited by another baby possum, this one with both eyes in place, and a rat and a mouse.

Ever threw them food and curled up with the flashlight until all the tiny legs stopped moving in the bushes.


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