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Christmas List: [29 Nov 2008|11:58am]
I'm probably not buying anything for anyone in the world. Here's what I want. What do you want?

-Kinski Uncut (his autobiography, out of print and usually a little expensive)
-a digital SLR
-plane tickets anywhere this summer
-a fuel efficient, solid vehicle
-correspondence from old friends
-new backpacking pack which is larger than the one I currently have

That's it.
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[27 Nov 2008|11:38am]
Maybe it's a relief to wake up feeling vastly worse than I have for weeks. Being able to suppress the impulse to cry suggests a certain stabilized acceptance, as if I've found the rhythm of the grief. After dreams of his sister and her friends (and strangely we were all fighting over a vintage leather purse at a department store?), I stay in bed for two hours with my cat, trying to see the bright side. There is no bright side. Anxiety about the odd holiday predicament I've agreed to trumps the feeling of gratitude that I have the option: Thanksgiving at the home of a coworker, with his family and a few other orphan-types. Sure, his daughter is cute and he's got a great record collection and his family sounds quirky and entertaining and kind, but it's not where I want to be. Where I want to be is bravely facing the hell of his family's first big holiday without mom, right alongside him in the company of our grief. In that sprawling house she loved, everyone morose but at least together, the decorations lacking, the food so obviously off. Thinking of all the ways it's over - his phone's been disconnected so I couldn't even call if I wanted to - all the peripheral deaths died to make it more real. I don't know if it's been so awful lately because it's the beginning of that gruesome holiday cycle, or if I've just arrived at the part of grieving where the reality hits and you're left looking at a lifetime of not having. Intrinsic to this mounting sorrow is the resurgence of grief for his mother now that I no longer have her beautiful progeny to act as torchbearers. The verdicts of yore: "hang by the neck until he is dead, dead, dead." The many deaths of the living and the dead.

When my own mother calls, we speak but it's awkward and cagey. I have nothing to tell her of the last few months. She doesn't ask anyway. I've resolved to no longer resist her presence in my life, but perhaps the damage is done. I'm a new person and she doesn't know me anymore.

Spend the day reading books about displaced Indians and feel like I've gotten to the core of something relevant. Recall my youth, my desire to be a nun, to devote myself to the scholarly life. Perhaps that's all there is.
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[20 Nov 2008|01:48pm]
Christmas swarms clog the aisles of my bookstore and, as happens every year, I wonder idly if I can buy anyone presents. The maudlin revelation strikes: at least half of the recipients of last year's batch of gifts have been extricated from my life - either by death, heartbreak, betrayal, apathy. The many shades of infinity. How much can you lose before you become something else entirely? First gusts of snow invoke a massacred history. This week's moment of bliss comes when I enroll in the "Budget Plan," normalizing my energy bills into neat, $117 payments. Come, go, drink, sleep. Indignity gets you nowhere. Thrust myself into the embrace of academia and deaden the rest of my perception. Time passes. In six months it will all be so long ago.
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[06 Nov 2008|12:36am]
Irony is over. We crowd around the television watching pundits, fake pundits, anyone. I Google photos of Jesse Jackson standing alongside Martin Luther King. A house on my block has a sign inked in royal blue: "Free at last. Free at last. Thank God almighty we are free at last!" Atop this sign, stapled, a live red rose. Jon Stewart jokes that today in NYC, people made eye contact, smiling and nodding. It is no joke; the streets here are electric, the people grinning. We talk about one thing while apologizing that it's already been talked to death.

May he always be president elect, a beaming beautiful ball of potential. He is Hope Incarnate; he is Nothing and Everything all at once.

Meanwhile, in my life, I can suspend disbelief no longer. After two months on the other coast he comes back big and bad, eclipsing my solace. It is all real now. I don't have my sea legs, and yet here we are, adrift, at war.

I look forward to 2009. This has been the worst year by far.
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[05 Nov 2008|11:05am]
The last three months of my life have been a period of continuous disillusion, where the bounds of love and friendship I trusted implicitly and used to guide my often emotional decisions have been undermined repeatedly. I am left near friendless, alone, with only the vague promise of academic liberation to console me. Had I the funds and the will, I would fill my truck with my books and bed and take the road. Still, I have loved the Hudson Valley well, and I have come to consider myself her native daughter. I have known the mountains and the river, slept on the shores and in the valley. I have made this town my own; I know by name every person I encounter on the sidewalk. The street signs and tomb stones and mechanics all bear the last names of my coworkers and comrades. I can tell you a short-cut anywhere in the whole county, as long as a short-cut entails a few more minutes of driving on a slower, scenic, forgotten road. Sometimes around dusk, sailing down a road bisecting cow-spotted fields, watching the clouds roll by behind an apple orchard, some farm kid mowing a lawn while a few deer scope the perimeter of the grass, I still feel close to tears. I feel the ebb and flow this place in my bones.

Last night, the little bookstore where I've worked for two years stayed open late into the night to observe the culmination of an election that still boggles my mind. At two in the morning on Tuesday, I closed my Bantam Classic copy of Huck Finn, as assigned for my American Literature class. All morning we talk about Jim and Huck, about slaves and North and South. We look at googly-eyed representations of Jim from a French edition published 1920. I leave class, drive to a vacant polling place where grim old ladies in McCain buttons tell me where to sign. I spend the afternoon avoiding the news and grieving for myself during this season of loss. There is a palpable fear. What if. Last Saturday, I overhear one of the waitresses holding forth that he really is a Muslim. I suddenly recall the forwarded emails which once decorated the refrigerator at a diner I worked at for years - warning us of our failures as a Christian nation, chiding our lax morality and flirtations with gay marriage, abortion, demonstrating the proper way to treat a terrorist. The only evidence of this election visible on my block is an as yet still standing McCain/Palin lawn sign. Occasionally a State Assemblyman or a would-be town Judge comes ambling down the sidewalk, shaking hands, sniffing out babies to kiss.

Last night, over beers and hugs and tears, I watched my friend Dave weep openly as Obama accepted his victory. Dave paints Hopper-esque landscapes and jazz musicians, reads Richard Wright and James Baldwin, always recommends history books about the Progressive Era. His daughter is in the Navy, his son writes hip hop criticism for a magazine. He is a bartender, he is nearly sixty, and he is the biggest curmudgeon I know. Of course I cried, but I have cried so many times during this election - out of dread, hope, inspiration, exasperation. The streets of my tiny town flooded with drunks and revelers just as the networks would have you believe. It was possible to bar hop on a Tuesday in Hudson, no small feat. I was in the company of a handful of eighteen to twenty year olds, who sat beaming, teary, amazed that their first election ended in this magical moment. An orchestral swell, a gorgeous family, Jesse Jackson weeping humbly amongst tens of thousands. Seventy-two point Times New Roman subsumes the internet.

There is no perfect candidate. There is no perfect nation. One cannot suspend disbelief concerning the American capacity for bigotry very long when the news of the travesty that is Proposition 8 comes sailing in. Yet, something happened last night that was so rare and raw. May the next four years serve to make those who felt the outcome should have been different see how this is largely the best possible outcome. May this represent the moment where the trends of apathy and disillusionment and denial crash into the wall, and the undeniable precedent set last night becomes an impetus to do right and well by history henceforth.
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Obama [04 Nov 2008|01:03am]
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relieved [05 Oct 2007|12:49am]
My hair is finally long, but that doesn't mean seeing a friend for the first time in years is any kinder. I know I have gained weight and that the blue-green half-moons cradling my eyes have darkened. Meanwhile, time has further honed her wistful features. She is a replica of her old self, now brandishing a solitary, nondescript tattoo on her forearm. We hug and I think that I might crush her. She is as slight as ever.

Her home looks exactly as I imagined it might, right down to the bucolia sprawling behind her windows. Hand sewn gingham curtains hung in the kitchen windows, a Buddhist tapestry as a table cloth. Her effortless bohemia flourishes in this far-flung cottage. She sends me home with a jar of her raspberry jam.

I know I have a hot truck and I'm not sure exactly how that became something about which I'd feel proud. This is a new type of vanity. For the first time in my life my car registers as some sort of statement about my aesthetic. I drive, apparently, an object worthy of covet. Others driving pickups smile their approval, women and the elderly look bewildered, teen boys stare.

I feel suddenly healed. I am uncomfortable knowing that something as artificial as my license status is inexorably linked to my mental stability and health, but there it is.
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[28 Sep 2007|08:54am]
So I now own a red 1991 Toyota pick-up with a camper cap! There is a version of the universe where this is my dream car, so I'm pretty happy!
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More whining: [06 Sep 2007|10:28am]
As many of you know I've had a suspended license for the past year. It was reinstated a couple days ago, which meant dusting off my trusty (yet crappy) car once more and restoring it to working order. Unfortunately, it is now in the hold of a mechanic due to needing some minor work on the exhaust system. Unfortunately he is telling me that the frame is fucked due to a rear ending a couple years ago and will never pass inspection. I really hadn't expected this to be a problem and don't have the money for another car and won't for at least a year or so, most likely. The idea of surviving another year in this non-driving way is absolutely horrifying but I think I'm out of favors and options. However, if anyone does know of a car that might be able to be rehabilitated for less than what this sort of thing usually costs - or a cheap car that is actually worth owning for a little while - or a pot of money under the rainbow, etc. The main issue is that I'd like to be enrolled in at least some school this coming semester, and unfortunately that is impossible without reliable transport.

Suggestions appreciated. (And no, the infamous sketchy local place probably won't pass it.)
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Sad news. [05 Sep 2007|10:03am]
This is in bad form since I barely ever update, but it's eating my little heart up.

Bad news about my pets.Collapse )
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[29 Mar 2007|11:51pm]

It's getting better, because it's spring. But seriously, everything suddenly is easier, I'm optimistic, life is good.
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who I was this morning: [29 Dec 2006|02:17pm]
Late for work, hungry, tired. Young man accosts me as I zig out of an alley. Little girl voice for a big man when he asks me for a light. I fumble through my purse and whisper "I don't smoke, but I know I have one in here." "Then why you have one?" "Cause I work in a restaurant." "Nolita's?" "No." He has a heavy gaze, and he is standing too close.
Round the corner, four elegant, elderly tourists piling out of a gold Mercedes, all fur and Burberry. "Young lady, you are a resident of this town?" "Yes." "Can you advise for sophisticated people such as ourselves where to have lunch on this fine day?" In my big-girl foody voice, I describe our town's offerings, and they all crowd around smile and confer. Then I jet down the rest of the block into work.
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thoughts on a potential new blog [07 Sep 2006|07:14pm]
I want to have a blog again. I want it to have a lot of pictures, to be updated more or less regularly with thematic coherence and journalistic distance. What I want, more than a "blog," is to have an online writing project that is illustrated that I update more or less weekly with selections of things I've written and / or been thinking about, that are edited well and somewhat relevant to the world at large. I do not know where I should look in terms of hosting / etc., except that I feel like I've "outgrown" the LJ constraints and am not particularly interested in spending too much time boning up on web development. I have a basic concept of the layout and structure I'm looking for, as well as the direction I'd like to take content. I'm vaguely considering being one of a few writers, if I can find people interested.

Suggestions requested / appreciated.
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forcefeeding [24 Apr 2006|01:39pm]
Working seven days a week, volunteering at the local animal shelter, now have 3 / 4 jobs, still broke, but optimistic and comfortable in my skin for the first time in a year so who knows. Reading, writing, etc. Amazing Spring.
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[28 Mar 2006|07:04pm]
How to kill the part of me that would lay in bed all day while the sun shines and the house is empty, only to spend a mere hour taking a half-hearted walk around the preserve down the street. In the back of my mind, I am secretly moving to Brooklyn, I am becoming a nine month-a-year book-dealer who dedicates summers to travel, to hikes and friends and endless other flights of romance. I should not let things feel like this. I know these are choices we make, values we ordain, motives we cultivate. I am not a chance happening, yet I remain at the whim of so much that doesn't care about me, or even know I exist. To continue to humiliate oneself at this age is a painful thing. Spring comes, reminds me that spring has come before, resolutions have come before, people and places and everything has come before and only I remain, tired, inexplicably sore, still and forever broke. My face is that of someone older, someone less attractive, someone who has successfully given over to those powers that be. Yet, if this is so, I want to know where this discontent still comes from, why I can't just settle and let it be.
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down down down [03 Feb 2006|01:33pm]
My existence used to have content. I know this. I have records, dated, handwritten, typed, printed, organized, shelved, annotated. I have photographs of people whose lives intersected with mine, however briefly, and who I knew, who I loved, who I worried about and cared for. I have a family, I have a hometown, I have a diploma from the high school there, the ugly brick school which stands across the street from the outlet mall where I worked a couple of shit jobs. I have old phone numbers, old addresses, boxes of trinkets given by old lovers. I have walked down the streets of this dirty little town, found snapshots on the sidewalk, guided friends back to my apartment after drunk fights at closing time. I know the people at the diner, I know their families and ask about them as is polite. I try hard to remember the sexes and names of their children. I am getting to know Alexsandr Solzhenitsyn during these long, gray afternoons at the counter, drinking black coffee from tiny mugs. I ride in the passenger seat of my own car and press my face against the window and its the same strip malls and fast food and I know what the right things to do are, but they are too difficult. Besides, at least I have something to struggle against, something against which to define myself until the fog clears and I know how to think again. It is ugly, it is humiliating, it is the last time I will ever allow myself to do this. The bottom is always far, far lower than you can ever imagine.
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[13 Jan 2006|12:11am]
He doesn't make it all okay, but almost...
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realization [09 Jan 2006|12:42am]
Yes, Laar, sometimes it actually is exactly as bad as it seems.
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[03 Jan 2006|12:38pm]
I constantly make really bad decisions. I am ruled by the results.
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[23 Dec 2005|10:34pm]
Oh that's it I'm maniacal again.
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