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?

06/17/13

let’s talk about all the movies I saw by myself this month.

Feeling the suffocating weight of the human condition and my life choices, but what else is new. Writing is a shitty vocation on any day but it’s been particularly difficult for me lately for some reason. Sometimes you go to paint and the colors are wet mud, that’s all, it happens. Like breathing, writing for me has been labored and difficult.

I’ve got this new life plan. My mother taught me from a very early age that people who are happy and love themselves are assholes. I think she was thinking of my father but I analogized the lesson to include everyone, chiefly myself. So my new thing is to from now on go incredibly, uncomfortably easy on myself. You remember the four agreements, right? 4. Always do your best. Maybe on Tuesday my very best means eating an entire frozen pizza and going to bed at 7:30, I don’t know, I’m not a psychic.

Holy fuck, I’m so lonely, I go to the movies every weekend by myself, sometimes twice a weekend, that’s how lonely. I go to movies whether the paper assigned me to see the film or not. If writing is a knife in the heart than cinema is the balm. You just watch it with your eyes, get on the internet afterward and bitch about what you saw. You don’t have to create anything or guess what the characters look like.

For example, I saw After Earth in theaters on purpose. The scholarship has been done, it’s hardly relevant anymore, but seriously, what were they thinking. Gifting your kid a 130 million dollar movie to star in is not inspiring, Will Smith. We do not relate, this isn’t a father/son story the American people are interested in getting behind. Will and Jaden are speaking in accents because it’s 1,000 years in the future and language changes but this is a dumb future detail to guess at and also distracting. It was stupid when they did it in Cloud Atlas too, we don’t need to have them talk funny to know it’s the future. The plot says everything on earth has evolved to kill humans since they absconded long ago. That’s Lemarkian bullshit—evolution doesn’t work that way. Why is M. Night Shyamalan obsessed with plants killing us. The plants aren’t going to kill us, bro.

The CGI is bad, the story is boring and Jaden has no charisma. The lesson of the film is that you should never be afraid of anything. Not being afraid of a monster who wants to kill you is known as “ghosting.” To ghost is to truly not give a fuck but I think Will Smith takes it too far. What I hated most is the moment when Will Smith puts a necklace on his wife in this single, sweeping gesture that only works in movies. Cal does the same thing when he puts the Heart of the Ocean on Rose in Titanic, I fucking hate that. Necklace clasps are a bitch and we all know it, why can’t we just be real with each other.

we are royalty, Rose.

we are royalty, Rose.

Star Trek: Darkness Falls, The Iceman, Now You See Me and Before Midnight (coming this thursday) I wrote reviews for in the Indy.

What else.

My roommates and I snuck into an advanced free screening of This is the End last week, and maybe this is all the liquor and candy we smuggled in with us talking, but it might be the greatest and funniest film of all time. This is Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s directorial debut and I think they learned a lot about how to make a comedy look pretty from David Gordon Green (the indy genius who directed All the Real Girls and Pineapple Express, holla). My love for this film is just more evidence to a growing internet rumor that I’m actually a 14 year old boy.

Not in theaters (and not streaming on Netflix so you’re so fucked), I watched a movie called Killer Joe (2011) starring Matthew McConaughey, Emile Hirsch and some other people. Hirsch’s mother is awful and has an insurance policy, so he and his Dad hire Killer Joe to, you know. The best part is how nobody lingers too much on the morality of the situation; a good dark comedy is hard to find. I love films about poor, violent and otherwise not very bright people. I want to write a short story collection in which every story is as fucked up and entertaining as this movie was.

what could go wrong.

what could go wrong.

Since Killer Joe was so thrilling, I can’t write and my life is as empty as a shell, I went and saw Mud, again starring McConaughey. The movie has a 99% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which sounds good, but what it really means is that the film is unobjectionable so perhaps a little soft. It’s about 13 year old boys in Arkansas, which I find really relatable. It’s a Cormac McCarthy style morality tale about how women hurt men, tempered with the optimism and guarded violence that comes with a PG-13 film. Seriously, I wish I’d never known the rating, it was a real spoiler to know that nothing truly terrible would happen.

Last night I tried to watch The Descent (2005) but it was too scary. I can’t watch scary films alone, and unless you’re a dog don’t even bother inviting yourself over. Right now I’m doing a me time thing.

me. alone in my room. calmly reading.

me. alone in my room. calmly reading.

 

04/3/13

7 don’t kill yourself tips.

1. There’s no such thing as death.
There’s no shortcuts ever, right? You fall asleep here, you wake up somewhere else. No ghost has ever not regretted that time she hanged herself in the basement. Watch Faust. Read Sartre’s No Exit. Don’t be frightened, but for real, there’s no exit.

2. It hurts a lot.
Every kind of suicide hurts. Lots of pills make your organs shut down, like they’re walking down a flight of stairs and also on fire. A gun, a knife, a rope. You’ve seen a magician floundering in a tank with no key. Did it look like a wet hug? You’ll be so alone; don’t do it.

3. Make girls laugh instead.
Think about it: A giggling girl, and you did that to her. What is better? Start by whispering in her ear some acerbic truth about the situation. If you want to go in for the kill, imply that she’s special and powerful, but in a weird way. They love it. Making girls laugh can be a hobby, like stamp collecting. Bet you never thought of that.

4. Animals.
Anybody can get a dog to love them. You could be a horrible friend to the humans around you, you could murder people in the street or smash flat screen televisions for no reason, and if you walk a dog once a day and give him food, to him you will be the lord of your apartment. Crows: they’re fucking everywhere. Decide to become spellbound with feelings of love and magic every time you see a crow because you love crows so much and suddenly your life is filled with love that can’t be helped.

5. Movies.
Just watch movies all day instead. Watch every Quentin Tarantino movie, every Martin Scorsese movie, every Woody Allen movie, The Godfather trilogy, almost every David Lynch movie, the original Total Recall, Logans Run, Altered States, All the Die Hard movies, Welcome to the Dollhouse, both Bill and Ted movies, half the Nightmare on Elm Street movies, one quarter of the Friday the thirteenth movies, Jurassic Park 1 and 3, all the Alfred Hitchcock movies, Every movie about Christ, Buddha and the devil, all the David Mamet movies, every Charlie Kaufman movie, a lot of documentaries, even the long boring documentaries, just watch all the movies, because even though it’s not the same thing as life, it’s close, and later if you’re up to it you can talk to people on the internet about the movies.

6. Heroin?
Not a good idea. A last resort, definitely. Heroin often causes suicide, sure. But maybe it hasn’t gotten its claws in you yet and you’re standing on a ledge. You want to feel better, right? The point of suicide is to feel better. You’ve already proven you’ve got nothing to lose, so find a man in a dark alley and ask him. Oh no, is it dangerous? You’re not afraid of getting cut. Put the needle in your arm and re-evaluate. Maybe you don’t know the way to do that and you can make a friend out of whoever teaches you how. And if you’re back on the ledge in 6 months, you’ve bought some time. Does time matter? Does it do any good? Nobody knows!

7. Move.
Unhappiness follows you everywhere like a starving animal, sure, but some places are better than others. Waterford, Michigan is bad, but Guantanamo Bay is worse. A prison is bad because everyone is mean and none of your friends are with you, but strapped to a heavy rock at the bottom of the ocean is a thousand times more lonely. If you’re thinking about killing yourself because no one in your town understands you, try another town. The girls around here are snobs; go south, they’re more fun. Go where everybody’s cousin lives. Keep moving at a steady clip until the world decides it’s done with you. That’s the way it is anyway. You can’t change it so don’t try.  And you probably won’t get to hover around and watch everyone mourn. You’ll just upset everybody.

03/25/13

work and money and deer and money.

Let’s say you find yourself at the foot of a mountain in rural Washington, looking for clarity, peace of mind and maybe a little free rehab. Then they say, “There’s no God, go sit on the floor for 10 days straight.” Lights out at 9 pm with no dinner and no talking.

Of course I’m talking about the meditation retreat I returned from a couple of weeks ago. It was great and impossible to talk about. The key to happiness is nothing and the middle path is further away than it sounds.

Since I’ve been back I’ve been busy making money. Money’s my new thing, I’m super into it. I have more money than I’ll ever need. Money money. Give me money. Let’s all find our old copy of Martin Amis’s novel Money and finish it, that’s how much money.

This week I worked in a warehouse cataloging boxes for shipping. They sell novelty items, like magnets and salt shakers. Gi Joe and Barbie packed in the same shipping box, imagine the scandal. You can get any configuration of Flinstones salt shaker you want. You can get a Betty and Fred salt shaker set, and I didn’t even think those two hung out. You can order daschund bobbleheads with or without sweaters. In the warehouse are two little real life Pomeranians who are unequivocally my friends. They belong to the boss, who is kind, but tired. I like the job a lot. Everybody stands around and pretends like capitalism isn’t stupid. But it’s temporary. By the time you read this, it will be over, and I’ll be back to the hustle.

Remember the dreaded ex? Jesse was no picnic, but let’s not dwell. He was good at all the most boring parts of life, and he wasn’t afraid of anything. Before I met Jesse, I was always the bad roommate. I never did the dishes, or if I did, they were all wrong. Jesse used to talk loudly at me about leaving food in the drain, and I felt overwhelmed and misunderstood. I’d tell him, “Most of the time I don’t leave food in the drain. Why are you so mad?” and he’d say, “What are you, a fucking child? It’s not hard, bro. You should be able to clean the food out of the drain 100% of the time.”

He got through, and from then on I did the dishes perfectly. One day Jesse said to me, “You’re going to be so strong after having been with me. Just watch. You’ll leave here and get a nice, patient and understanding boyfriend.” And I knew it was true, and that’s what happened.

This new one is good and peculiar. He loves hip-hop and Buddhism. I probably won’t mention him too much in the future; he doesn’t really want to be a character on my blog, which is weird and reasonable. I wish I had thought of that years ago, but it’s too late for me.

There were a lot of deer living in the field at the meditation retreat. There were a few teenagers and their mothers, and they were very tame. It was evident the deer held a special place in everyone’s heart, but too long away and my mind retreated to dark corners. I became obsessed with the idea of: “What if I took out a handgun and shot all the deer?” It could totally be done. For one, they don’t inspect your suitcase; I could have brought a bomb for all they knew. You don’t have to show any form of ID. I could have just shot the deer, got in my car and drove off.

Fucking calm down. Relax. I don’t own a gun and I would never shoot a deer. I just thought it would be hilarious and weird if I shot all the deer. That’s all I’m saying.

I bought this pack of greeting cards at Value Village with animals on them. Maybe you don’t know this, but I’ve been a blogger for forever. 10 years ago, when I was around 20 and precocious as all fuck, I had a blog at anticon.com/molly. I asked everybody for their address so I could send them postcards, and it went great. Just great. I sent a kid a postcard, and then my brother saw that kid at a hip hop show a few weeks later, and the kid told my brother how much he loved getting that postcard from me, what a fucking ray of light and sunshine that postcard was. And then a couple of months later I read on a message board how that kid took too many pills one night and died.

That almost certainly won’t happen to you! I seriously don’t care who you are at all. Anyone who read all the way to the bottom of this page is a friend of mine. Maybe I know you in real life, maybe I don’t. Maybe we’ve never talked before. Leave me your name and your mailing address in the comments field, and I’ll send you a postcard. You trust me, right? I love you. And I didn’t shoot those deer.

*Update: People seem to think that if they put their address in this box, it will show up publicly as a comment. That’s not the case. It goes safe and sound to my email alone. Courage, man. The hurt cannot be much!

 

10/24/12

The Shinning!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

09/6/12

my domestic situation so far.

The house I moved into has a white picket fence around it, which is hilarious because inside we’re living out a Raymond Carver story, the early years, the stripped down Gordon Lish horror show years, but with YouTube. We listen to a lot of sad ballads on YouTube.

Earlier in the week, my roommate Jesse encountered a nest of wasps who unmercifully attacked his foot with their sharp stingers, and their poison has been coursing through his veins ever since. He hobbles into the house after a day of working, his body broken. Jesse is a ball of thorns wrapped in thick, dark skin. He grits his teeth and says, “I run on hate and pain!” I think he is speaking literally. When I touch him, I can feel hate and pain brewing under the surface. I’m trying to find the most prudent way to love him.

Jesse’s an orphan and a roofer and he stares at me for what I consider to be uncomfortable lengths of time. He tells me I move through the world awkwardly, which I already knew but it’s always devastating to be reminded. He said to me, “I feel embarrassed for you sometimes,” and well, that makes two of us.

The first week I lived here he asked me where he could read some of my writing, and I told him about this blog. I watched him read through every post, and he laughed in a way I found uncomfortable and a little terrifying. Every day since, he asks me, “Have you updated your blog yet?” He says he wants me to write about him. People often don’t mean that, I find. Actually, most people don’t even say that. We will see.

Jesse is almost always mad at me, and I find it frustrating and exhilarating. I keep trying to learn the rules, but they’re always changing. There are no rules! He’s got bright white teeth and expressive eyebrows. He rotates between a few torn up t-shirts and camouflage cargo shorts. Jesse stares at himself in the mirror constantly. I find him egotistical and difficult.

When I watch Jesse pick the best cucumbers out of a pile of cucumbers, I start to fall in love with him, and then he opens his mouth and says something. So far we’ve managed to avoid the awkward situation of meeting a person on craigslist who then immediately becomes your live-in boyfriend by not calling it that. Fool-proof plan.

Here are two more facts about the house:
1. An old woman who lived here for 30 or 40 years before us fell on a knife in the kitchen and died. The little kids at the elementary school across the street thought she was a witch. I’m pretty sure her ghost lives here.
2. There was a piano before I moved in, but the summer subletters stole it.



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.

01/11/12

my enemies are the russian.

It has occurred to me—more than once, even—that writing about myself so candidly all over the internet and beyond might be a really fucking bad idea. Just so you don’t think it hasn’t occurred to me: the thought occurs. My second major feature came out at the Missoula Independent last week. It’s about magic, you can read it here. And then there was the one before that. I wanted to take a second to really dwell on the issue and explain why I keep putting it all out there, despite the large stones it sometimes lodges in my chest.

The things that we super enjoy about art and literature oftentimes have to do with seedy underbellies. Remember when American Beauty came out in 1999, and it was all, “Oh my god, we can’t believe that seemingly perfect suburban families might have skeletons in their closets!” Well, I can’t believe you can’t believe it. The stuff I write about doesn’t seem particularly shocking or weird to me, because I thought it was obvious we were all messes.

Take the whole struggling with drug and alcohol addiction thing, for example. The truth is, I’m not sorry that I did a lot of drugs and drank a lot growing up as a teen and beyond. I mean, I’m sorry for some of the consequences, but I don’t think it was inherently bad or wicked or something that I should go out of my way to hide. And likewise, I’m not sorry that I decided marijuana wasn’t meant to be my friend for life and that it’s not some snake oil panacea, after all. I think that all humans struggle and suffer and I’m not embarrassed to talk about my own struggles and suffering. I am, however, a little embarrassed that I’m not embarrassed.

My next point is best demonstrated by a moment from My So Called Life, when Angela says:

“What I like, dread, is when people who know you in completely different ways end up in the same area. And you have to develop this, like, combination you on the spot.”

That might be one of the defining quotes of my life. I really took it to heart, and the lesson I got from it is that you shouldn’t have to come up with a combination you. So much suffering comes from trying to manage all of our different personas, and at the end of the day, it just strikes me as kind of futile and pointless. We’ve all taken in good art, so we know that people are messes. Do you think that you are somehow pulling it off and making everyone else believe that you’re the exception? I don’t know. I might be too far in the other direction. I’m still working it all out.

People talk about a lack of privacy in the new facebook/twitter/whatever society like it’s a bad thing. I’m pretty into it. I don’t think people should ever feel like they have to censor who they are to anyone at any time. If you’re doing your best to be kind and true, and you’re living your life on purpose, then what is there to be ashamed of? That’s my position.

More important than any of that shit, though, is the fact that when I write about myself, people seem to respond. Over-using the first person isn’t inherently interesting. I suspect that sometimes I can be too self-centered and boring. But overall, I feel like I’m touching on something. If I didn’t feel that way, or if people didn’t continually tell me to keep doing it, I swear I would shut the fuck up.

I’m currently a teacher at a community college. Any curious student could find this blog or any of my highly personal essays whenever they wanted. How do I feel about that? Meh. I don’t feel great about it! Do I feel like it might undermine my authority? A little. But at the end of the day, it’s like this: 1. Most students are not that curious. 2. The ones that are curious tend to have open minds and won’t hold this shit against me. 3. At the end of the day, oh fucking well. I’m not getting paid nearly enough to compromise my art or my integrity. If you’re a student and you’re reading this, just do me a solid and don’t mention it to me.

Anyway. Sorry this post isn’t that funny. This is just something that’s been churning around in my head for awhile. I’ve been going through a lot of changes. Right now my life is in a hellish dormant period of saving up money, training for a big fight, living at my mother’s house in waterford, michigan, and so on.

Shut up and watch the fitness montage from Rocky IV. I’m Rocky, and my enemies are the Russian.

01/4/12

let’s not make a big deal about the new year, 2012 edition.

Here’s some lists for 2012!

Social lessons I learned in 2011:

1. You know, I don’t think men like it when you are very blunt and autistic about sexual things. Like, say you’re hanging out and it seems as though things are moving towards pants coming off… I used to think they would find it very refreshing if you made an abrupt announcement like, “It’s about time for the pants to come off,” but now I think maybe they don’t like that! I think it has something to do with romance or something.

2. Regarding the art of small talk: Now, I find that people are very boring and are always saying boring things to me, and yet, when I try to reciprocate with more boring, the other person looks bored! I will start talking about how I saw a series of books from my childhood at a Salvation Army. I will tell them how it reminded me of being young and that I considered buying some of the books, but the plot thickens when the books turn out to be pretty expensive, like two dollars a book or something, at the Salvation Army! And the person’s eyes glaze over and they start interrupting you or talking to someone else in the area. The lesson is that even though other people are boring all the time, you still have to not be boring. It doesn’t seem fair but we learned a long time ago that life wasn’t fair, right?

3. People don’t like self deprecating humor as much as I thought they did. It makes them uncomfortable. Jokes should be situational, or maybe based on manipulating language or exposing basic truths in new and pleasant ways. Turns out nobody wants to hear how fat I think I am.

4. This list is silly. I learned a lot of other more important things but I don’t want to talk about it anymore.

Books I read at the MacDowell Colony from Nov-Dec of 2011:

1. Smashing Laptops, by Josh Wagner
2. Freedom, by Jonathan Franzen
3. Blueprints of the Afterlife, by Ryan Boudinot
4. Preston Falls, by David Gates
5. The Heart Beneath the Heart, (long essay) by Rick Bass
6. Ray, by Barry Hannah
7. The Devil All the Time, by Donald Ray Pollock

Books I started but didn’t finish:

8. In Persuasion Nation, by George Saunders
9. Moby Dick, by Herman Melville
10. Infinite Jest, by David Foster Wallace
11. The Savage Detectives, by Roberto Bolano

Movies I saw in theaters in 2011, listed here without comment or Ceremony:

Midnight in Paris, Moneyball, Another Earth, Take Shelter, What’s Your Number?, Conan the Barbarian, The Muppet Movie, Cave of Forgotten Dreams, 50/50

There might be more, but that’s all I can remember.

My top 3 Favorite Blog Posts from 2011, written for me, about me, and chosen by me.

1. Whatever, about depression and the animal kingdom.

2. Sorry For Being Weird, a post about being sorry for being weird. (Honorable mention, its followup: Sorry for Being Sorry about Being Weird.)

3. how I spent my writer’s vacation, authored drunk alone in a cabin in the woods.

2012, yo. Let’s do something cooler!

Happy Time Music Playlist for 2012, affectionately titled: Bring Me a Higher Love. These songs are handpicked to bring me a higher love in both romantic and divine realms of existence.

1. “Higher Love” by Steve Winwood

2. “Something” by the Beatles

3. “You Are the Sunshine of my life” by Stevie Wonder

Talking Book is a concept album that begins with idealized love, goes on a detour into the black man’s experience, dabbles in the loss of idealized love and heartbreak and then finally ends on a note of “try, try again.”

4. “It’s Boring/You Can Live Anywhere you Want” by YACHT

5. “Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina and the Waves

Fry always sings this in the shower. It’s adorable every time.

6. “My Sweet Lord” by George Harrison

7. “Roll Away Your Stone” by Mumford & Sons

Sigh No More is a concept album about rejecting romantic love for something more heavenly and divine, and that’s why it’s my favorite album of the last decade. In case you were wondering what I thought about it.

8. “Foxglove” by Murder By Death

9. “Everything’s Alright” by Jesus Christ Superstar

10. “Wildflowers” by Tom Petty

11. “Once In A Lifetime” by Talking Heads

12. “This is the Day” by The The

13. “The Greatest” by Cat Power

This song is probably about suicide or something, knowing Ms. Marshall. I haven’t bothered to listen closely to the lyrics. Let’s just say it’s about me being the greatest.

14. “I’m the Man Who Loves You” by Wilco

15. “Happy Man” by Sparklehorse

Yeah, I know he fucking killed himself. Whatever.

16. “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher” Jackie Wilson

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