Sunday, September 30, 2007


There's a "30 Rock" marathon on Bravo right now. Cable television makes me happy.

And, yes, I know it's a perfect day outside, but I woke up at 4 am two states to the West and drove half my life away this morning. (I had to wait until 5am before I could hit the road because there was a big time Thunderstorm in MN this morning.) Blarg.

Then, when I finally got home (hello, quick trip to Target to get a mini-food processor so that I may make myself some hummus whenever I want to), I found in my mailbox, a bill from the emergency room. Ouch.

And then, in my email inbox, I found a very kind rejection letter, "Although I think there are some nice descriptions...."

But still, I am so, very tired. Tired from the drive. Tired from Target. Tired from carrying everything back up to my apartment. Tired from submitting stories and getting really encouraging rejection letters.

Maybe I shall take a break from submitting stuff for a while.

Ah, but...

Almost ten years ago, I read a story that I really loved. The story had won the O. Henry award for short fiction in 1999. In the anthology, the writers of the winning stories contributed notes regarding the stories. Let me share a bit of the letter from Peter Baida, author of the winning story:

A note of encouragement for middle-aged writers: I was forty-six when I wrote 'A Nurse's Story,' and had published exactly one story in the previous twenty years. A discouraging note: twenty-two editors rejected the story before Peter Stitt took it for 'The Gettysburg Review.'

So I try to remind myself not to give up, regardless of the tone of the rejection letters. If Peter Baida had given up, I never would have read his story. And, friends, it's a really really good story.

Now, I must choose between:

Door #1) 30 Rock marathon

Door #2) Grey's Anatomy (to watch online)

Door #3) sleepy time


Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The last gift you should ever give to a writer is a pen.

I haven't been able to sleep lately. It's not unusual this time of year.

But, I am not here to write about sleep.

I am here to write about the most glorious instrument of writing--The Pen!

(I don't use pencils for creative writing, ever, I hate them.)

My favorite pen of all time, ever is the Sanford Expesso One Medium Point Felt Tip Pen in black.

Several years ago, Sanford, in an act of extreme malice stopped production on the Sanford Expresso One Medium Point Felt Tip Pen. When I found out, I ordered as many of the pens as possible. I horded away my three dozen pens and over the course of the past four years have used them sparingly and lovingly, knowing that, one day, I would have to find a replacement. Of course, there can never be a replacement for the Sanford Expresso One Medium Point Felt Tip Pen, but with only nine pens left, I am gearing up for a great quest--the quest to find my new writin' pen.

For some time, I intermittently used the Pilot C-2. It writes with a line that is a little too thin and always inspired me to write weepy, overly sentimental prose. That and the ink runs out too quickly. (Ah, and another problem, it smears on the glossy paper of the Sunday NY Times Magazine, and you know, I need a good pen for my crossword puzzle.)

I have always been a fan of the Sharpie Ultra Fine Point Permanent Marker, but the ink has a tendency to bleed through the paper. However, the pen is smooth and the sensation of using this pen to write prose reminds me a little bit of the Sanford Expresso One Medium Point Felt Tip Pen. But the cons outweigh the pros, and so, I must say thanks, but no thanks Sharpie.

Any sort of thin Bic or PaperMate pen... I just can't.... they're just... so, so bad.

I believed that I had found what may possibly be my closest hope for replacement for the Sanford Expresso One Medium Point Felt Tip Pen when I saw the design of the Pentel Rolling Writer Medium Point Black Ink Pen. I do like the way it writes, in a strong, direct line. And I like that the strong line doesn't bleed through the page. It also passed the Sunday NY Times Magazine crossword puzzle test with flying colors(!) My only hesitation is that it's a roller ball pen and not a felt tip. My history with any type of ball point pen is that they inevitably leak and force me to throw out a perfectly good dress.

My final candidate (so far) was the Pilot Precise Rolling Ball X-Fine Pen. I hate that they call it "X-Fine" instead of "Extra Fine" I also hate that it is, indeed, and extra fine pen with a very thin line. I tried using it last night and only wrote about weepy girls. No good!

So, it seems, my best candidate for replacement is the Pentel Rolling Writer Medium point black ink pen. Still, The Sanford Expresso One Medium Point Felt Tip Pen has always been a constant for me in my writing life and I just can't bring myself to imagine the day when I won't have a Sanford Expresso One Medium Point Felt Tip Pen tucked away in a desk drawer. A safe object that I know to be reliable and strong. A pen with a hearty line that still allows for a feminine line and curve to my handwriting.

This pen has balanced checkbooks in five states. This pen has written letters, those mailed and those tucked away. This pen has filled countless notebooks and diaries. This pen has put me in college and grad school. This pen has marked pages, notes written in margins, that could save the soul of a story before I dismissed the piece as incomplete. This pen has graded papers. This pen has encouraged students to meet the challenge. This pen has completed the Sunday NY Times Magazine crossword puzzle. This pen has been more constant than friendships, relationships, pets, and zip codes for me.

And now, I am preparing to say good-bye.

If this was an NBC SitCom, a montage would go here, set to some acoustic David Gray song, recounting my fondest memories with the Sanford Expresso One Medium Point Felt Tip Pen.

Sigh (m.lady wipes away a single tear).


Monday, September 24, 2007

There are too many love songs

Ah, since no one reads this fucking blog, I've decided to post a story that, when I wrote it, my first thought was "no one wants to read this."

Here it is (I've put some commentary in parentheses):

Some kind of love song

I am hot chocolate and you are the cinnamon sprinkled to taste.

I still can't figure out what it is I like so much about the distinctive way you walk.

You laugh when I tell you that I'm sitting by the lake to read Moby Dick so I can get in the mood.

It's snowing sideways and I've lost my hat, my gloves, and my scarf on three separate occasions in the last month. You wrap your scarf around me. It is long and goes over my head, my ears, and wraps around my neck. One of your gloves on my right hand. My left hand is holding your hand in the pocket of your down jacket. I feel like singing. I feel like dancing. I feel like making snow angels in the street. (barf)

There’s a scratch in the record and Andy Williams won’t shut up, There’s no one in the world except the two of us, There’s no one in the world except the two of us, There’s no one in the world except the two of us, There’s no one in the world except the two of us. They sure don’t make ‘em like they used to.

Thank you for the water, but I've still got half a pint of beer to finish and don't worry about me, I'm fine.

I still remember the first time I saw you're laughter.

I have a book, second hand and abused. Water stains and warped pages. And marking the place where I stopped reading while I was on the train and mighty sick of all the poetics, there's a note in your handwriting. The corner of a notebook torn out. Blue lines and red marker. The name of an author you thought I'd like, what with my love of poetic language and all. (okay, I like this part)

I knew the moment I heard the chorus of that song and my chest felt like cement. Everything reminds me. (seriously? that line is bullshit, what am I? 14?)

I bought traps because, I told you, it is better to anticipate the problem than to wait for the consequences.

Okay, I shouldn't have said what I said, but that doesn't excuse you for kissing my forehead like I'm your sister or something.

Maybe I was making eyes at the waiter.

I drew a picture for you and you told me you thought the face looked like me and you put it on your refrigerator door with mismatched magnets and my picture was still on the door of your refrigerator the last time I was in your kitchen and I thought it was odd, what with your aversion to eye contact and all. And, that night, I knew to bring back all of the books I had borrowed from you and I knew to make sure you would return all of my books because it was very clear to me that we don't really care anymore so take the picture down already. (I might actually turn this into a story of its own)

I need to buy orange juice, but the store doesn't open until ten o'clock on a Sunday and I think, if I go to church I can get a taste of wine.

I am out of breath from running up all those stairs. And now, where will I go? Down the hill and up the stairs again. They call this "conditioning."

I still believe that a toad can give me warts. And that is only the beginning.

oh, Akron/Family, I love you so...


Sunday, September 23, 2007

"Sammy's so confused he don't know whether to scratch his watch or wind his butt."

How I made it 27+ years without ever having a piece of red velvet cake is beyond me.

Ah, but then, I traveled to the yonder North land to celebrate JK's birthday. One of her friends bought her a red velvet cake from a bakery known for their cakes (and with good reason, the frosting was de-li-cious).

Red velvet cake always reminds me of the irreplaceable, incredible, marvelous, "Steel Magnolias."

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Blueberries make my world go 'round

I rarely get a Saturday off of work. Now that I am in-between jobs (I'm not just saying that, I start a new job October 1), I have had two (TWO!) Saturdays off in a row.

Because I am me and possibly one of the laziest people I know, I spent last Saturday staring out the window.

Ah, but not today (well, until now).

I tagged along with my friend, Ira, to the Green City Farmer's Market.

As we were driving to and from the market, I was able to see just what an awesome city Chicago is and it was very clear to me how lame it is that I spend so much time within the walls of my apartment or local coffee shop.

And I thought, I should do something with this beautiful day.

When I got home, I cleaned my apartment (and I mean cleaned, hands and knees scrubbing) and then I sat by the window to download my farmer's market pics and then I thought, wait, I was going to do something with this absolutely perfect day!

Elsewhere in my mind, I am thinking about a story that I've been working on for a while (four years?) and it all is working quite well except for one scene that takes place at a farmer's market. I just can't get it right. Today, while wandering around the tables and chatting with the occasional farmer, I tried to figure out just what I wasn't getting right in the story. I still don't know...ack.

Well the sun is shining and I'm thinking I shouldn't be a lazy bum

pizza! pizza!

When I was in the 5th grade our school chorus sang a song about pizza, the lyrics I remember go:

Pizza! Pizza! Anytime of day. Let's have pizza every holiday!

This leads me to tell you that on Tuesday, I visited cc while she was dog sitting.

We went to the dog park:

Then, we returned to the condo of the dog owner to enjoy pizza and the "Big Brother" finale (shut up). As an appetizer, while we were waiting for the pizza, cc prepared tomatoes w/ mozzarella and some balsamic vinegar, etc.

I didn't take any pics of the pizza, I was too busy eating it, yum!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Saint Bartholomew had a very very very gruesome death.

So, I decided to draw him in a moment of peace.

I love this song so very very very very very much.

Monday, September 17, 2007

If I was an ipod ad.....

This is what I do when I have waaaaaaay too much time on my hands:

  • I draw robots.
  • I indulge in bad habits.
  • I blog.
  • I watch "Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane" (and she is so amazing. I think my dream would be a Kimora/Victoria Beckham reality show marathon.)
  • I try to get Bob to jump really really high.
  • I send lots and lots of emails and I pretend that I'm actually sitting on a porch drinking a bottle of whine (ha ha ) with my friends.
  • I stare at the same sentence for three hours and try to figure out what to write next. (The devil made my heart and ever since the day I was born, he's been trying to get it back....)
  • And I figure out what I would look like as an ipod ad (plus I've been inhaling Feist's new album like it's oxygen and her new song is in the new ipod ad so it all goes together, you see)

It has come to my attention.....

.....that I don't actually like to read...much.

No. What I mean is, I don't like to find something to read. oh, F---, it's like dating. You've got to go through the bad to get to the good.

But I have some serious issues: I mean, okay, it's like if I told you that I love music (which I do, but in this case, I am using the love of music as a hypothetical), but then I tell you that I only listen to polka records released in Iowa between 1963 and 1974.

That there is m.lady and reading.

It is not unusual for me to stop reading a story or book if I don't like the way the first sentence is going.

Example: Arthur Morgan always liked....

I'd stop at always liked- snooze.

When it comes to reading, I am incredibly impatient. And sometimes that makes sitting down to read a chore.

Which is a shame.

I mean, when I read, it's like I'm having a sit-down with the author and I say to them, "Okay, I trust you to take me somewhere." And if, at the end of the story, I am not in some way a different person. Well, I feel ripped off.

(So what does that say about me as a writer?............That I'm a jerk-face. That's what.)

So, it's not that I don't read a lot, it's just that most of what I read is a first sentence or half of a paragraph before I move on.

Sad, but true, I'm afraid.

Old robot:

I think I may have already posted this image way back when, but it's not in my robot photo file, so I thought I'd post it.

Those words there, "Es solo aqua la lagrima de un extrano" are from a story that I read in a museum when I lived in LA (and I would go to the museum to forget that I was living in LA). The story was written over the mattes surrounding photos of empty piers and endless water/empty pools. It was a really cool exhibit. Anyway, the translation provided read, "It is only water in the teardrop of a stranger."

hey, ho, I just found my journal from LA, I knew that I had copied down the full text(!):

Words there by Michael Ende. I have been looking for an English translation of "The Mirror in the Mirror" (original title: "Der Spiegel im Spiegel") for seven years. If you know where I can get my hands on it, please do tell me.

I just got cable television, see you in a week...

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Lighten up, it's just fashion!

New York's fashion week just ended.

I have decided to do a little review/wrap-up.

If you want to see the dresses/looks that made me throw up a little (in a good way), click on Danielle's (Dani, whatever) photo. Top Model, wuzza wut?!

Ah, so there is life after the CW.

A disclaimer:

Onto the critiques!
(In the form of letters to the designers. Lettes that I could fit on a post-it note and stick to their bathroom mirror so they'd get the note in the morning while they were brushing their teeth.)

Dear Carolina Herrera,

Thank you for creating this dress:


Dear Alexander Wang,

Um, what were your casting directors thinking?

I'm scared.

Dear Philip Lim,

My good sir, what did this lovely lady do to deserve this?

Normally, you are so kind to the ladies. Oh, I think I'm gonna be sick, there is nothing good about that.


Dear Stephen Burrows,



Dear Alexa Adams and Flora Gill,

Thank you...

...for boring me (and your models) to death.

oh, and, honestly? It looks like her parent's wouldn't pull over to a rest stop and she wet herself real bad.


PS: what's up with all the beige this season?!

Dear Tracy Reese,

Did you invade my brain?

It's like a wonderland of pretty...

and though I oppose the hat:

The back is genius:

Swoon McLove, you're awesome,

Hey kids! Time for a little fashion week math, get out your pencils and calculators!




I kid. I kid.

Dear Anna Sui,

I hope you don't mind my little joke up there. You know I love you so.

Like, this ensemble, if I wore this, I would feel like a comic book super-hero:

And this would be the dress that I would wear to the Governor's ball where I would seduce a local millionaire:

And this would be my nemesis:



Dear Brian Reyes,

You created this dress:

which triggered me to say "pretty" out loud while sitting by myself in a coffee shop.....

However, you also created these:

Someone, help! The Jackets have eaten their arms!

(psst, honey, I think your diaper's showing):


Why, Brian, why?


Dear L'Wren Scott,

I love you.

So very much, do I love thee.


To the model wearing this Malandrino dress,

Those sleeves make me sad too.


Dear Marc Jacobs,

You know I love you very very much and this year's "Marc by Marc Jacobs" collection was lovely lovely lovely, but, I think, maybe, we need to take a little break.

It's not me, it's you.


Dear Oscar de la Renta,

I Do!