Friday, December 28, 2007

Sunny Delite, My Stripper Name

Sitting in the Starbucks writing poems and blogging and crying under my sunglasses. Listening to a lot of Badfinger. What a cliche!

The environment is filled with references to Bhutto and the ash and confetti of contradictions blown up by the explosion.

I'm working on a series that re-envisions movies on Lifetime television, themselves just variations on the dry and abrasive tale of Mrs. Emma B, with some water, good-for-you vitamins, and chemicals to enhance mouthfeel added, so it ends up like reconstituted orange juice. Mom, thanks for the Sunny D! So even our escape is rooted in a man's vision. Many have tossed off the comment that Lifetime movies are all based on the Brontes. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Lifetime is neither so inventive nor so class-conscious. I fucking love Charlotte Bronte.

So I'm attempting to further reconstitute an orange drink product. Mix liberally with vodka and lace with ecstasy.

I should set a rule for myself like the one for my daughter, where no new toys come into the house until we give away some old ones. In this case, it would be no new poems for me unless I send out old ones. But writing them is interesting and sending them out is fraught and ultimately humiliating. What a laugh on me, another of many right now! I'm the one who can't stand it when people pull out that fucking "it's the journey not the destination" shit. It doesn't mean a thing to me unless there's a reader. So here I am writing like mad and no readers, none, and it keeps happening, and I actually said not one minute ago that it's more enjoyable this way. Oh, the sexual parallel is obvious, but I'll have the grace not to make it.

Just another in a long sequence of humiliations. You get so many once you hit 40 as a woman, you almost can glide past the ones that bump you every day--but for me to seek out more, by trying to reach out in so many directions, it's a little sick if I stop to think about it. Badfinger! Jesus!

So I'll just wallow here, and quote myself. It's from the novel (thriller) I'm working on. The woman still has her babyweight and is trying to figure out how to tail someone:

"She remembered how in movies, a woman trying to escape pursuit would use wigs, scarves, sunglasses, dye her hair over and over. Didn't they realize that all you had to do was put on 15 pounds, and you'd be invisible? She was free to go anywhere; no one would remember her from one moment to the next."

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Temporal Alarmist Despair

WAY too much s going down today.

"I think that it's important not to drive a tack with a ball-peen hammer, so my grievances will, I hope, not be rude and obtuse and of temporal alarmist despair."
--Van Dyke Parks

Sunday, December 23, 2007

White Christmas

When a party wound up early, a friend and I found ourselves wandering blasted down 18th street. I felt like dancing, so he led us down some stairs into what turned out to be an Ethiopian basement dance club. We were the only white people in the place. He had paid the cover, so I stood at the bar to buy our drinks. And stood. And stood.

My friend said, "Come on, let's get our money back and go." At the door, the manager showed up as we were asking for the cover back. He turned on the charm, urged us to stay, walked us back in and got us drinks, told us he was buying for the rest of the night. And I did get a chance to dance, to some amazing strange DJ work. But after a while I was wondering if I could stay upright--four-inch heels and a toe injury from running were mixing it up in a way even the liquor couldn't mask. So we started for the door.

The manager once again urged us to stay, but I explained I was wiped out. As I walked to the door, he told my friend: "Come back without your lady some time, and we'll make sure you have a good time." The old ball-and-chain rolls again!

But he still showed some class and damage-control skills.

Then today, while discussing a potato salad recipe that included persian lime-infused olive oil (from the Cali groves near my family) and Old Bay seasoning, I was put in mind of another smoldering racial controversy. I think I remember but can't locate now a statement in Patrice Gaines's wonderful first memoir: "White people put too much stuff in their potato salad."

Diversity enriches us all, does it not?

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Light Gets In

Happy Solstice. (Or, as my friend calls it, "the Pagan Christmas.")

"Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in."
--Leonard Cohen

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Too Soon and Too Late

Sometimes it's kind of good being so out of touch: Just heard about Tom Terrell's death today. This was a DJ (and general positive force) who got a lot of people through a lot of Sundays. And a really good writer.

There's been a lot of Miles Davis energy around the house lately (mean that in a good way), touched off by that Betty Davis discovery; my man's been playing Bitches Brew a lot (trying to transmit a message, dear?) and is salivating over the On the Corner box set. Maybe Santa will show with it, cause now I want to read the essay--written by Tom Terrell.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Nutcracker. Sweet.

Took the girls to see Washington Ballet Nutcracker. Fantastic sets and staging, among other things. Don't know what it is about that thing, but my girl and I both bristle like cats and have to try hard not to cry during that part when that SOB brother breaks her new, favorite doll. And Drosselmeyer applies his magic to fix him...but she still has to slip downstairs to see if he's OK and rock him to sleep...and then the rats creep in...and she is afraid, but brave...bales out her man and gets a prince for her trouble.

I'm a huge fan of E.T.A. Hoffman, the Philip K. Dick of his time. Hoffman had this obsession with automata, with what constitutes the sincere expression of human love and what is a sham and how the vulnerable are deluded, and how this delusion and the betrayal, the realization that one can be so fooled by a painted-on face, can lead to true madness.

I TiVo the Baryshnikov Nutcracker, and we watch that every year, too. I've told my daughter how Kirkland was a great dancer, but she stopped eating good foods and it made her too sick to dance for a while. Kirkland's still working. Yay!

I've read that Tchaikovsky wasn't crazy about this job; he was working for hire by that point. The super-sexy music for the pas de deux came out of a bet that he couldn't write something with all the notes of the octave in order. A mere exercise that flared into beauty. Works out that way sometimes.

Of course I can't hear his music without thinking of Ken Russell.

Never seen the Mark Morris The Hard Nut. (In link hunting, discovered Thackeray had translated the Hoffman story!) Need to find a DVD of that ballet--to watch well AFTER baby bedtime.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Corpse Position

Morning yoga class with the teacher of impossible sincerity. Trying to get us to perfect the corpse position.

"This is a really important position. You don't want to skip the corpse position!"

I don't think we really get a lot of choice about that, baby.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Well, Then...

...Could I at least maybe get a babysitter?

You know how you have those stretches where you're just working, working, putting it out there, putting it out there, and it feels like nothing's coming back?


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Spill It

I'm banging on the cosmos like it's a pinata, trying to get it to spill its fortunes and favors and sweets and mysterious shiny little packages onto my head. Give it up for me!

And if you ask why I don't change my approach, well, this is a change. I've spent my whole life (like many women) sidling, stroking, seducing, manipulating, planting secret explosives, poking little holes under cover of darkness and hoping they'll work their way into into big holes and something delicious will spill out. Now I'm knocking, banging, bashing, shaking it. Come on. COME ON!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Santa, Pluto and Thor: My Trinity

Took my girl to see Santa today. We went to a mall, something I try to do no more than once a year. I was taking her to this garden center place for Santa, but they started getting all Jesusy on us. So to the mall it was.

Her reaction: "Santa is handsome."

She also thinks Thor is handsome. Thor has actually moved right in next to Pluto, and both of them are hanging out in my partnership house. It's getting crowded. They're going through all the beer. What's a girl to do? Go ask Santaaaaaaa...I think he'll knooowwwwww....

Santa recommends a tall vodka-and-pomegranate juice. Bless your heart, Santa. Santa, could I have this blogger for Xmas? She's the bravest blogger I've ever read.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Make Me Scrawl

Went to a book release party last night for an anthology by women writers. Some forced discussion afterward on whether a women's anthology was "needed." Well, I'd print one, if I had the cash, if only for the perks.

One of the writers said her students (college level) "hated" feminism and were "embarrassed" by it, especially by hearing their teacher talk about it. mrat. Who put you in that seat, little fluffy dumpling? I didn't sleep my way through writing classes just to hear the Female Kids of Today say they don't need or want feminism!

Speaking of feminism, My Man made the discovery of Betty Davis after hearing one of her songs on this year's Oxford American compilation. I happen to think it's feministastic to have funked around with Graham Central Station, made it out of Miles Davis' bed alive, and then written something like this:

"I know you could make me scrawl...I know you could get me shaking...I know you could make me climb the walls...that's why I'm not going to love you...because you know I'd make you eat your ego...I'd make you pocket your pride...that's why you're not gonna love me..."

And give Backstretch some competition for Hanukkah and enter the contest. Do it for the children. See below.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Bruised But Not Broken

I was on a fucking trapeze this weekend. This woman who teaches the classes is amazing. I am covered with bruises, but I didn't fall. The only thing stopping me from trying again is the nausea. I'm a seasick sailor. I wonder if one can get over that.

Lot of people know my lottery fantasy: When (not if) I win, I'll found the Kiss My Happy Heinie Foundation. Works just like the MacArthur. Just find me geniuses and give 'em money. She's now at the top of the list. I'll just keep praying those numbers up, so when the balls do their dance (as Rev. Ike used to say), they'll fall my way. Geniuses, get ready!

Meantime, it's the Kiss My Happy Holiday Contest. Here's how it works: Put one verse or chorus of an original parody holiday song into the comments section; any day is fine. For each legit entry, I add $2 to the pot. On Jan. 1, I survey them all and choose a winner. The winner gets to choose a charity for half the money to go to, and gets a t-shirt. The other half of the money goes to the charity of my choice. Other geniuses, get ready!