The Great Jim Harrison (The Legends of the Fall, After Ikkyu & Other Poems) once wrote: "One day. Standing in the river with my flyrod, I'll have the courage to admit my life." My writing teacher transcribed this quote in my "book" (I have this special book of my favorite poems & stories and I'd give it to friends/mentors to make a page or 2-3) underneath a 70's b&w of himself (my teacher). Above the photo, my teacher wrote: "Marie - Don't forget -- you owe me a big check so I can do a lot of thinking." See; I was supposed to get famous (due to my fingers allegedly being on the pulse of my generation -- a grave miscalculation), make money, and then send him to Montana where he could fish and think all his life.
Missoula, Missoula, Missoula, I'm yours. Eugene, your name is so terrible that you must be terribly lovely and green. I went to Ashland (same state), there were mountains, they were beautiful.
That's what they do (mountains). They sit there, look good.
I was upstate for Memorial Day weekend -- Alex's family has a cabin up there. Last night I came home. The sirens started after dark. A few, then a hundred, and then helicopters, then the people on the street with something to yell about and loudly. Seven innocent people shot, a few blocks away: "The gunman is still at large, and residents have been advised to stay in their homes." I miss East Harlem sometimes. No cab-drivers or delivery people or friends dared to tread into Sparlem, but people danced to music there. Here, on the West, music just thumps out of cars like it's fighting with the pavement, there's no dancing.
My favorite is NY1's article today, which ends with "two other unrelated shootings also happened in the area last night." (Subtext: "but we don't care.") -- shooting a 13-year-old boy in the leg? How the fuck does that happen? Seriously. How the fuck does that happen?
I don't know. And so, I keep talking about myself. Which I don't know either, but I know it enough to try to talk something. Crazy. Burma. Shoot.
Missoula, Missoula, Missoula, Santa Monica, San Francisco, Eugene, Tacoma, La Jolla, Raleigh, Anchorage, Chapel Hill, Concord, Santa Ana, Savannah, Interlochen, Missoula, Pierre, Charlotte, Colorado Springs, Mesa, Missoula, Des Moines, Providence, Montreal, Sioux Falls, Southampton, Escondido, San Antonio, Tulsa, Thousand Oaks, Topeka, Lafayette, Baton Rouge, Little Rock, Clearwater, Athens, Missoula. Those all sound nice. Literally.
One day, standing in the river with my flyrod, I'll have the courage to admit my life.
TO BE COMPLETED IN TWO SEGMENTS
PART ONE : 10-6
10. Hiking in the Woods
Saturday I was standing in the river and remembered everything.
Specifically: rivers I'd crossed before, tents slept in, that wilderness survival class I'd taken at thirteen where I had to build my own shelter from tarp & sticks and sleep in it for three days (but! I was young and we got mooned by the boys. All we could see was leaf-shadows on pale pre-adolescent ass, but what a thrill! Mooning!), getting lost in the Smokies, trekking the Tetons, singing bad hip-hop with backaches and bandanas somewhere in Northern Michigan. Afterwards I'd forget how bad my back hurt and remember the Nalgene bottle and the smell of fire.
It's always bizarre to have dozens of strong memories of a certain activity -- a non age-specific activity -- and then realize the memories are all at least ten years old, like when you go to the doctor and they ask when your last physical was and you feel like it was probs last year but when pressed realize, omg, it's been way more than a year.
I missed the woods. Hark!
In the past three weeks I've met Alex's family & friends, gone to two parties in one night, hugged Leisha Hailey and interviewed -- on camera -- a plethora of B-list homosexual celebrities. So, screw you, ex-boyfriend who said I had no social skills! (I mean, I don't. But whatever.) (Sidenote; nothing wrong with the B-list. I think I'm on the W-list or something, optimistically). I think waitressing was my old unreal social outlet, I miss it sometimes. Good workout.
Once you get used to it, hanging up becomes really not so different from just saying something. As an adult, I feel it's only necessary when someone insists on saying things you don't want to hear. Or! You can take "hanging up" and raise it "hurling phone against the wall," that's fun.
I made the poor decision of raising the topic of Emily Gould's article -- and subsequently, the "self-indulgence-of-bloggers" debate -- with B.
B.: "You're such a good writer, Marie, and you have so much substance, and so much to offer --"
Me: "Wait, slow down. I'm going to transcribe this for my blog, because I'm very self-indulgent and want to air all my personal conversations in public. Okay, got it -- I'm at "so much to offer," keep going--"
B.: "Okay ... really?" [laughs] "You have so much to offer, and yet you're wasting your time on things that are superficial -- I wonder whether or not it ever occurs to you that your endeavors are not as fruitful as they might be, or that they might be superficial, or not be worth your time as much as other endeavors."
Me: "Like what?"
B.: "Like not writing for a body that needs to be entertained. About lip gloss and manicures."
Me: "I LIKE LIP GLOSS AND MANICURES!"
B. : "You say you feel empty, you might want to look at your work and ask why you feel empty --"
(I hang up)
B.: "What if I was your -- your creative writing teacher, coming to tell you this, would you listen?"
B.: "Because of academia's institutions and --"
Me: "Because I'd take this advice from anyone other than you."
B.: "So it's just 'cause it's me."
B.: "So, then, don't listen to me."
Me: "I'm not, when I do, it stresses me out and I can't write anything. Don't read my blog if you don't like it."
B.: "I'm only saying this -- and continuing to call you back when you hang up on me -- because I believe in you, weirdo, and I want to read your blog. I love your writing."
Me: "You haven't liked anything I've written all year."
B. "I liked that auto-portrait piece."
Me: "UGH. Okay, you didn't like anything besides that."
B.: "Okay, tell me what was the content in your most recent post?"
Me: "Nothing. Nothing it was totally irrelevant, worst blog ever, you should just read Elif Bautman and Arts & Letters and The Guardian UK and skip my vapid blog."
B.: "Just tell me what in that post --"
(I hang up)
And so on. Eventually we reached a truce related to different feelings about art vs. entertainment and clearly life in general. Whatevs. "Blog" is such a weird word, it sounds like "bog." Which is a swamp. "There's just no pleasing you, there's just no talking to you." (Ani DiFranco) But I don't know the answer to the question, "why do I do it?" The answer I gave: "I don't know yet." I'm ok with that. It'll be my final answer.
Seriously, I wish everyone in this neighborhood could just truce for like 20 seconds so that a solid hour of my life that could pass without the sound of sirens. I'd prefer to hear cows or chickens.
If I started an Emily Gould fanclub on facebook, I wonder if anyone would join it. Actually, that idea is probably so May 26th, and it's totally the 27th already. The slogan would be "If you don't like what she's doing, don't read it, weirdo."
Q: Like you, Joni Mitchell was extremely self-referential. Many people liked this at first, but they eventually grew tired of it. When she finally stopped writing about herself and turned her attention elsewhere, most people had already lost interest and moved on. Do you worry that the same thing will happen to you?A: Have people grown tired of Joni Mitchell's self-referentiality? I haven't.
6. Rode Bicycles
So anyhow, one day, standing above a river on a bicycle, I'll have the courage to admit my life -- lip gloss and all. For now; sirens, gould, self-indulgent english muffin eating. Ehhh. Scream.