Friday, June 29, 2007

Some Notable Lines: If You'd Been Waiting to See a Unicorn as Long as I Have....

Sidenote [there's nothing for it to be on the side of yet, as I've only just begun, but um, whatever.]: new auto-straddle.

Let's get on with it....

In 10th grade, all my bestest friends lined up two days in advance to get front row tickets for an Ani DiFranco concert ...

[See that? That's what I call a "good lede." Because I bet everyone who's reading this, especially the dwindling 20% audience share identifying as "male," is like "Oooo! Ani! LOVE HER."]

... but I didn't, because I didn't like her then [now I love her, LOVE HER], and when Drew'd crank up "Living in Clip" on his barely-breathing Volvo's tape deck, I'd groan and hold my hands to my glittered face [that's literal, the glitter], so clearly, I wasn't planning to attend her annoying concert, let alone wait in line for front row seats like they did. Also, Mom woulda never let me camp out all night with a bunch of hippie pot-smoking heteroflexible ambisexual teenage Ani DiFranco fans.

But it seems many humans enjoy nothing more than a good line, and, in fact, will willingly go out of their way to receive particular things ASAP (e.g., the new Harry Potter), to purchase The Best of said things (e.g., front row seats), hoping for a chance to win/earn something (e.g., a spot on a Reality TV show) or to get something rare/hard to find (e.g., Nintendo Wii) or for something ridiculously free or under-priced (e.g., 'Free Scoop Day' at Ben and Jerry's). The lines we're willing to endure reveal our true selves (not really, but I feel like making absurd grandiose generalizations today): Lord of the Rings? Beanie Babies? American Idol auditions? Madonna tickets? The privilege of paying $100 to trap oneself in to a small dingy cage and then get dropped from a great terrifying height?

A cell phone? With AT & T? The media gets really excited when people wait in line for things.

i-chat transcript, 6.25.07. On the "iPhone."

Me: People are gonna line up, they say.
Carly: Oh yes. I mean, they lined up for like, OS X 10.4, so can you imagine the chaos for the fucking phone?
Me: It's like the opposite of the bread lines in Russia and Lord of the Rings.
Carly: Which is why I'm waiting until like, Hanukkah, to get mine.
Me: I bet that's the first time you've been happy about having Cingular. Actually....I had that, they fucked me. Then I got Sprint, who also fucked me, and now I have T-Mobile, and they are also fucking me. It's like, really brutal.
Carly: I hate Sprint with the fiery passion of a thousand suns. I'm fine with at&t/cingular/at&t/whatever. I would hate to be brutally fucked by a phone.
Me: I know it'd be very phone-y and wide and awkward. Unless it was like an old school Nokia.
Carly: I am Loling.
Me: From like, '99.
Carly: Those wouldn't be as bad.
Me: Yeah, but like, a Sidekick? Ew.
Carly: Or a Blackberry? Jesus.
Me: It would be like being entered by an actual UFO, but a violent one like from Star Trek, or whatever.
Carly: Oh my God, Lol-ing for real.
Me: A RAZR would be bad, because it looks like it would have sharp sharp edges. You know? Like a razor.
Carly: Oh, I got that.
Me: RAZR=razor. Get it?
Carly: hahahahahha. I do.
Me: By "RAZOR" I mean... razor.

When I ventured to the apple store on Wednesday to retrieve a new keyboard and power cord for my sad little MacBookinstien, I noticed there were a lot of whackos outside on their lawn chairs. Probs their phones got stolen like mine did. However, I didn't wait in line for my DASH. Instead, I spent three days pondering the various dimensions of my misery and how glad I was no one could reach me, lest they be subjected to my whining. Then, ten days later, I decided that my boots were made for walkin', and that's just what I did, I walked on over to T-Mobile. What was I waiting for, those long psychologically challenging days in my bubble with my air conditioner and my broken t-key? I don't know. Probs Godot or An Answer.

I hate lines. [Really? Really Riese? You are such a unique and special snowflake.] That's why I hate Rite Aid, the gym after 5pm, popular restaurants, the apple store, H+M, the airport, Starbucks, Whole Foods, the doctor's office, amusement parks and Pathmark. I'd rather be hungry, thirsty and wearing last season's fashions than wait in line. JK. I just bring a book. And think to myself: "Why's everyone so stupid and I'm so smart? Why're none of these employees working at maximum efficiency? I could start my own restaurant, harvest my own potatoes, build a fryer, hire employees, peel and chop or whatever the potatoes and then train someone to fry them before I get to the front of this line at the alleged Express McDonald's." If it's running really poorly, I can't concentrate on my book, I can only seethe.

I never try things on because I can't wait in line for a dressing room. This's a problem.

Some Notable Lines:

The Community High School Line : When Community High School was founded in 1972, it had only two rules: "1. No smoking, except in the teacher-student lounge, 2. Wear shoes." It remains one of the few public "magnet"/"alternative" schools to endure from the left-wing-powered wave of hippie alternative schools that were popping around America back then. By 1989, applicants far outnumbered spots, and, following the first-come first-served policy, ambitious parents started lining up up to two weeks ahead of time to get in. In '95, my year, they attempted to solve this problem by not announcing the location of the line 'til three days before the application due date. The first 50 kids get in. The remaining 50 spots; selected via lottery. The waiting list was actually a very promising prospect, too, because a lot of CHS students'd become drug addicts and skip all their classes. 'Cause they could. Freedom, etc. "School with no walls." By the time I got in off the waiting list, I was already at boarding school. I was like, sorry bitches! My brother went there though. His year, it was all lottery, and he didn't get in at first but made it via waiting list.

Anyhow, in 8th grade, I made a documentary about "the line." I re-edited it today to make it shorter and less boring. I've described my hair in this phase of life as an Angela Chase bob with a Zach Morris hair flip. I shoulda just let it be. My Mom's hair is also awesome. YouTube is retarded, so I don't know if you can see my subtitle, but when my Dad is talking about our plan, look at Mom's coat in the background.

Apple Store Line: What a miracle that they've finally concocted a semi-efficient system at their new Fifth avenue store. I woke up at like, dawn, more than once to wait in Soho. To wait and wait again. And then more.

Forever 21 Line: With clothes so cool, it's no surprise the line's always 50 yards long. I've literally spent an hour there selecting Hot Fashions only to abandon them in the sunglasses bin mid-line, convinced it's not worth it. Also; when you finally get to the front, you're probs not 21 anymore because: 1. The line's literally 100 years long. Those faux-vintage rainbow-patterned short-shorts aren't gonna look hot on your varicosed legs so give up now, fossil. 2. If you're lucky enough to stand behind an under-21 customer and overhear any of their conversation [bla bla ttyl lol cell phone bla oral sex on the playground bladibla], you'll feel geriatric.

Vans Warped Tour Line: I remember this line because I wanted to kill my boyfriend for being so cranky when it was his idea to attend this G-dforsaken event in the first place. I don't remember why they made us line up, either. We already had tickets.

Whole Foods: The Chelsea outlet's got a really serious line system with line captains and lights. It works quite well. Howevs, it'd be better if they moved the brownie samples from the bakery area, where they're only accessible by patrons of the third line, and into a more central area, accessible to all line-waiters. I think that's what the organic farmers who created these brownies would want for mankind.

Response to Request for Ideas for "Line Blog":

"What about the lines at theme parks? Or the lines of traffic I sit in sometimes? Or lines of cocaine? Ba dum bum."

Things I'd wait in line for overnight, a list created with deep thought:

1. Tickets for the Spice Girls Reunion Concert.
2. If they ever made Newsies into a live musical, I honestly don't think I could stand the idea of anyone seeing it before I did.
3. If this was some weird fantasy world where poets are rock stars, clearly I'd wait all day for Stephen Dunn. I've seen him read though a few times, but still. Really, actually, I'm having a hard time comprehending the idea of people waiting in line for poetry, I can't even conceptualize this hypothetical.
4. Free things that're worth a lot of money. These're usually in the form of "contests" or something though, so probs not.
5. Shakespeare in the Park starring someone I loved. Though I never have waited in line for SITP tickets, which says something. About truthiness.
6. If all my friends were doing it. That might be fun. Like camping.

Blackbird singing in the dead of night, take these broken wings and learn to fly, all your life, you were only waiting ...

The thing is, I've never been comfortable with:
1) Extreme want/desire.
2) Pouring excessive energy or time into anything that isn't guaranteed to work out.

"The old farm roads' a four lane that leads to the mall, and our dreams are all guillotines waiting to fall."
-Ani DiFranco!

Re: 1)
Don't they have jobs? Families? I wonder about the people waiting for iPhones. How could you want anything so badly that you'd wait in line to PAY for it? Ten minutes've passed in line at Whole Foods and I already feel I've been had. How dare you make me wait to fulfill this want? This desire for organic strawberries? Certainly I can do without this, yeah? Certainly I can talk myself out of it? When you get in line, and wait, you're making a physical expression of want, which for me means dependence, which scares the shit out of me. I wish I didn't need anyone or anything for anything, ever. Lines make me feel like a sheep/robot, like waddling along the weaving ropes/the poles of the complicated line for The Raptor at Cedar Point, desperate enough to be scrambled around and whizzed through the air that I've paid for it and'll wait two hours for three minutes of it. You've convinced me to want this, and now I'm here, shuffling along, waiting.

I have an almost destructive inability to wait in line for food at group eating events. Like, I loathe those moments I'm standing there with my plate, waiting? I'll wait until the line's completely done, then go forage for scraps.

Re: 2)
As soon as "but you might not get in" is added to the description of a potential line to wait in (a sold-out show, an exclusive club, live television taping, contest of some sort, whatever), my desire to stand in it's completely zapped. Disappointment's inevitable: we can make the best plan ever for getting into Community High School and not make it, I can completely plan on attending NYU film school and not make it ... because every time, it feels like I've been had, you know? Clearly I'd've finished writing my book if I didn't have some complicated relationship with the conviction that it'll actually sell. Instead, I obsessively track the decline of the publishing industry almost to talk myself out of myself.

Maybe this relationship to investment-->reward (as in, I want to believe in it really badly but totes DON'T) is why I'm convinced every thing I do choose to put my heart into's gotta be the one to work out, because I'm standing here, after all, showing that I WANT.

If I work hard enough, I can make it happen. I will make this work. This project is worth it, I'll give up everything I will wait, I'll wait potentially forever, outside, even, in the cold, I'll bring a tent, I'll leave my life at home, rain whatever, hail whatever, I've been in worse lines, I'll give up everything everything to be ... America's Next Top [Girlfriend?] ... I've got what it takes ... I could lose so much but I could also win! everything! ... I'm not waiting for a chance, I'm waiting for everything I wanted to arrive/return ... now there is no pain you are receding shine on you crazy diamond look in your eyes like black holes in the sky distant ship...

... because I'm pretty convinced that nothing works out and I want someone to prove me wrong. I'm certain that any kind of investment rarely equals reward, that most things'll crash and it'll be violent and the heart'll break ...

I've solved this problem in my life by avoiding risky investments of time or emotion [e.g., relationships] and it's actually a pretty good strategy. So when I do invest, I'm serious. When I do invest, I invest more. And more. And more. Someone [you? you? redacted magazine? the unblogged story of the conde nast project? etc.?] prove to me that it's okay to shove all my eggs into one basket, to charge headfirst into exhaustion and over-extension of one's self because it seems like it oughta work out. My Mom often tells me it's time to "cut my losses." You win some you lose some you lose some you oughta win some. When I hoped I feared since I hoped I dared

"I waited for you calmly, with infinite patience.
I waited for you hungrily, just short of desperate."
-Stephen Dunn, "The Waiting."

You lose some, you oughta win some?
Well ... I did! I had! I have. I wasn't lying when I said that, that moment was exactly as sweet as it tasted. So. That, there. Stay. BE. JUST BE. Be what you were. Over there.

"I believe in peace, bitch."
-Tori Amos, "The Waitress."

"I praise how the body heals itself.
I praise how, finally, it never learns."
-Stephen Dunn, "Desire."

And ... something else about all that?

If I'd gotten into Community High, maybe I wouldn't've ever gone to Interlochen, and if I hadn't gone there then I woulda missed out on the rest of my life, on absolutely EVERYTHING! And I do believe (cue Christina Aguilera ballad) that everything happens for a reason. Really, I do.

Sometimes it takes a while for the point to emerge from the madness, but I'm pretty satisfied right now with the possibility at my fingertips, a million unfinished lines shooting out of my nails like Wolverine's claws -- but gentle, hesitant, non-violent and reaching towards attention. I'm blindly groping for what it is we're waiting for, but kinda pretty sure, every now and then, that I can ... and will ... get it?

"There's a starman waiting in the sky, he'd like to come and meet us, but he thinks he'd blow our minds."
- David Bowie, Starman

Monday, June 25, 2007

Sunday Top Ten: Each From Different Heights, Who Saved Me From Suicide This Week

The "T" Key is broken again. So is my soul. However, I have not jumped out the window or stopped using words with "T"s in them. You know what that's called? Inner strength. Know where I learned that? R&B/Hip-Hop, especially Beyonce.

This's one of the worst Sunday Top Tens ever written. Because I cannot possibly do any less than ten things at the same time right now, which means I can't do any of them well.

UPDATE: This post is a mess. However, I am not.


omg!!!! The "T" Key situation is driving me crazy. What if I wrote this whole post w/o Ts? And was just like "Figure it out, bitches, you know the alphabet, yeah? You know how words work?" But then I remembered I have international (that word really wanted to be "inernaional") readers who have a hard enough time reading my rambling whathaveyous. Seriously. I need o go o he apple sore asap.

There is a little dog on my bed. Oh. He just left. Sad. What a lark!

You know what? MySpace should have a category called "Damaged." I rejoined myspace. I like MySpace, it's cute. Try and find me, grasshopper.

10. My Friends
Y'all are totes hands down awesome. Also, I'd like to thank AIM for making our friendship possible. And thank you for taking that extra minute for yourself every morning to make sure you're pretty, otherwise we wouldn't be friends. Some of you are GAY and that's okay. I love gay people. That's why I'm excited about the cruise, which's so soon I'm getting tan just thinking about it. Wheeee! Love GAYS! I cannot wait for Susan Powter yoga, I need her to tell me how to become a warrior ASAP.

9. Depression Diet=Donuts and McDonalds

I recently lost much of my emotional and digestive capacities, and though I've always been a bit lanky, it's especially pronounced now. I had to purchase an actual belt and wear it every day, which's never been my habit. [People're often surprised that I don't own any: belts, earrings, necklaces, lube.]

"You look completely wrecked, to be honest with you."
-My Therapist

(Obvs I am speaking to her upside down with my legs hanging over the top of the chair which is not a Freudian couch, it's an actual armchair, so this's not how it's meant to be sat in, but I was too wrecked to be upright, obvs.)

It's ridiculously symbolic, the taking back of one's alloted space--"no, it's okay, you can have that air back now, I'll just take up less room"--into a bony shell of your formerly robust self. But the best part of Depression Diet?! When you finally DO acquire an appetite, you can eat whatevs you want because you're just so proud of yourself for eating at all! For example, I haven't had a donut for breakfast since I was like, 12. Until this week, when I had like; 12. Donuts are delicious. Howevs, donuts would be even better if Dunkin' Donuts could just hire one person with an IQ over 40. I don't want sugar in my coffee so cut it out!

They should hire more gay people. GAY people are smarter than other people, because they need to figure out how to have sex, it's not just like get on top, stick it in, bang-bang-bang, it involves either: a) passion and dexterity, b) fitting a large object into a way-too-small hole without causing rectal bleeding. Sorry but someone had to say it.

8. My Mom.

I love my Mom. She's awesome and helpful. Also, she's GAY! Here's my Mom and I at her gay wedding. We're clearly eyeing different cameras. I'm wearing all pink, because it was a gay wedding and pink is the color of The Gays. No one thought this was as funny as I thought it was, unfortunately.

7. Alcohol

I can't say enough about this particular substance. It's reliable and it's always there in a pinch. Some totally flawed studies in the 70s and 80s suggested that GAYS are more likely alcoholics, but if someone did some new less dubious studies with better sample sized populations, I wouldn't be surprised if it was at least a little true. I mean, it's really depressing sometimes to be ostracized by your friends and family and denied the same political rights as strais. I've been very lucky to live in a tolerant little bubble of Gay Pride, though, thanks guys. Personally, I'd find it depressing to be regularly rammed up the ass. But that's just my own personal thing, and I'm not a good sample size, so that's that.

6. Chris Pureka

K-Lilly (GAY!) turned me on to Chris Pureka (GAY!), who sings perfect sad GAY folk music about how we lose each other, feel about it afterwards, and think about it later. but we never explain why we treasure our secrets we're in love with our sadness sometimes. I honestly don't know what I'd do without Chris Pureka. I put my ipod ibuds in my ears and she cries straight into my brain-cage. She validates me.

5. My T-Mobile Dash.

I haven't really figured out how to use it yet, but it looks really neat. It's everything I've ever wanted in a phone: a full keyboard, internet, and larger than a GAY fetus. I don't like small phones, as I've said before, because they remind me of my iPod and I don't wanna be all like "Hello? Prince?"

4. Going Out to NATION: Actually, Not So Bad.

Saturday night: Washington Square Park, an hour past dusk, met up w/Tara-D and her crew of GAYS. Split off from the Under-21s and went to GAY night at Nation. I've mentioned before that I despise Nation, as it is never fun. However: we had fun.

During a breakup, your priorities get shifted quickly. Emotional survival is your only task, really, which's why I spent the entire Summer of '03 playing 'The Sims." You're just trying to stay in the green, you know? Fun skyrockets, and the best way to enable fun is to drink as much as you can without dying. Tara, Vicky and I met up with Carly and we drank, danced [I only "dance" when drunk and/or alone and/or I think no one's watching], talked.

The music wavered somewhere between decent and fantastic, and pure, uncomplicated fun was had. SoCo and lime shots, like kids on vacation. As if we are not adults, as if life is not quite so serious as all this. All action, no head, like a Zen superhero, like your first time flying.

Nation employs these whore-ish girls to dance on the bars. One of 'em's ass cheeks were hanging out and then all this money came out of her shirt, like money was flying in the air, and I took it. That came in handy later when some whore-ish someone stole Tara's bag. I won't talk about that though, because it was depressing.

3. The Best Moment of My Life So Far: Sunday Night Dance Fever

After dinner at Vinyl, we [Carly and her friends Stuart & Matt, and obvs me] venture, full o' Pride, to Posh, a GAY Bar for homosexual men who like to have sex with other homosexual men, often via asshole.

My face still hurts from laughing at Stuart's story of last year's "Himalayan Hunter" Halloween costume (told during dinner) which involved a thong, a lot of feathers and very serious boots but most importantly: actually changing his skin tone via three day fake-baking/spray-tanning regiment. He took three days off of work to develop the proper skin tone for his Himalayan Hunter Halloween costume. I kept thinking: would someone've been like "You know, if you'd been just a tad whiter, I woulda thought Deer Hunter. But that orange glow just gives you away!"

I've been here, I think, as our quartet approaches the throngs of men in tank tops and cargo shorts. The boys at Posh look like frat boys, but with expensive hair gel and shinier muscles, and once inside I remember: I lost my cell phone here, '01: Happy Hour after a lunch shift at the Olive Garden. I remember telling James I'd never talked to the new girl, Karen, because I was intimidated by how pretty she was, and he said, but you're the most beautiful girl at The Olive Garden. This is depressing on many levels:

1. I totally wasn't AT ALL. I mean, total over-compensation complement Thank You James. The Olive Garden was full of hot girls, which's pathetic.
2. He's GAY.

Yes, that afternoon, 'o1: On the black couch I felt Jason's hand on my thigh, thought: You have a girlfriend, seriously, what the F is wrong with you? He tried kissing my neck, disguised as something he needed to say immediately, like via teeth-to-neck transmission. I squirmed. At some point, I put my Nokia on the glass table.

Then I remember vomiting in the Times Square Burger King bathroom, stumbling back to the NYU dorm I lived in that summer, mumbling some nonsense to my BFF, then calling my phone from her phone, affirming I'd left it at Posh, and passing out. I returned later, when it'd transformed into a meat market, and I was like a vegan angel parting the waters of disappointment.

Anyhow, back to present tense: Stuart danced with this woman and it was really funny/amazing, Carly and I were like, this is the best thing to ever happen in the history of mankind. Also, this's one of those things that I should probably just write about in my livejournal, as it's hilarity has no hope of translating onto the page or feeling remotely relevant or interesting to anyone reading this blog besides me. But I don't have a livejournal. Or a t-key, p.s.

2. In the Flesh

On Wednesday, I attended the Special GAY In the Flesh Reading with Tara-D, Vicky, Angelica, and four other girls who's names I forget because I was depressed and wanted to die, therefore I was not paying that close attention. Also, I possibly put too much vodka in my Vitamin Water considering all I'd consumed on Wednesday was four four-packs of cheese-and-peanut-butter crackers and a Lean Pocket. [Note to readers: I need to eat massive amounts of food about every two hours, so this's like, imagine if that's all a Sumo Wrestler ate all day.]

[Also, I'm refusing a return trip to Pathmark: last time, I literally waited THIRTY MINUTES to check out, which made me want to smash my by-then-spoiled Stonyfield Farms yogurt into the retarded eyes of the cashier til all the fruit sunk to the bottom of her retinas and blinded her for life, thus enabling her acquisition of a Seeing Eye Dog who could probs do her job better than she can.]

We saw JD Glass read, and I met her and Radclyffe, who edited that "Lambda *GAY* Award Winning Stolen Moments anthology I was in. Radclyffe's written about 5,000 books. She's even more prolific than my hero RKB.

Speaking of RKB, I talked to her (while drunk) and ... !!! .... I'll be reading at The Best of "In the Flesh" on September 19th. Clearly Haviland's reading with me. I think I'll extend the city-tour begun in last year's story, "Fucking Around." It'll be like: Philadelphia looked like a sweetheart, I thought he was gay, maybe, but then he stole my Sidekick. JK. Go Philly, I love Philly. Good cream cheese, travel/tourism campaign for homos, etc.

1. Y'all
I had an idea for this section: I was gonna get one of those ridic greeting cards with the sunsets and scan it and it was gonna be this weird like poem-y Thank You card or something, 'cause I was gonna be like "how can I talk about how my readers are so sweet and sent me not just comments but emails and stuff and honestly like, opened up to me and all of this and that's just really like, amazing, and unexpected, and heart-warming. Like my heart is officially warmed.

So yeah, I love all of you readers, GAY, straight, bisexual, red, blue, green, Jewish and Muslim, poet and preacher, administrative assistants and girls who spray perfume on you at Bloomingdales, I love all of you. Thanks for being really cool.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Failed Attempt at Gay Pride Post

Guess what? It's Gay PRIDE Week! As you know, I dislike most events involving Pride and/or Outdoor Eating and/or Parades and/or Gay People and/or Strais, but I kinda heart Gay Pride. [Read: Get excited about it, endure the actuality of it for about ten minutes, then get crabby and wanna go home and write emails.] For those of you who don't know what gay people look like, the webmasters at Yahoo! have this helpful banner currently posted on their page:
As you can see, all gay people are very svelte, and homos love boas, leather, and tight jeans. We're old, young, blonde, black, white and Satanic. Also we've got trannies, like the cheerleader about to sing Today for you, tomorrow for me! from Rent. He'll be getting backup from the post-makeover Sandra Dee, pictured on the far right between the identical twin of the Token Black Man (Twin #1's on the far left) and the Leather Dykes.

tell me about your life. tell me all about it. don't be shy or afraid. tell me about your beautiful past. speak it to me. about your first feeling and impulses. about how strong and fine they were. how pure. and high-grade.

[Robert Auletta, Stops]

Okay. Actually. Let's be honest here.

I can't write this post. I keep going over my draft and I think I need to just give up.

I'm trying really hard, but I'm sad. I don't have any Gay Pride. Like: rah rah! Kill me.

and about how those around you responded. about the gestures. about the faces. what did the hands feel like? and about the hearts. could you feel their hearts beating beneath their chests?

For three days, I've been trying to write this thing about gender, referencing this week's [redacted]-I-mean-New York Magazine article about Gaydar and the "gay gene," probs too theory-heavy to be even remotely interesting, and I keep changing references to TB from past to present tense and back again and back and all I can think about is how much I miss my girlfriend and how sad I am and how I don't really want to celebrate anything.

And about the colors. What were the colors like? The colors of the rugs, the walls, the stairs, the sinks, the closets. Tell me all about the colors.

Like, if I'm going to have a parade, I'd like all the instruments to sound like this: waa waa waa. waaaaa.

I feel like I can only speak in cliche, like all my feelings are boring.

And the smells, the smell of the snow. The wonderful smell of the snow. And the sky. The look of it. Tell me. Did it frighten you? And the funny faces you made. Make some of those funny faces now. Don't be afraid. Yes, that's beautiful. Those funny faces you're making are beautiful.

I am was am comforted by her arm, extending in front of my body as I carelessly step into oncoming traffic. I was am was comforted by her arms holding me. I was am was comforted by our palms, face-to-face, comparing lengths, that first night in her car.

And the darkness. Tell me about the darkness. The depth and the intensity of it. Its feel. The grit of it. Of what you lost in it. The black of it. If you died in it. Or if you lived in it. Tell me about it. Speak it to me. Speak the hatred of it to me. Don't be afraid. Spit on me. Don't hold back. Spit it. That's why I am here. Spit.

I cannot be in my room because it reminds me of her. I cannot leave my room because I'm crying. My face's gotten so used to crying that I don't even need to move to do it. I can just sit here like Linus and his raincloud except my raincloud is my eyes. The thing is, too: Linus didn't even have a raincloud over his head. No Peanuts characters did. People just think that 'cause PigPen had a dust cloud, and I guess there's some Lil' Abner character with an actual raincloud, but that doesn't matter, really, the important part is maybe only my truth, and I'm not trying to make Peanuts profound or something, or make myself profound, but actually, Peanuts is way more profound than I am.

that's good. that's fine. all together. now we're one together. by the sea for a picnic. in the woods for a romp. our pretty dresses. our colored shirts. sipping cider. our heads thrown back. our hair flying. the trees, the sky, the sea, our eyes.

Also: I feel like there's a power drill in my uterus trying to unearth my bellybutton ring from the inside, I'm crabby, tired, nauseous, and overly Midoled. I'm sad and confused and I think I've got Toxic Shock Syndrome in my heart.

This picture was gonna be in my post:

Ardhanarisvara: cosmic androgyny
Third Eye Chakra

And this one:

Relic of my Boyhood
Last week, I showed her the most important drawing I ever did from my 1999 journal. She read to me from her 2001. We compared angst and genius/beauty. She always made me laugh. We made each other laugh a lot. The first time we talked on the phone, my face hurt afterwards from laughing so hard.

I honestly believed we'd be together forever, and I believed that more purely than I ever have before with anyone. I saw our whole future together, mapped out, and it was beautiful. It was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen.

I'll probs erase this post 'cause it's pretty raw, for me. But that's all I got, kids.

And so the heart breaks...

*I'm glad, I'm glad. As you are. As we all are. As we are together.
[again: this monologue's from Robert Auletta, Stops]*

...into small shadows almost so random they are meaningless like a diamond has at the center of it a diamond a rock...

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Sunday Top 10: On Camp

This week's This American Life podcast, 1998's Notes on Camp, "tr[ies] to understand what is the cult-like, mystical connection some people feel with their summer camps." I could cop themes from TAL every week, but I somehow resist that temptation. There's a lot of thematic Top Ten temptations I resist every week, like a cokehead staring down a pure white line of heaven dancing across their desktop: Most Annoying Things Ever, Reasons I'm Too Busy To Call You Back, Things No One Should Ever Wear EVER, Best Blog Entries I've Already Written, Annoying People/Things at the Gym, etc.

But um I could not resist this particular temptation. It's summer! Snort up, kiddos!

If you've given birth to children and they are grown-ups now, perhaps you're sending them to summer camp. Perhaps you yourself went to camp, or perhaps you're a camp counselor, or perhaps you went to Fat Camp, like on the TV show "Fat Camp."

The New York Times Magazine featured ads for the real ritzy Summer Camps, like Camp LaJolla (fat camp) and my fantasy favorite Stagedoor Manor, which looked like a hotel for future Gaby Hoffmans and whomever played Little Orphan Annie.

Perhaps you think camp is for spoiled rich kids and the easily-placated middle class suburban brats. Perhaps it is. I remain undecided.

I attended Jewish Day Camp every summer til I turned 11. I hated it a lot. Then I overnight-camp-hopped for several years, 'cause I'm fast like that. Sometimes, I wished I was fat, so I coulda accomplished something concrete by going to camp.

So, TAL: Ira Glass shared some listener stories, including a Wisconsin woman recounting her Young Zionist Camp experience. I suspected immediately her camp belonged to the Habonim-Dror group, which owned the Zionist camp I attended in Michigan. There can't be that many Zionist camps in the U.S, 'cause there's not a huge market, I imagine, for kids who want to feed animals, paint houses, celebrate Shabbat, learn "Ivrit" and sleep in tents while their rich Jewish friends are chillin' in the Catskills in air conditioned cabins learning digital video editing and trapeze. But anyhow, here's the end of her story:

"....A bunch of us were sitting in the dining hall, and somebody said look out on the lawn! ... there was this large cross burning out on the lawn of the campgrounds, these people came in wearing white sheets and white things over their heads like pillowcases and they made us all go outside. And there was another guy in a white sheet and a white pillowcase riding up and down on a horse and they started to yell at us that they wanted the Jews out of Wisconsin and they didn't want any Jew-camps in Wisconsin, and they kept yelling at us, Don't bother trying to call the authorities 'cause in this neck of the woods we are the authorities, and everyone was just petrified and we all stood around just shakin' in our boots, and all of a sudden one of the counselors said, "I'm an American citizen and you can't treat me like this!" so two of the guys in sheets grabbed him by the arms and marched him away, and another counselor said the same thing ... and pretty soon all the counselors were being marched away and we were left there ... I went "I'm an American Citizen too!' and someone came over in a white sheet and took me down towards the beach and as he was waking me down to the beach and said to me "Edina, couldn't you have kept your big mouth shut?" And It was all a political lesson that we were supposed to be learning."
Then I knew: hands down totes for-sure the same camp I went to, per the re-enacting the fleeing-Germany-before-the-Holocaust story I shared in a previous blog.

Zionists don't mess around.


10.How to do Shakespeare ...
in fifteen minutes ...
on a cart.
You know, like for retarded people w/o taste. JK, I love retarded people, especially if you are retarded and reading this blog. I mean that proverbially. [Is that the right word? Proverbially? I'm retarded.]

Me @ Blue Lake. Yes, that's a chapstick necklace.

Someone's brilliant idea for the summer theater program's "big show" was performing 15-minute audience-participatory "adaptations" of Hamlet and Taming of the Shrew on 12x12 rolling carts, like minstrels at a really annoying fair or amusement park. As Ophelia, I delivered three stunning lines and as Rosencrantz, Gildenstern and I forewent lines in favor of a [we thought] very clever song, to the tune of "It's the Hard-Knock Life" from Annie: It's the hard-knock life for us, it's the hard knock life for us, Pertrucio used to be real nice, 'til he got this Shrewish wife, it's the hard knock life! Now he's bossing us around, kicking [I forget] on the ground, it's a hard knock life!

I can still hear it in my head.

9. Camp A----us, 1992
Before you go anywhere overnight and voluntarily sacrifice your rights/privileges to their authority,
get a personal reference. Or something.
Don't just go because it looked OK in the pamphlet.
Even overprotective mothers miss some things.

We're happy in this photo, 'cause we're about to go home.
We woulda gone home sooner, but they wouldn't let us call our parents.
The summer after 6th grade, my BFF Janelle and I, finally permitted by our mothers to attend overnight camp, found the only camp offering week-long sessions and signed up. It was, allegedly, Michigan's oldest bestest all-girls camp, but, upon arrival, things were not quite as advertised.

All that "camp" stuff? Making friends, forming teams, attending structured activities, kindness, etc.? The promised attempts to forge real or imaginary bonds between campers? Nada. It was like showing up at college mid-semester, sans orientation, and told to fend for yourself. Which's fine, but not when you're 11.

Also, speaking of "nada," we realized quickly that 75% of the campers were Mexican girls who stayed all summer, every summer, simply to be somewhere other than Mexico. Nothing against Mexicans, obvs/obvs!, but I mean ... weird, right? Camp A----- shoulda incorporated it into their advertising, like "Diverse Group of Campers!" or "Spanish-Language training!" or "Camp A---us: Better than Mexico City!"

Anyhow, they wouldn't let us call home, and my BFF's younger sister got sick mid-week and her counselor didn't believe her [she had appendicitis]. It got pretty bad. Like a sicko reality TV show. Rained a lot. I made friends and learned dirty sexy Mexican songs to sing to myself in the shower. JK . Not in the shower: I was afraid of it (group shower) and, literally, didn't shower all week. That's disgusting. Seriously, how the F did I get away with that?

The talent show featured almost exclusively cross-dressing kitchen staff lip syncing Englebert Humperdink and stripping. So weird.

Also, they served mystery meat, fo' rizzle, which I'd read about in Ramona Quimby. Obvs, I got sick.

8. Not Knowing How to Swim Indicates Deep, Unnerving, Ridicule-worthy Pathos

Swimming is the centerpiece of American camping. Apparently, most children not only enjoy a dip in the lake/pool, but look forward to it. Not only can these mini Summer Sanderses lap swim without drowning, many can perform complicated "dives" and "flips." Personally, I preferred my bathing suit for one location and one location only: the group showers.

[At 18, I took swimming lessons @ Sarah Lawrence. Can swim now. Heart my Speedo, totally no longer afraid of beaches or pools. Well: I am. But for different reasons now, like that there're lots of people there, in little-to-no clothing, enjoying activities that boggle me, like "drinking beer and eating potato chips in the daytime," "tanning," "grillin'"and "apparently absolutely nothing."]

But, camp: all afternoon, our little eyes'd sting from the chlorine, and our skin transformed from puckered to throbby white, then back to pita. At Zionist camp, the bottom of the pool was rough, like sandpaper. That's training for the Israeli army, I think.

7. Letter-Writing Skills
When mining my storage space in Michigan for memoir-gold, I came upon boxes and boxes of letters, many exchanged w/friends during respective weeks of summer camp. I realized how bizarre it'd be, now, to have no idea what was happening with my friends until I received written notice in the postal mail. Obvs, when I've got no clue what my friends're up to now, it's cause I've failed to call/email/etc., and we're a bit more predictable now. Back then, someone could come back from camp a totally different person and we might not be prepared for such things. I love letters: writing things you're hoping'll stay true for a few days, words you can't ever redact and which you'll not get a response to for a week or more. Like Permanent "Out of Office Reply."
6. Fleeing Germans for the Land of Milk and Honey is Very "Exhausting."

From my Diary, August 1st, 1994: "They woke us up at 5:15 A.M. to 'Escape Germany and found the state of Israel!' and we didn't get to be allowed to go back to sleep until 9:30. I was exhausted all day."

That "get to be allowed to" is ruining my life, but I can't edit my own pre-adolescent diary entry. So I'll just let it be, like y'all let my stylistic errors be, all the time.
5. The "Camp Relationship" Mentality

I never had a Camp Boyfriend.
This photo is of one of many reasons why.
At camp, relationships occur in light-speed. Not that I actually had one, but most of my friends did. It was perfectly acceptable to return from a three-week session w/steamy stories of a super-serious boyfriend/girlfriend you'd acquired on Cedar Lake. The intensity and round-the-clock time together afforded by summer camp provided for this relationship-on-light speed effect, and I still use "Camp Relationship" proverbially -- like how the [redacted] magazine article I was writing during the infancy of TB and I's relationship pushed it all into overdrive. I was like, "It's like we're Camp Girlfriends!" and she was like, "What?" This happens a lot with us, e.g., when I quote anything published after 1939, including teleplays. Or when she quotes anything published before 1925.

4. I am "a carpenter's dream: flat as a board and never been nailed."

This information was bestowed upon me and my Day Camp BFF Alex by a boy I'll call "Douchebag." Douchebag was fat and mean, but apparently'd received a beejer, which gave him self-bestowed Status to label the ripe young maidens of the lower grades. He got grosser and even less dateable in high school [being Day Camp, all kids were locals]. Alex, however, became smokin' hot, but in that effortless super-sweet faux-hippie FACT-beautiful kind of way. I realize in retrospect I probs had a crush on her, but also: so did everybody, I mean, her girl-clique called themselves "The Rainbow Girls." [Hidden message?] She has no memory of this incident, because she's not crazy. Anyhow, what Douchebag's clever line truly meant was: "You'll both have very perky **** later, and 'nailed' implies a violence uncomely to sexual descriptions."

3. Liberal Politics=Liberal Policies

Hippie Day at Hippie Camp.

Every camp I attended and all I'd heard of were strict about keeping the boys away from the girls, lest we all get preggers or acquire SARS. Obvs Zionist camp was an exception to this rule, because we were one big family, like a Kibbutz. Boys and girls tents co-existed side by side, and the boys'd often drop their towels on purpose en route to shower, and my Best Friend the Weirdo'd perform ten-minute orgasms after "bed time" 'til all the campers yelled and his counselor threatened to kill him with various sharp objects. We could have boys in our bed, sleepovers, whatevs, though usually Naomi slept in my bed. She had memorable breasts for a 13-year-old. Hmm. Nothing happened. It was just a small bed.
2. How to do Something, Right? How to Make Lanyards? Swim?

I must've learned some kind of concrete skill. I learned some Hebrew. I made a Dream Catcher once, at Camp Michigania, according to my diary. Michigania's family camp. I went with someone else's family, and they turned out to be even crazier than mine. Diary: Helen's having a hissy fit at Arts & Crafts 'cause the string on her dream catcher is too thick and she can't fit any beads on it. Her Mom got POed at me for the precious 30 minutes I was holding Helen's things hostage, she had my hat, and I ran out of things, and I was in the bathroom so I told her I was holding her Oxy and Deodorant [sic] hostage. Helen's Mom thought it was rude. The game ended.


1. I Am Not Good at Camp

TAL discussed one of the primary strategies of summer camp as a "business": by creating teams, traditions, and complicated systems of rank/seniority/legacies, camps ensure return "customers," a.k.a. campers. I knew that my yearly alienation, as I trekked each summer to a new camp, would never change if I never went anywhere more than once. Day Camp doesn't count, 'cause I was forced to go there.

'Cause as it was, I didn't dig camp so much, though my blind optimism that each year'd bring the boyfriends and memories my friends regaled from their adventures was inspiring. I got homesick fast, then, 'cause I missed my Dad and Kentucky Fried Chicken, which's why I avoided the longer camps, like Interlochen, where I ended up eventually shipping off for year-round school. I wanted the cliquey camaraderie the other girls had, the easy-breezy-beautiful songs and chants and requisite tearful goodbyes. Instead, I mostly just waited for it to be over, like making it to the end was something I needed to prove to myself.

At Blue Lake, the last camp I ever attended, the final night was marked by a four-hour concert dreaded all summer long--a chance to make paper cranes out of programs/enjoy orchestral music--and so my heart skipped all it's beats when, on the night of "The Blue Meanine" or whatevs it was called, on my way to the cafeteria in late summer rain, I spotted my father and brother underneath the awning. Dad was wearing a Bulls hat, I remember ... I actually thought I was hallucinating, which was possible, 'cause I spent more than one day in the infirmary crying about my homesickness at that place, and they kept feeding me Pepto ...

Dad: "Oh! Marie! What a surprise to see you here! We were just passing through ..."

Lewis: [giggle giggle] "Hi Marieeeee!"

Me: [melting, OMG!] "Can you take me off-campus? Now? Before the concert?"

Dad: "Well, we certainly didn't come out here to watch a bunch of amateurs toot their own horns for four hours."

The kids, finally, envied me. I still remember eating the Patty Melt [I don't know if this's a universally consumed heart-attack-on-a-plate or not; it's onions, a hamburger, melted cheese on toast] at Big Boys in Twin Lake. Just like heaven...

I suppose returning to any camp for another year woulda been like that "not joining any clubs that'd have me as a member" thing. Implicit in return was the acknowledgement I'd liked it the first time around, that I had particular expectations and that these expectations were resolutely optimistic, validating that last summer, I musta fit in and made friends.

Funny, then, that I eventually chose year-round "camp" for my last two years of high school [a.k.a. boarding school], though not until many of the causes of my perpetual homesickness were no longer relevant. Like, I think Kentucky Fried Chicken is really gross now.

Monday, June 18, 2007

We Must We Must We Must Increase Our ...

I'm writing a Sunday Top Ten, I promise. Seriously: RIGHT NOW.

In the meantime: this book, The Bigger, The Better, The Tighter the Sweater: 21 Funny Women On Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards of Being Female, is now available for purchase. If you buy it through that link, I get about seven cents. So, if all of you buy it, I will be able to feed not only myself but my/TB's pet monkey, Squirrel/Rocinante. Squirrel's not a real monkey, he's a stuffed monkey. Still, we all get a little hungry sometimes. Hungry for life, love, and literature, as well as all other things, like Metrocards and games-for-the-thief's-new-cell-phone.

Seriously though, clearly you like to read, and it's like supporting meeeeee AND getting a free gift. It's been in the sidebar forevs, 'cause of viral marketing.

Here's a review from BUST magazine. I've highlighted, in yellow, the part where they say my essay specifically is one of the highlights of the book. If you can't read it, just trust me.

Also, my essay from this book'll be printed, condensed, in August's Marie Claire magazine, the women's magazine devoted to women named Marie. This won't be like last year, when the photo/misquote combo in September's MC inspired me to cry/wail violently and hurl the magazine at the wall like a psycho. 'Cause this time I'm not just IN the article, I sorta wrote it, and there's no photo! [Read: Essay needed to be cut in half for magazine, I said: Do whatever you want to it, I trust you. See that? I BELIEVE, forgive, etc.]

AND if you live in New York City, we're reading at the KGB Bar on July 24th. Put it on your calendars now, 'cause you're all clearly very busy, and if you've gotta work there's still time to quit your job. Also, I'm not actually listed as being a reader, 'cause clearly whomever's in charge hasn't checked her email in forever-ever, 'cause then she woulda gotten the publicist's email about how I was somehow left out of this listing and subsequently added me to that page linked above. I assure you I am indeed reading.

I just re-read my contract, and I'm pretty sure I'm allowed to do this ... hmmm ... okay, I'm posting, below, the first graf of my essay, "Feels Like Teen Spirit." I learned this technique from RKB, obvs, who entices readers to buy the book by printing excerpts on her blog. Probs most authors do this. But I'm weird, so I don't. Actually, based on the last few posts, you might think I'm a real writer with a booming career. I assure you this's not the case. I am still Marie from the Block, eating Ramen. Seriously, I just had some Ramen. I'm still hungry, oh, how we are HUNGRY!

Excerpt from "Feels Like Teen Spirit," by Marie Lyn Bernard. The essay's about hyperhidrosis:

I started sweating during the summer of 1994, between seventh and eighth grades. This development, which was clearly an Adult Thing, was entirely incongruous with the rest of my Ascent to Womanhood. I was sweating but I did not have my period or breasts or a boyfriend.

“Is this like when you said you needed a bra?” my mom asked when I added deodorant to our K-Mart shopping list.

“I wanted a bra just for under white shirts, Mom,” I reminded her. “So that no one can, you know—see through—when it rains —”

“When I was your age, I was already a B cup,” she told me. “It was terrible.”

One of my favorite things about being thirteen was comments such as that one. Other favorite things: boys who were three to four inches shorter than I was, passing notes, spreading rumors, braces with rubber bands, Kurt Cobain and his big fat flannel shirts, Lurlene McDaniel novels about girls who were dying of fatal illnesses, Christopher Pike novels about girls and boys being chased by dead people. And sweating.

Also, speaking of books I'm in, I'd like to share a quote with you from a piece of fan mail I received IN THE MAIL (Yeah, the postal kind! Sent to my agent! Crafty fellow!), re: my story in The Best American Erotica 2007:

"It wasn't simply a hot, sensuous tale--instead it seemed to contain an emptiness--a void that yearned for intimacy--that longing for acceptance and with it, love. If he loved her, why didn't he eat her before he entered her? Why didn't he [sic] her with his lips and tongue and accompany her into the realm of ecstatic bliss?"

Since he asked where he can find more of my work, obvs I'll be mailing him a Bigger the Better postcard. While (obvs) reading this letter out loud to Cameron, the line printed above required me to stop reading: "Doesn't he know talking about sex makes me squeamish? Ack! I can't read this, let alone answer that question! Can't handle!"

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Recap: Naked on the Internet Panel

Just talked to T-Mobile: the thief downloaded games onto my phone. Apparently this's a gift in disguise as the games'll be mine when I retrieve my "SIM card" or whatevs? I hope it's Trivial Pursuit or "a game called reading great works of literature." Games on phones? Seriously? How bored is this guy? I mean, doesn't he have other stuff to steal?

[L to R: Waking Vixen/Audacia Ray, Marie Lyn Bernard/Muppet Monkey Face, Lux Nightmare, Madeline in the Mirror, Ellen Fredrichs.]

i. The Red Carpet, 5:45 P.M.:
TB: Do you get nervous about public speaking?
Me: No. That's the problem. I don't get nervous enough. I just say whatever comes into my head, like whatever crazy shit I think'd be funny or cool, I've been told I have weird public speaking tics ... hand gestures, etc ... And that I play with my hair a lot. I'm generally impossible to watch, is what I think.

[Things I didn't do that I was scared I might do: mention anyone specifically, talk about my personal sex life, be totally snarky/annoying, talk too much, employ off-color humor, drink beforehand, play with my hair a lot, laugh inappropriately, talk about crazy exes/crazy self.]

[Something else I didn't do: mention the name of my blog or anything else that woulda given me self-promotional benefits. Whoops. That's okay. I did it for fun! Actually, it was fun. I love talking about this kind of stuff. Seriously. Besides! FIVE present peoples already link to me: Waking Vixen, Jayme Waxman, RKB, my girlfriend and Steph, so I auto-won like, 5% of the room already!]

[I didn't do anything annoying, my friends said I was clever and funny and said good things/made good points, and ... and ... I actually agree with them ... I think.]

[Is this what it's like to go to class having done the reading? I mean, I read the book! I read the whole thing!]

I wore a cute outfit. My lucky cowboy boots, lucky black dress, etc.

"My most solitary endeavor--blogging--was responsible for bringing me to the darkest places in my Internet travails, because it brought me deeper into my own head. Ironically, it also brought me the most comfort and community with other women. Perhaps this is because many women come to blogging--especially sex and relationship blogging--with a sense of restlessness, aloneness, and the general frustration of being misunderstood--plus a serious compulsion to write."
-Audacia Ray, Naked on the Internet

ii. my first

6:45 P.M.:

We take the W train to Union Square, because we're retarded. Waking Vixen'd asked me to arrive @MoSex by 6:30. Obvs it was 6:45. This was karmic timing, 'cause we ultimately emerged via R-train at 28th street, just as Stephanie was walking by, en route to the reading.

[Summer 2004: "When people ask how I met you [Stephanie], I tell them we met in Union Square. Because we did. I just leave out the part beforehand--you know. The craigslist part." Old-School Auto-Win fans may remember Stephanie from September /October /November. In her East Village apartment that '04 summer, though, before I knew anyone--before I knew myself: a futon, Thai take-out, whirring air conditioner, space thick with smoke, Radiohead. I thought, there's people out there like me who are also afraid of people, afraid to leave their cave, but also beautiful and interesting and cool and fun. We had a few incarnations in each other's lives, and I was super-happy when she told me she'd be coming, as I haven't seen her since December.]

stephanie. met on internet, july '04.
Stephanie: What're you gonna talk about?
Me: No clue.

This's me making Waking Vixen laugh.
She's like "Ha! I'm so glad I invited this totes weirdo to my panel!"
Probs everyone was laughing, that's how funny I am.
JK. Probs the panel and my friends were laughing.

iii. Represent.

My posse of young 'uns on the far left of the room are the coolest kids in school. First off ...

7 p.m.: Panel begins.
7:05 p.m.: TB arrives, after enjoying a cigarette outside.

tb, met on internet, february '07.

7:15 p.m.: Krista arrives, looking earnest/clutching sleeves.

krista. met at interlochen arts academy, september 1997.
krista is my sister. not by blood or anything. but she is.

7:20 p.m.: Lainy, Tara, Vicky and Tara's 18-year-old male cousin arrive.
Tara's wearing a denim mini and a tank top reading "Dirty Kitty." Lainy's donned hot pink, obvs.
Later during panel, I will say: "I write about my friends on my blog," they will laugh, I will point: "I write about all those kids on my blog."

tara. met on internet, march '05.

lainy. met via tara, summer '05.
Later, Re: Who's on these internet dating sites?, I'll reflect that it's the same ten people on every site, the same people you already know. [Though I haven't been on 'em in about two years, so I'm sure the climate's changed since then.] I'll be referring specifically to the fact that, while interning at nerve, I'd do frequent searches and Lainy always came up as my number one "match." I was like: NERVE! I already know Lainy, duh, I'm talking to her on AIM right now!

7:30 p.m.: Matty arrives.

matty. met at CAKE party, summer '05.
lived across the street from me and krista.
krista informed me immediately: NOW HE'S MARRIED. WHAT?!!!

iv. The Fringes

Re: Advantages to online dating.

Me: "You don't have to leave your apartment, is the main thing."


1998, The New Yorker.
from "On the Fringes of the Physical World," by Meghan Daum:
"All the tangible stuff--the trees outside, my friends, the weather--fell away. I could physically feel my brain. My body did not exist. I had no skin, no hair, no bones; all desire had converted itself into a cerebral current that reached nothing but my frontal lobe. Lust was something not felt but thought. My brain was devouring all of my other organs and gaining speed with each swallow. There was no outdoors, the sky and wind were irrelevant. There was only the computer screen and the phone, my chair, and maybe a glass of water."


v. Naked on Waking Vixen's Arm

Circa 8 P.M., I notice AR's tat. Her tattoo is not kidding around. I've tracked down a photo for you, from her blog:

Speaking of tattoos, from a convo a month or so ago:

"You're so precious, you're like the cutest girl in the world, and I'm so dark ... like Satan over here ... like ... RAWR. I'm such more of a robot than you. Look at your stuff..all your little stuff...your little iBook and your pink iPod, you're like, I'm gonna get a tattoo of a chai on my thigh, and I'm like. I wanna get tattoos on my wrists like the CRUCIFIXION, you know?"

vi. Lusting for the Lusty Lady
For a while, I was considering a regular Auto-Win feature called "My Secret Obsessions." Then I realized this'd be a short feature, as my only secret obsession is Rachel Kramer Bussel. I read at her In the Flesh reading series last year, and she wrote really nice things about me. But I'm obsessed with her because I think she's the most productive person on earth. Does she know of some secret Time-Management Super-Powers?

Me: Do you think RKB will be there?
TB: Obviously. Totally.

Why am I obsessed with RKB? And why didn't she say hi to me--though I also didn't say hi to her? Is it because like me, she's also kind of shy in this weird selective way? Is it because I seem hostile or annoying or obsessed?

I could think about this all day. Instead, I blog, because that's what bloggers do, when not having cybersex on the internet. JK, I never have cybersex.

Which's why I mainly spoke on topics like blogging/life, relationships, internet dating, etc., and hushed up during discussions of porn/sex work/etc. OK: actually, I said stuff on those topics too, because I'm a big fan of inserting my uneducated P.O.V on everything.

Anyhow back to RKB.

It's my secret desire to sit inside her brain and watch the neurons fire. Instead, I read all of her blog entries, though not the cupcake blog, because I don't like lusting for things I can't have. [There're no nearby cupcake factories, I think.] RKB goes to everything and reads every book ever and blogs everything. She's like a one-woman Fleshbot.

AND she blogs about her relationships and her feelings--which's a topic we discussed at the panel, actually--how to handle getting personal on one's blog, what to show and what to reveal, how to handle this with your partners and friends--It's a compelling and persistent issue, and the choice to do so [to choose to blog about one's "personal life"] is increasingly rare--

Personally [ha! get it? Personally?!] I think there's been a mass blogger exodus over the past year or so, as blogs' ubiquity has increased, away from discussing the intimate/personal. It's frowned upon, often, as "dirty laundry," etc. There's arguments to be made on both sides. I said: "I do it sometimes but generally try to avoid it, try balance, I used to be more personal than I am now that my audience's bigger. Sometimes I wish I could block my ten closest friends but let 4,000 strangers read it. You know? Also, when I do blog about personal things, it's usually because I'm hoping to you know--touch on larger issues, or something someone else might relate to, you know--[Miss America voice]--help people."

Waking Vixen shouted out my Sunday Top Tens. My friends laughed. That was awesome.

So, RKB!

She posts at least six blogs a day, hosts reading series, interviews people for mediabistro/gothamist/everyone and publishes like, 100 articles a week for HuffPo/Village Voice/NY Post/everyone, edits or appears in 10,000 erotica anthologies, and often blogs about how she's really just a nerd who's sometimes lonely and up w/insomnia Amazon-searching new books to read. How's that possible? She's the busiest person on earth! She's making cupcakes! She's getting spanked! She's having relationships! She's RKB!

I considered devising a mathematical formula to determine exactly how she does what she does, but then I thought: Riese, this's why you don't get anything done, weirdo.

Excerpts from E-Mail exchange, August 2006:

From: Me

... I know this sounds like an odd question, but how do you manage your time so well? When I read your blog, it seems like the amount of creative output and the amount of reading of other people's creative output that you do is really impressive! How does she do it, one might ask? And so I am. Share your wisdom, as I'm attempting to craft a similar rate of productivity myself.

To: Me
From: RKB

... briefly, um, I don't know how I get so much done but in large part I use one thing to procrastinate on another. Really. And do a lot at my day job, and, just, am crazy really.

When I received that email, I was mostly stunned that she also has a DAY JOB?!! She must never sleep! I'm crazy too, but I feel like I haven't done anything.

Side note about a book I did finish reading, which's a miracle these days: Naked on the Internet, the book.

I suspect I was in the minority of people present who'd actually read the whole thing cover-to-cover. Read, losers. Buy it!

RKB arrived at 7:30. I know this because TB wrote it down immediately, and we gave each other a look. A "RKB is here, obvs," look.

vii. From "The Comments" to my Sunday Top Ten

TB dropped her Blackberry on the floor within about 15 minutes of the panel's commencement. I wanted to pee in my pants, but instead I was like; Whats up, that's my girlfriend reading Gawker on her Blackberry. She was like "Sorry, got it," and held it up to reassure everyone she could return to whatever she was doing, let's all move on as planned.

So first Waking Vixen read from her book, then we discuss topics, then people from the audience asked questions.

viii. Some things I remember

Q: What motivates women to get involved in pornography?
A: "Money."

[Lux Nightmare had a much longer and more complicated answer that did not involve money. She actually has information and experience from which to speak. I've got none. Also, a lot of alt-porn stars don't get paid! I learned that in Naked on the Internet.]

Q: Do y'all feel weird about the world knowing your business?
A: I mostly just feel weird about my grandparents.

Q: How do you blog about sex and still retain dignity and a sense of self?
A: I only blog about 90210. Dignity what?

Q: Are there any websites like ManHunt for women?
A: Dude, if you're a woman that wants to have sex like, right now? You could have sex with anyone in the whole world that you wanted to. You could post an ad on craigslist and get like, 150 responses. LIFE IS MANHUNT FOR WOMEN.

Q: Are there axe murderers on the internet?
A: "Yes." JK! Just me. Actually I feel that axes are very old school. I prefer lasers like from Star Wars.

Lux: Some of the Suicide Girls were allegedly only paid in underwear.
Me: It was really cute underwear.

[note: I'm not a Suicide Girl. But I did write a story for an erotica anthology they were putting together once upon a time that never came to fruition. That's fine. Like I said, my favorite thing on earth is to write things for free. In fact, that's how I make a living, and slowly deteriorate into insanity. Not the productive kind of insanity, like RKB's, but the other kind. Whatever the other kind is.]


Krista: So Matty's MARRIED.
Me: You're married?
Matty: Yup.
Me: Wow! Congratulations.
Matty: [monotone, unenthused.] Thanks.
Me: When'd you get married?
Matty: Tuesday.
Me: Wow! How's married life so far?
Matty: Sucks.
Me: Oh! Okay. Um.
Matty: Yeah.
Me: Already?
Matty: Yup.
Me: OK! Um.


"I love how those guys had to qualify their questions with I heard you on The Brian Lehrer Show today like I heard about this on legitimate media I was listening to NPR, this isn't normally my thing."


Afterwards, we dined at Dragonfly. It was fabulous to see everyone, especially now that I think I'm getting sick. My throat, nose and body hurts real bad. I'm drinking tea. I think I need some apples or something. Someone sign me up for the Fruit of the Month club, thanks.

I've got a postcard super-glued to my desk of William Burroughs trying to stab Jack Kerouac with a dagger.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Intro: "Naked on the Internet" Panel

TB and I've decided to individually recap the perfectly marvelous
Museum of Sex Naked on the Internet panel,
then post our relative perspectives on our respective blogs.

It's writing exercise, but also it'll provide endlessly delicious entertainment for YOU, the reader.

For example: Was the "TB drops her Blackberry on the floor, thus attracting the attention of everyone in the room for about five seconds incident" different from TB's vantage point?

We've not exactly started this recap yet, 'cause TB actually had to do work today at her work,
which's unheard of,
and I broke off my "T" key this morning
and literally spent the entire day
trying to fix it.
And doing laundry while listening to 1984 on Audiobook, etc.

But it's coming. Pun possibly intended.


Viviane's photos, my edits:
You can see in these photos that I'm having a lot of very deep thoughts. Also you can see that the string of Lux Nightmare's tea's in a different position in each photograph. This's 'cause she kept fiddling with it, which may or may not've made me want to take the string, wrap it around my neck, and die. However, as you can see in the displays behind us, this probs woulda been interpreted as an "auto-erotic-asphyxiation" fetish, which I know all about from Law & Order: SVU and Six Feet Under and 'cause that's what I tell TB I'm doing when I'm actually doing other things, like enjoying a lemon wedge or a brief dangle from the ceiling.

Anyhow, luckily I didn't hang myself, because then everyone would've missed out on the fabulous panel! It went very well, I think, and Lux Nightmare: I forgive you for the tea-bag-string thing. I myself am very fidgety, and I've been told I develop strange habitual tics when speaking in public. We're lucky I didn't have a teabag string to fiddle with, otherwise I woulda driven everyone crazy.

"Being Driven Crazy/Driving People Crazy" is also a fetish: clearly, it's mine.

I came to MoSex for an opening this past February called "Kink." After looking around and licking some feet, Lo and I ended up sitting upstairs, dissecting and describing the hours that'd passed since we'd last really spoken; since I moved out in August. Upstairs is all video: screens and more screens, including the one in our corner, seven minutes of porn on repeat as innocuous as air. I don't remember what was in the scene, only that it was funny we could talk about serious things without acknowledging the fucking out of the corner of our eyes like so many other bodies passing our space: like our own. But I guess we do that all the time now, yeah? Like that rubber clown I kept seeing at the panel! Like, rubber clown, what's up dude? How's that clown nose? Kinky, yeah? [Wha?!!] Totes not judgin', just sayin'.

Goooooooooo sexxxxx!!!!


This time, Stephanie and her boyfriend came, Krista came, Matty came, Tara-D and Lainy and Vicki and Tara's cousin and of course TB and later we all had dinner at dragonfly in the West Village and Kristen came and it was an all-around really perfect evening. I'm really glad that I did it. Go Waking Vixen, Madeline in the Mirror, Ellen Fredrichs and Lux Nightmare! And that dude from Mahunt or whathaveyou with the children and the Escort Reviews!

Thanks, guys. You're all very kinky, and special, and you can all have a pony and/or a monkey, whatever your adorable heart desires, and also the Superpower of your choice.

P.S. I still do not have a phone. It's funny, I don't feel that different. It's not that I repress behavioral instincts to avoid making phone calls, it's that I have the same ones as usual, I just don't feel guilty about it.

P.P.S. Typing with a broken T key is so annoying though, I might have to get a phone.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Sunday Top Ten: It's Hard Out Here for a Luddite Without a Cell Phone

[I wrote this in about 30 minutes in Philadelphia yesterday afternoon. Probs needs some work. But I gotta dash to the doc and etc., and I need to post this before I do that, just to make myself feel better. Thank you for your participation.]

Once upon a time, I had a phone. Then, circa witching-hour last eve on Market Street in Philadephia, PA: my T-Mobile SideTwatWaffle got stolen. That's fine. I don't like talking on the phone anyhow. TB offered me her Crackberry Pearl, but I want no such things. I prefer to write letters to my beloveds, like Griffin and Sabine, and send smoke signals. Also, I think it's funny that TB-the-sociopath's got a Blackberry and a MySpace profile, and I'm like, the Helen Keller of technology. I'm not making fun of Helen Keller or other deaf people, obvs, I love deaf people, like Jodi on The L Word, and I especially love blind & deaf people, e.g., the aforementioned Helen Keller. That thing she did with scratching words in palms? S-to the-E-X-Y. If you're blind/deaf and reading this, I love you most of all.

We're in Cosi on the U-Penn campus. Cosi blows, but they've got wireless. On our way down/up [What am I, Carmen Sandiego ? I don't know how we got here. I got into the car, and now we are here. Perhaps if I had a better sense of direction, my life wouldn't be such a fucking mess], we stopped in New Jersey to retrieve literature from TB's storage shed, most of which's been destroyed in a flood. She revealed to me the true source of her astounding intelligence and love of madness theory: she's read like, 5,000 books. I've read like, Goodnight Moon. Anyhow one of the books we picked up was Kathy Acker's prose poem "I am Erica Jong." It's really good. Y'all can buy it from us for a million dollars. Here it is:
JK, I've read more books than anyone I know besides TB. But she beats me by like, 4,500.

They're playing some sort of Satanic Swing music in Cosi:

"I should just get up right now and like--fling you around! You know those movies where they just get out of their chairs and dance around? This music's so gay, this's the gayest shit ever, seriously. I gotta put on my ominous death music right now, I gotta listen to my Depeche Mode."
[TB, just now]

Obvs I'm gonna replace my cell phone, probs tomorrow or one of the days after that, but what if I like, didn't? I think people were much more reliable before cell phones, yeah? Anyhow, I was thinking, I'm not the only person in the world without a cell phone, right?



10. My Grandparents:
Just got an answering machine like, last year. Once my Grandma wrote me an email, it was really cute. They're home alot though. It just occurred to me that I've got a land-line at home. [Right, Roommate-Ryan? Hiii!] I need to figure out how to work that gadget, I bet it'll solve all my problems. I'll just stay at home all the time, which's what I want to do anyhow. I wish I had a ceiling fan to stare at though, that'd make everything more perfect.

9. My Ex-Boyfriends:
I had a thing for boys who couldn't pay their phone bills. Most've 'em had home/dorm lines, which wasn't much comfort: the land-line-only access method enabled things like getting drunk and passing out on the street and having affairs with 16-year-old synchronized swimmers. When my [not ex-boy]friend/neighbor Matty's phone got cut off, he called from pay phones, which meant I had to be on top of my shit: like answer the phone when it rang, even when it was an unidentified number. That was a weird time in my life, suddenly I had to talk to all these people who I woulds typically avoided forever, like DirectTV, just in case it was him asking when I'd be home so he could come over and eat my food. Remembering this time inspired me to ask TB if, instead of replacing my cell phone, she could just give me $500 in quarters. Then I'd need a wheelbarrow to tote it, or a "serious Sancho basket." When S and I broke up the first time, he cited problems with the intensity of our relationship and said: "I wanna be able to take my guitar down to the river to play and not have anyone know I'm taking my guitar down to the river." I was like, Umm...well, if we break up, no one'll pay your phone bill anymore, so you could drown in said river and no one'd know where to look, especially since "play guitar" is clearly code for "Tony Hawk," and "independence" is my campaign promise, so let's get down to the real issue here, yeah?

8. Dogs and Cats:
When a dog needs you, it's just like "Ruff ruff!" And a cat's like: "Meow!" And you're like: "What's up, dog/cat? Are you hungry? Would you like me to scratch behind your ears? Would you like some dog and/or cat food?"

7. People from History:
Another book we picked up was the letters of Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West. They were lesbos, sorta, like me! [I'm a bisexual=half-lesbo. But I've got a whole girlfriend. This's important information for those of you who've never read this blog before EVER.] If they'd had cell phones, it woulda been all like "What're you wearing?" Which's much less mysterious and fun, and doesn't make for good reading. Also, the pioneers on the Oregon Trail didn't have cell phones. If they had, someone coulda called from Oregon and been like, "I know a shortcut."

6. Alexander Graham Bell:
He invented the telephone, so obvs he didn't have a cell phone, because the egg came before the mobile egg. After inventing the telephone, he got really famous and could make love to any woman or man he wanted to. Thanks to AGB, people learned how to be even more annoying than usual, and started moving far away from each other and then civilization slowly crumbled into this giant disconnect of randomness where true love's as rare as true love and we use the word "love" like it's a free lollipop at the dentist, especially 'cause it's easier to give out not face-to-face. Right before you hang up, just throw it out there. You'll usually get it back, unless you're talking to someone who really matters, but not that much yet.

[This's me trying to get TB to hold her hand to my ear like a phone. I asked her to find me a banana,
so I could photograph myself pretending that a banana was a phone. Unfortunately she did not do this,and rather than holding her hand to my ear, put my headphone back in so I could blast off
into Ave Maria-land again.]

Those who've gotten away from me:
read this, and call.
Those whom I've hurt:
I wanted everything,
or not enough,
it was all my fault.
-Stephen Dunn, Loves

5. Homeless People:
Thing is, if you're homeless, you really need a cell phone, because you can't have a land line if you don't have a land to line. You know? Hopefully a homeless person's got my phone right now, and is using it to find a place to crash, call his Mom, or to go into my gmail, get all my passwords, and steal all my money. JK! I don't got no money, fools. My Thief can hijack my friendster and say that The Princess Diaries's my favorite movie or something mean like that. I didn't shut off my phone though, because if they're trying to use it and it doesn't work, that'd be really disappointing, after going through all that effort to steal it. TB just reminded me: WEEKEND MINUTES! So it's free for them to call whomever, awesome.

4. Carrie Bradshaw:
I know she got one in the series finale ["Hi, Mr. Big! I mean, John?!"], but, for someone who so enjoyed talking about herself, she held out for quite some time. I found that to be inspirational, unlike the rest of her personality, which made me wanna punch my television and throw a small cuddly animal out a window onto a random totesbagged passerby.

3. David Sedaris:

He says people don't call him that often. If he was my friend, I'd call him 'cause I bet he'd make me laugh. That's why people call me, obvs. JK, no one calls me anymore, cause: 1. I never pick up, 2. I don't have a cell phone anymore! He makes me laugh really hard, but I also stopped reading his books after Me Talk Pretty One Day, so maybe I'm biased. His sister Amy's the real deal, too: fully embracing art/life integration and guerilla humor, because if no one reads books or watches quality television [oxymoron, natch], then you've gotta find the forum where people are paying attention, like Letterman, and do your piece, burst boldly into whatever format'll take you and shake it up a little. We're all so self conscious these days--who's watching? Is this gonna be on youtube? How'll this clip make me look?--and seem to forget that the world around us's gotten so absolutely fucking ridiculous that actually behaving feels sometimes like sleeping. At Amy's photo shoot for Paper magazine, she asked to be made up to look beaten/bruised. Like, F-you, tortured models. Here's some torture: eat me! have a cupcake, etc. She makes cupcakes, which're delicious.


2. All of Us, not that long ago:
Seriously it was not that long ago. I could wax over all the things that've changed since we got cell phones, but I think I did that in an earlier post, and I've got this funny feeling I wouldn't be the first person to write on this. All I'm saying is: it must be possible, right? Possible?!

1. Me, Tomorrow:
OK, I'm gonna get a new cell phone on Friday. In the meantime, either you know where I live or you don't, and you can try calling my girlfriend, who can then type to me on gmail chat, or you can type to me on gmail chat too. Also you can send a messenger, especially singing messengers, those are the best kind. Or letters, duh.