Thursday, August 30, 2007

Jean Rhys, I'm Sorry, You're Sorry, We're All So Very Bloody Sorry.

I missed her birthday. But that's how it works with her. From her unfinished autobiography, Smile Please:

"The trouble is I have plenty to say. Not only that, but I am bound to say it. I must write. If I stop writing, my life will have been an abject failure. It is that already to other people. But it could be an abject failure to myself. I will not have earned death.

"Yes, most of it is childish. But I have not written for so long that all I can force myself to do is to write, to write. I must trust that out of that will come the pattern, the clue that can be followed."

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

The World Needs Silk

Imagine the peace and harmony that would rule if the old school and the new school would just lie down like the lion and the lamb and allow these remixes by Steve Silk Hurley to be released. But the refusal to have them available uncredited and illegally makes me appreciate them more. Awww.

Until that happy day, I'll just have to be late for work once in a while.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Peg, It Will Come Back to You

I got through work today by pegging the day away. I pegged the currency, I pegged labor availability, and I pegged health care costs.

I think we can all agree that health care costs deserve pegging.

Monday, August 27, 2007

We're Very Wide Awake, the Moon and I

Eclipse tonight, 4 degees Pisces/Virgo. Yep, I'm nervous. But excited. I'll be up with the deer in the morning to see what I can see. The deer walk right down the streets of the city in the early morning, and they especially like to forage around my skywatching spot.

On her Big Sky Astrology site, April Elliott Kent, who has enormous eclipse insight, writes: "But at this Full Moon Lunar Eclipse in Pisces, remember that trying to do too much to save the world, without taking time to remember why it's worth saving, is a recipe for anger and brittleness."

Pandora Astrology characterizes this eclipse as John Belushi pulling you along on a road trip.

And the always-interesting Eric Francis says, in his long article that includes a look at several asteroids, "The Moon disappearing for a few moments in this sign is like a veil being pulled back, or a doorway opening, that leads to another realm of possibilities. Too often, we look around us and we see the past. We expect people to act like they acted in the past, and we expect them, moreover, to fill the roles established by our family of origin. This eclipse reminds us that something else is possible."

I'm hoping so.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

That's "Fabulist," Dear. NOT "Fabulous."

I fed another minor obsession and discovered this sweet Theresa Duncan site. The guy points to possible plagarism problems that were talked about on a MSM article she wrote, then he quotes her blog entries side-by-side with some Wikipedia entries. And, um, like the theme song goes, "They're cousins, identical cousins!" Ewww ewww yuck bleh.

Thank you, Mr. Poulet, for knocking the scales from my eyes. And your exegesis on "Old Dan Tucker" has had me laughing for days.

This might have happened to me: Twice in my dull, 2nd-tier, 20-year MSM career I [maybe] had to fire people for [what appeared to be allegedly] stealing work or making shit up. It's the most disorienting, nauseating feeling, from the initial am-I-seeing-what-I-think discovery to the collecting info for personnel to trying to explain to other folks actually doing their jobs what happened without getting anyone sued. It's just fucking SURREAL to have a veteran reporter tell you, when you point to their quote being the same as the one printed in the Metropolis Daily a year ago: "Well, that's what he would have said if I could have gotten in touch with him." Or pick up the desk phone and have someone tell you: "What he/she wrote was great, but I never said it. I really liked the article, so I don't want to complain, but I never talked to him/her." And you're like, who are you? Where am I? Shattered Glass really brought that feeling back--a movie scarier than The Shining, to me.

In the back of my throat right now I can taste the hangover I got after one of those episodes. No "allegedly" required there.

And then reporters who are ACTUALLY WORKING HARD knock on a door in a community and hear: "Oh, just make something up. That's what you people do anyway." Slam.

It may seem odd for someone using a pseudonym and writing speeches and such for other people to get a wedgie about fabulists and plagarists. I use pseudonyms here and on my fiction to protect my child and my ability to earn a living for her under my real name. And when I write the speeches and the letters from the CEO for folks, everyone knows the rules, and who gets paid. It's not stealing, y'all.

And the rest of you with your talk about cutups and mashups and appropriation and sampling and isn't that what all fiction is anyway, all that sounds like to me is "well, that's what he would have said..."

Because even writing erotica is hard fucking work, and if anyone steals what I write, I'll hunt down their ass.
Of course, it would be nice if someone would actually read what I write. So I don't think I need to worry about anyone stealing it.

In other news, apparently those who worship Ms. Duncan have decided in their tribute blog that the hurricane that took human lives was no more than a wonderful way for an aesthete fabulist to let her precious spirit move upon the Earth one more time.

I must be coming down with something, cause I think I'm gonna puke again.
And I'm not wasting another minute on that sad chick. There are too many real live people out there.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

What I Think I'm Hearing

Had to go out to the car to get something, and the night felt so good on my shoulders. Couple of camping trips coming up this fall; can't wait to feel the autumn out in it. A few days gave us a taste.
I'm obsessively playing Richard Buckner's Meadow, especially the first track, Town. I went to see him not out of much desire; I just wanted a night out with my best friend. The opening set by his band nearly had me snoozing. As always, it took words to pull me in. When he finished singing, I didn't know whether to burst into tears or flap my arms and fly up to the roof. All these unbearably prolonged feedback loops, lacunae-heavy links of couplets. Such a big, dark man. We didn't get the CD we bought autographed because we were too shy. Just as well, because I can't find it now, to check the accuracy of what lyrics I hear...

I feel it still
holding on
another time
almost caught
sometimes it's when
you wouldn't choose

I left you there
tumbled down
losing days
moving slow
It comes to me
a broken chance
speaking parts
second glance
Can you see it too?
I guess it got away

Monday, August 20, 2007

It's Just a Picture

Read about the death/dearth of credit and private equity in the Sunday papers all morning, then I go out and put my money on a piece of art and a pair of heels. The art was for a present, though (and the heels were the way on sale version). Rosemary Covey (studio in Torpedo Factory), an extraordinary wood engraver I've admired for years, has three latest series that are amazing; of course my favorite is the Strip series, which has erotic/power/couple themes. Some of the images, with BDSM overtones, are on display at the studio. Of course I go in with my daughter. Am I a terrible mom for putting her in any proximity to these images?

All I know is that she helped me pick out the present from the "tame" prints pile--a lovely image of two doves entwined on ivy--and spent about 15 minutes watching the artist hand-color an engraving from her latest series, based on manga, an image of a woman with a rat climbing her shoulder. She was painting the rat pink and purple, and explained to my daughter that the rat was a pet. She also said that the huge, interactive installation she's working on, the 0 project, has some components for kids, but they're centering it around Halloween, because some people find elements of it scary. I explain that we talk about how art can be scary sometimes. "Yes," she says to us, "but you know it's just a picture, right?" My daughter nods and asks again if she can please, please buy a notecard, an image of a dove flying into stars. I comply. On the way home, she asks if she can paint it, like the artist did.

On the windowsill outside Covey's studio, pigeons had roosted; the artist in the studio next door had placed metal spikes on the windowsill to try to keep them off. Instead, they nested, started a family. Covey put a piece of thick cardboard over the spikes to keep the baby pigeons safe. Just the day before, she said, they'd learned to fly.

My daughter was born just before 9/11. I spent five years in fear, not of terrorists, but of those in power right here, afraid that I would say or do the wrong thing and lose the one I loved so wildly, so without limits. I know I have to be brave enough to try to be my true self if she's ever going to be her true self. Then I see things like this, and I scuttle back into my hole like a ghost crab on an Assateague dune.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Trial Run

Half-marathon trail run this morning, just as a practice for the real half-marathon trail run in two weeks. I love trail running; it's contact improvisation with the earth, but I'm a clumsy dance partner, always wiping out on roots and rocks. So but for these two, I've sworn off trail running until after the marathon in San Francisco, because what will I do with that plane ticket if I'm injured? Figure just doing these two will cut the odds.
Truth is, I'm such a klutz I get injured walking. Like at Disney Fucking World with my daughter, two months ago. And I wasn't drunk. I fell off a curb and heard a bunch of little crunching noises as my foot folded under itself and then I went down. And started screaming curses in the middle of the Magic Fucking Kingdom, in the Town Square, on Main Street. I'm amazed a bunch of evangelicals didn't come throw a net over me and spirit me off to Gitmo for despoiling the atmosphere of the Happiest Fucking Place on Earth.
I could walk, though. Next day, I could run. But it still hurts when I kneel. Hmm.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

A Man on Women

Happy birthday, Charles Bukowski. He got this published in 1944, thought they'd dissed the story, and didn't write for publication again until the late 1950s, according to the intro on this great site.
And this, at random from my copy of Women, close eyes, open book, point finger:
"The lady questioner gave up. She stretched back in her seat and closed her eyes. Her head slipped down toward me. It was almost in my lap, it seemed. Holding Tammie, I watched that head. I wondered if she would mind if I crushed her lips with a crazy kiss. I got another hard-on."

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Three Billy Goats

Bear Island in the Potomac, home of the Billy Goat Trail, apparently has rocks coughed up from when the land was at the bottom of the sea--rocks unlike the impressive but not as ancient collection of boulders that washed down from the mountains and make up the rest of what you see in the river. My daughter is fascinated by every rock, root and shell. My dearest friend, hiking the trail with us, gives her good advice: "If you feel like you're going to fall over, tighten up your tummy and you'll keep your balance." And: "We don't want you to fall and hurt yourself. Not because it's bad to get hurt, because your body will heal up and it'll be OK. But because we won't be able to carry you out of here." And then she picks her up piggyback and runs away down the trail anyway.

Monday, August 13, 2007

The Child Care Crisis in America

The summer camps have shut down. Two weeks of juggling, bartering child care with friends and relatives, and letting my child watch unconscionable hours of the Disney channel while I sit at the computer emailing, say, defense contractors all day. Today, once all the deadline fires are out, I put on the auto-reply lie about being in meetings all afternoon and take her to the pool. Then, after bedtime, I'm at the computer again, making up for the three work hours I lost today. No chance to finish writing the latest erotic manuscript, left in coitus interruptus; not even the faint hope of some David Duchovny frontal to stave off the dying of the light. I'll take the first day of school or a MegaMillion win, Goddess.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Kiss Me, I'm Shitfaced

Dropkick Murphys at the Stone Pony, outdoor show. Quite the belly of the beast. Sausage fest of for the most part adorable Irish guys. Good thing there were no fires on the Jersey coast that night. Sometimes I think I should explore my mother's side of the family heritage a little more...
Hungover, headwinds, soaking wet running shoes I accidently left in the rain all night...a mere slogging five miles the next day. A beer and salt sloshed Red Sox game the next evening, and vacation is over.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Greetings from Madam Marie's

I'm not a Springsteen obsessive--he can be overwrought as hell, but my daughter likes his Pete Seeger stuff--I just like weird scary old places. Asbury Park is the weirdest and scariest I've ever seen up close. I'm running north up the boardwalk from the gentle, rulebound beach towns, and see these dark satanic mill brickwork towers in the distance. It's the Casino, I find out. You can actually run (bike, walk) through both the Casino restoration and the Convention Center restoration, and I don't even want to think about the critters and spirits looming. Then there's the way the restoration is getting whipsawed between the condo bust and the corruption...hope it'll make it out with some of the history intact.
Course the black folks who've lived there for years have another point of view entirely.
The developers cut these holes in the plywood around the Casino restoration, so you can watch. I take a look, and get to talking to a biker looking in the next hole--a local. He gives me a quick tour of the brass and terracotta details around the ceilings, everywhere you look--medusas, crabs, fish, flowers and flourishes...then he says "they painted over it, but this friend, he's a crazy graffiti artist, he had painted here 'FREE LUNG DAMAGE.' This is asbestos central."
Great place to run! And a 5K coming up Saturday. Fuck it, it's the spice of life.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Mother and Lover of Men, the Sea

I've become mildly obsessed with (OK, I took about an hour to read and follow links on this beautifully written and annotated article about) the "Theresa Duncan Tragedy." It was a little spooky when I realized in my long runs on this vacation, from Asbury Park to Sea Girt, I was going past the place they found what's thought to be her husband's body.
Of course, my original interest was entirely solophistic, in keeping with the tenor of the case...oooh, look at all we have in common! A neurotic lady blogger type with a hot young husband, early "promise" never quite fulfilled, mind so dizzyingly referential it could spin knots into her own fine hair. Luckily, I've never been quite so noted or noticed, and though my husband's hot, neither has he.
So after sifting through all I could stand to, all I could think was, girl, you deserved a better judge than the one that handed you that life sentence. A just judge would have heard the case and said: "The quite commonplace discovery that the world's estimation of one's genius does not equal one's own high regard is the stuff of comedy, not tragedy. I hereby sentence you to at least 10 years of long walks, volunteer work, blogging and fucking your husband as much as possible. Go home and get your head straight. Next case!"
Instead, two gone. Infuriating.

Monday, August 6, 2007

The Unmentionable in Full Pursuit of the Ineffable

My first erotic story won a contest! An "honorable mention," which sort of sounds like that Monopoly card for second prize in a beauty contest (the one that caused that epic Sopranos smackdown). The writing on that site is fantastic, but the editing, oh, baby, haven't had editing like that since I was in MSM, and even then not too often. All praise to the folks at Desdmona.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Eroticism, Eroticism, the Metaphysical Pursuit. The More You Eat, the More You Shoot.

From A.O. Scott's 8/5/07 Sunday NYT essay on Bergman vs. Antonioni film studies cage match : [internal commentary link mine]
"Mr. Antonioni helped push Italian film beyond realism, infusing landscapes with psychological rather than social meaning and turning eroticism from a romantic into a metaphysical pursuit. ... L'Avventura and The Seventh Seal, though they have little else in common...are both hard to watch. Not because the content or the imagery is upsetting but because they never allow the viewer to relax into a conditioned expectation of what will happen next or an easy recognition of what it means. There was, among certain filmgoers in the 1960s, an appetite for difficulty, a conviction that symbolic obscurity and psychological alienation were authentic responses to the state of the world. More than that, the idea that a difficult work had special value--that being challenged was a distinct form of pleasure--enjoyed a prestige, at the time, that is almost unimaginable today. We would rather be teased than troubled, and the measure of artistic sophistication is cleverness rather than seriousness."

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Seasons Don't Fear the Reaper

Happy Day of the Reaper, y'all.
from Lughnasad, by Miriam Dyak
"When the light starts to go out in August
when the heat of racing to complete our purpose
before winter, before 40, 50, 60, 70 years of age
before the last metamorphosis leaves us unhatched,
when heat makes our footprints curl, sets fire to our shadows,
sucks breath from our bodies, all memory from our minds
it's time to open the doors to the moment that is still summer
to fruit that is still ripening, to the not-yet harvest
Open the doors and step into presence, into beauty
Lie wet and naked on the grass, look up into the trees and sky
It is still summer and then a slow and golden fall
and then a deep and healing winter
and in the right time, the right rhythm, another spring
Breathe in this moment. Die when death comes, not before."

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Smiles of a Summer Night

My husband comes back from a 10-mile run (we each do about 25-30 miles/week) saying something's happened he hasn't encountered since Miami. Not one but two separate guys sitting on their front stoop enjoying a splif perfuming the August evening. We're talking upper Northwest, cavedweller country. It doesn't happen here, Muffy.
So Bergman dies and everyone's all like whoa, and Antonioni goes and it's like, so?