Saturday, August 30, 2008

Bumbershoot weekend starts...well, I guess it actually started Thursday night, with the first of two "industry events." I feel like Bumbershoot is getting to be like Christmas, where it creeps up earlier and earlier, and industry things are usually like dating a guy who wants to talk all about his car. These ones haven't been so bad, and really, I'm behind anything that involves free food and drinks and a kazoo.

But it actually starts today, and I'll be down there as soon as I finish these waffles and get dressed, scampering for the next couple of days between various back stages and beer gardens, high fiving and plotting to kidnap the cutest boys in order to have my own indie rock harem. We're going to try and use the press room as it's intended, for more than clean bathrooms and water, and fire off dispatches as we go along rather than trying to sum everything up at the end of the weekend. If you want to know things like which band has the most enthusiastic tambourining or worst teenage crowdsurfing, I'll be over at Metblogs.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

In my dreams lately I find myself back in Venice, sitting in the mist on the edge of the canal by the violin maker's. I loved the quieter alleys of Venice in the rain, a cat sitting in an open window, all of the foundations sinking incrementally lower every second. Doors at water level waiting to flood slowly from underneath, unseen rotting draperies and buckling wallpaper and still pools reflecting quiet chandeliers. I miss the quiet that would have deadened any footsteps, had there been any. The silence at the back of my neck.

I've been reading Apsley Cherry-Garrard's account of the Terra Nova expedition. It might seem a bad idea, given my admittedly-fragile state and the fact that half of them died along the way, that Cherry broke most of his teeth from the chattering and that nearly everyone got dysentery or scurvy or frostbite or snow blind. But they were true adventurers, men who knew that a choice between possibly dying and not knowing is no choice at all. Any explorer worth his astrolabe would have made the same trip in the face of the same odds, gotten excited to find half-digested fish in the stomach of a seal, hunkered in an ice cave and sang over the roar of the winds. To aim to be the first one there, and to fail.

And to come back anyway, and describe it all.

Monday, August 25, 2008

I haven't tried any of my tiny white pills yet, although I should--my heart is still careening crazily around my chest whenever I pause to think about it. I just haven't been home much, lately. Dance parties and tea parties and party parties and what have you. Always moving.

In the mornings I wake up to find sparrows sitting on my balcony. This is because my plants are all blooming and going to seed, but I don't mind because an old psychic once told me that sparrows are my spirit creature. Normally I am terrified of birds, but these birds make me feel like the universe is watching out for me. Perhaps I should make them a house.

The weather the last couple of days has been perfect, all cool and rainy but not cold. I have had my summer, have worn tiny clothes, spent a few months with a beautiful tattooed boy, kissed strangers on dance floors. I'm declaring it 2009 for me on my birthday next week because so much of this year has been so bad, and the rain and the new year make me want to spend the next few months huddled on my couch watching Humphrey Bogart movies with a boy who dresses like he works for NASA in the '50's. (Do you dress like you worked for NASA in the '50's? Call me. Bonus points if there are tattoos hidden under those rolled up sleeves.) I think that the weather should be on a year-round school sort of schedule--three months of lovely cool and rainy and one week of warm and sunny. Plenty of time to make soup and eat ice cream.

I need a change, and as soon as I figure out what it is, I'll make it. Swear.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Most of my thinking time recently has been taken up with thinking about explorers.

I figure that, when explorers first started going out and finding things, there were only a few of them and they wrote home with all sorts of fantastic descriptions of what they had seen and also what they had heard. A mammal with a bird's bill that lays eggs, and people with mouths in their chests. But I don't think that they often came home, not in the beginning, because why go back when there was still so much forward to discover? And no one would believe that these fantastic beings could exist, not without running their own eyes over them.

But then there were more and more people getting on boats to have a look around, seduced by the possibility of something new. And they came back, bringing with them samples of some of what no one had wanted to believe in. Which probably called into question everything that everyone knew that they didn't know, right? If some of the impossible was true, was all of it? Are there monsters at the edges of our maps and giant people behind trees with only a single eye in the middle of their forehead?

I think that the answer is yes. The world is always bigger than we give it credit for.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The doctor says that the thumping that my heart is doing is thumping that it has always been doing, a beat in the upper chambers of my heart that happens before a beat would be expected. Faulty wiring. I think even people who have never put a stethoscope to my chest could have figured out that my heart moves in different ways, but it turns out that I'm not being metaphoric when I say that my heart beats in 3/4 time. Which is funny.

But then I had this panic attack and it brought all of my attention to my heartbeat, which doesn't appear to like the attention because it got faster and thumpier and that made me worry more, until apparently I just went and built myself a recursive anxiety feedback loop without even the payoff of having a parasitic twin to blame the whole thing on. Just life and boys and a heart that beats a waltz instead of something you can dance to.

The doctor gave me some tiny, tiny pills that are supposed to divert my attention and in the bargain perhaps help with the nightmares, but I don't know. I am wary of pills in any size, even tiny. Maybe especially tiny. Perhaps just having them in case I really need them will be enough. A tiny white safety blanket.

Monday, August 18, 2008

I have talked about this before, somewhere, but it is a weird thing to be a part of someone's art show. It's also a terribly flattering thing, humbling, but for someone as self-conscious about their big muppet head as I am, it's bizarre.

I hang out with a lot of very talented artists, so I have done this before, but it adds a whole new dimension of weird when it's up in a place that I hang out at all the time. It's already strange that people are looking at you as an art object, when all you can do is stand there and be appalled at just how pointy your face is. It's hard to distance yourself from being self conscious, as long as by 'yourself' you mean 'myself'. Being recognized for being on the wall in the other room is, actually, only slightly less disconcerting than being recognized for writing this website. That one still freaks me out a little bit too, in an awesome, awesome way. Anyway, it's like entering some strange new world to be standing in one room drinking while people are in two entirely different rooms looking at you. I'm sure that some people are accustomed to this sort of thing, but I am not one of them. (Our family portrait doesn't count, since everyone is in that.)

Regardless, I will be on the wall for the next two weeks in my amazing friend's show at my other amazing friends' gallery. It's awkward, but mostly it's all pretty rad. I'm an awfully lucky girl.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

My tomatoes, heavily laden with fruit, have been collapsing onto each other in a delicious green tangle. The whole thing is becoming a complicated web of kite string as I have to anchor more and more branches to the balcony railings and to each other. I understand the point of keeping the plants caged, now. Note for next year.

The plants themselves seem to be losing all of their branches that aren't producing food, making themselves more efficient, diverting their energy into the places that will bear results. There would be a life lesson there, if it weren't too hot for life lessons.

I have been spending most of my time laying in front of the fan eating ice cream and reading about Abraham Lincoln, and whining mightily when it's time to put on clothes and go park myself in front of a fan in a bar. My heart is still going thumpety-thump all the time, but there are ample reasons for distraction, sunsets to watch, whiskey to drink, art shows to be part of. Dresses to sew, trips to plan, presidents to read about. I have a lot to say about the Emancipation Proclamation these days. Things could always be worse.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

I wore your compliments, even though they didn't always fit so well, because I thought you were only just learning to tailor, that everything eases in wear with use. That you were making them just for me, and I was ready for once to match effort with effort. That I was going to let myself get scared but not run away this time. Except I think I knew that when you said you'd "always" be there to "take care" of my "heart," that we were working off of different definitions of all of those words. Probably in different languages, too. On other planets.

Later, I thought that I could make a gentleman's agreement, forgetting that I am not actually a gentleman, forgetting that I am only a very scared girl, offering this basket of wilted flowers to passers-by in an old shawl and broken shoes. Just, forgetting. As usual. I am consistent in my worst behaviors, in my most frustrating hopes. A girl that turns into a moth in the right light, and usually the wrong light, too.

A few nights ago I watched a bad movie and plugged my laptop back in, and the next thing I knew I was crouched on the floor of my apartment, trying to sob and hyperventilate at the same time, sweating, dizzy, one hand clutching the sharp pain in my chest, convinced that I was dying. A panic attack, of all unwieldy, cliched things. My first. Time to add leeches to my collection of friendly slimy invertebrates and take to my bed with hysterics, I guess.

I've been trying to get to the root of why now, after everything that has happened, something like this would show up and give me whole days with a tight, fluttery, anxious feeling in my chest, like I'm about to drop off of a roller coaster. I hate roller coasters--I like the rides that spin you around until you are dizzy and clinging to whatever doesn't move and laughing at the loss of your center. I'm not particularly pleased with the sudden anxiety disorder, on top of the sleeplessness and the nightmares, not now that I thought I was finally in the clear, that I had finally thumb-wrestled the demons from the first half of the year into submission. The movie I had just watched was bad, but it wasn't that bad.

I don't have any answers, really, but I have a pretty good idea. I was ready for something, and then what I found was better than I could have expected, so when that collapsed all of a sudden like a souffle in an earthquake all of the little gnomes that run me threw in their towels and left to form a union. And now the only recourse left is to take slow deep breaths and let this too pass. I have to remember to be gentle with myself.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Hey hey, Los Angeles, I'm coming to your house for a weekend next month, to hang out with a bunch of pretty people and cause trouble in a new state. You can buy me lots of birthday drinks. I've never been to California before, so let's make this trip awesome.

Monday, August 11, 2008

I am a girl who has very vivid, technicolor, fragrant, memorable dreams. Frequently recurring dreams, one about trying to save a penguin from a group of rabbits at a drive in movie who want to hurt the penguin for inexplicable reasons. The first thing I think every morning is, well, that was strange. Sometimes I have bad dreams that stop and start, and if I wake up four or five times trying to escape one my brain puts it on pause so it's right there when I go back to sleep. Like I was watching a movie and got up to go to the bathroom, and my head didn't want me to miss the best part. (The good ones, though, I can never get back in to those.)

But lately it's like the gnome that runs those films took a class on how to keep me awake or scary dreaming all night long. I think that gnome is planning to take over my body once it's got me completely exhausted. Last night I woke from something that still smelled so bad when I was awake that it made me throw up. And there was one about pulling something wriggling under my skin out through an open wound that still makes me shiver because I can still feel it, moving so quickly, fighting being removed. It's like Coleridge and Bosch got together and did some drugs and decided to make a movie with Rob Zombie, inside my skull. I don't like this at all.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

There is a difference between moving snails, earthworms, and slugs off the sidewalks, a difference in the feel of them between my fingers, and this difference is why I often, late at night, leave slugs in their silver trails on the sidewalks where otherwise I would relocate an earthworm or a snail.

I think that people tend to see that as a metaphor, tend to see that as something I say that I do to make a point, but I do it just as seriously as I do drop pennies, and as I did sink memories of Dream into South Lake Union. I think that people see gestures where I can't help but make actions, but I talk in metaphors a lot less often than some would imagine.

Earthworms are thin and stringy, even the largest of them, fragile, and though they could survive if cut in half they couldn't if half-ground into a sidewalk by an unthinking shoe, tethered to the crippled half of their bodies. Snails have a hard dry fragile shell perched on their back, which makes them easy to lift, but mostly I can't stand to think of the crunch a heel would make, crashing down on their house. Slugs, on the other hand are thick and sticky, and it is this I think that makes them a less sympathetic creature to look out for--because they feel between the fingers that they will break less easily than anything else.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Another reason that my days and nights are so busy is simply that everything is so interesting. Last night I started at a sad sports bar drinking a beer and ended up half drunk and perched on a desk in a different part of town, working a delicate crumpled ball into a perfect sphere, surrounded by friends with another friend djing in the other room, being talked into having a birthday picnic.

In between was my favorite part, the part where I stood upstairs at a friend's gallery, drinking wine and sneaking sideways glances at my crush, and watched an Elvis impersonator sing to a chicken and read in between songs about dinosaurs. Elvis. Singing to a chicken. Reading about dinosaurs. It's like someone sat down and said, well, what would be the greatest thing in the world? It was like Christmas had come early. The best part was that it was a surprise even to my friends that had organized the event, who were merely expecting the man to come and play an acoustic set. It was like asking for a dollar and being given a planet.

If I happened to be the sort of girl that stayed in, I would have missed the Elvis and the wine and the camaraderie and the cute boy and the Elvis. And that would have been tragic.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Yesterday, sore and cranky from a trip to the dentist, I stopped to buy some flowers--it's very Mary Tyler Moore around here sometimes. The flowers I picked up were a bright purple sometimes flecked with white, and when I brought them home and put them in water the water turned purple. So I guess that their color isn't particularly natural.

I'm not sure what my alt text would say if you hovered over me these days. I'm feeling a little lost, lately. Maybe right now I just don't have any.

A few days ago I left my apartment just before the gloaming, when there was still some sunlight filtering down through the trees. I locked my front door and turned around to find a disembodied face floating just between two trees, a male face with a prominent nose. My heart thudded to a stop and I froze, which feels like a logical reaction when a ghost face is staring at you in the daylight. I waited to see what would happen, and when nothing did I walked cautiously forward, slowly, not making any sudden moves. Not wanting to disturb the face.
Once the angle changed, I realized that the face was a spider web, the nose the spider. Somehow, that wasn't as comforting as it maybe should have been.

But then this morning the automatic doors at work started closing before I was through them, so perhaps it's me that's actually a ghost.

I am very very busy most of my days in part because the fact of all of this time ahead of me feels much too heavy to carry if I actually stop to think about it. All of those years broken down into hours and minutes and seconds full of nothing but time--I think I'd need more than just two hands to carry it all if I stopped moving long enough for it to catch up. I think this is also why I think about outer space so often: because in the face of the infinite room in the universe, all the time left in the rest of my life feels slightly more manageable.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Warm blackberries is my favorite smell of the year. They cut back the bramble I walk past every day in the winter, so the smell isn't so immediate, so intimate. Still terrific, though.

I've been doing this awesome thing lately where I go to sleep around 2 and wake up around 6, brain all fast running and loud. I'll manage to doze fitfully for the next few hours, but I have been sandy-eyed and slow moving for the past few days. The lack of sleep does nothing for my disposition, which has already lately been sour, and I am tempted to revisit the hydrocodone left in my medicine cabinet from my throat infection. I don't take them generally because they make me dizzy, but then, with any luck I won't be sleepwalking anyway.

I keep having a dream in which it is the 4th of July but the country mistakenly celebrated on the 4th of June, so no one is having a barbecue and there are no fireworks and everyone is at work. This dream stresses me out each time. It appears that I have a lot of feelings invested in barbecues and fireworks.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

It feels like it should be satisfying to finally get to say, "You broke my heart, and when I finally got it put back together I found it riddled with chips and cracks that still ache when the wind is right." I think it would be satisfying, if the person I was saying it to wasn't too drunk to recall the conversation the next day.

Still, even small victories count, I suppose.

After last call, still feeling wide open and vulnerable and scorched like a field after a fire, I walked down the street with a friend who is a drag queen. We had only gone about a block when we stumbled across what appeared to be four friends who suddenly turned on each other, two of them giving the other two a savage beating on the sidewalk. We retreated a few steps, knowing that to draw attention to ourselves would be to invite a hate crime into our evening. One of the fighters stopped to take his shirt off, a move that still confuses me, and then kicked one of the guys in the face.
Fortunately the police arrived pretty much immediately and, after waiting a moment to see if the scuffle would die down on its own, broke up the fight and arrested the shirtless guy. As we continued down the block to the car we stepped past one man still curled on the pavement, bleeding.

My birthday is in one month, and friends, I still do not want a sumo wrestler table. Please take note.