Saturday, 15 June 2013

Rapunzel does not live on this street

The Princess is ready to claim her own Castle!! 
In lay terms, this means that one of my very good dear wonderful friends is moving into her very first on-her-own apartment. I wish her all the best of moving vibes, from good weather to good-humored and prompt moving helpers to good pizza and good sleep. (Which is less that she has earned as she has helped me move more than is reasonable. Usually in heels. I am thinking specifically of the buffet.)*

But that’s not really the point.

I kind of don’t mind moving, at least I didn’t. The packing and cleaning and sorting and dusting and sneezing and throwing out of things worked as a kind of identity therapy. I got to touch all of the things that made up the world that fit into the set of |Me|**. Journals, letters, books, shrines, ceramics, mementos, missing laundry – all of it active and real elements of an entirely self-created self-definition.

Conversations at work have included an ongoing debate with my friend about the spectrum of introversion and how to apply it. He spoke a thing that I think I’ve been missing about the world for a really long time. The conversation went something like this: Me – You don’t get to define me. Him – We are all defined by other people! Me – stunned silence *eyebrow up*

Well, but I’ve always been that way, right: “I’ll be my own self!” foot stomp “No one else is the boss of me!” “You do not get to define me!” (I have said that one a lot)

It smacks so cheerfully of childishness, doesn’t it? How easy to dismiss are claims that do not fit the dictionary definition.

Because I have moved a lot, and I know the difference between |Me| and ‘hippie’, ‘free-thinker’, ‘snob’, ‘sweetheart’, ‘original’; the list is long and I am not alone in having one.

(I do not credit this attitude problem with tens of moves, but the inventory is part of living in this space around me, and that is directly connected to moving.)

And yet…

We learn how to behave based on outside expectations. We frequently only see our actions as they are reflected or refracted in other peoples’ lives. Our class system maintains itself with rigidly defined behavioral policies and expectations. The social constructs we are taught to accept without questions are predicated on outside, not self-control, as well as predestination not self-determination.

Every day brings more support to the dangers of stereotyping: externally imposed definitions – diminishing by definition. Every day there is evidence drawn in blood that it is not safe to fail at accepting external definitions. And every single day individuals still make the decision to escape the social constructs, the naysayers be damned.

So, I guess what I really wish for my Princess is the time to see what her life looks like on the inside. What the last years have made, hidden and lost. Find the absolute value of yourself in the silence and chaos of boxes, bags and Moving Day.

This year, I’ll settle for deep cleaning.

*Apparently the move has already happened, but whatever. The sentiment is the same.

** |Me| denotes the absolute value of whatever is listed between the bars, in this case: Me. Math is cool.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Shivering Barometric Pressure

Friends, I find me in a deeply dangerous situation.

The wind moves. The keyboard is warm and welcomes use. A blank page: unused file space. What delicious adventure.

The world is filled with broken tree limbs, gardens filled with clay, air still as algae, the body made of sweat at the very edge of a heavy terrible headache. Summer becomes.

Sleep may be a dream tonight, waiting for the cool to land.

I crave books of walks, long conversations, politics, morality, food – ah, food – dusty travel and bitter endings.

It has been more than a month since I read the review copy of The Art of Joy and still I cannot face fiction that is uncrowned with the name ‘canon’ – how I relished it!

It would be a lie to say that to be surrounded by Beauty makes noticing that which is beautiful difficult to see. It would be more correct to say that there are different ways to see Beauty, because it takes every different form. Sapienza’s great work shocks, titillates and provokes as it draws you in almost tenderly without care or gentle caress. This novel, much like its protagonist, does not need to care for you, but does need you. I do not remember the last time that I jumped when addressed by the author. (I am sure that it has happened before. It is forever a shock to be seen instead of safely invisible, regardless of the circumstances.) When Modesta calls out the fourth wall, it is destroyed. Such is her power and the strength of her narrative.

The constantly shifting routines of work and life have begun to be familiar, and now there is time for getting into trouble again. Trouble in my world is in story, fairy tales and odd little sestinas. The USPS and I occasionally are on again.

This evening my fingers found themselves in motion on these keys, with nothing else to add but what they themselves created.

I am out of practice, but the habit and muscle memory are well established. I do not miss the troublesome rush of creation or the conflicted afterglow: exhausted exhilarated stiff with stillness and incapable of the moment, whatever moment it is. I am terrible at drugs, even the ones that are the same as just being me: learning, connecting and occasionally creating.

It’s strange and unwholesome, I tell you.

How do I know this?

I’m still typing.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Landmarks along the way

Writing again has got me thinking. And thinking gets me writing. Well, thinking about traveling in cars gets me thinking more and then there are words but most of them come out kind of like bursts of memory because what I think about are the images that I keep on quick-recall not the ones that I’ve got attached to the pictures from that one trip, or a different trip; the one that got no photographic evidence at all – the ones that are clearest in my world because there is no other record of them than the words that frame the memory of the image that marks a place on the road.

Not some figurative road, nothing about growth or becoming. An actual road.

  1. The road in the Ozarks coming out of a storm so pitch black and pouring rain it was impossible to think and impossible to do anything but that with my father driving the Jeep and the music silent and then the stillness of no more rain and then the impossible glow in the distance and the music rising and the sunset fiery as the first dawn and yes, yes I do Hear The People Sing.
  1. A field in the middle of the Black Hills. A few weeks before something extraordinary and magical in a group of people converging safely away from all of us. My father and I and the dogs and the Jeep and another sunset, this one quiet and impossible, the music only evening insects and we cracked cheap bears on the roof and watched the sky and the dogs racing circles in the unfamiliar world.
  1. My mother and I return to our homes after a holiday spent all together and along the highway a huge bird of scavenging will not take flight from his road kill and we cannot swerve, he is that large and the road is that small and he finally takes off and I swear his talons scrape the outside of the windshield and I cannot even laugh to ease the tension it is so beautiful and so close to something so different.
  1. A poem in a car, on the player in the dash. A woman’s voice, a man’s voice and there is power and there is grief and it is thrumming and I am lifted and the words end and the silence of their ending begins to enfold me and “The End!” says my friend and it is right and it is awful and I laugh and never forget to remind her that her timing is more odd than mine.
  1. Twists and turns in the backroads, not the highways, between my house and hers, her mother not wanting any of her girls on the highway for safety reasons so we drove through brick-filled neighborhoods and knew all of the potholes and the best Taco Bells and here it was we found the difference between temporary acquaintances and friendships in shared breakfasts and rain-soaked road trips and even now I hear her voice and it is next to me in the car and we are heading home.
  1. And the paths that lead through burial grounds in towns across Nebraska and Iowa and Missouri, and the names are of my family and mine will not join them, not here. And the ghosts of my family do not bother each other in these places; they stay home, in the kitchens, at the tables, on the other end of unanswered phone calls, impossible conversations. Perhaps they are why the car trips: we bring home the stories they cannot.
  1. And the road that I did not drive. The one that took us by the corner down from the one that used to be mine. And I was terrified at it and drunk and you were Telling Me Something and all I could think was how far away it seems, and how far away it is and I could not talk about anything real and it is only now that I can measure the distance and I wonder what that means. And I wonder what perspective the next road will throw on the one that I travel now. Especially since now I have a bike. Bike!

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Tremblings of hidden remembered things.

Winter dreams made their way to me last night. Darkness and boxes filled with stories and cards and the cool warmth of some unknown lover's skin and it took me a while to remember.

These are dreams that have slept for a couple of years. Perhaps they were waiting; perhaps there was no room for them; perhaps I simply did not remember and they left no mark on a moving soul.

The season changes soon, and my dreams reach out to me to give comfort that the sun will fade and I will know again the feel of warm air against cold and find something like a blanket in the change and the dreams will be dark and terrifying and filled with blood and water and boats and impossible feats of violence and embrace.

In my winter dreams I do not need to fly. In my winter dreams the world holds me at its own distance. Warm long days lift my feet in sleep and I do not need the wings I learned to grow. The green smells of birth in spring hold me hovering between rooms. The spice and wood and burning of winter open something that needs only stars and wool and honey to feed it through long nights of worlds unremembered.

The rhythms of my heart will change. I feel again this strange and terrible peace. The smell of me begins to alter, and something new makes its way into the world. This is an entirely different sort of bear, living here in the warmth with a short dark breath between the heat and the weight of water.

Perhaps the dreams return because they are remembered. Perhaps I am less out of control of their presence than all this would make it sound.

The days are shorter without any assistance from me.

Winter is coming.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

The Bookseller stays home

I’ve not been to work for three days. I’ve not stepped on public transport for that long, either, although I did buy my March bus pass, but that’s not even close to being the same thing. My laundry is done, my fridge is cleaned out, although it is not clean and there’s been some sweeping around the place that pleases me.
It occurred to me, when this vast open space of workless days all in a row presented themselves, that I would have no idea what to do with the time. Ha. Ha!

I read a lot. So much that I am not in a place where I can read anymore right now, or listen to music or lectures or even feed myself, because I’m Just That Full.

Homer has been with me this entire time.

The entire first chapter of ExtraVirginity features Odysseus and olive oil and the questions surrounding what that means to people in our version of the here and now. At the end of the chapter, someone made scented oil with roses: it smells of the Mediterranean.

Jerusalem was bound to bring the bard to mind with its layers of tragedies and homecomings. Leaders deposed, peoples massacred, livelihoods destroyed under the orders of army leaders not even attached to the city’s people or land; these echo.

I’d sort of hoped that Blood, Bones & Butter would lead me away from the violence and harshness of olive oil and sea travel and a world filled with instability and fragility and I was wrong. It left me full and vulnerable and the mere mention of oil from Puglia cast a net over this incongruous reading list and day-to-day living that I can barely begin to imagine.

Even the mystery that I read did not let me be in peace; ideas of responsibility for actions over time and human behavior and the traps of class and how education does not always allow people to get out of them finding their way through the muck of London sewers and into my nice little world view.

What is here is not what I wanted to say, and that’s alright. My feelings are definable, what they relate to is not yet real in words. I remember The Loss Library and its central story and the shelves of books that would have been written but for confidence or silence or carefulness and I must re-think my audience and consider the shape of my walls and perhaps the words that overflow will land on them.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Random Love Blog

There are a few things I really miss about life in Nebraska.
Sunsets are big on that list.
Scroll down to see why.

Other people's calendars are really interesting.

I heart Wooster Collective.

we make money not art has a piece about Don McCullin's photographs of the homeless in the UK.


So this happened. Hunh. Would be jealous. Can't really comprehend it, though.

WANT. *drooolz*

That's all for now.


Tuesday, 21 February 2012

The way to give it up

Yet again, it is Lent.

For someone who is not a member of any Abrahamic religion (a book person who is not one of any of the People of the Book, go figure), I take this pretty seriously. Actually, I take it pretty seriously even for one of the faithful. There is no dogma between me and my reading of similar experiences in the lives of four of the most profound religious leaders of human history.

1) Moses went to the mountain to speak with God. He stayed there for a really long time. 40 days. He came down with the 10 Commandments and a life path that was not a question, or temporary. He knew what he was about, and God needed no more burning bushes to get him to listen.

2) Jesus went into the desert for 40 days. There, we read that he was faced by the Devil who offered him every enticement he could think of to move this leader of men from his path. The Devil failed. Jesus returned to the world of the everyday and did not, we read, veer from His life path, even though it led Him to death.

3) Gautama found himself seated under a Bo tree for 40 days, contemplating the nature of his purpose and path. Demons came and attacked him and as their arrows flew through the air, they were turned to flowers and fell harmlessly at the feet of the Buddha. When he opened his eyes and turned his gaze outward once again, he lived his life with clarity and purpose and did not veer from his life path.

4) Mohammed went into the desert. He stayed there for 40 days. Allah spoke. He listened. He understood. He returned from the dessert and gathered people together and spoke to them of the teachings of Allah. He became The Prophet and lived that path without question.

Rama was banished to the forest for 14 years.

That seems a bit much, if you ask me. But, I am young and have no sense of the meaning of time, and I do not always understand what the world means to mean.

Two years ago, I began to work to change my life. It worked. It is time to finish that work and learn to see that 14 years in the forest is only a short time.

So. We focus. Although: Got no desert or big beautiful tree or local mountain. Also: Got a job that I feel is pretty vital to life.

So. We focus in a different way: give up the distractions of coffee, booze, eating out (with specific social exceptions), big grocery store shopping, late rising, no yoga and no writing. Also, I’m not in the mood to be as cranky as I usually am when I start getting all healthy and feeling good. So, I’m going to give that up as well.

Just FYI.