Friday, April 03, 2009

My brain hurts. It is 4 am and I don’t want to reward my self by doing something creative because then my body will figure out that this is an option and continue to wake me from a sound sleep and all the world will go to hell.

I had a great time in D.C., though I wish we had seen Charlie. We were busy doing the in law, children and museum thing which has its own place and time. We are full of space ship ice cream.

I love art. I love traveling and walking around and looking at new things. I’m not too crazy about my job right now or the unbearable weight of being ordinary.

Hopefully I’m going back to bed. Or I'm going to read Maximum Gaga.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

“I want to do with you what spring does to the cherry trees”

We are all off to Washington D.C. tomorrow—that is if we can pack and actually make the plane. Vacations are too much work. Vacations to visit ones family or family in law should really be called something else. I adore E’s family. I’m just not ready for them.

Ready would be having clean clothes to wear. Ready would be having children packed with thus clean clothes and ready would also mean being relaxed and not having to take piles of work with you because your boss doesn’t truly understand the meaning of “famcation”.

I want to see trees in bloom. I want to look at amazing art. I want to lie in bed with the one I love while grandparents feed my kids pancakes. But right now, I’d also settle for a clean pair of jeans.

Friday, March 20, 2009

happy birthday my oldest one...

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There are poppies blooming on my kitchen table. Orange, red and one that looks like the inner pink of a shell when it is still in the water. I love that pink. I have spent the evening being a human taxi and it also seems that while I was sleeping, or writing or trying to figure myself out, my eldest child decided to grow up and turn 15 this week.

Side note: people are continually asking me how old my children are and then completely freaking out that I have a 15 year old daughter. I want to take this as a compliment, but most of the time I just think they are making judgment about my decision to procreate at 26.

I really want to believe it is the vitamin C skin cream I wear but I don’t.

I haven’t read a good book of poetry in what feels like a 100 years and it is really making me sad. I want a really good, good, good book. Please poetry gods send me one. Please. I’ll share my skin cream.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Yesterday was a good day. It was almost 40 here in Minnesota which is like 60 in other parts of the world. People were out jogging, wearing shorts and I swear to god I smelt Barbeque. We went to our favorite Salvage place that we haven’t been to in about six months and dug through all the furniture and junk and ended up buying an old church window frame that Em says is for the wall and I say is for the garden. My garden deserves beauty damn it.

We also go this really funky dresser for our bedroom which will hold all the clothes that the Clothes Whore posses. Well maybe. She really is a clothes whore.

I’m over my funk of facebook and looking up certain people from middle school and comparing my life and publications. It was short lived but it was painful.

We also went to see Rachel’s Wedding after drinking several pitchers of beer. Light beer. So really a half of glass of real beer and it was brilliant. The movie not the beer. I want that wedding minus the drama. I want the music. I will take the friends but not the little black dog with the spangles around his desk. I do have my limits.

I also went to the book store and got:

For Relief of Unbearable Urges by Nathan Englander for a buck
Gilead by Marilynee Robinson which I started a year ago and somehow lost under my bed…2 bucks
At the Bottom of the River by Jamaica Kincaid….three bucks but so worth it
Oranges are not the Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson…I love buck day
Moby Dick…I working on my bbc list. I swear to god I will get that whale
and Digging To America by Anne Tyler which was 6 bucks and I could see E’s eyes bulge slightly when I walked out with a bag of books but hey it was topical outside and this is what I do.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Do you remember the first person you were ever compared to and not measuring up? Maybe you were both equal in something, maybe both brilliant. How different roads can be. What a role class and society play in a child’s life.

I hate the computer for giving me more information than I want sometimes and for making the myths I’ve told myself more real. But mostly, I hate that I only get this one life. Bust or burn. I only get this one life to be everything I want to be.

I’ve hated that since I was seven.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Okay so it is Saturday morning and I woke at 6:30 because poor Em has to go to work and I tried to be a good spouse and share the pain which meant basically just turning on the coffee pot. I have to go to a poetry craft talk this morning, way before poets should be allowed to walk the earth.

In fact there was a round of emails floating through the world last night about how no one wants to go and maybe if we all revolted in an organized manner it might be avoided. But as in life, there are always several kiss asses that just need to be good and ruin it for the rest of us.

And if you’re the famous poet giving the craft talk today and for some reason reading my blog. I’m sorry. I like you. I even like some of your poems. I just cannot be told to show up on a Saturday morning with a new poem that embraces music, takes on my personal weakness as a writer and turns it to strength, talks about race, loss of innocence and actually not be crap.

I can turn water into wine but I can’t do this.

Poetry Meme from Lloyd

What are the ten lines from poems or songs that stick in your head when you are walking around your day. Or if you stop a minute and think of some lines or poetry, what comes up? It’s fine if you distort the line as you remember it, if you mis- remember it. I think that’s interesting--

1. lonely thing, twelve-fingered, out of mind. – Anne Sexton

2. I could see as I laid the last peach in the water--full of fish and eyes--Brigit Pegeen Kelly

3. One day it happens: what you have feared all your life— Marie Howe

4. I would like to be that unnoticed & that necessary-- Margaret Atwood

5. I was much too far out all my life and not waving but drowning. Stevie Smith

6. And the three men I admire most, the father, son and the holy ghost – Don McLean

7. I am in love with a certain kind of cloud – Olena Kalytiak Davis

8. Smart lad, to slip away from fields where glory does not stay--A. E. Housman

9. All my gods are profane, speak without purpose or memory--Ballard

10. We whispered yes, there on the intricate balconies of breath, overlooking the rest of our lives—Carolyn Forche

Sunday, March 01, 2009

I started the day by trying to roast some Poblano Chiles with the gas flame from my stove. I researched it last night by watching a google video, where this nice old lady gently turns the peppers while humming a little Spanish melody.

So that was my goal for the day and not the burnt fingers, or the pepper catching fire like some Indian god or the swearing but I roasted them god damn it, peeled their skin and stuffed them with goat cheese and walnuts, dipped them in batter, fried and served them on brown rice.

I think I could have cured cancer in the time it took to make ‘em but Em says it was the best thing she has ever put in her mouth, which both insulted and pleased me greatly.

I don’t think I am making it for breakfast tomorrow but I do want to try it with a bit of mango next time. I can't believe I am actually uttering the words, next time.
okay so I had to write a 900 word short story that had such a distinct sense of place that it could not happen anywhere else and only involve one character in that place. Oh and it helped if it was interesting and not total crap;) Yes, I know it is 908 but hell other than that......


It was amazing how quickly the gun became an extension of his body, if he moved his arm the gun raised slightly and if he turned his head, the gun itself changed direction. When he was a boy, he was so afraid of the climb up the tree to the stand, the gun tucked under his arm, even with an empty chamber he imagined somehow the gun would discharge and he would be like those armless boys in war or worse, like that boy in his high school class, who chopped off both his arms in the turbine.

Ed moved his left arm and wiggled his fingers out from under the cuff of his shirt and put on his favorite hunting glove, just one, leaving his trigger hand free. Serves him right, the stupid shit, there are rules to be followed. If you want to get totally wasted do it in a tree, or boat, or in your father’s barn, don’t climb a damn tractor and take it for a joy ride.

But those sorts of types always won. Hadn’t he seen the boy on T.V., all proud, two empty sleeves waving, as if he just playing a joke on them all, tucking his arms tight against his body. Possibly, it was a joke, maybe it was a joke on the whole town so he could get a bit of money, move away and now he was probably finger fucking some girl in his fancy car, with the roof down.

A redwing blackbird landed on the tree, his gun rose, and Ed took aim. Maybe if he was a boy, he would have shot the bird, but here’s the thing. Now that he had begun to work, his mind started to add up the cost of the bullet, time of cleaning out the gun. Everything had lost its swagger and it took twenty dollars just to make his truck move out of the driveway. He now knew how much things cost. Besides he was hunting, and one shot would be heard by every house for miles and they would wonder why he was hunting out of season. Besides, a shot would make her change her path and he had now been waiting two hours, just for the two of them to walk home from school.

His brother was one of those boys, like the tractor boy. He was not as tall as Ed; his brother looked like a willow branch that broke off in too many directions, whereas Ed had been born a man. His father’s first son, even if he didn’t bear his father’s name. See, this is what he was talking about, here he was everything a father would want in a boy and his father took one look at him and named him after some dead uncle that Ed had never met while John, this weak mewing kitten had his father’s name, and he was a third for Christ’s sake, John Richard the third.
So Ed, spent his boyhood explaining that yes, he was older and people looked confused, when they met both boys together, as if Ed had a secret blemish that only his father understood. Well, it certainly wasn’t physical. Ed leaned his back against the red maple and raised himself up so that he was crouching now in the thick of the leaves. He practiced watching the bird move in and out of his scope like a cameraman setting up the pose.

Yes, his brother would think all this was beautiful and take out his sketch book and draw the bird, the bark on the tree, even Ed crouched down like this in the cold. John would believe all this was something.

But Ed just wanted to follow them with his scope, taking in every inch, losing himself in her, like he always did when she was in the room and he was still her first, wasn’t he? He was indeed the beautiful boy, he had driven her out to his father’s field behind Oven Gully Road, fucked her on top of the hood. He had done all this before he had even looked at her. Before he had noticed the way she tucked her hair behind her an ear, or raised her chin with even the slightest noise, before she loved his brother.

Now it was as if all of her was in him, like the smell of animal while he was tracking. It separated itself from the rest of his body. He believed he could find her anywhere, even if they had hidden her body under the earth. He wanted to smell her underwear, the fresh dirt of her cunt and know her taste again. Now that he was paying attention. He needed Mary to know he was paying attention.

And it wasn’t that he wanted to scare them. He needed to know, for her and John to know, that he held them. Even though John would never know about the hood of car, as tempting as it was, to walk into his room every night, while he was sketching her in his book and to say by the way, I fucked her, you know, the girl you never touched, the one whose shoulder you are now tracing. I’ve had her in my mouth. I was first. And now, I can hold you both in my scope. I can decide everything.

Ed just wanted them both to know that.

Friday, February 27, 2009

There was a giant snowstorm yesterday in Minneapolis and it covered us all in snow. I was helping at Sisters Camelot (an organic food shelf) and now I have a giant box of broccoli in my kitchen and no friggen clue what to do with it all.

Side note: I took the girls to the gym to play basketball and to feel slightly human, and we looked down on the locker room floor and there was piece of broccoli by Bella’s shoe. Don’t tell anyone but I think we are being stalked.

Another side note: tomorrow is going to be my last fiction workshop tomorrow with Shelia O'Connor and I wished my piece rocked but it doesn’t. It is okay. Maybe good but it doesn’t rock.

Maybe I will bring her broccoli.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Apparently the BBC reckons most people will have only read 6 of the 100 books here.

1) Look at the list and put an 'x' after those you have read.
2) Add a '+' to the ones you LOVE.
3) Star (*) those you plan on reading.
4) Tally your total at the bottom.
1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen x
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien x
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte x++++
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling x
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee x+
6 The Bible- x (most parts) x+ i love the bible if you take the crazy out
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte x
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell x
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman xxxxx brilliant series
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens x
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott x+++ and little men
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy x+++++
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare x ++
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien x
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger x
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger x
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot x+
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald x
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy x+
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky x
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck x
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll x
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame x
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy (started this)
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens x
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis x
34 Emma - Jane Austen x
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen x
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis X+ (I think I should get extra points for his science fiction series)
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini X
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden X
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne x+
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell x
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez (started this but didnt finish)
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving x+
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery +
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy x
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood x+++
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding X+
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan (started this didn’t finish)
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel x
52 Dune - Frank Herbert x
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen x
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens x+
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley x
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez x
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck x
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov x+
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt x
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold x
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding x
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville x
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens x
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett x
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath x+
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt x+
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens x
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker x
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro x
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry x
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White x
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Alborn
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery x+
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adamsx
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole x
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute x
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare x
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl x
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo x++++

Sunday, February 15, 2009


I have woken up again missing myself which is a rather odd sensation when your body is still in the room.

I’m reading Joe Brainard’s book “I Remember” that E gave me for Valentine’s Day. I have stopped bitchn about flowers because books are so much better.

I’m supposed to be writing a short fiction piece for the mentorship at the Loft. I do adore this year long residency but I wish I had more time. I haven’t really taken advantage of the studio space they given me. I have high expectations and little discipline. I saw at least two manuscripts in my year long future.

I wish there was an alternate life space for napping and writing. I need a whole lifetime for both…oh and reading. Painting. Eating good food and baking things with chocolate chips in them.

I dreamt last night that I was Jane Bond and people were chasing me with guns but I kept do backward somersaults, avoiding all the bullets and I never once felt afraid. I just felt fast and undefeatable.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Happy V Day and where oh where are all the men

I sent Em flowers at her work today at the library which is, no big surprise made up of all women and they are convinced that she was the ONLY ONE to get flowers because she’s married to a woman.

I would just like to note here, that I too am married to a woman and I didn’t get a damn thing. Oh and there are no men at my work either unless they are kids and that doesn’t really count.

Where have all the good men gone is a brilliant song and its now playing in my head.

Oh and they messed up the flowers and forgot chocolates so they are now sending her more flowers with chocolates tomorrow to make it up for it. Because yes, I am a lesbian with attitude.


Sunday, February 08, 2009

isabel's birthday

my girl is 11 today, the magic age, the gentle girl, the caller of all things wild, dancing girl, the one who thinks things deeply, is most impatient, believes in all things, plays with dolls, writes plays, spells like me, loves every animal except spiders, who believes in the goodness of people and see things that others pass by, my girl, every day I am lucky to be your mama

Saturday, February 07, 2009

We left for Mexico two weeks ago and have been back almost a week. It feels like a lifetime ago. For the past few days, “you’ve lost that loving feeling” has been playing LOUDLY in my head.

I’ve had an incredible hard time adjusting and it not just because it was beautiful, which it indeed was.

It seems so difficult to find joy in real life—I don’t mean happiness but quiet joy. E and I talked a lot about how they use to send women to the sea shore for a month as a cure for mental illness and I really think they should bring that back into vogue.

I would wake at six in morning and just go down and listen to the waves by myself and then E and I would climb over the rocks every night and watch the sun set. It was easy to feel whole. Why is that? How in the world can wholeness be translucent?

In other news: My writing was rejected from a major magazine today and I didn’t get the grant I was a finalist for. I spent the weekend with Honor Moore and learn a lot about myself and writing non fiction.

I also found out that my real life job most likely won’t let me go to AWP even though I am registered and I have a hotel…..does anyone want to wear my name tag and go to parties NAKED??????

I figure if I’m going to send in a stunt double, he or she should do stunts. I will be home, rewriting my resume and looking at two dimensional sunsets.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

E and I will both be gone the next five days unless of course we decide to live here and sell coconuts by the sea shore.

It is a possibility.

Think of me and tell all birds to get the hell away from our airplane.

I miss the girls already and am driving E crazy with tears.

I will drink a pina colada for you and you, and you……

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Last night I had the reoccurring dream that I kept buying kittens and bringing them home and the eagles kept eating them from our ceiling.

If I dream that again tonight I’m not going to work tomorrow.
It is possible that my job is trying to kill me before I go on vacation. I had an awful day---I ended up quitting in tears today but I’m the Director so no one believed me or they didn’t have any idea what to do next. Either way, I have never cried at work before in my life but I feel sucked dry of everything and I just want to sit somewhere and write books and never talk to people.

True fact: I don’t like people on a full time basis.

Side note: the quote from this weekend that I wanted to write down was from the wedding I attended in Chicago…..”Here is the body of Christ and its gluten free.” It is the title of my next poem, short story, play or resignation letter.

(Happy news that didn't happen today because today sucked): E bought a 99 cent pocket size copy of cocktails for idiots to take to Mexico and I am going to work my way from A to Z.

I can't wait to walk up to the bar and order "A Red Headed Slut."

Monday, January 19, 2009

I’ve just spent the entire weekend traveling back and forth to Chicago by bus and reading the current Poets & Writers interview with Patti Smith, who I hung out with at a poetry festival before “she was all that”.

Smith says, the best advice she could give a young poet is to “take a road trip across the country.” I have to say I think I might agree. There is something about sticking people together who have never met each other before, different colors, origins and classes---what emerges is humanity.

That we are all alive and trying to be kind and we all want to just keep being and going….it is so simple really. What is important in writing and life is what binds us….

Well, that is what I think today after 16 hours on a bus. I’ll let ya know what happens when the fumes wear off!

Friday, January 09, 2009

Breaking Down The Body

In art school I was taught to break down the body, to use my pencil to find the length an arm, a thigh and that in between each of our eyes, lies another—the exact width and height. To draw the mouth, one must only mention the lip and the nose is nothing more than shadow. In art school one must be somewhat precise or suggest abstractly.

But the invisible line which runs down our middle, the one which claims that one shoulder is equal to the other does not exist. It is our humanity which makes one breast larger or curls the bottom lip to the side.

I ask my students to draw their world. Tell me what you believe, what you think is real. Shia is ten. Her page is blank and she tells me she believes in nothing, the whole world is a lie. It has been a lie for a very long time.

She is not being cynical. She is not coming from a desperately sad home nor has some secret I need to discover. After careful investigation and a room full of tell me mores, she believes she is in a giant play or T.V. show and after the episode is finished someone will rise from their chair, neither changed or satisfied and shut the television off and she will no longer continue. This is the truth of her world.

I tell her we are soul sisters. I want to say soul mates but believe that when she grows old that definition will grow perverted somehow. I want to explain to her how Plato split angels in two and that he said, we are meant to wander the world searching for our other half, to become whole. I want to tell her, she is one of my halves. She is a ten year old Korean girl and I am a tired forty year old woman. Together, we may be an angel.

I believe Shia will understand this, just as I understand the blank page but I am a teacher and I do not want to risk it. I tell her I know about the television show and then I begin to break down the body. I teach her to draw a man. How to measure the eight heads to the floor, how the body can be divided in two and that the outstretched hand is the same length of a face.

Lastly, I give her the eye---the one she has never seen that sleeps between the other two which are almost always open. I tell her this is where the third eye rests and only a few people know, just like only a few people understand the blank page. This is where we give them a home. We call them artists and this is the place where they live.

My Nonfiction Piece for Richard Terell tomorrow

Monday, January 05, 2009

Back to work after two weeks of not being at work, in which time various people tried to call me and ask me work related crap which really does not add to the “vacation feel”. Today my boss, told me to cut my total program budget by 30% which if you take into account she has never given me any actual dollar number to make a program, it was pretty easily done. Invisible numbers are so easy to divide.

Looks like we are painting on cardboard people---

Art non profits are closing all over the place in Minneapolis or at least cutting the salaries to hourly wage. It should be an interesting year. In other news, Rock Bottom Brewery has named a beer after my school and has picked up one of my student’s designs as the logo. How cool is that?

I get to announce the beer at a Brewery Opening and take the first swig. Yep, in my school teachers drink beer after work.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

May the year be good

I’m not a big fan on New Year’s Day. It feels like everyone is trying to figure out how to live their lives differently or setting a numerical goal which will be forgotten by the 5th of January. I admire the intent but the expectations of change weigh on me.

Last night we had a quietly little party with good friends and the children. One of our friends toast was to a better year which of course made me think about last year at this time. How I had just returned from the hospital and the cancer ward. How we didn’t know if Nicole would live or die.

Now my niece is walking and talking. Whoever does not support stem cell research is an idiot. Each year leads to the next and it is this string of beads and if I regret or try to remove even a single one it will all unravel.

Sometimes the only thing the past tell us, is that is no longer the future.