11/27/12

a depression epidemic.

Well, Jesse is devastated that you don’t care more about “mustached man eats head of lettuce.” He slept until 2 pm today. I took Roy out for a walk, and when I came back, he was hunched over “Best of Craigslist,” the mustache shaved and so no hope of a sequel. At least not for another 2-3 weeks.

The whole month has been filled with heartbreak. I let myself fall in love with this goddamn yellow lab with half a tail. His owner hadn’t called for weeks and I was starting to entertain the idea that I’d be able to keep him. Then his family came and took him for a walk a few days ago, and the dog couldn’t contain his happiness. He ran around in circles and whimpered with sheer joy, and now that they’ve gone again he’s fallen into an inconsolable depression. (His owner will be back for the dog in a week or two, once his new house in Helena is ready.) Imagine a grown woman, jealous and angry that her dog has other loves. A human can get real cocky about her dominion over animals, I tell ya. Roy, I am your God, and I am a jealous God, and thou shalt have no other Gods before me, you got that? He doesn’t get it.

Both Jesse and Roy have fallen into a terrible depression and I don’t know how to make either of them happy.

Meanwhile, the chickens multiplied; now there are eight. There are the original suicide girls: Sylvia, Dorothy, Anne and Virginia, plus four more we got from some weirdos on the Northside. They gave us all kinds of grief before they’d let us take their chickens. They were all “What the fuck do you want with four-year-old chickens who don’t lay eggs anymore?” It’s a good question, I guess. They’re worried we’re going to eat them. How do you convince a stranger of your eccentric personality?

As for me, I’m a step above indifferent. I love animals, and it’s fun to hear them cluck and I enjoy chasing them down, picking them up and putting them in their coop at night. But Jesse. Jesse loves these chickens. The new chickens are wild. They look wild and they act wild. Meanwhile, the suicide girls have become increasingly domestic. They try to come in the house all the time and they eat right out of our hands. Here’s a video of when we first introduced the northside chickens to the westside chickens:

I don’t know. Life is about to be full of changes but I don’t want to go into it right now. I bought a car. No, you’re right. My mom bought me a car. I’m going to “pay her back.” It’s a toyota camry. Who the fuck cares about a car.

For those of you signed up for novel blog… sit tight. There are some paid writing gigs I have to take care of first. I’m hoping to get started in the next couple of weeks. I don’t want to do the paid writing gigs, but what kind of an asshole would I be if I just straight up declined an offer to write 4,000 words or whatever on basically whatever I want for $500? I’d be a colossal fucking asshole, that’s what I would be. Still. I might just not do it. We’ll see.

I need to get my own dog. I can’t keep house sitting dogs. Just grow the fuck up and get your own dog, Molly. Get some goddamn friends, Molly. Stop talking to yourself on the internet.

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.

11/7/12

sorry for all the caps/swears + an exciting opportunity.

This blog is the dumbest fucking idea in the world. What was I thinking? Here’s my impression of me: “Ooh, my name’s Molly Laich. I’m going to post my feelings on the internet all day every day from 1997 to 2012 and beyond. I’m going to use my real first and last name so any swinging dick can read about my misfortune and blame me for it. la la la.” Friendships will be lost, feelings hurt, intentions misunderstood, lives shattered, animals kidnapped and that’s just the way it is. No one can change it. The little boy who lives inside my mouth has got a gun to my head. I know, it’s weird, right?

What else? Yippee, America pulled together and just barely didn’t elect the cruelest, blandest, most out of touch and soulless man I’ve ever seen. I’m so proud of us.

Just got three texts from my roommate. In order, they are:

  1. Fuck Off
  2. Fuck Off
  3. Im going to buy you yak trax

There’s been some new animals. There’s a big yellow lab mix named Roy, and he loves the orange stick. So there. We’re in love, but I don’t get to keep him; he goes back to his Dad on November 20th. We also got four chickens, and these are for good. I named the chickens Sylvia, Anne, Dorothy and Virginia, so that if/when Jesse decides to eat them it will be sad, sure, but also a tragic and beautiful inevitability. TRIVIA QUESTION: Who are the chickens named after BONUS SUB QUESTION: Which one of these unlucky ladies never actually killed herself but just thought about it a lot? Leave your answers in the comments field. DON’T ANSWER THE GODDAMN TRIVIA QUESTIONS ON FACEBOOK, YOU LAZY MOTHERFUCKERS.

in case you don't know what chickens look like.

only known picture of the orange stick.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is the exciting opportunity:  I had this idea that I wanted to run by you. I love writing blog posts and I hate writing everything else. So I thought I would trick myself by starting a novel and posting it in a serial, blog format with sort of a bloggish voice. Now, it’s a FUCKING NOVEL, which means that even if you think it’s based on shit in my real life, it’s not, or if it is, you still can’t hold me accountable for it. THOSE ARE THE RULES OF FICTION, I did not write them.  I don’t want everybody in the goddamn world to read my novel. I just want some people to read it, so that’s how come the subscription thing.

So that’s that. Email me here at mollylaich (at) gmail (dot) com if you’re interested in subscribing to my novel blog. I plan to get started sometime early next week. Be sure to use whatever email it is you want to use as your login name to email me with.

And please, only sign up if you genuinely want to read this shit. Don’t do it out of politeness cuz you think I’ll be mad at you if you don’t. I totally don’t care. My goal will be to update the blog around 3 days a week with around 1,000 words per post, but really I have no idea. You have to do it this way because I’m not going to promote it on Facebook. This is an exclusive, private club you’re entering into.

To review:

1. This blog is a terrible idea, I’m an idiot, why do I keep doing this, somebody put a bullet in my head. 2. Mitt Romney does not care about black people. 3. When Jesse and I are not together, we’re texting, but it’s dark. There’s dark things you don’t know about. 4. We’ve got a dog on loan and four chickens for keeps. 5. Email me to sign up for my experimental novel blog.

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.

07/1/12

mid summer crisis

Forget everything that came before. It’s July First and I’d like to make a public announcement: two things matter in the month of July. 1. Crows. 2. my novel. If my feature on crows isn’t done by the end of the month, I go hungry in August. If I don’t finish my novel by the end of the month, I hang myself from the rafters. You care a lot. You heard it here first and you care a lot about what you just heard.

It’s summer, and what could be better than that. Last night I slept in a tent in the backyard in Montana. There was a rock under my head and I still had a good time. There have been dogs in my past and I see more dogs in my future. Pretty soon the river will be warm enough to float on.

Fucking money. Oh my god. Whatever. I might need to get a job. I applied for a job as a “swamper” at a bar this week. What a cool name for a job. It’s not someone who wades in swamp water up to their waist, as the immediate thought association would suggest. It’s just another name for a janitor. You know how I feel about the custodial arts. If you don’t, here’s my position: I am for them.

Here’s something. In a novel or a story, sometimes an upper middle class character will suffer some life change, some unexpected turn of events that will leave them broken and ready to start over. They’ll wander into a place of business and say, “I need a job,” or not even that. Sometimes the owner will just hand them a broom. I think this is how rich people who also write books think the world works. Well. It fucking doesn’t work that way. You fill out an application and then you wait.

I have a masters degree and I still had to give a resume, talk about how good I am at cleaning things and still will wait back to hear if I beat out the other 5 contestants for the job. I hope I get it! I’d rather be a swamper than a copywriter.

Some things about crows: Holy lord, they’re everywhere. They drop nuts in the street, wait for cars to crack the nuts and then eat them. They go sledding on cardboard, for fun. When was the last time you saw crow roadkill? They are too smart to get hit by a car. When you die, your soul doesn’t come back as a crow. The Crow is not a good film.

And there’s more where that came from!

About mollylaich.com: I’m going to try to update more regularly in the month of July and I’m hoping for a site redesign really soon. You care a lot!

02/27/12

even more on writing.

I’ve been thinking a lot about writing and how it’s done and where ideas come from. Stephen King, in his book On Writing (which we all agree is a national treasure) says that writers don’t know where they get their ideas and that it’s all very mysterious and we can’t possibly explain how it’s done and everything. Who knows where thoughts come from? They just appear! That’s true, I guess, but I think I can be a little more specific. This would be way more interesting if I were famous or widely read. It would be very, “Where does Molly Laich get her ideas?” It still is that, I guess. You know what I mean.

Here. I’ve broken it up into the various categories of writing that I do.

Fiction

Most of my stories start with a single idea or image. I fall in love with one idea and I want it to be in a story, but there’s no plot or anything to go with it and that makes me depressed. So for a few weeks, I walk around feeling sad that my idea has no home. Then I think, “well, you might as well just write down the idea.” It can be something very kinesthetic and mood based, like standing on a hot street corner in Phoenix staring at a billboard. Or it can be a little more fleshed out, like “What if my friends got drunk and drowned a dog.”

I’ll start with an example from a story I wrote when I was around 18, called “There’s Been a Bear.” I just had this idea that there had been a bear, so I wrote down that sentence. Then I built a little story around it about a kid who wakes up and finds that her family has been replaced by grizzlies that read newspapers and wear eyeglasses and stuff, and voila. The characters are born out of the situation. I remember Kevin Canty telling us in workshop that in a short story, the character’s personality is defined by what they do, so I think it works out to do it in this order.

One thing that gets me into trouble with short stories is that I often use people that I know as real life templates for the characters. I imagine what they look like, and then I put them in the scene, so it becomes this thing of, “for this scene, Dustin will be pretending like this thing has happened to him.” I’ve been irresponsible in the past using my friends in stories. People are all “Hey, I’m not gay!” and I’m all, “No no, you’re playing a gay in the story,” and then they get upset and try to kill me. (That only happened one time, and it turned out fine. He didn’t know that I had moved.) I’m getting better at at least changing their goddamn names, though. Geez.

Sometimes I’ll use real life events as a springboard for the plot, but it inevitably works out that the details get rearranged and monkeyed around so much that it scarcely resembles the original event and the “fiction” is preserved.

As for writing a novel, I don’t know. I still don’t get that. So far I guess what I do is that I go to a colony in the woods for two months, I write 30,000 words in various MS Word documents, and then I put those in a drawer and feel bad about them.

Non Fiction

By this I mean creative non fiction personal essays or features, a la the kind of stuff I’ve been writing for the Missoula Independent for the last year. The weird thing about these is that the process is completely different from fiction. Working on these stories runs me through the emotional ringer in a fresh, new way. For “Forgetting Mary Jane,” (a story I wrote about using marijuana) I would say I’d been working on that piece in my head for around 10 years. I got the idea that it might make a compelling non fiction essay about a year before I ever pitched it at the paper, and then from there, it became a collaborative work with Robert, editor at the Indy.

The collaboration aspect is mysterious and interesting. I think I’m very lucky to have fallen into working with an editor who turned out to be such a good fit. He’s very swift and exacting. He reads my bad sentences out loud to me in a way that is so gut wrenchingly painful that it makes me never want to write a bad sentence again just to avoid it. But more than that, he gives advice on where to direct the rewrites in ways that I never could have done on my own. It’s weird to work with someone else on writing. That’s all I can say about that. Workshop is like that a little bit, but in the end, you take the advice or leave it, and you do it in isolation in the privacy of your own home. I have had some good experiences with edits for published fiction as well, on a smaller scale.

When I write non fiction, I tend to vastly overwrite, meaning that I’ll write 10,000 words for a 3,000 word essay. This is something that doesn’t happen in fiction. I tend to have a lot more self doubt and anxiety about the final product, and with good fucking reason, because thousands and thousands more people read it than any piddly little fiction piece that ends up in a journal. Puking into a bucket the night before one of my stories comes out in the paper is not an uncommon occurrence.

Then I wrote “Abacradabra” about using magic and addiction recovery. From start to finish, the gestation period in my head for that one was around four months, although the magic aspects were still years in the making. The constant with these non fiction pieces is that I’m thinking about them ALL THE TIME. They ferment in my head like a fine wine. I’m writing the sentences in the car, in the shower, in bed, etc. Around a month of this before I ever start actually writing anything down.

Right now I’m working on a story so earth shattering and mind blowing I can’t even talk about it. I can’t even begin to mention it or say anything about it for fear of making all of your hair fall out with the sheer electricity of the subject matter.

Film / book / music criticism

I consume the media and then I think about how I want to talk about it from the time the media is consumed until the deadline, which tends to be a pretty short turn around. During the film screening, I think about jokes I might tell about the brilliant or terrible shit I’m seeing. When I’m reading books, I underline stuff that’s either really good or bad and then I write about that. This is boring. You get the idea. It’s a matter of taste. I believe I have great taste, but doesn’t everybody?

Blog Posts

Blog posts are Facebook status updates and tweets with a prohibitively long word count.

So there you have it! I would be really interested to know what you guys think and how my experiences relate to yours. I wonder if we are similar or if it’s different for everyone.

11/13/11

the woods, week 2.

Not to alarm everyone, but my little stone house is haunted. There are big brown spiders. I’ve seen two so far, or it might be the same one. The first time I picked him up in a towel and shook him outside. Then I watched him immediately scurry into a crevice near the doorstop, so he might have just come back in. Better it’s the same spider, right? I’m not afraid of spiders. I don’t want them crawling all over me but my fear is proportional to the harm they can do, which as I understand it is not very much. Even if the big brown spider is one of the poisonous kind, he would have to bite me like twenty times before I died, wouldn’t he?

Something lives inside the chimney, I can tell you that much. The thing inside the chimney has sharp claws and an itch that she waits to scratch until just before I’ve begun to fall asleep. She is irregular. More terrifying than the scratches is the silence between, when I’m waiting for it.

A gurgling ghost in the toilet, but what else is new. He’s either gasping for air, or like a fish, the water is his air.

Mostly they live inside my head. Too many horror films. I turn around and my brain thinks there will be a person standing there. Coming or going from the bathroom, what if there’s a person standing there. When I turn around, what if someone snuck right up behind me. What if, what if, and no need to finish the thought.

Look, I get over it. I’m not huddled in the corner of my studio with all the lights on terrified until morning. I will let my feet dangle over the side of the bed, no problem. I imagine how horrible it would be if a scaly hand reached out and grabbed my ankles and I brazenly do it anyway. That’s what being a grownup is.

There’s this thing about me and my past that pretty much nobody knows about. It was so significant at the time, more than a year of this, but I was around 8 years old? Over 20 years ago, who cares about a terrible year that happened when you were 8. It sounds dumb but I’m just going to tell you anyway.

My mom went away for the weekend and I had this babysitter. She did my mom’s nails. We watched the movie Pet Sematary about a million times that weekend. I’ve seen it again recently – it’s kind of a good movie, actually. It’s brilliantly campy and absurd. That weekend, I watched it over and over and over again. I was terrified of the sister with the weird disease and the little boy and the idea that animals and people would come back to life to kill me and my entire family but I couldn’t stop watching it.

After that weekend, some thing happened inside my brain and I was just completely fucked.

First of all, my bedroom was not a bedroom. It was my mother’s closet made into a tiny room that held my bed and my stuff. My mom’s clothes lined the far wall. I used to share a room with my sister but they put me in the closet because I was too messy. My sister tried putting a strip of duct tape across the floor but I guess I was sort of a brat about it and threw my stuff over to her side anyway. So, until I was almost 16 my bedroom was my mother’s walk-in closet.

After that weekend I was terrified of everything and I couldn’t sleep alone at night. My mother would read me books and then when she got up to leave I would cry and scream and claw at her until she agreed to come back. I made her stay with me, but even then I was still scared, and it took me forever to fall asleep. Oftentimes when she got up to go back to bed it would wake me up, and I would whimper at her to come back.

A year of this. My mom tried really hard to be patient with me but it completely exhausted her. You could see it all over her face. An 8 year old could see it. Once she sat out in the car all night because she was afraid she might lose her mind and murder me. My brother and sister were fed up. They’d say, “Molly, can’t you understand you’re driving our mother fucking crazy?” and I knew I was but this thing inside of me was bigger than my desire to be considerate. I thought there were people hiding behind my mother’s clothes. When I shut my eyes, I thought the second I opened them there’d be a wrinkly-faced woman peering down at me. There were monsters under the bed and undead animals slithering around above the ceiling tiles.

It just went on and on and on like this. It was embarrassing. I was too old to be behaving this way. Once I flipped out at a slumber party and the parents called my mother to come pick me up, angrily. Mom took me to a kid shrink. Some other stuff happened. I don’t know. Eventually I was able to pass a single night alone in the closet with all the lights on. I remember just staring around the room with the covers up to my chin, fighting to keep my eyes open until I fell asleep or went blind or something.

Everyone thought I’d gotten better, and I had, but only just enough that I was able to keep it to myself. I slept with the covers over my head right up until one of my siblings left and I finally moved into a big kid room.

Years later my mom told me she thought something else must have happened that weekend, that the nail technician babysitter had done something funny to me, but I don’t think so. I’ve always been “dark.” I just had this wild imagination without an off switch. I think I was mad about being put in the closet, but I’m not the type of person that expresses anger properly. My first reaction to being slighted is that it must be my fault. I am only vaguely considering the idea that ghosts and demons are real and have a way of coming out whenever we’re alone together.

I do go on! I hope that wasn’t terribly boring for you to read. It was surprisingly painful to write.

About the writing and whatnot: I started my novel over today. The first couple of weeks are designed for making mistakes, I figure.

You know, I check my stats for this site from time to time, and I discover that people out there are reading. Often I can guess where you’ve come from and why, but it’s weird when you’re from some state I’ve never been to and I see that you’ve clicked on a lot of links and stayed for an hour. I just hope I’m not letting you down. A blog devoted to talking about pretty much nothing but me and my feelings… I feel like I’m getting away with murder here.

 

11/6/11

The Woods, Week 1.

Dear Diary,

Hi. Remember me? It’s me, Molly.

The MacDowell Colony is pretty weird, I’d say. The living all alone in a studio in the woods of New Hampshire is the best part, probably. The worst part is that all the other people are strangers and it’s scary to have to talk and get to know them. It’s a rotating door with people coming and going always. I almost said, “like rehab,” out loud to someone but I’m trying to do things differently this time and not say weird, alienating things right out of the gate. Trying and failing, I suspect, but oh well.

Here is what my days are like:

I wake up every morning around 7:30 AM, which makes every morning a christmas miracle. You have to get up early because you can only get eggs for breakfast between 7:30 and 8:30 and after that it’s continental, which, you know, that’s cool, I’m not fussy, but they only have cows milk for the cereal, and pardon me, but that’s disgusting. Do I look like a baby cow? I am a baby almond, or coconut, or rice or soy bean, thankyouverymuch.

The communal meals have a way of seriously stressing me out, because it seems to me that the other people just love to be in each other’s company, whereas I am terrified of them and only ever want to be alone. Once at breakfast I thought I was very lucky to find that the one table everyone was at was full up. So I just sat at the empty table, but this always makes people flip out. People always flip out when you try to sit at an empty table, like I was crying and feeling so lonely and unpopular when really I was so, so grateful, but they said no, pull up a chair, come sit with us. I know that they’re just trying to be nice and making sure that I behave normally, and I’m not trying to complain. I just always wish I could do whatever I want without worrying about other people’s feelings, and you can’t. Not even alone in the woods at an artist’s colony can you do that.

On another morning, the people with tortoise-shell glasses motioned me to their table, but there were all these hearty, amazing men at the other one, and I thought, yes! The salt of the earth, blue collar writers are here! So I sat down and they were very friendly and easy to talk to, reason being that these were all maintenance men and groundskeepers.

The only thing that would make this place better is if it were me and a bunch of homeless people. Then I would feel really good about myself instead of weird and terrible.

In the time between breakfast and dinner we do whatever we want. What I usually want to do is hang out in my studio writing, or reading, or playing the guitar or eating out of the picnic basket they leave at my doorstep around noonish. Sometimes I walk around in the woods. The woods are filled with little creeks and moss covered stones. There was a lot of snow when I got here but it’s beginning to melt. It’s all really fucking inspiring and beautiful and shit.

Mollybear loves picnic.

I’ve seen 5 deer total, and they seem like very fast, happy deer. Today I walked by one who just stood on the side of the path staring at me. Temple Grandin has an entire chapter in her book called, “Fear is Worse than Pain” and so it’s very important to me that I am calm and make deer in my path feel as safe as possible. To do this I tell my heart to tell the deer’s heart, “I am your friend and I will not hurt you,” and I walk slowly and keep my head down and look deferential. It’s a serious sacrifice because I’d really like to look at the deer. I walked by her twice and both times she didn’t run away and that makes us both happy, I would like to think.

At dinner, again I have to see all the people, and I really don’t mean to complain about the people, they really are nice, they are just such terrible reminders of what a weirdo I am and how poorly my social skills have developed that I can’t help but resent them. On my first night I gave a brief intro where I said that I was from Michigan and had arrived there from school in Montana, so most conversations start with “Where in Michigan.” A girl who is a really nice person and sculptor said to me, “I went to graduate school at Cranbrook,” and she said it sort of apologetically because it’s such a good school. And what did I say? I said, “Cranbrook is a really great school. I used to work as a custodian there,” which is, you know, true, in high school I worked in the bloomfield hills school district and I cleaned the toilets at one of Cranbrook’s satellite locations, but who am I, Good Will Hunting? I mean, it was a Humble Brag, big time, and I can’t even pretend like it was an accident, I pretty much do feel that way. So that sentence has been echoing in my head for the last 5 days or so, plus other stupid things I’ve said that are too horrible and numerous to go into further.

There are plenty of young people here and almost all of them come from Brooklyn. If I want to feel poor, insecure, meek and weird, not just for the next two months but for forever and all of time, I think I should probably move to Brooklyn and try to distinguish myself as an artist there.

My favorite person so far has been a shy, gentle man with a killer mustache and a tattoo on his neck. I thought for a second he wanted to have sex with me, which I love about a person, but then when I asked him if he was happy about going home he said, “mixed feelings. you know, I’m homesick. I miss cooking and I miss my boyfriends.” I told him that I didn’t miss any of those things, and we had a good laugh about that. “I miss my boyfriends!” Oh my god. The best. That night he performed an autobiographical monologue in the library that included a lot of dick sucking. It was pretty great. Of course he’s leaving now.

Most nights they put on a talent show and a couple people present what they’re working on. It’s fun. It’s great to see people other than writers who are very serious about and excellent at their craft.

I miss the internet but it’s not that bad. I have one bar on my phone so I can get text messages in my room and I can check my email. I don’t get enough email and it makes me mad. I would very much like to know if they are utilizing James Spader’s character more on The Office because I very much like his character. I miss The Biggest Loser and The Daily Show, but those are the three shows I watch, and you know what, it could be worse. If things are going badly in politics or whatever, I am happy to not know that stuff.

The library has internet and it’s about a 5 minute walk through the woods from my studio. People at home have been scolding me whenever I check Facebook, like I should be some sort of writing slave who has given up their Facebook privileges. Well fine. I am (mostly) taking it to heart and try not to interact much so that people are content that I am sufficiently suffering.

Not to belabor the point, but I mean, you do know it’s not “Facebook” that I love, right? That it’s the people and the relationships that it allows me to maintain and nurture? Whatever. I’ll try not to use Facebook.

The writing is going really well. I feel good about my progress. The fact that every correspondence I have with people from back home usually contains something akin to, “We expect great things from you” scares me a little but not as much as you might expect.

Here’s what I do: I meditate some, or I just sit still on my bed and think for awhile. I try to very literally get into an unconscious, trance like state. Then I write in my notebook as fast as I can and for as long as I can. At night I type it all up on my laptop and marvel at the sheer number of words I’ve created and I try very hard to delay the fear and panic that the words are all wrong, arranged in the wrong order and amount to all the wrong ideas and sentiments.

I really do think it’s going well and I’m so grateful to be here.

Here is my little house.

Love,
Molly

 

07/9/11

a fake fast-food religious experience

I’m a vegetarian who loves McDonalds. I love McDonald’s French fries so much; I think they are the best kind. When I go to McDonalds I get the two cheeseburger meal without meat and I put French fries where the meat should be. I’m not proud of it but there it is. Last night there was a startlingly good-looking man working the drive thru window. (I’m preoccupied with how people look. I think it makes a big difference in how your life will be. I think that other people don’t acknowledge its influence enough.) Three things were clear from the start:

  1. This was a man with a leaning towards making the best of every situation.
  2. He had not been working the McDonald’s drive thru for very long.
  3. He longed for attention and love.

He told me my food would take hours because they were dropping new French fries for me. I really hate that. They taste better when they’ve become a little cold and stewing, in my opinion. He was nervous and apologetic but hoped his smile and upper arms would charm me. Seriously, he leaned forward and emphasized both those things. Sometimes I feel like I can see people in slow motion, and what I find out is a secret.

Really, the food took quite a long time, but I keep a computer in my pocket and I looked at twitter. I thought about my novel. Writers should never be bored, not really. He brought me my food. Your French fries are going to be so good now, he assured me. I asked him for a lot of ketchup, and he picked up a huge pile in his fist and grinned at me. I thought about telling him, “you’re too good-looking to work at McDonalds.” He would have really liked that. I felt so powerful. It was like someone had handed me a sword and I elected not to wield it. Instead I said, “I don’t have any ketchup at home,” because it’s true. I’m out of ketchup. He picked up the bin and dropped 6 pounds of ketchup in my bag, and then I drove off, instead of him climbing through the window into my car and coming home with me.

It’s a gift, don’t get me wrong, but somehow I just feel really burdened with all this ketchup. I guess I’m depressed about the extra packaging.

 

05/18/11

greetings from hardback.

Life is moving a little too fast for my tastes but young professionals adapt. And we’re not that young, Molly. And we’re not getting any younger. And there’s a big black cloud coming up over the mountains out the window facing the parking lot of a coffee shop called Hardback adjacent to a Hastings in Missoula, Montana, where I’m writing you from. This is a place based narrative.

I know I always say this, but I think the man with the spiky blonde hair (dyed) atop the square head sitting in front of the aforementioned window is in love with me. He’s hunched over a notebook, writing by hand, and he keeps looking up at me across the room. He caught me looking back twice already and I think this is only encouraging him. He’s wearing an old flannel shirt rolled up on his biceps – ex sailor biceps – and he is writing weird, disgusting things. I don’t ever want him to find out I’m doing the same thing. Mine is not the same thing. My angle is way more exploitative. He looks how I imagine a live action Duke Nukem might. This dude is going to go home and set up an elaborate shrine of my face made of macaroni and think about me all the time. I wish I could read what he’s writing. I hope it’s about me and it’s terrible or wonderful. I can’t take anything in between. This is probably fucking illegal or immoral or both but here’s a stolen image I only thought to take after I took the time to so artfully describe him, so forgive any redundancies.

great writer, my murderer, or both?

The saddest part about this story is that I will never ever know what he’s writing or what it all means in the end. Or if I ever find out it’ll probably be just before he sobs about how much he loves me while chopping my head off and I won’t get the chance to tell you about it.

But enough pie in the sky dreaming. I’m so busy, everyone. I got my MFA, I’m your master, blah blah blah. Like a second later I got this rad job as a calendar editor at Missoula’s hip, independent weekly paper. I’m working on “my novel.” The word file I keep all my novel ideas in is called “my novel.” Summer, what can I say.

Why do good things happen to chaotic neutral people?