Thursday, October 28, 2010

The smell of Katie's pumpkin pie is drifting in to me as I try to solve this damnable writer's block that has taken over the last three weeks.  No, I'm never too blocked to blog, apparently.  Blogging takes a form like vomit that flows over, impetuous, sudden, impertinent or plodding, either way it flows and then its gone.  And as I'm speaking to the void I don't usually apologize, though I will this time, for the gross metaphor.

It's almost Halloween, and the memetard lays ready for Internet suit-ed-ness.  I am somehow less excited about the holiday than I used to be, but this is usual, this is understandable.  Turning 34 - I always want to round it off to 35 - yet I cannot yet.  Why am I so eager to just be 35 and be done with it.  One is never done.  Not until death.  I am not eager for that.

What I am eager for is the pumpkin pie, the innards of our jack-o-lantards, pureed, spiced, poured in hand-pressed crust and baked.  I can smell it in the oven and I am hungry.  The pumpkin's carved met a grosser fate.  They were two.  They were carved with much enthusiasm about a week ago, then put on the porch as is traditional.  Then it rained.  For days.  They filled with mold and bugs and leprous spots of white grizzed fuzz.  Both were quickly dispatched to the trash. Ruined before Halloween, they didn't last to see the night.

Nevada, as a lion
The cat, now, the cat always get forced into costumes.  We like to do holidays thoroughly. Nevada, in her cooperative kitten way, goes along with us with a sullen meow, knowing there are treats ahead if she just tolerates the lion costume (the santa suit, the birthday dress).  We are terrible people.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The marine layer thickens.  I spent all afternoon working on my memetard, the unitard portion of my internet Halloween costume.  I am going as the internet, and, as such, I am going to be covered in memes.  Iron-on.  Then draped with cords from Giblets' various nibblings, I feel it should be fairly amusing.

Other than that, bah.  It's a gray day.  I have lifted out of my spate of hysterical depression, and am currently just bored and apathetic, far preferable, I think.  I went to the orientation for my new tutoring job, and it seemed fairly interesting.  The hardest part is definitely going to be getting all of the paperwork right. It is strange shifting out of not working for three years into working, even part time.  There is a lot of fear involved, there is a lot of apprehension, there are a lot of irrational terrors to work through.

There are pills to deal with that.  There is also therapy, which I am now in, thankfully.

 It is grey outside.   The gnats swirl.  There were so many gnats on our toothbrushes day after day, week after week, that Katie broke down and sprayed them with RAID, and threw them away.   I did not mind.  It was time.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The wind has shifted, it's raining now.  A cold marine layer and the air conditioner seems useless as a dinosaur.  Last night's Featherless was much fun, if sparsely attended.  And the changes, so many changes.  I got a tutoring job, and had an interview for a second part-time job today.  The second job (Starbucks) I'm not sure if I'll get, but I'm feeling hopeful all the same.

Nevertheless, at this exact moment my stomach is empty and I feel too tired and listless to cook anything or do anything about dinner.  I'm drinking coffee and somehow that seems like enough.  Tonight is Wordlab, and for the first time I'm not bringing anything in, I've just had the sort of week where writing was not happening.  The amnesia novel is about three chapters now, and I haven't had time to work on it for a couple of weeks.  I've been racing around getting a TB test, putting my resume in order, getting all the bits and pieces together for my tutoring orientation, etc..

That and practicing for featherless.  I so wish more people had been there, each person that read, Mila, Diane, was their own sort of amazing.  I was ok, I did my usual over-dramatic shtick, but people laughed, and they seemed to dig the listing of potential addictions at the end.  "tobacco, orgasms, the gym, benzodiazepines and celebrity gossip."

in which I spill my guts
The rain is conspiring to keep me tired and depressed, I think.  I should be elated right now, with all of these positive changes, but instead I feel sort of blah, sort of meh.  That's okay, maybe tonight's class will re-inspire me.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sitting here on a Sunday morning, 9:45 and the caffeine and Ativan are warring in my stomach.  One up, the other down, and I'm still trying to wake up.  I went to Stephen's birthday party last night.  By day we sat by the Los Feliz fountain and watched four weddings and two quincanieras pop and rustle about.  Taking photos, floundering along the slick grass.  Three of the weddings had purple bridesmaids, in one bride was quite lovely, the other two, less so.  I didn't look at the men.

That night we sat on the wide porch of his "frottage cottage" and drank Tecate by the light of Jesus, Mary, and St. Jude who Stephen thought was Judas.  He was so amused that there would be a Judas candle, and we were so sad to tell him, no, it is not Judas.

I woke up early, as I tend to do, fed the cat, fed the rabbit, made coffee, checked email, facebook, tumblr, took pills, now it's almost ten.  At ten I often call Omar.  I have a certain rhythm to my mornings.  Free time management you must install routines or flail about, lost.

The book I am writing has a lot of mornings that begin and then recess into memory.  There is a lot of zig-zagging between memory and the present.  I am drawing formally from Mary Gaitskill's Veronica, one of my favorite books.  We'll see how it turns out.

Monday, September 20, 2010

With that said: commence an actual post

I'm taking a class called Wordlab at Wordspace, and it's really helping me get motivated on the novel...aie, the novel that's been floating about in various forms for about six month now, since first conceptualized last November.  Starting from scratch was the right thing to do.  The punk novella that was supposed to be the first part is cheerily moving on on it's own, a small press (hush hush, won't say who) is interested, I must come up with a revised draft to show the editor.  He thought of a title for it, Scaffolding, which I like very much.

The L.A. Novel that I'm working on now, I'm about...maybe three chapters into it.  It's, as usually, flagrantly autobiographical.  I've gotten so used to spilling my guts by now that it's just like, "typey typey herpes typey typey taking shots of triple sec type bum piss" and etc...It has no title as of yet, and I just changed the main characters name to Ginger. 

But Wordlab, it's been great help so far.  It motivated me to turn out ten more pages for class tonight, which I'm  nervous about presenting, but sort of excited at the same time.

And Featherless.  Right now I am waiting to hear back from three amazing writers, and I am so hoping that all three of them will say yes.  We are trying to get our booking taken care of farther in advance, thus.  Monthly it becomes a rapidly turning wheel, one into another, one stops and the next begins. 

I turn 34 in ten days.  My, I'm getting old.  I still have no job.  I have been floating along this summer on a miasma of SSDI payments, food stamps, careful budgeting and the odd sold book here and there.  I am thinking of trying the ticket to work program once Katie and I are married and the chaos of wedding planning and dual book revisions/writing/Featherless has died down a bit.
Things fall apart and things come back together again.  I have realized that if I neglect this blog too much, it becomes the Featherless reblog with a splash of intermittent angst....or glory.  Rarely.  I have gone round and round with what to do with it, now that I focus most of my blogging on tumblr.  Changing the focus to something other then my dumb plodding life seems to be one option, another is simply ignoring it until I tire of tumblr and return like the prodigal son or a beaten dog.  Another, one I think I prefer, is saving it for more long form pieces.  So I have given it a bit of a purty, there...and now commence, to try again.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Another morning, another day.  Last night we saw a great reading: Eileen Myles and Aimee Bender at Human Resources Gallery, as part of the Rocky Point series.  Bender read a selection from her new book, The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, and Myles read an electrifying segment from Inferno.

 The tirade of people described, bars, rooms, readings, Warholian celebutants and poetic moments went on and on until it dissolved into applause and the crowd funneled out into the Chinatown night. 

Or, more like, it, the crowd stayed and stayed, so many people, it was like a wedding or a funeral.  They didn't want to leave.  There was a palpable excitement.  I waited by the door peering into copies of Sorry Tree while my friends raided the hors d'oeurves, then we turned to leave.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Crazy-shocking-amazing news!

On a lark, completely at the last minute, Katie and I entered this $50,000 wedding giveaway contest put on by a company called Pink Cloud.  The contest was thus: we submitted a youtube video describing our modern romance, and exhorted our friends and family to "like" the video on youtube.  That with the most likes would win...and...

WE WON!!!!

This completely shocks the knickers off me, as I don't usually win things, my strokes of luck are few, and never this grand.  The video is as follows:

The Pink Cloud Blog announcement is here.

So, after the dust had settled and we had stopped jumping up and down, we met with the Pink Cloud representatives at Downbeat cafe yesterday.  I was struck by their warmth, professionalism and sincerity.  As wedding planners, they appeared totally on top of what to me had been a baffling process.  Katie and I felt comfortable expressing our more whimsical ideas (Giblets as flower bunny), as well as working through the many many details that they marshaled forth.

So, it looks like the next seven months until May, 2011 are going to be a lot busier than I had thought.  Yippee!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Well blog, I'm baaaack.  I had to take a little locked blog vacation, I was just getting a little too paranoid.  Now I've calmed down and realized that I think it's going to be alright.  Managing bipolar disorder with it's accompanying paranoia, and that compounded by the innate paranoia of the internet, well, it's just a little too much sometimes, I think.

But I enjoy this blog, and I enjoy the tumblr, too, but they are different creatures, and work in different ways.   I'm not altogether ready to shut this blog down, because then all of the personal blah blah that I put here  just gets leaked in other places.  It's an outlet, it helps me, let that be that.  And done with.

In other news, I've been in Reno for the past week attending my youngest cousin Eric's wedding to miss Jaimie - it was a lovely backyard affair, and I am really happy and recharged for my own wedding planning, Katie and I.  This trip seemed to solidify my family's acceptance of her as my future wife.  We had lots of fun, did not take enough pictures, unfortunately, but took quite a few of the ghost town we traveled through.

So many subtle textures in the shredded wallpaper, the lumber and springs. 

I wonder why things don't resonate so much as real until I put them on the internet.  Is that a generational thing?  I did not experience the internet until I was in college, until I was about 19. Why am I so addicted to it now?  Is it a sort of safe form of exhibitionism?

I have decided I am going to be "The Internet" for Halloween.  Hopefully I can grab one of those American Apparel unitards before they go out of business.  I am so excited for this costume, it is going to be quite labor intensive, but hey, have glue gun, will travel.  I'm glad I've saved so many of these wires that Giblets has bitten through, because they will find new homes as part of my headdress. 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

It's hot today, it's one of those deathly hot days where the melting sets in and the fact that we returned the air conditioner so that I could afford to go to the doctor begins to seem like one of those Faustian bargains.  It's okay, though.  Apart from the fact that the veils have been taken off my eyes as to the transparency of the internet, the contact points reached and transgressed....I see you.  You see me.  Hi googlebot.  Let's shake hands and be friends.

Sweep the crazy-talk to the side of the table, Andrea, you're trying to blog. Yes.  I am quite happy today, despite the fact that a new creditor has added her name to the roster.  Hi Denise. We will never be friends. I am happy today because I got into the writer's workshop that I applied to.  Wordlab.  This will be my first foray into the organized workshop setting, into any sort of organized thing that is not hanging out with my friends or an event of some sort, since CalArts.  Since my breakdown.  I am excited, a little nervous, going over poems and stories and novel scraps and trying to bring some text to the table to work with.

Today it is so hot, though.  I have opened the windows, I have both fans on, I am wearing a sundress.  The bunny is lost somewhere in the apartment, I assume he is asleep under the bed.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

 Last night I went to see Billy's band, Dona Nicha, and while bobbing my head idly to the surf-rock, I started thinking about my book.  What a mess it was.  What extensive scalpel-snips were needed.  After much thought, I decided that the sprawling five-part structure was ridiculous and self-indulgent and purposeless.  Why?  Why?  Why pad the front end of the novel with previously written text of other cities and other times.  There was no trajectory, there was no...dare I say it, PLOT.

An old friend from Portland always said plot was my weak point, and years later after reading Jet Set Desolate he hadn't changed his mind.  This time, though, I had so lost track not only of plot but of the point...what the hell was the point of all of this?  Who the fuck cares what I spent the last 13 years of my life doing?

So, snip snip snip and a cut cut cut and a new plan has been hatched.  That is, to take the Portland material, my Reed thesis of 1998, which is in itself a completed novella, and try shopping it around to see if any publishers are interested in a punk rock novella of the 90s....who knows, it's worth a try??

And then, flash forwards to what was the most compelling material  of the bloated death corpse of a manuscript, the LA/Echo Park material that I was writing about the present, and make that chapter one.  Start at the end.  Go forwards into the future.  Keep it current and exciting. Don't keep recycling old material, but generate anew.

I will keep the San Francisco and San Diego chapters around on the hard drive, of course, in case a flashback is necessary or suggested.  Razorcut flashbacks are a bit of a fun time.  But I feel so much more excited about the text now that I'm trimming it down, it was sort of an embarrassing dead weight of awkward before.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

On Sunday, Katie, Stephen, Billy and I attended a Public Fruit Jam at EATLACMA. Put on by Fallen Fruit, this sticky exploration of the fruit to jam process brought  museum visitors together to make food. Pictures to follow.

Finely chopping the fruit

Katie gets that pesky lemon
Bowls of herb-fruit-goo
Finished jars and a hand-washing station
Communal boiling down of fruit bowls into sweet jars of jam

Completed jars of jam in the afternoon sun
I focused on herbs and lemon, making a sort of mint-rosemary-lemon-crab-apple jam, which turned a sort of grapefruit pink.  Katie went heavier on the strawberries, jalapenos and oranges, but with all sorts of other things mixed in. Between us both we ended up with nine jars, most of which are now in the freezer, awaiting later sunny days.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

After a bit of a health breakdown, I'm back up to normalcy again.
First the ears were lavaged with the scary-looking syringe, by the nice folks and the LA Gay and Lesbian Center.  It is so amusing to me that gay culture has advanced to such a degree that I can go to an all-gay hospital and get my earwax/deafness problem addressed.  It's good to be a lesbian in Los Angeles.  And now I am no longer Helen Keller.

Then, of course, in the usual way that things go from better to bad to worse to horrible to awesome to hilariously ridic and back down to broken, I ran out of Ativan for two days and was all sorts of out of sorts.  Luckily I didn't end up in the ER this time, as I avoided espresso shots (multiple and singular) and wikipedia surveillance articles, I had my hands full with sleep lost over auditory hallucinations of circus music (later figured out to be the neighbor's windchimes), mixed with fears of gang shootings.  I pulled myself off the mattress, threw water on my face and went to the psychiatrist, who wrote me extra refills on the anti-anxiety meds, and told me that my fears of walking at night in Echo Park were very real, that gangs were not funny, that I was right to feel that danger did lurk in my neighborhood at night.

And for the first time he asked me about my plans for the future, as if I had a future beyond being a mental patient.  I told him about featherless, and he seemed very surprised and pleased.  He mentioned work or school, neither of which I really feel quite ready for (well, school I can't afford, I'm about to default on my loans already, and work....who would give me a job, if they aren't hiring my more sane and qualified friends)

But productivity.  I told him about the novel I'm working on, and about how I'm thinking of taking a writing workshop to help focus and drive accountability in the text.  Basically to kick myself in the ass to work on this book.

Then I went home and slept, renewed my prescriptions,  slept even more, and finally the Ativan and Topamax and Abilify on my system evened me out and I felt better, normal, functional.

I had realized, earlier that day, lying on the bed next to my sleeping girlfriend. Waiting and wanting my anti-anxiety medication, all the anxious worried came back.  My fears that after, essentially, being out of normal society for three years, not working, not being in school, just focusing on my disorder, taking medication, going to therapy....that I had lost fundamental skills and functioning that I would not be able to gain back.  Sure, I have a lovely and supportive group of friends, I am not totally isolated, and they have helped me keep from becoming an alcoholic recluse.  Katie has been integral to my healing and regaining functioning.  But it just takes the lack, the absence of one or two of these little white pills, and the whole fragile structure falls to pieces.  I feel like it would be irresponsible for me to commit to something like a full-time job, knowing that I could fall apart at any moment, that my stability is so fragile.

But, regaining confidence after being out of the loop so long, it is difficult.  It has been a long, gradual process, for a long time I would never think of going to a bar, or a club, or an art event outside of CalArts.  Now I feel more comfortable doing these things.  The long trajectory from the pit of isolation in post-graduation psychosis in North Hollywood to now, where things are moving up and coming together, it is a journey, and it is not yet over,  I have a long way to go.

Monday, July 26, 2010

My attempt at Katie's Dulce de Leche cake came out looking more like this:
Yet was quite delicious  Not a crumb remained the next morning, when I awoke from my drunken stupor.  Yes, I overindulged a bit in the vodka department, too much stress over too many commitments, a day spent cooking from dawn till dusk, washing sink after sink of dishes, the tension of entertaining when one must put on the bright face of happy house.  We are happy here, in the happy house, and it is true, we are.

But there are those moments when I drop my lipstick and take an extra Lorazepam just to make it through the party.  Perhaps we have been entertaining overmuch.  It is the mania, and it is the hypomania.  Bipolar disorder plays tricks, it plays the trick of , "I'm normal," and the trick of, 'If I take my pills I'm just like everyone else and everything will be normal."  And in many ways, on many levels, I act like and have the capacities of a normal 33 year old woman.  Who hasn't worked in three years.  And who hears voices on the north side of the apartment.  Who will clean the apartment loyally and not leave it until 3 pm each day.  Who thinks her mail is being stolen when it doesn't show up.  Who checks the mail seven times a day. Who takes five pills a day.  Who is a lesbian.  Who has paranoid delusions.  There are many reasons that I am and am not quite as others.

I am working on an novel and it is difficult as always.  Featherless is coming along more successfully.  We are quite excited for August's lineup of poets, which will be announced at the beginning of the month.  There is talk of a combined reality institute and featherless happening, a date has not yet been set for this, it is in the very nebulous planning stages.  I am finding that I really enjoy setting up and holding events.  It is exciting  to watch each one take shape, as we gather the writers and the bartender and door people and frantically run around the day off with veggie trays and then in a warm wash of light it all comes together, in Brenda's beautiful Wordspace.


Saturday, July 24, 2010

It's the day of Katie's birthday party today.  I am preparing myself to make this cake.
Dulce de Leche with Caramel Buttercream, which, as I am more of a savory cook than a baking cook, will be a bit of an adventure, but I will do it for the wuzh.  Actual results will, assuredly, vary widely from this picture.

A week ago I stuck two Q-tips in my ears, trying to clean them....not, as I thought later might have been a subconscious stop the little voices that I hear when on the north side of the house.  Either way, I was deaf for a few days.  My hearing has gradually come back, assisted by an "earwax removal kit" that I got at Walgreens.  This is all very gross and probably not blogworthy.  But I have been half-deaf lately, and fearing for my hearing.  This affects how loudly I speak, too.  I do not know if  I am whispering or shouting.

We had Mrs. Porters here at the Treehouse, it was lovely.  Eleven ladies, much writing, we had just enough chairs.  I had regrets only that I could not project my voice enough, or, more specifically, I could not gauge if I was speaking loud enough, and many could not hear me, when it was my turn to read.  It was a hot night, here in Echo Park, and we had not yet installed the a/c, so everyone was drooping, in their chairs, arrayed in our small living room, listening and talking, to the pring of the bingo call.  The other regret, that the a/c was not installed sooner.

Yes, the heat wave, yes, the air conditioner turkey circus. (turkey circus is my new phrase for clusterfuck).  The heat wave has passed for the moment, it's a kind 73 as I write this. But it went up to 97 degrees and we found ourselves in Best Buy overextending the finances.  It was to be delivered yesterday, and then it was out of stock, and then a series of contradictory phone calls, I got my "outraged consumer" face on and we marched down to that blinding blue monolith only to be told it would be delivered next Friday.  Next friday.  Well.  I certainly hope it is steamy, nay, scorching in August, or else I really am going to feel like a turkey.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

It's 92 degrees in the evening today, a day spent in sweltering reminder of how housework can get away from you.  I wanted to go to Maxi Kim's talk at LACE, I really did.  I do regret missing it.

I awoke at ten, spent the morning dying my hair black and in ninja action at the laundromat.  Eluding attendants at launderland, yes, that's how I get my thrills these days, apparently, as I snuck in and stuck a twenty in the quarter machine. Slammed handfuls in my purse like Vegas and tip-toed out again.  At home, the laundry piled above the dresser by two feet, a teetering tower of panties and stank dresses.

It had to be done.  It just did.  And dear Katie, in an Ambien haze, was sleeping through the heat of the day.  I don't blame her, I wish I had as well.  But thanks to Wellbutrin and a slight hypomanic edge, I was running loads of laundry for the next six hours.

Yet now it's five-thirty, and there's still a load of towels and tablecloths on the floor, waiting to be taken down.

I skipped office hours today, and that is the other thing I feel guilty about.  Perhaps I can place them in the evening.

But our plan, the big plan for productivity, at the four day mark has had its successes and failures. Trying to throw down structure in floating stream of carefree summer willfulness, it's tough.   I've been pretty faithful to the office hours concept, and found that forcing myself to focus for two hours a day really increased my writing output.  I finished the essay for the Headcase Anthology (queer writers on mental illness), and have dived back into the novel, which may have two parts, may have four, I'm not even sure anymore.

But the heat, the dead heat, it kills everything.  I would love to go play tennis this evening, but it is still 92 degrees, and I have already broken a sweat just typing this.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

We are embarking on a plan today, a plan to be more productive.  I felt that I wasn't getting any writing done, except for bloggy bits, so K and I are going to try setting "office hours" (don't laugh) between 1-3 pm.  During this time we will shut off the internet, turn off phones, and focus solely on writing.  Every day.  There are other elements to this plan, scrawled on notebook paper the day before in a fit of midsummer mania.  At six pm we must do some sort of physical activity (tennis, walking, biking, etc). Upon waking (after coffee) she will search for jobs and I will read that manuscript. 

After a week we will assess its successes or failures and modify if needed.  It is an effort to impose structure in that we are both just floating along in this July heat, no jobs in sight, no accountability in sight either.

I feel a bit ridiculously life coach-y in that I was the one who drew up the plan, as if - I sure haven't successfully applied these rules to my own life, how can I apply them to someone else?  But as with free time management, once one passes the party funtime phase of it, the depression hits, and that can be insurmountable unless...or begins to work independently.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

So very much has gone on in the last few days, including the introduction of a new little bunny friend. Here is Katie with Trixie, the tiniest, cupcake-sized rabbit.  She has been getting to know uncle Giblets and the slightly more sinister aunt Nevada, while sequestered away in the rat's former condominium.
  And here is me with her as well, enjoying some hop-time.   Other than that, Katie and I have been busy with the organization of the next featherless, announcement to follow this entry.

It is 2:50 AM, and I have been struggling with blogger for several hours, this indicates the depths of my obsession with immediacy in self-expression/blogging as catharsis/excretion of to-do lists/it's something to do. And, in the end, at the very last late hours of the morning, it's all about finding something to do.  Free time management.  It's not quite a living.  But it will do.

I was on the phone with my father, and he said, "have you heard of this thing on the internet where you can write things and people can read them right away, takes away the paper and the middleman and the publisher, they can respond right away, it's called, I don't remember, it's the internet???"

"Yes, dad, it's called blogging.  I do that.  I don't know if it's the answer, but it helps with the shouting into the void."

What I didn't tell him is that I have..count'em...five blogs.  This is a little obscene.  Backed up against the corner, waving my hands in the air, I say, "I can explain!!"
  1. Neon and Concrete is this blog, where I started in 2006.
  2. andrea lambert is where I migrated my website and then got sucked into the tumbleverse.
  3. Surveillance : LA is the spycamera/surveillance photo project tumblr 
  4. Lez Cuisine is a food blog I do with Katie
  5. featherless is the blog for the featherless reading series
So, there you go.  Perhaps excessive, yes, but it keeps these idle hands out of the devils playpen.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

It's Sunday, and we're working on the book together while listening to the Lene Lovich Pandora station.  Katie is editing while I am printing out chapters.  The printer is being ornery and slow. It has taken a good twenty minutes to think about printing chapter nine, which is the last one I have so far.  I wrote a three-page story this morning which may fit into the later LA section, or may just float around flapping it's wings like an orphaned sparrow.

Meanwhile, Giblets got behind the stove twice today when I was on the phone, and I was running around in a T-shirt and panties waving carrots yelling "Giblets get out of there" while Omar giggled on the line and tried to tell me about live-work lofts.

Meanwhile it is Sunday and Broken English is playing now, Marianne Faithful, who is one of my pop idols, more for the life she led then for her tunes, though I like those as well.   Her piano bar version of Boulevard of Broken Dreams (NOT the Green Day travesty) I lost it when my hard drive crashed, but it it jaw-dropping, stunning.  I couldn't find a worthy version on youtube. alas.

This pulp novel sits above my desk, where it taunts me.  When I went on SSDI did I forfeit all hope of such a thing?

Saturday, June 26, 2010

A head cold and treating it with a steady diet of vodka, coffee and smoking yields only to be expected....sitting here feeling limp and unwilling to do the things that I must.

Last night we went to a lovely BBQ at Nikki's, sat in the grass while Anthony McCann read poems of alcoholism and horses...good stuff.  It was a surprise party, and surprise the birthday boy it did.

The bunny is hopping hopping hopping without stopping.  I feel like I need to write more poetry after having received the first rejections of my recent submissions sweep.  Working in the novel form it is so hard to excerpt anything, poems are tight, compact, like bullets you can scattershoot them everywhere.   Well, not everywhere.  Some places.  More places then you can put a 14,000 word fifth chapter of a novel that doesn't really cohere and that I haven't worked on in several weeks and fear I am losing faith on.

Whatever.  Does it matter? What am I working towards in the end?  I would really like to finish this novel and have it actually be worth reading.  The rabbit is burrowing his little head onto the VCR, under the TV.  He loves to chew wires.  He will chew these wires.  He is sitting on the yellow armchair licking the upholstery like cream.

We are going for ice cream today.  It should be a fine day.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The cold that I thought I had eluded, pre-featherless, had stomped me down today. The last few days have been mucous-y, coughing, mewling, unglamorous.  It is always in the most busy weeks that I get sick, when "ooh, the social calendar is full!" as summer gets into full swing.  Tonight Katie and I are making dinner for Gabe, Mike and Emily in thanks for their help with the reading series.  I hope that I do not infect anyone in the cooking process.  I also hope that I can muster the energy to clean the living fuck out of our apartment, as we have been rather neglectful of cleanliness lately....and it has suffered.

Do you ever reach a personal goal and find yourself struck by it's sheer banality?  I had that experience today, twice.  I reached two goals.   They are both rather embarrassing to admit publicly.  But, then again, blogging is all about overshare, so I shall.  The first was finally weighing less than 150 lbs = I now weigh 149.  Woot!  The second was reaching 20 followers on my tumblr. (pathetic internet nerd that I am)

I think the fact that I had been teetering at the edge of reaching these two numbers, 149 and 20, for several weeks now, that the tension had built, and I was more excited that is perhaps warranted by such a thing.  I suppose setting small, mundane, achievable goals for oneself makes those tiny victories sweeter.  At least more encouraging, as opposed to waiting in the deep dark desert of the soul for the next 3-6 years to finish my next book, and then and only then will I allow myself to win at something.  If, even, that is to be a win, and not a "put in drawer, leave there for ten years, start over."

Another strange thing about victories, whether large or small, is expecting things to change.  Expecting the light to be different, a Disney-rama halo effect of fluttering birds of tiny unicorns to come a-swirling. As I stepped off the bathroom scale this morning, my red kimono hanging limp to my ankles, the bunny-fur clumped in the corners of the tile, there were no trumpets, there was only the bleeding light through the window.  That I had woken up to early. That it was dawn.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

So much goes through one's mind while washing the dishes, the steady rush of warm water, the grease sliding into clean.  I am remembering a poem by one of Katie's colleagues, I think it was Tiffany Promise, read at a Sprawl two years ago, about washing dishes.  Descending into the sink with them until the water runs clear. So good!

Recyclopedia: Trimmings, S*PeRM**K*T, and Muse & Drudge I had been toying with the idea of writing poems about housework.  The question of - has it been done, does that devalue the project - or the singular idea of a dishwashing poem?  Or are there never any new ideas, just reformulations and new combinations of the old?  I took Harryette Mullen's Recyclopedia off the shelf to look for housework poems.  Here's one:

"Hide the face.  Chase dirt with an ugly stick.  That sinking sensation, a sponge dive.  Brush off scum on some well scrubbed mission.  It's slick to admit, motherwit and grit ain't groceries." (Mullens, p. 95)

She read at the Les Figues BBQ and I felt so stupidly shy for not telling her how much I enjoyed her work.  I got weirdly starstruck, as I sometimes do.

I suppose all of this writing around the dishes is not doing the dishes, and the dishes won't do themselves.

 But I am also interested in this idea of ownership of ideas.  An old friend contacted me this morning about my use of the five-part structure, apparently he is also writing a five-part book, and feels thus that I should not.

However, there are only so many numbers under seven - at which point you've got an epic tome on your hands, might as well just call them chapters and call it a day.  I feel that whatever we do around the structure, the ivy wrapping around the frame, will be vastly different.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Another day, another morning, and again I'm drinking coffee and typing while Nevada sits on top of my computer and looks at me with those green cat-eyes.  What has happened?  We flyered for two days for featherless #1, after much tromping of pavement and an inadvertent detour into Boyle Heights (oopsies).  Lessons learned along the way: 
  • libraries will only allow flyers for free events,
  • it is difficult to go into all of those bookstores without buying things (case in point, this pulp novel)
  • waiting until afternoon to leave results in hot hot heat and is ill-advised
Other news.  Skylight Books accepted the valeveil duo, so it is in the LA poets section.   This I am very pleased about.

I went through a storm of sending out submissions to journals, online and print, and am now scanning my inbox, hawklike, waiting for responses.  This was perhaps a distraction from what I really need to be doing, which is finishing...or, even, working on the middle of...that book which I began in such a fury.  I feel terrible about this, I have slacked off, yes, it's true.  I got distracted by other projects, I get distracted by the internet, by housework, by pet care, by cooking, by putting on my face, by just about anything, really.

I need to refocus on this, and so semi-public flagellation seems like the way to do it.

Monday, June 07, 2010

A message from j.s. davis of valeveil:

Dear friends & literary colleagues.

Please consider actively supporting valeveil so that our emergent, independent press can soon publish the 2nd book in the valeveil poetic duo series, entitled A House on a Hill / Under the Bed, pairing the literary work of American writer Harold Abramowitz with the work of Swedish writer/artist Leif Elggren. As little as $5 (approx. 40 SEK) gets your name, company or organization public recognition on valeveil's upcoming sponsor page. Below is a link to the valeveil KICKSTARTER fundraising page for your consideration:

Spread the word - and have a fruitful summer!


Thursday, June 03, 2010

Aalpha Pharmacy Waiting Dirge

Rue McClanahan died this morning
And I cried a little bit.

In the Aalpha pharmacy, with
Just one set of each product set in a line,
yellowing in time
under the cameras, watching,
and the pedialyte,
dirty white tile,
I wait for my pills.
With posters of runaways,
I wait.
The people who sit here look poor and insane
And I realize I fit here
I have become so.
This is not a surprise.
This is not a surprise.
I was headed this way for a long leg of time.
They are sticking the labels
They are tightening the lids.

Rue McClanahan died this morning.
And I cried a little bit.

Monday, May 31, 2010

It's hot here, the sort of grim LA heat that batters through the windows with no thought to our puny fans and lack of air conditioning.  I'm dealing with it, I suppose.  Summer's far too full of delightful things, of watermelon and slip-n-slides, beaches and BBQs, all that sort of mythical whatnot of which, I suppose I've participated  in 3/4th of thus far.

Featherless is coming along rapidly, our new logo is as follows.  The readers for the first event are Saehee Cho, Alison Carter, and Flint. We are very excited to have such amazing writers on board.

Trying to get the valeveil poetic duo into stores is a goal I've been working on.  It's in the LA Writers section of Stories Bookstore in Echo Park now, and I dropped off a copy at Skylight Books for review, I'm hoping they choose to stock it.

The novel I'm working on has hit chapter 9 and stalled, a bit, as I look back over it and try to decide what to do next.  It's good to take a moment to revise, fix those typos, fix those grotesque lapses in judgment, etc... but in taking that moment I fear I am losing, I know I am.

It's in chapter nine that the character is lounging around in the San Diego summer of 2005, the summer in which I kicked a few nasty habits and got my life back together, somewhat.  Oh fie on thinly veiled memoir, the ego-centrism disgusts me and yet I only know my own material so where to go from there?

I realize that I will have to go somewhere very different in the next few chapters, because, as the character moves through the next half of the book, she must gain momentum, not slow to a peaceful and gracious domesticity.  NO!  There must be some sort of climactic somethingorother.  Oh dear, oh dear.  I must think on this.

Meanwhile, the fan whirs, the bunny flops, the cat sleeps languorously on the kitchen floor.

Friday, May 28, 2010

In brighter, happier news, it is springtime, hop-time, and time for projects to blossom.

featherless, a reading series, is having its first event on June 20th at 7:30 pm at Wordspace.  The curators, Katie and I, are very excited.  The three readers will be announced shortly.  Omar Routher is designing our logo, and, judging by the preliminary versions, it should be smashing.

The bits and pieces are coming together.

I'm working on the novel obsessively, still.  I have a rough draft manuscript of nine chapters, with four more in sketchy sketchy hopeful fill-in land.   The problem I'm running into (well, one of many), is that with such an epic scope, that of thirteen years and five cities, it seems that there should be some sort of epic quality to the narrative beyond plink plonk ping pong here's my little life.  I feel that in the last section, the Los Angeles section, I will have to veer far far from the truth of placid domesticity and concoct some sort of explosive climactic whatnot to finish it off with.

Oh dear.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Another call from the jackals at Citibank almost sent me over the edge, pacing into the kitchen I said to the collections man "there is only so much anti-anxiety medication that I can take, and when I run out, there are seizures, and  there is the hospital, and they, they call me too, there are bills, and if I die, my blood will be on your hands."  

There was silence on the line.  I was shaking.  I realize that I must speak to my psychiatrist urgently about how to handle these collections calls, because they are sending me over the edge into a terrifying place.

"So do you think you'll be able to make a payment?"
"My blood.  Your hands.  I have to go."  I hung up.

Clearly this is not an appropriate way to speak to a bill collector, but I am at the end of my rope, here. If anyone is reading this, do not take out private student loans.  You can lose all of your limbs, or in my case lose your mind, and you will still be on the hook for the $17,000.

That was the last call of the day.  I took half an Ativan and went back to my usual activities.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

It has been quite a day. This morning I spent some time on the phone withe a gentleman from Citibank, they call 5-6 times a day as I am about  to default on a private student loan.  Jackals.  As these loans are not discharged by disability, insanity, bankruptcy, only in my death will this loan be discharged.  I asked him what the results of default were, and he explained that the loan would be handed over to a shadowy guarantor, who would pay off Citibank and then go about getting the money from me themselves. 

It was at this point that I began to lose control.  Or perhaps to gain it, to ask the questions I had been wondering all along.  "So, is a man with an axe going to show  up at my door?  Are you involved with the mafia?  Will I get to keep my hands?  My feet?  My kidneys?  Do they still have debtors prisons? Workhouses? Will they actually take the pound of flesh?  Can I decide which pound?  Should I install a security system, of course, wait, i can't afford that...oh, I see, I thought I was being monitored for quite awhile now, I have been being investigated, haven't I.  Well, you know where to find me.  Can I at least decide which hand goes first?"
 "That's ludicrous"  The man on the phone said. "We don't take physical punishment as payment.
"Oh you don't, huh?  Oh, okay, so what's going to happen?"
"Well, first the guarantor will have to gain a judgment against you by suing you."
"You're going to sue a mentally ill, disabled woman.  You're angels."
"We'll, maybe they'll sue the cosigner."
"Even better.  Well, thanks for calling, I'll be sure to keep all this in mind."
I hung up.

They didn't call again for the rest of the day.  What blissful silence.  I spent the rest of the day filling in missing scenes in Chapter 9, the page count now around 210.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Passed the 100 page mark yesterday.  Now lurking on page 106. The rewriting is a little bit slower here, as chapter five deals with Nikki's impregnation and abortion.  Not exactly pleasant reading, or writing, or reliving.

 I'm almost done with the Portland section, one more chapter to go.  Katie suggested going to Portland at the end of August.  That would really be fun, but I don't know if I could afford it with current finances being what they are.  But to revisit these places with her, to see my sister and cousins and old friends, would be amazing.

In other news, Katie got a new tattoo. Lookin' hot, yes'm.

 I have fallen into a strict rhythm of waking at seven, taking the Wellbutrin and half an Ativan, drinking coffee, and working on the book for the next 5-8 hours.    Then Katie wakes up, we might socialize or plot and scheme.

In the evenings I am more relaxed, we go to readings or spend time with friends.

Here is Stephen eating ham. 

There is a new project on the horizon, a reading series called featherless.  There are exciting developments that I won't speak of yet. 

Spring is in the air, and new projects abound.

Friday, May 14, 2010

The book I've begun has five parts, each set in a different city I've lived in: Portland, San Francisco, Valencia, San Diego, and Los Angeles. Each part begins with a poem, to give context and mood, then moves to narrative text.

Part 1: Cigarette Butts in a Chipped Teacup, is set in 1997-8, Portland.  It relates how Nicole/Nikki, a 19 year-old living in a messy punk house called the Dustbin, navigates her subculture as it crosses with her own rising attraction to women, namely her roommate Lana, and the beginnings of her own psychological problems.

As of this morning I have 17 pages of this, retyped and revised from an earlier, 120 page document.

Part 2 is set in 2003, San Francisco, and will take substantial revision of a three-story set in terms of point of view and tenses.  I wrote the stories originally in a very post-modern way, and I'm changing them back to a more traditional first person straighforward narrative.  Revision is key.

Part 3 is set in 2005, San Diego.  It discusses Nikki's isolation after the manic excitement of San Francisco, and her friendship with Micah, an HIV+ neighbor who becomes her only ally while she waits to go to graduate school.  I have a rough draft of this, but it needs some work.

Part 4 is set in 2006-8, Valencia.  This part will be the most difficult for me to write, as I vowed while at CalArts, not to write about my experiences there.  Therefore I have no base texts to bounce off of, and must write cold.  that's fine, I hope that by this point in the process i will be more able to tell where the story needs to go, and thus what this section needs to do for it.

Part 5 is set in 2009-10 Los Angeles.  I have a few fragmentary stories to work with here, but at this point a lot of the focus is going to be on tying the previous threads together into plot threads that cohere and coincide with the present state.  That is to say, I'll write this part when I get to it, hopefully.

So, that's my plan, I've decided that to keep myself going I must write not only for pleasure or for the self-indulgence of the thinly veiled memoir (pa-ha, I know it's obvious).  But this time I must write from fear, write from the nipping at my heels of the dogs of supported employment, the drool and leaden hands at the factory floor.  I must discipline myself this time.  I will try.
Shakedown, the wheat from the chaff.  As Katie's parent's left and she and I settled into our new lives together, I did some looking into the SSDI "Ticket to Work" Program. By this program, disabled people currently receiving social security funds can experiment with working under supported conditions to see if it is something that they can handle.  I feel like I am moderately stabilized on the Wellbutrin, and I am interested in taking on new challenges at the moment.  However, what I found was not promising.

After perusing the internet for what seemed like hours, the "Employment Networks" and "Vocational Rehabilitation" facilities (their jargon, not mine) that I was able to locate in my vicinity offered very limited employment choices.  Now, I'm well aware that we are in a recession, and were I not disabled, even with my schmacy education I would not necessarily be able to find anything at all.  Due to my publication record I would not pass background checks, so that dismisses a certain range of jobs, and then there's the whole reason I'm on disability on the first place, a clear verdict of unemployability would make keeping what I could get rather difficult.

The premise of working within a supported setting that acknowledged the disability, that had seemed encouraging.  One night, talking to Omar, making "golden ticket" jokes, he suggested that maybe I could get some nice library job, given my qualifications, and I felt hopeful about the process.

However, upon looking at the employment networks, they all grouped the disabled together -all together - in their employment groups, meaning special snowflake me would me working side by side on the factory floor with the severely developmentally disabled, down syndrome fellas, (retards) all of us doing either custodial or factory/packaging sort of work.  Let me show you a picture, from Build Industries website. My employment here would be brief, and death would come quickly and blessedly.

I imagine myself as the maniacal chick in the teal jumpsuit.  There was also the option of sweeping floors in the Goodwill.

So, I called my father for advice.  He said, "if you go into a situation like that, you are doomed to failure".  He said, "You have everything you need right now all lined up to write another book.  What are you doing not writing another book?  Treat it like a job, and just haul ass on it until it's done, sell it, and write another one.  That's your job, and you'll be much happy doing that than cleaning toilets with epileptics or whatever."

I thought...huh.  He's RIGHT.  So, manic me got to work.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Another morning, another day.  The sun rises and so do I, I sit and drink iced coffee, do the dinner dishes, take out the trash.  Housework is not a dirty word, it gives me an outlet for the manic energy and a slight sense of accomplishment when done.

It has been hectic, this week.  Katie's parents have been in town, she turned in her thesis and read at the REDCAT.  The final festivities, the festive finalities, of another year ending at CalArts.

 I feel like I have been through this cycle three times, four if counting my first year as a practice run.  My own reading and graduation was what is was.  My roommate the next year was also in the writing program, the cycle passed again.  Then again, with Katie.  I am looking forwards to not being a satellite of CalArts next year, untying the apron strings a little.

It's a great place, but, yes, over.

Another thing I am done with is this Amazon Associates program.  Apologies, gentle reader, for all of these embedded links to amazon products.  I was trying to make some money.  I have not made a cent, and instead corrupted this blog with a lot of ridiculous gadgetry.  Apologies, again, and regrets.  I am trying to figure out how to leave the program, but, much like Scientology, they make it very difficult.

So difficult, in fact, that I have not figured it out.  Whether muddled by the Topamax, which is supposed to cause cognitive dulling, or by the clear omission of an exit option in their website....I am not sure. 

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

It has been awhile since I've blogged.  I have transferred over most short form efforts to tumblr, but plan to keep this blog for longer form pieces.  If my little outbursts can be called pieces.  If blog management, in this abyss adjacent, can be called a worthwhile use of my time.  My time is not money.  My time is free and it lies on the ground in golden sprawls of lazy uselessness.  For this I am thankful.

New projects are emerging.  I have been working quite fervently on a photo project called Surveillance : LA.

In the wake of the facebook privacy scandals, and my discovery of spokeo and 123people, I've become a lot more aware of how much information about me/you/anyone is available and easily accessible to anyone with a credit card.  While this is disconcerting, I realize I've been gleefully hopping around like a small child scattering flowers throwing my personal information willy nilly on this blog.  And saying things like willy nilly, a crime in and of itself.

I just read this article on Jezebel, about an anonymous sex blogger being fired from her day job, due to her boss accidentally finding her blog.

While the magic 8-ball seems to be pointing to delete all, there are many reasons why I love blogging, why I love this humble little blog for the outlet its given me over the past 4 years.  I'm not shutting it down.

Worrying about disclosure and surveillance, worrying about the potentially malicious intent of these data may be like worrying about nuclear war, waiting forever for the slap that never comes.  There may never be a focused use for the data, and I may sit muddling mint leaves  into my yogurt and granola, peacefully, for hours.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

So the bunny is having hop-time.  My love-affair with tumblr is continuing, if anything the embrasure of yet another internet platform when the world beckons outside the window - I say, fie, world, I have the internet. 

I had a very strange night the other night. It started in that oh-so gleeful outside word.  It started out quite innocuously with getting my car back - finally.  Then we went to lezchat (lesbian chat at the LA LGBT Center).  We've been going for a few weeks, and it's fun and social, a nice way to meet other lesbians in a fun and non-bar way.  We went out for dinner with the group afterwards, then met up with Omar.

Efrem Zimbelist Jr. 8x10 Original 77 Sunset Strip TV Photo #WS1759We ended up at a straight bar on the Sunset Strip.  He lives over there, and we were looking for cheap drinks.  It really became clear how much I had begun to identify as a much the presence of Ron Jeremy in a corner, skinny skinny booby blondes in platforms, men right out of the Jersey Shore, I really felt like I was at a casting for Tool Academy or somesuch VH1 reality moment. 

We definitely found it tough to get a drink. After waiting for about ten minutes while others were served, I finally pulled out my old school bar mannerisms and smiled coquettishly at the bartender.  That worked.  We got gin and tonics and settled into a back booth.

Later, when I got home, I found myself just a little too wound up to get to sleep.  I attributed it to the iced coffees I'd downed at dinner, or all the walking around we'd done, or the adrenalin when the kareoke hostess in the first bar started picking on me and I scuttled backwards like a starfish.

Hours passed.  The internet got less exciting.  Katie fell asleep.  I got less coherent.  I could not sleep.  I redid the tumblr.  I celebrated at 4 am when Stephen was featured on cute boys with cats. See here.  Super-awesome, no???  I was so manic, so pathetic, so ridiculously bored yet excited by the minimal, the was all in all just like I would be if I was on all sorts of illicit druggy drugs except I was not.  All I can attribute it to was that I had switched medications to wellbutrin and topamax that week, and those are both powerful stimulants.  Powerful stuff.  I was up till 11 am the next day.  My god!!!!

Finally, finally, on Katie's urgings, I slept.  I slept until about 9 am the next day, and I was so glad to finally get some rest.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Well, the medication switcharoo seems to have been successful.  I traded in lexapro for wellbutrin, lamictal for topamax, and left the abilify and ativan as they were.  After a week of this I have noticeably more energy, I'm more alert, I need far less caffeine, and I'm losing weight.  I squeezed into a pair of pants that had not fit me on the Reno trip.  Yay and hurray.

This week Stephen had his "Toon town frottage cottage housewarming," an afternoon mad hatter garden party that was just acres of fun.  Damien took a truly career killing and heeelarious facebook album which I shall not link to, but post my favorite picture from:
Damien, new friend, talented photographer, and all-around swell guy.  This photo really captures me and katie in wuv wuv wuv before all of the chaos broke lose.

I really wish I had taken more pictures of this party, the view of downtown spread out below, the table spread with wine and flowers, the sangria, the costumes...well. oh well.  I tend to bring my camera to social events, and then get inebriated, put it in my purse and totally forget about it while I romp around.  Oh well.

Anyway, my car is back from stolenville, which I am extremely happy about.  I'm supposed to pick it up today, as soon as someone (Stephen, hopefully) wakes up and can drive me over there.

The internet is a strange place.  I've been exploring tumblr, which is so seductive, with it's hi-res photo capacity and chatty hipster interface.  See below.  This photo was taken on the footbridge that runs from my cul-de-sac over the 101.  I emphatically did not write that, nor do I know who did.

But, in the realm of poorly thought out meme blogs, or tumblrs, if you must, I woke up one morning with this idea:  It still needs quite a bit of work, and I'm thinking of dropping the cupcake factor, as I just don't think cupcakes are that great.  But, hey.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Feeling a bit better today.  I went to see my psychiatrist and got a pill switcheroo.  Off with the lexapro and lamictal, on with the wellbutrin and topamax.  I am feeling pleased and hopeful.  Preliminary internet research predicts drastic weight loss, I'm so, so ready.

It's a hot night in echo park and downtown shimmers from the window, silver and orange skyscrapers tipped with red lights.  The ground is darker than the sky, the freeways hustles always.  The cat and rabbit are flopped, waiting, waiting for the evening to cool and the fan to end its squeaking.

Last night was really horrible, the death of Athena just triggered this horrible depression, and I kind of went off the deep end.  They are together again now, and it is time for me to move on. I can, I should, I just really should hose off and move the empty cage, fold it up in the closet so I don't have to look at it and see death.

I'm hoping that the new antidepressants lift me up a bit.  There's only so much one can block things and blind things.  Last night I was staring the perceived emptiness of my life square in the face, and it took ambien, ativan, a good nights sleep and some quality time with my dear girlfriend to really put me to rights.

My life is not empty.  It was, I think, the feeling after finishing two fairly all-consuming (and again narcissistic) projects, that of redoing my website with the tumblr platform and embedding my blog with amazon tags (hi, amazon) and enhancing the links and pics and whatnot.  As I'm on SSDI, I have to assign myself projects or else I go batshit. 

An old writing teacher at CalArts used to talk about my thesis as an effort to fill the void with anything and everything, whether drugs, sex, rampant socializing, boozing it up, etc...  Now in my newly cleaned up life, there are far fewer things I am willing to throw into that void.  I seem to have latched on to the internet as a way to fill that, the emptiness of living, free time mangement, etc...

That's an equation I can accept.  I remember the old devil's bargain a friend and I made, pinky-swore, that we'd rather be drug addicts than fat. I'm done with drugs, and trying to be done with fat.  What next?  Veganism? ScientologyReikiMaster Cleanse?  Oh hell no.

I'm lashing my wagon to pills.  please, get me over this pass.