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|Wednesday, June 17th, 2009|
|Friday, May 8th, 2009|
|rejections bookend the weekend
last weekend, that is. i got a reply back from coffee house press of minneapolis last friday -- exactly one week after i SENT it. so in a span of 7 days, including the time it took to get there via U.S. post and get back to me, the editor reviewed an entire query package -- letter, outline, and 3 sample chapters -- and made a decision. i knew such a swift response couldn't be good.
on the upside, the reasons for rejection were not that bad. like the canadian press, they didn't really have anything to do with the quality of my writing or ideas; in fact, the editor made it clear that this rejection was NOT an indication of the merit of my work. it simply didn't fit with the publisher's editorial vision. as with insomniac, it just isn't the right home for my book.
this is only my third query, and so far, i have to admit, i'm actually getting good feedback in spite of the passes.
then on monday this week, i finally got an email from crazyhorse, the literary journal of the college of charleston, sc. i entered my latest poem, "suicide note," last november in their poetry prize contest. of course it didn't win. they've never accepted anything from me. i submitted four poems for regular publication a year ago (ish), and they passed on all of them. in this contest, though, there is only one winner in each of two categories: fiction and poetry, so the chances are probably pretty slim. i have a feeling they get a lot of entries.
i think i am going to write a poem about my period, called BLOOD: LOTS OF IT. horror genre. maybe submit to crazyhorse. maybe they'll like that one better than "suicide note." eh.
oh, and what is it about bleeding out of one's vagina that makes chocolate such a necessity?? i mean, when i bite myself (accidentally) inside my mouth while chewing food and it bleeds in there, i don't necessarily think, "some chocolate would make this feel better." or when my cat scratches me on my arms and legs, or i cut myself shaving . . . anywhere else and some direct pressure will do. unfortunately, that kind of first aid doesn't work down there. sometimes you just gotta sit and bleed. Current Mood: cynical
|Sunday, April 26th, 2009|
|i want a perfect body i want a perfect soul
lifting song lyrics for subject lines seems to be my latest lj trend. or maybe i've been writing my novel for so long that i'm starting to write it everywhere -- it's creeping into all my writing and thoughts and sometimes i can't remember which part is my life and which part i made up . . . so i guess even this journal's got an unreliable narrator.
my keyboard has at least 4 loose keys that i have to reassemble like scrabble chips every time i open my notebook. they are like little white loose teeth. this loose tooth situation is compliments of my cat, who cannot seem to resist the urge to bite them off when i'm at home. it's a compulsion. she cannot at least attempt it. i'm lucky she hasn't swallowed any. fortunately i still have all the letters and symbols so i can type, but it's getting very precarious with k and colon/semicolon and += and F12. it's kind of ghetto.
pete yorn has written the saddest, most depressing song EVER, but it's quite probably one of my favorite songs because it hits me so hard and true with simple lyrics that say far more than the words themselves. i feel it's every day in the life of natalie. it could be the script running through my head continuously moment to moment. it could be the mood embedded in my innermost being since day one. if you watch "house," it was the background music to kutner's funeral scenes in the episode he committed suicide. it's called "lose you," appropriately, and it's definitely a good song for a death, a suicide, a breakup, anything terminal. i guess that's why it floors me: it applies to everything in this life, really, because everything is terminal.
i still haven't found a new job. i still haven't heard back from that agent. but she still hasn't told me no, either. lately i feel like such a bum. reality is so static. my good friend and ex-starbucks coworker, patrick, calls it the "late 20's dilemma": maybe you've done a lot in 20-some years. maybe you've done a little of this and that, dabbled in a little of everything. maybe you've accomplished significant things that you wanted to. but then your wheel grinds to an uncertain halt. you're stalling for time trying to decide what to to with 27, 28, (godforbidit) 29. you're staring down the barrel of 30, and you feel there are so many ways you could go, but you're not simply 20 anymore either, so you feel too old to return to some pursuits or start over. maybe you just feel tired. you've tried it all to no avail, or rerouted dreams have made you skeptical, cynical, jaded. you retain no trace of that annoying youthful optimism. you are lost. here at the end. and you are perfectly content just to wander. no use searching for meaning in a meaningless universe. that's your conclusion after surviving this terrible and wonderful decade. just enjoy the simple mechanics of being alive. the cool wind blowing through your hair. the sun baking vitamin D into your skin. sleep in a really good bed. psychedelic sensory experiences (if you're into that). music that moves you. another person that moves you. coffee. wine. sex. chocolate. this is all there is.
i've decided to write on my bathroom mirror, "this is all there is" so that i won't wonder about death so much. if reality is only what you can perceive, then you can't know what it's like until you die, which means it doesn't actually exist until then, right? so this is all there is.
not quite. i forgot to mention last night, when i was writing all of the above, that i sent out my third query. this one goes to an actual editor at a small press in minneapolis called, ironically for me, coffee house press. i did not pick it because of the name. though it is charming. they accept unsolicited submissions and one of their purposes is to debut new, first-time novelists. they also publish mainly literary material and lots of poetry (two more points in my favor). it was a big project to put together, because they want sample chapters and an outline in addition to the usual query letter. so it took a little time, but i felt like less of a bum last friday when i finally mailed the package. i know at least one thing: they can't reject me because i'm not canadian. Current Mood: high
|Tuesday, March 17th, 2009|
|Sunday, March 1st, 2009|
|ding dong the witch is dead
clap your hands. get out of bed. ding dong the wicked witch of february is over.
i believe no further comment there is necessary.
what IS necessary, is that i write faster, writer faster! i am really scared now. look what i've gotten myself into with a simple, innocent query: i have a potential agent on my hands (still). as i mentioned last time, i am nervously waiting for her to get back to me regarding the query i re-submitted. after the indicated response time listed in her blurb in The Novel and Short Story Writer's Market (2007 edition) had passed, i emailed a one-liner follow-up. somehow it ended up in my spam, but i found it a few days later, hope resurging and along with it a new, very real, nervous fear. why? because she responded with another cliff-hanger: "we will get back to you soon." this isn't just wishful thinking, i really don't believe she would keep stringing me along only to turn me down. again, if she wanted to get rid of me, i would have gotten a good swift "no" from the very beginning. she has been polite and positive (albeit brief) throughout this correspondence, and i think that's a good sign. she's not disregarding me as a pesky unknown first-timer. she's taking me seriously and validating me as a writer by leaving the door open. just this much in itself counts as success on my first hit. call it beginner's luck, but this is huge for me. very. big. deal.
not to toot my own horn. i'm just nervously rambling about it because i'm scared. scared of success. i'll let that sink in.
i feel like i'm living in the ying-yang. everything else is going to crap -- my love life, my work life, my emotional life -- but that's okay, as long as it makes a good story. as i said before, now would be a really really good time for that agent to make me an offer, for lack of any others. i have attained dirt poverty level (as if i wasn't already there, but is really dirty) thanks to stoker screwing me over. i was depending on my next week's worth of work on my paycheck to cover my rent, but since they gave me a timely discharge on a saturday, my last check represented only one day's worth of work. as such, i'm two-thirds short of what i need. i'm filing for unemployment, but i had to take out a cash advance on my credit card just to fill the gap. i've stayed far away from those evil cash advances for the life of my credit history, until now. just had to bite the bullet last night, or face eventual eviction. for those of you considering, this is the romantic life of the starving artist.
but at least i may have a book deal in my sooner-than-later future. i'll admit i am operating somewhat under delusions of greatness and impending fame, but that's just my invincibility complex justifying my lifestyle, defending the oath of poverty i've taken like some ascetic monk suffering for the sake of my art. if insanity and brilliance are a double-edged sword, then i suppose depravity is the price you pay for celebrity.
that, and four years of agony. ecstasy and agony, rather. i've been trying to push a novel out of the womb-space of my creativity, and spurred on by the prospect of representation, i'm suddenly writing a novel. as in, it's starting to look done. approaching completion. this is also very scary. after four years of toting this thing around, my little brainchild, it just seems unreal that it could ever be DONE. then what? i have nothing to justify my lifestyle, no purpose to keep my very cells motivated in their chore of respiration. my life is over when my novel is over, because my novel IS my life. but then, i'm putting the cart before the horse, just a bit. in reality, i'm just a dreamer, same as you. imagine that. this could all be fiction. Current Mood: nervous
|Saturday, February 21st, 2009|
|my life is brilliant, my love is pure
i just got fired today.
this has never happened to me. i'm still sort of dazed and confused.
for those of you who don't know because i never wrote it here, this is not starbucks. i left the 'bucks in mid-november of my own free will, to escape corporate evil. i started working instead at a local coffee shop, boston stoker. they roast all their coffee at a warehouse in vandalia, and they have 9 shops around dayton. nowhere else. so you won't find one in new york city.
i don't really want to get into the particulars, but there WAS an incident when i got shortchanged -- by $100. and there was that one time i no-called, no-showed -- i overslept after an exhausting week and missed a mandatory training session in vandalia at 9 on a saturday morning. apparently i was missing in action for a few hours while they thought maybe i was face-down in a roadside ditch or plastered to the windshield of my car. in my defense, i was in fact ill, for a week, nearly dry-heaving with the complementary nausea that comes with my cycle. i swear my period gives me a mild form of the stomach flu. unable to eat properly, i get light-headed, weak with extreme and persistent fatigue, and flushed with on-and-off chills. so i was pretty out of it when that shortchanger pulled his fast one on me. all this happened within a span of one week. and i merely WONDERED if i was born unlucky.
now would be a really really good time for that agent to ask for sample chapters of my manuscript.
among other things i found out today, according to the esteemed wikipedia, "elysian" refers to the greek underworld. my middle name is elyse, so i figured it must be a derivative of this word i read in a fellow writer's poem on edit red. apparently elysium is somewhat of a paradise-in-hell (insofar as the underworld can harbor such a place) that the souls of the heroic hope to attain once they have arrived down under. it's comforting to know that my namesake comes straight from hell.
on the upside, i am really shocked how i've already responded to the new meds. i've only taken the bipolar mood stabilizer for 6 days, and already i feel a difference in affect. it's hard to describe because depression is hard to render beyond the misconception of simply feeling "blue" or "sad." but, it's not so much that i feel like a different person; i'm still my sarcastic self. there's no way in hell i'd take a psychotropic drug if it changed my personality. it's more that the tone of voice in my head is less despairing. that did not come out right, but i don't know how else to describe it without sounding crazy.
so, i've found myself doing things i've let slide for months now. instead of feeling hostile toward myself, i've resumed interest in my physical well-being -- i even indulged in some shopping this week. it's been months since i've bought myself anything new. sometimes, i have to be a little girly. it's therapeutic to buy yourself cutesy things in your free time when you are burned out on a work schedule from which you never fully recovered since christmas. and i've been able to get myself up -- in the morning! -- with a sense of purpose, be it novel-writing, grocery shopping, or hanging with friends. it's the little things, the mundane everyday things that are second nature to "normal" people, that don't seem to have a point when i'm in a slump. WHY should i wash the dishes? what's the point? WHY should i wash my hair and put on makeup? what higher purpose does it really serve? WHY should i pick up clothes strewn around the apt.? does it really matter, in the greater scheme of things? WHY? WHY? WHY? everything seems like a dead end.
yeah, if i weren't on these little lifesavers, i'd be experimenting with ways to off myself. that's a scary place to be. it bothers me a little bit that i don't have those impulses when i'm taking these medicines; i just find it weird that a chemical substance can change my nature like that. i feel like i've lost a little part of myself. but i guess it's better than losing the whole package, body and mind. Current Mood: melancholy
|Tuesday, February 17th, 2009|
|i thought i was sylvia plath, but i'm not into ovens.
my shrink won't give me lithium. she says it would be like putting a loaded gun in my hands, because apparently, you can OD on it. she did, however, start me on abilify, a new bipolar medication. you've probably seen the commercials. i hate medicine commercials; they're so cheesy. for the record, i'm not bipolar, just fucked-up depressed out of my mind. apparently, combining a small dose of manic-depressive meds with a primary antidepressant can help with mood, energy, and motivation if the primary isn't. i get to these points where i plateau, and i can barely function on even a basic, everyday level. it's a major ordeal just to get up and take a shower. i sleep all the time. the light hurts my eyes. i'm a vampire's perfect mate.
not that there is one.
a new co-worker said i look like the radiohead type. we were discussing music, and he asked me what kind of music i listen to. but before that, he guessed, just by looking at me, that i listen to a disproportional amount of radiohead, and then coldplay after that. i just so happened to have the latest coldplay in my car CD player. am i that readable?! it's a little unnerving that he could read those bands off me like a book. he was two for two. all he needed to add was the beatles, or sarah mclachlan, or the cranberries, and you could say he was on to me.
so i've been in correspondence with an agent. once upon a time in october, i mailed a query and never got a reply, despite my SASE. so last month, i casually emailed a one-liner follow-up, not really thinking she would respond to this either. but shockingly, she did. she didn't seem to remember the query, asking if i had mailed or emailed it. i indicated the former, and asked if she would like me to resubmit via email. "Yes, please do." so here i sit, three weeks later, and still not a peep. i know agents are busy people, and she did mention "all the books going to press lately," so i've convinced myself that delay is a better sign than a swift "no." there's still hope, but i'm losing it.
i also entered a poetry contest back in december, with my latest poem. it's very different than anything i've ever written, though it still has that nostalgic natalie edge to it -- dark, but dark humor, rather than simply dark. it's very dry and cynical, because that's how i am these days. however, there are parts that actually make me laugh. i feel so pathetic when i write something that makes me laugh, as in out loud, not just in my head. it's posted on my edit red page, if you want to take a look. i'm visceral ink. the contest picks just one poem, and one story, and each winner receives $2000 from crazyhorse. i've submitted poems to them before, and got one of my first few rejection slips. so i'm not extremely hopeful, if only on the merit of originality that might catch their eye. i'm not sure when i'm supposed to know the results. i keep forgetting about it anyway.
i just finished my full-body-length, year-long tattoo. very big deal. i started this tattoo almost exactly a year ago, and my artist finished last thursday. it's the poison ivy vine that starts down at my left ankle and curls and twists and snakes its way up the side of my leg and hip and torso and then curves around to my back shoulder, where it ends with a huge starburst flower. i did a lot of research on flowers before deciding exactly what kind i wanted. i stayed far away from the typical cliched rose. i wanted something tropical, exotic. what i have is a cross between an asian waterlily and a thai lotus flower. and it's purple. it's a glowing deep purple with an illuminated center of orange and pale yellow, so the center just pops, like the colors on a good mushroom trip. it's very trippy. just the way i prefer to see this otherwise wasteland.
after it peels and heals, i'm going back for the photo shoot. my artist is going to take pictures of the whole thing for her portfolio. and i'm going to fulfill a little modeling fantasy of mine. i can't believe it's done. i can't believe it's been a whole year. the creative process has been phenomenal, seeing it grow and evolve artistically and aesthetically. i'm taking a break for a while, but i wouldn't be surprised if i come up with an idea for a chest piece before the year is out.
fuck, it's february. it's only just begun. Current Mood: cynical
|Thursday, January 29th, 2009|
|Thursday, January 8th, 2009|
i like to have something to read on the walls while i'm in the bathroom. i was just delayed in the public restroom of the boston stoker coffee shop downtown because i got caught up reading the drivel on the walls. but this was tasteful drivel. in fact, i'm quite certain it was artistically intended part of the decor, part of the experience. just from context clues: they've got pictures of movie stars in the cafe and nyc ballet in the women's bathroom. two quotes sharpied on the walls particularly had me twisting my head around from an already compromising position:
"you know you are in love when you see the world in her eyes and her eyes in the world."
"to the world you may be one person but to one person you may be the world."
they were signed by their respective scribes but i couldn't tell if they were just local people or quotes by famous somebodies. there was, after all, a whole poem by robert frost next to the paper towel dispenser -- "the road not taken," probably my favorite of his works.
literaria in the most chance places is my favorite way to experience art. just think: if i had disregarded my kidneys i would never have made such a meaningful discovery in the bathroom on my day off. Current Mood: chill
|Thursday, December 18th, 2008|
|runaway train never going back
wrong way on a one-way track?
or i've been going in circles around what i presumably could not find.
until now. too early seen unknown and known too late! i think i'm falling for someone i shouldn't be. it's a little bit scandalous and fraught with irony (when hasn't it been?) and i'm up to my usual mischief. i've committed a big no-no in girl world: it's generally not a good idea to date or sleep with your girl friend's ex-boyfriend. on top of that, she's his baby mama. however, technically, i haven't done anything wrong. she's moved way on -- she and her new man have already tattooed their names on each other. and while she did encourage me to talk to her ex, be there for him, be the friend that he's always been to me, i'm pretty sure she didn't mean for me to get that friendly with him.
so it goes for me.
it started with acid.
three weeks ago, my close friend and i spontaneously got together to drop some acid i'd procured. three years ago, i met this beautiful man with a guitar on my birthday. we've always been close, but not too close. three months ago, he and his girlfriend had the most definitive break-up in the five years they had been off and on, but mostly on. i didn't really start hanging out with her 'til this summer, so i don't know her as well. but i still feel a little bit bad, because she still doesn't know about what we did! so far, i haven't had the guts to tell her, and he's not really even that concerned about it.
i was so catatonic by the time i came down, that not only did i cross the friend line, but i also ditched another good friend on her thirtieth birthday. i promised mel i would show up at her party late, thinking i could do the acid and then get across town after coming down. it never happened. i never left the scene of our trip and tryst.
never one to believe in love at first sight, i'm not putting much faith in love realized on drugs either. i know there has always been an attraction between us, and our feelings for each other are very complicated by our own admission. we discussed this when we were mostly sober again. but i'm scared to bring up the subject again. it wasn't just the drugs; until now i've never let myself explore these somewhat unconscious feelings, and now that circumstances are such that i am free to fall, i'm free-falling.
that's it: i am a victim of circumstance.
despite my lifelong search for irony (especially in the hazardous context of love), i didn't off myself before my birthday. i guess this is fairly obvious. but i got insanely depressed the week prior. i'm frustrated with my life because i feel like it hasn't happened for me yet. when will things finally come together for me. come together, right now, over me. all my stars have arrived back at their position in the cosmic arrangement 28 years ago. i have not arrived. i'm hoping this astronomical full circle means this year is the charm and translates to my course, which is constantly navigating the ill-defined line between fate and free will. maybe this is what it feels like to have life "happen" for you -- subtle, torturously drawn-out, easily mistaken for threats to existence against the backdrop of a beautiful mess that is this wreck-of-the-day called life. i'm just trying not to jump ship too soon. i do in fact like my body. it's just really hard to keep the crew steering my head from mutiny when everything that happens feels like colliding with an iceberg.
i don't feel capable of falling in love ever again. not since the last time. if it's happening again, it's not the euphoric variety i've come to recognize -- it's melancholy, almost sad. is it because i know too well now that once you have someone, losing him is what follows? i don't really want to commit to that kind of living suicide already documented on my skin, in my own words. the concrete kind would be the path of least resistance. o trespass sweetly urged, give me my sin again! however, telling john lennon i love him is not something i want to say for the first (and last) time in a suicide note, tragically poetic as that would be, especially if there's a chance it might be reciprocated. as i put it that night, and perhaps this was partly lucy in the sky with diamonds talking, what we did was really just a natural extension of what we've always had. i get high with a little help from my friends, and we both go down together. 28, and while my head is spinning, i'm holding tight it's just beginning.
Current Mood: anxious
Your rainbow is strongly shaded violet.
What is says about you: You are a creative person. You appreciate beauty and craftsmanship. You are patient and will keep trying to understand something until you've mastered it.Find the colors of your rainbow at spacefem.com.
|Saturday, October 4th, 2008|
i fell asleep in half my clothes and makeup last night. i do this all the time, unfortunately. it's very poor hygiene to sleep in makeup. it gets in your eyes and stings (without, however, making me cry). i was lying in the dark with coldplay on the stereo, cataloging all my fears and anxieties and then ended up continuing this self-assessment in dreams. i guess my biggest concern is that i don't feel love anymore. i don't have the capacity to feel much that way because i've shut myself off in self-defense. to prevent such trauma from ever again rattling the rib-cage where my very soul is housed, i've sealed off those nerve-endings where moods begin, and my emotional extremities are guarded with the absence of extreme feeling. maybe a lot of this stoicism is a side-effect of being moderately doped up, but it saddened me last night when i noted how i haven't cried in quite a while (which still was not enough to make me cry, even though i wanted to). the punchline: i don't think i will ever fall in love again, not like the last time, which, in very sobered-up hind sight, makes me see how deliriously insane i was.
it's not unlike remembering the state of the inside of my head when i was doing things people get locked up for. and i got locked up for them. i know, right? you have to be delusional to get off on self-starvation? surely, there are cooler ways to get high. there are cooler ways to die.
i just realized i am perilously close to finishing the novel. perilously, because it will be scary to finish. it will be a scary exhilaration when i write the last line, the last word, the last punctuation mark, the period to end all things. i just now decided that my goal is to have finished my first novel (and, by extension, sold it) by the time alec gets back from the peace corps. Current Mood: deadpan
|Tuesday, August 12th, 2008|
|black roses skipped doses and psychosis
thursday night, i had a total meltdown. it was like what happened earlier at work, but the full-length version. ten o'clock while i was cleaning my bathroom. scrubbing my toilet, actually. in the most humble of positions, i have completely gone to pieces.
i haven't cried that long and that intensely since last summer before i started taking something. when i was still getting full-scale panic attacks and emotionally acting out at work, in which case i would have to retreat to the back of the house to compose myself. so i wouldn't be facing customers with bloodshot eyes and streaky cheeks. public displays of emotion are awkward and generally uncomfortable for anyone caught within ten feet of my performance art.
so thursday and friday that bubble-head feeling and worse-than-pms mood swings. rib-cage-rattling sobs and my eyes could surely bleed on command . . . not wanting to die but so agitated in my own skin . . . i wanted to peel it off like a newly scabbed tattoo because it felt like bugs were crawling around my ankles at one frenzied point, still in the bathroom, kind of like when you're transitioning on mushrooms, that feathery sensation snaking around your arms and wrists as the poison courses through your veins on its way to your head. but it was unlike anything i've ever felt before; i've never felt psychotic, if this is what it's like. maybe i was during the eating disorder years, but i was delusional in the way that love is blind.fear and panic in the air, i want to be free from desolation and despair.
so here is my map of the problematique: i've never been on antidepressants long enough to come off them and experience withdrawal. i accidentally went off it for five days because i let my prescription run out, and couldn't get to a pharmacy until three days later, at which point they told me it was too soon to refill. i was gonna try to stick it out 'til saturday, i didn't think a few days would make that much difference. at least, i hoped there was enough residual serotonin left in my system to string out the effect, if somewhat haphazardly.are you up in the middle of the night? it seems no one can help me now, i'm in too deep, there's no way out.
i felt so completely unable to control my own thoughts and behaviors. it was definitely different than a panic attack. i wasn't panicking, i was just consumed by my pain, my torment, my self. i was allowing myself to feel it, not fight it. i didn't know myself. i was screaming at myself in the mirror, at a reflection i didn't recognize. fuck, i didn't even see what chemical i was using to clean my bathroom; i was shocked to find the next day that i had picked up windex to clean the toilet when i thought i was using the chlorox green clean. they are both green liquids in a spray bottle. i never saw the word "windex" on the label. not that it's a big deal. my toilet's still clean. but if i thought situations had mimicked such a thing as hell before, this must surely be it. i had previously attributed my symptoms to sleep deprivation, in the absence of any other obvious explanation. but how could i have been so out of touch? sleep dep for me means tension headaches, migraines. this heady feeling was the opposite of a headache, kind of like being high, but agonizingly so. i kept feeling like i would swoon, black out, nod off. it had something to do with my balance in my ears -- like being underwater or eardrums popping on an airplane. i hated the feeling every time i took a dip. total airhead. complete lack of gravity. tweak.
so anyway, i called my psychiatrist on friday and she called in the refill to the pharmacy and i'm back on it now. all the symptoms are pretty much gone -- nausea, head rush, mood swings, mild cramps, and intestinal upset.
from the depths of despair to grandeur -- sunday i'm a bum, staying in bed all day because it just feels better to sleep -- dream -- imitate death -- than to face the fact of my existence. then, yesterday, i'm all over the place, gogogo, flying high, and for no reason, because i don't have anything to be elated about. nothing has changed. but i have this impending sense that i'm about to be on top of the world again, because i've done my time under it. i'm waiting for my wandering to yield whatever i could not find if i were looking for it. "the less you look, the more you find," according to brandon. i cut out my horoscope from a paper i don't take too seriously, but even the crap writers usually have something that strikes a nerve with me:sagittarius
in his book the medusa and the snail
, science writer lewis thomas said that the english word "error" developed from a root meaning "to wander about, looking for something." that's why he liked darwin's idea that error is the driving force in evolution. i think this wandering-about-looking-for-something approach should be the driving force in your personal evolution, sagittarius. the coming weeks will be a great time to meander and get distracted and stumble upon unexpected opportunities. may all your mutations have a positive spin! (p.s. lewis also wrote this: "the capacity to blunder slightly is the real marvel of DNA. without this special attribute, we would still be anaerobic bacteria and there would be no music.")
if there were no such thing as music, i may as well be an anaerobic bacterium. i will be chasing the starlight until the end of my life (i don't know if it's worth it anymore) . . . but i would totally fuck muse. those british punks would be worth one night of my time. i am acutely aware of my attraction to danger. i am a risk-taker, because, really, it's the only way to live. ironically, sometimes tragically, life is experienced most intimately, most sensuously, even sensually, at the edge of death. there is something almost erotic about that fine line, just before the awkward dying part. i love my psychopaths. that could be a bumper sticker. i am attracted to these sick relationships. the more they hurt me, the more i get attached. my hindsight still isn't 20/20. the phantom of my opera, my life, let me come for a week, probably against his better judgment, but i was so intent on it despite the emotional risk to me, which he explained very clearly
like the warning label on a bottle of poison. i took the poison. i was in love and immune to fear because love, being blind, can't fear what it can't see. but the evidence is still
on my credit card, and i still
don't regret it. i make my decisions and live with them. i feel like i've had such a rich and colorful life (even if those colors are dark like black roses and bleeding hearts) that i've lived more in 27 years than "safer" people do in a lifetime. i figure, if you can live the fullness of one life in just 30 or so years, then you can end up living like 2 lifetimes in one. my randomly chosen coffee companion told me that sounded schizo, albeit jokingly, when i first scratched out that thought in a rather involved philosophical conversation. but this is the same guy that filled out his starbucks job application while coming off a 15-hour acid trip. this is the same guy who says unicorns exist because he saw one on LSD. he said this after i insisted reindeer are real animals in canada, like caribou. i don't remember how we got from the meaning of life to unicorns and reindeer, though.
finally, i must mention ladyfest. dayton's holding its first-ever ladyfest event, which includes all art forms presented by women. i'm reading poetry in the open mic portion, but there is also visual art, dance, music, and anything else creative. it's the weekend of september 12-14. i heard it's all being held at one venue, some space next door to the masque. i'm not sure what day i take the stage, but it's all still being worked out. however, my name is on a poster at pacchia's espresso bar, at the bottom of a long list hanging off the bulletin board, down near the trashcan. Current Mood: mellow
|Monday, July 14th, 2008|
|you thought you might be a ghost . . .
. . . you didn't get to heaven but you made it close.
saturday morning i'm lying in bed watching the rain and drinking coffee. listening to the thunderstorm. reading a book i can't put down -- a drug addict's memoir. i'm living his darkly glamorous life vicariously. not that i don't have my own dark glamour. i just wish i had someone next to me right now . . . maybe we'd be passing a cigarette back and forth. making love and getting high. i just want someone to hold me and talk to me about things. trouble is, i just don't feel comfortable with anyone. not after i booted andy. not sure how to read that.
sleep is comforting. it's an escape. that's all i did this weekend, when i wasn't working the odd hours i do. i did manage to drag myself off the little victorian sofa where i tend to camp out to go out with friends friday night. we went to the british-themed pub at the greene. i had a nice, nutty brown ale. slightly sweet, like guinness. then went home and promptly passed out again.
the dreams, however, have been creepy and bizarre. lots and lots of dead people. embalmed and stuff. like wax figures at the museum, only these were actually real, dead, wax people. the best was the hell-boy hermit crabs scuttling after my toes. there were two hermit crabs like sebastian, the hermit crab my sister used to have as a pet, which, incidentally, we buried alive, thinking it was dead as it hadn't come out of its shell in a week. only when these hermit crabs came out of their shells, they had the face of the graphic novel character with his big claw-arm instead of normal pincers. and they (or he) still came after me in devilish crustacean form. i attribute all this to increasing my dosage ever so slightly. the one cool side effect of anti-depressants being the hyper-active rem cycles.
my tendency to plateau prompted the subtle hike. i feel restless or listless. i can't think of things to eat that truly interest me. all i want to do is smoke cigarettes and drink coffee, supplemented with the occasional rec drug. eating mushrooms, dropping acid, trippy stuff like that. nothing hard core.
also, all i ever do is say goodbye. and even then, if i'm lucky. i say more goodbyes than hellos. i told off the boy.
i could see this wasn't going well. the first time, he broke up with me. the second time, i broke it off with him. simultaneously, someone else very dear to me left without saying goodbye. that hurt my feelings a lot. granted, i wasn't looking forward to this particular goodbye. it reeks of deja vu. two years ago, it was japan. now, africa. i don't know what it is about you guys, but i think i'll always be looking for either one of you in other people to whom i risk getting close. that may or may not be healthy. i've existentially resigned myself to the possibility that i'll never find what i'm looking for.
in my experience, once they leave you, they never come back. you and their ghosts are attached at the hip. speaking of, mine is tattooed now. the vine has grown up my leg, circling left to the cheeky hip-side. it's very organic
. like me. i had the striking suspicion that i will look exactly the same in the face at age 40 or 50 as i do at age 27. as i did at age 20, minus the sleepy anorexic hollow in the cheekbones, since i don't expect to be locked back up in the psych ward for that particular
problem. the incarceration has, however, set the tone for this whole damn decade. i haven't really aged since . . . well, coming of age. i am an ageless little fairy woman. Current Mood: grim
|Wednesday, June 25th, 2008|
|dialectic and bizarre
last friday i hid my co-worker's clothes. this dude leaves his pre-approved work appropriate clothes strewn about the storage room and wears street clothes to work, whereupon he changes into said dress-code specific attire. so friday night my devious accomplice and i threw his personal effects in a box marked COFFEE FILTERS, taped it up, and placed it inconspicuously on a shelf of similar-looking items in the back room. and that was that.
not normally a prankster, i had been scheming for quite a while, once this fairly new transfer to our store made his peculiar habit visible. so it's easy to guess whose idea it was. i felt bad when my partner in crime took it even further by setting up an elaborate display of the skimpy remaining articles: he spread ian's green apron over a wooden chair and propped his starbucks hat on top of a toilet plunger behind the back of the chair where the head would be (?). he taped the apron straps to the seat of the chair. he set ian's big clunky black shoes under the hem of the apron, peeking out where the feet would be. finally, he laid a pastry knife across the apron on the chair seat, and drizzled raspberry syrup on the blade. it was brilliant. it had the effect of a museum exhibit between the two bathrooms in the illuminated hallway at night. it's common knowledge that brown st. is haunted, so it appeared the ghost had been wearing barista garb and then slid out of it all. you get the ankles, i'll get the wrists . . .
monday morning i get a call at 6 AM, which i declined to answer, opting instead to listen to the voice mail message, which went along these lines: "natalie . . . this is ian . . . where are my clothes?" taken out of context, this message sounds laughably inappropriate.
as if these mind games aren't awkward enough, i'm still shaking my fist at the stars, humbling trying to defy the gods of fate but coming up so pathetically human
. the boy and i seem to have this bipolar relationship: he gets cold feet and splits with me for 2 1/2 weeks while his psychotic ex messes with his head; i spend his absence romanticizing suicide again. just when i decide to let the street fair let-down slide because i really do have feelings for him beyond broken promises, he comes around after a family reunion camping trip, gets his head screwed back on in the woods, and "sorry baby" says it all: he missed me.
i suspect andy got overwhelmed by overlapping job transitions and crazy-ex complications; i spazzed, classically, when he bailed for seemingly backwards-logical reasons. i guess this kind of unstable relationship is inevitable when it involves two neurotic people. we're both still trying to figure each other out. manic meets depressive. Current Mood: cynical
|Friday, June 20th, 2008|
it's that free-falling sensation
i get when i'm having a panic attack:
every break-up now feels like teleporting
back to that scene at narita airport
it wasn't you, but somehow you were there,
because you're doing the same thing to me now,
on the steps of your porch you're still the other
side of the world to me.
i miss you like you're not just across town,
everywhere around me.
i miss lying on top of you
feeling you rise as i fall.
i need you like a drug.
wish i could stay mad at you.
from the bedsheets to the ashtray,
you were always brilliant in the morning,
smoking your cigarettes,
and talking after sex.
did i make it that easy
to walk in and out of my life?
why can't we be part-time lovers
and full-time friends?
it struck me, in the moment,
you are quite possibly the first and only
heart-wreck on whose shoulder i've cried.
so i'm standing there, you see, smashing my face
into your ten-hour-day t-shirt, and thinking,
have i done this before?
how is it the most beautiful moments
are found in the most terrible experiences?
did the plane actually go down?
i fell somewhere along the way,
and there you were,
so alien in my own skin. Current Mood: melancholy
|Friday, May 30th, 2008|
a lot of the girls on my friends page have been taking the goddess quiz, "which goddess lurks in your soul?" i was about to find out, when something amusing happened. one of our regulars at the coffee shop told me the answer. he nicknamed me "caffeinia," goddess of caffeine. it was so cute and perfect for me, i no longer feel the need to post said quiz. Current Mood: mellow
|Friday, April 11th, 2008|
|Tuesday, March 25th, 2008|
i got rejected! not the relationship kind, the rejection slip variety. so those poems i sent to literary journal crazyhorse
back in august? i finally got a response, albeit negative, but positive in the sense that the editors did get around to reading my work and making a decision. i was starting to wonder . . . it's been almost 8 months. even though it's not a handwritten note, the rejection slip still goes up on my wall of thumbtacked failed attempts at publication. in a backwards-logical way, the more rejection slips i get up there, the closer i am to getting published. it just made me feel more serious as a "real" writer, like i am doing something proactive towards "becoming" a writer.
i'm still waiting to hear back on the short fiction contest at columbia college chicago. i sent a short-short excerpt of the novel in october because they encouraged novels-in-progress. i stumbled upon the opportunity while breezing through the english department of columbia during my trip to chicago last summer. judging by the response time from crazyhorse
, i'd say i still have a way to go, especially if they get a lot of submissions. i'm not sure how big this contest is (they do pay $500 first prize), but columbia is a strictly artsy school, with a whole department devoted to fiction, so . . . you do the math. i can't. (i'm convinced i got 2 right brain halves, since i have almost no left-brain capabilities.)
and finally, i got so excited to receive that SASE in the mail last week (it took a minute for it to register when i opened my mailbox -- my own handwriting in the address threw me off), that i got inspired to get my novel out the door. officially. i've been delaying a decision on which set of consecutive
chapters to send with my query letter i've had typed up since last july. but saturday i sat down with a cup of coffee at the old emporium and seriously looked through my latest version of the manuscript, and it just hit me. i found the perfect set that i feel complements the letter and "shows" what i "tell" in the description to the editor.
i'm trying to get my query package out today. it's a canadian medium-size independent press that i've had picked out forever. i've chosen insomniac press, with its ironic name, to be my novel's first attempt. my virgin manuscript is about to become a little less innocent, and a little more worldly-wise, in the writer's market. Current Mood: artistic
|Thursday, March 13th, 2008|
|how to disappear completely
that's not me
i'm not here
this isn't happening
in a little while, i'll be gone.
the moment's already passed, yeah it's gone.
and i'm not here.
this isn't happening.
i've had a lot of dreams about ghosts lately. ghosts are showing up everywhere. in my dreams i'm seeing a lot of dead people, some of whom are actual. i've had several visitations from my dead grandmother, which is odd because i never really knew her. i've never been close to my extended family, and most of my memories of her, if any, are vague childhood images rather than adult interaction. but in my dreams, her identity is not only suggested but is visually accurate. and the other ghosts, the anonymous ones, are classic film representations -- ethereal, translucent, their substance seemingly composed of cloud matter or a hovering fog . . . but they aren't all white as a sheet. i've dreamed them in color too. the first ghost was hanging out on a curb in downtown chicago or detroit, wanting lodging in a vacated studio apartment i was checking out for myself . . . s/he was a mixture of neon blue and yellow, kind of a borderline green vaporous hue. one night i woke up briefly and saw this same figure perched on my wicker chair, changing shape slightly around the edges like the poor-quality film cast its fuzzy subjects in the first silent movies. she wasn't in color in my hallucination; rather, she took the off-white blank space of a subject on film negatives. but last night was the most graphic and explicit. the walking dead were taking over the world. i saw a whole community of skeletons, every bone intact, walking around in a rickety mob like they had just climbed out of a mass grave. but the one who seemed to be the leader was the scariest because he was covered up -- he had a raggedy pillowcase over his head with two jagged eye holes cut out. he looked directly at me and i saw only a deep black void in the would-be sockets. it occurs to me now he was playing the grim reaper, only he had no scythe. his face resembled the figure in the (in)famous painting by Munch; we know it as The Scream
(which is, in fact, hanging over my bed). but the whole masquerade of halloween costumes was simply not that -- the living people were over there
, retreating to the edge of the world, while the undead materialized in a barren muddy field, leaving human infrastructure awash in debris full of dead things such as you would find after a flood: fish tails and snail shells and feathers and bone.
the only connection i can make to all this debris floating around in my subconscious and coming to the surface of my dreams is that, if i were to die right now, i would have a lot of people to haunt. salman rushdie, in his book the satanic verses
, defines a ghost as "unfinished business." my life is one long string of unfinished business, loose ends, lack of closure, unresolved conflict. and it became apparent to me after japan that i have a lot of ghosts at my back. the loss of daniel was the loss of everyone. one year later, i am still panicked beyond my own comprehension at the prospect of never seeing him again. fuck, i still have a dead guy in my cell phone book (i never took dave's number off my list, and i can't bring myself to delete his last text message to me from two days before christmas two years ago). the onset of this depression last march was simply a transformation i had to go through to be placed in a living hell. i
just never died. maybe that's why i constantly feel like a zombie, stoned and experiencing life in slow motion. so i suppose i bring the dream haunting upon myself -- i choose to live among my dead lovers and keep my ghosts close at hand.
|Thursday, February 21st, 2008|
i am trying to remain calm most of the time.
i feel either sad or nervous, or both sad and nervous, which puts me in a fitful state of affairs, but i can't say i've actually had an all-out panic attack since last summer.
i've done some good things for myself this month. things that help me love myself and remind me that i have a lovely body that should be kept alive. the most exciting "body project" i have started is -- i'm getting another tattoo!!!
it's delayed gratification, actually; i got the inspiration last fall but had to postpone going under the needle because i had some unexpected expenses that made it financially impossible. but i've scrimped and saved (when you are a poor barista by day, even poorer writer by night, you know how to use every last penny), and monday night i finally rewarded myself at new breed. i've only got the outline and shading on my outer left lower leg; i'm going back for color next monday. however, this is just the beginning; it's going to be a long project. literally. the idea: i'm having a twisty thorny vine with ivy-like leaves creeping up the whole left side of my body, from my ankle to somewhere around my shoulder area, not sure where exactly it will end yet. along the way, no body parts will remain untouched (in the interest of modesty, i'll leave those details a little vague). my lower leg looks great, apart from some redness and soreness. i guess my spirits have come up a bit because i've been so high on endorphins released from all the pain! i don't remember my other two tattoos hurting so much after the fact, but then i haven't gotten a tatt in almost three years. in a perverse way, though, i still think getting the tattoo feels good. when you just accept the sensation of a sewing machine needle jabbing your skin like a piece of cloth, you get past the rather annoying pain and it starts to feel like a massage. i find the experience of getting a tattoo spiritually orgasmic
. and anyway, on a less metaphysical level, they both involve penetration. yeah, i went there. also, like writing -- putting ink on the blank page -- it's a safer outlet for my masochistic urges than . . . let's not go there
i heart tattoos. Current Mood: inked