Thursday, July 31, 2008

And I Wash the Windows Outside in Hopes that the Glare Will Bring You Around

Hello, strangers! It's remarkable how hard it is to be a full-time blogger and carry on three part-time jobs. The third job's a recent invention, it's called "editing FLIRT!" The first is copywriting, the second is babysitting (really it's more like "office-sitting," would you trust me with your children?), and when I can't do 1 & 3 while at 2, then I get very upset.

I'll spare you the intro about all the things I said I'd write that I haven't written yet, or the joke where I say I'm not blogging anymore 'cause gawker told me and all bloggers to stop writing for free, lest we worsen the financial crisis we're already in. Howevs, in the last graf of this gawker piece, I saw that personal blogs don't count, see: I am not the HuffPo, so I must keep writing for free.

Remember when I promised I'd reply to all those comments one-by one? Also, remember when I actually paid to download "Under the Sea" (for FLIRT) only to have Final Cut refuse to upload it? I paid one entire dollar of actual currency today to own "Under the Sea" from "The Little Mermaid: Original Broadway Cast Recording." A dollar. I could've spent that dollar on 1/6th of a pinkberry or a nice gift for my mother.

To avoid an unwieldy column of drawn-out responses, I've chosen to respond to your comments one-by one on the blog ITSELF omg, and I've done so in rhyme. With a maximum output of two lines (rhymed) per person, regardless of comment length. Also, afterwards, we'll have Nilla wafers and chocolate milk, and we can watch Sharmen videos together 'til we fall asleep. I wish I could respond to emails in this form too but maybe that'd be inappropriate. And I am a very mature monkey.
[brian milo]

You can assume that "thank you for saying all of these things" is a standard auto-text applying to every response. But as you know, I'll ramble on forever if I say individually point-by-point what insight you provided to me, so y'know -- thank you. Seriously. Thank you for answering my questions.

I think I'm about to eat pizza in bed, I've become a different person. Leisha Hailey was so purely beautiful when she was in The Murmurs. Now she's still beautiful, but it's like a refined grown-up beautiful, not a "I never thought I'd be, or know I am" beautiful. You know what I mean?

Also my back and neck are fucking killing me, so I'm going to crack open the Tylenol with Coedine purchased during our cruise to Canada and the New Englands. That's right America, try and stop me! And if you do, that's not me you've stopped, it's whomever stole my passport in the airport (shuttle) in NYC when we'd just come back from Austin. That girl's a hipster and a liar, which is the worst kind of person! Even worse than an almost-hipster. So perhaps I should call this poem "ode to codeine," 'cause I'm hoping that's what it'll become.

Oh also I had another revelation while reading these comments; I think part of the problem is that people expect the in-person version to somehow be 'real' or less mediated than the written person -- that in-person is the whole picture, completing the written picture. But really; in-person is just another piece of the puzzle, another element or presentation of sorts, not the all-encompassing presentation. I think I just said the same thing but five different times with different synonyms, I wonder where I picked that up.

[leesa leva]

eric mathew:
I've always thought fondly of the land of milk and honey
As for internet dating, a few drinks always makes me think I'm quite funny

the heat, the stick, the sweat
you're still one of the best people i've ever met

thank g-d we love each other in 2 and 3-D
because what would CGU do without me?

oh! hello, my fellow socially retarded monkey reclusive freak!
agreed; lowering word count would greatly enhance my technique.

i've always been told i come off bad at first, but better when you get to know me
my inner con artist's been given quite a trip as it tries to grasp online intimacy

At first it felt good (weird good), to have it all out there up front,
before the street and the vodka, and lately more like a poorly executed stunt

i think we expect our friends to tell tall tales about their friends
but perhaps expect my blog to provide a more transparent lens?

omg autowin's next top friend! the panel of judges would be thrilling enough
the tag line: "I AM here to make friends!" this is good stuff ...

it's kinda awesomely accurate, that comparison to a cartoon
me and tinkerbell being imaginary, in our little cocoon [or balloon!]

sometimes i have no idea what i'm talking about too
it's the line of seperation i need to learn; tricky ... but true.

i think sometimes the artists's parts can speak for the whole
but yes -- the real life itself can be equally honest -- but rarely will it speak from the soul

i think love is supposed to come when you're not looking for that,
friend-love too, the kind that's got your back and princess hats

your home-life sounds quite brill, like something I'd enjoy
fruit infused vodka, a girl, a game, a home ... and i promise my opening wasn't a ploy.

we're talking 3-4 hours tops, by car, between k-zoo and "up north"
not that distance should stop anyone from venturing forth

i'd like to add that i met you on ourchart, your headline drew me in
JK! recaps! what a long strange love trip it's been ...

hav would've had fun! ... well hav doesn't drink so i would've gotten two, which is cool
we were super cranky in ptown so you probs would've thought i was a tool

i don't want to be a whole person i like it like this in parts
here is my elbow, my earlobe, and then a piece of my heart

don't worry about facebook, to be honest i rarely look at anyone's pages but my "real life" friends and besides i'd never delete
thank you for coming back, and as yourself, here where it's safe, we can cyber-meet

haviland stillwell:
you and rachel alone i think have watched that whole shift
let's watch from the balcony, it will be an amazing circe/gift

brooklyn boy:
as you know i'm a fan of this comment and your net-life integration
remember when alex ran up to you a the b-ball game like a monkey in jubilation?

if there's one thing that'll always make sense to me
it's when people say "what you said, that's also how i see"

it's funny how rare that experience has been lately -- me myself before blog when meeting someone new
but i think you rode our vibe from the start, and now; cheers on the follow-through.

i've had that happen too -- someone i'd never liked before cyber-life was an option, when it hadn't been invented
and now it has been, and now we meet again, but here, and somehow are far better represented


I think we met in a good situation, too, and maybe some of that's owed to an apparently mutual feeling
that regardless of scale, there was a conscious awareness of the proximity (or lack thereof) between what we've said and how we act, and how that's seeming.

thanks for commenting this time though even if it's your one & only
i think it's that for weirdos like us there's a big difference between being alone & being lonely

davey jimmy lozo:
FYI, b-ball game thursday night. I have dykes, you've got the sport
Yet somehow we maintain witty jokes back and forth, like Night Court

I agree, and also that meeting me briefly isn't the same as knowing me as a person too
and the friends I have it feels like you said 'cause something about our persons gravitated even in cyber-room

I feel this comment is legendary for its introduction of a particular term
It's good to come back from the future and reaffirm

everything i've been saying to everyone else on here?
yeah. hands-down totes, i heart blogosphere!

I like Juliette Lewis 'cause she seems intidimating and off-putting and so aggressively beautiful, and tough
That collision you mention, you're right, neither areas alone or together are enough

you can be bold, witty and deep but not outgoing, i think
and you get it already, so you'll be good, and i'll continue to drink

"that woman":
jack and jill went up the hill, e-i-e-i-o, and dug a grave and climbed in it,
and mary had a little lamb, its fleece was white as snow, if the glove fits, acquit!

I wish I knew how people find vlogs, it'd give me some insight,
you know -- insight, which you've already got -- rock, island, kite.

the brooklyn boy:
since this is addressed to asher and not me i'm not obligated to respond
but i already am, though i did in person, and i love walden pond

firstly, nice use of twitter-@, secondly, you didn't miss a thing
like that aerosmith song with liv tyler lying in grasses of spring

reading these comments feels like reading a philosophical text
like you just took it to a whole new level, and now we get more complex

what? huh? hmmm? mmm? er-wha? uh huh? her!
there'll be pictionary at my pity party, for sure

as you know i didn't get the email, but your parens warmed my heart
cc debt's a bitch, adam's right, i think i'll "what then" myself 'til i break the whole world apart

"that woman":
violet hours waiting waiting for what
hooley-hay-hidy-ho-ho-slam auto-shut

"that woman":
you keep making more words to illustrate the person you deny being
also! speaking of human decency and public writing one might prefer not seeing ...

what he said, what he said, about the irony and your solution
if i had a government, i'd hire you to write my constitution

FYI, you win for my favorite comment of the year
I LOL'ed, first statement, made me giggle and not fear

OMG I can't wait for the vlog I hope you do something sexy with a banana
or travel-cross country and call it "dee jay marty does montana"

First of all, holler my brave girl for calling out an anonymous while using your real name
you come through in times like these, monkey, and indeed, it was a legit question, sparking many thoughts, not disdain

you heard?

i swear if you keep reading, most of them time i talk about ponies and rainbows
and happy angelic people who're so good they sometimes glow -- no -- Glow

that woman:
you spelled verbatim wrong.
lozo gets global input on his shlong.

That I would've taken for the team, if it was our failure at basketball that turned the brooklyn boy away
also, I love pinkberry, loathe Harlem, will consider your offer because i think your sister is a gay, and I love a bay-bay.

The thing about minnie mouse is that she can't speak, she's quiet as a mouse
tegan & sara = love, it's like they live in my head and my head is a house

el n:
Never explain, never apologize, someone once told me and I try
walking in one world, crawling in another, but with eyes on the sky

o, my eyes dried up long ago, a few days ago, and now i see double
full bleeding stop, jesus H, i am no writer either, just trouble.

and this is why you
win too

i couldn't have said it better myself
this is why i love the internet, soul-shelf

That Andy, I like him. And that Ryals quote, too. I'm a monkey, too, with different tricks
veils, needs, dissapointing, some cute kind of monkey, who refuses to be fixed

omg i'm actually doing it
it's like throwing a long rhyming fit

I think you're rad too, anonymous
I have feelings, we have feelings, no fuss, no fuss.

But we liked you when we met you, I think I did what I worry I always do
which's be too comfortable with the people i already know to come off friendly to someone new
oh, and so, we do what we do
thanks for saying so; thanks for being true
this lola de leon of which you mention, this firecracker
ooof, i like that name, the explosion, the lacquer

When Carlytron steps in at comment #60 to remind you she's got my back
then you know you're defo wrong, i'm defo right, and it's time for a pb-cracker snack.

word up to mentioning rovermom
still if i saw her in the street, 99% chance i'd say "IT'S ON!"

d.j jazzy lozo:
dude, i know what you mean
let's get some beer and play with machines

that woman:
I'm starting to feel like responding to your comments is making me say
silly snarky asshole things i shouldn't say, so i'll stop now,hey hey hey.

Thank you for bringing the conversation back to what i want to talk about
which is mature things like bunnies and lesbains eating each other out

that woman:
is this really you?
doo doo doo.

that woman:
you're a star, don't let anyone tell you otherwise baby
oh hey hey i don't mean booey baba maybe

that's right, seize the day! carpe diem!
i sing the song of myself, so be 'em!'

Sometimes we compare ourselves to Andy and Eadie 'cause he was so shy and self-conscious and but wise & watching too, and she was so social, so out there and pretty and alluring
I think I've never thought so much about one dinner in my life, to me, it was just two strange people meeting, you know? gaps and viels and all that comes before, and after, and during ...

that woman:
actually i don't really think howard stern rules
he can be very misogynistic, sometimes, like a tool

I love that movie, when I saw it I said "everyone must see this."
The NJ Turnpike turns me around and around, the journey is all, a sweet good abyss

Hey! I met you! You still like me! I win! You win! Let's have a kitty party!
I had a job once where I had to meet too many people, out of my shell
but maybe that felt safer, 'cause they were buying, and i was something to sell

flobby bunny 88;
I hope that no one else comments on this post, like I can't, that's why I'm doing it up here instead,
so that your comment can be last, like the perfect epilogue, last chord ... you know ... "what she said."

Also, I think I'd like to meet Sam-Ro and The Lohan
but might faint or scar to touch Mary Gaitskill's hand
or have dinner with Lorrie Moore. I'm not famous or "published" like they are
but they're people who write, I'm a person who reads it, I am earth, they are stars
spark boom blink blink blink blink.

goodnight moon, goodnight tinkerbell.

goodnight "23" by jimmy eats world, goodnight to scarlett and her lovely tom waits covers, goodnight to tristan prettyman's cover of britney's "toxic" and ok i admit it also coldplay viva la vivd and goodnight to the murmurs and to clocks ticking and finch's "ender," and bijork's "99 red balloons" and goodnight to uh huh ... we will become silhouettes. Amanda Palmer, a curtsy for you, my knees grazing the floor, a dramatic expression of gratitude.

I usually go to bed with my makeup on, 'cause I'm lazy and would rather just complain later if I break out. But I washed it off tonight. And there is the mirror, and in it, my bare eyes.

"Wherever you are in me I'm there,
though it's not what you wanted."
(Phillip White, "Infidelity.")
"I'm such a drag wish that I could disappear
I just smoked myself right into this chair ..
I ruin everything it's never enough, got a tired after ego that's always giving up
I used to be the girl that everybody loved
And now I'm just too much ...
I wish that I was dead, temporarily ...
I'm so gone, I need my prescription to relax
Now I'm wasted like the rest."
-The Murmurs, "I'm a Mess"

"Between the book to be written and things that already exist there can only be a kind of complementary relationship: the book should be the written counterpart of the unwritten world; its subject should be what does not exist except when written, but whose absence is obscurely felt by that which exists, in its own incompleteness."
(Italo Calvino, If on a Winter's Night a Traveler)
“We grew still and stared at each other. It seemed incredibly dangerous to look into each other’s eyes, but we were doing it. For how long can you behold another person? Before you have to think of yourself again, like dipping the brush back in for more ink. For a very long time; you didn’t need to get more ink, there was no reason to get anything else, because she was as good as me, she lived on earth like me, she suffered as I did. It was she who looked away and pulled the sheet to her chin.”
(Miranda July, Nobody Belongs Here More than You)

Monday, July 28, 2008

auto-world sure was fun, i wish it still existed, it could be our fun of the day 7-28-2008

It's already 3:21 A.M. ... I'm slightly stoned/sleepy and the screen sometimes looks like it's 3-D with pixels of red changing colors in dots. I just ate a granola bar but I put it in a sandwich bag first to make it easier to deal with crumbs. I have a lot of crumbs in my life. Metaphorically.

It's 3:37 AM. (I wrote "I'm 3:37 A.M." first) I wish I had another granola bar. I'm editing this movie for Broadway World and learning how to use Final Cut at the same time. When I'm editing something, I get really into it like almost nothing else I do. Between November 1994 (when The Sads became The Darkness) and October 1999 (when I became Happy), I edited videos compulsively to fill the fat loitering hours, it was the only thing that could distract me or absorb me. I don't know if I'm happy or sad right now. I think I'm happy.

I think it's a nice break to do something more technical, nice to deal with bounds when I'm used to writing for a willing audience, which's so ... well ... boundless. !!!

But I think I'm also behind on things like um ... for real, I really am going to comment about those um, comments and respond to some emails y'all wrote me. Basically at this point it's gonna have to be The Iliad of Comment Responses to justify the wait. Or like; The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which took Diaz 11 years to write and omg speaking of -- book club is NOW people. NOW. You don't have to answer any of my questions, FYI. I just rambled per ush. What day is it?

Did anyone else think last week's rumble was really meta though? I mean, it's not often that a theory I present in a post evolves into a full-fledged hypothesis without me even changing its content. The Science Fair hypothesis: "It's not a good idea for Autowin to meet people from the internets."

Results: Clearly ... TRUE!

On a totally unrelated note, one of my least favorite things about blogging is this: though it may not seem this way, I hold back a LOT OF STUFF. Though certain weirdos have liked to accuse me of having no self-censorship or withholding abilities, that's absolutely not the case, as any long-time readers are very well aware. I'm fully capable of blithely sporting a swimsuit in the middle of a snowstorm and pretending I'm audio-captured by my iPod when my friends/readers ask me if I'm cold.

I learned all about how to hold back -- both w/r/t information and spiritual virginity -- during my many years as a high-class prostitute. That's not the point though -- the point is ... it really fucking pisses me off when people who've really established some pretty fan-fucking-tastic narratives within my life go off at me for saying ... absolutely nothing whatsoever about any of it.

Why don't I say anything?
1. 'Cause 99% of people are good. For example -- "that woman" is a good, inquisitive, talented and sensitive person with a good heart and ultimately good intentions.
2. I try not to waste my time with unnecessary drama when I could be playing with tweezers or tinkerbell.
3. It's totally unfair since most of the people who read this will probs take my side even if I'm wrong, so it's mean to present anything that could have two sides.
4. 'Cause I'm scared of opening up a can of worms and inside it will be all the gross ugly things about me, stories about how terrible I am too (which are usually misinterpretations, clearly).
4a. However, sometimes I just gotta say that honesty can be a real bitch but bitches can be even bitchier.

I mean ... me? Really? I try really fucking hard not to hurt people here, or be immature. I don't talk shit about people or identify people and say shit I shouldn't say about them -- arguably I did this once ... (the supreme court will get back to me on this particular misstep/miscommunication eventually). ONCE. MAYBE. (And also that one time that I wrote stuff and deleted it the next morning for real, though in my defense it wasn't worse than what'd been said about me) (I'm starting to feel like the existence of this paragraph might be countering my point, which I think is meta, but maybe isn't, I'm not that smart).

So why assume that I'm doing it this time? I don't know. Statistics would suggest it's not likely. So whatevs, if someone gets hit by lightning or wins the lottery today, then we can talk.

I mean -- I'm doing this -- being direct instead of having a passive pity party. So who knows what could happen next!!?!? LOLKATS? Maybe I'll publish my complaint letters to my friendish-peoples to my brother's blog about complaint letters to companies: me to the man.

Wow! I hadn't even thought about that stuff in like five days. Now it's all out of my system and I can get back to things that matter. Here's some auto-fun for snack.
Quote: "He who has a pact with aloneness can even now prepare for all of this ... embrace your solitude and love it. Endure the pain it causes, and try to sing out with it. For those near to you are distant, you say. That shows it is beginning to dawn around you; there is an expanse opening about you. And when your nearness becomes distant, then you have already expanded far: to being among the stars. Your horizon has widened greatly. Rejoice in your growth. No one can join you in that." (from Rilke's "Fourth Letter" from Letters to a Young Poet)

1. nerve's design issue includes "dating advice from graphic designers" , a Stefan Sagmeister interview: "A Very, Very Graphic designer," ( and a piece on the evolution of limosine design and our wildest dreams; "it seats about twenty." (
2. on the stage, no more mr. tough guy (@the nytimes)
3. elitism is not a dirty word: "Categorizing 'the best' isn't confined to art; it plays out in sports, cinema, pop music and beyond." (@the la times)
4. teenagers who prefer to read online -- is it really reading ? (@nytimes) and lost for words: "[the uk] spends more on books than any nation in europe, but many haven't read one in the past year." (
5. global input requested holler australia - publishers fight against imported books (@the australian)
6. in which you look like you're losing a piece of your soul: "waitress" (@this recording)
7. stef's note: "I always wanted Bette Porter to explain art to me." -- jennifer beals' top five favorite photography books, in which i am not in love but open to persuasion (also @this recording)
8. blogging is ruled by grubby stupid boys (@gawker)
9. ira glass and bob discuss the angry commenter/newspaper comments debate: "comments on comments" (@npr's on the media)
10. the long island railroad is new york's lifeline in the summer -- a fleet of rescue vehicles destined for the beach ... a report from every station down the line: "the 11:11 to Penn Station" (@the morning news)
11. novel thinking: "creative writing is as popular today as critical theory was a decade ago, how does it fit in with the study of english literature?" (@times higher education uk)
12. katy perry ("i kissed a girl") actually answers ten entire questions. (@the village voice)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Auto-Win Book Club #1, Part 2: The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

[Sidenote: this post is for the auto-win book club's first selection The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao which I know y'all read, right? And also; I'm still intending to respond to your "I wouldn't like me if you met me" responses, it just might take a little while ...] Okay, let's begin!

I know what you're thinking -- whitegirl, don't do it. You'll make an ass of yourself, chavera, and I mean an ass of yourself, you're no Sam Anderson-as-Barthelme[hell, you're no S.A.-as-Richard Price1 for that matter] and besides, didn't you learn the first time? Age 12, "Correr" -- your short story that infused clumsy junior high prose with a stolen West Side Story sidestep and the tangy slang you'd ripped off from Little Professor Bookstore's "urban fiction" section1? Six years later, your high school boyfriend read "Correr" out loud at parties, doing his best Georgia-by-way-of-San-Jùan accent. It always amused a crowd. I promise: I'm not trying to sound like The Watcher. It's just that I can't get that voice outta my head --said I'd re-read it yesterday and only got half it re-read but still ... I apologize for any memory lapses/inaccuracies.

Did you read it once? Twice? What did you get the second time around -- I feel so far like it's a whole different book this time, so much that I missed, and this nasty habit of glazing over during dream sequences ...

Still cringing? Maybe nauseous? Itchy? Omg, what's she gonna speak in -- Spabrew? Hengish? [Spabrew sounds like flavoured water, Henglish sounds like an antacid, I love Jews]. I took eight years of Spanish, si, and Ingrid making fun of my terrible accent all that time ...

Anyhow, nu, who cares. Enough about memememe, this is about Oscar Wao and his celebrated short and wondrous life. I got some thoughts knocking around, I’m gonna give ‘em to you, you tell me what you’re thinking. Good?

Let's begin, bevakasha.

So I’m wondering this: shit was tough –Nazi evil dictator tough, to destroy you is no loss tough – in the DR. “Violence, intimidation, massacre, rape, co-optation and terror.” We’re told straight off that “everybody in Santo Domingo has a fukù story knocking around in their family,” then later that there’s a specific fukù following Oscar’s lineage, originating from Abelard's misstep.


Where, then, does responsibility end and fate begin? And does it matter – why things happen? Humans have been attributing the concrete to the spiritual/abstract since day one, we all know this, the Talmud, Aboriginal mythology, Native American spirits through Mohammed and Abraham in the desert and our friend Jesus with all that prophecy that’s been coerced by contemporary evangelicals to explain condemnation rather than life itself.

Is it those matching dreams -- the ones had by Abelard, Oscar, Beli, and then Yunior, etc. -- that make this particular genetic strand stand out? How precisely does all the talk of superpowers or the supernatural or comics and dungeons, dragons, other worlds and twilight zone insanity ... make this book work so g-damn well?

What exactly about this family’s fate could be chocked up to curses, and how much was just the way things were then, shitty for anyone under Trujillo?
“If you ask me I don’t think there are any such things as curses. I think there is only life. That is enough.”
(Lola, pg. 205)

“The curse, some of you will say.
Life, is what I say. Life.”
(Lola, pg. 210)
Socorro, blinded by grief/postpartum depression, steps in front of a truck -- fukù? Cited as “the very worst kind of luck”? Or physics and Psych 101?

Beli falls for a shmuck in white pants who inspires a punch to the face the first time they meet and is all kinds of sketch from the get-go. Look, I get it, the hunger "to be in love and to be loved back" when you've felt unrequited for so long. But when that guy who cheated on his girlfriend to be with me eventually cheated on me to be with someone else – that’s not a supernatural curse, that’s an asshole.

Oscar – Oscar, who meant well, who we love and believe in – doggedly pursues a woman who tells him every way up and down that she’s bad news, her boyfriend tells Oscar he’ll kill him and he pursues her anyway.

And Abelard – he could’ve made better choices, yes? It’s better to die a revolutionary than to live as a servant to tyranny, but this man didn’t go out blazing – didn’t speak out, didn’t defy on principle (and neither did his father) – never did his family any favours, really, there were better routes than a last-minute panic attack?

Grasshopper, there's nothing I hate more than a game of "who's got it worst," 'cause pain’s relative, and I’m a Jew after all. There are families all over with serious fukù shit going on (hell, take my Mom for example3. Was Oscar a victim of fukù, or was he dealt a hand no worse than your average bad hand?


Not to get all Body for Life on everyone but c’mon, the kid could’ve run a little farther, yeah? Did you feel a little frustrated too, like Yunior did, to see Oscar give up so fast? He didn’t need to abandon the writing or the sci-fi, but I know that it wasn’t just dudes back there in the GURPS room at the hobby shop distributing hit points.

Alright – it was mostly dudes. But sometimes those dudes did get laid. Sometimes, yeah? The greasy kid in the trenchcoat always seemed to be doing a lot more fucking with his greasy ruddy-faced girlfriend than any of the hotshots were with their tight cheerleader lovebunnies. The cool kids gossiped in the cafeteria and the Trekkies were in the band rehearsal room and when they came out they looked like they’d had something way more tasty than the girls still powdering. The popular kids went to prom and the geeks stayed home and fucked each other with super-powers. Like they said in Pump up the Volume: “High school is the bottom, being a teenager sucks, but that's the point, surviving it is the whole point.”

Don’t get me wrong – I fully blame an impressive string of trashwhoredom and bad decisions on the pains of my own awkward adolescence, and I came out alright, way luckier than Oscar.
What I'm saying is adolescence is hard, high school is harder. It's tough to be fatherless and have the weight of unlucky generations upon you. I know Oscar's workout regimen isn't the point, but it seemed his will was cursed ... not his way?


But here’s the kind of supernatural shit that I believe in (and believe me, I believe, ain Mazel b'Yisrael, in just about everything, I pray, I buy everything except fate and curses) – that possibility of that book, the "exposè of the supernatural roots of the Trujillo regime!"

‘Cause isn’t it fucking scary to think Hitler was flesh & blood like the rest of us, that every generation there’s a human being born who’s so utterly rotten to the core and chock full of dictatorship while entirely free of conscience, a sociopath so sociopathic that he doesn’t mess around with Manson psycho shit but takes over an entire goddamn country, gets his underlings ready to execute unspeakable atrocities in his name?

That kind of evil just doesn't seem fathomable. That’s not any kind of ahavah. I'd like to read that book -- the argument for why Hitler's actually a one-eyed monster. Saddam Hussein was a swamp creature, eventually done in by a more clever & cunning kind of animal (4).

So it's not luck or the paths of our lives that must be controlled by some outer force, but the outer force itself that drives us inward, off bridges, into cane fields. It's the villan that defies humanity and survives, the good guy that goes all too easy into death. We save ourselves. Or ... we don't. Zafa, Fukù -- Lola had the same lineage and she turned out pretty much okay, and I'm wondering if its cause that girl didn't believe in fate and wasn't waiting for magic to save her. Or was it just ‘cause she turned out foxy and Oscar didn’t? Beli dragged Beli out of the cornfield after all. Or was it? Is this magical realism for a new age?

Speaking of Lola -- I read "Wildwood" in The New Yorker last summer, and enthusiastically toted the issue to the girl who'd asked me to pick it up for her in the first place, gushing about what a good story I'd just read. Oh my god, I'm so glad I got this, and then read it, because you have to read this story, she’s so amazing --

He, she said.

He? I asked.

Junot Dìaz. Is a he.

REALLY?! -- and I guess I'd assumed it was a she 'cause the narrator was a she, but this brings me to my point which is damn can he write women well. Eh, I know that sounds reductive. But chew on it; Lydia the mistress is the one with the plan to get Abelard and family the hell out of dodge, Lola makes her “toto” work for her and enchants Yunior the Player and won’t let Oscar cop out of his life and Beli charges chest-first into everything, forward ... and Yunior can’t seem to help cheating on his girlfriends, Oscar complains that he’s cursed and refuses to fight fate, Abelard does nothing to prevent his death besides panic (and such a smart man! Such a mensch!) ...

But Oscar. Oh, Oscar. You love him anyway, you want him to make it. He means well and he's smart and we all knew a kid that talked like that. And I guess he does in a way, he gets what he wants, and maybe that’s okay. Maybe his life was short and wondrous, emphasis on wondrous, emphasis on chutzpah ...

Were we supposed to know what words went in the blanks at the end? Hangman?

Lola's daughter will be smart and as brave as The Watcher thinks she'll be, si? And then it will end? So then, is the fukù not bad things happening to you, but the relentless urge to make bad decisions?

Bridget brought this up -- that in his interview Diaz noted: "When you're a writer of colour in the US, you're considered a genre no matter what you write". She asked: Do you agree? And, if you do, do you think a novel like this can break down (at least to some extent) those barriers?

I do agree. Oy, the lesbian ghetto, etc ... and the obsessive genre divisions of bookstores ... anyone with bookstore experience got a story of their own? What's "Latino-American Lit," and what goes front & center with "literature" itself (and all that entails, all that suggests) ...

Why The Watcher, why do you think? Do you think Diaz saw himself in that character, do you think that distance made the narrative work? (I do) And Lola, the only one able to tell her own story ...

Yeah, I ain't got answers, I don't even have questions, I just have ... discuss.

Though my Spanish is weak in parts, I do know that sci-fi language, more or less. I mean I occasionally operated as DungeonMaster. I did GURPS. Now we've got computer games -- I wonder how Oscar's life would've gone differently ten years later, with all that World of Warcraft shit, Oscar Wao in Second Life, Oscar Wao the Sim talking about sailboats. But the novels is where the heart is, ultimately.

Working at a lit agency that represented a lot of top sci-fi and fantasy writers, we got piles of shitty sci-fi/fantasy novels every day. Something about creating a fantasy world that far-fetched is just awfully delicious, especially when you're young, or alone ...

Did your relation to that genre change how you read the book?


I'd like to go walking some spring night--you know, one of those nights that are warm all night long. I'd like to walk. With a girl. Walk for an hour, to a place where you can barely hear or see anything. Climb a hill and sit. Look at the stars. I'd like to hold the girl's hand. I'd like to smell the grass and the wheat growing in the fields, and know I was in the center of the entire country, in the very center of the United States, and towns all around and highways away off, but nobody knowing we're right there on top of that hill, on the grass, watching the night.

And just holding her hand would be good. Can you understand that? Do you know that holding someone's hand can be the thing? Such a thing that your hands move while not moving. You can remember a thing like that, rather than any other thing about a night, all your life. Just holding hands can mean more, I believe it. When everything is repeated, and over, it's the first things rather than the last that count.

"So, for a long time," he had continued, "I'd like to just sit there, not saying a word. There aren't any words for a night like that. We wouldn't even look at each other. We'd see the lights of the town far off and know that other people had climbed other hills before us and that there was nothing better in the world. Nothing could be made better; all of the houses and ceremonies and guarantees in the world are nothing compared to a night like this. The cities and the people in the rooms in the houses in those cities at night are one thing; the hills and the open air and the stars and holding hands are something else.

"And then, finally, without speaking, the two of you would turn your heads in the moonlight and look at each other.

"And so you're on the hill all night long. Is there anything really wrong with this, can you honestly say there is anything wrong?"

"No," said a voice, "the only thing wrong on a night like that is that there is a world and you must come back to it."

DISCUSS WHATEVER YOU WANT. ask your own questions.

1Award-Winner Sam Anderson's review of Richard Price's "Lush Life," written in the style of Richard Price, didn't receive the same level of internet-screamer praise as his review of Barthelme's "Flying to America," written in the style of Donald Barthelme. Personally, I love everything Sam Anderson's ever written, but I concede that I love some pieces more than others.
2In the eighties and early nineties, the West Side branch of the Ann Arbor Public Library was located in the Westgate Shopping Center, along with Little Professor's Bookstore and TJ Maxx. While her mother went 'maxxing,' Riese spent a lot of time sitting on the floor in bookstores and libraries reading books her Mom wouldn't let her get/borrow.
3'Cause I know my own story the best, let me share: my grandfather -- my Mom's Dad and Mom divorced when she was young (and this was the 50’s, it wasn’t like it is now, 50-50 those who make it and those who don’t) – and then my Mom’s Dad had to leave the country for complicated reasons. Mom was 14 when her Mom died, so she raised her sister with help from her grandparents (who both died within a few years of my birth). Long story short my Mom reconnected with her Dad when I was a kid, we went to visit him and his new family in Australia – all’s well, happiness abounds. He gets tongue cancer and passes away when I’m 9. When I’m 13, my parents divorce but they’re still best friends a year later when my Dad dies out of the blue (yup, I was 14, just like my Mom was when her Mom ...) And yeah, I’m her daughter, and I’m more or less a failure, though my brother is gainfully employed, a real mensch. Fuku? Schlimazel? Or just a rotten string of depressing events?
4George W. Bush, by some bizarre combination of blue blood and evil crazytown bullshit, became president in 2001 and was re-elected to a second term in 2004, though no one smart actually voted for him. Bush’s decision to wage a “war on terror” in Iraq was so miscalculated and poorly executed that many young people from liberal college towns don’t even realize what an evil asshole crazytown dictator Hussein truly was, I mean, the dude deserved to die for crimes against humanity (though 9/11 was not, even remotely, one of them). Anyway, Bush’s reign will be over soon. He's Mother Theresa compared to Trujillo. YES WE CAN!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

automated suggestions for potential fun for wednesday the 23rd of July 2008

Your responses to my most recent totes weirdo ramble have warmed my heart and given me a lot to think about; and I'll respond (comment-by-comment!) soon, fo'reals. [Also! JD, I never got an email from you] Also Book Club will be on Friday so you must either finish it or re-read it by then or pay the price. Also I've got a twitter feed/blog thing now, let's go get a Coca-Cola! And, while we're on the subject of "things I do 'cause everyone else is," I've got a facebook um, blog network something something on facebook. Join it. Why not? That's the question I always ask myself when I'm about to do something I'll regret later. Why not? Disaster ensures but it's like syrup.

[kenichi hoshine]
insomnia poem #6
just so you know i
still listen to uh huh her like they're a a real band
do the leisha dance like it's
a real dance
the easiest dance i've
ever done.

And so it's done, it does, we do
I don't know what to make of you.
Lately I've been compelled to rhyme
maybe I just need structure.

Or thyme/time
which we lost when the power went out again
for an hour
I lay on the bed in heat
imagining what my corpse would look like
and I moved my arms this way
draped fingertips on forearm
my head an inconsequential volley
an accesory
like a hat on a eulogy
here she lied: she was wet with said and sweat
she meant what she said and she has one question:
"did you think the photo of the monkey waving was funny? 'cause I stll do."
tell me what to do and maybe i can fix it
say so

quote: ""Among other things, you'll find that you're not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior. You're by no means alone on that score, you'll be excited and stimulated to know. Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now. Happily, some of them kept records of their troubles. You'll learn from them - if you want to. Just as someday, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you. It's a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. And it isn't education. It's history. It's poetry." (J.D Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye)

1. A former Harvard teacher makes another compelling case against his former students: -- "the sedulous banality of the rich degrades teaching into a service-class preoccupation whose chief duty is preparing clients for monied careers": All the Privileged Must Have Prizes (@times higher education uk)
2. Rachel Shukert, who I love ... also HATES SUMMER! This essay is hilarious, I'm resisting the urge to quote it on the hope that you'll read it. (
3. Someone please read this and tell me if you didn't feel there was something really mediocre happening with the writer -- like structurally, grammatically, something? I mean, I wanted to read this great article about The New Yorker and then I got ... befuddled. Am I retarded? Lunch with David Remnick (@the financial times)
4. Submit questions for Haruki Marakami (author of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (great book!) and Norweigan Wood. (@time)
5. Wouldn't it be funny if the character they're using for the spinoff was someone who'd totally irritate everyone? Like Kit or Max? They should put Haviland in it that will save the show. The L Word Will Continue Online and in a Possible Spin-off (@afterellen)
6. It's The Atlantic's Fiction Issue! (@usa today) (jk, at the atlantic obvs)
7. Sometimes I can't help but love the fuck out of Jezebel: Recession Drives Women To Leave Their Jobs, Examine The Dopeness And Wackness Of Life (@jezebel)
8. Poetry: Summer Evening by the Window with Psalms: "How my soul yearns within me like those souls / in the nineteenth century before the great wars, like curtains that want to pull free / of the open window and fly." (@thenewyorker)
9. It is SO not UMBRELLA: "If Katy Petty's 'I Kissed a Girl' Is the Song of the Summer, Vulture Will Move to Canada" (
10. "The president has used 'awesome' to describe everything from dead soldiers to the pope. How did a slang word trickle up to the highest office in the land?": George W.Bush: AWESOME! (

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I Feel Like I Wouldn't Like Me if I Met Me

[I'll probably think more wisely about posting this post in the morning, we'll see, isn't the internet fun!]

Maybe you're just passing through and figure it couldn't hurt to ask, and so you do: "I know you don't like to leave your apartment, but I'm gonna be in town ... I'd love to buy you a drink" -- you're nice and friendly and I read these messages several times a month and what do I do? Nothing. Silence. I'd like to understand/explain why. 'Cause it's not that I'm trapped in agoraphobic paralysis, it's 'cause let's say we do meet and you don't like me, or maybe you do like me or one of my friends in a way we can't reciprocate or the ensuing social evolution isn't what you'd wanted and then meeting me kills the desire to read me. Then you'll stop commenting, and I rely on commenting and emailing to give me the cyber-community that reminds me why I love blogging and like that I can do it for free.

[I'll stress: big difference here between literally meeting people (me: this is me! you:this is me! handshake/hug/hi!) -- which usually works, and I love it -- and hanging out -- which doesn't always work. Usually it works better with other writers, and I'm also not referring to logical hang-out situations like: we're working together professionally/artistically, you're in a similar industry in the city, there's a reading, we're in a vacation situation/travel-spot together, you want to date Haviland, etc.]

So I grapple with this -- the balance between being polite/true, between good/self-aware ... is it inherently bad that I'm literally scared to meet anyone new from the blogosphere right now 'cause I think they'll never engage with my written words again -- whether it be via email, facebook, blog, twitter, whatever? I mean it's popular to hate on internet writers who need attention, but whatever, y'all can suck it, it makes sense.

Anyhow, then, when I write -- how personal is dirty laundry, how much honesty is just a bitch, and how much can I withhold while still protecting my friends' privacies? Should I be giving more? Do I overshare? Am I too illusive?

Am I just rude?

The invitations are flattering! I like them! They flatter me and make me happy, as all correspondences from readers do. But: unless we're in a perfect circumstance, it's likely you'll sooner or later dislike me, just like most of my normal friends do, except for the 2 or 3 I see a few times a week. At first you'll think that I don't seem awkward, like I said I would, and then you'll notice that I only have one leg, and then you'll wonder what I'm hiding after all and what happens after that ... I dunno. It's not that I think I'm too cool for you ... quite the contrary, almost everyone is better socially than me. I can carry on a conversation, sure, but I fail at social events, prolonged engagements.

And then I was reading Jessica Roy's piece in New York Magazine: Au Revior! to the New York Media Scene" (Radar's response: New York Media Scene Disappoints Young Girl). Roy, a 20-year old NYU student & aspiring member of the intellectual elite -- has been to a lot of media parties, met or observed many NYC bloggers, attended The Great Jezebel Event of '08, and has some feelings about it.

Here's one of them:

"These people that I had admired my entire New York existence — they all disappointed me. I don't understand how people can exist in such a dishonest way and still call themselves writers. Isn't it the responsibility of a writer to be honest?"

(Jessica Roy)
My initial response to this: OMG WTF? Media people let her down at a birthday party she wasn't invited to? Isn't a friend's b-day bash exactly the place to share inside jokes and common reference points w/your friends? What was Jessica expecting? Keith Gessen spooning oysters onto her tongue, Tracie & Moe violating her hips with feminist tattoos, Emily Gould shooting super-secret private b-berry messages to her iPhone? Were the media people rude or just -- well -- honest?

While working at nerve I learned something about silence. Yes! The silence! The endless silence, mediated by Bright Eyes or The Roots and occasional editorial meetings. We communicated via IM only, not talking. These witty, charismatic writers I'd so admired were just like US! Though they were in totally capable of pulling it together for tv appearances and media events -- w/r/t everyday social behavior, they'd just prefer to IM. They weren't rude or cliquey, they were just Writers.

Last week while cruising I observed Ross the Intern successfully charm all reader/meeters w/effortless accessibility, and Ross endears literally hundreds of commenters per post even though he calls vlogs "talkies" which grates me. Wired writes about Julia Allison creating her own stardom, I'm reading about how Sassy's insider-y hipsterdom attracted readers and alienated others and I'm planning a big project right now that explores these questions/walls ... so I've got all these questions?

Are writers supposed to be removed in some sense? And did I feel more comfortable writing about my life, the personal scathing parts of it, when I hadn't already seen so many of you eye-to-eye, and then felt you disappear, like the truth of my social performance betrayed the work? Did your secrets become my secrets? Did my secrets become broken records and you saw the band live already: loud, steady. But it doesn't make you dance anymore. It's those blank dumb eyes in the singer's sockets. Blink. Blink.
I don't blog 'cause I wanna meet people in person, I blog instead of meeting people in person. I want community -- it's important to talk to people -- I'm so vigilant about comment responding 'cause I want everyone to know I'm compelled by their contributions. By "I never leave my apartment," maybe I mean; "Don't expect much when I do." 'Cause I'm ambivalent about the face-to-face thing. I've got no faith in it, I've always preferred writing & books for social behavior -- pen pals, 'zines, thinly veiled truthful novels, notes, letters, mailing lists, magazine, plays -- the internet's a convenient technological surprise. I've got a handful of people who I feel comfortable with socially and chances are if you've seen me out, you've seen me with them and that's why I'm there.

Or maybe we're talking and I'm often thinking: "How can I make up for what I'm doing in person via print over the next day/hour/week? How can written discourse fix my failures right now?" Can I write a blog for them and pretend it's for everyone?

Recently I met a woman who'd come into my life through my blog. We had dinner a few weeks ago, Caitlin and Alex came along. She later emailed me to ask: "Why is it that in writing (and perhaps even on the phone) your depth and substance implies a very well developed self reflexive quality, while in person you are almost alarmingly veiled — funny but massively shielded ... almost as if you've built a force-field of buffer personalities?"

Um. ?
Me: "I don't want to meet anyone else from my blog anymore, 'cause the thing is that once they meet me, I end up letting them down in some way that i manage to let down everyone in my life aside from maybe 3-4 people, and then they like me less than they did before."
: "I liked you way more before I met you in person."
Me: "I
know you did. See. Case in point."
"I was afraid to be alone
but now I'm scared that's how I'd like to be
all these faces and none the same
how can there be so many personalities?"

-Azure Ray, "
Now I'll speak of exceptions: Caitlin (my best friend in the tri-state area, responsible for Saving my Life), Alex (my babypop) and Crystal (my co-worker & dear friend who exchanged emails with me for a year without any expectation of ever being 3-D friends due to her Australian residency) -- they comment more or the same as they used to, despite already knowing everything I'm talking about. So do most people I've just met here and there but never spent many hours with, or people that attend events but never request reciprocity.

So I should tell y'all now that actually I am a monkey named Xavier, and it's better you know now than be disappointed the next time we bump paws at a Dani Campbell-hosted lesbian event. You know, like, I'm a monkey, this is me, eat my ear.
Way back in '06, Lozo and I were both invited to a lot of "NYC Blogger Meet-ups" and though we didn't know each other then, we later bonded about our refusal to attend. Worst case scenario; they think I'm awkward and gay, never read or comment again. Best case scenario; my blog becomes a play-by-play of the inside jokes volleyed about during our gloriously clever and snarky Prospect Heights bar hop. Also best case scenario is I'm on Bloggorhea more often, but that's defunct now, so whatevs, hey-o!

But then I started shifting my policy when my life turned inward -- from the real world to the cyber-world when the real world had done gone -- and picked up some incredible people during that time. We all did, but it felt organic, too. Like if real life was more present than cyber-life, it could've happened there too. I'd still be friends with Carly, Crystal, Stef, Caitlin, Alex, et al.

I have such love & support from these tangible internet peoples; I'm so grateful.
And y'know, happy to see Alex's blue eyes, etc.

But what else can happen?

Maybe we'll hang out once or twice and then I'll start flaking like I do with most of my friends and then you'll lose patience and refuse to comment as a protest of my personality.

Maybe we'll fall in love, and then again, and then becomes now and now we can't communicate in any formats, most of all this one.

Maybe you'll respond to my open invitation to an ambitious social meetup and it'll be the first time I've been out in months and I'll be overwhelmed by everything about that night and then afterwards you'll stop commenting, forever, and I'll feel bad, like maybe I did something wrong when we met.

Maybe you'll email me and I'll write you back or not and freak you out or charm you or not but either way I've broken the fourth wall by responding and it's DOWN and what now?

Maybe you're Lozo and you're punishing me for something, like not providing you with the grapefruits you desired late at night.

People I meet always tell me I'm much less awkward in person than I claim to be in print, but something still breaks during that physical connection that can't be fixed, I think. Why? I dunno, maybe it's harder to compliment when you've put a name to a face, harder to criticize when you're not anonymous, either.

It's hard for me to know why 'cause as a writer I have specific rules to how I behave online regardless of who I know and don't know, so I don't know what it's like for those who follow instinct rather than gospel -- it'd be like how I feel about teevee-watching compared to someone who works in the industry.

My first reader ever is in New York City right now, this week, and we've never met though she's the first person I'd never met that I actually loved like a flesh-and-blood friend. (Crystal became the second) After we'd communicated so much in the personal electronic realm, she stopped commenting here.

And I'm scared to meet her 'cause I've got this feeling that when the fourth wall falls down, she'll see a monkey and not a real girl, and this monkey will do tricks and eat bananas on her pinkberry and make a lot of noise but no music. And that nothing I write down before or after will be enough. I'll do it anyhow, because my want overrides my fear in this situation. That's unusual for me.

So anyhow, the reason I never write back is 'cause I don't want to lose you as a reader or as a commenter. It's because if you were to meet me you might find me alarmingly veiled. You might find Haviland alluringly veiled, which's why I always joke you should meet her instead of meeting me. I guess that's what I want to know how to do: become alluringly veiled or compellingly open or something altogether new that'll transcend three dimensions, regardless of if it smashes in the fourth wall to get there or just shortcuts around it. Do you know what I mean? If so, please comment, I'm genuinely asking.

Also I have this uncanny tendency to read vibes pretty full on, so I'll delete the paragraph about how absurd it is of me to even claim to matter to anything and go on to what happened next -- an event I dreamt about a few days ago, actually.
Before publishing this i went to the kitchen to make a waffle and my roommate told me I have to move out by September 1st. They're totally sweet kids, my roommates, but I don't think I was what they were expecting (I do required cleaning, pay bills, etc., but other kinds of differences) and they have a friend who needs to move in. I've been expecting this for a while -- I actually had a dream on the rosie cruise about him asking me to move out, which's funny I'm clearly a psychic-- and sometimes too I've been plotting my own conversation announcing my intent to leave (always deferred by logistical concerns), but it's an interesting conclusion to this particular ramblerambleramble. You know, about people meeting me.

I've got a little over six weeks to get it together, I'm thinking about fly-fishing in Northern Michigan.

Monday, July 21, 2008

I Write Down Everything That Comes Into My Head While [While/When?] Trying to Write Rosie Cruise Blog #2

I boarded this year's cruise intending to embark upon a professionally productive week -- I'd NETWORK! I'd WRITE WORDS! I'd make VLOGS with strangers -- funny bright-eyed strangers, musical strangers! I'd create a business plan & finish Orlando & lead book club, & eat a foster child & figure out what the eff I'm doing with my life & get a boombastic tan & take freelance work on the ship & blog daily & Alex + I were gonna finish the website and we'd all have Important Meetings About Important Ideas.

I know -- "Riese, you're crazy, no one wants to do that much work on holiday." But see, I LIKE doing work on holiday. I don't even really believe in vacation, I believe in "wireless, only elsewhere." I struggle to resist the mating call of my work (which sounds, p.s., like chicken) while galavanting.

But um ... so, I did ... not a whole lot ... almost nothing I said I'd do ... which is ... amazing. Some small accomplishments: shooting photos & making a short video of it, some reading, attending of worthwhile performances, thinking & drinking & memory-making .. embracing the warm of my friends moreso than in prior years when I focussed on promising strangers.

"Live Blogging Every Thought That Comes Into my Head While Sitting at my Desk in front of my computer while
Thinking About our Recent Cruise Vaycay to Fabulous New England and two different parts of Canada!"

Our First Team Honest vacation! All of us together, and I mean a lot of things when I say "honesty." All kinds of coming clean, and each of us to our own '08 Evolution Tour.

If I had a dog, I'd name it Revolution.
If I had a cat, I'd call it Retribution and sneeze on its face.

If Tegan & Sara were my neighbors, I imagine they'd do sweet things like bring me a cup of flour for the cookies.

Alex said; "I've never had a group of friends like this before where it kinda really does feel like a team. Like each of us offers something that no-one else can do, performs a unique function," and I said, "you know, that's true," and maybe that's how it stays a dynamic dynamic.

Haviland goes back to Los Angeles tomorrow. We all go back to our lives tomorrow, or shortly thereafter.

I spent eight hours cleaning my room today. I've got about eighty more to go. I think I have too much stuff.

So I guess honesty means a lot of things -- whether it's giving up a fairy tale or another kind of tale (redemption, illusion, boundlessness) in favor of fable, accepting help, re-inhabiting the skin, taking initiative or choosing life. Even if choosing life means you've got to endure a seemingly unbearably painful heartbreak first, or fall/grow, or work way harder or drive far far away or accept medical solutions or throw away crutches or kneel and reel. Start being polite, and make it real. Meet Everyone's Someones; the mothers and the ghosts.

There's this surface you're skating called happiness. The poetic stuff's down at the ocean's bottom. There's a lot of sharks down there, and jellyfish.
So then there is a way to learn to swim when you start to drown. 'Cause you're on this boat, and the only thing that matters is that we're all outsiders, beyond that, I want slabs of cheese, cheese on crackers ...

Also! Also. Also. Honesty's realizing that life is never gonna get better, it's just gonna keep going how it's been going -- bad, then good, bad, good, etc. -- no matter what we do about it. So we might as well just make out and wait for the next joke. And read books. Trust me! It's the most important thing you can do while on earth, besides kindness and commenting.

Oddly, I look kinda bear-ish in this photo.
I'm like "I'll eat your children, hug me, rawr!"
It's BEAR WEEK in Provincetown, p.s.
I took Tinkerbell out to the pool deck & its crowds on Day Two 'cause she wanted tanning & a chance to show off her new outfit. So then Caitlin took away my Tinkerbell privileges but I found a new prop (clearly having my own feelings is out of the question, I must project and DANCE!), inspired by Little Edie in Grey Gardens -- american flags! Christine Ebersole, who played the role in the Broadway musical of the cult documentary, was there. So I did some flag dances like Little Edie.

Here's Edie's flag dances. Please note that the first four seconds are black, but then it starts I promise.

End video

So a lot of people were there -- I mean, my friends, and our new friends, and also the Broadway stars. Here's a list of some of the people who you may have heard of, and therefore will appreciate my insidery name-drop of their little names: Sheena Easton, Christine Ebersole, Andrea McArdle, Lillias White, Anne Steele, Brenda Braxton, Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Jake Wilson, Ann Van Cleave, Haviland Stilwell, Craig Ramsey, Brian Nash, The Broadway Boys, Julie Goldman, Jessica Kirson, Ross the Intern (from "The Tonight Show"), Seth Rudetsky, Susan Powter and the cast of LOGO's "The Big Gay Sketch Show."
Every year I pledge to get it together after the Cruise. Plan for my life, which's fundamentally ridiculous. Boat works 'cause your deep thoughts have a control environment (like in a science experiment), a blank slate to write on while looking ahead into the murk/stars!

Did I actually talk about the cruise? Does anyone care? Probs not. I'm so glad slide-shows have faded from popularity. Memememe fa so la ti DO!

Imagine ten slides. In eight of them, I'm running into walls & people, in one I'm recycling old vocabulary and in the tenth photo I look like a girl who could be okay with everything. The boat sees the tenth photo and because I'm on it, I see it too. Today, I flew home. Tomorrow, I will need to get groceries, no-one is bringing muselix to my door.

I don't understand why no meal is even half as good as breakfast!


Babypop, Jack Skellington, Caitlin

Haviland, Babypop
Did you see the article in the New York Times? So nice!
""What makes humans human is precisely that they do not know the future.
That is why they do the fateful and amusing things they do: who can say how anything will turn out?
Therein lies the only hope for redemption, discovery, and--let's be frank--fun, fun, fun!
There might be things people will get away with. And not just motel towels. There might be great illicit loves, enduring joy, faith-shaking accidents with farm machinery.
But you have to not know in order to see what stories your life's efforts bring you. The mystery is all."
(Lorrie Moore, "People Like That Are The Only People Here")
[Although I didn't tag the "horizon" as "horizon," be well aware that much like my last post's "hill," that is indeed the horizon.]

Layla Love,
Haviland Pekor,

Friday, July 18, 2008

We MUST!: Rosie Cruise '08 Part #1 With Vlog, Words, Photos, and a Snack

So, I'm on the Rosie Cruise right now and when it's over I’m moving to Halifax, Nova Scotia. Halifax is packed with bookstores (including a feminist/queer store called "Venus Envy") and therefore reminds me of Ann Arbor before The Man/A-E-Phi took over. Coincidentally, Halifax is Ellen Page’s hometown (“I LOVE Ellen Page. I want to EAT HER FACE!” – Riese, Jan. '08), though we didn’t spot her during our Self-Guided Shore Excursion on Wednesday -- I think Ellen’s career is peaking right now so she’s probs making an edgy film in L.A or New York or one of those other big show-bizzy cities filled with annoying people who’ve got bogus body parts and drink sugar-free syrup/eat babies for breakfast. I live in New York City, but trust me if my neighbors had fake body parts, they’d look a lot better than they do, I’ve seen better waist-to-hip ratios on a fried chicken. JK, I love all people and actually loathe fried chicken, so there you go.

Also my keyboard feels like it’s on fire, it must be all the gay magic. Or it could be the boat, which is presently rocking back and forth, making me feel crazy/nauseous. Maybe it’s my hands. Maybe I have magic hands! I have magic hands! I like chips!

Hello o-pirates! Look, I've got a multimedia Friday for ya. I'll go into details -- e.g., extremely compelling details about Our Grand Vaycay -- when I return to the asphalted treachery of my regular life. I'm sure I'll have a lot of feelings and consequentially a book club, poetry, auto-fun, advice column vlog installments, late-night confessionals, streams of consciousness, top tens and totes random weirdohood.

For now ... firstly, a VIDEO of Haviland & I & Layla Love and a vlog in our room and all kinds of things well okay I made this movie for y'all this afternoon. Caitlin is becoming quite the cameraperson, p.s..:


"Leaving New York -- never easy -- I saw the light fading out."
“I wish we were on the boat right now,” Haviland is liable to moan on any of the 358 days of the year she’s not on it. After the boat, there is only “boat” and “not boat.”

Boat: At 6 A.M. we’re on yoga mats at the fitness center waiting for Susan Powter to yell at us, to tell Caitlin “If I was that tall, I’d be illegal!” and to tell the fitness center employee “I like you, but I don’t like your penis” and to tell all of us that we’re sexy/beautiful/the future. How long will we wait?

Me: “We will wait until she comes. We must be patient, like the Jews at Mt. Sianai. They waited, and then Moses came down with the Ten Commandments."
Fellow Disciple: "Not everyone waited. There was the golden calf--"
Me: "Exactly. Thou shalt not worship false idols, and we will wait for Susan."

And we did. And it was worth it. And I can barely walk today, neither can Alex, we feel like our hamstrings have been through a tractor pull.

I'm listening to Tegan & Sara, I started jonesing. This is strange: here, now. Relatively alone at the computer in the internet cafe, paying for it, and so on, alone with my music and the words. It's the writing that makes me crazy, though I couldn't have it any other way. I'm not just saying this 'cause I'm reading Orlando.

Tuesday night I dreamt that the ninth plague was miniature cats dropping from our ceiling.

Susan's commandments are strict/sexy/beautiful/the future. She gets crazier every year. More on this later. Caitlin's written down some of her commandments and we will be gathering these, grasshoppers, and then we will bless you with them.

Modeling Through it in Halifax - 1

Album Cover (Title: "Modeling Through It")
Boat: I never return to anything. It’s a minor miracle I’ve spent over a year in my present apartment, and summer camp’s cliques and obsessive heterosexuality and insider-y gossip never worked for me so I never returned. Next year, a new camp, and then another, and another. But this’s my third fucking cruise. MY THIRD “CRUISE.” Aren’t I too cynical for all this? No, of course not. There’s water underneath and around us. No-one cares what you’re wearing or who you’re kissing and we’re too cut off to feasibly work while on board. So that's a few reasons why it's magic.

Boat: The entertainment’s appeal is never what I’d anticipated – in ’06, Cyndi Lauper and Kathi Griffin were – just as I expected – amazing. But I didn’t know Broadway Belters would be like a highlight reel of the last twenty years of Tony-award winning performances or that Hav & Brandi Massey doing Defying Gravity would almost bring me to tears, or that Elvira Kurt would be so fucking funny. Last year Sandra Bernhard wasn’t spectacular and we left Erasure early, but we made our own entertainment (“Living it Out” reading) and under certain circumstances, I found beaches and sunshine not only tolerable but lovely.

This year it's Julie Goldman. Literally the best/funniest stand-up I've seen all my life.

Boat:We decided to have a rolling race down a hill in Halifax (a.k.a. my future home), but halfway down I started feeling itchy and everyone thought I was kidding when I said I think I've developed an allergy to grass (I tend to exaggerate a lot) but whatevs. Anyhow, we made a lot of memories. And because we're all here, and I'd like to foster a spirit of togetherness and sisterhood under the light of the moon of the glow of all my sisters and brothers all over the world, I'm going to share them with you.



Caitlin keeps on rolling.

This is when I gave up and ran down the hill.

Caitlin and Alex - still rolling after all these years
Sooooo ... 'cause I want book club to be really good, and 'cause I owe y'all a "Stuff I've Been Reading" like WHOA, I'm gonna hold off on that discussion 'til I reach the shore. I'd tell you when that is, except I've got no idea what day it is and I'm in denial about any semblance of a life outside of here.

I've gotta get back to the room before Alex falls asleep, therefore lessening the chances I'll talk her into a grilled cheese.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

pre.boat. ... 7-13-2008 ... autographed fun of the day

It wouldn't be a fun-filled stress-free vacation without a few Nth hour Catastrophes -- I write to you in a state of arrested attention which'll ideally be dissolved in 24 hours when I'm floating towards the allegedly breathtaking landscapes of New England and Canada as a bunch o' gays in shorts and matching t-shirts perform highly conceptual parodies of showtunes while dancing in relative unison. I will also, clearly, be blogging, and also -- vlogging. The fact that those verbs have become a real part of my vernacular is either awesome or embarrassing, I can't decide. UPDATE: I have decided -- embarrassing/AWESOME. On the up-side, though I've eaten all the groceries I purchased two weeks ago, I have NOT drunk the wine I purchased two weeks ago. Obviously, I'm taking care of that right now, lest good food/drink go to waste. I've put a photo of my sponsor child above my desk to remind myself how ridiculous I am and that I need to be doing more to save peoples of the world. It's totally working, actually. Also if you haven't watched our advice column vlog yet, you're pretty much gonna be getting fourtunes like "Let's Go: Non Fat Whole Wheat Green Tea" for all your many years of future time in grasshoperworld.

First of all, big news re; The 'Nards
1. My Mom pretty much won the diary contest. She mixed up '06 and '07, but that was clearly a typo (I've fact-checked this w/Mom) 'cause I know she knows which diary entry was from '07, obvs. That's how cool I am you guys, my Mom won the contest. Also, my Mom entered the contest! My Mom is kinda magical.
2. Also my brother Lewnard has started his own blog! He likes to write complaint letters to corporations that let him down, an activity he's been pursuing since the age of 7 or 8, and now he's taking it to the streets with "Memo to the Man." We learned this anti-corporate spirit from our parents, Actual Hippies who eventually saw Lew & us employ their Vietnam Protest chants against their insistence we go to the furniture store (1-2-3-4-We don't want your fucking war = 1-2-3-4 we don't want your furniture store) to watch cardboard televisions while they stared at couches.
3. Next thing you know, Tinkerbell's gonna be getting her own myspace page or hanging out with Barack Obama and Brangelina.
4. OMG!

"Yes we can!"

Madamme Tussuad Loves Tinkerbell

Tinkerbell = Also Having Twins

[Contents of a Dream of Genie, Carla Ganis ]
"I went into a glass maze called the Palace of Mirrors.
I wonder where the dreams I don't remember go.
I do not know what to do with my hands when there is nothing for them to do.
Even though it is never for me,
I always turn around when someone whistles in the street."
-Edouard Levè, from "Autoportrait"

[Defining Madness, by Mary Jo Rosania ]
"Sometimes, if I talked for too long, I'd be yanked beneath, into cold and weedy water.
Down there, I could not see or breathe; I was dragged backward and it wasn't even the submersion that was the worst part, it was that I had to come up again.
My present world was always, in in its mildness, a little disappointing.
I've never since Ault been in a place where everyone wants the same things; minus a universal currency, it's not always clear to me what I myself want. And anyway, no one's watching to see whether or not you get what you're after -- if at Ault I'd felt mostly unnoticed, I'd also, at certain moments, feel scrutinized.
After Ault, I was unaccounted for ... I've never paid close attention to my life or anyone else's as I did then.
How was I able to pay such attention?
I remember myself as often unhappy at Ault, and yet my unhappiness was alert and expectant;
really, it was, in its energy,
not that different
from happiness."

-from "Prep," by Curtis Sittenfeld

Ethan and His Blue Things - -SeeWoo and Her Pink Things
[JeongMee Yoon]
Auto-Fun for the Time Being:

1. An intelligent summary of the last few weeks of automated phun (like "fun" married "phat" and had a ferret) ending with a BANG w/an excerpt from one of my favorite David Foster Wallace essays ever: The Internet and its Enemies (@The National)
2. Really all I can do w/r/t this shared item is quote stef's google reader note on it: "I don't even know what's going ON anymore.": In Which We Recommend You Become a Better Person (@this recording)
3. Biexual Species: Unorthodox Sex in the Animal Kingdom (@scientific american)
4. The life of an artist -- a writer, in fact -- is, just as I suspected, a lot like being a psychiatrist. It's proven here. (@the guardian uk books)
5. Death by Gonzo: Hunter S. Thompson had fear & loathing for, also, himself (@ny mag)
6. Number one feeling: dancing. Number two feeling:is it sexist to be sexy while dancing? (@dance magazine)
7. I think this could also serve as an answer to question 7 in the Junot Dìaz discussion: "How do you win a booker prize?" (Take readers to a faraway place, fyi) (@bbc news entertainment)
8. It almost makes me LOL, how predictable the major news-outlet Web 2.0 stories are ... everyone announcement; last month you wrote about self-indulgent writers, this months you write about asshole commenters ... ooo! Time! You're rarely good at this, so you get to go first. Go!: "Post Apocalypse" (@time)
9. Obama on reading Harry Potter (@motherreader)
10. A woman is dedicating her life to doing everything Oprah recommends for a year. I hope that includes Gayle, just saying. (@chicago tribune)

Insomnia Poem #4: Ode to a Grecian Sutter Home

I used to think pink wine was trashy
I haven't changed my mind
about pink wine
but I've changed my mind
about trashy.

Wine - oh. Wino. Oh!

I'd like to be the wife of bath
leave bubbles in my path
clear like glass, empty and fast
before I sleep
I try to go deep
not sheep
as far away from real as me
so the body gets some sleep

you want to know
why I'm such a parody
it's 'cause people bring out the worst in me
like boyz ii men i'm on bended knee
i can't trust 'cause i see just what i see
like roger rabbit i jump with glee
like jessica rabbit it's not a cartoon, it's me
i mean
you who've drawn mememememe.
your pencil pops bubbles friendships
you prodded, i burst
i mean the general "you."

When I turn off the lights

it gets so dark in here
I was joking about the cave
but not about the emo
I've never seen finding nemo
And I don't want to.

P.S. Also I don't want to see Wall-E. Sorry-e.
P.P.S. I'm listening to Tori Amos.
I don't know why
but I don't care 'cause sometimes I said sometimes
I year your voice and it's been years years

This is a Happy Phantom