The Battlefield Where the Girls Say I Love You

That's just the thing: we will never tell you we love you. In fact, we're here only to hold hands across state lines and yell at the world. We're here to try to touch you across this chasm of flown things. Not even that. At most, I will teach you how to make a gin smoothie when there's nothing left in the house. Hannah can teach you several languages and what to do when your car breaks up with you. Thanks for coming out.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

it's not you. it's hannah.

listen: hannah's back on the book. as in, there's been all this talk about finishing it. and whenever one of us gets on the bookwriting wagon, the other just finds the whole thing silly. it's our twinned rebellious streak self-defense mechanism. like, i begin screaming "poetry" while performing an interpretive dance dressed only in magnolia leaves to "suddenly i see." hannah snorts, says something about the lameness of it all. anyway, she's writing, which means it's my turn to get my hair done.
(incidentally, she's using some terrible thesaurus. like, she wants to coin a word for "charging," as in the bull charges. she types in: frantic, running, desperate, attack. the thesaurus says, "canter," and "lope." similar to when you find yourself in a trailer park in easley while looking for a new restaurant and the GPS system says, "you are AT your destination. you are AT your destination.")

i call hannah today and she actually answers:

me: thank god. what should i do with my hair?
han: i definitely like the honey blond instead of that thing with red you sometimes do.
me: what about cut?
han: um, i trust you on that one. it always seems so, uh, well formed. like it'll just stick with you. no matter what. like, it's not going anywhere."
i realize she's referring to, instead of the elements, my personality. like she's shocked my own hair puts up with me.
me: do you know what propitious and carbuncular mean?
han: yeah. i mean propitious i do.
me: a carbuncle is a festering, pustuous wound.
han: why are you telling me this?
me: they're in the waste land.
han: have you ever thought maybe people don't use words like that anymore because, i don't know, we don't walk around with open wounds these days?


han: how's the hair?
me: blond and bobbed.
han: maybe you could send me a picture. or i can see it myself when you come visit in, who knows, like six months.
me: yeah, when we finally see each other, i show up with a long, golden brown braid down my back.
han: so you're showing up as sally?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


i happened to be home tonight and watching television, which occurs bimonthly. only, it was the season premiere of quarterlife, which i'd never have known. only, the biggest loser: couples had just ended and i was only halfway through a tub of coldstone creamery brownie ice cream. so, you know...
anyway, you can just GUESS the demographic. three guys. three girls. mid-twenties. and the aesthetic scale is as follows: really cute, average, total nerd who (clearly) NEVER WENT TO PROM. and i love how the costume people do this. the total nerd girl is gorgeous. so they have her sans makeup and in sweats at all times. average girl--gasp!--is gorgeous. so they put a pair of glasses on her. "hot" girl is blond and bartends/acts. same goes for the guys.
pilot opens with two of the guys trying to land the deal at a prius dealership so that they can make their commercials.
foose ball table, cases of coronas and....everyone's in love the wrong people! i know. i too was aghast. average girl and hot guy (dum dum dum) don't know if they're ready to move in together. only average guy (who reminds me, inexplicably, of carty...not that anything about bill is average) is in love with average girl.
dorky girl creates a blog called quarterlife. outs everyone. exposes dark, unexpected secrets: hot actress/bartender drinks too much!!! for example.
also, blogger is underappreciated editorial associate at a mag called attitude, where her pretty, rachel-mcadamsish boss steals all good, environmentally sound ideas involving recycled paper.

i'm afronted by all of it. the cliched, cardboard representation of twenty-somethings. but, whatever, i haven't the time to go on. i've got to whoop my boy roommate's ass in darts before we settle in for a game of flip cup. then, we need at least 10 minutes to complain about student loans before taking out our beautiful dog for a walk and jetting off in our 30,000 dollar energy efficient cars.


Monday, February 25, 2008

an homage to"once" kicking that amy adams person in the ass.

so "once" took home the oscar. in the face of that "enchanted" trainwreck. for some reason, this also makes me think we CAN elect a democrat to office this term. in other news, because hannah took home the oscar for most evasive friend of this season, i've taken up hobbies that might impress her: embedding. i've made a play list that has no exposition/warm-up, no denoument/cool down. in fact, i've worried little about the composition of this thing. don't care. consider it, oh i don't know, a cubist example of the disenfranchisement of the individual. whatever you need to tell yourself.

hannah's been preoccupied lately with things that aren't me, so, naturally, i'm doing what she doesn't think i'm capable of to rouse her back to a state of love.

Friday, February 22, 2008

it's like you can holler CHURCH AND STATE all day long and, here, the only sound is crickets chirping.

so, i'm just going to say it: i am, and have been for years, one of those angry people who writes letters to the editor. don't care if i sound like a crazed, female franz wright. actually, i like to think of it more as, on a best day, chelsea lately meets wolf blitzer.

this began in college when elle published an article about the glories of carrying on an open marriage. to be fair, i was much more (shall we say) buttoned up in those days. whatever. the word appalling was thrown about a few times. finito. then came the whole truth and beauty fiasco where clemson canceled anne patchett's book from their summer reading list, citing that it advocated promiscuity. which, of course, it doesn't. and the letter to the editor i wrote was so mean that my dad said, gently, "why don't you sit on it a few days. revise." i e-mailed it immediately, received letters from the public, etc.

so, yesterday, this letter (written by a mr. hiers) is published in the greenville news:

"voters should study obama's religion"

"one of the candidates running to be the next president of the united states, barack obama, is a prominent member of the united church of christ. this church is an affirming program of a coalition of lesbians, gays and bisexuals...who support sodomite marriages...reproductive choice [etc.]. why is all of this information so important to the wise voter who is a mature follower of christ? because god's moral absolutes have no place in barack obama's religious beliefs!"

hopefully, your mouths are all just slightly open. i can't even repeat the letter i wrote, mostly because i don't quite remember what it said. something about the author of this diatribe being frighteningly ill-informed, misguided, yadda.

on a lighter note, hannah has been watching lost for the past three days. every episode. she wants to, like, have all of matthew fox's babies.

also, my mother, who wears the guise of a relatively laid back person really well, needed me to help her arrange bouquets of flowers for my uncle's memorial service, which is tomorrow. i put together some mums, white roses, and peach spray roses, and presented them to her. she cocked her head slightly, grabbed two sprigs of something purple and set them in.

"a bouquet," she said firmly, "must always have a hint of blue. even if that blue is purple. it makes the warmer colors pop."

and the way she did it, moving her hand just so, was like that part in cinderella where the birds drape the fabric and it magically becomes a dress.

meanwhile, i'm standing there in workout clothes with leaves in my hair.

hannah says, "she's just the most adorable tyrant."

Thursday, February 21, 2008

If Mame is, as I'm always telling her, Tea Leoni in Spanglish, then I am clearly Toni Colette in About a Boy.

Last night, I stood in the grocery store staring at the organic frozen food dinners for approximately 45 mins. The idea, I reminded myself, was to cut corners now as much as possible. Avoid cooking and dishes whenever possible. Used to be, I scoured Gourmet for the most exotic recipes. I even owned truffle-walnut oil and candied my own pecans. Now I sort of want the kids to eat out of the pan with their fingers.

Anyhow, the fact that this frozen stuff was organic seemed important, like it canceled out the lazy inside. The problem with organic food, though, is that it’s prejudiced against meat. There is absolutely no yummy meat by-product in any of it. So I decided finally and irritably on some eggplant disaster with cheese all over it.

Only to get home and remember that I don’t own a microwave.

So, I popped it into the oven. It said I could. Conventional oven at 350 for… an HOUR. For fuck’s sake. And I was starving too. I paced round the kitchen, peering in at it periodically—this wee, pathetic mound of gunk in a cardboard dish. I pulled it out when the plastic started to melt. The instructions said to leave it on, which I felt from the start was the wrong way to go about it. Anyhow, after I scraped off the plastic, I prodded and found the center still frozen solid. I popped it back in for another 20 mins, until the paper started to smoke and burn, and then I pulled it out and dropped it upside down on the floor. Maus was in there eating it. Lapping it right up. But she didn’t get it all, nope, because some of it is Pollocked all over my ceiling.

Speaking of Maus. The thing is, and this isn’t really relevant, but I figure it never will be… the thing is, she’s started to pee when I pee. I’m not imagining it. At first it was just that she ate when I ate, but I figured that was fairly normal. But the latch on the bathroom door in my room doesn’t catch, so she can push it open with her paw and then wedge a leg through, and eventually her whole body comes squishing through this door. Then she gets in her litter box and pees. While I’m peeing. And then we’re in there together. Staring at each other. Peeing.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

house hunting: definitely, maybe

symbolic character sketch through conversation of the week:

because sunday is my only day off, when hannah asked what i'd be doing that day, i yelled first WHATEVER I WANT!!!! then, definitely, maybe! definitely, maybe! the latest romantic comedy. only, i'm in starbucks and people are staring at me. she says, chilly and with eerie composure, "yes, if i didn't have the kids, i'd be seeing there will be blood."

i've been house hunting these last few weeks and, in doing so, have run into some of the strangest property owners ever.
house I:

found a cute, two bedroom bungalow with an all new kitchen: granite countertops, stainless steel appliances. the owner steps out of his green mazda miada, says almost immediately: "i know the deposit is high. i just don't want you walking off with my stove."

i laugh.

he blinks.

"it's not funny. last tenant did just that. wouldn't be laughin' had it happened to you."

apartment I:

i know immediately i don't want to live here. kitchen appliances are in a closet (i'm not kidding). everything is old. and not in a charming way. more like a place where sylvia plath would live, were she much poorer and more breathing.
which is why, i'm convinced, the landlord keeps talking. she explains to me every other tenant: age, sex, occupation, status. "ryan in 12C works for the zoo." inexplicably, they're all men. she saves the one she's most ashamed of for last. "steven on the bottom floor is, well," whispers "a waiter. but he's young, you know. and doesn't bother anyone."
as if food and beverage people are, across the board, out robbing people between keg stands.

**the part in a reading where i'd say section break while cutting my hand through the air.**

1. while at work last night, i thought up a plan so amazing, so utterly unheard of, i snuck my cell phone into ze apron and ran into the bathroom to call hannah.

"hey," i whispered. "listen. for our trip this summer, i was thinking...a beach house!"


"we could have friends down. maybe pawley's island."


i'd forgotten, of course, that hannah lives at the beach, that this would be no trip at all.

we hang up, realizing i'm an idiot.


her: it's that you keep bringing me closer to home. i say nepal/iceland. you say portland. then vancouver. then...the beach.

we're both convinced i'm just trying to recreate grad school holidays at the mountain house where i, on more than one occasion, fell asleep face down with my shoes on. where sally ate butter with a fork because we dared her to. where we all but wrestled ulysses out of bill's hands. where we ran out of alcohol only to discover a cabinet filled with knob a grad student's alice in wonderland. where we recorded "the weight," "jet plane," and others.

"you realize those days are over," hannah says.

which i don't realize. not at all. only, it reminds me of that scene in when harry met sally, when meg ryan says, "i'm going to be forty."

"in eight years," billy crystal says.

"yeah, but it's out there."

2. val kilmer: the voice of kitt on nightrider. it's weird. no one listened to me when i hated his portrayal of jim morrison in the doors. in other news, tomorrow is the premiere of the new reality show (which looks a lot like double dare) called my dad is better than your dad. yeah, that NBC is doing swimmingly.

3. and yet again i've been had by another great new hip hop song on the radio that turns out to be a sprite jingle. as in, i turn it up. it's catchy. it could very well be the new timbaland beat. and then, inevitably, so drink sprite! followed by a new kids on the block-ish huh.

4. my student uncovered a NYT article last week that "proves" the american people are, and i quote, "hostile to knowledge."

5. marlee matlin, who plays jody on the L word, is going to be on this season's dancing with the stars. i question the integrity of what used to be my favorite series.

6. marie howe, beth ann fennelly, and jorie graham all have books coming out this spring. think of it as a gift registry for the unengaged, unpreggers. my address is...

Friday, February 15, 2008

i see their training is coming along well...

in the car, kan was explaining to aaron who god and jesus are. he knows, but she was explaining anyway.

'they're people. exactly like you and me. they're just very large. but very nice and good.'

ten minutes later in the university library where i'm checking out dvds for them, aaron shouts, 'hannah, i think YOU'RE jesus!'

Thursday, February 14, 2008

notes from the snowbound

here in indiana, it is cold. cold-cold. snow-gray-sky-ick-ice-evil cold. here are my notes about it, and what happens when it descends and never leaves.

1. my crackhead neighbors have a new full time job. they shovel. at midnight. they come to my door, knock loudly, and when i groggily open the door, they say, "ma'am, i don't mean no harm, can i shovel your walk for five dollars?" when i say, "no, thank you," they say, "well, you got a cigarette then?" this happens at least every other night. they're either rich or well on their way to a full pack.

2. my windshield is cracking. i can hear it while i drive, because when it is cold outside, the cd player refuses to play and makes mournful, whiny, cd-spinning sounds. but it is less pleasant to hear the sharp snap of a branch breaking and realize that, in fact, it's my windshield, cracking another 1/2 inch. i am waiting for it to explode and spray me with glass, which will look like snow and ice, and so no one will realize what's happened.

3. i got the winter sick this week. a tiny nasty virus, which resembles the flu in all things except it is not the flu. i stayed home from school -- i felt like a twelve year old. except i had to get up to get the popsicles myself. when i fell asleep with the achy spine and arms that come with the flu, i had a dream that my students had made a voodoo doll of me and were laughing gleefully while spearing it with needles. i did not wake up feeling any better.

4. my students panic when i miss class. they miss class all the time, whenever, but when i'm not there... different story. one student wrote me a long email sob story about how she could not finish her paper on time. paraphrase: "my twelve children are sick it might be the plague seven people are at death's door it's my responsibility to care for them all i cannot finish this paper on time and i do not know what i will do if you have a heart at all please give me an extension."

i write back, "we do not have class today anyway, as i am sick. please turn in your paper thursday."

she writes back, "i am going to come to your office tomorrow preferably between 3:00 and 4:00 so you can look over my paper."

i write back, "i'm not sure i will be in my office tomorrow as i have THE FLU. "

she writes, "i'm sending my paper with this email so that you can look it over before we meet tomorrow."

i think, "wha...?" and go back to sleep.

5. we've had two snow days this semester. the days they decide to call snow days always end up being beautiful, sparkly, sunny days. the days after those lovely snow days are awful. but the powers-that-be are ashamed of their previous lack of weather prescience, and so we must trudge, slide, slip, and spin into school on those days. absurd.

6. my new full time job: fishtailing.

7. unrelated to the cold, but made more irritating because of it: the police have come to my door twice in the last month. it always goes like this: BANG BANG BANG on the door. i open it.

the uniformed officer, with his hand on his gun/club/whatever, asks, "are you courtney so-and-so?"

"no," i say in a panic.

"did your ex just drop off the children?"

"no, i have no children. i have no exes with children."

"is this your home address?"


"stupid caller. i'll have to talk to dispatch. sorry for the trouble."

whoever this courtney person and her ex are (and their invisible children), they are apparently living in my house. whenever i find them, we're going to have words.

and that's all i got for you now. this in no way outshines aaron's picture of his girl who is a friend, or kan's acting skills, but it's indiana. what do you want from me?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

the smallest sadists

Hi kids. So it’s been a while since I’ve talked to you on here. Truth is, this last month I’ve been observing my life with the kind of stunned stare one might have if, say, a giant boulder was falling on one’s baby grand. I know that as an adult I should take responsibility for what’s happening to us, but I think we all know you’re doing it on purpose. There is no doubt in my mind that you have conspired against me.

Clearly the only way to deal with this is to retaliate on a public blog where you can’t defend yourselves. What’s making me nuts, what I definitely won’t miss, what you should consider never doing again:

Kan, the way you’ve recently decided to be in a movie that stars only you and is constantly filming. You relate your day with sweeping arm gestures and Shakespearean inflection. I’ve noticed you don’t look people in the eye anymore, but stare a few feet off to the side with a crazy grin on your eager face as you perform for an audience only you can see.

Aaron, the way you pretend that there is no toilet. Or else, if there is one, then perhaps it’s just a suggestion. The pee could go in there, or it could not. Either way. What happens when you walk into a bathroom? I’m guessing you put your hands in the air and you wave them like you just don’t care.

Both of you: I don’t even know what to say about finding the stash of cardboard tubes from used up toiled paper rolls in your room. I’m pretty sure you both think I’m crazy for trying to recycle them. Especially since I had no good argument for why you shouldn’t collect them. There must be about twenty of them now. Plus the five paper towel cardboards things. And a few tubes from wrapping paper. It’s getting pretty interesting in the west corner of your playroom.

Also, Aaron, this drawing? Of your best girl friend? I mean… Wow.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

i hate titles, but this one's about me and rafael. not that we're together, nooooo....

i must tell you: posting here makes me absolutely nervous. for a while, i thought i'd like my own blog. and then i realized: i'm not really full of stories. not good ones. mamie and hannah (and now stevie, too!) can turn a traffic jam into a brilliant tale of woe and inspiration (ha! i can hear you all choking on that word right now) and hilarity. me? it's still a goddamn traffic jam. and i can't figure out the personalized license plate in front of me: "wdck19." woodchuck is 19 years old?

what i am instead of a storyteller: i'm full of lists. (see also: every poem i ever workshopped, on which adam would write: "once you've written 'corn,' there's no need to write, 'canned corn, creamed corn, corn on the cob, corn muffins, corn tortillas, corn casserole...'") and lists aren't really that great for, um, narrative. or, say, blogs and entertainment. though there is a brand new book that came out which is a collection of other people's lists... have you seen it? it's wonderful. but that's beside the point. and this post is going to be wicked long if i keep going on these tangents.

i'm also really good at disclaimers. see above.

however, i have been saving one story for you which i've only told a limited number of
people. this continues my chronicle, begun on another blog and loosely titled, "creepy old men in south bend." this one will introduce you to rafael.

i play open mic nights at a lovely bar here (one of two) every wednesday night. i am now co-president of what we have termed "the wednesday night whiskey squad."

one night, i am outside in the bitter south bend wind with the other co-president of the squad. a man in a yellow oxford shirt and blue pants is also outside smoking. we say hello, because smokers are nice folks. he introduces himself as rafael. we ask how he is. he says, "almost perfect." dramatic pause. "do you know the different between almost perfect and perfect?"

"no," we say. we aren't feeling very clever after four whiskeys.

"having a lady like you," rafael says, and grins at me, his yellowed teeth (which, incidentally, match his shirt) all displayed and glittery in the south bend streetlamp light.

it is all my friend and i can do not to fall over laughing. in case you thought this went to my head, we then started listing reasons why "having a lady like me" would make things go from almost perfect to plummeting-down-the-drain sorry-and-sad. it's a healthy recourse, really, from all my impending confidence.

jumpcut: later in the evening. rafael leering at me from the bar while industriously scribbling on a napkin. you think you know where this is going. you don't.

he comes over to say, "i'm not very good speller. you check my english?" he hands me the napkin.

it reads: "What are the reason because any man like a woman:

A. Because she is Hot.
B. Because she has a good conversation.
C. Because she looks smart.
D. Because she is confidence.
E. All the previous selection. In your case I will take E."

the best part? i spent at least five minutes discussing the difference between "having" a good conversation and "making" good conversation, while holding back the ready-to-stream-from-laugher tears that are threatening to spill at any time. we corrected the whole thing. with a pen. but he wouldn't take it back. and here i thought i was giving helpful feedback...

the next best part? every time rafael comes in after a cigarette, he seeks me out, stares, grins, and then begins coyly watching t.v. again. it's appalling, and i'm laughing with my friend as muffled as i can manage (which, if you've ever heard me laugh, ain't much), and i fear the next part of the evening -- and if you're asking why i didn't just leave, then a) you don't know me, and b) it's my bar. MY bar. i'm a five year old.

next installment:
end of the night. glaring awful last call lights. rafael strutting/stumbling over, with a business card in his hand. but not just any business card. no, it's hot pink. HOT pink. with red writing (who designs these? i'm guessing: rafael. "reasons what turn a woman on: a) hot pink, b) red gothic font on top of the hot pink....") it reads:

"This Card Entitles Bearer To ONE FREE KISS From Any Willing Man, Woman, or Beast."

and he leans in. he is -- no, his teeth are -- three inches from my eyelids. i look desperately to my friend, he cannot help for laughing into his sleeve, and...

i say "thank you. for the card. i'm sure it'll come in handy someday." and tuck it into my pocket.

and run.

(thanks for letting me invade the blog... i'll try to have something else interesting happen. if it doesn't, well, i'm sure y'all will come up with something better.) :)

Thursday, February 7, 2008

in your face(book)!

It’s like this: I can barely function b/c my brain is too busy arguing with new meds to pay attention to me. Left thus unattended, the rest of me has been playing hide and seek with the cat all day. There I go scrambling under a table, clamping a hand over my mouth so Maus doesn’t hear me giggling.

And this guy named Parks Carleton is calling me about a Jaguar. That's right, Parks Carleton. It’s selling at half its blue book value. Which means I’ll have to put my feet through the holes in the floorboard and run, but at least I’ll have a hood ornament.

On top of this, it’s Application Rush Week on Facebook and things have reached fever pitch. Every day, there are fifty new emails jostling elbows in my inbox. Accept a drink! Send a shot! Throw a penguin! And all these invitations demand that you not only accept them, but round up new recruits. Lately, Facebook is pandemonium. An army gone amuck. Go take a look. We’re all bellowing at each other like lunatics: I WANT YOU ON MY WAGON! HUG CUDDLE PUNCH CHEST BUMP OR PINCH HANNAH NOW!!!!!

The My Lil Green Patch application involves Andrea and Dug running about on my imaginary plot of grass costumed as Straw Barry and Sweet Clementine. They’re running from cartoon bunnies and deer but if I don’t force every single person I’ve ever met to play this baffling game by persistently emailing them, the real rain forest, the actual breathing trees down there in South America will DIE.

What Color Are YOU? What Character Are You on the Hills? What’s Your Secret Sexual Fantasy??

Mamie sent me the Best Friends application. And I foolishly felt something like glee when I realized she was declaring us Best Friends. Upon further investigation, I learned I was in fact Best Friend number 12. That, combined with the fact that I’m not in her Top 8 Hotties, made me lock myself in my room and blare ‘You Can Go Your Own Way.’

I am not joining any of you people on the Oregon Trail. It’s hard enough to shower every day, I cannot be a pioneer with you.

Nothing beats out, though, the applications which invite you to buy people pretend drinks and pretend gifts WITH REAL MONEY. Want to send Emma a fake beer? That will be $3.50 and we’ll need your credit card number please. What. The. Fuck. It’s like the Emperor’s New Clothes. Somewhere, a sixteen year old kid is living large and shouting ‘SUCKERS!!!’

And there’s no way out. Like an exorcism gone wrong, I’ll remove the entire application, only to find the next morning that I am part of a virtual parade, along with several other of my educated friends and that Mamie’s bought me an Aloha shirt and that I have celebrated Diabetes Awareness month with Miriam and Daisy. What’s that? You want to accept the Happy Hour Invitation from Jarvis? Sure thing. Just import all your contacts from Gmail and get them to join. Then you can pretend to enjoy your make believe Mojito.

meantime, i gotta talk to brooke about something. called the baseline.

tonight, the cute boy at table five told me i had pretty teeth. which made me smile. which made me feel awkward, like the smile was bragging. then, an old rich white guy got mad because his steak was cold and told my manager that i was negligent. i proceeded to throw dishes around, mutter to myself about impeccable waitressing skills. said to the dishwasher (celso), "gracias por su ayuda ayer por la noche." only, it came out as only "thanks for last night," to which he chuckled. like i'd said something dirty. reenacted a part of above scene with carlyle (move yourself!)...i think it's a good sign when you can reference the break up freely with someone you recently stopped seeing. began to read jorie graham's the end of beauty. find the syntax and "swiftness" of pacing incredible, like a lovely verbal wind. did the carlton while singing "meet you all the way! rosannaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa yeah," forgetting the customers still in the restaurant. read fabulous drafts of poems by students. called hannah, who said, "you're like the genderless narrator in written on the body. as in, you have both male and female personas. i only want the you that loves me." e-mailed godbrother who recently sent me a care package containing a hoodie he designed. it says "prosody" in cursive along the neck. it makes me feel both street and poet-ish. he e-mailed back only in shakespeare quotes: could we but learn from whence his sorrow grows we would as willingly give as know is the day so young?

have been considering dylan covers for days now. am wondering how so many artists breathe such life into his work. how neko case lends humor to "buckets of rain," which i think dylan intended to do. how sufjan stevens breathes spirituality into "ring them bells." i sat in my driveway and listened to that song three times before coming in tonight.

that's all. i really just wanted to post the scene, but it wouldn't let me embed. and a high hat...and a high hat.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

how are you planning to skatell her THIS valentine's day?

everybody needs a little time away.

i heard her say.

from each ooooooooooooooooooooooother.

even lovers need a holiday.

far away.

from each oooooooooooooooooooooother.



this does NOT mean i haven't fallen in love with poetry again, dropped ten pounds, and begun daily meditations. because i have. and i have bob hicock, c.k. williams, and my trainer merry (like the christmas) to thank.

but hannah seems to think my sebbatical has put a strain on our relationship. which is bullshit. not that i don't take each and everyone of her emotions/personalities seriously. because i do. i do.

and, well, the whole guest blog thing. don't get me wrong, stevie. you're brilliant, which is precisely the problem. this open relationship has made me a bit irritable and oddly posessive.

whatever. i'm not back, exactly. i'm guest blogging on my blog as a means of spicing up our platonic you-can-go-to-hell marriage.

now: valentine's day

i'm jessie spanno excited about v-day, people. lame, you say? lame? don't care. every year in high school, we'd buy carnations for our friends. seriously. it was a certifiable school fundraiser. in homeroom, you'd fill out this card and attach money. a dollar a piece. for your boyfriend, girlfriend, the hot librarian, whatever. then, at lunch on v-day, they'd be delivered to you. i was undefeatable. i made it my goal to get the most carnations every year. to conquer the hearts of friends, enemies, boys who had perhaps met me once at a party two spring breaks before.

it had little to do with love, of course. it hardly ever does. boys who suck always score big on valentine's day, because it's just SO EASY not to f up. flowers. dinner. dunnzo. it's always the nice guys who mess up. they think it doesn't matter because they love you so much all the time. they made you a mix cd on january 12th, went out to dinner with you and your friend liz even though every guy you've ever dated hates liz. they allow you to talk about your exes, your dreams of becoming a wedding planner, parataxis, your theory on octavio paz's preoccupation with the time of day...whatever. these lovelies are the ones who mess up valentine's day, which is a shame. it's a shame because they think it doesn't matter.

that being said, i am a waitress. i am a waitress and a teacher who instructs people to steer away from sentimentality (irresponsible emotion, dishonest emotion), to think about what the sign is signifying.

i still don't care. give me yellow roses, a whitman's sampler i'll never eat, a harry connick jr. cd. and do it all in front of tons of people--ex-boyfriends, coworkers.

there's something hot about the disgusting display of capitalism and false affection that I LOVE.

today, hannah passed a cookie cake in the mall that had shackles drawn on it in icing. underneath, it read, PRISONER OF LOVE.

that's the kind of shit i'm talking about.

now, back to waitressing. let me be frank with you. these weeks without you have been interesting. the boyfriend stopped being the boyfriend. my favorite uncle passed away. hannah went to new yawk without me. i haven't spent time with the niece and nephew. and, finally, phoebe damrosch published a memoir entitled service included, a tale about a woman writer who waits tables at thomas keller's per se. technically, it was unveiled in september. the sommelier who teaches my wine class recommended it, though, only two weeks ago.

let's just say my world is shattered. i was in the middle (okay, beginning) stages of writing--gasp-- the very same book. along with about a third of american graduate students who wait tables.

and i can understand why. i love what i do. and in no other capacity do we will ourselves to be around strangers (strangers in an intimate setting, i might add) on purpose. what i do, in a strange way, matters. now, no doubt the teaching "matters" more.

but, people in a restaurant? they're there because they just put their dog onassis to sleep and need no less than 6 glasses of wine a piece. their last child just went off to college. they're discussing the terms of their pending divorce.

hell, people, i can make or break that 21st birthday swaree, that first date with the scruffy guy who renovates kitchens for a living.

and none of this matters more than on valentine's day. i love people who love each other. i love 60 year-old men who can't shut up about their wives. or my friends chadd and chad who've been partners for a decade. or the couple in their thirties who have two babies under three who haven't made eye contact in a year.

it might come as a shock to you that hannah doesn't share my love for valentine's day. in fact, she's getting ready to rebuttle EVEN THOUGH I HAVEN'T POSTED THIS YET. something about how i'm like the boyfriend who breaks up with you and returns, saying, maybe we could just slow this down a little...

and now, an insight into our relationship. earlier, on the phone:

han: should i get kanasta a corduroy skirt, what with the pending warm weather?

me: have you heard the mark ronson remix to "when you go your way and i go mine?"

han: shit. i almost got her tap shoes by accident.

me: i'm hungry.

han: yeah. you don't really eat. which reminds me, sim wants me to go to some ballet class with her today. oh, wait. i like this skirt. it has ladybugs on it.

me: like my tattoo.

han: what tattoo?

me: the one on my back. beside the one of a house frame.

han: i thought this summer i saw you in the early morning wearing only bermuda shorts. never noticed it.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

AWP 2008: the writer's Cancun 2008

Highlights and a slide show*:

1. 6am flight with Tom shouting: ‘First time flyer!’ and alternately, ‘We’re going to crash!’

2. Brunch at Maison Bistro: server came up with the tab. Someone asked if it could be split and her head just started spinning around on her neck. That same server later yelled at us about tipping. The tirade started, ‘HERE IN NEW YORK, WE…’ but then we shook it off and ran over to Al Roker to scream hi to our mothers.

3. A panel wherein writers got competitive over who had had the MOST INCESTUOUS RELATIONSHIP WITH THEIR FATHER and who was the most compulsive sex addict. Panelist A explained the genesis of her nonfiction career as follows: ‘I wanted to write about things you couldn’t talk about at cocktail parties… And you can’t exactly say at a cocktail party, I’ve been having sex with my dad for the last four years.’ Not to be outdone, Panelist B said desperately, ‘The only good thing my parents ever did for me was die.’ I blame Laura for that one.

4. Getting hit on by some guy who said he was signing his second book with Knopf. He didn’t know about AWP, so I felt he was lying about everything. And his hair was sort of creepy. All wavy and cartoonish. Definitely he was lying. About Yale. Johns Hopkins. Studying in Bologna. Being multi-lingual. Putting on Middle Eastern art shows to benefit Iraqi citizens. His ideas re. energy and violence. The whole time, I was like, ‘Yeah, sure’ and signaling Laura and Kimi that we had to go b/c he was crazy. So when he tried to kiss me goodbye, I ran out with my coat somehow catching on my bar stool so it went bumping along behind me. I googled him yesterday. Turns out he’s some guy who’s publishing his second book with Knopf, is transferring from Yale grad school to Johns Hopkins, and in his spare time makes headlines with charity art shows.

6. Jut being in New York with these people. Not a big trip, but totally blissful despite SEVERE SWELLING OF THE FACE (see below) due to an unending plague. I look like a marmot. This summer, it’s on. I’ve become very interested warm and lovely places as a reaction to the freezing rain of past weekend. Sardinia. Turks and Caicos. Somewhere, Mamie's shouting about Portland and San Francisco. Maybe we can agree on south of France.

*Pls note that I apparently went to a different conference than Tom and Mel did, as there were no glamorous shots to be organized into an epileptic slide show in the end. That last night is probably making the Cancuners envious.