Thursday, December 30, 2010

watching the murders fly by

I've been awake since around 4:40am. The moon was lovely outside my window, and Venus. I tossed and turned for a long while, my body achey. I've been trying to get the tension out of body with massages, chiropractic visits, stretching. I'm loosening slowly, the process is painful.

I went out with an old friend last night, had too much to drink and some old demons came back to piss me off. We were having a good time then something flipped and I went from being happy to morose. Maybe it was the alcohol. Maybe it was the fact that after years I finally got to yell at my friend for old transgressions. He told me, among other things, that I'm too guarded and not trusting. Fair enough, in the context of our friendship. Or it was a jab to counter the ones I'd been sticking. I have a cruel streak. I know I do. Guarded, hmmm. I can agree with that, sober.

A poet I once studied with told me that in my writing I only allow myself vulnerability at the very end of a poem, just a peek of emotional insight. Maybe. I just looked at a poem I've been editing and I can see why someone would say that. I think there is a fine balance between being revelatory and mysterious. I want to dance that line. A character in a book I once read said something along the lines of a woman without mystery can never be truly beautiful. I think the same can be said about writing. Why read if there is nothing to be discovered? Why write if it isn't a way of exploring and learning oneself? Ugh. I hope I don't come off sounding like a guest on Oprah, all dazzled with my brilliance and shit. Once I have this damn poetry manuscript sorted out I'll read for vulnerability, see where it peeks out at me like one of those creepy/cute spirits in Miyazaki films. (see image above)

The morning is beautiful and clear. Outside the window crows are flying Northwest to wherever their daily hunting or playing grounds are. Every evening, before sunset, hundreds of crows fly Southeast. If you pay attention you can follow their line in the sky. I used to know where they roosted at night, it was terrifying and thrilling to be near. Thousands of crows cawing and flying. Murders upon murders of crows. The recent rains have made my balcony garden explode. Old seeds I didn't even know were hibernating have come life and my pots are rife with basil and dill, leaf lettuce. I love mornings and should spend more time in them.

To quote Seth in yesterday's Citybeat, "if (this video) doesn't make you laugh or cry you have no heart."

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

with a knife in my teeth

I worked on a poem yesterday that had all the old bravura of my younger days with a bit of the pragmatism of these days. I dig it. I doubt I'll ever show it to anyone but I'm still pretty pleased with myself. I made myself place something almost cringe-worthy in the poem, an image that makes the (imagined) reader uncomfortable but not so that the reader stops reading. Plenty of hyperbole and a shot of plain ass sadness to ground it. Oh formula, how I'm getting to know you.

The holiday was good. Lots of family time, lots of alcohol. We stayed at my parent's house again Christmas night, again breaking the old rule of no daughter can share a room with a man without being married. I think my parents might be over the rule. We played drinking games again with my little sister and her friends. I'm too old to play drinking games but in the spirit of wanting to not be completely lame I did. I'd already spent a good part of Christmas night curled up in a chair in the corner, reading and annotating my brand new copies of The Complete Poems of Anne Sexton and How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy. My family is really into games, Scrabble, Taboo, Smart Ass, Apples to Apples. Love is pretty competitive and fits right in with the yelling therein. Even in crowds of people I love I often choose solitude.

No plans too exciting for the New Year's celebration. We'll probably stay at my parent's house again, spend the evening with family, drink with my baby sister that night, watch football in the morning with my dad. There is a Mexican tradition of eating 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight, one grape for each tolling of the bell. Each grape is a wish pertaining to a month in the year. I haven't eaten the grapes for years, I've spent the last two years at a bar and two before that home alone. This year, silly as it seems, (and so many traditions are), I'm making wishes.

Yesterday afternoon I sat on my balcony, eating mint chip ice cream with a tiny spoon. I watched the insects on the bamboo and wondered how hard it would be to learn to play the accordion. I chided myself that I should have been writing but then I remembered that it's between the living and the stillness that the writing comes. And it did.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

merry merry

Nothing to do with the holiday but I love this song.

Friday, December 24, 2010

ghosts of Christmas past

Thinking of the holidays, for obvious reasons ,and how I've spent them during my life. I've been all over the place.

Growing up a Jehovah's Witness, we didn't celebrate anything. Christmas was a big, fat no-no since Jesus was born in April or October and it was really a pagan holiday dressed up for Christ or whatever other bullshit they fed us to keep us meek. I always got excited anyway, I couldn't help it. Beneath my disdain for the "worldy" people, I was jealous and eager to observe. I wished I could have believed in Santa. I remember being in the first grade, sitting at my desk in quiet disdain while the other kids told our teacher what Santa was going to bring them. In my head I was thinking your parents are a bunch of liars. Pretty sad, not to have been able to indulge in that childhood swell of fantasy and imagination. I secretly loved Christmas lights. I loved Christmas carols, despite not being able to sing them. I'd wake up early on Christmas morning, even though we didn't celebrate. I'd sit stewing in my jealousy, knowing that in the neighborhood around me and the world around that, kids were madcap wild with joy, opening presents. I would sit thinking yeah you have Santa now, but when the world ends in a firestorm you're going to die and I'm going to live forever.

After the Witness years my family celebrated in a half-assed kind of way. I was a teenager and atheist, full of goth (non)sensibilities and I still carried a deep guilt over celebrating a holiday I was raised to believe was evil. At the time my parents were struggling in their marriage, my dad wasn't living with us part of the time. Christmas was an attempt to be a big bandaid on the amputation leaving the religion had caused. We weren't unhappy to be out of the religion but we had no anchor as to what we were supposed to believe in anymore. Christmas was an awkward time of gift giving that had no sentimental value. It was different for my baby sister, she was raised almost completely outside of the religion and has always had birthdays and holidays. Her joy was a beautiful thing to watch, it still is.

In my early twenties it got somewhat better. I was in a relationship for years with a man who had a young daughter I adored and Christmas through her eyes was fucking magical. I also had outgrown a majority of the guilt I felt for celebrating.

I think of the oddest Christmases. Christmas in Mexico during my quasi-bohemian artist colony days, celebrating with a group of brilliant madmen, a chosen family. I remember walking through the cobblestone streets late at night around Christmas. It was during the posadas, the 12 days leading up to Christmas. Strangers would stand in their doorways, inviting me and anyone passing by into their homes for a slice of cake, spiced punch. They did it as an homage to Joseph and Mary who found little hospitality on their way to Bethlehem. My favorite memory is of walking home late one night and passing by a mechanic's shop; they had a junked out car on the roof decorated with singing Christmas lights. It was across the square from a church. Men had come in from the mountains with donkeys loaded with firewood. The men would sell the firewood then use the money to buy gifts for their families. The men slept on the stairs of the church while all the donkeys were tied up in the square. As I passed through the square I remember looking to my left at the car on the roof with singing lights then to the right at the donkeys and sleeping men. I had an overwhelming feeling of peace and joy. I don't know what about that scene struck me but I was elated.

The year after Mexico I was spending my winter in Switzerland. Christmas week we went sledding, snowboarding; warming our bodies after with fondue. I wrote a piece about it that is available online here. I've never watched the video. I'm pretty sure I was a little drunk when I performed. So it goes.

Then however many years later Christmas in the midwest. Kansas. My standout memory from that holiday is one of my favorites. We went to a Christmas Ever service at the Mennonite church. I remember liking the service, how unpretentious everything was. People came in their overalls and boots, nothing formal and the pastor spoke mainly of loving one another. At the end of the service everyone was given a candle and asked to gather in the front of the church in a circle. The lights were turned off and the pastor went around lighting everyone's candle with his. Then he led us in an a capella version of Silent Night. After he stood thanking everyone for coming. He then said I'd especially like to thank those of you who have joined us from foreign lands. His eyes landed on me and he smiled and gestured to me and asked And what foreign land are you from young lady? I smiled and said Southern California. I got a kick out of it.

Then the sad, wretched Christmas of getting dumped over Skype by the man I was madly in love with. The most horrible words ever spoken to me: I don't love you. I'll never love you. If I had the choice to love you I wouldn't. The gift of that experience is knowing that if I could recover from that wounding and devastation, I can recover from anything.

The last few holidays have been laid back. Here in town, family. We'll spend tonight at my aunt's house. My dad's side of the family and his six siblings and their families. It will be chaotic and loud. Everyone will bring their dog. I'm bringing Love and his dog. Tomorrow morning we'll spend with my parents and sisters. Nothing too exciting. Gifts, brunch then not much else.
I still don't really like the holidays but I'm getting better at not falling into a deep depression around them. I avoid the stores. I spend a lot of time alone, reading, writing. I spend a good amount of time thinking where was I last time this year? and the year before that? where am I now in comparison? I like where I am this year.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010


This is some ark weather indeed. Find your match, get on the boat. The rain hasn't stopped and won't stop. The ground here is easily saturated, the roads not built to carry the water away. I hate driving in the rain around here, potholes galore, careening vehicles. I need to go out into the weather to buy a couple of gifts and to gather things. My dad has a bag of seeded pomegranates for us to juice, my mom has a bag of Puerto Rican food my grandma sent. I'm going to make my parents a pot of clam chowder. I may make a batch of tomato soup here at home later.

I slept early, happily last night after dinner at the Vag with Love. A couple of months ago we went down there on Saturday night for one drink. We saw a friend who was there and ended up meeting a group of really cool men. We ended up sitting with them on the patio until almost 2 in the morning. The restaurant closed but the owner was deep into the discussions we were wrapped up in and brought out bottles of unfinished wine. It was one of those rare instances wherein everyone meshed; the conversation was intelligent, witty and loud. It reminded me of my younger days among the drunk, hand-roving, intellectual ex-pats in Mexico. A late night of dialogue. We ran into one of the men from that night last night. We hope to all meet up again and have another one of those evenings, but with less alcohol as the next day was brutal.

I find I have such few intellectually dynamic conversations. So much of what is talked about is superficial. I have a couple of great friends I call when I want my mind blown but we don't interact regularly. I talk on the phone about once a week with my brilliant friend Eric, who is one of the most intelligent human beings I've veer met. We live about a mile away from each other but rarely get together; when we do I can barely sleep afterward because I can feel my brain stretching (for lack of a better description). I love the Eleanor Roosevelt quote Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people. I should make an effort to group together the friends I love talking about ideas with, see if they mesh. I'm such an isolationist sometimes. Reading a book about personality types, I'm self-diagnosing. Ha! And rereading this paragraph I'm also kind of a snob.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

in sleep

Last night I went out with Love and friends of ours. We drank a lot and had a pretty fantastic time, including a heated moment wherein Love defended my honor against a creepy man who said something horribly disrespectful about me the last time we saw him out. I had many bourbons and slept heavily when we got home. I was going through my phone this afternoon and came across fragments of poems I wrote last night when I should have been sleeping. A lot of time as I'm in the half-awake state right before sleep lines come to me that I tell myself I'l remember but I never do. I've gotten into the habit of grabbing my phone off the nightstand jotting the lines down in a notepad application. I love going through the notes and looking at the lines, sometimes I use them and sometimes they just stay in my phone, reminding me the writing comes when it comes. The fragments of poems from last night are fragments I want to use. One beginning I called "Bed Weather." Another is an ode to bourbon which I'm sure has been done but there are a couple of lines I think will work.

Two days until the solstice. I'm so ready for the days to start to grow longer. I'm tired of hibernating.

I dig this poem. the jaws of lusty squirrels Beautiful.

Rain predicted heavily the next couple of days. Lots of indoor time for me, reading and writing. Naps. Making candy. We're not big into Christmas in the family but will spend it together, one of my favorite cousins in coming in to town and I'm excited to see him. I haven't eaten a candy cane yet. I should get on that.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

reading to write

I find myself turning to certain books when I need or want to start writing. Last night I was working on a draft of a short story. When I read it back to myself it felt cold and stilted, not at all the tone I was aiming for. And the story wasn't presenting itself the way I wanted it to. I turned to one of my favorite books The Death of Artemio Cruz by Carlos Fuentes. (I'm partial to the Sam Hileman translation.) When I read Fuentes I want to write. And I wrote. I have a new beginning to the story.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

theft, ideas, muse

As I was falling asleep a idea came to me for a series of vignettes based on a writing exercise I have assigned on the rare occasion I've been asked to teach. Maybe poems, maybe prose. Perhaps a little of both. I remembered a manuscript a friend sent me, how at first glance it was nothing special but after a second read I couldn't get the stories out of my head and to this day I think about them. My imagined project is similar in scope. I like it. Epistolary.

Last night B and I had dinner and talked for a long time about how ideas of ours have been taken from us. Stolen. I readily share ideas with loved one and don't mind inspiring or being muse. I believe the Picasso quote is Good artists borrow, great artists steal. An idea was taken from B recently and received a lot of good press and it bothers me. Recently I saw a line of mine used in another writer's work. It doesn't bother me but I wouldn't have minded at least an email sent my way in gratitude for the 3 words. The theft of B's idea is ugly, the theft of mine was mildly annoying.

Back in the claws of a short story I've been wrestling. I have the entire damn thing outlined and just need to get it out. A mentor told me earlier this year not to force my writing. But Jesus, I've been labor with this one forever.

I met an old friend yesterday afternoon. We talked about writing. He is pretty damn established and has always pushed me to establish myself more. He's been trying to convince me to get into an MFA program as long as I've known him. Nope. No thanks. No way. There was a long article in Slate a couple of weeks ago on MFAs. I don't want one. I can't see myself wanting to teach in an MFA and take time away from writing. Why go into a career about writing that doesn't give the writer any time to write? I don't get it. Go work at the Home Depot, don't waste your intellectual energy on others. Come home revved, write.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

the great communicator

The dissatisfaction is rampant in me lately. A part of it is the season, the early darkness and how artificial the joy we're supposed to be feeling is. Jesus month, everything on the History Channel is about Jesus. Every Lifetime movie is about a lost love returning in time for the holiday. Christmas music on the radio. Tinsel in every window. Joy fucking joy fucking joy. Meanwhile I'm broke, workless, hungry for something real. It exhausts me. I can't wait until this time of year is over. January 2, I await you as the wife of a whaler standing on the widow's walk. And here I steal the beginning of one of my own poems: You will return. Drop to the deck from a passing night, return sinewy, lovely. You who drove my heart's head underground

I suppose this is the season to write poetry thought the poet in me is ragged and tired of poetry. But the prose writer in me isn't fully wake either. I wrote a poem for Julian Assange last week and read it at the ACLU Freedoms of Expression II event. It wasn't my best work but it was an honest. It was short and to the point. My performance was the shortest out of the entire line-up, which I like. Always leave them wanting more, my mantra.

I love the title of this song by Sufjan Stevens. Did I Make You Cry on Christmas Day (Well You Deserved It)

Friday, December 10, 2010

ACLU Freedoms of Expression II

Tomorrow night. Be there.

the stars like dust

Last night I was sitting on the balcony late, looking at the skies. When I look at the sky at night an Issac Asimov quote always comes to me:

The stars like dust encircle me
in loving mists of light,
and all of space I seem to see
in one vast burst of sight.

I remember the quote because of a small encounter I had over ten years ago while I was waiting tables. I had a young, kind of nerdy man sitting in my section. He was awkward and a little tense so I made an effort to draw him out by asking him what he did, et al. He was an astronomy student, getting his PhD. At the time I was in an astronomy class so I chatted with him about nebula, gamma rays, breadth of galaxies. It was a short interaction. When he left I went to clear his table and he had left me an extraordinarily large tip. On the receipt he had written the Asimov quote and a short note thanking me for making his day with our conversation. I pinned the receipt to my wall at home and thus memorized the quote. I wonder if the young man remembers our conversation.

Insomnia again is monster. Late last night I watched Orion creep across the sky. I made myself take a sleeping pill. The effects wore off around 4am and I was wide awake and went to look at the pre-dawn constellations. If only I could write at the hours my mind roams. But I always think I'll be able to fall asleep again as soon as I wake up and I stare at the ceiling for hours, the light at the edges of the window changing.

Last night before I went to be bed I read a couple of old journals. Reading one was pretty wrenching. My heart was freshly broken, days maybe. Every pain was on the page, all of my anger, shock. I was boxing a little back then, I think now only that physical discipline kept me from completely unraveling. In the scope of the journal I dissect what went wrong in my relationship, the emotional shortcomings of the man I had been loving. The journal went with me to Cuba where I did my best to embrace the experience but my heart wasn't in it. The journal came home with me. B made his first appearance in my journal. Deciding to move out of my old place also was on the pages.

I haven't journaled in years. I looked at the last journal entry I made, August 19, 2009. I should, I know I should but so much of the same crap is in the pages. Reading through the pages I see my patterns, the same tired ruts I wheel myself through again and again in hopes that maybe the next go around the scenery will change. I should write about that.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

manuscript, musings, ego, disappointment

I've tentatively decided to to put together a manuscript for a poetry book and submit it to a first book contest. My old roommate and friend Geoff has been prodding me for years to submit more work and to take my self more seriously as a writer. What does taking myself seriously as a writer even mean? I write, I love writing. I read, I love reading. I contemplate my work and study it. I lose sleep over adverbs and pronouns. Last night as I waited for sleep to come I poured over poems in my head, wondering how they would speak together in a collection; what could be said about the writer. I've never given much consideration to being a writer for a living or making any money off of my art. I keep the money and the art separate because it allows me to keep my writing sacrosanct, holy. Writing is never a job or chore. It belongs to me and only me. Fame and recognition become less important to me the older I get. I am consecrated to my writing as my namesake in the bible was consecrated to her god. I write because I love it, because I have always been and will always be writer and crafter of stories. I'm proud of myself when I look at my folio of work and turn the pages. Even the old writings I would never these days consider sharing with the public make me happy because they were the base for what followed.

And yet. . .

There is a part of me that worries that I'll be an 80 year old woman, stiff of body and dissatisfied with what am about to leave behind. I was lamenting to a good friend last week my torpid ambition and he said to me Don't confuse lack of motivation for laziness. Ashé. I hope that is my ailment, lack of motivation. I read published writings at times and know I can do better. I know what I have to say and how to say it.

I look at what I've written about and it is all over the place. A lot of my earlier writing was about sex and sexuality, I had just come into what I call sexual ego and I was thrilled with it; my writing reflected the headiness that new power inspired, the prowess and inner growl. Then the writing went into the disappointment that followed the discovery of sexual ego, the failed relationships and discord of physical desire versus emotional needs. I dipped latently at times into identity. The writing of the last couple of years has been about narrative and myth since like Eve, I've discovered my own nudity and have known shame. Parable and allegory. Storytelling. Aren't all the great lessons told through story? Maybe this is why I've been more into prose than poetry the last couple of years. But poetry is the meaty heart, my diaphanous language, the love of cerebral music.

Monday, December 6, 2010

on desire, panic

Thinking a lot about desire these days. Going through old poems and other writings, desire has been a theme I've touched on again and again. Not just carnal; lust, sexual, physical, but desire for emotional and, for lack of a better word, spiritual intimacy, connection. My work these days, and aspects of what has driven it, feel dried out. I read an old poem last week at Voz Alta with the line before she began drying up in protest against the end of desire,//before she knew the limits of luck. The poem wasn't a self-portrait or anything even close to one, it was an exercise that turned out a pretty good poem. But the line has been resonating in my head for a while now, did I fulfill my own prophecy? My former insouciance is gone. I don't know if I've outgrown that aspect of my life or if the last couple of years I've just stopped trying. Certainly heartbreak and disappointment figure heavily into how one reacts to external and intellectual stimuli. I tire so easily of people. I miss ideas.

Very little gets me excited these days. My life is fairly even keeled. I have little drama. I have companionship and close emotional ties but there are times, especially lately, when I can't sleep thinking that I'm wasting my life. My insomnia has been a beast the last couple of weeks. I fall asleep easily enough then the panic comes and I'm wide awake thinking of the places on this earth I haven't traveled to. I think of how much time I spend in the service of others without paying attention to my owns needs. I think of my body, aging each second. I think I've painted myself into a corner, a life free of threats and heartache but the other side of that bitter coin is a life free of passion and true joy. Then I remind myself I'm a writer, this may be common, sometimes panic is at the heart of creation.

I don't even have the desire to finish this blog entry.

Friday, December 3, 2010


This week has been rough. Nothing has really gone as planned and I've been feeling the tension in my body. I've actually been feeling the tension in my body for months. Last night I went with my sister to the Casbah to see Nortec Collective. I met up with my friend Gerardo, aka Acamonchi and we ended up dancing the entire long Nortec set. I don't remember the last time I danced so un-selfconsciously. I completely let go, was sweaty, hair flying everywhere and the release I felt was so, so needed. I don't spend enough time in my body, if that makes any sense. I'm a pretty cerebral person. I'm always thinking or writing or reading. I feed my body, clothe it, wash it. but I never let it let loose and move. More movement is in my future, it has to be. I'm exhausted today but feel as if a weight has been released.

Monday, November 29, 2010

events and such

I have a couple of events coming up. I'll be reading for the 2nd Annual ACLU Freedoms of Expression December 11. Another event too, December 18, more details as the dates approach.

My reading Friday night was lovely. It was nice to read with Stephanie Delatorre and David Tomas Martinez. All of us have very different writing and performing styles so the audience (packed house) had a good mix. I read poems I'd never read before and some very old pieces, including old audience favorite "Anthem." I really enjoy reading that poem. It makes me happy and people always love it.

My writing goal this week is to get a few thousand words down in a short story I've been chewing on for a while. The short story is really 9 short stories with characters who exist in each other's lives. I'm stealing and twisting family history for it.

Thanksgiving was lovely. My family loves S, especially my youngest sister. She convinced us to stay late and play drinking games and we ended up spending the night because the drinking games rendered us completely unable to drive. We stayed in the morning to help my mom get the house back in order. I think it was the best Thanksgiving ever.

Thursday, November 25, 2010


Battling insomnia again these days. Yesterday was a bit chaotic, lots of errands and food prepping for today's feast. Last night I went to the Whistlestop with a couple of cousins who are in town for the holiday. After, I came home with loverboy and we had a quiet evening of television watching and conversation. We went to bed around 2 but I stayed awake, tossing and turning for an hour. I finally dosed myself with a sleeping pill and earplugs to block out loverboy's snores and fell into a restless sleep filled with odd dreams. In one dream a woman spoke to me of dreaming and helped me recall a dream I had earlier in the week of horseback riding through marshlands with my deceased grandfather. The swamp grasses I dreamed we rode through were beautiful, one of the loveliest images I can remember ever dreaming.

I woke up this morning tired and have been in the kitchen ever since. I've made pate a choux dough and have the shells of creampuffs rising in the oven. In a few we'll start chopping green beans and brussel sprouts and mixing batches of sweet potato casserole. Today I introduce loverboy to the extended family which will be interesting. I haven't brought a love of mine around the extended family in at least 5 years and I'm a little bit nervous. I adore my family and sharing them with someone I love is very important to me. The last time a brought someone I loved around it was a disaster. He interacted poorly and was jealous of how close I was to my family. Several relatives took me aside and told me to kick him to the curb. I have a feeling they'll love the man I love and appreciate how happy he makes me.

Thinking a lot about my family and how grateful I am for them. I am truly blessed to have been born into such a dynamic and loving clan. We are hilarious and chaotic, passionate and opinionated. There will be lots of shit-talking, storytelling and joking. And drinking. It'll be our first major holiday without my grandfather and I know his absence will be noted. I hope someone remembers all his dirty jokes. We'll pour out a glass of wine for him.

I'm looking forward to my reading tomorrow night. I've been thinking about what I want to read and I think I'm going to concentrate on the work of passion and risk taking, perhaps to remind me of the me I love best. I may even be brave and read and wanton exhibitionist poem. You should come by, check it out.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

reading this Friday night

I have a reading this Friday night at Voz Alta, you should come I'll be reading with Stephanie Delatorre and David Tomas Martinez.

Working on the plot points and outline for the new novel is pretty interesting. I know there is a formula in young adult quest fantasy, especially with a female teenage protagonist and I'm loosely adhering to the dimensions of genre. But I feel I'm taking some chances with the types of relationships I've chosen to write about. Writing fantastical creatures is challenging, despite my being enamored of magical realism. Fantasy is a whole other ball game Maybe if I change "fantasy" to "mythology" in my head it'll be easier. Creating a world is no small feat, I don't envy the gods

Before I began working on this project I made a list of all the female protagonists I love and wrote little essays for myself on why I cared about them and then looked at the qualities they shared. Psychologically it was an interesting experiment just to see what my mind is drawn to in character; to see what I love and respect in character. I noticed that my close female friends in real life share the qualities that I find attractive in fiction.

Getting ready for Thanksgiving. I'm cooking quite a few dishes and am happy about it More and more I find comfort in cooking. I love projects that have a tangible culmination and cooking satisfies that need to see that my work has an outcome. I spend so much time in the kitchen these days, more than I ever used to before. I'm making an effort to write more but the kitchen is always calling.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

reading and thoughts

I'm one of three poets reading at Voz Alta next Friday. I look forward to it and hope you'll join me.

I've been chipping slowly away at the outline for a new novel. I think the first novel is abandoned. I just don't feel like writing it anymore. I've had the chapters for four years. I don't doubt I'll come back to it, but it isn't something I want to focus on now. The new novel idea is something I've thought of for a while and looking at the books I tend to gravitate toward, I'm surprised it took me so long to decide to try my hand at it. I've been doing character sketches and outlining chapters to see if writing to outline is something that works for me. I'm pretty in love with the writing program Scrivener.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


I seriously dislike this time of year. The nights are colder and longer, days shorter. The sun sets early and it depresses me. The holidays are approaching, my least favorite time of year. I want to punch people daily from Thanksgiving until January 2. I feel a jar closing in over my head around this time of year, suffocating and constraining me. Bulky clothing, long sleeves. My skin hates being covered. Fall is somehow worse than winter, especially this year as our summer was so short and cold. At least in winter we have rain and Spring around the corner. My bah humbug is starting early this year.

I'm writing some again, which is a good thing. It isn't easy, I'm struggling. I've lost momentum and most of all, passion. My life is devoid of passion. I cook a lot and bake but those are hobbies. Writing used to be a passion but I've lost it, for now. I truck along but I'm not excited. It'll return, I hope, it aways has before.

I love so many things about getting older. I love the confidence and awareness of who I am. I love that I have enough experiences that make me proud and a few that make me cringe. I know whatever happens I'll be okay. But I remember an exercise we did my my 11th grade English class. Our teacher asked us if we would prefer a short life composed of extreme highs and terrible lows or a long, even-keeled life. With the exception of one person, everyone wanted the short, exciting/devastating life. My twenties were that life, the amazing highs and horribles lows. Now that I'm a little bit older I get those swings less and less. Sure, I'm content and I have nothing truly to complain about but I often worry that I'm just kind of floating on, saying yes when it's easy and no when I have to. I'm more and more solitary, much of which is chosen but not any less lonely at the lonely moments. I miss my old brave self. I'm hoping to write her into existence, not only in the story I'm creating with a character with passions similar to the ones I used to have, but also hoping that in the act of writing a reawakening can begin.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

long time

I ignore my blog for no good reason. But in happy news I felt I had to share, I wrote a poem this morning. A very difficult poem to write, not for the form or anything else but for the content and I enjoyed how hard it was to write. Dipping into the dark places is something I've forgotten to do in my writing.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

more and

I love this song. I don't have much more to say.

No One's Gonna Love You
Ceel Lo Green

Thursday, September 16, 2010

on 31 and what's next

Not really, I had a moment like night of existential crisis but it passed. As long as I ignore the moments, they don't get me down. The moon is in a phase where I know the anxiety in me is hormonal. I stretch out on the floor, listening to Miles or Billie or Nina and anything is tolerable. At one point I listened to a Maria Callas recording of Vissi d'arte and had a good bawl. Sometimes you need a good bawl.

I sewed all afternoon yesterday, until it got dark. I made two lovely bags out of material that was difficult to work with. They're not perfect but I'm getting better every day. I look forward to the day when I can attempt clothing. I have such a hard time finding things that fit me properly. I dislike cold weather because I feel so oddly shaped and bulky in sweaters and heavy material. But I get cold easily.

I was looking through some writing from a year ago and I was kind of impressed. I have a small collection of unsent letters I was very into last year; when I read them my heart constricts. I was in a place of language that was lovely. Mostly I am recollecting dreams. I wonder why I don't write like that all of the time. The voice in the letters is the voice in which I feel I express myself best. I'm not too good at expression in real life, I think, but on paper I am sometimes gorgeous.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

a little pouring

I began and finished a draft of a poem the other night for the first time in months and it felt truly good to write. Not easy, but good. I sent a draft of the poem last night to my poet pen-pal and he loved it, he only had one line he recommended changing and he was right. I changed the line and the stanza became more gripping. Just a couple of words. This morning when I woke up I had another email from the poet pen-pal about his insomnia with more thoughts on the content of the poem. We've never met but have had wonderful email exchanges for a some time now.

I'm sewing again. I'm happiest when I'm working with my hands or body. As much as I enjoy stillness and quiet, my body craves physicality, the tactile arts, being touched, cooking.

Friday, September 3, 2010

the eternal above the transitory

I started listening to the audiobook of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and I'm out of my mind loving it. Today I was driving while listening to it and a scene actually made me start crying. Not a few tears leaking out of my eyes but full on breath-catching, chest-heaving bawling. I almost had to pull over and I fogged up my sunglasses at once. Great, great story. I'm happy that it's the first book in a trilogy. I've heard a lot about this book and remember reading about it when it first came out but it sounded like an emotionally difficult book to get in to. (I confess: sometimes I need to cheat on my intelligence and read something trashy like a romance novel. I read a great article recently about why women read romance novels and I've been engaged in a long conversation for months with a friend about the reading habits of women; lots of thoughts for another blog entry one day.) The premise of The Hunger Games is creepy as all fuck and that alone turned me off at first but, I'm in it and love it.

In a bit of writing dead spot these days. I've had a couple of poems in me I've tried to get out but they fall flat on the page. I've been trying to get a short story shaped but I get stuck, even though I know exactly what want to write. I was again looking at writing from ten years ago. I'm a better writer now but I'm not as brave as I used to be. I don't take the risks on the page anymore. I don't know why. I don't know what I'm afraid of; they're only words on paper, right? Ugh. I feel as if each year that goes by some of the fire is extinguished by something, I don't know what. Maybe cumulative disappointments, lack of faith, or just that sometimes I don't even know why I write. But I do. And I try. That's what makes the difference in the end. I can't even imagine not trying because at the end of the day I love writing. I don't care if I get published, I don't care if anyone reads what I write, I fucking love the act of it. I have to remind myself of that.

I've chosen to take on a lot more solitude. I don't see it as negative, though often it can be lonely. I'm spending a lot of time in long silences. I go back to the Rilke passage I transcribed in June and it makes more and more sense. ...artists: poets or painters, composers or architects, fundamentally lonely spirits who, in turning to Nature, put the eternal above the transitory, that which is most profoundly based on law above that which is fundamentally ephemeral, and who, since they cannot persuade Nature to concern herself with then, see their task to be the understanding of Nature, so that they may take their place somewhere in her great design.

I Wanna Be Adored
The Raveonettes

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

the cooling

Last night as I fell asleep I swore there was someone walking on the roof. I'm pretty sure it was the cough syrup making me hallucinate. I woke up several times in the night, my lungs cold with the night air. I dreamt deeply, melancholic. I hate when my body is weakened. My immune system has been taxed, with the burn, the cold, the general non-care of my body. I need to eat more fruit.

I'm reading A.S. Byatt's Possession on the recommendation of my friend Eric. I am enthralled. Eric and I have similar tastes in fiction and we read a lot of the same social and psychological sciences. He knew I'd love the book. I think I may have watched the film adaptation of the book because ghost memories of plot points are keep rising up as I read. But it must not have been memorable. The writing is like nothing else I've ever encountered. This book was a labor of love.

The weather is already slipping from the summer that wasn't. I have so much on my heart and head this morning that my jaw hurts.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

on heat and theta inducing writing

The days are hot but I am overjoyed even as my skin burns and I sweat and my clothes stick to my body. I was made for heat. I feel languid, more myself than ever. I'm happiest and most active in the Spring but Summer, the thick press of it drives me into a part of my mind that's sensual, dark, moving. Last night a late walk through the neighborhood showed me I'm not the only one. The moon was full and people were sitting in their yards, kids playing in the street, friendly folks nodding hello as we walked up and down the streets. I love my neighborhood.

I started The Time of the Doves by Merce Rodoreda. When I read writers who write like this I wonder why I even bother trying to be a writer. Then I kick myself in the ass and remind myself writing is a lifetime consecration. Her writing, very stream of consciousness, reminds me of Marguerite Duras, who wrote The Lover, one of my favorite books, and a very sexy movie as well. Both these women write in a way that is hypnotic, they tap into some primal wave state in my brain, theta maybe, and pull me in so that when I look up from the page I barely recognize the world I am in. What a gift.

I find female writers able to induce this hypnosis more than men. And writers who don't write in English. Interesting. I find when I'm translating the work of others from Spanish to English then turn back to my own work, something has shifted and my writing has a thread of otherworldly in it, at least to my own eyes. Same goes for when I'm writing in another country. I wonder if brain waves differ when we think in different languages, for those of us who are bi/multilingual. I look at the work I did this past Spring in Mexico and I am impressed. I struggle to write like that here; maybe because distractions abound. I think one of the reasons I'm planning trip back next month is to tap into that state. I'm going to a city I've never been to before, an old sea port. I hope the writing comes with me.

I'm also loving How Pleasure Works: The New Science of Why We Like What We Like by Paul Bloom. I lose my shit over evolutionary psychology, biology and the behavioral sciences so this book was practically written for me. I'm culling all sorts of phrases and ideas for my own writing. I'm very much in love with the term biologically arbitrary. I don't have enough friends who are into these sciences and I ache to babble on and on about the ideas discussed in these fields.

La Creep will visit this weekend for the first time in months and I'm thrilled. We talk almost daily but having my best female friend in town is always a treat. Going to try to take it slow because when La Creep comes to visit, epic hangovers usually follow, which are usually spent on the sofa with lots of self-loathing and reality television marathons. Then we go out and do it all again.

Heaven's on Fire
The Radio Dept.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

alert and not alert

Last night was the first night I slept in the apartment alone since hearing of the attacks in my neighborhood. An attempted rape two doors down. A burglary a few blocks away. Women followed in the neighborhood. Before bed I double checked all the doors and windows and slept with a bat within reach. Last October after I had my apartment broken into it took me months to sleep without waking up in the middle of the night. I slept with the living room lights on last night.

I've still very tired from last week. Even though I rested all day Sunday and took a two hour nap yesterday, I fell asleep before 11 last night. Very odd. I had dinner with the family last night but didn't have the energy to engage. My dad asked me about Squaw Valley but I didn't have the energy. Recovering.

I'm rereading the Abhorsen Trilogy by Garth Nix. I love fantasy. I need the escape, the psychic candy that comes from fantastical creatures. I'm also listening to Under the Volcano by Malcolm Lowry. Lowry's language has me by the throat, enraptured and a little terrified. I'm waiting for The Time of the Doves by Mercedes Rodoreda to arrive, under recommendation from an instructor who told me my sentence structure would benefit from reading her.

I'm probably going to head back to my father's village for the holy festival the first week of October. I'm thinking of going to Veracruz first for a few days I've never been to Veracruz and I crave a few days of sea and solitude. I look forward to returning to Mexico since I write so much down there and the stories abound. I'm working on a new story that takes place in the village. The story is funny but dark and ultimately very sad.

Happy 79th birthday to my grandma, the crazy cougar.

Monday, August 16, 2010


What a weird summer. I feel cheated. But, nothing I can do. The nights are cold but some of those nights I have the warm body of someone I care about in my bed next to mine. If the nights were hot another body in bed wouldn't be as comforting.

Yesterday was wonderful. I slept in and spent the day on the sofa with a book, alone. I made toffee. I took a long shower and didn't put a bra on all day. Bliss. Last night my guy came over and and we watched the shows we like to watch and laughed. It was comfortable and lovely.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

what my notes say

Going through my notes from workshop and they're pretty funny. Here are a few from when I had my short story workshopped:

Strangulation isn't bloody.

Am I diminishing the gods or elevating man?

Spiritual genealogy, enraptured.

Leaves stuffed in mouth = erotic.

More cock. (rooster)

Love leads to bloodshed.

Is blood metaphorical or real?

Earn the fairytale right of removing pronouns.

Less feminist agenda. (Really? Come on.)

Love is tied to submission of self.

Animals are magic.

Here are some random notes I took throughout the conference/workshop. Some make no sense to me now but I'm sure they did at the time:

"passive suicide"

"vegan striptease." WTF?

Anthology Idea: "Poetry Written by People Who Don't Read Poetry"

"It's funny when you can't sing; it's not funny when you can't communicate."

"Her whole journey is lubricated."

"I've been disabled by modernism."

I get it, you're human. Now shut up.

Somebody needs to reach into your psyche and slap the shit out of your wounded inner child.

"Write around the soldiers."

"Asterix on your own grave."

"History is the distillation of rumor."

Is he drunk? I'm pretty sure that coffee cup is full of wine.

"Bring in the zombies."

"The language is writing criticism is the language of couples counseling."

And, some of the crazy shit said either to me or in class:

Did this come from your culture or from your imagination?

Lizz, your people believe in ghosts. Did you find this believable?

I forgot black history is real history.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

on returning

Outside my window, in the alley, my neighbor T is playing with his two kids. They're outlining themselves in chalk and filling in the outlines with colors and adding clothing, appendages, a chicken. I love being home right now listening to my friend play with his kids. They're great kids, hilarious and sweet. T is a very cool man, a plumber who wears the same exact thing every day, blue jeans and a white t-shirt. The familiarity is comforting to me today.

I've just come back from a week at Squaw Valley Writer's Conference. What a week. It was amazing and exhausting. My brain is so full of information, memories and ideas that all I could do when I got home earlier this afternoon was flop onto the sofa and watch crappy afternoon romantic comedies. I just walked down to the grocery store to pick up a few things, replenish my kitchen. Laundry is washing. I'm enjoying my solitude.

The conference was intense. There were hundreds of people, students, instructors, spouses, community members who came to the panels. I was in a workshop with 11 really intelligent writers who wrote in genres raging from historical fiction to sci-fi/horror. Every day we workshopped two pieces of work from the class with a different instructor. In the afternoons after lunch there were panels on topics ranging from obsession in writing to things I can't even remember. There were panels with agents, editors, writers. It was a cluster-fuck of ideas all week long.

I was housed in a fairly large house with six other writers. Most of us were under 35 and we partied. I had one old friend at the workshop, V, and we spent many hours shooting the shit. I don't think I've ever spent so much time talking about writing in my entire life. It was exhausting. This morning in the van ride to the airport a woman I hadn't met yet asked me about my manuscript and as I described it to her I was grateful that no one else is going to ask me about my manuscript. Not for a long time.

I was especially happy to meet Cindy and Luis Urrea, I follow their twitter. Luis is one of my favorite writers and we had a few great chats this week on writing, culture, the darker sides of being a writer and the part of Mexico our families are from. I also made friends with Chip Blake, editor of Orion Magazine. He led one of my workshops and it turned out we were both tweeting from the workshop. He was housed with Cindy and Luis. They were all super cool people. The staff at the conference was very approachable. I ended up meeting editors, agents and a few bat-shit-crazy people just by being friendly. Mark Childress was fantastic to meet and I can't wait for his next novel, I'm following the protagonist, Georgia Bottoms, on twitter.

I'm tired. My brain is fried and my body exhausted. Lots of walking up and down the mountain where I was housed. Last night a long walk in the pitch black. Coming home today I realized again how much time I spend alone. I doubt anyone at the conference would believe that. I was a social butterfly, flitting from person to person. During the week I heard my nickname go from Party Lizz to Tequila Lizz to Hot-tub Lizz. It was fun but as hard as I played, I worked. And I napped daily. The food wasn't anything to write home about but dinner was good socializing time. Much booze was consumed through the week.

I've come away with a lot of hope, silly as it sounds. I'm a writer. I have it. I'm not going to let it go. I was given great advice by Urrea, he told me not to rush it. As if there were any danger of that happening to me. I am slow in my writing, but deliberate. Fiction is fairly new to me but I think it suits me more than poetry, at least at this point in my life. I love poetry but have no desire to write any. It has served me well, the poetry comes out in my prose.

I'm happy to be home. B picked me up, took me for lunch and left me to my own devices. I look forward to sleeping in my own clean sheets on my soft, soft bed. I can't wait to sleep tomorrow and be laaaazy. New York Times, coffee, some italian sausages I bought to cook with eggs. Maybe a walk around the neighborhood. Squaw Valley was beautiful but this little orange and blue painted apartment makes me happy happy happy.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

under the grey

I'll start off by again complaining about the weather. I miss my summer, I miss heat, sweat, a too-hot steering wheel. I miss the desire to drink drinks so cold my teeth ache, ice cream, dripping wet fruit, sticky hands, collarbones. I miss the shade of my umbrella at the beach, the hot sand as I go to dip in the freezing water. The scent of sunscreen and the blueish tint on my brown skin, the sting of it in my eyes. This morning is still gray. The evenings are cool. I'm over it.

I head to the Squaw Valley Writer's Conference this weekend. Summer Camp for adults. I was looking forward to getting away somewhere warm but after checking the weather I realized that dream too is dead. The nighttime temperature is in the 40s. It will be nice to get away for a week, have a new environment, concentrate on the writing. I'm taking a fat excerpt of the novel, and am terrified. I haven't touched the novel in almost a year. It haunts me, the characters questioning if I ever return to them. I imagine they want to know where they're headed more than I want to know. The thing is that the absent main character in the story is a woman like me, maybe too much like me for me to be comfortable writing towards when she'll make her inevitable appearance. She isn't a heroine. She is selfish and emotional and unable to connect to anyone fully. My protagonist is such a sweet girl, I don't look forward to disappointing her. But the book is at heart about disappointment. It didn't start off that way.

In news of unthinkable acts of stupidity, I have second degree burns on my left breast. The accident involved boiling water and not thinking things through. I ended up in the E.R., sobbing, scalded and with missing skin, with horrified nurses clutching their own unmarred breasts in sympathy. Thanks and love to B for driving my weeping self there. My family showed up, as well as the man I've been seeing and they all got to meet in the waiting room, to my chagrin. I like to have more control over if/when/where I introduce romantic partners to my family. But, whatever. My family liked him. I came out, all bandaged and in shock. I was in shock for a while. Sitting in my head with the walls up. I woke up crying yesterday imagining the scarring I'll have but after a visit to the doctor, he assured me the scarring, if any, will be minimal.

I miss dancing.

Friday, July 30, 2010

the public self

Last night I went to the Whistlestop alone for V.A.M.P. I realized I know a hell of a lot of people. And a lot of people know me. People I don't know know me. The cool part is that a couple of strangers came up and asked if I was reading or to tell me they like my work. I also fielded a few questions about my private life, which was really weird. But interesting. I though about it for a long time when I got home. Much of what I write about is private, but I choose what I put out there. My poems are often very personal but I know how to blur enough of what I'm saying so that I don't feel like I'm airing my laundry or exposing anything I don't want to expose. And poetry allows a certain amount of creative license, I lie in my poems and no one will ever know, or care. I take liberties. And I love it. But in real life, not so much. As I left the bar a friend rode by on his bicycle and was appalled I was walking home alone so he walked me home. It was very sweet. I know a lot of great people.

I'm leaving for Squaw Valley in a week. I hope the sun in shining there. Today I am going through the hell that is bathing suit shopping. I have a high school reunion pool party this weekend, the Thespian Society kids. If 17 years ago you would have told us, all dressed in black and velvet, that we'd be reuniting at a pool party in the suburbs, we would have scoffed, tossed our capes and skulked off to write poems about stupid adults. Interestingly enough, a lot of us are still very involved in creative pursuits. We consecrated ourselves early to the art. I see it paying off.

I'm trying to write a poem to hold this line: hair never touched that was grown to be touched.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


I woke up last night and my bed was shaking. I swore there was an earthquake. I waited it out and realized it was a really long earthquake. I got out of bed and realized I was shaking, not the earth. I was shaking hard. I wasn't frightened, it was very strange. My body just decided to shake. I sat down and made myself concentrate on my breathing until the shaking stopped. I woke up this morning and the clocks in my apartment were reset. Maybe my massage last night did something to my body but I can't explain the clocks. Very odd indeed.

I've been reading and rereading the Erica Jong poem The Evidence. I especially love part 4:

Evidence of love?
I imagine our two heads
sliced open like grapefruits,
pressed each half to half
& mingling acid juice
in search of sweet.

I imagine all my dreams
sliding out into your open skull--
as if I were the poet,
you the reader.

I dig the grapefruit image. I am collecting images to steal from myself.

I'm struggling with a short story. I can't find the ending. I started it in Mexico in May and I've lost the motivation to finish it. Gah.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

I'm reading!

I may even share some new work. I'm excited, I haven't had a reading since the end of April. If you're in the area, come check it out! I don't know too many folks in North County but would love to see some familiar faces.

Friday, July 23, 2010

a streak of cruelty

After I blogged yesterday I talked with a friend who is also an ex. We were discussing writing and other things. I made a comment about a passive aggressive action and he said said "Like a couple of the poems you gave me?" Ouch. I had to admit, I was cruel. At the time I chalked it up to sharing my work with someone whose opinion I valued, but really, I was being an ass. I was hurt and angry over the way things had been going and wrote a couple of poems masking my anger. And though I told the truth in the poems, they were ugly truths and things that just weren't very nice. Weirdly, they're a couple of my favorite poems. Enough time has passed where my friend and I had a good laugh over the poems. But, I hope I'm adult enough not to do that again. I say that because the villanelle I was working on the other day also has elements of cruelty, and I am strangely fascinated by it. I would be devastated if someone handed me a poem that was written to get under my skin and hurt me. Not hurt like a knife, but a tiny wound that smarts and stings doesn't let you function.

Mermaid Parade

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Return, return, O Shulamite; return, return

Yeah, I quoted the Bible. It happens and if/when it happens I will most likely quote a book attributed to Soloman. Recently I was discussing language and form with a poet friend of mine and what influences our work. I was surprised when he said the bible has become an inspiration. I get it. I don't read the book for content but for language. And I'll steal images and ideas like crazy because crazy is what the bible is full of.

Yesterday afternoon I sat down and worked on a villanelle. It wasn't as difficult as I thought, but the villanelle didn't really turn out so well. (ha ha.) But for a first draft I'm pretty proud of myself. Writing in iambic pentameter is not too challenging but continuing the flow of content with the refrain is. The poem turned out to be a cruel piece of writing, I doubt it will ever see the light of day, but I enjoyed writing it. I'll attempt another later. I was reading Gerald Stern yesterday before I attempted the villanelle, his ear for music is clearly a lifetime of love and devotion. Here is the beautiful first stanza from the poem She Was a Dove:

Red are her eyes, for she was a dove once,

and green was her neck and blue and gray her throat,

croon was her cry and noisy flutter her wing once

going for water, or reaching up for another note.

I had a nightmare last night wherein many of my fears were confirmed. I was devastated and angry beyond belief. But I retaliated, I beat up an enemy with the limp body of a tiger. Then I went to Negril. I haven't had a nightmare in a while and this one was about emotional fears that aren't entirely irrational due to things that have happened in my life before. I need to redress the ways I approach things.

I appreciate all the silence in my life these days, the selected company.

By Your Side
Beachwood Sparks

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

see oh me

I have been in another strange place. I feel a little like I'm hovering over my body, not really living in it or experiencing anything. The weather has turned again, clouds, gray. My favorite season has cheated me out of the joy that comes with the sunshine and heat. I've been reading and staying quiet. I started a poem or two but just haven't had the energy to write. I haven't even been reading poetry. I sleep well, which is rare for me, but I welcome the peace that comes in the morning. I suppose there is an existential crisis hovering at the periphery. I don't know what to do next or what the next step is. I don't mind, but perhaps I should.

I'm going to Squaw Valley in a couple of weeks for the writing conference. I'm not even really looking forward to that. I don't have anything against meeting people but I've done the conference/workshop thing so many times. I always enjoy the actual work, the writing and critiques and I usually meet very cool people I can connect with. But there is a summer-camp superficiality to a lot of the friendships. A few creative people thrown together to a week in close quarters, with the same interests. Quickly intimate friendships are forged, late-night discussions, confessions, et al. Phone numbers and emails are exchanged with the best intentions of continued communication. And once home the friendships dissolve as quickly as they were made. I know this is an over-generalization, and I met couple of my best friends at a conference. But in general, temporary emotional investment is something I'm tired of. I want relationships that last, transform, grow.

Comic-Con starts tonight. I'll go, but only one day, and for part of one day. I remember going for the first time 16 years ago. My boyfriend at the time had a comic book company. We sat at a folding table in the indie press section, with other writers/artists sitting at folding tables. We were in the corner of the convention center and almost no one wandered to where were were. We sat around, chatting, drawing, playing dumb games. When someone would come to the table we would alienate them with out excitement. I don't remember anyone actually buying any comics from us. Now the Con is huge, too huge. It is barely tolerable. I go because I end up buying a few cool things, like my Yoda slippers or Chewbacca flash drive. I see folks I see only at the Con. I observe people. Then I get exhausted and leave.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Yesterday a Facebook post made me write. Thank you Scott Hernandez for writing about duende and Lorna Dee Cernvantes on my wall. I needed the duende reminder. Last night I made myself write for the first time in weeks, reading Parra, Cernuda, Neruda, trying to tap into the duende and I got it. I went to the page with nothing, no ideas of what I wanted or anything. Who said the line about how writing is easy? All you do is sit and open a vein? I started a poem that wasn't very good but it got to one line man, one freaking line that as soon as I wrote it I started bawling and couldn't stop for an hour. Then I went to bed and bawled some more. Fucking duende. I abandoned the poem but was happy that as crappy as the poem may be I have one line that, even if it isn't good for anyone else, is good for me. I'd forgotten to go to my writing with that in my heart, I've been concerned with the words. The vein opened.


Monday, July 12, 2010

curve balls abound

Poetry is heavy on my mind, no just the writing kind, the living kind. I'm dealing with a strange inner turmoil this morning, nothing that can be resolved, nothing that can be fixed.

I've posted this song before, but I had a really good drunk listen to it yesterday so here it is again:

Be Your Husband
Jeff Buckley

Friday, July 9, 2010

that would be so nice

I'm tired. I have a feeling my body is gearing up to force me to rest. Trying to beat it to the punch.

Sing it, Bebel.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Monday, July 5, 2010

Friday, July 2, 2010

salty morning

This song was in my dreams last night. I reminds me of a warehouse party I went to years ago; I remember dancing all night with a good friend and coming home at dawn happy as a pig in shit.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

just an easy answer

Nothing special going on in my head, at least nothing I care to share. I listened to this song several times today. I used to love this song when my heart was sore from being broken. Cheesy, but it spoke to me.

I have spider bites all over my waist and hip. The spiders in my apartment are, to quote a Sandra Cisneros poem, the color of a fingernail.

I Always Knew
Tilly and the Wall

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


I don't have much to say this week. I lack motivation.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Friday at last

Not that I have anything excited planned for the weekend but I'm looking forward to spending time with people I haven't spent time with. Dancing wasn't an option last night. I was exhausted from a late night Wednesday and the uber-waxing moon had me achey.

I saw my friend Jim Ruland read at the Whistlestop for V.A.M.P. and hung out with his gorgeous wife, one of my besties, Nuvia. I wish I spent more time with them.

Andy sent me this link to a Sufjan Stevens remix album yesterday. I haven't really listened to much Sufjan in a while, I had my phase then moved on. There are a few songs I always return to. I really love this song, Dumb I Sound and I like the remix too. Or, how it was sampled. I like how the title makes me want to work on enjambments. Weirdly.