08/27/10

I made a mistake.

It’s important not to take things too literarily. Life is life and movies are movies, etc. I was walking down the sidewalk and I spotted a beetle-like insect, turned over on its back, frantically clawing at the air with those black, shiny legs they have. It was iconic, for one, but also reminiscent of two months ago when I saw the exact same thing. That first time I righted the insect with a stick, which revealed the larger problem: a broken leg. It moved in circles like a rowboat with one oar. It was humiliating. I thought about philosophy, and eventually decided the best course of action was to leave it on the sidewalk. A wounded insect wants to be stepped on, I reasoned.

This time I righted the thing again, and the beetle seemed physically fit… it ran down the sidewalk for a few seconds, and then plop! The idiotic bug flipped over once more. What is this, a flaw in nature’s design? What was the fucking deal? I moved it to the grass to see if it liked that better, and the thing seemed to flounder. The truth is I fell in love with the insect, or the romantic idea of it, anyway. I wanted the event to mean something disgusting or wonderful for my life. I resolved then to scoop it up and take it home with me. I would put it in a jar and it would become my pet. Perhaps I’d place it next to my bed and it would whisper stories to me in sleep. I decided this was a good idea.

I have a little tomboy in me but not so much that I’m going to carry a beetle in my bare hands. After a few failures (a leaf, etc.) I designed on a simple paper funnel as carrier. It tried furiously to jump out of the funnel and then fell down again, dejected. My second thoughts began at this time.

When I got home I put the beetle inside a sprouting jar. It’s breathable, it has holes! I thought this would be the point in the LARP where other hilarities ensued: What will I name the beetle? What do beetles eat? Water source? But it turned into something else.

The story becomes very dark. I learned something about beetles. When you find them turned on their back, groping at the air like mad men, this is not to be mistaken as a cry for help. It is, in fact, a suicide.

Allow me a little heaviness: It’s the same action with humans; I’ve seen it. On my grandmother’s death bed, I watched her grope out at nothing in front of her, her old withered hands having turned into claws. She looked like a kitten playing with yarn. She looked like she was trying to catch fireflies and failing. She looked like she was dying. A few hours later, she was dead.

The beetle is in a sprouting container on my kitchen counter and it is phenomenally depressed. It crawled to a corner and hasn’t moved since. It wanted to die on its back in nature with dignity, and instead it’s dying face down in plastic, all because I went searching for literary meaning somewhere I didn’t belong.

Next time you find yourself gazing at a single flower in a vase on the windowsill, in a urine scented stairwell, or standing with a bloody knife in your hands over your ex lover’s mother: take caution. You’re probably just in somebody’s story. Flip a light switch.

08/25/10

Dogs.

You may remember that I am a professional dog walker/sitter, in the sense that I profess a level of competency in the field, based on nothing, really, and I occasionally get paid for my services. These animals, with a few exceptions, love me. They doubtless love their owners too, but it can be startling how quickly they’re willing to shift their affection to any human who pays attention to them. (see: the attention economy.) Theres is an unconditional love – or at least, based on the measliest of conditions. It’s not even “feed me.” Just “touch me.” Who am I kidding, I’m the same way.

The puggles I walk on wednesdays are undeniably adorable, albeit useless little alien pig-like anomalies of nature. They don’t play fetch, sit on command, fetch newspapers (ha!) They in fact embarrass me. At the dog park when people tell me how adorable they are, I scream “they’re not mine!” But still. In my car they crawl around excitedly, like little, retarded toddlers. I talk to them. I have lengthy conversation that I imagine someone is overhearing. (No one is.) I’ve been referring to them as boys, as in “let’s go boys.” “shut up, boys.” etc. although, as I understood it, they were a boy and a girl: Rocky and Jayda. Today I looked closer at Rocky’s heart shaped tag and saw the name “Roxanne.” Hmm. Quick check revealed no external genitalia and gosh was my face red! So Rocky is Roxy and the boys are girls. I’m gonna keep calling them “boys” to be different. Brevity brevity brevity. I’ll tell you about some of my other charges later, resting on the belief that it’s not what you say but how you say it, cuz honestly, other people’s dogs? zzzzzzz.

Except three more things:
1. To a dog, the mouth is like a hand. A hand you can taste things with, but also pick up things with, but only a limited number of things. I theorize dogs don’t long for fingers so much as two mouths.
2. I get jealous of how much they love rawhide bones. I wish I loved something that much. I doubt I love my mother as much as they seem to love gnawing on shit.
3. That shameful look on their faces? It’s always there, but most apparent to the observer when they’re pooing. It’s the same way their smiles are not really smiles. A smiling dog is bound to start whimpering, and the illusion = shattered.

08/24/10

Tits.

6. A Conversation on a beach in Provincetown, MA:
I asked a gorgeous, sun-bathing Enriques Iglasias-looking man to watch my bag while I went swimming. Upon emerging, a brief conversation ensued.
Gay dreamboat: Did you have fun swimming?
Molly: It was amazing! I’m from Michigan. It’s been years since I swam in the ocean.
Gay dreamboat: You have lakes.
Molly: I know that.

9. In my notebook on an airplane:
The first thing you do is change into something less comfortable. Wear it on the wings of the most expensive bird you can find and then sing to it. Never give up. If you love someone and they love you and it’s meant to be, don’t worry. You’ll play their favorite song on the jukebox, they’ll text you a line from some obscure poet who defined you in high school, and you’ll know. Forget about where your birth certificate is – remember the archetypal mother. Suck from her breasts without blushing. Do everything and then come back and show me how.

08/23/10

Coffee, Ohio, The Holocaust, etc.

I went on vacation. I didn’t keep a journal, per se, but this mind of mine? A steel strap. (Typo, I’m keeping it.) I’ve also been reading that the Internet is filled with MTV babies who don’t want to read long things. I understand. I’ll go you one further: I don’t want to read anything. So, after the fact, I recreated some memories in list form, and I figure every day for the next little bit I’ll post an item or three from the list.

4. At a McDonalds in Boston:
I asked for coffee in my travel mug. They brought a paper cup full of coffee to the counter, poured its contents into my mug, and threw away the cup right in front of me. It was like in the holocaust when Nazis would shoot a mother’s children in front of her and then leave her there to live. It’s like that in kind but, I’ll concede, not scale.

8. In route from Ohio to Michigan:
How many hearts can one woman shatter in the span of fourteen days? Answer: At least two. Possibly four.

3. A park in Brooklyn, New York. Specifically, Williamsburg.
Let me preface this by saying that hipsters are not bad people. Also, the truth is, I sort of like fashion. I like it best on others, and I like noting regional differences. New York is different from Montana. The men: tight shirts, cut off shorts. The women: high waisted shorts, tank tops, superfluous belts. I attended a picnic. I saw an older man, late 50′s, a large belly hanging over shorts, pulled up socks, a polo shirt, and a red, earnest face. I saw him walk by once with a plastic sack full of water, then I saw him walk by a second time, and this steel strap of mine took note. The big reveal: the man was watering a small, dying tree in the center of the park. What a man! How lucky to be alive to see it, and indeed, all things.

08/4/10

Buddhism Bootcamp, wrap up.

On the one hand, ten days of Vipassana meditation is a lot like jail* except there are more rules and your imprisonment is voluntary. On the other hand, what an illuminating, invaluable experience! Consulting the list I made on my last post, I would say that all 5 of the first objectives were achieved.

1. The Saturn handled like a champ. I even managed to pick up a hitchhiker on the way home, and my little sedan handled the sheer weight of all of our heartbreaking life stories with aplomb. More on the hitchhiker later.
2. I shut up and sat still. I remembered how, and this is not nothing, because forgetting happens. You might think the effect is mystical, but it’s not. If anything, it is more ordinary, and the ordinariness makes it special.
3. I was alone. I missed my friends and family and life and books and pen and paper and computer, but how wonderful, to realize how much you love exactly what you already have. Pardon the sentimentality, but so true.
4. A better person? I hope so. It’s not that I learned anything new so much as the things I knew intellectually somehow in doing nothing came to the surface experientially. I learned that I’m far too easy on myself in some areas and far too hard on myself in others, and as alcoholics are so fond of saying, I think I gained some wisdom in recognizing the difference.
5. Discipline? I hope so, and I hope it lasts.

So 5 for 5 on that shit, and other gains as well that I don’t even feel like going into! So then the second list I made were all these things I wanted to manifest, and this list I’m pretty sure was met with exactly opposite results.

1. A shiny new bike
What did I think? Did I think there’d be a brand new Shwinn with a big red bow on it waiting for me in the living room? Things generally don’t materialize out of thin air. Remember when science didn’t exist, and if suddenly there was a book lying on the table the people concluded that the table gave birth to the book? Well, we don’t live in that time anymore, and the driveway didn’t give birth to a bicycle in my absence.
2. A couch to replace our shitty futon
Not only no new couch, but in fact, I came home to discover we’d been evicted. We didn’t do anything wrong, it’s just that we live in our landlords house and our landlord has suddenly decided to move. Impermanence! The good news is I don’t have to move a new couch.
3. Chastity & Continence
The truth is that I had a sort of micro romance with the hitchhiker. In my defense, he was 22, free spirited, and here is the clincher, covered in red freckles. I am not sorry.
4. Make me neater
It’s hard to say.
5. The greatest writer that ever lived?
Again, it’s hard to say, but I did have waiting for me in the mail a rejection letter from “The Michigan Quarterly Review” that probably should have left me feeling despondent but instead made me positively giddy and grateful to be alive. I felt like a real writer. You know, the struggling kind. A handwritten little blurb at the bottom used words like “witty” and “imaginative approach.” (Barf.)

So this Saturday I leave for New York, then a brief stint in Provincetown, MA, and then a week in Detroit. Adventure! Friends: I hope to talk to you from there.

*and yeah, I’ve been to jail, long story**
**it’s actually not that long of a story: booze + drugs + a perceived lowly socioeconomic status due to lack of showering = brief incarceration. I digress and that’s how come the asterisks.