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.


Sunday, July 23, 2017

a list

watch Egyptian documentary
sleep
wake late
be with babies
drink iced espresso
eat
work, a little
clean
do this, and that, also swimming
husband
gym
family
food
books
writing
social media
eating
cleaning
family
pets
other
settling with darkness
documentary,
show,
book,
bed,
lavender oil at the chest,
over the heart,
fear, fear, fear
images of suffering,
comfort,
solitude,
fear,
determination,
acknowledgements,
tremblings,
vulnerability,
darkness, darkness, 
small lights,
self-talk,
thoughts of....
sleep.


children, husband, family, love, only.




Friday, June 30, 2017

Latest Publication in VICE TONIC: An Illustrated Guide to Opioid Overdose



My latest work: An Illustrated Guide to the Process of Opioid Overdose

I was happy to be able to refer Rena Medow to VICE TONIC for the illustrations and to see her amazing work here is gratifying. I love supporting women esp. up and comers <3 p="">


Saturday, June 10, 2017

Llenar el vacío

she thought of a story when she saw the butterfly, which landed on the back of her daughter's hand and launched immediately. immediately she knew she would never write the story, because because, porque, because, all of that. so there was already the beginning and ending, now just to fill the middle.

tiny thing, suburban wing
suffocate, suffocating.
the moth cannot fly
when held, her wings
lost dust, clouds move,
now you will be silent,
now you must be silent.
tiny thing, suburban being
your heart is slowing.
here, eat this dirt.
remember your childhood.
here, slap my face.
remember your rage.
here, suck my swollen mouth.
recall your desire.
here, sleep in the grasses.
reclaim your bones and breath.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

fundamentals

all the suffering in the world. i love you. if i can help you, i will. i can't always. but if i can, i will. and i won't make you feel like shit for asking. unless you are an asshole.
and like Jen Pastiloff says, don't be an asshole. simple life rule.

you know, i fell in love with Mr. Curry partly because he loves people like i do. from afar for the most part HA
but also,
he would give his life for someone. he would.


the fundamental things apply,
as life goes by.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

love, first draft

i remember everything about you 
the jeans you wore when we were eighteen
a chevy nova that smelled like sex and cigarettes and oil
god i loved that car
your teenage room where 
we first had sex how
i stripped naked in the lamplight and stood as proud as could be,
Athena, commanding you to sex 
and you were just going to be a great time with a safety net,
but when you pressed your mouth onto my mouth
i closed my eyes and tried not to cry
because love was spilling out from our bodies
out through my eyes and through the crack underneath your dark door
into the hall, where your parents, trying to watch tv
looked backward and then at each other and smiled.
what took you two so long,
your dad asked me weeks later when it was obvious 
we were a thing.
i couldn't tell him the truth, any of it,
but i couldn't hide it either.

i did everything i could do not to fall in love with you.
my car broke down at the community college 
i called you, feeling scared,
the parking lot was enormous and dark and i was alone
and i didn't want to be raped.
come help me, please, i said,
but there was no question
i never questioned if you would come help me,
of course you would and of course you did,
to Alaska or down the street at 7-11.
sitting on the curb and trying to be reasonable
about fear,
the light turned purpling blue, my favorite evening-tide.
into that tide you rode,
inside your big truck, i saw you coming and i stood

you pulled into a random parking spot and slid out of 
your truck and then sat on top of the hood.
you lit a cigarette and took a drag,
and smiled at me
waiting for me as i walked through that dark parking lot
now blue-black and lit with scattered street lamps.
and i walked toward you in that goddamn beautiful light
your hazel eyes glinting at me,
and i knew that i had never and probably never would
have a more perfect moment of romantic love.



Monday, May 1, 2017

Tuscon, Arizona



We took a family trip, Friday to Sunday, to my good friend Taymar's home. Taymar and Max, her husband, and their two boys, Caspian and Benny. Their home is gorgeous and used to be a ranch house and connected houses. Now two of those connected homes (all of which circle round a stone paved courtyard with glorious trees with circular stones around them in the center) are rented out as AirBnB. We stayed in one of those homes. 






Saturday, April 29, 2017

Rest In Peace, Megs

Someone I didn't know   
hardly knew

died. She died, and her name was Meghan, or Megs. She was thirty-six. I have never heard her voice or seen her face in living person. I have seen her photos, in which she is a beaming, beautiful, brown-haired, brown-eyed young woman with glossy hair and the kind of face that you would trust your child or your dog with. 

She had reached out to me through FB messenger about a month ago, I responded, and we'd been back and forth since.

She died in a car crash. Her husband was driving. He's in intensive care. They don't know what caused the crash.

Megs was always writing me about someone else, not herself. She was always asking about how to help others. She was, I know from only my microcosm of interaction with her, a person with an exceptional capacity to love. And she is gone. And it's a fucking travesty. 

I am so sorry for her. It's so wrong and so bizarre that she was just sitting there, like I am right now, clicking away at the keyboard and asking me a question, yet everytime I go to look at her message to me and mine back, there is never a green light that she is on Facebook or a click to show she read my message, because she is dead. 

I cried today and felt foolish because it's nothing to do with me, but I feel like writing this because I knew her in a small way and was impacted by her existence, her life, and because it's a loss for all of us that she is gone from this world. She had so much left to do.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Published Essay: Brief and Bizarre History of Dog Shit

The knock on the door came at 9:30pm. I was half naked, my kids asleep. Pulling on sweats, I answered the door with a bad feeling. What else but bad news knocks on your door at 9:30pm? It was my neighbor in his own sweats, trembling, his already popping eyes bulging even more out of his head, curly grey hair moping along the forehead. He began talking before I could even open my mouth. I’m sick of it! Look at this! He held up a black bag. Piles of it, I’m sick of it. It’s not MY dog! Pick up after your dog! He threw the bag at my feet, on my doorstep, and stalked away.
I stood at my doorway, pursing my lips. What to do? I squinted at the bag of shit. Hm. There is a bag of shit on my doorstep, I considered. This is worthy of some action.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Translation


Ever and I had a blast last night
that girl is fun
we are in that best friend stage. with Lola i got so, so blessed and she stayed that way until just this year, at fifteen. Lola is still my best friend, but i'm not hers. she'll come back to me. but meanwhile, she is growing up and a certain kind of separation has to happen at some point, to find out who you are without your parent as your person. they begin taking steps toward this that get bigger and bigger and bigger until they leave. 
it hurts and it is beautiful. it makes me cry with tears of joy and pride and tears of sorrow and grief. grief for the inevitable passage of time and the small deaths that also make up life.


here is Lola with her bestie, Lucy, on vacation over Spring Break, with Lola's bio dad Keith, who takes these girls on awesome trips. can you even believe how large and how tiny life can be? who can hold that reality in their bodies? that's why reality isn't made to be held on to. just translated as it comes to us. i couldn't love my children, all four, any more. i can't contain the love i have for them, so it flies out from me in tears and laughter and whispers and words and banging on the keyboard and cooking and praying and kissing and hugging and saying 'i love you' over and over, so many times every single day since Dakota, the first, was born, that far from being meaningless, those words are the mantra of the heart of life, i love you, i love you, i love you.


Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Spring Awakens

The things I've been doing the last two weeks are working. I am feeling again. 

The two things that have made the most difference are joining a gym, so weightlifting and cardio, and focusing on being in the moment with Ever.

It's a touchstone for me. Whenever I get lost, I move toward meditating on the unconditional and what gets me the most- trusting- love that my kids have for me. They TRUST me to be OK. They trust me and they desperately need me, more than they need anything...until, you know, they get older and suddenly that changes. But Ever is still there. She is six, and I am her world. Her face, her beautiful, like I can't stand how cute she is, how precious, how beautiful, face, looks at me with pure unadulturated trust. 

Somehow that expectation, that trust in me, allows me to trust in myself, and in life.

This Spring Break, Lola has been gone, and it's Ever and I. Long hours of gardening and playdates with friends and walks with the dogs and dates at Starbucks. Tonight we lay in bed for two hours giggling and climbing under the sheets and playing 'let's attack Ever because I love her so much and she's so cute' and this game we play all the time the last few months, which is I say Ever I love you,

and she says Mommy I love you more,

and I pretend to be horrified that she would say more, and we take it from there. 

You should just see her face when she looks at me. How could I not feel that? I could not feel it, if I didn't concentrate on it, if I didn't stay with it. If I didn't allow myself to trust that right now is all I can control or contain.

That's the trick to so much, so much of life. Just stay with it. Just be there. Right now. I'm all in. I'm in my body, typing this. I can feel these keys underneath my fingers and these tears rolling slowly down my cheeks and my feet, slightly cold, and my hair, a little too tightly wound on my head, and I can see the darkness encroaching around the lit computer, and I can feel the way that a little girl needs her mother, and how hard that mother fights to just be there, for something so beautiful, and so precious, really the only something that matters, or will matter, which is of course, love.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Something Is Wrong and You Will Feel It

I've had periods of depression throughout my life and now I am in the second month of one that has gone from bad to worse rapidly, scaring me. To scare yourself is hard to do in this stage of life where the dinners are made and the children busy and the wedding band worn and the jobs secured, if not bringing in enough, still there, and the pets are getting older, you are getting older, everything hard gets harder. 

I listened to an 'associated Ted talk' (what the fuck does that mean, IDK) and it was unpopular at the time (gauged by the audience's tepid response and lack of applause) because the speaker is saying depression is often not a mental disorder, and we treat to many varied groups of symptoms as depression when they are not. now i am someone with a family history of mental illness, who takes Zoloft. so i can speak. i say that he has a point, but that he didn't address the shades of grey, at least not well enough, and that's crucial in this discussion. but his point, even as someone who takes a medication and who is extremely glad i can and do, has validity in our culture, where if you are deeply sad medication is usually the first resort. this doctor was speaking to the depressions that we experience as a message from our inside to our out, saying 

SOMETHING IS WRONG AND NOW YOU WILL FEEL IT, LEARN ABOUT IT, BECOME INTIMATE WITH IT AND PROPERLY ADDRESS WHAT IS WRONG INSTEAD OF A BUNCH OF POSSIBLY RELATED THINGS THAT AREN"T REALLY THE ISSUE

because let's be honest. How do we change? Pain. Discomfort. Misery. Most human beings are completely disinclined to change things if they aren't actively causing pain. 

My shoulder, for instance. It's been bugging me for a year. Maybe more. And it's probably getting worse, and if I don't do anything, it will probably become some big, painful fuck that I'll have to address. But I haven't done anything. Because it's not. that. bad. And because it is a pain in the ass to do something about it. Money I don't have. Time I don't want to allocate. Money. Oh I said that already.

Also reasons why I myself avoid, off the top of my head, are:

I have no idea what to do about 'it'

I am scared of what 'it' might be

I am scared of what I might have to do if I deal with 'it'

I am scared of disappointing other people

I am scared of hurting someone

I am scared of making someone angry

I am scared of failing

I am afraid of losing something 

I am afraid of possibly unearthing deeper, more profound pain and prefer to simmer in pain-lite

etc.

I've been seriously depressed for two months and as I listened to this sort of Ted talk, it was immediately clear to me that although I have a prediliction toward mood disorders, this one wasn't 'out of the blue' or because the weather changed or because i'm low on iron or because my dog keeps pooping on the carpet or because I'm worried about my novel.

There is a 'reason'. 

Guess what?

I have no idea what to do about it.

I am scared of what I might have to do to deal with it.

I am scared of hurting someone, making them angry, losing someone, failing, and pretty  much of my own shadow some days.

But guess what.

I have felt a little bit better since I admitted to myself why I can barely get out of bed, why I can barely eat, why I cry everytime I'm alone, why I feel dead inside, why even my most favorite things hold no allure or comfort, why I can't stop picking at my skin, why I look old and tired, why my body aches, why I feel so deeply alone and afraid.

I have felt a little bit clearer.

This weekend I stayed offline all weekend, as I usually try to do from Friday afternoon on. The last week I have done off and on all day meditations. For me, a meditation looks like this:

I take Ever to the park, she plays and I sit under the trees and listen to the birds and watch the trees move and the water move and feel the sun on my skin and do not force my  mind to think or not think of anything and I do this for long stretches of half-hour or so.

Or I do this in my backyard. Or on a walk.

I focus on these things:

What I am doing and not how I am feeling.

Manual labor, like gardening and cleaning and organizing.

Taking care of my children.

Caring for my physical and spiritual health.

I am depressed and I am seeing my psychiatrist this week. But when she offers to up my meds or try new ones, I will say nicely, let's wait. Let's wait a little bit. 

And then I will tell her what is wrong.


Friday, March 31, 2017

death is real

i don't want to learn anything from this / i love you 



Tuesday, March 28, 2017

what does this mean about me

When you love someone romantically, and take a vow to love them in sickness and health, and know they are your person, and can love no other more than you love them, and never had a best friend so best, never had a lover so love, and then that person becomes ill and becomes another person and you are full of hard ugliness, one of the worst things, the upper three worst, is that you don't know if you are good enough. Good enough and healed enough from the trauma deep cuts still seeping, not torrentially blooding but seeping wounds of the first seventeen years of your life, to not only pat yourself whole to raise your children clean and whole but to continue loving in the face of getting nothing you want but also possibly might need to be a person in this world, the way
your children, blue eyed and brown,
need you to be a person in this world,
unless you want them to start with a sigh, 'My mother...' in therapy when they are older, their mother who had a chance to be better and couldn't be any better than she'd managed to be in forty-two years of life.
It's not you; it's me.
It's not me; it's you.
Intertwined means pain in both hands while the rope is pulled out from underneath my palms and I wake up with this stigmata that means
you love him so much
this pain is agonizing
you are the only one to feel it
you are the only one to know it's intimacy and midnight confessionals and bargaining
the only one to know the details, those precious and dark blackened sick coughed up rot of details,
which you as a writer
naturally desire with every bone in your body to expel into words
and spat on the page,
leaving only the clean creation of the thing you wish to build.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Behind Closed Doors

Finished draining the last of the bright red blood and the tap is rusty brown blood in spots on tissue and in underwear, taking it with it micronutrients and the heartbeat of the body, iron. So much iron. My face pales, I feel the blood pulling in the tide of my heart away from my lips. My lips become smaller and pale. My eyes look startlingly blue against this pallor and the wheat colored freckles of winter's passing.
I am so tired. I am so sad. 
I feel I am in a strange place where everything I can do to care for myself best is something other people don't want me to do and it is seriously beginning to dawn on me that I am 42 and there will never be a time when what I need is OK with everyone else. There will never be a time I can create a life of possibly even happiness without hurting someone else or disappointing them and I know from reading hundreds of biographies just how many women accept and don't accept this bargain. I don't know what kind of woman I am. I am tired. 
You have to become incapacitated for people to relent that possibly you must do what you must do.





What I am tired of:

My husband's bipolar. I was doing very well with it. I am doing 'self-care' or what I am allowed to do. It's not enough, so I am very sad, and anxious, and every night when I go to try to sleep the second I close my eyes I see myself falling from high places of all kinds, cliffs, hot air balloons, the hands of God, 9/11. I open my eyes and sigh and try again. Even during the daytime, when I close my eyes, I am falling from somewhere, someone, something. This has been going on for about four months. I am close to being a single mother for the last five months but it's much harder because (and I was a single mother for eight years so I know) the person who could is right there, inches away from me, or behind a closed door, and I cannot reach him. I feel grief. I feel rage. I feel scared. I feel confused. I feel disappointed in myself. I feel worried that I am not up to this task. And I have to protect the kids from his irritation and depression and lack of interest in them. I have to be his advocate to the kids and help them understand the disease. Meanwhile inside I have the same questions they do, and the answers run head-first into a cement wall and fall down dead.

Being the only one to take care of Ever. She talks all the time. She won't play alone. She is non-stop. She is precious. She is my life. She sleeps with me. We do everything together. We laugh a lot. We play. We shop. We garden. We clean. And every day there is a point where I am so furious that no one else can step in and take over for two hours that I hate myself, because feeling furious makes me hate myself, and it always has. He showers or bathes her every night and that is wonderful, for her and for me. But besides that, there is no one else to keep spirits high, to play, to observe with a friendly nature and answer the endless stream of questions, to teach the endless things there are to teach every day, to do. To be

And the force field a person needs against for protecting against this kind of emanating dark energy requires, demands, a power source that I don't currently have: a traditional belief in God would probably do.

with no speical legend of God to refer to,
with my calm white pedigree,
my yankee kin,
i think it would be better to be a Jew

Facebook and Twitter.

Myself.

Everyone else.

Grocery shopping, sweeping the floor, wiping down the banister, vacuuming, flea-combing the dogs nightly (can't afford Advantage), planning dinner, making dinner, cleaning up after dinner. Lola washes the dishes, thank goodness.

The long struggle every night to sleep; falling asleep in fear.

Hashimotos. 

People dying in horrible ways much too young. All over my Facebook, all over the world.

Trump and everything remotely associated with him.

Exhaustion so deep it sometimes makes me cry.

Feeling embarrassed for being so tired all the time, and looking it.

Unlearning. The older I get the less I know and it's not freeing. It's deeply disconcerting and distressing and leaves me floundering through things that I didn't used to.

Being poor/ish. I am working hard and keep adding clients that I write for, but we aren't there yet. 
I can write about almost anything and do it very well. I do great work. I need more of it.

Children getting hurt.

Thinking about my dad. My sister. How they've been lost to me for so many years now. I'll never get over it.






What I am not tired of:

Beyonce.

Sylvia Plath.

Eleanor Roosevelt.

Love.

Grass, tree, bush, flower, bee, bird, sun, sky, dirt. 

Hot water.

My children. Even when I am, I am not.

Poems, but mostly older ones.

Sincere plainness. 

Sincere flamboyance.

Mozart.

John Irving.

Ottessa Moshfegh. 

Feeling safe. I wish I could get there right now. 


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

My Essay On Pat Conroy, Trauma, and the Power of Books

I wrote an essay here, if you'd like to read it. If you do enjoy it, please click the little heart shape to the left of the screen, and or share. Thank you! Writers are little without readers.




What was so incredible to me–besides both Mr. Conroy’s genius ability to tell a story that you cannot, cannot stop reading, and his breathtakingly beautiful prose– was the precice way Mr. Conroy illuminated how each person in the family had been affected by what had occurred, and how deeply sick their silence, perhaps more than what had even occurred, had made them. Mr. Conroy’s passion for breaking open the secrets of his own family life cost him his relationship with one sister, and the respect of many family members– but what if it gave the man back to himself? What if the way he could truly heal was never going to be in a therapist office, but in the telling of a story. His story. And what if it’s all right that he claimed his own life to tell.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Social Media is a Basic Bitch

The world of Facebook is becoming dangerous to my writing. This is the most pressing issue of my life outside of the obvious, and it's serious, very serious to me, because writing is not only or just 
something i want to do
something i hope to make money off of
something i enjoy
something i'm proud of

writing is for me a survival mechanism. Writing and reading, and they always have been more than just entertaining, more than just escapism. They are the ways in which I translate life, the ways in which I understand myself as a human being and understand other people, the ways in which I turn all the suffering I experience into something else, something I can then use or move with or work with or move past or elevate or change; I can change my narrative:

but only with words that are in fire, and I'm losing my fire inside the never ending roar of Facebook and twitter. Never ending roar of opinions, outrage, demands for attention (including my own), and processed thoughts. Social media is a basic bitch.

Most of the best writers are not on social media. Yes, you can name a few, Joyce Carol Oates being the most obvious, but mostly, everyone I can think of off the top of my head who I revere as unique and brave and truly trying to carve something different with their words, something that takes immersive thought and processing, something that takes confidence, they are not there, or if they are 'there' they are barely there. Even Roxane Gay, who tweets a bit, is almost silent on Facebook, which I have come to see as the particularly troublesome place for writers.

Ottessa Moshfegh

Zadie Smith

John Irving 


If you are a journalist this probably isn't true. Journalists by nature take in enormous amounts of societal input and then create reports with research. 

But if you are any kind of a creative writer, the way your brain must work to produce work that is truly alive, unique, saturated...

Social media is five, ten percent high-quality, and the other ninety percent is repetition or argument or watered down versions of the original idea, framework, creation. I'm not talking about people's personal posts, which is a whole other thing, a wonderful world of listening to someone's inner thoughts out loud, but an addictive world as well. The human interest stories and shares on Facebook are what make it so addictive. 

It feels urgent and important in a way that completely confuses my brain. Like living in an ER waiting room.

I used to take in enormous amounts of poetry and novels. Now I take in an hour a day of poetry or novel. 

I spend an enormous amount of time on Facebook. I get all–100%–of my freelance work there, mostly from private groups I am a part of, and my freelance career has been increasingly successful. I've recently been published in The Rolling Stone and Washington Post and The Guardian and I am very proud of that, very proud of all my publications.

I also finished my novel and it is out to beta readers.

This is amazing. I still can't believe I actually finished it. I'm proud of my accomplishments, very proud.

But. 

I can feel that the part of my brain that cored into the processing center, that created a crystal ball which reflected and illuminated the way I see and know the world into a thousand words that only I could produce, that part is being dulled. Stultified, that wonderful word.

I have been thinking about this for a few years. I realized this was happening and over the last two years I've observed a noticeable decline in the wonder of my imagination and the clarity and fearlessness of my perspective. 

Hillary Mantel

Obviously this is a hundred times more so since Trumplestilskin took over. My Facebook feed is now 50% what is happening in our country (as is right, I myself share on this frequently) and 40% essays and short stories and writing world announcements, and 10% personal- a quick estimation. 

But even before, yes, I could feel it happening, could feel myself going slack jawed and stupid when the feed opens, and the word feed is so perfect, as if I open my eyes and mouth and the stream of feed just pours into me, while I sit as dumb as a rock, taking it all in, and most of it is not the quiet, intense, passionate, intelligent depth of writing that I have lived off since childhood, almost none of it is. 

I am not a snob. I love, without irony, cat memes, hilarious YouTubes, the sappiest music you can imagine, the Kardashians- I don't let anyone tell me what to like or what is worthwhile. Yet the brain is a machine–one we cannot understand, but still–and like the bowel, reacts badly to being fed shit all day e'ry day.

When I lose the ability to write my poetry and my stories and my novels in the fearless and clear way that I have lived off of doing my entire life, I feel absolutely horrible. I feel as if I am anemic. I feel stripped of my power, as if someone had taken my sexuality and smothered it to death. I feel as if I cannot process the world: I am overwhelmed, insecure, more neurotic, and feel that I might be slightly worthless.

Maggie Nelson

My writing has already suffered from the fact that my mother (hi mom) and my children (expect for Ever) do not want to be written about in any real way and I decided to write less, almost nothing, about Ed's bipolar (which I'm reconsidering due to misery from silence). Some writers, many writers, write about people anyhow, regardless of how the person feels about it, but I don't.

But my greatest source of therapy, of solace, of peace, of comfort, of self esteem, has been diminished, greatly, and I have suffered a lot from this over the last three years, I really have. It's depressing as hell. And yet, this is my fault also, but I cannot see the way out all the same. For example, I could try to write things out of my life, and then erase the people somehow. Perhaps I will try this. 

A journal that no one can read? No. This is not it. It must be public, stuck on a door with a pin, or posted on my blog, or published in a magazine, but public, or it loses the magic.

I also know how true this is of social media and my fearlessness because now a days, when I read a novel or memoir, I am obsessed with wondering 'how did they find the courage to write these words?' when my entire, ENTIRE life, I always thought instead 'I will write any words I please, and never care what anyone thinks! Writing is everything to me!' But this was when I was a true outsider, and now I have in the last ten years somehow become finally a person that suburbia does not need to groan and roll about with as if I am a stone in the stomach, and I can pass as 'normal' and I have a better relationship with my family of origin, and I have witnessed ten, twenty, a hundred, five hundred arguments and 'burn them on the stake' chorus' on Facebook over a writer's words, where they said something that offended someone, hurt someone, disgusted someone, and those voices have made a home in my head where the cast of elementary school and middle school used to reside, telling me I am stupid, ugly, weird and wrong, wrong, wrong, now these Facebook judges reside.


How to solve a problem i can clearly identify but have crafted my days around? 

I already avoid FB over the weekend. I try to not go on all together most Saturdays, and maybe go on for an hour Sunday.

It is the rest of the week when I am working, and I am addicted to this great street meeting now, and how do you solve a problem like Maria? 












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