Over the course of this past year, while I wasn’t bothering to write in my blog, I somehow managed to meet, fall in love with, and marry someone who is, incredulously, as reclusive and neurotic as me. It’s been pure bliss. As I grew up in a non-Christmas-celebrating household while he did, that meant our first Christmas together was also my first Christmas, with the family. His family, but now my family too. I would finally get to experience for myself the alluring secret I’ve always watched from afar since I was I kid: the glimmering lights, the rich scent of fir needles hovering in front of your nose, the cookies, the tiny little gingerbread houses covered in icing, the benevolent angels. The warm cheeriness and utter feeling of contentedness, that everything is beautiful and just right.
After about 3 months of avoiding my blog, I finally decided, while avoiding my daily responsibilities, to just hold my breath and return to take a look at the neglected landscape. When I signed in, I found the below pending comment on my dashboard:
I discovered your blog while googling about underachieving, and you have inspired me to go ahead with starting a blog. I didn’t think people actually blogged like regular literature authors and always felt I lacked in edgy hipness, but after reading all of your poetic posts, I feel like I may have fellow anti- conformist bloggers to relate to after all. -Bessie Malt
I originally began writing a reply to your comment, Bessie, in the comment section where you’re supposed to write replies to comments. But as is typical for me, my reply became longer and longer and I kept writing and couldn’t cut off the spigot and had no desire to anyway. So I ultimately drafted a 683-word response and decided to post it as a blog entry in itself. Continue reading
I am desperate again. This time it’s because I’m hungry. Terribly, ravenously hungry. I’ve been hungry for days, there’s no end to it. I can’t do anything except agonize in the clutches of the goddamn hunger. I suppose this might be premenstrual hunger. Who knows. The gnawing makes me so bitter and forlorn that I’m not bulimic anymore and therefore can’t appease the hunger. And that’s not good; it’s been so long since I’ve really, sincerely wished I could throw up.
I’ve been walking my ass off in an attempt both to stifle the hunger and to counter the effects of it, but I just can’t keep up. This afternoon I desperately stormed out of the house in a ravenous frenzied fury, to try to escape the pain and panging and beating of the goddamn hunger against me. I got in my car and drove to the bay, shaking, too hungry and anxious and tormented to really think about or realize the movements and turns I was making while buckling my seat belt, backing out of the driveway, driving across town and stepping out onto the sand. I walked in the sun from the end of the beach over to the ferry, where I couldn’t walk any further because a fortress of rocks was piled up across the sand going out into the water, and everything past and around the fortress was roped off and there were signs posted in all directions that read, OFFICIAL PERSONNEL ONLY. NO TRESPASSING. VIOLATORS WILL BE PROSECUTED. Because I’m one of those lackluster, risk-averse people who never have the balls to cross No Trespassing signs, I turned around and plodded back disappointedly, in the sun, this time at the edge of the water so my feet could get wet and I could more easily take the blaring heat. Continue reading
If you think I’ve been absent for so long (again) because I’ve been busy finding and getting a life, you’re sorely mistaken. Actually, it’s rather the opposite: I haven’t been around because I’ve been swallowed down deeper and deeper into the swamp of hibernation and have been lying there dormant and silent. I sank to the floor of the swamp sometime in the dead of winter, during January or February maybe, and remained sleeping there undisturbed and unruffled throughout the rest of the season. Meanwhile, the world has been going about its business and everyone has been living their lives and weathering the winter as always. All of the swamp life around me has been flourishing as well; the mallards and sparrows and screech owls have all been attending to their affairs. And I haven’t given much of a damn. I’ve been lying comfortably on the murky bottom, underneath everything, benevolently cloaked by silt and mud and sundew buds and covered by moss, saturated in the rich decaying biomatter seeping into me. It’s been quiet and very stagnant and very warm here and I haven’t had any desire to change things.
A few weeks ago, however, on a rare occasion that I’ve bothered to leave the house, I noticed that things are changing regardless when I visited a nearby stretch of woodland. Continue reading
- Run away. Road trip. Out West. Do the Zen-And-the-Art-of-Motorcycle-Maintenance thing.
- Go to sleep. For hours and hours. Wearing very, very soft pajamas. I’m talking very soft. And sleeping forever. Like, Sleeping Beauty style.
- Strong cappuccino at a very quiet and dim coffee shop, very strong cappuccino, and very quiet and dim. And cozy.
- Wander around in an endless meadow full of wildflowers (indulge my frivolous fancy, here).
- Wander around a quiet garden or meadow or woodland or hilltop or riverbank on a balmy summer night. Quiet and balmy, and fragrant, is key here.
I still can’t write this article. Because my mind is swimming, swimming. Or rather, I’m swimming inside my mind. I’ve noticed I use that metaphor a lot, the swimming metaphor, with reference to my mind and what goes on inside it, and how I inevitably drown in it. I always feel like my mind is a big tank full of all the garbage and remains and gunk that you find washed up on the beach or entrenched into the sea floor, and that I’m stuck in this tank. And I just want, need, to purge my mind of everything, all the junk and putrid debris and detritus. If I were to successfully purge my mind, crack open the tank and dump it all out onto the ground outside, probably I would find a lot of slimy rotting fish and the decaying soft bodies of mollusks inside their shells, milky proteins oozing out and marbling over; abandoned, torn tires; rusty nails from who-knows-what; dead and decomposing horseshoe crabs and limp, flaccid eel bodies; pieces of wooden planks and driftwood of an unknown origin, with grotesque white linchen growing all over it; plastic bottle rings; beer bottles and broken whisky bottles covered and filled with sandy grime, and rusty beer bottle caps; tossed, corroded gasoline cans; brittle and bare grayed feathers from unidentified birds, and the heartbreaking carcass of an injured seagull that fell into the sea; a discolored and lifeless crab tangled inside a broken fishing line; a discarded and rusty crab cage covered in brown seaweed; and piles upon piles of cloudy, dense pebbles and stones and broken shells, all over the place, handfuls upon heavy handfuls and no bottom and no place to push them over to, they scrape my hands when I dig my fingers into them and pierce into my feet when I try to walk. And everything grown over with ripe and pungent algae.
She does socio-historical research and turns it into verse.
The Rumpus interviewed her about the age-old questions of the personal vs. political, life vs. art, art vs. politics, and how to live the way you truly want to. The interview was full of zingers, but this quote about the idiosyncrasies, and often the absurdities, of the writing process is my favorite:
A magazine, which shall remain nameless, asked me to look at government photographs and write a short piece about one of them. I chose a picture of a Japanese war balloon, which is like the first intercontinental ballistic missile. It went from Japan and it came over and wanted to start a fire in Seattle, but Seattle’s very wet. I wrote this blank verse poem that required a lot of research and took me months, and then I turned it in and they were like, “Oooh, yeah, we didn’t mean a poem. We meant a short piece.” And I was like, “Okay.” So I took out all the line breaks and made a couple of paragraph breaks, and then I gave it back to them and they were like, “Great! Thank you.”