Tuesday, September 30, 2008

fun is automatic, like poetry, and insomnia, even on 9-30-2008

[sara torres]
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quote: "in my replies, i tried to console him by pointing out how hard it is for human beings to think beyond their immediate situation. it is a matter of feeling and not of reason: prone to consider the present their abiding lot, they are incapable, so to speak, of seeing round the corner -- and that probably applies more to bad situations than to good ones." (thomas mann, doctor faustus)

links:
1. Do you understand how this economy thing affects you? Me neither! Read this. Is My Money Safe? and Other Questions to Ask (@nytimes)
2. Regardless, we are moving to a treehouse, making our own jam, growing hemp blankets. The Greater Depression Can Be a DIY Renaissance (@lifehacker) (sidenote: I must point out that I did not find this article all by myself, A;ex found it and shared it. I cannot take credit for this great find, therefore probs also cannot weave my own baskets or find my way through the woods.)
3. This is where we came from, where we should be going. In Conversation: Gloria Steinem and Suheir Hammad (@nymag)
4. Also Jessica Roy talked to Tao Lin and discovered NYU Alum and Poet Tao Lin Does Not Care Whether or Not You Think Print Is Dead. It's chock full of words I wanted to cut and paste for you. Maybe you could just read it instead, because then you could read those words, and many other words too. Here's some of what I wanted to cut and paste for you: (@nyu loca)
I promise to myself that I will never get another real job for the rest of my life. In part because when I have no responsibilities or obligations my feelings of meaninglessness and confusion increase in quality and become more intense and “honed” and even “beautiful” in a way that feels good to me, and which I like to write about, and also which makes me feel more “original” and amused, as a person, treating my life as a “work of art” or something. I feel “I have gone too far” with this answer.
5. "Tag": Poem by Anne Carson. (@the new yorker)
6. The debate, a twitter play-by-play (@twitter blog)
7. Good News: Can Late Night Comedy Sink McCain? (@the nation)
7. The Sexy Puritan: Sarah Palin embodies a powerful new Christian right archetype. What could that mean for America? (@slate.com)
8. It's like great mysteries of life: Two and A Half Show: The Worst Show Everyone Else is Watching. (@gawker.com)
9. The "A" to this "Q": Sarah Palin is ruining my life -- I rant about her; I can't stop thinking about her, I cannot stand to look at her is actually quite illuminating. (@salon.com)
10. Nine People track their sex-related budgets for one month. (@nerve.com)
11. LiLo's publicist says they're just good friends. Ugh ugh ugh! (@tvguide.com)
12. Out in Hollywood: Starring Roles Are Rare (@nytimes)
13. Apparently there is a party in Williamsburg called "choice cunts," a "raw party for rare queers." I've looked at the photos, I still have no comment, don't know what to believe, etc. (@village voice)


insomnia poem #14

the soft life is like sleeping in your palm and/or cheek
remind me why i fell so far for hard
like my teeth, which i learned today
are cavitied, present tense, chewing fence

remember when i broke all those wine bottles
and glasses, crunching careening full throttle
well i think there's still glass in my foot

remember when i had epilepsy
remember when i told you how to remember me
remember when i wanted to live in a tree
there's still glass in my foot and i carry it with me

remember when i woke up with blood on my hands
how i hurt myself for that and how we bleed
over everything, one long river
and my feet are spry wing'ed goldfish

a lot of blood is what i remember.
i mean blood as a metaphor
for life, but liquid.

goldfish forget everything
therefore i am the opposite of a goldfish
also i am the opposite of a band-aid.

this is just to say if you cut your hand
i have a plan to bail out the economy
and to save the world. follow me
one sec brb.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Sunday Top Ten: I Was 27 I Was Sure I Was Growing Pains Like Lead in my Feet

Firstly, doesn't my brother look just like Michael Cera? I saw this article about Cera in the times today and it reminded me of this important thought, one of many important thoughts I have in my head every single day:
Anyhow, onto the Sunday Top Ten on the topic of aging. During my oft-discussed tenure at the Olive Garden Times Square I dated an older man. I was 18 -- a young spry maiden in the fresh poppy fields of her youth -- and he was 27; a freshly divorced law student. I've never been so acutely aware of what it meant to be my age as I was then -- "18" was imposed upon me like a personality trait, and it was the focal point of many relationship discussions with Mr. 27. Consequently 27 has become, in my mind, the age at which one becomes "older." 27 is the age at which I arbitrarily decided people became old enough to have their shit together.

18 was a good age to be. Ripe and on the cusp of something grown-up and fabulous but still charming. Now I'm 27, when youth loses its charm and becomes an old old song in need of a DJ Carlytron Mega-mix. Have I gotten my shit together? Obvs no, I was closer to having my shit together in 2003. But today I spent four hours in high heels, fishnets, gold-hot pants, a corset, and a giant blonde wig and insane drag queen makeup for a sex blogger calendar shoot. I mean who would've guessed? That's way better than a mortgage [which I just had to look up as I don't know how to spell it], which I hear aren't good investments these days anyhow. I'm gonna be whatever month Hedwig and the Angry Inch copulated with Celene Dion and birthed a spry shimmery Mousekeeter named autowin. So that's something.

See I progressed at a highly abnormal rate most of my life. Reading before kindergarten, writing novels before the invention of computers as I was born in the land before time. I started researching colleges and taking myself seriously as a professional something before I even went through puberty. I tried to get into college a year early but my Mom was like "No way, Josè." Basically I was on a fast-track and was convinced that if I didn't go straight to Manhattan at 18 and make it STAT, I'd let the best years of my life pass me by. I slowed down a little bit after that.
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Sunday Top Ten: When I'm 27



[stephen nibbot ]
10. Married!
I figured, at 18, that I had about 10 years of effortless sveltehood and charm left. My high school sweetheart had praised me for making him feel "like a boy again," and my 27-year-old paramour said I was "immature" and "SO 18." I wanted to keep that up.

See -- obvs I intended to spend my Cialis years in a perpetual never-never land of processed snack foods, vodka, carrot cake, anachronistic footwear and My So-Called Life marathons, so I knew I'd have to get married before I began that phase of my life so that I'd be settled in with my fried chicken babies and therefore rendered unleave-able at the precise moment I'd become unbearable and plump. I'd sit on the couch with my nuggets of children, reading great literature out loud like everything was a fairy tale and my husband would be like "I'd divorce that bitch, but she won't get off the couch," and then I'd be like, "go eat a apple pie!"

Instead I just went gay.1 Marriage is illegal and "letting yourself go" is de rigeour, so I'm good to go.
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9. Live in an unbearably cute apartment on a cute tree-lined block.

I think I've been over this a few times already.
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8. Be a fabulously successful writer, associate editor at New York Magazine, the next new thing prize-winning young novelist, news journalist a la Lois Lane or have started my own magazine, which is still my number one dream, although it's now starting my own online magazine, obvs.
Reality: 2nd Place in the Hot Blogger Calendar Contest, 2nd place in the Lesbian Blog of the Year, 2nd place in the 50-yard dash 1990.
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7. Have a savings account with actual money in it
I think I'm going to start one before I turn 28.
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6. Enter a fabulous job market, flash my diploma all the way to the top.

When I was applying for schools in '98-'99, the future wasn't just bright, it was blinding. Kids like me -- smart, well-read, completely pretentious asshats from academically inclined families -- believed the world was totally our Oyster 2.0 and we were gonna grab it by the horns and make sweet love to it, call it performance art, and collect our big fat checks. Within two years of matriculation, the world became a very different place. Also there's just a lot of us now. Like, by the numbers? A lot of kids in the city who want the same things.

My best friends were entering schools to study the following trades: acting, art history, directing theater, piano, set design, poetry, filmmaking, violin, modern dance, women's studies, etc.

When I transferred to University of Michigan to get a B.A. in English Literature, I thought I was being really fucking responsible, 'cause I'd left Sarah Lawrence where I'd planned to shell out $160,000 to get a degree in "Liberal Arts." In retrospect I should've learned a trade I could stick my hands in like they had in the Olden Days before the economy was invented, like basket-weaving or glassblowing.
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5. Some version, however abstract, of the [Artist]'s American Dream. Warhol-ish. Obama-ish
And maybe that's what I like about Obama. That he seems to believe in the dream we were sold -- the dream of a meritocracy. But our government for the past 8 years hasn't been a meritocracy, it's been some bizarre combination of theocracy and aristocracy. Bush wasn't even elected, but his arm weilded its power and the people fell in line.
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4. Have massive amounts of ass-kicking fun/adventures!

You know what I just fully wholly 100% realized just now is that in the mess of things that so many things have become over the years, there's also the other things, as in, all the things I never ever thought I'd have the chance to do in a million trillion years that I've done in the time between then and now, like some of the purest funnest fucking fun I've ever had like ever. So much fun, seriously, so much fun. Crazy fun. A dream world for everyone involved so much of the time, but maybe that's what makes it feel like so much magic, laughable magic ... that so many times, if you closed your eyes and tapped your shoes it could be a dream world that beat the hell out of any other dream worlds I've known. Years of memories of adventures burning way too bright to last the night, but believing every time that it would was half the fun.
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3. Watch Amèlie
I bought Ameliè in like 2002 I think, 'cause I thought I would watch it on my laptop on our way home from Ohio one Thanksgiving. Unfortunately my boyfriend was being an asshole and said it would be rude for me to do that when I could just be awake listening to him annoy me with assholery. Now I'll never watch it, 'cause it has subtitles and that means I'll be doing two things at once, which makes it hard to do yet another thing, like write my blog or clean my room , while I "watch" the movie.
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2. Get a six-pack

I think I want more apple strudel.
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1. Have health insurance

SCORE! Howevs, if I ever accomplish any of the other things on my list, I'll stop qualifying for my health insurance. You win some, you auto-lose some. Vote Obama! Then we'll all get health insurance!

1 I still identify as bisexual but often play with facts for the purpose of a good sentence. Even for a mediocre sentence. The point is that we're all queers, labels are for pineapples that have labels on them. Cans of pineapple.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Hello it is Sunday Morning and I Am Tinkerbell


Hello family and friends. This is Tinkerbell. You can see me over there on the right with my boyfriend Littlefoot and our new friend Krystala the Koala.

I told Riese that tomorrow I would like to read her Sunday Top Ten because as you may know, I am now learning to read so that I can read the 'zine, it is one of my top ten feelings. I can already write, so speaking and reading are my two next steps but anyhow enough about me let's go back to Riese, who has taken an ambien 'cause she needs to be asleep, it's too late, there's no stores open, she's going to show up tomorrow with crabby eyes and sad face and dark under-eye circles and no cute outfit because I don't think David Bowie is burlesque.

okay babypop just said that if she comes out of the shower and we are not all asleep we will be in big trouble. other people who are in trouble include Sarah Palin that bitch is going down, Mary Kate and Ashely (I saw it on a magazine at the Wal-Mart today), the photographer for the shoot tomorrow who gave Riese a long list of pre-photo shoot rules but apaprently Riese is such an experienced pro at photo shoots she dindn't need to read the rules, she's just gonna wing it slash model through it slash hopefully write a blog or something 'cause she feels like there'll be some downtime. She looked at the rules about an hour ago and then had a mini-panic. That's how she ended up in Wal-Mart looking for an outfit. Unfortunately pink panties with Flirt on the ass aren't what the olden times burlesquers wore we know that for sure.

Tomorrow Riese is supposed to participate in a photo shoot that she estimated would take about two hours. She is mostly slender therefore it does not seem to me, Tinkerbell, that photographing the limbs and arms and feets and headspace of Riese's lovely body would be a seven hour affair but apparently there are other women and one man and one kinky queer butch top (correct me if I'm missing a label there) who aslo require to be photographed. Then we will be concluding the day of festivities with a group photo, I hope I can give someone bunny ears or Tinkerbell ears.

OK Babypop is coming back, me and littelfoot must to hide before everyone sees that we posted a blog for riese.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Friday Looks Good for Auto-Fun

Firstly, thanks to all y'all for the b-day wishes on my last post! I am now 62 and it feels really good, I can't wait to take my limbs to Sandusky and careen towards infinity on the Magnum. If I wanted to express my gratitude via metaphor, I'd compare my emotions to a unicorn galloping through a jasmine aura in Barbados. Then I'd have an ecstatic fit and pass out dramatically, like when Kelly in 90210 OD'ed on speed in the bathroom of the Peach Pit. That happened, right? I'm beginning to wonder if anyone knows what happened. Also; sometimes people write me really amazing emails or facebook messages and I don't write back 'cause I don't know what to say, but I really do apprecaite them, they make me happy. Have I said this before? Probably, as I said I don't really know what happened until now, and now isn't that hard to get a grip on; I'm in Alex's brother's room in Long Island, and there is a giant cardboard cut-out of Johnny Depp in a pirate outfit to my left and a Chicago Bulls decal of some kind at eye level. Maybe I'll write a poem about it one day.

I'm having a lot of anxiety about the election right now, I feel like it's 1998 and I'm waiting to hear back from my Early Decision application. Like is it November yet? I feel like anyone who's on the fence -- after this week, if they're still leaning towards McCain/Palin I don't know what it'd take to change their mind. I mean seriously. I think we need to make "Really Sarah Palin? Really?" t-shirts. Do I even know anyone who's voting for McCain? Please let me know so I can try to change your mind.

I know probs most of you will know what I'm talking about re: Kelly but not know why I'm still talking about David Foster Wallace but I am, 'cause he died, and so I read this tribute on McSweeny's where someone was saying that DFW by his own criteria would've been a success 'cause: "A good writer makes the reader feel less lonely. A good writer makes the reader believe in her own feelings—he assures her (through fiction, no less) that whatever it is she's feeling is True, and not a psychic symptom of being alone." I like that. I want to be like that one day. I miss writing fiction. Maybe I should write a novel and say it's a metaphor of a memoir. I dunno, just an idea.
quote: "Shakespeare describes memory as the warder of the brain, but it is also its courtesan. We all remember the parts of the past that allow us to meet the future. The prototypes of the lie -- white, grievous, practical -- make themselves known when memory is called to answer. Memory usually answers back with bullshit. Everyone likes a good story, especially the one who is telling it, and the historical facts are generally sullied in the process." (David Carr, The Night of the Gun)

links:
1. 50 Amazing Gig Posters Sure to Inspire (@well medicated)
2. Crystal, you must return to America for this one -- American Psycho, the Musical (@ny post pop wrap) and American Psyco heads to the stage (@variety)
3. My Gal (Sarah Palin, obvs) by George Saunders (thanks to green for this one) (@the new yorker)
4. A brief history of Clay Aiken's squirlishness/flat-out lying and thoughtful analysis of his coming out: The Truth Has Outed (@fourfour)
5. David Foster Wallace's Syallabus for a Spring '05 Literary Interpretation Class. Policies include - "Even in a seminar course, it seems a little silly to require participation. Some students [are] cripplingly shy ... on the other hand .. our class can't really function if there isn't student participation -- it will become just me giving a half-assed ad lib lecture for 90 minutes, which (trust me) will be horrible in all kinds of ways." Many footnotes. Required texts include Silence of the Lambs. (@à la sophia)
5a. McSweeny's is running Memories and Tributes of David Foster Wallace (@mcsweenys):
"Among the million other things he did, David Foster Wallace picked out details that were absurd, unlikely, hilarious, and yet, somehow, completely familiar. It was one of his ways of reminding us we are not alone, that we are all in this mess together. It made his stories reassuring and tender and heartbreaking, and it made reading them seem like listening to a friend."
6. The Audacity of Hip-Hop: "Far from being politically alienated and bling-obsessed, the rap generation may be just months away from occupying the White House." Includes video interviews with Redman, Russell Simmons, De La Soul, Rakim, among others. (@newsweek)
7. John Stewart & Steven Colbert - Exclusive Q&A on the 2008 Presidential Elections (@entertainment weekly)
8. MSNBC's Rachel Maddow is "a fresh female face amid cable schoolboys" but is "less a show than an annex ... like Countdown with Keith Olberman" for viewers who are down on Keith Oblerman." (@ny times)
9. Obviously I don't know anything about anything 'cause I don't get what's so amazing about that Spitzer cover, or any New Yorker cover, like, ever. Where's Flaunt or The Virgina Quarterly Review on this list of the nominees for Best Magazine Cover of the year? (@asme)
10. To get to the bottom of this quandry: "The difference between gold-digging and dating someone who just happens to make more money than you — and who pays for your lifestyle — is subtle," the writer actually interviewed other couples on how they handle their income disparity, and it's quite interesting: Am I a Gold-Digger? I asked some friends their opinions. (@nerve.com)
11. I've been wondering this too ever since seeing him on The View: Why Bill Clinton is such a lousy surrogate (@slate.com)
12. How Journalists Write (@the guardian uk)
13. Who's gayer, Peppermint Patty or Velma? (@afterellen)
14. If Spike Lee ran Hollywood (@salon.com)
15. Stef told me to watch this and so I did: The Gits ... From 1986 - 1993, The Gits developed an impressive reputation in the Seattle punk scene, only to have its progress halted by the senseless rape & murder of its vocalist, Mia Zapata. This Documentary, directed by Kerri O'Kane chronicles their growth, Mia's murder, and the conviction of her killer. (@pitchfork)
16. OMG!: Susan Powter Needs to Take Her Own Advice: "Remember that crazybird infomercial queen with the giant clothing, grand gestures, peroxide buzz cut and booming baritone? ... she's acquired knowledge of how to use the Internet, which has yielded a virtual warehouse of nonsensical video blogs (or "blog-a-logs," as she...jokes?) in which, for example, Susan goes to town on an organic jasmine popsicle, advertising it as if it were the cure for cancer." (@urlesque)

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

And they were all in pointed hats, caught in a rebel birthday shout

Hello! Today is John Coltrane's 27th birthday and today I turn 62, which means I'm officially old enough to get into Cedar Point, roller coaster capital of the world, for only $19.99, and order from the Senior Menu at Bob Evans Restaurant. Clearly a road trip to Ohio is in order.

Last year, for my 26th birthday, I was in a bit of a "state" which inspired me to shun all my friends' offers for traditionally exciting birthday activities in favor of spending the day walking from South Street Seaport to Harlem by myself while listening to a rape memoir on audiobook. It was very cathartic, all my friends thought I was crazy (true) and when I got back home, Haviland brought me soft-serve and we had a platonic sleepover, one of our top ten favorite activities. This year she won't be here, 'cause she's in Los Angeles, did you see her in her cute green dress at the Heroes red carpet thing on NBC tonight? We did!

This year I have nowhere to walk to or from, this year I am what I am and who knows what will happen besides of course the Early Bird special, dinner and drunkathon with my friends and some preventative botox. For the incredibly compelling recap of everything I've ever done on my birthday ever, check out this post from last year.
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I hope to receive some anti-aging products from Oil of Olay to keep my thighs perky and punctual because speaking of the days of the year -- this Sunday I'll be participating in a photo shoot for the Sex Blogger Calendar. That's right, I'm gonna be in not one but TWO calendars next year, like the song "Calendar Girl," June, July, August, September, October, I'm alive!

This is the part where I provide an enticing and sexy blurb on my blog about the Sex Blogger Calendar. Howevs, like most things I'm involved in where I was invited by anyone besides Haviland, I'm not 100% sure why I've been asked to participate (which makes it even more exciting!) probs because of Tinkerbell, who btw is really excited and has lots of outfits picked out. She's a natural. Despite my relative certainty that perhaps they meant to ask someone else, I'm super pumped about doing it FOR REAL! Yay! I just hope all the other girls are nice to me, and no-one asks me if I actually blog about sex. It's being sponsored by Eden Fantasies so I hope to get a free dildo or something. Probs not, but maybe I can just touch one.

Furthermore, apparently all my co-models (inlcuding Waking Vixen who hosted that sex panel I was on for her book Naked on the Internet, RKB who hosts that reading series I did and edited that book I was in, Jayme Waxman who is awesome, Sugarbutch who is a famous lesbian blogger that I demolished in the lesbian blog contest and Lux Alwayshasanewlastname who was also on the sex panel with me) all have burlesque costumes (the required dress code) handy ... I kinda don't, and it'd seem American Apparel boy-briefs are not appropriate for burlesque. I've had three alternative costume ideas so far:

1. Burlesque in Winter (intended to cover as much of my body as possible)
2. Little Edie does Burlesque (an excuse to pull out the American flags and do the flag dance, because I love freedom)
3. Recreating the famous K.D. Lang/Cindy Crawford Vanity Fair photo-shoot with a burlesque twist. I'd get a hot wig and play Cindy Crawford and Sugarbutch could be K.D. Lang.
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This is what I'm supposed to tell you about the calendar: "Twelve of NYC’s most dynamic literary and sex positive women -writers, sex educators, film makers, and ordinary women - are joining together in order to support Audacia Ray’s Sex Work Awareness Project. We are some of the New York area’s best and brightest, and we want to see the stigma associated with sex work and workers removed.

In our limited edition 2009 calendar we will be “taking if off” at the Slipper Room. All profits from the sale of this calendar will go directly to Sex Work Awareness. The poses will be fun and flirty and burlesque themed, with no graphic nudity. Think costumes, corsets, pasties and g-strings.


Stacie Joy, whose specialty is burlesque and New York nightlife, is our amazing photographer. We also have the cooperation of two wonderful graphic designers, Sinclair and Jack, working together to make this project a smashing success."


Then I'll tell you that you can sponsor this project by purchasing a "day" on the calendar or other advertising opps which are all described here and are very reasonably priced and you should do it, especially you Lozo. Obviously you will be buying the calendar, unless I look fat or chinless in the picture, in which case I will pretend like it never happened.

That being said, I obviously am a huge advocate for Sex Workers Rights and have a lot of things to say on that topic ... and I'll share all of my feelings as the project goes on ... perhaps after I find an outfit that doesn't make me look like a 12-year old boy. It's gonna be hot and fun and I'm really looking forward to Sunday, 'cause I like having other people do my makeup and play with my hair.
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What do I want for my birthday? Well, the right answer is that I don't want anything. Besides Egyptian Cotton sheets, an apartment, world peace, love, Barack Obama for President and for everyone to be nice to everyone forever. I want so many things.

Tinkerbell wants cash money, Obama wants your support, and I want y'all to participate in the book club discussion if you read the book. But you can participate even if you didn't read the book, since not reading the book is a metaphor for how you probably really feel, which's that you read the book.

See you on the Raptor!! Wheeee!! (a Raptor, FYI, is a rollercoaster, which is a metaphor for how I feel about life, because of my Mom, who birthed me 72 years ago in a wagon down by the river, like Moses.)
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Young Haviland & her brother wish Riese a Time Travel Happy Birthday!
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The book club discussion will keep on going in the post below, so hop to it, kiddos, and I will too.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Autowin Book Club #2: Lying, by Lauren Slater

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"Sickness demands compassion, but even so, one can be forgiven for wanting to throttle the narrator of Lauren Slater's latest book, Lying.''
-Rebecca Mead, "Stranger than Fiction: Lauren Slater's Lying: A Memoir."
The New York Times, July 16, 2000
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Angela Hayes: "What are you trying to accomplish in writing Blue Beyond Blue [a book of fairy tales]?"
Lauren Slater: "I wasn’t trying to accomplish anything through the book. The plan wasn’t to put the stories in a book and publish them. My goal was the same as it is in my other writing in that I wanted to create a world through words that was palpable and tangible and could stand on its own."
- A Conversation with Lauren Slater.
small spiral notebook, Summer 2005
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I have a lot of feelings about this book because speaking of lying, have I got some stories for you. I mean it -- that's just how beautifully I've worked it all out, that my life's narrative and this book's narrative have come together unexpectedly but perfectly, offering numerous "factions" for me to weave into a multi-layered tale of drama & intrigue relevant to our discussion of Lauren Slater's memoir, Lying. Butttt ... I'm not gonna tell these stories. Of course, I can tell whatever stories I want to, but wouldn't that be silly, to do that, just because I can.

I've been asking "why the lies?" a lot lately, and though I've found answers for many of the situations begging this inquiry, I haven't found an answer to justify -- or even understand -- Slater's lies.

Here's how I see it: you can lie to protect people, lie playfully with postmodern intent, lie 'cause you can't help it, lie 'cause you're pathological and it's what you do, lie to save your ass. I've accepted lies, overlooked stories I should've been looking over and trusted when I shouldn't have. But generally the liars I've loved are people with hearts -- thus me loving them in the first place. They display, somehow, a degree or remorse, humility, self-awareness, responsiblity or, lacking all these things -- at least a reason, even if it's a fucked up reason.

Furthermore, I've lied in my writing. I've lied to protect people, lied about a fact to get at an emotional truth, lied to clean up a narrative, lied to protect myself professionally, legally or emotionally.

But I can't seem to figure out exactly why Slater is so entitled to her lies, besides "Because I can."
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"I'll tell you about lies. There are white lies and black lies and many shades of grey lies. Some lies are justified. Lies told out of kindness, lies that preserve dignity, lies that spare pain. Everybody's a liar dear."
-Abraxas in conversation with Jenny, The L Word

"What's so great about the truth? Try lying for a change. It's the currency of the world."
-Dan, Closer
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Maybe, since I've already written all my good stories but I'm not done talking about myself (oh man! I've barely even started! Watch me go! memememeeme!) I could tell you a story about someone else, but say it was about me, 'cause it's a metaphor for how I really feel, which is detached. I was just talking to Alex about Lying, which she loved or hated or maybe didn't read at all, and she said she would've liked it better as a novel, like James Frey's Bright Shiny Morning.

I said Bright Shiny Morning doesn't stand up to bright & shiny mornings themselves, which I actually love, because I'm not really a vampire as I said, it's just a metaphor for how I really feel, which is hungry and heartless and pale. That book I talk about that I'm writing is basically A Million Little Pieces with a lesbian reveal on page 256, with extra drunkenness and unemployment. It might not be about that at all, but that doesn't matter, 'cause it's a metaphor for how I really feel, which is abandoned and lost because of my mother, who was mean, and because of my father, who I never met 'cause he was on the road selling things, and then he died, thus becoming the inspiration for the book Death of a Salesman, which is actually a play, but they print plays in books now, because of the Industrial Revolution, which is a metaphor for the theater, literature, death and my father.

Anyhow back to Alex, who only read half this book. Speaking of lesbians and halves, I'm not actually gay or even a bisexual, it's just a very current marketing angle and besides, boys are impossible to communicate with and I'm tired, and bisexuality is a metaphor for how I actually feel, which is conflicted. I'm inspired by Lindsay Lohan, Haviland, and Alex who did not read Lying 'cause of the internet, which I don't believe in, but the internet is a metaphor for how I really feel, which's alienated and lost without my mother, who doted on me like a princess, but not a real princess like Tinkerbell, who might not look real, but feels very real to me.

Anyhow if you want to read a good metaphor for bisexuality you could read Orlando, by Virginia Woolf, which is one of the reasons why I'm gay, or metaphorically gay, but mostly it's because of my mother, who missed my college graduation for the WNBA finals, and is not really a social worker, but a nun, and a saleswoman, and Tinkerbell, and the only gay in the village. The End! DISCUSS.
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"I love that there's a secret
behind every secret I've ever told."
-Stephen Dunn, from "Loves"
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"I had not known, until then, that beauty lived beneath the supposedly solid surface of things, how every line was really a curve uncreased, how every hill was smoke."
-Lauren Slater, Lying: A Memoir
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I hoped Slater was attempting to explore one of the following ideas, which interest me:

- Lying as a Valid Storytelling Device in its own right: Slater argues in her introduction to The Best American Essays of 2006 that "Sickness is the natural state in which we humans reside. We occasionally fall into brief brackets of health, only to return to our fevers, our infections, our rapid, minute mutations, which take us toward death even as they evolve us, as a species, into some ill-defined future."

Similarly, I'd argue that deception is a natural state in which we humans reside. We occasionally fall into brief brackets of total honesty, only to return to our excuses, our withholding, our salesmen and our politicians, our exaggerations, our rapid, minute white lies, which take us toward death even as they evolve us, as a species, into some ill-defined life of storytelling. I'd argue that truth and lies aren't good vs. bad, there's tons of nuance, and I find investigations of this stimulating and compelling reads. From time to time, Slater does explore this issue: "Why is what we feel less true than what is?" (pg. 162) and so forth. At these times, she's poised and interesting, vivid and educating.

But ultimately she doesn't seem to prove this point for anyone besides herself. She argues that truth is nuanced and therefore she can write an un-true memoir, but she doesn't argue that anyone else can (or should), nor does she ever explain why her story needs to be told at all, or why it matters, or why this experience is so crucial, so vital -- just begging to be addressed -- that she needs to go through all this metaphoric struggle to begin with.

-In order to make "sane" people understand the crippling nature of mental illness, we must explain it in physical terms: It's difficult to be a privileged white girl writing about mental illness without being scoffed at, call it the Elizabeth Wurtzel effect.

I understand first-hand how much more impact one's description of mental illness becomes when it's manifested physically, or visually.

When I explain I'm having a major depressive disorder episode, I get eye rolls and frustration/confusion -- "snap out of it." When I say the fibro is making my whole body throb and ache (why? 'cause I'm having a major depressive disorder episode) I'm supported and helped.

But, ultimately, this is just the point I want Slater to make. It's not the point she's actually trying to make, though the beginning gives me hope: "I wish I had epilepsy, so I could find a way of explaining the dirty, spastic glimmering place I had in my mother's heart."

Ultimately, she convinces us that her story can only be told as a metaphor rather than through the facts themselves. But beyond that ... so what? We get only that she CAN, and so she will, 'cause she's a liar, and she must. But why must she tell her story at all? I don't know.

Is it because she already told her story, and it was time to write another book and she doesn't like writing about things other than herself? If it's all one big post-modern exercise, than perhaps we should've been informed of this, rather than being lead to believe the story was somewhat true and somewhat untrue -- as in, she isn't just lying about epilepsy, she's lying about all of it. She's writing a novel with her actual self as the main character. Which is neat, and fun, and cool, but she could've done that without all the dwelling on the revolutionary self-importance of her lying and her compulsion to do so.

Does she do her subject justice? What is she doing at all? Postmodern memoirs like A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius are fun, playful and adventurous, but Lying feels self-righteous, especially 'cause she fakes seizures in hospitals without recognizing the time she wastes of everoyne around her. She's so self-centered, it's hard to care much about what happens to her.

Though she's willing to cop to being a liar or a bad person, she's not ready to accept responsibility for the effect this could have on other people, or for how this reflects on her quality as a person.

Undoubtedly, she's a gifted writer. I mean, she's so good! She spins a brilliant sentence and a compelling page. I underlined, I loved the quotes, there were sections that spoke to me clearly and directly. I'd read it again in a heartbeat, I looked forward to picking it up, and I'd recommend it.

Yet at the same time, she sometimes made me feel sick to my stomach. It was often too close to home. I sometimes wanted to punch her in the face.

And the more I research Slater, the more confused I am about how I'm supposed to feel about this book. So I'll stop talking and ask you how did you feel about it.

1. In The New York Times review (The Last Word) of Lauren Slater's book "Unpacking Skinner's Box," Laura Miller writes: "[Slater] is not above manipulating her readers, while technically avoiding inaccuracy, if it will make the tale more potent. This recklessness is both the kernel of her talent and her nemesis; she is forever threatening to cross the line." Do you feel this applies to Lying?

2. In her New York Times' review of Lying, Janet Maslin writes: "It is not likely that the reader's interest in Ms. Slater's medical and philosophical condition will rival her own." Does it?

3. How did you react to the love affair with the poet teacher at Breadloaf? Haviland and I reacted very differently to it, and I'm curious how other people felt.

4. Does it matter to you if the story is true or not? Would you have read it differently had it been a novel?

5. What was your favorite scene?

6. Do you think this book would've been written differently now in the post-James Frey internet age, when facts are more easily and instantly verifiable?

7. The primary difference between a memoir and a novel, as I see it, is the meta-story implicit in the memoir. When reading Jeanette Walls' Glass Castle, to pick a popular example, the story is not only what's in the book, it's also the story of a woman who survived homelessness and insane parents and lived to tell the tale, and eloquently. If her story isn't true, then it's just the story, which is fine, but that's a novel.

There's some things I want to tell you, and you can tell me how you feel about them, and if it changes your feelings about this book.

So What She Lies, I'd Lie to Her Too:

a) The forward is presented as a letter of endorsement and praise written by Dr. Hayward Krieger, Ph.D., a philosophy professor at the University of Southern California.

Dr. Krieger does not exist.

He is a character invented by Ms. Slater, who -- when called out for this blatant misrepresentation -- sent a letter to the NY Times as Dr. Krieger expressing "his"/her outrage at this discrediting.

b) Ms. Slater was born in 1963 and began at Brandeis in 1981, which puts her at Breadloaf Writer's Conference in '81 -- according to the narrative she was 17 and it was the summer before college. She cites Francine Prose as an instructor and Mark Strand as a visiting poet. Prose did not begin teaching at Bread Loaf until 1984. Mark Strand's years:'73, '82, '84, '85, '92, '93. Slater did, without a doubt, attend Bread Loaf (she describes it in detail in her well-written introduction to The Best American Essays 2006), but she did not attend at the age of 17 in 1981 under a different name, as she says in this book. Consequently I doubt she had the affair she describes either.

c) Ms. Slater's memoir "Prozac Diaries" apparently is the true memoir she claimed she wouldn't be able to write. In Prozac Diaries, Slater recounts growing up with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and depression with two sisters who were not mentioned in Lying. The book was praised for its honesty and passion. Apparently she then felt the need to write another memoir about herself, but with a different syndrome than the one she already wrote about. This sort of makes my head hurt just to think about it.

d) In Lies, Lies, Lies, Yeah: Lauren Slater's book "Lying," on blogcritics.org, Sadi Ranson-Polizzotti -- who is also an epileptic -- has this to say about her description of the illness: "For all of its cinematic imagery and consistent with epilepsy symptoms (for the most part,), it's lacking some of the personal detail that I would expect from an epileptic, and also, for someone with temporal lobe epilepsy, a condition for which hypergraphia is a major concern, the book is remarkably short. It's that Slater is almost too perfect in her fucked up, epileptic fugue and the tale she tells that gives rise to doubt."

e) There was quite a stir over Slater's book Unpacking Skinner's Box, in which she "re-tells" the stories of major psychological experiments. Take a gander at this particular argument, from beatrice.com.
++
"Is the urge to make meaning a misguided human coping mechanism that gives a false shape to our existence? How best to live? To die?"
(Lauren Slater)
++
"Thoughts?"
(Haviland Stillwell)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Multi-Media (VIDEO and WORDS): Sacred & On Fire With the Same Force That Made The Stars (Live Through This)

[A few days before the day I moved out of Planet Harlem, Stef and Alex and I went to the roof to BBQ paper because when there's nothing left to burn, you have to set all your bank statements on fire. I made a video of it, and it's at the end of this post but it's not on YouTube 'cause it's This-Post-specific. We burn some crap screenplays I penned in 9th grade but we read them first. We're wearing clothes found in the netherlands of my closet and I was way too immersed in The Sads to bother with makeup or the hair-iron. This raw beauty is what garnered "When There's Nothing Left to Burn, You Have to Set Yourself on Fire" the Best in Show award at this years Festival of Excellent Films. Basically, it's like when we won the Uh Huh Her contest, but sans-prize-pack.]

One thing I've been noticing lately is all the people. I've always known this city was teeming with people -- people who live here, people who work here, and so on. But, for all I've spoken of Emily Dickinson and agoraphobia I didn't realize the precisely how self-centered & insane my Planet Harlem Apartment world had become until just now. 'Cause just now I've been thrust right back into people-world again, all at once and all over, like Dorothy landing in Oz except dirtier and with less choreography.

See, due to circumstances beyond my control (or so I tell myself to make myself feel better) that left me sans-home as of September 1st, I'm currently living in Long Island with Alex and her parents and commuting daily to and from the city for um ... Alex's job. Also, for about six weeks now I've been off the juice. JK ... kinda. More on this later.

Anyhow. In Long Island I wake up at 7, we get on the train at 8:26 so Alex can be at work at 9. By 7 P.M, I'm feeling boring and sleepy. The body beats out of habit, my heart isn't even warm. See, I used to be a superhero and no one could touch me, not even myself.

++


About six weeks ago my doctor switched up some of my meds. Though I'd been taking the same RX for about five years, I'd found a way last year to use those capsule-sized lifelines into a fresh & bad habit and it was killing me. I'd been disciplined and healthy with it for years until May 2007 and yet when faced with emptiness at that time I chose to fight chaos (unemployment, new home, strange schedule, changing social life, internet-world) with chaos. I was foolish enough to think I could establish self-discipline with undisciplined strokes.

I felt real good, but what good is it to be a genius superhero if you're going faster than the speed of light towards obliteration.

In the emo cave I was always chasing something, like I was in a race that was also a tape stuck in a loop. The nature of race was clear when I started it; I was racing to keep up with my ex's mania in hopes we'd eventually share a moment or two eye-to-eye.

Time went on, and though my problems changed, my behavior didn't. I wouldn't even notice how much crazy I was talking until someone came over, or a roommate dared utter a word to me. Any word, of course, sounded like "firecracker" or "boo!"
++
And that's why lately life has felt like some kind of shock therapy -- like I'm all cutting and no edge. All these people everywhere ... it gives me perspective. I'm one of millions, not one in a million, and now I'm forced to face how fucked up my whole existence has been for the last sixteen months until six weeks ago, maybe even longer than I want to say, 'cause there's so much I might never let go of -- and maybe I don't have to.

Also, I'm really tired now.

Falling asleep has been easier, but waking up is harder.

After waking up there's breakfast and then rush hour on the train. Once in the city, I've got no apartment to go to so I'm automatically surrounded by people and at their mercy so I'm modeling through the devil's baby in my uterus or vicious allergies. People, people and then more people in theaters, delis, restaurants, jostling for a seat at Starbucks, parking my body & heavy bag on the floor at Penn Station or Barnes & Noble or on Central Park's big wireless lawns where people are running & biking & beaming with beaming bright buoyant bountiful babies in expensive strollers, at the gym at rush hour with the people soaring towards absolutely nowhere like gazelles on thumping slick black exercise machines, and I'm navigating the rocky roads between hunger and longing-withdrawal and the library, the 1 train, the A, the C, the D, the E, the N-R, the 2-3, the 4-5-6. I'll go to Natalie's or see my therapist or when I go to this one job I go to I'll see those people.

The every train, The going and going more, next stop, last stop, stop stop stop.

And when I want to have a fit about something, like how expensive it is in the world, or how many people's cell phone conversations I've been forced to overhear, or how many private acts I've accepted that I must now do in public ... I just can't. I cannot have a fit in my car or my room. I cannot have a fit at all.

In me-me-me world when I needed a fit I'd go lie on my bed & cry & moan and stare at the ceiling hoping to break through and throw or stare or scream sharply at my phone with despair, refreshrefresh refresh inbox (1) fucking a it's the goddamn hrc again. I'd think about breaking walls like I've said before but I never did break any walls 'cause I couldn't afford that kind of security deposit.

It's not that I never left when I lived in P-Harlem because I did. But ... when I did, usually Caitlin would pick me up in a car so I'd avoid all the people, and I always felt safe with Caitlin, wherever we went. And anyhow usually we went places to see other familiar faces.

Those faces were anchors grounding me safely distant from the kind of social anxiety that builds up when you've not spoken to a stranger in days, when you've not only been inside your own head for too long but crawling around in it, building a new library in there and scaling the walls and jumping from its roof. Anyplace unfamiliar gave me paralyzing fear but now that evens out over the day 'cause I'm forced into society so much that each little encounter is no longer The Only Social Interaction With a Stranger of my day. So there's less consciousness and pressure, it's no longer this minute but just the way things are.

At the end of the day I'll see Alex and at Penn Station late at night there's so many people, like the girls who are still wearing the things that girls like that wore in the mid-nineties which makes me feel like nothing changes except the brand of expectation clinging to their longings.
++

When I read posts from last summer and autumn I can spot the times that I was beetle-buzzing through my own brain like a run-on hornet. Details, linkage, obsessive proof-reading and revisions. Words and more words.

And so I was reading Sam Anderson's obit of David Foster Wallace, and he says this:

"For Wallace, a thought could never actually, in good conscience, realistically, be finished — there was always one more reversal, one more qualifying clause, and an honest writer had to follow them out. Hence the famously never-ending sentences that spun off, even more famously, into never-ending footnotes. The black hole of his self-consciousness drew everything into it, even and especially self-consciousness itself. But that compulsion to be exhaustive was, apparently, exhausting."

I can't -- and don't intend to -- compare myself to Wallace. He's a genius, I'm a weirdo. He's published & famous & legendary, I'm a weirdo.

But I relate to one thing -- I relate to the words upon words. 'Cause when I wrote like that I was certain to not only address my point, but all examples, counterpoints, not only my thesis but yours and all the thoughts I'd ever had about it, and I'd play devil's advocate and people's advocate and lozo's advocate and feminism's advocate and sometimes my own advocate too. I wanted to speak to everyone and I wanted to shoot myself down before you could.

I wonder if DFW felt like his head might explode, if he was tired like I am.

I think it was good to be in my head so completely, like I needed that phase. I needed to live a life that didn't make any sense -- I mean you think you know but you have no idea -- but to me, to my reality (which contained only me & my people) -- it was a cool life. 'Cause you know what? We had a time.

And I'm sure I'll have phases like that again throughout my life, those rushing manic surges that sometimes enrapture an artist to do whatever she can to chase the dragon into dawnlight, towards wherever it is that stars become people and people become poets.

I miss the night-fires, I miss the abandon and the rampant self-destruction. I miss knowing everything wasn't right but not caring because I was so alive, because it was so fun or so vivid or so full or because I hit the streets with all I had. I miss absolving myself of responsibility for myself. I miss the future we used to talk about with such generosity. I miss the stories we believed in and I want to write the ones we never told. I want so many things.

++

video

Thursday, September 18, 2008

that's just stuff and nonsense: automated fun of the day. 9-18-2008.

I finished this month's Autowin Book Club selection Lying, by Lauren Slater, last week. Some parts made my stomach hurt, some parts were brilliant, some parts made me angry/violent/conflicted. I found it personally compelling on many levels (writer, storyteller, friend, sanity). We'll talk about it on Monday September 22nd, 'cause Allie says talking about literature isn't fun on the weekends, but seems (relatively) fun when confronted with the slings and arrows of ordinary work on Monday morning. Does that work for everyone? I hope so, 'cause you know how RuPaul feels about working. [see photo, left]

Coincidentally, the 22nd is the day before my 5,560th birthday. On the 23rd I'll be moving into a nursing home to eat canned peaches w/cottage cheese and moan about how I could've been a famous writer of famous bestselling novels if I'd just really wanted it more. We can watch Cocoon and Fried Green Tomatoes and talk about kids these days while scratching our wigs, and if any of my "friends" at the "home" say "You look awfully young for a geriatric!" then I'll just spit pudding in their face and say, "Well, now you taste like pudding." And that'll be the end of that conversation.

Speaking of being a senior citizen, Natalie and I caught the early bird special 4:30 show of "Bedbugs" at the New York Musical Theater Festival Wednesday afternoon, starring Alex Vega on drums and a bunch of actors and actresses playing all the other non-drum-related parts, e.g., singing the songs, performing lines, dancing. It's like an 80's glam rock musical green glittery homosexy spectacular of synthy poppy loveliness. Go see it.

Also, a brief Autowin PSA ... bitch magazine is gonna go under if they don't raise $45,000 by October 15th. I don't know if you read it, but I'm gonna be really depressed if it goes under, please do what you can to help. As you're probs aware, if I jump off the roof of The Olive Garden Times Square I will no longer be able to blog, 'cause I'll have no arms and therefore no fingers and how can I type or be a practicing homosexual without fingers? Exactly.



quote: "In real life, every day you might come to a new conclusion about yourself and about the reasoning behind your behavior, and you can tell yourself that this knowledge will make all the difference. But in all likelihood, you're going to keep doing the same old things. You'll still be the same person. You'll still cling to your destructive, debilitating habits because your emotional tie to them is so strong--so much stronger than any dime-store insight you might come up with--that the stupid things you do are really the only things you've got that keep you centered and connected." (Elizabeth Wurtzel, Now More Again)
links:
1. it makes me sad that someone so talented and so brilliant is no longer with us and will not be writing any more words or footnotes again. it makes me sad that the world was too much, or not enough, or just was, I guess, for someone the world needed -- needs -- so much, and especially now.
-R.I.P David Foster Wallace (@n+1)
-in his honour, playboy has reprinted david foster wallace's first piece of fiction: Late Night (@playboy)
2. publishing: once doomed, now fucked. the end of book publishing in america. (@nymag)
3. "the income for top people in a wide variety of occupations that do not require a college degree is higher than the average income for many occupations that require a b.a.": are too many people going to college?(@the american)
4. america's next top model recap: pee up or shut up (@fourfour)
5. haviland. once again I am posting a link that links to the Sarah Palin vlogs. if you miss this one too, we're not friends anymore.: Sara Benicasa as Sarah Palin (@lustylady)
6. how people read on the web - like dumbshits. online literacy is a lesser kind. (@the chronicle of higher ed.)
7. babar! freeing the elephants (@the new yorker)
8. nerve does the 50 buzziest blog posts of all time, which includes this incredible look at the photoshopping of faith hill's redbook cover i must've missed the first time around, like before i realized jezebel was awesome. amazingly enough, my fight with that woman was not on the list. (@nerve)
9. this is why i left sarah lawrence: reforming the requirement-free curriculum (@inside higher ed)
10. You are forcing me to remember when all I want is to just forget you. (@achtung baby)
11. laramie given an epilogue a decade later. (@nytimes)
12. Lindsay Lohan and the New Definition of "Out" (@after ellen)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Tuesday Top Ten: All About Your Mother

[hello! It's me in the brackets! I was writing something kinda heavy for the Sunday Top Ten but then it got so heavy that it crushed me. Luckily, inspiration struck once again like a light object (e.g., a koosh ball, Tinkerbell) upon my braincase and here I am on Tuesday w/the Sunday Top Ten. In other words: The Tuesday Top Ten! ("holler alliteration!" - carlytron)]

Though I haven't lived with my own mother since 1997 [Because my Mother's become a more sensitive fact checker than my ex at the height of psychosis, I should add: "because I chose to leave, not because my mother didn't have a home for me to live in between those years of 1997-2002, complete with three full bathrooms, cable & internet, etc. and, although my mother moved out of that house in 2002, she still took me in at her tenement - esque one-bedroom for 24 hours in June '03 when my boyfriend dumped me and I needed to cry in an environment free of Kappa Kappa Gammas. Furthermore, during said hibernation, my mother even gave me $50 to go to the mall for "retail therapy," where I bought a cute pair of Mavi jeans I wore to my ex-boyfriend's apartment that afternoon to tell him I was moving to NYC for the summer, a plan he rejected in favor of his apparent summer plan to run over/play with my heart a few more times before school started back up. Furthermore, despite the menagerie of animals and children living in my Moms' current house, she is always very kind about wanting me to stay there and insists that I feel that I have a home somewhere, even though my stuff is in storage and during the winter holidays of '07 I was kicked out of said house by my mother and sent to a motel.], I've spent many a night with the mothers of others.

In addition to my uncanny ability to date people who under some circumstance or another are living with their mothers or other parental guardians, I'm currently living with Semicolon's mother, and the first week of September I lived with the random mother & children that Natalie is randomly living with (not her mother, obvs, her mother lives in Cleveland Ohio, land of champions). AND! I just snagged an October sublet with Hav's mother! Then! in November the sky's the limit you guys. Good news, November is my favorite month, it's the month that my brother and I try to remember which day my Mom's birthday is and decide who's gonna call first to find out.

Since I'm on such a roll with mothers, I got to thinking about ...

++
Sunday Top Ten: Other Mothers I'd Like to Live With
10. Beverly Crusher, Star Trek: The Next Generation
I love Beverly not only 'cause I had a boi-crush on Wesley Crusher, Beverly's son (who looks like he could've easily made it to the final round of Brandon Teena auditions), but 'cause she's wicked smart and for vaycay would clearly take me to strange new worlds, seeking new life and and new civilizations and boldly go where no man had gone before. Her husband is dead but clearly I'm used to that, and besides she has Captain Picard as the resident surrogate father, I could live with that.



9. Lindsay Bluth Funke, Arrested Development

The only element I ever disliked about Arrested Development was the Lindsay-Tobias marriage -- I don't think they did a good job of selling that to the viewer. Regardless, Lindsay's smokin' hot, loves charity, and accidentally makes jokes all the time. Keep in mind this is mothers I'd want to live with, not mothers I'd want to be mothered by. Not that I wouldn't want her genes, but you know, it'd be skeeze to crush on my Mom, and it'd be really skeeze to have Haviland crush on my Mom.


8. Me & my Gay in H.S. - he had the best Mom ever, Christie!

Christie was my first boyfriend's Mom. Of course Ryan wasn't my actual boyfriend, he was my gay BFF with benefits, but Moms love gay boyfriend's girlfriends the MOST, 'cause not only am I the potentially-cute-if-she-did-her-hair super-fun smart girlfriend but I'm also their son's ticket to hetero-ville. Alas, conversion didn't stick, but let me tell you how I met Christie for the first time: Valentine's Day '98, a man in a trenchcoat shows up at my boarding school dorm to 'escort' me to a mysterious location -- Ryan's parents' motor-home, it turns out. The driver turned out to be Ryan's step-dad, and just as I entered the lux motorhome, Christie burst out from the bedroom in a french maid's outfit with champagne. She kept character for about three minutes before busting into, "Oh my god, I'm so glad to meet you!"

They had a ranch in Oklahoma with hills and rivers. She'd mail me newspaper clippings, beanie babies, cards, little gifts she'd just "thought of me" when she saw. She looked like Sally Field. It was so easy, winning her love, she liked me straight away. It's never been that easy since to snag parental affections. Maybe it's cause I was 16 and right on track, and now I'm a homeless delinquent with a weird blog.


7. Peggy Peabody, The L Word
She's a crap Mom, but she's got the best lines on The L Word , did pay (unknowingly) for the entire De La Pica Morales clan to go to Canada for The Little Wedding that Couldn't, and is therefore my favorite character, besides obviously Papi, my favorite character of all time who unfortunately is not getting her own spin-off.

If Papi had a kid, what would they name it? Nino? Papi Jr.? Mini-Papi? Chi-Chi Rodriguez?


6. Michelle Obama
I'm gonna do this thing where I not-so-subtly work Obama into every post until he wins in November. If he doesn't win, I want you to know I am going to quit all of you. I'm going to set the building on fire that's my cake. I'm going to take down all my posts like I do when I have a lot of feelings, post only song lyrics on twitter, and lie on my mattress in a street alley chanting "Dark Come Soon" to myself while eating the black polish off my fingers. Intervention won't be able to TOUCH me!

No but really, she seems like a sweet Mom. I'm not sure why everyone's freaking out about her ability to parent and campaign. If the Republicans had their way, women on welfare would all be working 60 hours a week and leaving their kids at home to eat fruit roll-ups and shoot each other. That's no good. The Obamas have it together, they match, and she's a beautiful, beautiful woman.

YES WE CAN! Vote!

5. Marge Simpson, The Simpsons
I feel like this woman put up with some serious shit. Also her children never age, which is cheaper than the Oil of Olay my Mom uses.

4. Kelli and Rosie O'Donnell
It's not the multiple homes that draw me in -- it's the arts & crafts hut. They're the most famous gay Moms ever, staunch democrats, philanthropic wonderwomen and genuinely caring & loving people. Rosie'd make jokes, teach me collaging and sing showtunes with me. Kelli's hot & capable and my siblings would be remarkably down-to-earth smart cookies who, much like me as a child, aren't allowed to watch the teevee. They're homos too, like my Mom, so it'd be basically like living with my Mom except with more trips to Miami and less yelling. Then I could go on the cruise for free and get free soda.


3. Kanga
What if my Mom's name was "Ma" and my name was "Rie" and she carried me around in a fanny pack, like the turquoise one she used in the 90's'/probs yesterday? Then we'd be one-tenth of the way towards the coolness of Kanga, who had a kid named Roo she carried around in her pouch. I had a kangaroo stuffed animal with a Roo (a non-brand name version of the Pooh-Corner pair) and I got really upset when they'd be separated. We could live in the woods and eat coconuts and play with koalas and boomerangs, and I'd never have to pay rent or use craigslist again.

2. Lorrie Moore, author

""The Mother does not know how to be one of these other mothers, with their blond hair and sweatpants and sneakers and determined pleasentness. She does not think that she can be anything similar. She does not feel remotely like them. She knows, for instance, too many people in Greenwich Village. She mail-orders oysters and tiramusu from a shop in SoHo. She is close friends with four actual homosexuals. Her husband is asking her to Take Notes. Where do these women get their sweatpants? She will find out."
(Lorrie Moore, "People Like That Are the Only People Here.")

I'm not into "Mom Lit," or Mom-Bloggers, or really any books about mother-daughter relationships. This's probs 'cause most mother-child focussed movies end with someone dying and lots of sentimental speeches that make me barf, or 'cause good mothers don't make very interesting protagonists, but ultimately the only time I can stand reading someone talk about child-rearing is when they approach it with the barenaked humility and admitted incompetence that Lorrie Moore does when she talks about motherhood. (Tama Janowitz fairs admirably in this area, too) In her novel Anagrams [SPOILER ALERT], we eventually discover that the protagonist's child isn't even real! She's an imaginary daughter! basically I feel Lorrie Moore knows how to mother 'cause she doesn't know how to mother, and I'd like to be a part of that. Or maybe I just want to move to Wisconsin, 'cause getting fat in Long Island isn't as accepted as getting fat in Wisconsin.


1. Susan Powter
Alex: "I miss Susan Powter yoga."
Me: "We only went once, Alex."
Alex: "But I miss it."
Me: "How can you miss something we only went to once? That's like saying I miss my Bat Mitzvah."
Alex: "Can't I miss it if I want to?"
Me: "I think you're projecting your real sadness over missing the cruise and the team onto Susan Powter's yoga class."
Alex: [makes pouty face]

[this is the level of conversation we've come to during these weeks of forced co-habitation.]

I just feel like if I lived with Susan Powter, I'd probs get killer abs. Plus I'd want her to say "Tell Riese I'm looking for her. In heels."

Friday, September 12, 2008

i've seen the worst of you too: auto fun of the day 9.12.2008

[david bicho]

quote: "the greatest lie of all is the feeling of firmness beneath our feet. we are at our most honest when we are lost." (kierkegaard)
links: [I think every time I do auto-fun, I will personally implore you to read one of these links regardless of how you think you might feel about it. this time, it's number 7.]
1. mostly i am excited to hear about the heartbreak and hardships: tila tequila don't work right. (@fourfour)
2. "There is no negotiating with insomnia — you are at the mercy of your brain’s whims, like a pregnant vegetarian who finds herself eating slices of bologna slathered in jam": jessica cutler'strouble sleeping? read insomniac. (@the smart set)
3. holler j-beals: top ten sex scenes involving food (@nerve.com)
4. the sixty-day war: with one hastily made decision, john mccain upended the presidential race. an investigation of the bloody new political realities. (@nymag)
5. i knew it! talking is good; too much talking may not be: adolescent girls are totally talking like way too much -- "the term researchers use is “co-rumination” to describe frequently or obsessively discussing the same problem ... it has intensified significantly with e-mail, text messaging, instant messaging and Facebook. And in certain cases it can spin into a potentially contagious and unhealthy emotional angst, experts say." (@nytimes)
6. i didn't actually read this, but adam, maybe you will: over my dead body (@n+1)
7. i will forever remain faithful: how lil wayne helped me survive my first year teaching new orleans (@oxford american)
8. re: dream house ... decorating with books. (a bunch of links @bookslut)
9. fragments from palin! the musical (@mcsweeny's)
10. what makes people vote Republican? (@the edge)
11. the many faces of sarah palin! including the vlog! (@wired)
insomnia poem #13

remember when i used to sit alone
in my room all night
alone
i mean it i could write and write
riding a spaceship of dark cave and starlight
alone

the first rule of autowin club is
don't talk about bliss or
you'll knock it right over.

the second rule is
alone is the new multiplication
see: it's more, not less.
double the me, double the auto-fun
girl why don't you run

i used to like going to sleep before you
and waking up to hear about what i'd written
the night before
like maybe you'd read it
before i did
like you knew about me
before i knew about me
like time travel, which i love
and also doves
seem like nice birds

speaking of birds when i was a kid
i'd make lewis play pretend with me
we were birds, our nest a trampoline
you know
a place to feed and sleep and care
and by that i mean
a place to bounce
a place to flounce
a place to fly

what i mean is
i think i confused
home
with jumping

alone.