Tag Archives: life

my november

Friends, I am giving myself over to NaNoWriMo for the month of November. It may come to naught, but between that and writing comedy sketches, which, I hasten to add, are like academic-level hard, my frequency of posting will be intermittent at best for the next month or so. If I do it will very likely be whining about process or something like that. It promises to be quite dull.

I have not forgotten you, internet. I will be engaged in a war with some words, of which I am simultaneously the mistress and the bitch. A girl’s gotta be versatile in this day and age.

not my poem, not my words

Writ on the Eve of My 32nd Birthday, A Poem by Gregory Corso

Peter Orlovsky and Allen Ginsberg in Lee Forest’s room, Hotel de Londres, Paris, December 1957. c. Harold Chapman

Writ on the Eve of My 32nd Birthday, A Poem by Gregory Corso

a slow thoughtful spontaneous poem

I am 32 years old
and finally I look my age, if not more.

Is it a good face what’s no more a boy’s face?

It seems fatter. And my hair,
it’s stopped being curly. Is my nose big?
The lips are the same.
And the eyes, ah the eyes get better all the time.
32 and no wife, no baby; no baby hurts,
but there’s lots of time.
I don’t act silly any more.
And because of it I have to hear from so-called friends:
“You’ve changed. You used to be so crazy so great.”
They are not comfortable with me when I’m serious.
Let them go to the Radio City Music Hall.
32; saw all of Europe, met millions of people;
was great for some, terrible for others.
I remember my 31st year when I cried:
“To think I may have to go another 31 years!”
I don’t feel that way this birthday.
I feel I want to be wise with white hair in a tall library
in a deep chair by a fireplace.
Another year in which I stole nothing.
8 years now and haven’t stole a thing!
I stopped stealing!
But I still lie at times,
and still am shameless yet ashamed when it comes
to asking for money.
32 years old and four hard real funny sad bad wonderful
books of poetry
—the world owes me a million dollars.
I think I had a pretty weird 32 years.
And it weren’t up to me, none of it.
No choice of two roads; if there were,
I don’t doubt I’d have chosen both.
I like to think chance had it I play the bell.
The clue, perhaps, is in my unabashed declaration:
“I’m good example there’s such a thing as called soul.”
I love poetry because it makes me love
and presents me life.
And of all the fires that die in me,
there’s one burns like the sun;
it might not make day my personal life,
my association with people,
or my behavior toward society,
but it does tell me my soul has a shadow.

still not nick hornby

Things I want, right effing now.

1. A cigarette, recessed filter, Parliament for choice.

2. A perfectly pulled double espresso.

3. Tickets to Oaxaca for DoD things.

4. Not to have to go to campus and see people I’ve been avoiding all summer.

5. To have perhaps not eaten 2 loaves of bread in a single weekend (ow)

6. An oxygen facial (to offset smoking)

7. To somehow be paid for writing something. Anything, really.

8. For the property management to turn on the radiators.

9. To not be getting a cavity. More ow.

10. Indian pudding with Ciao Bella vanilla gelato. Or a gingersnap.

11. This dress. And the arms to go with it. (Angela Basset’s would be ideal).

12. To perhaps not think that every comment in every medium is a personal fucking attack.

oh, america

Sometimes I get this niggling urge to go live in Europe, take public transit everywhere, enjoy raw milk cheeses, and explore cities established more than a few centuries ago. I like bridges, you see, and winding streets and architecture that’s had time to crumble. If I ever get my shit together, maybe this will happen. In the meantime,  I will admit to a deep and profound love of Americana in all its forms. This love, by the way, is completely without irony. Is sincere.

Chicago is sort of great simply because of its mid-century signage — oh, terminus of Route 66, how I appreciate your existence. Nostalgia for the west, the closing in of the prairie. It’s so spectacularly beautiful, even now. Totally the best thing about the Northwestern suburbs. Remember, guys, this used to to be the fucking frontier!

Now, while I do not love the back-and-forth trek to Kentucky– and please, no comments on Indiana as the great corn-growing crossroads of America, because while I like a tenderloin sandwich and GNR as much as the next girl–

It is still a fucking balls-ache of a state that takes HOURS to traverse in any direction, assaulting your senses with bad country music stations, billboards encouraging you to reverse your vasectomy and remember that you’ll meet Jesus after you die, and also the relentless smell of cow shit. And corn fields stretching to the horizon, industrial farming that makes me weep for the loss of the yeoman farmer (shut up, I’m allowed to romanticize just a wee bit here), and profoundly sad about the reach of agribusiness and the thumbhold of King Corn.

Last trip back, though, I did make a spectacular purchase at a truck stop. Possibly ironic, but it pleases me immensely.

WOLVES ON A DREAMCATCHER, people. It is no three-wolf moon shirt, I grant you, but it is my new writing talisman and I CHERISH IT.

a journey of self-discovery OR soul death?

National unemployment is still kicking my ass, as is the fact that, despite having almost no skill set (no, snark and an autistic-like ability to recite stretches of dialogue from 80s movies are apparently not in demand with the corporate set, who knew), I am vastly “overqualified” for all positions out there.

It’s to the point where I am considering lying outright and telling potential employers that I’ve been backpacking around Southeast Asia or living in an ashram just so I don’t have to go through the rigmarole of explaining that, no, you really can’t have a job when you’re enrolled in a full-time doctoral program, and yes, if something better comes along than this nine dollar an hour data entry soul-killing horrendousness,  I will, in fact, quit. I mean, people are into that Eat, Pray, Love shit, aren’t they? Maybe they will think I am noble rather than someone who keeps aggressively pursuing higher education for no other reason than it seems to be a bastion of marginally sane secularism in our increasingly batshit country.

So that’s fun. Except for how it, you know, totally isn’t.

Also fun? Cover letters, the genre of quiet fucking desperation and self-aggrandizement.

Part-time marketing work also provides me with words that make me think academic jargon is pretty, by comparison:

  • Leverage
  • Learnings
  • Webinar
  • Build out
  • Incentivize
  • Advertorial
  • Game-changer
  • Impactful

Good times can be had with this corporate buzzword generator.

*****

A playlist to stave off suicidal thoughts brought on by pleading job apps and marketing twats

Hedwig and the Angry Itch — Midnight Radio

David Bowie – Rock and Roll Suicide

Boston — Peace of Mind

Eliot Smith — Wouldn’t Mama Be Proud?

Supertramp — Breakfast in America

Wilco — Shot in the Arm

The Verve — Bittersweet Symphony

Tribe Called Quest — Rap Promoter

Beastie Boys — Super Disco Breakin’

Frank Black — Headache (listen to this last one at least six times running.)

the great american novel and the internet

So, here we are, internet.

Brief pause to fangirl Jonathan Franzen, because, not only is The Corrections an amazing book– one I would very quickly nominate for Great American Novel, because, OMFG– but, until I saw him on the cover of Time, I sort of did not realize that he is ADORABLE.

What interests me most, though, is as I Try To Write Non-Academic Things, is his relationship with technology. It is Luddite at best, as this snippet from an interview makes clear:

AVC: A lot of writers—if they don’t use typewriters or write longhand—claim to only use computers without an Internet connection, because the distraction is too readily available, and no work gets done.

JF: Absolutely. I have one of those nine-pound Dell laptops you can get for $389 because nobody ended up buying that model, for obvious reasons. I took the wireless card out immediately, and I plugged up the Ethernet hole with superglue. The biggest struggle was getting Hearts and Solitaire off of it. I did work on a DOS machine until about five years ago. It ran WordPerfect 5.0, which is still the best software ever written for a writer, I think. But now, obviously, I work on a Windows machine, and Windows just will not let you de-install a Solitaire program. It puts it back whenever you try to remove it.

I am going to hazard a guess here that JF’s  disabling of the internet is no doubt part of the reason why he has written Great Important American Novels, whereas I can barely make it through a 400 word blog post without falling into internet rabbit holes so deep it’s a wonder I don’t end up in Pyongyang. Actually, just to digress, have you ever seen a picture of North Korea from space? It’s pitch black, hemmed in by the lights of South Korea and China. I don’t know why, but more than the military marches, more than the terrifyingly outmoded Communist regime, that darkness frightens me more than almost anything.

And since there are no traffic lights, of course, this is how they direct the flow of vehicles in Pyongyang–

Um, okay. So back to the matter at hand, which was– I cannot afford to purchase Freedom right now. My ass is broke, and even at twenty or thirty percent off, I so cannot afford a hardback. Which brings me to my next point — not “don’t smoke crack,” although that is sound advice, too. Possibly the only sound advice ever to emanate from an Adam Sandler movie, come to think of it — why are publishing houses even bothering to release hardbacks at all?

According to the Times, Kindle downloads outpace hardcover sales 143:100, a gap which I’m sure will only increase in the future. Stephen Fry just released his new autobiography (WANT!) in electronic and print formats, but the e-version is only available for Apple devices. That seems a bit Not On, if you ask me. Also, why the hell would you want to read an entire book on an iPhone?

All this is by way of saying: Franzen: amazing. Technology: a bitch.  Erin: violently broke. If you’re done with your copy of Freedom, will you lend it to me? Stellar.

You can view Ron Charles’ hilarious video review here, since HuffPo seems to hate embed codes. Whatevs.

You can read the whole interview here.

chicagoland, still

Despite loathing winter (whine, whine) and various other things that bug the everloving crap out of me, Chicago does have its moments. The cityscape being the obvious one, especially the gorgeous “corn cob” buildings of Marina City.*

Rather amusingly, they have been filming Transformers 3 downtown. While I don’t give a hoot and a half about the franchise, I do love that this is the sign they posted to alert pedestrians that a terrorist attack is not actually taking place. (Or, that they don’t need to play the favorite guessing game of Chicago residents: “Gunshots or Fireworks?”)

Here is a clip of some of the filming. To be honest, it did sound pretty damn scary from the street.

Still won’t see it, of course, unless it ends with Shia LaDouche getting kicked in the head. He seems atrocious.

*One of the greatest pleasures on earth, I am convinced, is listening to music while visiting the place it emerged from. Crimpshrine in the East Bay, the New York Dolls on the Lower East Side, Lyle Lovett in the Texas hill country, and so on, are all examples of this. I love nothing more than to go stare at these buildings while listening to Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, because, as the Watcher said, it feels like synchronicity  bordering on predestination.