11/10/15

The Incredible Journey.

On the other hand, why would anyone willingly move back to a suburb of Detroit, Michigan?

It became clear over time that life in Seattle with my dog had become fodder for an unfortunate narrative. “Well, thank god you have Dorothy,” my mother would say to me through heavy sighs on the telephone. I may not be a smart man, but I know when I’m being patronized.

Three days alone on the road with my dog. We murdered thousands of butterflies against the windshield. At a Motel 6 in Joliet, Illinois, Dorothy and I ate pizza so gross that we both puked on the bed spread, and you know the legend is true that those things never get cleaned.

Homeward Bound.

Homeward Bound.

There was something pretty seriously wrong with me. The fall leaves, everyone said. Look at all the colors. First of all, autumn leaves are at most three to four colors. Secondly, I’ve seen it. More than 30 goddamn times I have seen leaves die and fall off of trees. Why do they call it change when it always happens, answer me that.

My mom didn’t know what to do so she brought me home a fifth of Evan Williams every other day on her way home from work. After a week or so of that I was all, no mother, this place is a health spa and I am the earth’s humble student, so instead she sent me to the quack family doctor to get diet pills and anti depressants.

A lot of little things made me want to leave Seattle. I remember I was at a service counter at a Safeway in White Center. A customer said, “Why do you lock up the little bottles of booze but not the big bottles.” Before the clerk could answer, I said, “Because they’re the easiest to steal.” She said, “That’s exactly right.” We formed a unit in that moment, the three of us, but then I said, “Bob Marley says that locking your doors is like saying you don’t trust people.” Why do I always say this. It makes people uncomfortable. The customer said, “Right. Exactly.” I held the state of Washington responsible for feeling misunderstood in that moment, but that’s not fair. They respond the same way in Michigan. Of course you can’t trust people. There are poor people everywhere.

spaceneedletools

Then I took this picture of attractive young professionals my age in Queen Anne and that was basically the last straw. I could hear them speaking. The one on the left explained the view to the other two. “This is the space needle,” he said. If you don’t understand why I didn’t want to share a city with these people anymore, I can’t explain it. I am aware now that I may have overreacted.

The pills aren’t working, thanks for asking. They gave me a tricyclic anti-depressant, the old school kind, because it’s also a sedative and I told the doctor I couldn’t sleep. The idea that you go to a doctor and tell her what medicine you want based on what commercials you’ve seen is batshit insane to me, but this is America and this is how we do it. I told her my mom said I should ask her for a pill called “phentermine” that her friend from work said made her skinny, and that was it, she just wrote it down on a pad and said, “Anything else?” Then I got cocky. I was like, throw in a little ambien.
“I can’t prescribe ambien with phentermine,” she said.
“But I need a downer to go with my upper,” I said.
“That’s the exact issue,” she said.

I thought about the scene in The Departed when Madolyn valiantly recovers after Billy Costigan rattles her in their first therapy session. Theirs is the sexiest relationship in all of cinema. She gives him a script for lorazapem, and then she says,  “Have I done my job to your God damn standards? Because according my standards, you fit the model of drug seeking behavior. And too damn bad if you don’t like my initial clinical reaction.” It was a baller thing to say. I feel that I too fit the model of drug seeking behavior. The fact that I really am overweight, suffer from insomnia and exhibit symptoms of severe clinical depression are immaterial against this feeling that I’ve done something wrong.

“You can’t sleep,” she said, and I agreed. Her next question was, “Do you have kids?” I said no, and she prescribed the amitriptyline. What is the relevance of the question about kids (is a question with no answer).

My mother and I went down to Florida to babysit my sister’s six month old. Her name is Veda and I am her aunt. She stared at me for long, perplexed moments. I look like her mother but I am not her mother. Happy, sad and confused seem to be her three primary emotions. In Florida, my dearth of normal human feeling began to gnaw on the people around me. It was getting to Sylvia Plath levels of despair. I may have had three lines of dried red blood on my cheek, for all I know. I was so dead inside I doubt I cast a reflection in a mirror. Not to mention the tiny lizards that scurried under foot with every step on the pavement. I imagined them falling out of the trees and into my hair, or scurrying up my pant leg. I love every animal but a lizard. After Florida, my mother agreed to pay for my talk therapy.

I’ve known my therapist since I was 17 years old. He’s a smart, funny man who I am probably in love with, but only under the healthy umbrella of transference. It took me several minutes to tell him that David had died. I kept gesturing with my hands and trying to get the words out of my mouth, but they wouldn’t come. Three sessions later my therapist told me that my grief stacked on top of the depression, stuffed inside a pre-existing horror show like the chicken in a turducken, and there is nothing to do but grieve and feel the feelings. Finding out how sad you are: This is an example of progress and a good thing. That’s how bad it is.

lamb of god.

lamb of god.

 

I wanted to turn my head into an animal for halloween. Last year I was a crow, before that, a dog, and a rabbit the year before that. I tried to make a horse but the horse turned into a bear. I didn’t like the bear so I resolved to start over with a lamb. I imagined the lamb with the machete from the horror film You’re Next, isn’t that terrifying? I went to Goodwill and bought two stuffed teddy bears, for christmas, with a texture like a lamb’s tail. “These are cute,” the clerk said. “I’m going to cut them up and wear them on my face,” I thought of saying, but be proud of me, I didn’t.

 

 

 

 

bear of god.

bear of god.

 

I mention the manic making of the masks because I have to admit that this focused attention on an ultimately irrelevant task means that I am probably getting better. I punctured my thigh with a pair of scissors, but that was a harmless accident. The masks make me feel safe and desirous of your presence. I want to hover over your bed with the head of a lamb and watch you sleep.  I’m renewing my interest in things I once enjoyed.

Is that good? Are you proud of me? Have I done my job to your goddamn standards?

05/20/14

oops, I did it again.

First I had to kill all the ants. And I love ants. In my youth I read E.O. Wilson’s big book called The Social Insects, and I remember in horror someone told me that the collective intelligence of a thriving ant colony equals one human brain.

There were tiny ants all over the floor of the maritime engineer’s bedroom and I had to go in there with the shop vac and suck them all up. It’s wartime, I reasoned. The Engineer got this house in foreclosure and paid for it with his own money; the ants are trespassers. Of course I know the ants are really innocent, and let that be a lesson. Everybody’s innocent of everything all the time, but guilty too so what does it matter when we’re sent to our makers. I want you to know I killed those ants with a lot of reverence. There weren’t as many as I expected. I doubt they had the collective intelligence of a dog or a toddler. So it’s only like I killed a dog or a toddler, or else they’re alive and circling around in the dark, dusty shop vac right now, each of them programmed to rally and rebuild. It sounds futile, and it is. Now look at you, going back to school to be a doctor. What if all this time you were trying to be a doctor in a shop vac but didn’t know it? Think about that!

I went to a job interview at a private tutoring company in Bellevue, Washington. They gave me the job on the spot, and like Morrissey it was all “Heaven knows I’m miserable now.” I dreaded it all weekend, then Monday came and to my horror nothing had happened to prevent me from going to the first day. As I pulled out of the driveway I had the very crystalized thought, “I’m going to miss an exit or something, be late for my first day, conclude I can’t be late for my first day and then come home.”

That’s exactly what happened. Why do I even bother with the song and dance of getting in the car and driving? I think I was sincerely trying to make myself do it. Before turning around, I felt the fear of a new job buzzing in various pockets of my body, like a murky sickness. Every fiber said “Danger, run away, don’t go to the job.” Now, is that my intuition talking, or is it the psychotic coward who dwells in all of us and hates change? Yeah, I don’t want to help rich kids do even better on standardized tests designed by the winners to keep the winners winning, but then again, I am aware that people need jobs. I’m not out of money yet, but I will be. Don’t think I don’t know that behind every jerk-off young person who refuses to work for the man, there’s an old, tired parent who knows what the world really requires of us sending that jerk-off kid money for rent and food. I get that my decisions don’t just impact me, okay? I understand that I will have to find a different job.

But first I’m going back to Onalaska, Washington to serve on a 10-day meditation course starting tomorrow. This will be the fourth time I’ve done a course, but those other three times I was just there for meditating and this time I’m going to be on the staff helping the other meditators. I think the difference is like instead of 12 hours of meditating a day I’ll only manage 4 or 5. Serving a course means you level up in the Buddhist community, like I’m about to unlock special shit and exclusive content.

Last time I did a sitting, I felt bored and restless because my mind was filled with attachments and fantasy. I had this thought like I wasn’t doing it right, that everybody else knew how to do it and there was something fundamentally wrong with me. On day eight I had a sobbing fit in the teacher’s conference room that had everybody worried I was going to commit suicide. I think I was on some sort of polite Buddhist suicide watch. Last time, I didn’t figure out until it was too late the true secret of “equanimity.” You’ve got to not mind what happens, no matter what. I mean, you can’t make yourself not mind, but you at least have to know that that’s the goal. I was all “I can’t keep my mind on the breath and that’s the whole goal, I have failed.” But that’s wrong. You’ve got to get in there and not mind the wandering mind.

Always I go to these things with some boy waiting for me on the other side, or the dream of some boy, or the idea that it’s going to do this or that, and this time I feel like I’m doing it for no reason and I’ve got no goals or expectations. Really I don’t even know why I’m doing it, other than that my brain probably would rather go to jail for 10 days straight than work at a private tutoring center. Whatever my brain wants to do, my body’s like, okay, meat and bones, let’s keep this bitch happy.

It’s hard to explain. I might seem like a crazy person lately, but emotionally, I don’t know if I’ve ever experienced such an uninterrupted calm. I want to keep it going.

See you in 10 days, my loves!

12/12/13

a day in the life part million.

Before we begin: Does the new theme decoration make you nauseous? Perhaps I’ll have changed it before you read this, but right now know that the background is bright red slabs of meat with a real life bloody bathroom scene as the header photo. I can explain: I don’t have photoshop installed to tone down the reds. If anybody wants to help me design something prettier, by all means, come at me.

Never mind this crippling fear of the blank page followed by an avalanche of projections into a bleak and unrealized future. I went to bed with this “never mind” in mind and tried to wake up in the morning still thinking it, but the mind wanders. I had three dogs to walk today. I said to myself, unconvincingly, “I choose to be a dog walker!” This is one of the new head tricks I’ve learned, in a nutshell: Act like your life isn’t horrible.

There’s a coffee shop about a block from my new studio in capitol hill. I don’t like it because the drip doesn’t taste good and you can’t get anything bigger than 12 oz (classic joke: The food is terrible, and such small portions!) but it’s on the way to the bus and I’m trying to be a good sport.

Inside the soundtrack featured christmas music sung by harmonizing black voices, and I was listening to the music while staring at the girl’s hair in front of me. She had hair that looks like she tousled it in the morning on purpose, like if you snapped a picture of Kate Moss when she first stepped out of bed and she still looked good.

The girl with the hair said, “Is this Beyonce?” and the man behind the counter with the skinny tshirt, beard and glasses confirmed, “It’s Destiny’s Child.”

It was just as I suspected, and in my sudden commitment to be vulnerable and genuine with the people around me, I said to everyone, “I was really enjoying the music, and it caused me to confront my true self and my previous beliefs about the entire holiday season and the meaning of Christmas.” I pointed to my heart while saying this.

The man behind the counter corrected me: “It’s pretty horrible.”

The other guy handed me my shitty 12 ounces of coffee and said, “Yeah, it’s bad.”

Let me just reaffirm once more that the music was gorgeous, I mean empirically, you’d have to be some kind of monster. I thought, “Am I on candid camera?”

Out loud I said, “Then why are you playing it?” but no one heard me.

The girl with the tousled hair agreed with the coffee workers that the soulful, joyous rendition of “here come the bells” was terrible. “I like the RUN DMC Christmas album,” she said, and followed that with, “Are you playing this on vinyl?”

It didn’t seem like she was kidding, but how can that be? They said: “No, compact disc,” and the three of them talked about vinyl right up to the moment I walked out the door.

That’s actually what unfolded during my first attempt at openness with people in my neighborhood. I’m like a raccoon who climbs out of his hole at the first thaw with a longing for spring only to immediately get hit by a truck.

On the way to the bus downtown I thought to myself, “I need to start saving my money so I can go on vacations, have experiences and meet new people.” Shortly after on the sidewalk I ran into a panhandler for probably the third or fourth time, but she tends to only remember me if I’ve got a dog in tow. She’s a tiny, pretty thing, and she’s always nice and I always give her money. She said she needed four more dollars to get a subway sandwich, and I handed her five dollars out of my empty dreams fund.

She said thank you and told me I was tall. Being told I’m tall usually feels like a pin in my belly but I’m starting to recognize that people think they’re giving me something nice when they say this. They think they’re complimenting me, so with this new information I have to sort of pull out the pin and clean off the blood.

The odds suggest the girl is a drug addict, which is fine. I am happy to give her five dollars for whatever is going to make her feel good. What I find is that I’m craving to know her better. What kind of drugs? How did she get into them? Will she ever change or will she die on the streets? I know that she’s special. I’d like to follow her back to wherever she goes at night and crawl into the sleeping bag next to her, but I hold back! This is why I’ll never be a crack addict; I’m too shy.

You’re reading the words of a girl who’s interested in change and right action. I joined a cult recently. I hope it helps. It’s not my first choice for a cult because I think it’s a little corporate-y, and they’re super aggressive about trying to turn me into a little soldier who recruits other members, but overall I think it’s a worthwhile endeavor, at the moment. Think of the kind of compassionate capitalists with glazed over eyes you see in the crowd of a Ted Talks video, these dolts who have just discovered for the first time the value of mindfulness, and that’s the kind of peeps my new cult is largely made up of. I think I’ve got something to learn from these people. If you think I’m selling out, well. The girl from two weeks ago who didn’t join this cult hasn’t finished a story in over a year and a half, so what the heck. Let’s see if this helps.

I’m single again. Lost another one to God, what else is new. Going to Detroit this weekend. I tried to go to the post office but the line was too long and I couldn’t understand how to buy stamps out of the self service machine. That’s a true story. If you’re still waiting on a free letter, what can I say? LoL. Keep waiting. 

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.

 

06/6/13

you haven’t met yourself yet.

Work

Nobody didn’t see this one coming: I put in my two weeks at the retirement home. I knew for sure I was on my way out when they told me I had to go to a meeting designed to hone our team building skills, and much like Camus and the Myth of Sisyphus, my first thought was, “Should I go to the meeting, or should I kill myself?”

You don’t understand. The lady made us answer ice breaker questions. When she asked me what my two favorite foods were, I said, “Ramen and tofu,” because that’s actually what I eat the most of, and aren’t you supposed to love the one you’re with? I really let the team down with that answer; you could feel the energy in the room deflating down to nothing. You’d have thought I squashed a sparrow under my boot in front of everyone and laughed about it.

Really though, this country fetishizes food and the food industry exploits animals, I’m not in the mood, I hate when people ask me what my favorite food is. The team should consider itself lucky I didn’t elaborate. [In high school, my friend Kevin used to do an impression of me wherein he put on my glasses, waved his hands in the air and said, "I'm Molly. I'm anti-everything!" It's still true! I still wear glasses!]

So ends that reign of terror. I got two new jobs, get this, we’re all really pleased about this: 1. Dog walker. 2. Mentor/private tutor.  But let’s not get into it here. Old people don’t really google, but everybody else does and I’d rather not get fired immediately.

Detroit

I made friends with a poet on the internet and I visited him in his basement apartment. It was a neat room with wood paneling on the walls, important books and hundreds of VHS tapes of violent films. The poet told me more than once that if not for poetry he’d be a murderer and if you’ve seen his beard like I have you wouldn’t doubt it. I feel like I find myself alone in rooms with men like this all the time lately and I’m never scared. I saw his bedroom in a dream ten years ago and I told him so. In the dream we sat on the floor on the edge of his bed. The poet didn’t talk much and I don’t know if he thinks I’m a necromancer or a dumb girl who says untrue things or what.

In a diner not unlike the one in all of David Lynch and indeed many films, the poet told me for a second time about a book he liked called The Book of Nightmares by Galway Kinnell. He told me about turning to a random page (57, he thought?) and reading a passage that said something like “You’re looking out a window at rocks on a Tuesday in 2009” and the Poet swore he was doing just that. I had ordered the book from a second hand seller on amazon not long after the first time he told me he liked it. I pulled the book out of my purse and looked for page 57, but pages 53 through 58 had been ripped out. The coincidences just stack on top of each other without meaning anything. They stack and stack like a room full of dirty plates until you can hardly move but still your life doesn’t mean anything. You want to smash the plates but the plates don’t care if they’re smashed or in tact; you can’t win.

LSD

You’re not allowed to talk about drug use in the present tense, so assume this happened a long time ago, to someone else, in a dream, with a wrench, on a boat:

She took LSD with some old friends for old time’s sake. It was terrible, she just crawled inside her heart and saw how black it was, but her friends wanted to have a good time so she pretended like she wasn’t in a private hell. They watched a lot of Eliot Smith and Sparklehorse videos and mourned their suicides all over again. She'd eaten pizza earlier and spent all night puking up the pizza, and then all sorts of items that weren’t pizza; she puked marbles and spare change and keys with no locks. She felt like she didn’t love anyone or care about anything anymore, and that’s wrong. There’s no point in doing LSD, she decided. Taking LSD felt like arriving at a fun party hours after everyone’s already left and the lights are turned off. Then you put your hands on your knees and spit up a wilted balloon, and there's not even anybody around to laugh at you.

New, better jobs. Seattle stays in the picture. I’m so happy. Look at this photo of me. I’m so happy:

 

05/22/13

training for a big fight.

The other night at dinner I tried to take a lady’s order. I said, “Would you like to order dinner?” and she said, “I would, but no one has asked me yet.” I said, “The special tonight is dill encrusted halibut with wild rice and broccoli and cauliflower.” She stared at me and I said, “Would you like the special?” She said, “I don’t know what the special is!” I told her what the special was again. I told her about the other menu items but she was equally astonished by everything. I eventually talked her into ordering the special.

Later I asked her if she wanted more coffee. “What did I order?” she grabbed my arm and begged me to tell her, and the circumstances forced me to answer back “the special,” all cryptically like some horror film villain.

I brought out the special and set it in front of her sharp yet uncomprehending eyes.

“What is this?” she said. And I explained to her that it was dill encrusted halibut with wild rice and vegetables. I pointed to each food item, apologetically. She looked at the food like it was a pile of calculators.

“Does it not look good?” her dinner companion said.

“Would you like something else?” I asked. We all just wanted to be helpful.

“I don’t know what it is!” the woman said, and kind of snotty this time, like it was my fault. Like she was mad at me for bringing her a plate of calculators for dinner.

I told her all about halibut, that it’s a kind of fish. Again I asked her if she wanted something else.

“I just don’t know what this food is,” She said again. “I’ve just never seen anything like it before.”

And this is what it is to be old, everyone. The world stops making sense. You’re lonely and scared and no one can help you. Dementia isn’t a river in Egypt. It’s a thing, and it’s waiting for you.

Lately, every morning when I open my eyes I think, “I hate my life.” I know, that’s not ideal, and I’m not trying to upset everybody, but there it is. Every day I try to get fired, but I make every light. There’s always a parking spot. It’s like God wants it this way for me. The residents are always ordering dessert at lunchtime, and I think that’s wrong. But Tony Robbins says it’s fine to hate your life as long as you’re working toward something better, so let’s say I’m doing that and nobody worry about me.

I joined a mixed martial arts gym and I spend a lot of time pretending that I’m Hilary Swank from Million Dollar Baby, training for a big fight. In class we pummel bags with our fists. I try to get angry and imagine the bag is the face of my enemy, but there’s nobody I’m mad at. I’m not mad at my ex boyfriend. I just want to rewire his brain or bring his mother back to life. It sucks that my job sucks, but that’s a thing, not a person, and whose fault is a shitty job, the sun? Fuck the sun, I fucking hate it too, long live the fucking beast.

Remember when I sent some of you postcards? That was fun. I made it a permanent thing. Check out the free letter  section.

I’m going to Detroit this weekend, hide the fine china! JK I know you don’t have any, you’re Detroit.

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.

02/27/13

onalaska, washington.

First of all, I want to assure you all (Dad) that I’m doing really well. It’s important to remember that mollylaich.com is kind of a horror story on purpose. The new testament sucks because good news is boring. Here’s an example of what I think is a bad story: “Molly made vegan pancakes and they were delicious and the dog ate all of them.” Here’s that story a little better: “Molly made vegan pancakes and they were really bad. She has no pets.” Actually never mind, the first story is better. Forget this.

The point is, I’m fine. Seattle winter is temperate as fuck, and I’m into the drizzle since I’m so goth. My roommates are awesome. I got a really cool rubber shark at the thrift store the other day. It’s not even that everything is going to be okay. Things are totally okay right now.

Still, there is this curse that needs lifting, and the only way I know of to lift a curse is with sober repentance. Starting this evening I’m going on a 10-day vipassana meditation retreat in Onalaska. I said I was going this summer and then I went to Texas instead, but this time I mean it. I’ve been twice before, in 2010 and 2008. People become very grave when I talk to them about it. The simple act of sitting on a mat in a room doesn’t seem like it should be a dreadful thing, but we all feel dread about it anyway. It’s more than just being bored, right?

I feel exhilarated. It’s good to do insane things now and again. I hate having to talk to people sometimes; I’m psyched I don’t have to talk to anybody for 10 days. It will be nice to be fed. Remember what Whitman said about death? He said that to die is different than what anyone supposed, and luckier. I’m not afraid; do not be afraid for me.

It’s inconvenient, for certain. I was in the middle of things. Had some collaborative art projects going. Had to delay the start time of a job. I’ll miss all your tweets about what I’m missing at AWP in Boston. You know. things. Important things. I wish I could hire someone to check the seattle craigslist dog section for me every day. Wish I could find someone to print out copies of my resume and then throw them in the garbage over and over. Wish I had a maid who could not write for me. You get the idea.

My story Nobody Tell Sandy She’s Dead is live today at Snake Oil Cure. The title is also the message.

Thanks for reading my blog. I know this is a one way conversation most of the time, but I feel like we’re friends, and I love you. Talk to you when I get back.

 

 

02/23/13

driving while hooded and other tales of terror.

This probably isn’t a very healthy or useful way to frame the situation, but I think somebody put a curse on me. First of all, I keep losing stuff. My wallet, slips of paper, these things seem to vanish into thin air. At work I lost an important key and my cousin fired me. How could I have lost the key? We looked for two hours. It was like god came down from the heavens and swallowed the key so I wouldn’t have to clean houses anymore.

I get turned around on the road a lot and I give bad directions. Under my navigation we become hopelessly lost. And I have a problem with money. Like everybody else, I fucking need it, but I feel like it’s evil, and I’m not good at making it, and that makes me mad and bitter. Missoula is still raw about that time I ran the stop sign on my bicycle. I keep getting parking tickets. It’s hard to get ahead when you don’t have any money.

Had a little trouble with the Canadian border patrol the other day, but what else is new. My aunt has a timeshare she wasn’t using in Whistler, British Columbia, which is about a 4 1/2 hour drive from my place in Seattle. I thought I might take myself on a vacation, but that turned out to be wrong. The Canadian border patrol thought I was high on marijuana. I wasn’t, but they were right about me overall. You really shouldn’t wear cargo pants and a hoodie when you’re crossing the border by yourself in a shitty car on a whimsical adventure.

They put me in handcuffs and locked me in a room for a long time. The room had a pretty bad energy and why wouldn’t it? Nothing good ever happens in that room. The woman who couldn’t be convinced that I wasn’t high on pot seemed like an interesting person. She was severe and pretty, with a tightly wound braid and dark lipstick—she was exactly how you’re picturing her. I wondered what she was like at home, in her own clothes. She was kind of ruining my life, but I think I sort of wore her and the others down with my calm, go-fuck-yourself demeanor. Toward the end I could hear some kindness in her voice. At one point she and another female guard escorted me to the bathroom. For a moment the door was jammed; we all got locked inside, and she giggled. She had great teeth.

They gave me a slip of paper that officially said they thought I was high on drugs. The slip said I was prohibited from driving in Canada for 24 hours, which pretty much made me be like, “fuck this Canadian vacation.” I was escorted, on foot, back across the US border.

If you want to know how I feel about it, well, it makes me feel really bad about myself. I spend a lot of time worrying about how weird I am, but what can be done? I’m fidgety, it hurts for me to look people in the eyes. Sometimes the world lets you know what it thinks of you, and it’s not pretty. Still, it’s important not to take things personally. You wake up, you put on your clothes and you hope for the best, and sometimes the day ends with you in fucking handcuffs. What am I supposed to do about it? Who do I get mad at?

I don’t know why I write about stuff like this on the internet.

I feel haunted by my ex boyfriend’s ghost. I found a picture in my phone of his back at a football game in Missoula. It was taken a year before I met him. I was there reporting on a story for the Indy. I remember it really well because that was the first day of what would turn out to be my 10 month stint of sobriety. It’s a terrible photo. Lord knows what I intended to capture at the time; my finger looks like an alien. Jesse’s the one in camouflage shorts. I’m pretty sure it was too cold for shorts. What a fox. We are never ever ever getting back together.

photo (42)

I’m collecting clues and I haven’t a thought in my head of what to do with them. My life is like The Legend of Zelda and right now I suck at this game. How do you lift a curse? I don’t know what to do except try to be careful and love everyone anyway.

I had this idea for a different kind of nightlife, where you walk into a bar and it’s all dogs. Dogs working behind the counter, dogs playing poker in the corner (obvs.) Dogs sitting up like humans at the bar and lapping beer out of mugs. And then I walk in and take one of them home with me. It’s not a sexual thing. You just go to this bar to pick up dogs and then the two of you start a life together.

There’s a story of mine in the new issue of Corium Magazine called “Make Do.” It’s a fictional telling of my real life friend’s untimely suicide; I feel okay about it. That same story will reappear sort of in the spring 2013 print issue of Carve Magazine as the featured Reject. It’s pretty neat, they sent me a spirited rejection for “Make Do” on my birthday, and then I got to write a little essay about the story and how getting rejected felt.

Note my 21st century tweaks. You can now share my posts on twitter and facebook or whatever, and I added an email subscription thing. This was a pretty long post, I’d say.

Nobody said this life was going to be easy. I think that’s the lesson, here.

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.