Monday, August 28, 2006

Lean right. Turn right and now you’re on a bigger road. Lanes are defined. You are another current of the wind.

Days off I sit on the back steps, we call our porch, and write and drink coffee and listen to the radio.

Sometimes I sit in "silence." The silence of my neighborhood, which is a train rumbling a few blocks away. Church bells. Car doors swinging shut. Car engines starting up and bike tires slicking around corners. Keys jangling to find the right one to open a door. Cabinets squeeking open and slamming shut.

Today, I worked on a story about a bike ride to work. I like it very much and hope it will find a home soon. It occurred to me to pick up this previously abandoned story the other day when, for the first time ever, I took both hands off of the handlebars of my bike and flew a car length or two down a side street not too far from here. Like I was a kid playing at being an airplane. Only I'm 26 and I was playing at being free free free.

A couple of years ago, when I worked at a cafe, a friend of mine and I were talking music "at work." I told him about a cd I was reviewing. The verdict was that the band had listened to the radio and said "we can do that" and did what they heard instead of what they were capable of so the result was disappointing.

The conversation then turned to my need to buy some new music rather than rely on the free cds I had to review. The friend asked what cds I would like to buy and I told him I thought I wanted a Clem Snide cd. He said some unkind remark about Clem Snide and told me that I should use my money for good and not waste it on blah blah blah. He told me to buy a cd by the Stone Roses instead. He did not suggest that I buy the cd, he very nearly demanded that I check this band out. How did I call myself a music fan and not know of the Stone Roses?! And so on. Even as we mopped and swept and carried produce into the walk-in freezer, he continued his argument regarding the Stone Roses. I trusted this friend's musical taste completely and so the next time I was at Newberry Comics, I bought a Stone Roses album.

And I am ever eternally grateful for the suggestion (and the harassment).

However, I still dig Clem Snide.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Ah, sweet progress, my unfinished edges

There is a light. He knows light. It is as close to any idea of home he has ever known and so he walks toward it. Body in darkness. Eyes forward to the glow.

Dani finally pulled herself from a sleepless bed and made her way to the kitchen . Traced her hand along the wall through the dark hallway and once in the kitchen, turned on a light, a small lamp on the table.

The house is made of brick. He knows brick.

Dani makes herself a cup of black tea even though she doesn't need the caffeine. Adds some milk, honey, and whiskey.

The door is made of glass. He knows glass. And inside there is a light he knows.

He sits at the table, across from Dani. He is naked again. Shivering. "You're Home," she says and pushes the mug across to his side of the table. He holds it with both palms. The mug is warm. She takes off her robe and wraps it over his shoulders and makes another cup of tea. Adds milk, honey, and whiskey.

At the table sits a woman. He knows woman


And now, the Elisson-inspired top 10 from itunes

1) "I'd Rather Be Blind (cover)" Man Man
1+1) "Bad Dreams" Tricky
5-2) "Love Hurts!" Sound Opinions podcast
square root of 16) "Walk Like a Camel" Southern Culture on the Skids
18-13) "Blinuet" Zoot Sims
2 x 3) "Breaking Away" Ratatat
21 divided by 3) "Dead" Pixies
half of 16) "Jesus Be a Fence Around Me" Sam Cooke
3 x 3) "This is the One" The Stone Roses
10) "Just to See You Smile" Will Oldham

It's always the last cigarette in the pack that has the potential of being the last cigarette ever.
And it's always always always the last cigarette in the pack that burns too quickly.

Friday, August 18, 2006

The Joy of Words

I haven't had a good night's sleep in over a week. I won't blame it all on nightmares, I only had one of those, I've been disturbed by what I would call "bad dreams."

But when you're dreaming everything seems very real and then to wake up and try to comfort yourself in a hot dark room where the air is thick and you can't quite catch your breath because the cotton sheet is so damn heavy is not easy.

When you really wake up and you're waiting for the train and you realize that, maybe, you're still a little bit sleeping, what do you do? Go back to bed?

For about an hour, when I was a senior in high school and trying to decide what to do with myself, I considered studying dreams. These nights that I wake up from some dream that I can't quite remember, I lie awake and I imagine myself in some lab wearing a drab white coat watching from the other side of a 2-way mirror while some poor volunteer kicks and punches at dreams.

In other news, I adopted a cat on Wednesday. Meet Bob Ross, he enjoys cuddling, fresh water, and windowsills.

I named him after the only person in the world who can truly make me feel completely at ease.

I don't know much about The Black Heart Procession, except that I enjoy this song:

Monday, August 07, 2006

but those are just stories

A few months ago, as I was laying in bed, listening to the npr morning chit-chat, I heard an interview with a professor at this or that college discussing the books he was currently reading. I guess this is a regular feature where we discover new works or rediscover the loveliness of known works through the book shelves of smart and/or famous people.

So the professor is chatting away and the host asks him what he is currently reading and the professor says that he is reading a short story collection to which the host responds, but those are just stories, what about books? not verbatim there, but you get the point.

I should've written a letter in response to the host's response. Just stories?!

Stories are infections that nibble our skin. We pick and pry at the scab that traces the rash that has developed because we can't help but scratch. Stories are the scar.

Back in my upstate New York days, or sometime around there, I began to send writing to my brother, an artist in Minneapolis. To my surprise, he put some of my words into his paintings. Knowing that something I created could in some way add or contribute to something to another person's art continually gets me up and writing. He asks me to send him stories, and sometimes I do. Sometimes he uses them, sometimes he doesn't.

This past weekend I visited a gallery that featured several of his pieces and lo and behold, we're a collaboration!

Visit Eddie's website.

I was just re-reading "Stories in the Worst Way" by Gary Lutz. I find this book amazing. Soul-infusing. A giant scar across my abdomen. You are entitled to your own opinion.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

To others only heaven

It's no secret that I like math, love math, think about math quite often. But I'm awful at math. I guess I just don't understand it. But that doesn't stop me from loving other things that I don't understand, such as men, my mother, and Descartes.

Would that the world were a triangle and we could just apply a formula to the problem. To understand. And to find a solution.

above is the poem "Pi, Pythagoras, and I" by Mark Young. It was first published in "word for /word," a wonderful online literary journal. The link to the poem is here.

To borrow a page from Ellison's playbook, I'm going to set my itunes to random and do a little 10 song playlist for the day, here we go:

1) "Don't Need a Drum" Teenage Fanclub
2) "I'm a Changed Man" Otis Redding
3) "Lucky in Love" Teddy Goldstein
4) "Dedicated Follower of Fashion" The Kinks
5) "Dreamed I Saw Soldiers" Neil Halstead
6) "Track 17" Lily's Dad's Soul Mix
7) "A Satisfied Mind" Johnny Cash
8) "Dying" xtc
9) "Man of God" Neil Diamond
10) "Music" Leela James

That was fun! I'm going to do that more, thanks for the idea, Ellison!

Every time I listen to this song, I imagine myself as the lead singer. We're in a dark sweaty bar, it's our first time performing live and it's some kind of battle of the bands thing. We get on stage and the crowd wonders if this m.lady with questionable fashion sense can really compete against the line-up for the night. Then I go and hit that long high note and tear back into the lyrics. Oh, and I'm also playing electric guitar. Snap.

You may recognize this song from "Kill Bill, Vol.2" It's performed by Chingon, a band formed by Robert Rodriquez.

And it's a fucking amazing song.