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I'm sick but I told them I'd come here. I sound like Froggy on The Little Rascals. "And the winner is…" As soon as I say the winner's name he turns into a frog (what, if I'd roared he'd turn into a lion?). The winner eagerly knocks me out of my space at the podium, wrapping his webby, dactyl-y clutches around the trophy. He lets out a bunch of croaks but looks poised and elegant as the "hello my baby" frog. He seems not to know or care that no one can understand him. I've green flesh where we'd bumped…
"You wrote a story? Can I read it?"
"Oh…sure…," I say, unsure if it's genuine interest or you're just going through the motions. I've just finished the story. For some reason it's taken the form of melted butter which I carry in a small stainless steel bowl. I'm holding a cat in my other arm so I look quite occupied when you come by.
You read the story (now in paper form) but can't much understand it ‘cuz several sections have sentences typed right on top of each other. These must be all you see ‘cuz you give up.
Ah, how delicious are these gorilla slippers.
No, not REAL gorillas - fluffy acrylic stuffed animal gorillas with fake leather rumply noses and eyes that look to the side as if to say "you best step off! …I thought so…" They envelop my feet like protective pets who'll growl if evil gets too near.
Yeah, well, you'd say the same thing once you had them on after traipsing through the rainy streets in delicate doll-like shoes. They surround my clammy, betrodden extremities in warmth, make me feel whole. At times like this it can feel like cheap, legal heroin from Payless.
When my Dad made me go to church as a kid I used to space out and look at the shirt patterns of the people in front of me. "Through him, with him, in him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit" as I mentally danced around paisley patterns.
How many entries have I mentioned church in? What did that chick in "Wonder Boys" say? "What is it with you Catholics?" Flannery O'Connor said anyone who survived childhood has plenty to write about. The subject's tired but at least I'm squeezin' blood from a freshly severed limb, not a stone.
A cute 20-something girl was on the news because her Jefferson Park condo flooded during the summer storms. "I saw the couch go up about five feet ‘til it finally hit the ceiling." Everything was ruined. The newscaster said "so what do you need?" An older man walks by, places his hand on her cheek and kisses the other one. "That's what she needs!" he says, and walks on. "Thanks, Dad!" she says.
The storms were really crazy this weekend. They shut down the Kennedy Expressway for 3 hours, like that R.E.M. video. Weather's gettin' biblical all of a sudden.
It seems like I'm always trying to figure out the shape of what is missing in my life. Is it the alumni magazine smugness of normal happy family people? It seems I have this brittle attitude that draws a line in the sand placing me on the broken/dysfunctional side and them on the happy/perfect side. Well, that's what happens when you wander to the edge of your "issues" - you don't speak the language anymore. Things stop making sense and you crack. You go fetal and reduce things to black and white.
"Honey, there's a Rolling Rock-shaped hole in my heart…"
My Free Will Astrology horoscope for this week said "you are seeing too clearly, thinking too crisply. …opportunities will only make themselves known if you relax your piercing gaze and invoke what we might call fuzzy logic. You know how at night you can see better if you look out of the corners of your eyes?"
You gotta act as if the things you want are already a done deal. Let them come to you and rub against your legs while you're chillin' in a lawn chair. If you plot out a strategy and buy a net they'll run away.
I feel weighed down by something. It feels like raw meat wrapped in a washcloth soaked in milk and sits in the center of my abdomen like a morose cat I can't shake off.
Don't you ever get so sick of being yourself? Like Ethan Hawke said in "Before Sunrise" – "I mean, I'm always WITH myself. I get so sick of myself, ALWAYS hanging around…" Something like that.
I saw an Asian kid at the train station with an "I Suck at Math" T-shirt. There's a restaurant in New York that charges $45 for a truffles and filet mignon burrito.
BOOP! BOOP! "Attention passengers…we are being delayed…waiting for signals ahead…" This is when they bother to make an announcement; usually the train just stops and sits dumbly like an alien awaiting instructions in the ways of this strange new world. I can't help kicking the side of the train car as if to say "giddyup!" It usually does get it started.
More people are superstitious than will admit to it. At least in some small way. Do you believe in Bloody Mary? No? Would you stand in a dark bathroom and say "bloody Mary" at the mirror three times? No?
Yeah, I'm…uh…not HOME. Yeah. "You're so pretty when you're unfaithful to me." I went to see The Pixies in high school with one of those guys who seems SO GAY yet always has a ton of girlfriends. "I was talkin' to Peachy Peach about Kissy Kiss…" Of course, it WAS high school; he's prob'ly come screaming out of the closet since then. But he did yell "Kim, I love you!" Maybe he'll be on "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy": "You NEED this kitten T-shirt. And these thrift store pants? To DIE for… Now smirk. STOP, you're breakin' my heart!"
The other day I threw out a pizza box. The dumpster at the side of my building was packed to its corrugated lid with crap; maybe somebody's moving out? So I put the pizza box on the tippy-top like a star on a Christmas tree and what do I see? This nasty porno right on top. OK, it was just naked chicks, but they were shaved and making stupid "oh baby" faces. I'm not a prude, but little kids could be throwing out pizza boxes… Actually, that would probably make that kid's day. I'm the wrong character for the story.
I used to call you Waste of DNA. Now I don't call you anything. You're one of those people that others use as a yardstick – "at least I'm not as big a loser as (X)!" That is, if they think of you at all…
I used to fantasize about what I'd say if I ran into you. "Haven't you killed yourself yet?" was one. It would help if I smoked and had a Marlene Dietrich voice. I'd burn a cigarette in your flesh for punctuation if I really got goin'.
I'm not really that mean. But you made your bed.
It's difficult to describe a typical workday because of the trance it puts me in. I could try to paint someone a picture but I forget the main details as I'm always focused on the periphery, scanning the horizon for any clues, any graffiti left by a kindred spirit. A romanticized way to think; can't help it when I'm bored.
It's like describing a model city under glass when you never actually look at the city but squint at patterns made by the reflections of light, trying to make out steps in what you hope is an escape ladder.
Four years of dotting my i's and crossing my t's. My brain runs on the track marked "responsibility" yet I get called irresponsible. Other people don't have to worry about this ‘cuz they don't need to read "Rich Dad, Poor Dad."
Whatever. You do what you gotta do. But I get tired of living in a Bruce Springsteen song. I mean, I like him just fine, but after awhile you yearn for something else. Don't cops sometimes blast music to get a kidnapper to surrender? Even your favorite song could be used as a weapon after awhile. Repetition breeds contempt.
"People who look for the negative find it; people who look for the positive find it."
My Dad once said he had a dream that he was walking through the desert with a group of people (or was it a forest? That would make more sense; not much can hide in a desert. But dreams don't have to be logical, of course). Anyway, he was walking with these people and he kept finding bright silver coins; nobody else noticed them.
An ex- said in a letter: "I look at the world through strange glasses; I hope I can remove them."
It's Tuesday; 100words was down over the weekend. Was it because of the blackout of 2003? Sometimes it happens without a blackout, so who knows. I saw an illustration of a line grid of the entire country on 20/20. They said "we were dangerously close to losing power in the entire country." The Mister said "if terrorists were gonna attack, that would be the time to do it." But everything was back to normal quickly (more quickly for the rich than the poor). I still have this membrane of suburban naivete covering me; nothing TRULY bad's ever happened to me.
On the 17th I went out for brunch. I had a fancy burrito with bacon, scrambled eggs, and some other healthy stuff. I figure I get an A for effort with the healthy stuff and the bacon is forgiven. The bouncer for my digestive system said "your friend says you're cool, so…OK. You can come in." The bouncer gives the evil eye, but what does bacon care? It's in the VIP lounge, baby. Oh! And the burrito had wasabi mayonnaise! Later I met with my writing group and had iced coffee and an almond cookie with a chocolate toupee. Yum!
I didn't have any new writing to bring to the writing group Sunday. I've got these, but that'd be like asking people to watch and clap every time you walk down the freakin' street or something. That is to say, these entries are kind of ends in themselves. Did you ever play piano as a kid? (Who am I talking to? OK, I'll pretend I have an audience). Anyway, I did, and my Mom taped near the piano an Uncle Sam poster that said "I want YOU to practice every day!" That's what this site is for me, only self-imposed.
It's not so bad writing 100 words a day… This is my fourth set of 100 words today (I had to play catch-up from when the site was down).
I remember at my last (ever!) temp job the guy I was replacing showed me the ropes for a couple days. Nice, but kind of smarmy. The opposite of me – more confident than what he's got goin' on. I found a file of his in the computer. He had an outline of a book he was starting. He made it sound as easy and mundane as taking the Special K challenge.
Did you ever notice that "daughter" is one letter off from "laughter"? So you could see an ESL-er pronouncing it "dafter."
A woman in Connecticut was arrested at her own wedding. When the open bar stopped, guests started serving themselves like they were looting a blacked-out town – just hopped over the bar and rummaged through the mini-fridge. The management asked them to stop; then the bride threw a fit, started swearing, flipping people off. She threw herself on the hood of the groom's truck in the parking lot. "She wound up wandering Ellington Road, barefoot and cursing," the newscaster said.
OK, so call me a snob, but if you treat your music like a 401(k) plan, people will be as excited by it as they are by the credit card solicitations that rain out on them when they open up magazines.
I never really thought much about Liz Phair one way or the other. I kinda like that "I was flying into Chicago at night" song. I'm from Chicago and I think of it when I'm flying into Chicago at night from a trip; it sounds like a warm hearth to return to, your heart bursting with love for home.
I'm in an INCREDIBLY bitchy mood today. I just feel like saying "OK, Life, we're gonna go for a little ride" and then driving really crazily with Life in the passenger seat and saying "now listen here...this is how things are gonna be..." (God, I haven't had a car since 1999 but I still associate being a badass with driving fast...it's all these damn movies, I tells ya!! Like I'm trying to move a phantom limb that's been amputated...). Maybe capitalists hide behind expensive machines to mask emotions. I'm tired of bitchy people not respecting my boundaries. Grow up already!
Rock on, Chicago. Rock over London.
He didn't have the songwriting chops of Daniel Johnston, but Wesley Willis seemed like…like one of those things you can always depend on. Like part of the cultural landscape. The type that, like ‘em or not, notice ‘em or not, you notice when they're gone. Like a big oak tree that's suddenly not there anymore.
There's a part in "American Splendor" where Harvey, in an insomniac chemotherapy haze, asks Joyce "who am I? Am I a creator of comics about ordinary life or the character I created? What will live on when I'm gone?"
Remind me never to talk about my boobs. I feel dirty. I feel like wearing muu-muus for the rest of my life and not even taking them off in the shower. What's hiding in my subconscious, feeding all this shame?
I remember getting cornered in the back of the troop leader's van by all the other Camp Fire Girls when I was…11? 12? They didn't say "eeeeww!" but it was understood. They were so suspicious of me. Overnight I was Boob Girl. One chick lifted up her shirt to show her ruler-flat chest like it was a badge of honor.
Waiting to uncoil from fetal position and stop saying "I'm dirty…I'm DIRTY…"
feel guilty? What did
do wrong? Nothing. And there's the rub – I didn't DO anything; I must just BE dirty; it must just be part of my DNA and I can scrub ‘til I'm bloody and it won't change anything.
Yesterday on "Malcolm in the Middle" the family joined a church for the free daycare. Dewey said "since God watches over us like I watch over the ants and can smite us no matter what we do, then we shouldn't worry what will happen."
She's got long, straight, platinum blonde hair. It's magnificent in a way yet it looks like something anyone could pick up and put on their head at one of those shops on Milwaukee. It makes me think of a bridal veil, if the bride left her Ohio groom at the altar 15 years ago and has been partying in the Big City ever since. She has chalky skin with bright lipstick and eyeliner meant for a much younger face.
She looks through papers that look like fliers for shows featuring her. She rocks out to heavy metal on her Walkman.
In one way I envy her larger-than-lifeness, though fully aware of its ridiculousness…ambiguous impulse to tear off a chunk of her presence to keep as a charm. After all, would
inspire strangers on the train to whip out their notebooks and scribble furiously? (Wait, I didn't like the answer last time I asked a question like that – one reason I'm not larger than life, I guess).
But people like that tend to only operate at one volume and after awhile you drop the romanticized bullshit and realize that sound is an alarm siren and you duck & cover.
is why I went online today. 100words.com. Heh. Not to trace the history of online fight between Person A I don't know and Person B I don't know.
I feel like the camera crew for the set of "Obscure But Supersensitive Writers" showed up at my place and I'm fashionably unprepared. The scene: peel off facial mask, funky old "Wonder Boys"-esque bathrobe, Donovan on the stereo, place messy; things tossed willy nilly, reflecting a life lived the way a cigarette burns, moving from point A to point B, producing debris, extinguishing. "Looking through all kinds of windows…"
A boy in Milwaukee was killed in an exorcism ceremony meant to cure him of his autism. He was smothered by sheets that the congregation placed. I thought they didn't do that anymore; that the handful of times it's happened in the past couple decades it's been dutifully vilified in the news and that steps were taken by the Church to insure it wouldn't happen again.
It must've been a poor neighborhood; the church wasn't even a church but a plain-looking storefront in a strip mall. It looked like it could've been anything, like a Check Into Cash or something.
Anyone offers you little black dots to put under your tongue – DON'T DO IT.
So yeah…gotta catch up with 100words.com after a holiday weekend.
Wow, "Dirty Pretty Things" was SUCH a good movie. So sad and infuriating and beautiful. I felt like my fellow moviegoers and I were like a brochure for how much fun it is to go to the movies – we were gasping and cheering and crying…all that shit. It had so many levels going on at once yet didn't feel weighted down; it felt rich and panoramic. "There is a heart there…I can hear it…" Powerful stuff.
Can't believe that gutless motherfucker using my first and last name… I did a Google search and you couldn't find what he wrote that way, so that's cool… Some people are so fucking clueless. It's so obvious it seems a waste of breath/typing strokes to say so. Well, I'm the one being talked about; I'm the rock star in this scenario, ainnit? Any Diva School dropout's past is littered with shit like this. It's like a crown made out of old beer cans that nevertheless manages to sparkle like the sun. Make like a duck and let it roll off…
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