06/30/11

Hi, I’m a wreck.

It seems like we’re being dramatic, and we are. Writers, I mean. Everything’s a matter of life and death with us weirdos. When we’re writing, we feel bad. When we’re not writing, we feel worse, and then there are these vague periods in between where life just has a vague film of “ugh” on it. Maybe I don’t speak for all of us, but personally, I can’t think of a writer who I both respect and is “happy” in any conventional sense.

 

a quote I was willing to make fun of as little as two weeks ago.

I am particularly torn apart by horses, even more than usual, because I haven’t been writing. Correction: I write 27 hours a day for my job (at the Missoula Independent – I don’t want to hyperlink for whatever reason) and I come home weary and exhausted. On the one hand my silly little 300 word articles are read by lots of people I know in real life and it can be super rewarding. But then the locals get mad at me when I fuck up their event listing and I have to go cry in the bathroom. Molly hates having people being mad at her more than just about anything.

I’m trying to think of what else I’ve been doing besides working, worrying about not writing, tweeting and feeling sorry for myself. Let’s see.

I broke up with my boyfriend, and it was terrible, and exhausting, and heartbreaking, and I feel like a monster! I want to lock myself up in the attic. I’m 29 and every relationship I’ve been in has ended, either because I broke up with them, did something monstrous, or both. This leads me to believe that I am incapable of maintaining a relationship, which is not so much a belief as a cold, hard fact, empirically supported by the data. Anyway, I hate myself. And I know I brought it up and everything but I don’t want to talk about it. I’ve been told that one day he and I will be okay.

Lastly, I’ve been gorging myself on A&E’s Intervention, Obsessed, and Hoarders. Addicts I get, that’s easy, of course you can’t stop drinking. That’s why it’s called drinking, but the hoarding and the OCD stuff feels way voyeuristic. I’m like the anti-hoarder. I’m liable to throw away my toothbrush for no reason and then be all, “oh shit, I needed that.” I am like certain hoarders in the sense that I’m kind of a slob. To paraphrase my friend Alice, who is the same as me: “I seriously just like, don’t see dirt.” I watched six episodes of Hoarders back to back hoping it would somehow pull me out of my existential torpor and convince me to do my laundry, but instead I just decided it could wait, since I don’t shit in a bag and then throw the bag in the corner. God, a lot of those Hoarders are total assholes, especially the old women. At least a drug addict has the good sense to hate themselves. The hoarders are all “this isn’t garbage, it’s somebody else’s fault you found a flattened cat behind the refrigerator, blah blah blah.” If one of those old women were my mother I would stab her. Seriously bitch, your doll collection is tearing this family apart.

So there, I wrote something. It’s not my novel but it’s a start. Celebrate the small victories.

 

06/20/11

Vanquish, OED definition = defeat thoroughly

I’ve been walking around with a worn, red copy of The Catcher in the Rye in my satchel for the last week or two, which is just, you know, not a recipe for happiness.

The book has changed for me some since I read it 100 times in high school, but not too much I guess. It’s a book of profound sadness, but there’s some levity. I think as a kid I took every scene deathly serious. I’ve been thinking about it in terms of my own novel. I want to write something “voice driven” (take a moment to puke and come back) and sad and breezy and interesting. In high school I sent a promise to my grown up self not to abandon me. I was a passionate, smart teenager, and I wanted literature that reflected that people like me existed to prove we weren’t all fucking morons who listened to bad music and feared authority. So I’ve toyed around with writing a novel from a 17-year-old girl’s perspective. But you know what, 17-year-old self? I don’t think I can do it. Sorry. I fear it will be too boring and painful, and I can’t slip into YA. That’s just something I cannot do at this time. Back to the drawing board.

Time out: click on the link under “small stories” and vote for mine at Snake Oil Cure. If you want. It’s called, “Bad Day.” I want to win for personal reasons. Personally, I like winning. :Time in.

One more thing about The Catcher in the Rye before moving on. This is for the search engines. Holden Caulfield is a 6 on the enneagram. He’s not a 4 or a 5 like I know you all want him to be. Look at the way he is simultaneously repelled and attracted to people, the way he roams the streets and is dying to have conversations with everybody. Look at how he thinks one thing about someone and says the exact opposite. At one point he says he’s “anxious as hell” or “nervous as hell” or something like that; I forget which. He’s insanely counter-phobic. Think about it.

And here’s one more thing for lazy high school English teachers. It’s neither insightful nor true to conclude that the big, take home point of the book is the paradox of Holden Caulfield claiming everyone is a phony whilst being a phony himself. Despising the piano player and simultaneously asking to have a drink with him isn’t phony. It’s psychologically honest. People live in contradictory states all day every day. Holden is sixteen and naive and displays age appropriate cynicism. He’s frustrated with retarded social conventions and who can blame him? Not this girl. 12 years since we first met, and I still want to marry Holden Caulfield and vanquish my illiterate enemies.

Enough.

I played terrible poker last night. I don’t know if you play, but it’s like this: sometimes you feel on, and sometimes you make a bet or check, and just a second after your brain says, “Why the fuck did I do that?” I mean, at one point I tried to bluff this dude out of $40 pots with $5 raises on the river. (For the uninitiated: that’s stupid. He would be insane not to call that. He was “pot committed.”) It’s embarrassing to play bad poker as a woman. It just reaffirms the other player’s beliefs about the fairer sex. Anyway, it was only by some miracle I didn’t bust out and managed to recoup my funds and break even. I won $41 dollars on my $40 investment and made a big drunk production about giving the dealer a shitty $1 tip. I can get real belligerent when I play poker, you might be surprised to learn.

What a game, what a game.

06/11/11

a big bang out of buying a blanket.

I’m starving and stark raving, but nothing, nothing, will get me out of bed to make myself breakfast. I woke up with a head that felt pulled apart by horses. I made coffee. I puked up the coffee and drank some more. Like every morning, I laid in bed and looked at the Internet and re-evaluated my life.

I’ve been sick all week. Here are the places my illness has been travelling.

Monday: A tickling in my throat and persistent coughing.
Tuesday: The throat but more so, and like bubbles travelling throughout the rest of my body. A terrible ache, fever, fatigue. I had to go to work and write all my articles and event listings anyway. I felt proud of myself, and also tired.
Wednesday: A little better but still bad. It’s all in my nose and sinuses and I’m still very tired. Dumb and high in the head but not in a fun way. I took the day off.
Thursday: The nose knows. The neti pot fails to irrigate my sinus cavities.
Friday: The illness has become existential. It’s just a minor cold, nothing more, but I’m still so tired, and I have this weird strung out feeling like I took ecstasy yesterday and I’m clad in that hung over cloak I used to wear a lot. I wanted to go out and see my friends but I just couldn’t. I rewatched the heartbreaking, wonderful, poetic and tragically true DFW interview with Charlie Rose. I’m rereading The Catcher in the Rye. I drank a juicebox for grownups with three glasses of red wine inside and went to bed.
Saturday: Coffee colored vomit, but that’s the drinking. It’s still just the slight cold in my nose. Really, I’m all better.

There’s no reason to be so down; things are going really well for me. Got an email from the MacDowell Colony and they gave me a fellowship to go stay there and work on my novel this fall. I could go for up to 8 weeks but my bosses and I compromised on 4. I may live to regret that but a month of writing summer camp still sounds like a great time. I’m really, really happy and excited. I allowed myself to want this, a lot, and this time, I didn’t get hurt.

My mom loves me and is always proud of me and on my side. After I told her, she sent me this text message. It’s so charming I want to have it framed: OMG. James Baldwin wrote Giovanni’s Room at the MacDowell Colony.

Okay. I might be willing to make myself breakfast at this time, but something tasteless and Soviet, because I can’t smell anything and I’m still not interested in fun. It feels good to write and I thank you as always for reading.

06/5/11

literary adventures, part 1.

  • My sister is four years older. She read every night under the covers and I thought that seemed like a brainy thing to do. I inherited all the books. I always liked books and I was always messy. It started with a strip of duct tape across the pink carpet but I couldn’t contain my mess and I must have thought it was hilarious to throw clothes over, but anyway, they put me in a walk-in closet where my bedroom stayed for the next several years and I’m sure that led to a lot of reading.
  • My sister taught me how. At first I just memorized the book, but after awhile they saw through that parlor trick and kept changing up the material. I don’t know when this was. The normal age people read.
  • In elementary school every year we got to write stories in bound books made of cardboard and wallpaper, and I thought authoring a good book made you powerful. Where did I come up with that idea? He-Man and Shera get their power by Greyskull. Gem had a magic guitar or something. Some questions just remain unanswered.
  • In fourth grade we had a substitute. He read us “The Tell-Tale heart” and I was like, whaaaaaaaaat? I wanted to pull the halloween decorations down from the attic in spring and drape spiderwebs all over the furniture.
  • Two years later on the first day of sixth grade at the big new middle school where my life was about to turn into a daily horror show but I didn’t know that yet, our first hour teacher tried to lighten the mood by offering a prize to whoever could tell him the author of “The Pit and the Pendulum,” and I screamed Edgar Allan Poe because I didn’t yet know it wasn’t cool to read and know things. Mr. Roth gave me a dollar out of his own wallet, and I thought, middle school is weird.
  • In seventh grade we read a Jack London story, one of the dog point of view ones. Something devastating happened to the dog, and the dog fully realized how hard his life was going to be thereafter, and then came the single sentence, He sat down. My teacher said, “look at that. Notice how simple it is and how much meaning it conveys.” I thought it was so profound. I looked around the room to see if anybody else was having a moment but they all looked cruel or bored or frightened, like always. Fuck all of them. I knew what I’d learned, and my mind was blown and I’ve never ever forgotten it.
  • “High school’s better than junior high. They’ll call you names, but not as much to your face” – Welcome to the Dollhouse.
  • This is getting too long. I’ll add more later.

Of course it’s never how you remember it. Back in fourth grade the substitute was just a grown up, an anonymous old person. In memories after that I matured and decided he was 25 and sexy. I’ll never know, and I can never go back and say, “hey, edgy substitute. you changed me.”

I found the Jack London quote, and again it’s not quite the way I remember. I think it was, “He sat down, and the men laughed at him,” and it’s from The Call of the Wild.

I think I remember at one point magic was real, and tiny leprechauns lived in the grass and used mushrooms for umbrellas, but again I may be mistaken.