The Shinning!

Every now and then I go a little too far in the gloom and doom direction… my last post may have been an example of that. Thanks to everybody who wrote me emails, said nice things or looked at me from across the room with eyes like yellow labs. I love you very much as well!

Anyway, things are looking up. I got three job interviews this week, the most promising of which is a housekeeping position at a retirement home that begins every morning at 5 AM. Do not feel sorry for me! I really want the job! After all, I’m not looking for a goddamn career. I just want a job that I can shut up and ignore, and all these woes will serve for sweet discourses in our times to come. I can already see myself looking back fondly on that time I had to cover my tattoos so that old people who are confused about the time and place won’t think the robin on my forearm is a pterodactyl about to eat their medicine. However, this website has great ink ideas for an original surrealism tattoo and more.

They said they would call me about the job after they do a background check and call my references. So, as long as “background check” just means a cursory search in a police database to see if I have any felonies, I should be good. If background check means “google search”… well.

Yesterday my roommate made me mad and I announced loudly on twitter that I was going to kill him and then go on a murderous rampage through the neighborhood killing everyone in sight until the police took me down (like a Halloween thing!) I was totally JK about the second part; I’m not a monster.

At night, we watched The Shining alone in the dark on my laptop. I said, “Take this melatonin, Jesse.” It will help you sleep, Jesse. Go ahead. Take the capsule. And then we cuddled and talked about how awesome Shelley Duvall’s outfits are. Take a look at those yellow boots!

It occurred to me a little too late that if Jesse were to suffer some freak, inexplicable death in the night, it would be hard to explain away my tweets. I should be more careful.

But really, in all seriousness, I poisoned his melatonin. Jesse convulsed in his sleep, foam dribbled down his chin and his limbs contorted in terrifying ways. He has such pretty eyes when he’s hurt and scared! It’s a rare look on him! No, I know. You still think I’m joking. Ha ha. No really. Jesse is dead. I murdered my roommate in his sleep and then dragged his lifeless corpse into the garage where he will enjoy a long, lonely winter.

Oh my god, one last thing: I’m worried that I eat too much tofu and I’m going to get breast cancer. It raises your estrogen, you guys. Seriously. This is serious. I should really start looking into healthy alternatives to soy.

To review: 1. Sorry for being a crybaby earlier. 2. I am clearly a person who hates money, as evidenced by my repeated and systematically self sabotaging behavior with regards to the job hunt. 3. The Shining is a really good movie. 4. I killed Jesse as a halloween prank.  5. Send me your soy free vegan recipes!




the beagles were kidnapped.

Let me just get this out of the way and tell you, in case you’re not my facebook friend or you missed it: Our beagles were kidnapped. The lady who gave them to us on craigslist had a change of heart and scooped them back up. It’s very sad. That afternoon while we were out I found this orange rubber stick for a dog in the street and I brought it home for them. Of course when we went inside they were gone. It’s like something out of a novel written for children in the seventies. (Seems like there were millions of kids books back then about boys and their dogs.) The orange stick makes it so embarrassing. The orange stick says, “Aw, look at this fool who let herself love something. Look who earnestly expected things to go well, or at the very least stay the same.” Anyway, the beagles are gone. It’s sad, but there’s nothing to be done about it, and I do NOT want to talk about it. Don’t ever mention the beagles to me again.

I’ve been trying to transition back into adulthood, and it sucks. I am severely underemployed. I have this tutoring gig that starts at the beginning of November, but it’s part time, and everybody needs money; that’s why it’s called money. Is there anything more frustrating than looking for work? It’s become obvious that my six month experiment of not owning or operating a car is coming to a close. I can’t seem to find a job that doesn’t require reliable transportation. Meanwhile, winter promises to come down hard on Montana at any moment and my bike doesn’t have fenders.

So I need to get a car loan, which means I need to open up a bank account here in Missoula. I showed the lady at the bank my passport and a piece of mail in order to prove residency, but all I had was a handwritten envelope from my friend Mike from that time he sent me his poetry chapbook. I held up the evidence, and the lady said that it was not good evidence. She said I needed something more official looking. “Do you have a Montana drivers license?” No. “Are you on your lease?” No. “Do you have a registered vehicle in Montana?” No. That’s why I’m here for a car loan. I am nothing and own nothing. She told me she couldn’t do anything for me without a more official looking document on my side. Blocked at every turn, I thought. She said that my voter registration card would do, which I’m supposed to get in the mail any day now. The crux of my life has been whittled down to waiting for a voter registration card.

Then I did something that up until now I never would have done, an action born from some new and terrible place inside of me I didn’t know existed: I stared at her. I looked her right in the eyes without moving until I could see just a little bit of fear and panic looking back at me, and I kept staring. I tried to bully her into letting me open an account at the credit union anyway. It didn’t work, but it made me feel powerful. I learned this from Jesse.

I had a student who did that to me once, too, after I told him that he couldn’t write a third paper on steroids. “Your first two papers were on steroids,” I said. “You’ve already demonstrated sufficient knowledge of steroids.” This guy had arms the size of my thighs, and he didn’t like being told what he could and couldn’t do, and he stared me down. I was scared, but I didn’t let him write his third paper on steroids. I saw on facebook the other day that now he’s a model for Hollister. I guess he’s a good-looking kid, now that I think about it. His last paper was a personal essay about bad things that happened to him in his life, and it’s to date the only essay from a student that’s ever made me cry.

I’m getting off track, which is fine. I came here to write about how hard it is to find a job and how terrible life is. It’s just this dumb and sad state of affairs where I have a masters degree and a resume filled with writing accolades, editing jobs, publications and teaching, in a town where that’s all anybody is fucking good at. I’m applying for housekeeping jobs, office work, custodial work, dishwashing, fucking anything. Half the people in this town have been telling me for months (via anonymous internet heckling) to quit thinking I’m fucking special and get down in the dirt and work like everybody else. The other half tell me to pursue my “passions” and write a book. Neither half is willing to actually give me a job. I want to die. I can’t write a book. My writing hasn’t been good lately. I’m no longer good at writing, and no employer is willing to take my word for it that I just want to put my head down and do some goddamn dishes for minimum wage.

It’s frustrating. My self esteem is at an all time low. Even if what everybody tells me is true, what’s the point of being so fucking talented if I can’t even take care of myself?

I told my parents about Jesse, my roommate/boyfriend. (Individually, of course, do you think I’m the product of dual parenting? Please.) I said, “I’m living with someone but I think he might be a little insane,” and they didn’t bat an eye. They were both relieved and thrilled that I’d found a strong man to live with and I was no longer out on the street or living with a bunch of shitty, dirty children in a punk rock anarchist collective.

Even more unrelated than the anecdote about my student obsessed with steroids: Of late I keep finding myself plagued with this weird, unpleasant memory from five or six years ago, back when my friend Ed killed himself. He was having some relationship problems, one thing led to another, he got into heroin and he shot himself in the head. It was terrible, obviously. The overwhelming feeling was that it was a terrible mistake, that it shouldn’t have happened. I even had a psychic tell me once years later, “Your friend Ted wanted me to tell you that he never meant to kill himself. It was a mistake.” The memory I’m talking about is from the funeral. I’d never met his mother before that day, but there she was. She looked very much like my mother. She said to me, “I’m his mother,” and her eyes welled up with tears and I hugged her. And then after the funeral service I was walking down the aisle, and we were suddenly face to face, and impulsively, without thinking about anything, I hugged her again. It was a supernatural hug. In that moment she was my mother and I was her daughter and I was telling her how sorry I was for accidentally killing myself. I can’t stop thinking about it. I wonder if she remembers me at all, but we’re not in touch and I have no way of knowing.

Jesse is fed up with Missoula and life and I can’t say that I blame him. He wants to move to a tiny town in Minnesota and build a boat.

I don’t know what’s going to happen.



don’t send help.

Yesterday morning we were out of coffee, which I hate. It took everything I had to power my body down to the Safeway. I thought I’d take just one of the dogs with me, so I took Edward, the handsome beagle. I tied him to the bike rack as if he were the horse I rode in on. He barked louder than I’ve ever heard an animal bark in my life, and then I paid $2.25 for the world’s worst coffee. (Safeway, what the fuck? You burn your coffee every single time. It’s not an anomale at this point, you just serve burnt coffee.) A man loomed by the bike racks.

“That dog’s got some anxiety issues,” he said.
“I know that.”
“Looks like he’s got some coon hound in him.”
“He’s a beagle.”
“And some pitbull.” the Man added. “You can see it in his face.”
“No. He’s just a beagle.”

Mind you, I’m not inordinately attached to the idea that my dog is a purebred animal, and he doesn’t have fucking papers or anything, but for some reason I found it incredibly irritating that this guy didn’t know what a beagle was. He persisted again:

“I’d say he’s part coon hound, part pitbull.”
“Sir, you’re just describing what the parts of two dogs add up to, which is a beagle.”

I tried to look up dog training videos on how to train your dog to be tied outside of a business without crying, but the searches just came back with “Don’t tie your dog up outside of a business.” You can’t win.

The dogs love me. They follow me from room to room; they whine and cry when I leave. I am the new love of their life. I take them for lots of walks. Earlier, the smoke had cleared and the wheat colored hills to the north had no cows on them, but now the smoke is back and there are cows. I think they’re cows, anyway. They could be black mounds with legs, but who would go to such trouble.

The dogs love me, but they fear and respect my roommate. The beagles got out and wouldn’t listen when I told them to come in. I said, “Jesse, call your dogs.” And Jesse said, “Get in the house” and it’s like they understood English; they just ran inside single file. Jesse said to me, “Here’s the difference between you and me: You ask them to do things, and I tell them.”

I hate that, but he’s right, and I don’t understand the difference. There’s a finality inside of Jesse that doesn’t exist in me, and I don’t know how to find it. I read about dog training all day long, and Jesse just does it. It pisses me off.

I might have to stop writing about my roommate so much, for a lot of different reasons.

1. It’s weird to make an art project out of your relationship. It’s just plain weird.
2. He said in the beginning that he wanted me to write about him, but that always has its limits. He was a little sore the other day. He said “I just wish you wouldn’t write about me with your emotions” to which I said, “What the fuck are you talking about? That’s how I write everything.”
3. I can never get to the heart of the matter. The really good stuff is classified. To really get to the heart of Jesse, you have to rip him open, and then he’d be dead and it would be too serious.
4. My roommate is damaged goods. He’s an abused pitbull who snarls and bites people who try to get close to him. He’s misunderstood and he’s been hurt in the past. It sounds condescending, but I don’t mean it that way. Jesse is smarter than me, and he knows how to take care of himself, and it’s thrilling to watch him navigate the world. I love him exactly how he is, but there’s something wrong with him. He’s not like normal people. I think he might be the three-legged dog I’ve been dreaming about.
5. I should save him for the book.

One of the mini poodles escaped today. Two hours of unmitigated anxiety, plus imagining that phone call: “Funny story, I killed your dog…” But he came back. After that I had lunch with an author in town who invited me out specifically to remind me of my potential. He said, “You could write anything you put your mind to.” Being reminded of your potential is fine when you’re using it, but when you’re just sitting around not writing, it cuts like a knife. I’m not mad at anybody, I’m just anxious. Not writing feels like your dog ran away and you don’t know if he’s ever coming back. I should put an ad on craigslist. My beloved book has gone missing! Send help.

Casey Hannan and I did this story exchange thing for Story Tapes. Watch it! I am robotic and my eyes are all wrong, but I think look pretty.


four dogs, two humans.

My brain still doesn’t think my life is real life. I don’t know why, cuz I mean, look around, it’s the realest. We eat a lot of potatoes and tonight I’ve got big plans of steaming up the rest of the red cabbage. We’re like the Bucket family in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. They were pretty hardcore vegans until they got their hands on an unlimited supply of milk chocolate. “It wasn’t even really a chocolate river,” the kid who played Augustus Gloop later told reporters. “It was cold, dirty water.” At least, that’s what my friend Alice says he said; who knows if it’s true. She does the Austrian accent and everything, it’s hilarious!

The point is, four dogs live here now. The mini poodles are a contract pet sitting job from craigslist. The rancher who owns two mini poodles will be back in three weeks to collect his pups when he returns from the oil fields. There’s no reason to think the rancher won’t come back for his mini poodles.


Here are some old cranky poodles named Corky and Roxy. They think that my lap belongs to them. They are the prince and princess of my free orange chair. Everything in this picture but my satchel is curtesy of craigslist.

In an entirely separate incident, my roommate found the beagles in the “for sale: general” section of craigslist listed for one dollar. It’s fate, he argued. Who else would find an ad for two perfect beagles when they were so miscategorized? Like our love—like our improbable craigslist love, when you go looking for a roommate and instead find a loveless marriage—the dogs were meant to be ours. So that’s how we went from having zero dogs to four emotionally needy little animals in a single Sunday afternoon. They’re squirmy and hard to photograph, I’ll say that for them.

After some big important scent, I'm sure.


The beagles came to us with the names Bella and Buster, which is too much alliteration, anyone would agree, but then again, they seem to know their names well enough and who are we, their new slave masters? Jesse likes the name Bella but wants to call the bigger one Edward. He thinks it’s hilarious to reference Twilight in this way. I don’t always get my roommate’s sense of humor. He also thinks it would be really funny to go to the polls and vote for Romney. Ha ha. Voted for Romney. And there’s all the Nazi stuff on his Facebook page. Ha ha. The Third Reich. We’re still getting to know each other I guess.

My mom saw a psychic, and the psychic told my mother, “Which of your kids is the writer? This person should write a book.”

The world has high hopes for me and I fucking hate that. How come psychics never tell people, “I see your daughter, sitting on a comfy orange chair surrounded by spooky clouds and music. She should continue to fulfill her destiny by watching “The Dog Whisperer” and “Animal Hoarders” for hours a day, Ooooooo……”