01/30/13

Now take away the room.

Reason number 237 why I can’t seem to get ahead in life:
I was talking to one of my roommates about how unfortunate it is that I should have to work for a living, but in a cheeky tone, I hoped. We started talking about get rich quick schemes, and I told him about my spell idea. Get this: What if you had a magic spell that turned all of your pennies into quarters? That’s it. Life would be perfect. You could have anything you ever wanted. I’d become a penny hustler and before long it would probably teach me a lesson about temperence or something. One day I’d find myself floating in an indoor pool in a mansion I had built on a private island, coked out of my mind, hookers everywhere, and a trusted friend would say to me: Molly, you’ve changed.

My roommate agreed that it would be a great spell, but then he added that there are for real ways to turn pennies into quarters. By hard work and ingenuity. Moving a little money around. Getting things going. I told him that I’d rather spend my life looking for a magical wizard to cast my penny spell than to ever take the time to legitimately make money. That’s a limiting belief that I should probably re-examine in the future, which is why I mentioned it.

After that I invited my roommate into the shoebox out back where I live so he could see all the stuff I bought at the thrift store. There’s the lamp that is also a brass turtle, no big deal. At my house, you read by the glowing shell of a turtle.

Another big deal is the homemade quilt from the Goodwill store for 5 dollars. One side of the quilt is patchwork, and the other is made from the same material as my sheets from when I was a kid. God, our parents were weird. Why didn’t they just sprinkle LSD on our cereal? These sheets have the same effect. Some old woman made this blanket with tenderness and care, and then she died and the blanket got put in a box. Her children dropped the box off and that’s that. Just like Holden Caulfield’s crotchety old teacher, I got a big bang out of buying a blanket.

Forget your imagination, this is the blanket.

My roommate couldn’t get over the poster of DaVinci’s The Last Supper hanging on my wall. He was really fucking into the architecture, and he convinced me that it creates the optical illusion of a whole other room, connected to my room, just past Jesus and his friends. Here’s what’s standing in the other room.

It's the other me.

01/26/13

I heart romance.

New cities are frightening and confusing, without a doubt, but really, everywhere is mostly the same. We watch the same TV, buy the same shit in stores. Everywhere has stoplights and poor people. You feel bad in the living room, get up, go to the refrigerator, feel bad in the kitchen. The houses I clean all have little towers to hold their toothbrushes in. Everybody’s got a goddamn vase and a picture frame on the wall. Half of you are halfway through a jigsaw puzzle on the dining room table, big deal. Weather makes a difference some, but not too much. Even if you’ve never seen snow, you’ve heard about it.

Not to be a total downer. There’s nothing wrong with everything being the same everywhere. There’s nothing wrong with anything.

Speaking of television. Last week I started watching the Bachelor on hulu. If you’re judging me, back off, I have my reasons. You don’t need me to tell you that the people on these shows are shallow monsters, unimaginably stupid and probably actors ad-libbing a script. This is the show’s 17th season; the scholarship has been done.

Again, who knows if he’s for real or not, but I’m struck by the bachelor, Sean, how dopey and sincere he seems to be about finding his wife out of a pool of 25 sluts on network television. He seems to be a man with no interests or preferences, so inevitably he falls in love with all the women. He’s like a bird who has tumbled out of the nest and thinks every object he sees is his mother. I went ahead and transcribed some clips.

SEAN: I know you said you're an army brat, but there's so much I don't know about you, so...
LINDSAY: Yes. My parents are still together. They've been together for forever. My dad's a general in the army, so...
SEAN: Wow.
LINDSAY: It's crazy, you know, its awesome. But um when my parents do have that time together, they make it count.
SEAN: Yeah. I love that. I'm all about family, and it's really refreshing-
LINDSAY: You are?
SEAN: Yeah. I love family.
LINDSAY: That's awesome.
SEAN: I can't imagine how it's going to feel when I have my own kids and a wife-
LINDSAY: It's just something that I want more than anything. It's- I want more than anything to marry my best friend and have a family and just give them everything.
SEAN: Yeah.
LINDSAY: Everything, yeah.

SEAN, TO THE CAMERA:
I was blown away by lindsay. Lindsay showed me another side that I didn't see the first night.

That is really inspiring and romantic. It must be hard to find a girl in her twenties in America interested in starting a family and having children. They are soul mates. Here’s another one.

ASHLEE: I definitely want as many children as my husband and I decide.
SEAN: I can feel the love coming from your heart and it's just so endearing.

Also, there’s a girl on the show with one arm. If you don’t know how I feel about amputees, well: I’m for them.

Until next time, friends.

01/19/13

sleepless in seattle is a real thing.

Dear Diary,

I can’t remember why I moved to Seattle. I know I must have made the decision at some point, but I don’t know what prompted it. Why Seattle specifically, I mean. Nevertheless. I’ve been here since January 2nd. Jesse and I broke up right after Halloween, but we kept living together and behaving as a unit, so it didn’t seem worth mentioning. It was probably shortly after he threatened to kill my dog if I went to the movies that I started to think I should leave the state for good.  I took my plants with me, which was a mistake, because they died in transit. Jesse had already started eating the chickens–there were six when I left, but then an animal came in and murdered four more, leaving only crooked-toe and Dorothy. (Or is it Sylvia? I’m not sure.) It feels like the deaths are my fault. I still love Jesse and I miss him like a drug, but whatever. Nothing ever works out. It’s fine. Sometimes you have to just say “fuck this shit” and move to Washington.

I live in a shoebox-shaped room set off from a house with four other roommates. They have eight chickens and a pitbull mix named Manny. I’m working for my cousin’s organic cleaning business, which is both okay and soul crushing. It hurts to be so close to other people’s nice things. First of all, the houses are often already clean when we get there. Secondly, they have all these neat paintings and statues and figurines all over the place. Their appliances are modern. It all reminds me of a moment from Jennifer Egan’s great novel, A Visit From the Goon Squad. It goes:

“Finally Bennie came out. He looked trim. He looked fit. He wore black trousers and a white shirt buttoned at the neck but no tie. I understood something for the very first time when I looked at that shirt: I understood that expensive shirts looked better than cheap shirts. The fabric wasn’t shiny, no—shiny would be cheap. But it glowed, like there was light coming through from the inside. It was a fucking beautiful shirt, is what I’m saying.”

That’s how I feel about cleaning other people’s nice things. I’m sure I’ll get over it.

The honest truth is that I don’t feel very good, but please don’t worry about me, because I’m going to be okay. Right now I am soulsick and listless. The mayans were right: Breaking up with Jesse was the end of the world. But here’s the thing about the end of the world–it isn’t an end at all. You just keep going on with all the color drained out of everything.

It hurts to be around people for very long, so I’ve been spending a lot of time in my room reading and trying to teach myself art history. I like the renaissance era religious paintings because they’re filled with magic, mysteries and secrets. I think my favorite painter is Botticelli. I got drunk and ordered a shitload of art posters, but I should have thought it through. They’re all dark and horrifying. You can’t hang The Garden of Earthly Delights where you sleep and expect to lead a happy life. I need to find pretty paintings to protect me but there’s the rub because I used up all my amazon money and I don’t like the pretty paintings as much. To me, a good painting looks like hell.

I prefer paintings to people, because I can’t hurt them and they can’t hurt me. I don’t have anything to say to anyone, and I don’t care much what other people have to say. I’m lonely but not at all interested in a cure.

The last few days in Seattle have been hopelessly foggy. It seems that I’m living in a long, boring dream that I can’t wake up from. The legend is true about the rain and Nirvana. They play a lot of 90s rock on the radio, which is comforting but maybe not representative of the overall milieu. I only know the one station right now.

The crows! People here are so stupid, they have no idea that crows are running the entire city. Every afternoon you can look up and see hundreds of them flying overhead in a northeast direction. Last week in a parking lot I watched a man watching them, and I thought, what a great man. Great because that’s what I was doing, and I think I’m great.

What I need right now is a writing project. I need to start working on something and see it through to its completion. It’s the most important thing. But I just don’t know what I want to write yet. I know I talked about writing a novel, serially, in blog format, and some of you in fact signed up to watch me fumble through that, but I’m just not sure. What if I did personal essays/memoir instead? What if I quit writing forever and started a hotel for dogs?

It’s 2013, and here we are, all of us, alive. Presently, it feels to me like anything could happen.