08/22/13

nothing to see here.

The dogs are like little touched children. They are low to the ground children who are covered in fur and can’t talk. When people aren’t around, the dogs are dormant and listless. They curl up on the floor and wait until I come up the walkway, a hero! No human is ever so happy to see me. Herman, the little bulldog terrier runs around in circles and picks up his toy and shows it to me. He’s like, “I just wanted you to see this toy!” Which makes sense at the time but now I don’t get it. The white and brown hound have huge grins and people are all the time saying to me, “Why those dogs so happy?”  Nobody knows why smelling a lot of different things outside makes a dog happy. What’s in the scent? All I know is, the dogs like the walk so much, and I gave it to them. I hardly see the point of writing anymore.

But seriously, my laptop died. Then went the plants, my pride, the pride of lions, the grass under their feet, the osprey, spots on the sun cracking and fading away like flashbulbs, a native language every 9 seconds or something, all of it died, died, died.

Also what is the point of this website again? It’s embarrassing. I’m so embarrassed.

Got a new boyfriend. He’s a mathematician who listens and hopefully doesn’t know how to use the internet.

I’m so happy. There’s a library around the block from my house. Their computers move as slow as a turtle and use internet explorer. It’s like my hell and I don’t even care.

Going to Montana later on today for the weekend to float in the river and try to not hate myself. Same thing I do every day but on a river this weekend.

I am long overdue on my letters. I love you. We love each other. Maybe you’ll get a postcard.

 

04/21/13

two short stories.


1.

I thought I wasn’t going to see my ex boyfriend when I went back to Montana, but that turned out to be wrong. He picked me up in the Orange Street Food Farm parking lot in the dead of night after all the bars were closed. Everything he owned was piled up in the backseat. It was snowing and I didn’t know where he was taking me. He told me I looked pretty in a soft and unfamiliar voice and I knew I was doomed.

The next morning, a couple of old men called my ex boyfriend about the moose antlers he had for sale on craigslist. We got in the $300 silver Subaru we bought together in November and drove to the old Walmart off of Brooks to rondevu with one of the old men. I thought the old man wanted to buy the moose antlers so he could display them on his wall as though he’d killed the moose himself, and it seemed pretty weird and sad, but again I had the wrong idea. It turns out you can make chandeliers and lamps out of the material, and Montanans go fucking wild for creepy antler crafts. My ex boyfriend sold the moose antlers along with a set of elk antlers for $50, but the man said they were worth twice that. My ex boyfriend knows about a place where there are 15 or 16 elk antlers just lying around, and the old man said he would be very interested in that.  Elk antlers go for $8 a pound. I think the elk’s life is worth more, but no one cares, so it isn't.

We’d shared a two bedroom house together on the Westside for four earth-shattering months, but it ended pretty swiftly when I absconded to Seattle under the cloak of night in January. I was thinking that I still loved him, and it was a feeling like if stabbing were something that felt good and people were into.

There was no traffic on the street and the mountains looked cold and right on top of us. we were headed back to his friend’s house to hang out and pass the time until the next thing.

“What happened to my bike?” I asked. We both pictured the black frame and the gold rims. The gears didn’t work so it was a pretty shitty bike, but still it was all I had and I wanted to take it back to Seattle. Nobody thought I'd be back for it; he'd thrown it away or it had been stolen. The bike was long gone and it made me feel tired. With regards to the bike situation, I was back to square one.

2.

The newspaper sent me to review the film adaptation of On the Road. I was glad because I love money, but I never liked the book, and the guy who just dumped me loves it, so it was a mixed bag I guess. I saw the one o' clock showing alone in a mostly empty theater on a rainy Thursday in Seattle. The movie made me think a lot about my life because it’s a dreamy story about writers who don't have jobs and like to get fucked up. The character's don't know they're going to become famous and then die of alcoholism anyway; it's depressing. When I got off the bus on Lake City Way I felt like I was someone else. I felt as though someone had stepped into my body and was taking over, but it's always just me.

A man leaning against the wall near the Value Village called out to me and I walked toward him. He wanted me to sit down and hang out. It seemed like it would make him happy so I agreed. A second mad person approached us, a woman this time. She said she found the man I was sitting next to attractive. If you looked closely you could see that he'd been handsome once, but now he went on and on about a divorce that could have happened last week or never, and it showed.

The lady said I was okay-looking too but she assured me she wasn’t a lesbian. I said I didn’t care. She got a little graphic about what she wanted to do to the guy. Her and the man bickered and I couldn’t figure out whether they’d met before this moment or not. They were like crazy hounds circling each other and sniffing.

The woman opened her backpack and showed us a bunch of pills. She kept waving around the bottles, saying, “Social Security gives me all these pills with the money but I don’t take them.” She really wanted to unload all these pills on me. There were white oval pills and round orange ones. I held out my hand and said, “No, don’t," and then I put the pills in the front pocket of my backpack.  I was trying to get her to show me the labels on the bottles so we knew what we were dealing with here, but she kept flirting with the man and I couldn't get her attention.

The lady pulled out a third bottle and turned it around magically in her hands. I could see by the look in her eyes that the third bottle of pills meant something. A few hours earlier, my roommate had given me a mini bottle of cinnamon flavored whiskey. He said to me, “Use this when the time is right.” Long story short, I traded the mini bottle for a handful of pills from a woman with wild hair and broken glasses.

The man had his own agenda but lord knows what that was. He wanted to go find weed. I said it seemed like a good time, but we were strangers on a city street corner in a shitty part of Seattle, and even though that sounds like a recipe for finding drugs, you’d be surprised how helpless you really are when the time comes. I just wanted to go home and look up what the pills were on the internet. Every pill comes with a unique number and letter, so anything you find in a change purse or buried in the carpet can be identified. It’s as if the drug companies knew what they were doing.

The man followed me down the street for a few blocks. I had a few hundred dollars in my wallet for rent, but his puppy-like energy suggested he didn’t have much power inside of him for violence and I wasn’t afraid. He followed me for a while and then I dodged him in a complicated move involving a grocery store restroom. The other pills turned out to be Lexapro and some kind of stomach ulcer medication, so not worth much, but the muscle relaxers are nice for going to sleep at night.

Do you think you're better than me? We’re exactly the same. On you it just looks a little different.

11/12/12

this is what I think I look like.

There are these terrible, symmetrical sores on the crease of both my thumbs from raking the yard the other day. They are both ugly and painful to the touch. It makes handling things a challenge; I feel like Edward Scissorhands. With these sores, I’m pretty sure that I don’t deserve nice things. I should sleep on a bale of hay in a tower. Here’s where I tried to document my ruined hands using photo booth:

On the other hand, It’s winter and I feel hearty and alive. When the weather gets this bad, the only people left wandering the streets and waiting at city bus stops are the ones who don’t have any other choice. We eyeball each other, all, “That’s right. It’s 24 degrees and I’m riding my bike, what now?” It’s class warfare out on the streets of Montana (in my head). Bundled up is a good look on me. This is what I think I look like:

I went to see a fortune teller at a weird crystal shop on the corner of Orange and Broadway. The fortune teller read my tarot cards and said vague things about “going through a lot of changes.” She told me I was a hard worker. Oh my god, I know! Just look at how quickly I tore open my hands with a simple garden rake. I am hard as shit.

I told Jesse that I went to see a psychic. He said, “How much did it cost?” and I said, “Thirty dollars.” This figure baffled him. He looked at me with wide eyes and said, “You could have given that thirty dollars to me and I could have put it in a video poker machine.”

So that brings up an interesting thought experiment: Which is the more insane vice? Spending 30 dollars to have a stranger tell you encouraging shit about your life with no hope of a payday, or pinning that 30 dollars on the hopes of a lottery?

Thanks to everybody who signed up for my secret novel blog! I’ve been thinking about it all weekend, and I hope to start sometime in the next couple of days. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, that’s fine. Everything’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with anything.

09/27/12

On Not Writing

Writers will say, “There’s no such thing as writer’s block,” or “I don’t believe in writer’s block.” Okay. Well. What’s it called when every time I write a sentence it’s the worst sentence I’ve ever written, and this happens so consistently that soon I become afraid of the page itself, until the doubt gives way to fear and anxiety as I watch the month of September slip pitifully through my fingers with nothing to show for it? But what can be done? Another day, another dollar. Just go grimly on.

I thought getting out of my house on Phillips Street would help, so I took a greyhound to Seattle to write and hang out with my friend Laura’s dog. I did one out of two of those things. The greyhound driver out of Montana went ahead and told us all sorts of facts about the 1913 fire that apparently ravaged St. Regis and the surrounding wilderness. Her facts were morbid and came in unpredictable spurts. Just when I thought I could relax, she’d get on the horn and say, “Just past that tree line you’ll find a cave that collapsed in the 1913 fire, killing 13 men and all six of their horses.” People on the bus were really into her and who could blame them. The driver on the way home was boring. He didn’t have any wildfire facts. All he did was remind us after every single stop that there was no smoking on the bus. Dude, does anyone in the year 2012 think that it’s okay to smoke anywhere at any time? What a dumb, boring bus driver.

Here are some things that I’ve been doing instead of writing:

  • Craigslist is the new Submittable; all told I’d say I spend around 2-4 hours a day perusing it. I look in the jobs section and weep. I look for open apartments, sublets and roomshares (as if lightning is going to strike twice and I’ll find a roommate with an even BIGGER picture of his face hanging from the wall). Mostly, I look in the pet section where I mourn all the lost dogs and dream of buying all the puppies. Somebody advertised that they found a 3-legged dog near Russell Street. I wrote them to explain that no, it was not my dog, but if they didn’t find its owner than surely I am destined to step in, because I have reoccurring dreams of owning a 3-legged dog. They did not reply. It makes me mad to think about it. I should have found that dog. I never find any dogs.
  • My roommate Jesse and I continue to play house, but is it really a game? I do the dishes and think, “Ha ha, pretending to be in a domestic partnership, doing the dishes.” I think if I get married and have children it will be the same in my head. “Ha ha, brushing my daughter’s hair. Ha ha, second mortgage.” Back when I delivered pizzas I used to pretend that I was a serf in feudal times, working for pennies. I asked my coworkers if they ever did anything similar, and they were like, “What? No.”
  • Jesse asked me to marry him on facebook chat while I was in Seattle, making him the second man in 2012 to propose to me on the Internet. This is what happens when you get older. You can’t just casually date anymore. Everything is a fucking catastrophe. Men are all, “You’re going to rip my fucking heart out of my chest!” It’s grave. To his marriage proposal I said, “Probably,” and that made him mad, so I said, “Sure.” Then we walked around a table holding hands backwards  and now we’re “married.” My roommate is like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman in that he doesn’t like to kiss on the mouth.
  • We are so poor. Every day I ride my bike across town to my post office box. I put my key in the lock and pray, and every day, there’s no check waiting for me and I ride home defeated. It’s always a dreary bike ride for some reason; I have terrible thoughts.
  • The smoke that lingers in the hills of Missoula is disconcerting, definitely, and sure, it hurts to breathe, but the truth is that I like it. It seems like nothing affects me anymore. I used to cry when the music swelled in movies and now I feel nothing. For awhile there, the busses were free, but I had to pay this morning, which. What the fuck. Riding the bus should be free. Everything in the world should be free.
  • And to think, just a couple of weeks ago I quit smoking. Here’s the classic joke: “Looks like I picked the wrong week to stop smoking!” That’s not funny at all.
  • Reading books, watching films, listening to music. Just trying to get through this thing. Trying to remember how to write again. Trying not to panic. The world is a just and orderly place, right? And to die is different from what anyone supposed? And luckier?
08/23/12

Missoula is for lovers.

LAST NIGHT

I met David Gates for dinner at the Depot around 6:30. I heard he was back in town and I wanted to talk to him about literature and maybe ask him what I should do with my life. David wrote two books in the 90s called Jernigan and Preston Falls. These books are so good they make my heart ache to think of them. He’s probably my favorite living author, so it’s pretty lucky for me that he teaches in Montana and we’re friends.

I asked him how his summer was, and he said it was terrible because his girlfriend broke up with him and he didn’t write anything. I told him to shut up and write a new novel. He said, “What the fuck for?” or its equivalent. “It’s hilarious how unambitious you are,” I said, and he said that it was worse than that even, that he wished people would just forget he ever wrote anything. He talked about never wanting to finish another story because one more story would make enough for a collection and it would be terrible to publish another short story collection. If I’m making him sound grumpy, know that he said all of this with a great deal of charm.

I told him how everybody in town keeps telling me to shut up and write a memoir. Even people who hate everything I write and wish I would die tell me to shut up and write more embarrassing non fiction. But I have this unfinished novel, also, so I just wanted to ask David Gates if he thought I should abandon the novel for a collection of personal essays or what.

He said there was no point in writing either things, but he implied that a novel is more salient in the long term, and who cares about people like David Sedaris or Sarah Vowell? “My god, the last thing we need are more personalities!” But really, the last thing we need is more of anything so this point doesn’t mean much.

He concluded by saying that I should just write both. Why wouldn’t I just write both? He said, “Why are you asking me when you’re just going to do whatever you’re going to do anyway?” No bullshit, this guy.

We talked about all kinds of other stuff, like how good The Godfather is and how Toni Morrison is very sexy and flirty in real life. My ex boyfriend Cody was in David’s non fiction class the fall after we broke up, so we talked about him for a second. I said that Cody was a super talented filmmaker but I had to break up with him anyway, and when we broke up he said “never talk to me again” and it’s been over a year since I saw him. And David said, “Of course you broke up with him. He’s not hot and you’re shallow.” What a card, that David.

I let David buy me dinner because he’s got way more money than I do. I suppose that makes me a really shitty person. Somebody should take me out back behind a building and beat the shit out of me with hammers for doing this awful thing.

After dinner I went to karaoke with people who I know and love as well as some incoming MFA students. I’m a fourth year MFAer at this point, which is to say I fucking graduated and what am I still doing at these kind of gatherings, but whatever. I sang “Rehab” by Amy Winehouse, then “Dancing in the Dark” by Springsteen and finally “Sir Duke” by Stevie Wonder.

I was going to sing “Welcome to the Jungle” but a nice girl named Rachel wanted to sing it and I let her because I’m such a kind person.

I was surprised to see my friend John who I used to be in love with was at the Golden Rose next store, because he’s been in North Dakota for weeks making tons of money on an oil rig. He’s still handsome, which is annoying. We hugged twice and made plans for coffee. I’m not in love with him anymore but if he asked me to marry him tomorrow I’d probably say yes.

I talked to the bouncer about my writing and we smoked cigarettes. I forget his name, but both times he said, “thanks for the conversation” which is a nice and weird thing to say, I think.

My other friend John asked me if I felt okay about a fake problem and I said I did. I said, “Don’t worry about me,” and he said, “Why would I not worry about you?” I said that I didn’t want the summer to end because I love my friends and I’ll miss them when they’re busy with school and I don’t want anything to change.

My friend Kurt told me again how much he liked it when I said “No yolo!” on Facebook, and I agreed it was a great thing to say, because I emphatically do NOT believe you only live once. I told my friend Kurt who is having some relationship problems that he’s handsome and smart and funny and women will be lining up to date him soon. I hope that wasn’t weird. We also talked about rap music but that wasn’t as fun for me because I had no idea what I was talking about.

Jeff the karaoke DJ tackled me toward the end of the night, in a fun friend way. I rode my bike to my new place on the west side. I had been sleeping in a tent out back, but I’ve decided to become an inside dog and move in for good. I don’t have a bed yet so I slept in a sleeping bag on the floor and it was just fine.

TODAY

I woke up with the sun and read some stuff on the internet. It looked cold at 9 in the morning so I put on fleece sweatpants and elected to take the bus into town instead of my bicycle. There’s a bus stop right in front of my new house, it’s really convenient. Waiting for the bus, I saw Jeff the karaoke DJ and his beautiful one-eyed dog across the street. It was neat because I didn’t know he lived there. He gave me a ride into town. I mean, why the heck not.

Jeff dropped me off at the corner of Higgins and 3rd. I started to walk down the street, but then in the distance I saw my ex boyfriend Cody, the one who said my love was like a loaded gun. I got scared when I saw him and ducked around the corner like a moron. I quickly realized that was a moronic thing to do and tried to recover. I came back around the corner and approached him as normally as possible. I said hello and he took out his headphones, begrudgingly. He looked pretty good. I said, “I hid around the corner when I first saw you, that was stupid.” He didn’t say anything. I said, “I didn’t know if you were still in Missoula,” and he said, “I still have two more years of school, why wouldn’t I be?” I haven’t seen or talked to Cody in over a year, but I still know him, and I know that he was seething with rage and I certainly ruined his day. I said, “Okay, I’ll let you go,” and he said, “See you later.”

I headed further down Higgins to the Hob Nob and my friends Greg and Kirsi were outside eating breakfast. “I just saw Cody,” I told them. They told me they watched the entire thing unfold, including the part about me getting scared and ducking around the corner. “If I saw you do that, then Cody definitely saw you,” Kirsi said. You can’t do anything in Missoula without 5 of your friends seeing you. It’s great. My friend Brian walked out of the Hob Nob while I was talking to Greg and Kirsi and I said hello to him.

The line was too long at Hob Nob so I walked down the street to Bernice’s, where I sat outside with a coffee and a not ripe banana. I tried to read a book but an old man reading the paper started talking to me about the weather and wolves in Wisconsin, how they’re getting along really well with the elk. Then Jeff came by with his one eyed dog and we talked about people in the neighborhood we both knew.

I walked down the street to Shakespeare and Co. to see my friend Garth who owns the store. My friend Erika who is also the arts editor at the Indy was there shopping and we all talked about something for a minute. Erika asked me if I would write the movie review this week and that made me happy because I love writing movie reviews. I made plans with Garth to have lunch next Wednesday and then I left.

I decided to head back downtown and see about finding something to eat besides the not ripe banana. There was an osprey flying circles over the river and I stopped to watch him. The osprey landed on a pole, and then both me and the osprey watched a crow circle around for awhile. I wanted to know what the osprey was thinking, and it drove me mad, to stare at an animal knowing that I can never ever know what they think about.

To be a bird for a day. I’d give anything.

It wasn’t even noon yet and I’d already been in so many awesome adventures and seen so many cool people. I thought it would make a great blog post. I thought about how much I like my life in a very real and uncomplicated way, and the idea felt fragile in my hands, like something too good to be true. I walked to the christian coffee shop to write this blog post, and here we are.

06/8/12

dreams, fruit, texas and so on.

I woke up feeling pretty terrible. I sleep in a shack with the door wide open so the cat can come in and out. The sun shone down on me like a baby in a goddamn manger. The shack isn’t the terrible part. I’m not unhappy about waking up in a shack.

Of late I have this insatiable hunger. Last night I dreamed about a big buffet with so much fruit provided by a christian conference in a large hotel. The big thing at the christian conference was that they were moving into phase two; they wanted to tell all the christians that it was time to start practicing all religions and loving everyone. Most of the people were cranky because they wanted it to be the normal kind of christian conference, which made me counter cranky. My brother was there, lecturing me about my life choices. As usual, he had the wrong idea about everything.

You should have seen all the fruit, though. It was a frustrating dream because I wanted the fruit so badly and they kept telling me it wasn’t quite time yet. It was never time for the fruit yet!

So I woke up and felt terrible. There was a half eaten bag of salt and vinegar potato chips sitting next to me and I ate them before getting out of bed, thinking, “This is terrible. What a terrible start to this terrible day.”

Here’s the thing, though. Here’s the weirdest thing about it: It’s a dumb, gray day outside and I feel not just hopeless and ugly, but also like a bad writer and person. I’m depressed, for sure. Nobody is saying that I’m not depressed. But it feels sort of cozy and delicious, too. I feel wrapped up in a big ugly sweater, waiting patiently for summer.

I ran into my friends Holly and John the day after they got back from Mexico. How was your vacation, I asked. It was great, they said. But we’re happy to be back, too, they said. That’s good. You shouldn’t be sad about returning to your life after you’ve gone on vacation.

If you’ve been tracking my summer vacation (Mom) let me tell you about some changes. In my last post I said that I would be meditating right now. That turned out to be a lie. I decided not to go meditate, and I’ll be spending most of that time in Austin instead. I’ll be in Texas from June 11-June 20. If you live there and want to hang out, send me a message. I’d love to meet you, maybe. I’m flying into Portland on June 20 and I’ll be there for not too long at all. So if you live in Portland and want to hang out with me, it’s possible but not as likely. I’m on tour, let’s say. Let’s call it a tour in which I have nothing to promote and I have to pay for everything myself.

My house sitting gig for July and August fell through. Whatever. It’s fine. I could write a book on the delicate nature of procuring a house sitting gig. It’s a disproportional favor, is the problem with it. In exchange for doing something very easy: hanging out with a dog, watering plants, etc. you get an entire house. And so the homeowners feel free to treat you like a criminal and an insect. (Not always. Oh god. I don’t mean everyone. Some of you are really cool about it.) So anyway. I lost the house sitting gig, so my future in July and August is a little more uncertain than it once was, but really, it’s fine. God will provide or whatever.

Some days just get away from you. You start thinking about pigs in gestation crates and you can’t stop. You want a dog. You start to think nothing in your life will be good ever again until you can have your own dog. And by “you” I mean me. And by “dog” I mean that all my needs are met and life is perfect exactly the way it is.

05/29/12

an open letter to visitors of this website.

Technically, I’m homeless. When kids downtown with clipboards ask me to sign their petition, I don’t have an address to write down, so it is: I am without a home. I’m not trying to shy away from the label. It’s a romantic idea, but I don’t know. I have an iPhone. My mom’s not rich, but she could put money in my account if I asked her to. It’s more that I have chosen not to get an apartment this summer because I don’t want to work in order to pay rent.

I just took a bath, for example. How homeless can I really be. This week I’m watching Holly’s cat, Gypsy. Over the weekend I watched Keema’s cat and two dogs. Keema’s house has a flatscreen tv and cup holders that sit on the arms of the couch. It’s like they thought of everything. The cupholders made me feel bad about myself. Also, I burned the bottom of their Tfal pan. Housesitting is harder than you might think.

It hasn’t always been so luxurious though, sincerely. I spent a few days on the lam. The street people of Missoula tend to be the same shade of brown, top to bottom, and I think for a moment I took on this aesthetic. I joined a yoga studio in order to use their shower. Some days, when I don’t feel like doing yoga, I don’t shower. You would think that would be good motivation to move, but meh. Not always.

I lived at a punk rock collective for a week or so, in something like a utility closet. It sounds bad, but the mattress was weirdly comfortable. I promised the nice people who live there that I wouldn’t write about it (yes, it’s just like fight club, the first and second rule). I think they meant not to write about it in the newspaper, but just in case. Let’s just say that I fell in love with the puppy of the house and leave it at that. It was terrible to leave him.

Been spending a lot of time with animals, let me tell ya. Boy oh boy, aren’t animals a trip. I love to watch them up close. Domestic animals, I mean. They must find our human dominated world so bizarre and confusing. Why are we like this? Their humans leave them, and I’m just some asshole standing in their kitchen. With their eyes, they say to me, “We don’t like that you are not Keema. We hate change but there’s nothing we can do about it.”

It’s fascinating to watch animals exercise what little agency they have. “Fuck you, Molly. I’m not eating today. How about that?” How about it. What do I care? No. I care a lot. It gets to me. I’m sure Gypsy will end his hunger strike really soon. Fuck. Holly specifically asked me not to write bad things about her cat on my blog. What’s with everybody telling me not to write things? Guys. I’m not famous. You’re probably not even reading this. Anyway, Gypsy is a beautiful cat and it’s actually pretty metal that he’s refusing food out of undying devotion for his master.

After Holly’s, I have a few more days of homeless. I have a plan. Do you want to hear my plan? First, I make my way to Portland, Oregon sometime between June 3-5. Would anyone like to drive me to Portland? Greyhound might. From there, I need another ride to Onalaska, Washington to do a 10 day meditation retreat. This will be my third time. I blogged about it a couple of summers ago. It’s a creative solution to my homeless problem and also a way to experience the true nature of reality or whatever. Would anyone like to go with me? You can still sign up. It’s not too late. This is a serious offer.

From Portland I’m going to Austin for a couple of days to see about a man. You heard me. That’s where the men are at. In texas. After that, you know. More dogs in Montana. This is getting boring.

Let me just wrap this up by telling you a little something about magic. Everything in my life up to this point I created with my mind. I previsioned it, and now here I am, living in the painting that I drew with my mind’s eye. Everything is going to plan, and I’m pleased. I created it with my head, and then with my hands, feet and mouth. There’s nothing magic about magic.

Love,
Molly

P.S. One thing about not having a car and being homeless is that you require a lot of help and favors from your friends. If you let me sleep on your couch or drove me somewhere, thanks a lot. I really appreciated that. I hope someday that I can do something for you! Friendship.

05/8/12

things that are dangerous. things that are great.

Downtown in Missoula, Montana yesterday, a real live Native American approached me on the sidewalk. Picture the red, ruddy face, as you would expect, then add a shitload of scratches, bruises and gashes held together with medical tape. He asked what kind of money I could spare. My god, are you kidding? The spending kind.

“Got in a car wreck yesterday,” he said. “This keeps happening to me. My daughter is always asking how I get myself all banged up all the time.” He said it jovially, like, “Oh, I’m such a klutz!” The world can be such a horror show, you know? So many unsafe edges and surfaces to smash your face against if you’re not careful. Even if you are careful.

If you went back to my blog entries from fall of 2009, you’d find my first impressions of Missoula: There’s no sales tax, the ducks and crows, for lack of hands hold feathers, a river runs through it, and so on. The place looks and feels made up. All of that is still true, so there’s no point in repeating it.

Here are some before, during and after photos of the elephant in Utero my brother put on me in boston.

Here’s another example of a thing that is dangerous. I asked the heavens/facebook for a bike to use for the summer. Somebody I never met but who knows me through my newspaper writing went ahead and loaned me his bike. He had a broken leg from falling off of said bike but the helmet saved his head and it’s fine. I’ll be fine. He made me promise I’d wear his haunted helmet, and I agreed, warily, warily, warily, warily, and no need to finish the thought.

Your apartment is great, I said. The song you’ve been working on in your diminished condition is great. Your many guitars and broken leg is great.

The hills are great. The pink clouds creeping over the hills are great. Except for the low hanging chandelier directly under the couch I’m currently surfing that I will never remember not to hit my head on again and again, I can’t think of anything that isn’t great.

01/15/12

look, I read something.

Lots rolling around in the old noggin but what else is new. A friend of mine who I’ve never met from the Internet sent me three books in the mail. I have a few creepers about, but in this case there’s no agenda; dude was just being nice. What a blast to get a secret special package in the mail. They weren’t even used books! I saw the receipt.

Quick digression: The relationships I make with people on the Internet are the realest. Shut the fuck up about technology isolating us and making us all terrible and it being so unfortunate. I love these people and they love me. Without the internet, living in Waterford, Michigan right now with my mother would be unbearable, instead of just temporarily unpleasant.

One of the books he sent me was a short story collection by Robert Boswell called The Heyday of the Insensitive Bastards. Boswell came to my school in Montana during my first year for a guest workshop. I didn’t know who he was but I thought he gave us pretty good advice about writing. He explained to us why Chekhov’s “Lady with a Dog” is so good and why John Cheever rules, which I already knew but it’s always fun to take a moment to be like, “Hey, remember how much Cheever rules?” So much.

After the workshop we took him to one of our bars, The Union. The waitress has feathered blonde hair. All told it’s a pretty shitty bar; back then they didn’t even have a credit card machine. But they have this game called “Cornhole” where you lob beanbags across the room into a platform with a hole in it which I like because I’m pretty good at it for a girl.

This was back when I drank but I must not have drank too much that night for some reason, because I ended up driving a few of my friends home, plus a drunk Robert Boswell back to his hotel. One thing led to another and somebody in the car brought up salsa. Boswell was adamant that Montanans couldn’t possibly know anything about good salsa. None of us were from Montana but it was a point well taken nonetheless. For authentic and true salsa we would have to visit him in Santa Fe. “Come visit me in Santa Fe,” Robert Boswell told us, “And I will feed you authentic salsa.” It was one of those promises where even in the moment you know you’re never going to fucking visit Robert Boswell in Santa Fe to eat salsa, but still, I knew we were making a nice memory.

So far I’ve read the first story in the book. It’s called “No River Wide,” and it’s 38 pages long. I didn’t like it at first because the prose is sort of dense and the beginning is confusing. For example, I don’t know why the fuck it’s called “No River Wide.” (The allusion is in there somewhere I’m sure, but I missed it.) It sets up a complicated time structure from the start: we are two years in the past, the present and then some weird mix of the two at the end. Needless to say the story grew on me or why else would I be talking about it. It turned out to be the kind of novel-sized work Alice Munro used to write before she just started throwing whatever bullshit she wanted to in a blender.

Digression: I don’t know why I’m shitting on Alice Munro. (That’s not true. I do.) I’m sick of her publishing stories in the New Yorker that seem good but aren’t. She used to be a writer with a secret, but now she’s just using the same formula to give us the same secret, which would be fine except these long, fake secrets are taking up too much space. I’m the jealous type. Let’s move on.

Boswell’s story is highly literary. It’s the kind of story you can’t get for free in the online indie journals we often read and write for. What am I saying? this is a friendly reminder, I guess. Don’t forget about old white men who write books. They’re filled with painstaking craft and hard to get at emotional truths! If you used to love Alice Munro but have since turned on her, you’ll love Robert Boswell! /Reading rainbow.

One last thing. I wrote a blog post last week about blah blah blah because it was a topic that caused me concern. But for some reason it bugged me and I didn’t advertise the update on facebook, where most of my traffic comes from. I thought I didn’t like it because there are a couple of bad sentences I’m too lazy to pinpoint and fix, but really I don’t like it because it’s stupid and I’m full of shit and I should stop apologizing all the time. It’s boring. You don’t care. I needed to write it for me, but not for you. I would delete the post but then you wouldn’t know what I was talking about now.

My good Internet friend who I’ve never met named Aaron left me a comment to this effect and I was starting to get it. Then this real life friend of mine got drunk on my couch and told me I was beautiful. He kept repeating himself because he was drunk and stuck in a loop. I never once believed him and it never  got old.

Reading and writing in 2012, yo. Onward and Upward.

 

08/31/11

under the overpass.

When it’s 1 in the morning and you walk up to the gas station counter with a can of spaghettios, a single serving packet of Advil PM and a bottle of Barefoot brand Cabernet Sauvignon for $4.99, you’re not fooling anybody. You’re a sad sack, dude.

So yeah, that was me 15 minutes ago. I moved; I don’t know if I mentioned that. I was living in the Rattlesnake with a couple of perfectly pleasant, smug outdoorsy guys, so needless to say, I had to get out of there. Now I live in a swelteringly hot attic apartment at the bottom of the hill, on the north side. The great thing is that I can walk everywhere, but still, there are changes. I forgot to move my cups with me, for example. Drinking straight out of the bottle. A few sips into this stuff my belly feels like it’s leaking acid, although surely that’s not the attic’s fault.

I didn’t realize what a good thing I had with the employees at my old 24-hour gas station. I set down my shit, they rang it up, and that was that.  The people at this new gas station just before the I90 on ramp, what can I say. They’re fucking nosey.

I set down the wine and the spaghettios and the advil PM. “Is that good wine?” she asks me.

Is that a serious question? The truth is I don’t know, as I have not bought this brand before, but I bet I can guess. I want to say “Shut the fuck up and leave me alone in this, my dark hour,” but instead I say, “I don’t know but I’m going to go ahead and take a wild guess that it’s not a good wine.” I buy Cabernet Sauvignon because the words are beautiful, even if the taste is not. Bitch, I’m a writer.

She says, “It’s just that people buy it all the time and I haven’t tried it yet.”

For 5 dollars, you can get enough alcohol to get both you and your dog drunk. At the bar that same amount buys you 1.2 drinks. So I’d say it comes down to a question of value more than quality.

I just realized I don’t have a can opener.

In order to get to the terrible gas station selling unpleasant things, you have to go through a long, spooky corridor that looks and sounds like Hell. I took this video the other night. There was a girl on the other side of the street in a similarly bleak tunnel singing to herself, a girl in worse shape than me if you can believe it. You can hear my shoes flop.




I am aware of the bleak nature of this post. I’m fine. I’m going to be just fine. What, you never get lonely?