Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Pure Drivel: A Tale of Pity-Parties and Self-Loathing by HND

There are all these people in the world. I see them in their cars (their cages), traveling, shopping, eating, talking, texting, puffed-up in scarves and hats in the winter, in regretful shorts and t-shirts in the summer. People dressed, undressed—swimsuits at the beach, gowns at the symphony. Alone, and together. All the what-ifs, all their stories.

I’m sad today. I’m honoring that emotion here on this electronic page. A post-teen poet. Electronica tears on digital paper. Blood, sweat, and tears, baby. On your alter I shed tears of ice and fire. [I wrote that last line of drivel when I was twelve.]

We are not masters of the universe. We are not masters of anything. We are small. We are created. It’s vanity and ego dashed with a sense of truth that wakes me in the morning—that and it’s not my time to die—that will come soon enough for us all—my eyes open every day and I set off to honor my depraved sense of self and make my mark on the world. Why do I think that I’m so fucking special? [I’m a creep, I’m a weirdo, What the hell am I doing here? I don’t belong here.]

This is not about endings or beginnings, though, it’s about all the stuffing in the middle of life. What will I do between birth and death? Who will give a shit? Why do I sit here and write? Is it really for me? Is it really for you?

I used to worry about being a writer. That was before I became one. I used to think, “How do I know if I’m a writer? Am I any good?”  I wanted someone to see it in me, a teacher or a lover, perhaps, and tell me, “Yes, darling, you are a great writer. Now, go off and write us a masterpiece. Everything you touch will turn to gold.”  I wanted validation without writing a word. And in the pre-social-media world, that was harder to get than it is now. Like me? Thank you.

I know now. I am a writer. And, no, I’m not any “good”. Oh, pipe down, I’m not fishing. Good is a stupid, useless word. (Talk about being a writer, egad.) I write. I live. This is how I get all the noise out of my head. Without this, I wouldn’t speak or function. And let’s be honest, mutes have difficult lives, too difficult for me to elect anyway, plus I couldn’t hack it, I would, without doubt, slip up and call someone a “fucking cocksucker” while driving—cat’s out of the bag on that one, baby.  Drive already.

I’m not an actor. Not a musician. I have terrifying stagefright. I’m no good at faking it anyway. I am a writer. A self-indulgent whimp of a writer. An unpublished, unsolicited, un-workshoped writer hack with vanity issues and a crumbling interior monolog to boot. I can’t write fiction, not much. I keep trying to finish my novels and short stories, long-awaiting poems begging to be removed from the napkin, but I blog instead. I spend my time writing this shit—me, me, me—essays about me. No one gives two fucks about this shit except for me. (Again, not fishing, please don’t waste my time trying to make me feel better. I told you I’m honoring my sadness, my self-loathing, my ugly, angry, self-righteous bitterness right here on this screen. I do bleed for you, but don’t need a nurse.)

The best writing advice is: Get your head out of your ass, sit the fuck down, and write.


Oh, she can dish it out, but she can’t take it.  [She’s running out again. She’s running, she runs, runs, runs, runs. ]

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Sea of Love

Today I want to spend time here, to write it all down, to converse with you (with myself), to tell you a bit of everything.

I want to spend time telling you about the Sea of Stones, about cooking, and eating, and what that means to me. About how I am the Alice Waters in my dear group of friends, the Ruth Reichl, the (gulp) Julia Child. I want to spend hours here mapping out how I learned to cook--why I cook. Mapping for you the pitfalls, disasters, the worst gazpacho in the history of the world or my pathetic attempts at fried fish (the smell alone is worthy of a post.) I want to spend time explaining the world through food--I know it well enough.

But alas, I'm making the choice that I make so often, to curb my words, to pause my thoughts, in order to spend time with my family. You know how much I love them. I don't have to tell you, right? You see it in the letters of agony, of joy--the stories of how I always choose. If I didn't love them, it wouldn't be a choice worth the space on this blog. If I didn't love them, the decision wouldn't be difficult.

I haven't played guitar in a few days either. I should have been a singer that can cook, but instead I'm a cook who can sing. Oh me.

http://youtu.be/yBdTVmSVq14

For the new year, I will write about food. Let me know if there's anything you want me to tell. I might write on demand. See how that goes.

Xs to Os

Oh, and if you find more time, send me some, ok?

Monday, December 15, 2014

Defenseless

I want another chance, a chance to get it all wrong. Don’t panic. I mean wrong in the right ways. I will be imperfect, emotional, sweet & sappy, sensitive & small, maybe even ask to be cared for instead of doing it all myself—become open, a little exposed?  Let some light through the cracks. Take off the armor. I’m shedding it now, can you see the skin showing through?

I can’t get back what I’ve lost or what I’ve left behind—none of the small, sweet, sappy parts of me that I battered and fried in the vat of hot Napalm —but I can remove some of those hard won layers with a nasty Nagasaki-grade chemical peel (man, that burns, doesn’t it?) and reveal the red, raw like-new skin below. I can’t reverse age or turn back Big Ben, but I can remember what the spring air and sunlight feel like on my skin and open the fucking window.


I can do that for myself. I will. Let the sunshine in.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Why I’m a Liar: Truth, Beauty, and the Coward’s Way

I’m on the cusp of discovering some great truth about myself, about Love and the nature of Truth itself. I’ve become so well-versed in love after years of giving my heart away (too cheaply), years of hiding my heart (too costly), years of fighting the truth by lying, dodging, filing truths away for future use. Part of that is the writer in me—the part that holds back the things I won’t say. I’ve never liked giving it away for free. (I always save the good stuff for you, don’t I?)—but the other part is bullshit. The coward’s way.

Have you ever lied so often that the only way out was to end the relationship? To dig out of all the lies there are two choices: tell it all or leave. You can’t have it both ways. Look at Walter White. Look at Jax Teller. Look at every movie ever made, every sitcom: there’s always a lie and then some more lies. Then the big truth reveal with tears or hugs and false promises. Lessons learned. Dust off your hands, baby, let’s go to bed.

Every time you tell a lie it's like making a knot on a string. Now you want to come clean after a year or ten of making knots. You start one knot at a time. Nimble fingers picking at the string. It takes time, energy, and patience to unknot all the lies. To continue with the simile, you're left with a crimped string, a string that's a map of your mistakes, a map of deceits. So now, how about that fresh start?

Thinking about truths and lies makes me think about pre-teen girls—those vicious, back-stabbing cunts that become secretly vicious, back-stabbing women. Girls lie. We are trained to lie, to hide, to withhold. It’s all in the manual, baby. How many times did I go shopping with my grandmother and she would sneak the shopping bags in the house after grandpa went upstairs? He knew we were shopping. Was she worried about the amount she spent, even though she was always thrifty? Was she trying to avoid his complaint about wasting money? Did she just want something special, something secret for her or for me, something that she didn’t have to share with him? I’m not sure, but we will never know.  Harmless? I think so.

But can I have it both ways? Can lies be both harmless and devastating?   (Aye, there’s the rub. Secrets are never devastating. Telling the truth of those secrets is where the life-crushing enters our play. If only, I could pick a story and stick to it.  Get your story straight, will you?)

If I tell the facts, will the truth somehow save me, save my family, save what’s left of my innocence? I know the truth, but truth, like blame, is a slippery thing. You’re kidding yourself if you think otherwise. There are so many reasons we lie.  There are so many reasons that you can’t handle the truth.

The most basic reason to lie is to hide bad things we’ve done—hiding the facts.  My 4-year old does it. We didn’t teach her to lie. I think lying is a measure of human development—it’s a reaction to understanding rules and the consequences and responsibility attached to those rules.  “Did you eat the candy?” “No, mama.” Lying is how an immature mind protects itself from punishment, from consequences tied to poor choices & actions (i.e., eating the candy.)

The truth has its own consequences, no matter the action/choice that we are hiding. Secrets are a burden on the keeper. The truth is a burden on everyone else.

Telling the truth has consequences of its own. The compulsion to tell the truth can be just as selfish as a lie.  That’s why Catholics go to confession—it’s a way to come clean, to ask for absolution from God and from a stranger (the man behind the screen) without devastating the person wronged, without dealing with the nasty fallout of shit actions. It’s both protective and reductive. Ain’t life grand?

I’m just scratching at the first layer here.

People mistake my bluntness, my directness, for honesty. It’s a huge mistake. I lie. I always have. I like it. I make shit up. I’m a fucking writer. Lying is part of my job. It’s freedom. I can make up the shit I don’t like, be someone else, tell a new story. So be it. I lie to men in bars. I love that dance. Fuck them. Seriously. If you hit on me in a bar, I will lie to you. 100%. Dirtbags do not deserve my truth. 

The longer you know someone, the more reliably you can gauge his/her reactions. You know which truths you can share and, more importantly, how he/she is going to take it. Part of lying is that you don’t want someone to judge you or to make you feel worse than you already feel. Once I know someone well, I lie less, and with certain people, never.  It’s a shitty sliding scale, I’ll admit that, but hey, I’m being honest. (An ode to the unreliable narrator in us all.)

The Truth is an essence. Truth is not a real thing, it’s an ideal, a perfect form—it’s not a “thing” at all. 

All of our moments of candor are subjective, my truth, your truth, how you live your life, how I live mine. It’s like how a single perfume can smell totally different on me than it does on you. I seem honest and brave because I say things that you want to say. I am bold. My truths are so old and so dirty and so dark, you really don’t want to know. Trust me.

By now, you may have guessed that I’m talking about 3 truths;
1. Truth: an ideal of perfect Truth—think Plato’s theory of Universals/Forms.
2. truth: facts, unadorned by emotion or subjective commentary.  
3. truth: honesty, candor, sincerity, devotion.

None of these truths will set you free. That is the biggest lie ever told. Freedom is not knowing Truth. The truth enslaves you to the responsibilities of that knowledge. I cannot buy chicken at Wal-Mart. I don’t care how poor we are, we will not eat chicken from WallyWorld. I have seen the truth about how those animals are treated, the pain, violence, anger, fear, disregard for life, disgusting, vile, putrid conditions of chicken factories. There is no freedom in that truth. Ignorance is bliss. I can’t ignore that I know now about the chickens. I do. The cat’s out of the bag. (forgive me.) The burden of knowing this means that I have to make a choice. Now it’s on me. To buy and eat that convenient garbage or to make another choice—find a better, less nasty chicken, to stop eating meat, to protest for animal rights, etc.

At the end of this long, long day, the truth is that I don’t want to do the work. To unknot the string and make the world right, to tell the truth now, would be a huge undertaking. I don’t have it in me. Maybe another time.

My armchair philosophy is exhausted. 

To thine own self be true. That's exactly what I'm doing. And maybe your own truth is the only one that matters.

Tell the truth and tell it fast.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

She's On A Tear

Seventeen months and 27 days.  [file that; put a pin in that data, ok? good.]

Last year for New Year's I wrote this beautiful blog post about myths and sins of the father & mother and how, I, as the mother now, can give my daughter solid family myths that will help her succeed. [For time travel, click here.]

Without articulating my own resolutions for 2014, I made some major decrees in my head and those never made it into the blogosphere in one specific entry, but were sprinkled all over the damn place like S's holiday glitter (There is a metric asston of glitter that accompanies a 4-year-old girl any time of year, but at Christmas the glitter multiplies exponentially. S may even shit glitter. I'm pretty sure that's where glitter comes from. Just saying'.)

As 2013 ended and 2014 began, I wanted to play guitar and become more physically fit--lose weight, gain muscle, run faster, etc. I think this is the first year ever that I met my own resolutions. I can't play guitar well…still hacking away like a 13 year old, but I do it. Nor am I competing in the Arnold Classic this year, but I'm 200% stronger than I was last year. I crush it at the gym. I've lost 25 pounds, many inches, dress sizes etc. I feel stronger, healthier, faster, more awesome physically.

Look at me! I did something that I said I wanted to do. I'm proud of myself because talk is cheap, yo. And I talk a lot. I say all kinds of things that I want to learn, do, become. It's hard to take action when I'm so busy yapping.

It's good to talk about things, to smooth out the divots in your mind. To clean out the past, the cobwebs, the ruts and grooves--it's good to work through things. But if you're going through hell, or any strife, keep going. Don't pause too long in hell. You're in it, get through it, and move on.

My resolution this year is not quite set--not 100% gelled in my nugget, but it will include specific action items. I want to do more and talk less. Don't worry, I will still pour my broken heart and wry humor all over this blog--we all need outlets, n'est pas?--but I want to focus on doing, not talking.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Thick as Thieves

The things we take from each other:
lighters
lipgloss
energy
moments
thoughts
space (I take up so much these days)
words
nail polish
identity
friends
lovers
drinks
time on task
credit
songs
memories
lifetimes of love and fear
breaths
money
magazines
ideas
can i bum a smoke?

Us thieves are thick, no? How is it that we have anything for ourselves. We borrow, kindly, and steal, unjustly, every thing we need. What's mine is yours. 50/50.

Things unsaid and things undone are the undoing of us all. Can you forgive the traps that I set for you, my fellow thieves? Can you all, or can of any of you, decode my codex?

If we write and think too much, can we make it right? Can I? How can thieves in this cold, dark, and lonely night, make it right? Can we collectively upend the tables that we overturned? The past is just a place that I visited before now. It's not here. It's not now. I'm at least certain of that.

It's so much to ask from an unresponsive mute. If I decide to change the story now, who will give a shit? Could I muster up the courage to care for my own moment in this fading light? Probably not.

Yeah, well, I love you, so what?

My codex is thick as thieves tonight. Good luck deciphering it with your cereal-box ring and magic glasses. This isn't for you. It never was. Let's sit with this for awhile and decide who, of us, gets the mayhem vote. It won't be me, love, not today. And death, for you, is too much of a gift. I may choose to suffer next to you, but I won't kill you. Not tonight. Not tomorrow. Mercy is out of this question. Mercy can only teach you so much about love. The pain of sitting with it will teach you more. I'm nothing if not some kind of fucked up teacher. Please, now, take it from me because I learned it all the hardest ways.

The winter is here. It's no longer coming. We are all statues in the frost and the dying light. We will freeze to death one at a time in this storm if we don't move on. Take turns now; don't push. Form a line. You're next.

Writing in code is so fucking lame. But it sounds cool, no? (Are you scared now? It's not going to happen. It's not going to hurt like it did.)

Just wait. Wait like the rest of us.

Monday, December 1, 2014

brb

I keep trying to write. I feel the desire, the drive, that need that begs me to put the words down, but I sit to write and those words refuse to come out. They are stuck somewhere between my mind and my hands. Is that writer's block? I always thought that writer's block was bullshit--an excuse for lazy motherfuckers, that call themselves writers but are only paid procrastinators, to sit back and read FB or walk the fucking dogs.

Harsh. I know. 

I can't say it. I can't write it to you. Not yet. 

Not today, sweet death. 

Don't panic, I'm still here--most of me anyway. 

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Mathematics of Regret

I can smell the snow today. The cold is coming. Brutal, unforgiving, and bitter. We sit and wait. Maybe instead of waiting I should prepare. Are there enough blankets? Did I pay the heat bill? Will the sun shine again this year? (With only a few more weeks until 2015. Can you dig it?)

How can I prepare for the end? It's certainly not about muscling through it; it's more subtle than that; it's softer. A mixture of fear and love and patience and disappointment swirl on this winter's gale. The wind goes bone-deep and sends the shivers, and frozen tears, and the finality of seasonal death through my body. There is no blanket that can keep me warm. No coat that can ward this off. No way to suss out more heat or light. The darkness is coming too. The day shrinking into a mere collection of minutes.

The fire next time… It takes two beers to remember now, and three more to forget.


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Destroyer

I’m having that human moment, where, I’m sure that I’m not an alien or an emotionless robot, where I feel like a destroyer. I bash; I smash; I level; I destroy.  What kind of life did you want? TOO BAD. I’m going to wreck it like Ralph. End of story. End of song.  [There will be no more songs, ya hear?]

Once, a million years ago, my girlfriend went through a bad break up. It was tragic.  A true love decimated. During her moment of absolute heartbreak, she sat on a curb and sobbed. I stood slightly above her (a lessoned learned BTW, never stand above a friend crying) and said, “What, babe, you think you’re the only one in the world that could go through a break-up and not have her heart broken? This is what all people feel. Welcome to the world [of humanity, of heartbreak].”

I’m paraphrasing, of course, but the lesson that I spoke to her is the same lesson that I’m learning again; humanity = frailty. It sucks. And yet, it's awesome too, right? To feel. To remember what that's like. 

Being a human being and not an android and not a god(dess) means that you will feel. Deeply. Hard-ly. Harshly. Pain. Fear. Love. Joy. Just be me, for a minute, and pretend that you don’t have to feel, pretend that feeling is an option…. And again imagine, that when you do feel, it feels like a “two-ton truck crashing into us” and, then what? Mirage or Mirror? Do you see the fake lake sitting at the edge of the sand? Or, do you see the reflection of your own broken, imperfect self, standing there, craving validation and love? A love that you denied? True love denied to you? Either way, it is a human emotion that sucks. It hurts. It's lame. Period. End of song. 

When I say “Life is lifelike” this is what I mean. Life is like life. It sucks. It’s great. It’s strange. It moves through you sometimes, even when, especially when, you are trying to move thorough it, you are trying to move through life. Good luck, my friends.

Just like, life is life-like; moving through is moving thorough-like. It sucks. It’s hard. It makes the salt of us saltier, by tears or by makeup. Moving through is a process: pain, love, fear, exhaustion, anger, resignation, relief. 


If you build it, they will come. There’s a hope still; it’s not lost on me, not at all.

Cheers to hope and not dying, but maybe giving up for a few human minutes while I process. If you can't give me a break, I will just have to take one. Deuces. 


Monday, October 20, 2014

Beholden

There was an episode of The Outer Limits called "The Beholder."

The story is about a man who was blind. He had surgery that corrected his sight. In the healing process, he saw a ghostly woman who was lost and wanted to go home to her planet (this was the Outer Limits, remember that.) Along with his sight, the man had newly found extra powers of perception and not only could see the woman, but could talk with her. They talked very deeply and started to fall in love.

The man's doctors and the scientists that corrected his eyesight realized that he was communing with this woman from another world and they wanted to capture her and experiment on her. (Typical, no?) The scientists built a magnetic force field to trap her. The man fought to set her free, to save her; and in the battle he destroyed the drug that helped him regain and keep his eyesight.

Darkness.

He saved his love and lost his vision. Even though he was blind again, he could always feel her near him. The episode ends with the man, blind, in a lecture hall after class, reaching his hand out to grasp hers.

Connected. Love. Beauty.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Final Countdown

This is the end.

The beginning was nothing like this. In the beginning there was sunshine, and warm air, and a light of some kind. The beginning was slow and easy, a quiet space among angry, raging storms.  A safety, a harbor, a place for protection from the blistering rains.  The beginning was like that.

It was in reaction to the violence of storms, reaction to being beaten, broken and bruised, soaked, and sloshed around, that I needed a warmer, drier place to hide. I hid in the beginning. Drunk in the warm heat, the light. Dried myself off. Laughed a little at the storm, even though it scared me.  

“I’m good. I’m going to be all right.”

The warmth drying out my clothes, my hair, making me feel the chill left on my skin. Wrap the blanket tighter. 

“Is it okay to sit here for a little while? Are you in a hurry to go? My socks are not yet dry and this tea is cooling down."

"Refill?”

After a time, the safety became normal. The storms passed. I was less scared. Sometimes a pot falling on the floor is just a pot falling on the floor. Clumsy me. The quiet stayed. It was still warm. It was never hot. The days came one after another. Clouds collected and rains came, but not the thunderheads that I’d become used to. 

“Thank you for the tea and blanket and for drying my socks. I feel better now, don’t you?”

I went outside and looked at the sky. I saw blue and bright. Life, movement, color, music. Yes. A long summer will give this a new perspective. "Let’s go swimming." I wasn’t afraid of drowning anymore.  The sun baked heat into my bones.

“This is the life.”

The cicadas started, quiet at first, then loud and louder. The heat swished and swelled and spilled over, covering the floors and grass and sidewalks with an electric blanket.

“Remember when you were so cold? Remember that now.” 

“I don’t want to.”

From your words a touch of coolness fingered its way into the sun-kissed air. The wind came slowly at first. A few kite days worth of gusts still blessed by warmth. I could see the gloom growing, waiting.  

In one long blink and the end came. I turned my back to face the sun and get that last strand of light and warmth on my skin.  The dark clouds collected behind me.  

"Now we’ve got you."