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I’m Trying to Become Unstuck or Read Y: The Last Man Right Now

11 Aug

I’m going to pretend like it hasn’t been 8 months since the last time I wrote a post.

Here’s a picture of Geoff!

I had a huge post written ready to post a few weeks ago, but it was too negative, and I hated it. So, in short: this year has been really, really hard. I thought that moving somewhere new and totally awesome would make most of the cobwebs keeping me stuck, go away. But they didn’t, and instead I’m left with a head full of even more spiders. I know that so much of this uphill battle is just growing up and getting older. You’re going to have to deal with bills, and sickness, and people you love not being there anymore your whole life. But it’s not always so heavy, right? Or is that just wishful thinking? IDK DUDE. I guess what I’m trying to say is that Chicago is beautiful, I have the best job nannying 3 sweetie girls (4,3, and 10 months ahhh), but sometimes I get sad, and that’s okay.

In other news, I read at an open mic poetry reading back in July, and it was my first time reading without any of my fellow Chickz or really anyone I knew for that matter. Continue reading

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No One Belongs Here More Than YOU.

24 May

(AKA: A short review of a short story)

Miranda July.

What a woman.

When I first heard about Miranda July, my friend Amber Sabo was telling me that her favorite quote was, “Live the dream, Potato.”

The quote is from July’s book of stories, No one belongs here more than you. In the second story (Majesty)  of the book , the main character witnesses a dog running away. She says, “But he looked joyful and I thought: Good for him. Live the dream, Potato.”

On the next page of the story, Potato has been hit by a car.

And, this isn’t even the focal point of the story. No. The piece is about a 46 year old woman who is obsessed with Prince William–she dreams that he nuzzles her butt with his face. She determines how to meet him. She works for an earth quake preparedness company. She has a showboating sister.

But, amidst all that ruckus, Potato stands out to me. And, when July ends the piece, she still leaves me thinking of the little care free dog.

stretching for the final lap

“This pain, this dying, this is just normal. This is how life is. In fact, I realize there never was an earthquake. Life is just this way, broken, and I am crazy to hope for something else.”

These words touched a nerve yesterday, sent me into tears, into frustration. They’re true and yet, they will never be. How can we go through life without hope?

We are all Potato. And maybe it’s ok to be running carelessly down the street into the hot breath of an engine, the rumbling throat of certain death. Maybe it’s ok because the last thing we want in life is a memory of pleasure: the wind in our hair, the hot pavement on our paws.

**Stay tuned next week for review of Sean Lovelace’s

 “Fog Gorgeous Stag”

Well, we’re still here.

23 May

You may have noticed I skipped out last Monday. WHOOPS.  MY BAD.

Part of that was me still recovering from being in New York for a week.  While there, I lost my favorite hoodie.  I bought a backpack with wheels in Chinatown for thirty-six dollars. And I got some good books, like this one:

So far it’s like hearing a creepy orchestra tucked in the walls, or crawling up from the basement.  Sometimes it’s too quiet for comfort and sometimes it accompanies a loud chill on my shoulders.  It keeps on bowing strings in a way that buzzes my bones.  An unresolved chord.

I got to hear Pete Davis and Jill Christman read at the Vouched reading the day after I got back.  I expected to laugh a lot during Pete.  I expected plenty of heart from Jill.  Expectations fulfilled.  But I didn’t realize how hilariously informative Jill’s essay would be, and needed to be reminded of the strange pinpricks of sadness and wonder that dot Pete’s works, especially when read aloud.

But I’ll admit:  I feel preoccupied.  Not with typical things, but because it’s May 23rd and I’m not covered in boils I’ve been Googling phrases like “rapture news,” “rapture disappointment,” and “where the hell is harold camping.”

Google Images: "kickass rapture pix"

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My Heart Looks Like a Baby Squirrel

29 Apr

So guys, I haven’t had time to write anything besides school papers this week (which sucks but will be over soon). Since National Poetry Month is coming to an end, I want to share this poem by Andrea Gibson with you. SHE’S SO GREAT, RIGHT? Go ahead: read, listen, love.

A Letter to the Playground Bully from Andrea Age 8 1/2

maybe your words will grow up to be a gymnasts
maybe you have been kicking people with them by accident

I know some people get a whole lot of rocking in the rocking chair
and the ones who don’t sometimes get rocks in their voice boxes,
and their voice boxes become slingshots.
maybe you think my heart looks like a baby squirrel.

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Submit, I Say!

23 Apr

Today, I’d like to direct you over to Bull: Men’s Fiction in hopes that you SUBMIT some of your best work and make this next issue their best issue yet. This is important to me. When the VIDA research came out this year and showed how underrepresented women are in lit journals, it sent a lot of people into quite an uproar. The only way we combat numbers like those are awareness and action.

Seriously, I’m loving what they do over at Bull and I’m loving the idea for this next issue, so do as I say. For the love of all that is holy and sweet, SUBMIT SUBMIT SUBMIT!

I GRADUATE COLLEGE IN 15 DAYS AND THAT’S TOO SCARY TO THINK ABOUT, SO LET’S TALK ABOUT CHILDREN’S BOOKS INSTEAD

22 Apr

“You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.”

-Madeleine L’Engle

            I saw this quote earlier this week, and it made me happy. One of my summer goals is to start writing a children’s book series. It’s going to be about a little boy who finds a stray cat under a dumpster and brings him home to join the other two cats he adopted. It will be about family and finding a place where you belong, which sounds silly, but it will be cute I PROMISE. Mostly because the illustrations will be based off of this sweet baby:

LOOK AT THOSE YELLOW EYES. SWOON.

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Without Ramona, Where Would I Be?

13 Apr

I am newly obsessed with looking back on my childhood and trying to pinpoint events or even cultural landmarks in my life that made me who I am today.  There’s one thing I almost always come back to:  Ramona Quimby.

From the ages of seven to thirteen, I would wager, I Ramona weaved in and out of my life.  I listened to Beverly Cleary’s “Ramona” books on cassette tape to go to sleep almost every night.  I feel bad for the other kids in the New Albany/Floyd County area who might have wanted to listen to those tapes, because I almost always had them checked out of the library.  I also owned all the books.  I especially remember “Ramona Forever,” which was perhaps my favorite.  My copy of it was slender and narrow, and it fit in my back pocket perfectly.  I carried it around everywhere.

Ramona appears in twelve of Cleary’s books, first starting out in the Henry Huggins series as Beezus’s annoying little sister, and then growing into her own series of novels.  In order, they are:

Henry Huggins (1950)
Henry and Ribsy (1954)
Beezus and Ramona (1955)
Henry and the Paper Route (1957)
Henry and the Clubhouse (1962)
Ramona the Pest (1968)
Ramona the Brave (1975)
Ramona and Her Father (1977)
Ramona and Her Mother (1979)
Ramona Quimby, Age 8 (1981)
Ramona Forever (1984)
Ramona’s World (1999)

Tuesday was Beverly Cleary’s 95th birthday, and the New York Times did an awesome piece on her to celebrate.  One of the things Cleary set out to do with her children’s novels was to write books that she would have wanted to read as a child.  From the NYT article:  “‘I longed for funny stories about the sort of children who lived in my neighborhood,’ Cleary wrote in one of her memoirs, My Own Two Feet.”  Cleary treated the children she wrote about the same way she treated the adults, and I think that’s important.  It was almost revolutionary in children’s literature at the time, and maybe it still is.  The problems that characters like Ramona and Henry Huggins and Beezus had were very real; she never passed judgment or trivialized them because they were children and “children shouldn’t have serious problems.”  She realized that kids aren’t stupid.

When Beezus and Ramona’s father is unemployed, it affects everyone in the family.  Ramona and Beezus are all too aware of it, trying to make things easier on their parents, stressing about the situation as much as mom and dad are, and attempting to ignore their own wants and needs, feeling they are a strain on their parents.  I think these are sentiments most children can relate to.  Hearing my parents argue about money caused many of my adolescent stresses and concerns.  Cleary scarcely differentiated between adult problems and child problems, and as a kid, it was refreshing to read that maybe me and my worries and opinions mattered more than I was originally led to believe. Continue reading

This Is How I Love You

9 Apr

Something I’ve been working on for a while. Trying to get it right. Offer constructive to critique if you are moved to do so.

This is How I Love You

Amy and Ray sat on the hood of her white Oldsmobile in the liquor store parking lot. He popped the champagne she’d just bought, tried to convince her to take a swig.

“It’s bad for the baby.”

“So is smoking,” he said.

“I’m going to quit.” She threw the still burning cigarette onto the grass beside them. He shrugged, slipped the open end of the bottle between his lips. The syrupy bubbles moved over his tongue, made his throat swell.

They were five hours married, two days babied. When Amy was seventeen, a doctor assured her two out-of-order ovaries meant she would never conceive. She’d cried right there on his desk. Her face staining the papers swept across it in waves.  He petted her shoulder with sharp raps of his palm, reminded her of all the unwanted children in the world who would need good homes. When she was ready. She was more concerned with the kind of man that would want someone like her now: a baroque woman who would never bear the fruit her curves swore would come easily.

Ray hadn’t cared about dating a barren woman. He hadn’t cared about too many things that wanted him. He smiled up at the night, convinced that something had finally answered his disjointed prayers. He was damaged, but now he would be daddy. Somebody’s version of perfect. Kids don’t know what poor is, they don’t care. They only know that you love them, and they love you back for it. Babies can fix broken things. They promised to tell their baby about this night, about their hopes for her, but really for themselves.

They sat scared and happy and wrong. This baby was not a savior, and she would not be blind. She was not a miracle. She would not see them as Gods, and she would not want to be them. She would see their tarnish, waste, and their ugly. She would learn their shames from bitter family members when everyone else was three eggnogs past crying.

Her father would leave and that baby, now a young woman, would find it is possible to miss what you never had. She would grow up and away from her mother. She would love her, but she would hide. She would lie to her often and without guilt.

Some days, never at the same time, they would all think back to the night spent on the hood of that car. They would consider who got the story wrong. They would wonder about driving away, drinking themselves to death on a cold wet pavement, black as an empty womb. Their faces would get warm, their throats would swell.

 

Sweet Things

28 Mar

First thing’s first:  our lady Ashley slam dunked at the Vouched Presents reading in Indy on Saturday.  She was funny, heartfelt, and even read by candlelight/eager volunteer-held flashlight during observation of Earth Hour 2011.  I wish we’d made out in the dark afterward.  For the environment.

 

I’m also pumped about xTx’s Normally Special, which I bought at the reading, being added to my ever-expanding need-to-read list.  Here’s the fifth story of the book, and just — yes.  I’m anxious to dig into more of that loveliness.

 

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When we were kids playing fatal disease, you always had cancer; I always died for love.

22 Mar

So, for Broken Plate class, I had to write this review.

It’s about the Physics of Imaginary Objects by Tina May Hall. Ya see, the InPrint Festival  (More info here) of 2011, is this week! (Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 in AJ 175) Basically, InPrint is one of the most radtastic things we do here at Ball State. It’s a reading followed by a panel. All the authors have just put out their first book and wha-bam, we get to hear all about it and pose our own baby writer questions to some toddler writers who might have even finished pre-school.

And our Laynie Baby gets to introduce Mr. Paul Killebrew while I get to introduce Miss Tina May Hall. We also get to have lunch with them. I am so stoked. Tina May Hall just became one of my idols.

I’m not just saying that. Anways,

here’s the review:

There is a Factory in Sierra Vista Where Jesus is Resurrected Every Hour in Hot Plastic and the Stench of Chicken: This piece was perhaps my favorite in the entire collection. It caught me by the throat, coughing mad splendor and I stuttered thoughts of my best friend. Several lines stood out saluting but the most profound was this: “When we were kids playing fatal disease, you always had cancer; I always died for love.” I kept repeating this in my head, the words marching in my sleep. I woke thinking, this is beautiful.

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