Monday, June 28, 2010

Imagine all the people

Has anyone ever pitched the idea of cheerleading as an Olympic sport?

Can you imagine all the furor?

Is it wrong that should such an event ever come to pass, I'd tune in?

of dpi

So close to victory!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

the beating of the drum

Having traveled past Fort Drum on several occasions, I'm especially interested in this story:

that boy is a monster

Right now my hair's in two buns akin to Princess Leia (just less formal), I'm wearing an outfit other than gym clothes, eyeshadow's on my eyelids for the first time since Class Day. I have no plans to leave the house. But you never know.

digging poetry this eve

Rilke's Letter from Rome

by Star Black

Certainly you've missed this on your reading list,

or have you? do you really agree with Rilke's dark

equality, that women should be set free to be who

they are? are you that committed to this anguished

apartness? after all, we're no longer young, hello?

The phone's ringing once again, Housman calling,

the cherry blossoms fall. Frost, hunched upon

the old farm, is gazing at white spiders. Jarrell

is gone, his love for Mary - "Change me, change me" -

is all that is left of him, his beloved semesters,

his street crossings, his crooning essays, and, yes,

each woman misses him as I miss you, immediately,

so, let the letter from Rome go. You've read it. I've

read it. It's a good letter. Not as good as you, though.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

It's time we met and made a mess

Whenever I get a little lonely, I watch Romanian gymnastics documentaries on YouTube.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

For Don Joy

I used to know its whereabouts at all times. Get down the road and promptly pull a three-point turn when I forgot it at home. Let it swing from my hand as I walked back from practice.


It's a cool feeling to finally wonder: just where is that tremendous knee brace of mine?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The "I was going to" speech

I was bold today, even at ninety cents short.

Monday, June 21, 2010

"Why is Bon Jovi walking toward us?"

Top-down summer afternoon drive to Spanish music, poetry in sweating rooms (the kind you can understand), meeting the third reader of my thesis, Bon Jovi and his metaphorical six-string spotted in the road, clams and serious damage and cookie dough. Bad Flomances, pure living.


My niece Jillian, age 5, to her twin, Matthew, who is covered in cake: "Can I clean you?"
She grabs the dish rag and chases him through the kitchen, grabbing the back of his shirt and swiping at his mouth.


Me: "Happy Father's Day!"
Dom: "Do you know something I don't?"


From the eve's tangential stalking, a line I like:

"You decide how it plays out."

Friday, June 18, 2010

What are you afraid of?

I feared the mostly-typical childhood litany, except there was always realism in the fantasy. No "monsters under the bed." These monsters were people. Always. Like the Christmas Eve I convinced myself that someone stood in the corner of my room with a gun. The weekend my parents went to Pittsburgh and a journal entry about boys hurriedly turned to a last will and testament as the upstairs creaked--clearly a sign of intruders.

And tornadoes.

After I started elementary school, I lost interest in all television besides the Weather Channel. My goodness. Vivaldi on the local weather forecast, perfectly timed with green doppler radar--the tropical storm update--disasters across the nation--really, a sunny day was a meteorogical yawn.

Tornadoes fascinated me. The beeping red warning at the bottom of the screen. The sudden plunge from black sky. The relentless, unpredictable race over the land. I knew the proper procedure: hide one's self in the basement, a bathub, a room in the center of the house without windows (which our house did not have). Bring a battery-operated radio, flashlight, water, pillows, blankets. Thousands of miles away from Tornado Alley, I was prepared.

But then the tornadoes followed me into my dreams.

I forgot those nightmares until I had one the other day. The funnel cloud down the road and my stomach drops. I turn for the basement but my legs won't move fast enough, the windows won't hold, the words won't sound.

In Technical Writing, I made a brochure for a fake tornado chasing club, Storm Sleuths, that included an artfully faded photo of a twister and a little Live--forces pulling from the center of the earth again. And that's where I prefer my tornadoes these days: gray scale and folded. Far away from bathroom tubs, basement windows, dreams.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Digital Getdown (Technology and Me)

Back when the dinosaurs walked, a velociraptor dropped its pink cell phone. I scooped it up and ran off to the Red Jug Pub. That was in 2007. Flash forward a millenium to 2010 and crikeys! I've still got the same phone!

Everyone's phones seem to have exploded or lost themselves or fallen into toilets. The rare handful who do not fall into this category have opted to move forward. Onward and upward.

I play on Flo's and Lena's iPhones each time I see them. Tony's Droid is overwhelming in all the possibilities of its little touch screen. I like the tactile approach, the ability to point and slide and direct with your finger tips to the screen.

Yet I'm already compulsive enough at my computer. Surely carrying the Internet around at all times would be worse. And while the wunderphones make it possible to contact a person in just about every manner besides calling them, I can handle my 300-texts-per-month limit. I can even handle a phone call. No video, GPS, Camp Rock apps necessary.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

That's what she --

Tonight I'm on the tumble track at open gym. Outstandingly angry music blares from all corners and I drum my fingers against my stomach like I know these songs. Like they'll amp me up.

I'm a little nervous for this tumbling pass. The worst thing that could happen is that I'll fall on my head on the large squishy mat at the end, which isn't a horrible consequence. But for a hot moment my palms sweat. I drum off the sweat, raise my arms, think of what Flo Davies would say: Handle it! And I tumble away.

Monday, June 14, 2010

As with all quests in life,

I must first make an epic soundtrack.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


Last night the blue glow of televisions in chipped white houses made me nostalgic for a past that was never really mine. I miss those sagging porches one after the other, crooked floors, gas stoves that saw their cleanest days a hundred years ago. Except back then I would always rather be in than out, and nostalgia tells it the other way: a girl outside in the street, skipping past those doors, the night sent spinning.

But this afternoon I write next to the window that blows in ocean air. The wood floor smooth as windswept sand. The highway overpass sounds the thunder. The natures realign.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Instant karma

When in doubt, apply to the Netherlands.

Hubris-free philosophy

Another life goal.

I can't help feeling hubris, especially as I read. I judge. You judge. He/she/we/y'all judge. But it's one thing to judge and another to feel deserving, entitled. Desire and action are not always simultaneous. But combine them and that's where the explosion comes. Then, perhaps, I shall achieve the level worthy of feeling hubris. But I shall DENY such a sentiment!


And should you need a battle anthem or, better yet, '80's power ballad to light your journey:


Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Roadside specters

Tonight on the drive home, the darkness and streetlights cast people out of shadows. Tap the brakes, lean over the wheel and they disappear. But perhaps they're still there. Moving through the spectrums. Unfazed by gridlock or drag racing. Just walking on their way.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Forty-six minutes left for the tornado

but it never showed!

(But it's all right, because as Francesca pointed out, we've only got four minutes to save the world.)


Now a short story coming through this evening. At its best, it'll be good stuff. At its worst, it will read as fan fiction for The Road. Does such a category exist? If not, I shall be its creator, and you shall witness its birth.

Part 2: Rise of the Cowboy?

I don't feel quite right becoming a teacher and telling students to pursue their dreams when I'm not sure I've pursued mine. At least, not to the fullest extent. I have certainly taken some of those steps. Choosing the majors I loved, going for that MFA, a raindrop of time abroad. Other dreams remain, and I wonder which ones I'll push for and the others that will fall silent from fear.

If I'm not literally in those places, I can be there in fiction. I thought of Nick going to Mexico. What would happen to him there? Suddenly, all sorts of ideas. Little stories. Maybe bigger ones. And suddenly I'm writing about him again. He's no longer a cold case.

Friday, June 04, 2010

gold coast

I hope that a full tank of gas and the night sky will always make me feel invincible.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Who's Afraid of the Mexicans?

Please enlighten me (and I'm sure Kevin has an answer!).

When you're in college seeking a degree that will lead you to a career in teaching, business, science, or when you already have a degree, what terrifies you about foreign languages? Why is it so alarming that sometimes, instructions and directions are also written in Spanish, causing you to cry out, "If you're in our country, speak our language"? What about your TV, your cell phone, your blender that came with instructions in French and German as well as English? Why are all Latinos "the Mexicans"? When you're not pursuing a career in landscaping or restaurant work, what is it that irks you about migrant workers? The taxes, you say. It's all about your tax dollars. If that's the case, then you ought to be outraged the majority of the time--park and school closings, squandered state budgets, government embezzlements.

What are you so afraid of?

Storm clearings

While I still want to paint dark thunder night over ocean, the glowing moon's more my mind. Distinct and clear.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

(13) Thoughts on Writing, June (2010)

I'm no expert, and my last wish is to sound didactic, because people my age who didact about really piss me off.

But here are a few bits I've learned in the last six years.

1. You can't avoid your destiny
If that were possible, surely I would have switched my major to elementary or English/Spanish education, though the prospect of teaching Spanish to high schoolers makes my head hurt. I would have just graduated with an MBA.

Some days, I don't write. I'm busy, I'm overwhelmed, I'm anywhere but the page. I know this is a sin against the "write every day in the same spot for the same time" doctrine. Judge me. Determine me "less serious" than you.

But I can never stay away. The stories leak out. They always do. I'll be back tomorrow.

2. Write poetry
And fiction, nonfiction, screenplays, plays... I've never really understood why one would funnel one's self into one genre, and/or fear the others. Maybe your screenplay will never see the lights. But why not learn new ways to tell a story?

3. Fiction does not equal nonfiction.
Say it with me.

4. Be humble, Hubris
It's fantastic that you believe your novel will rock modern society. Congratulations on your award! Oh, is that another status update about your award? And another? Good job. I'll be sure not to buy your book.

5. And on the other hand--it's not as bad as you think it is
I hated Mexico more than a handful of times. Then I actually opened the document and read it, and then I started actually writing it, and eventually I realized, "Hey, I'm actually proud of this thing!"

6. Back that bad boy up
Or else have a Tony equivalent in your life who can rescue your crashed and burned manuscript!

7. Man (or Woman) up
True story: in the emo high school days, I became so fed up with failed relationships and non-relationships that I took to writing stories from the perspective of the male antagonists in my life. I had to get in their heads somehow; they certainly weren't letting me in.

And slowly, it all began to make sense...

I still love writing from the male perspective. Somehow, it's easier to inhabit those brains. No offense, fellas. If you prefer sticking with your gender, I dare you to try the other.

8. Not everyone is in on the party
Sometimes I post about Nick and Pete Galveston, and you can look forward to future entries about other fictitious characters. I recognize that you may not, in fact, give a shit about these made-up people, having not read the story (and even if you have). And I do not judge you.

9. Write in a room with a door that can open
I took this from Roger's Writing Everything course and it's my favorite piece of "writing in a certain place" advice. I love the idea that interruptions can in fact be convergences, small waves that move the story precisely where it needs to go.

10. Patterns much?
The next natural step would be, "Break the patterns," but so far I'm just interested in figuring out what my patterns are. I see that my stories often have a wisp of foreign language and at least one artist--painter, photographer, poet. Perhaps this means that I need to reimmerse myself in languages and participate in more arts and crafts.

11. Make 'em weird
I like to give my characters small idiosyncracies. The Luke Skywalker figurine versus Buddha on the Dean of Students' desk, the glass bottle collection for Rob, the man who sees melting orange cones...all right, that one's a bit larger.

12. Don't underestimate the world you know
I wrote eight pages about my gymnasts for the Manhattan workshop. 'Twas no fantasy thriller nor work of international intrigue. But my classmates and teacher were excited, and the discussion quite animated. "Give us more!" they said. The back handspring in class probably didn't hurt, either.

13. Just play with it
Who can resist the advice of Dr. Boynton???

Oh, Southampton, I love your way...


River dogs

The fear's started again and even my canoe paddle isn't much good. I excuse myself from the night but the night's still watching.

It thickens.

If I've learned one thing from gymnastics, it's that the fear never really goes away but if you beat back at it long enough, eventually your shadow stands taller.