Thursday, February 28, 2008
Wife decided that if she was really going to do this--be in two weddings and related celebrations in under 48 hours--she was going to travel by limo. Which quickly got upgraded to helicopter. And then to private jet. And then downgraded back to limo because the private jets costed about $4000.
I lovingly watched her Google. I petted her back and tucked her hair behind her ears. And then I gave it to her straight: holding a fake microphone in front of her mouth, I asked, "So, Laura von Holt, tell me the truth. Are you planning this just so you can blog about it later?"
We had a good giggle because we both know I totally have her there.
Mayumi: Take the phone from me. I can't even talk.
Laura: She's had a little too much vino verde.
Mayumi: In wine is truth! In wine is truth!
Laura: In wine there's truth. Wait. Does "verde" even mean "truth"?
Mayumi: Actually, I think it means "green." In wine there's green! ... "Veritas!" Now "veritas" is truth.
Glad to see that six years of high school Latin pays off someday.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Mayumi: "What's her name, that little girl, I mean, she's like 19 now, and now she dates Marilyn Manson, ewwww, but before that she was in that horrible movie Thirteen. Then she was in that movie with Daniel Day Lewis, about a father and daughter, and they're superclose, see, and then she, like, hits puberty and it all goes downhill from there, god, what was that movie called?"
Yesterday, on the way back from IKEA, I thought Dave's answer was sooooooooo funny that I was hysterical for about five minutes, and then just giggly for another five. Granted, at that point I had been awake for over twenty-four hours, but still. It was pretty funny.
Also? I realize this is how many of our conversations sound. Me saying a million words, and Dave saying one, but he sure manages to make his one count.
"'No, no, no! You can't do that, you're not allowed. Obama may be inspiring to you, but here's the problem--Obama has not been in Washington enough. He needs to be stewed and seasoned a little more, we need to boil the hope out of him until he sounds like us--then he will be ready."--Barack Obama, on Washingtonian politics, at a rally in Lebanon, NH. (From The New Yorker, January 28, 2008: pp. 34)
"I'm totally overwhelmed with joy and sparkles and fireworks and everything that goes like 'boom boom boom,'" the bubbly brunette laughed when asked by reporters backstage to describe how she felt after receiving her golden statuette.Clear proof that 2008 Best Actress Oscar winner Marion Cotillard is deeply awesome. (Tip from Reuters.com)
Sunday, February 24, 2008
7AM: HOME TO CHELSEA U-HAUL, VIA C TRAIN TO 23RD STREET
* p/u rental truck
Why we didn't go with the Park Slope U-Haul? Neither of us know, but by the time Dave got to the end of the call with the "dumb as a rock" U-Haul customer service agent, I think it's safe to say Dave would leave our shit on the street in the snow before he'd spend another minute on the phone with U-Haul. Also, looking for the silver lining here, although we can't afford to live in Manhattan, at least our stuff can.
AFTERWARDS: CHELSEA U-HAUL TO ELIZABETH, NJ, IKEA
* p/u wardrobe unit for Dave, maybe some rugs, and definitely some hot dogs.
View Larger Map
THEN: ELIZABETH, NJ, IKEA TO HOME
* drop off IKEA booty, pick up items for storage.
View Larger Map
Google maps is confused: their directions tells you to go via I-278/Staten Island Expressway/Verrazano Bridge, but the pictoral map says to go via Jersey/Manhattan. Whatever. Here's a picture of the general area, just pretend the route is going via Staten Island.
NEXT: HOME TO CHELSEA U-HAUL
* Set up storage unit and return truck.
View Larger Map
AND FINALLY: CHELSEA U-HAUL TO HOME, VIA THE C TRAIN.
* And sleep.
So, what am I excited about?
7am? No way, Jose.
Dealing with the incompetancy at U-Haul. Huh, uh!
Shopping at IKEA? Yeah, maybe a little.
The hot dogs? Hell yeah.
Trying to stay awake while Dave does all the driving? Not a bit.
Heavy-lifting, or more likely attempting to help even a little while Dave does most of the heavy lifting? Not at all.
Driving through Staten Island? Don't laugh, but ABSOLUTELY! I've never been! And I love going to places to which I've never been!
Saturday, February 23, 2008
And really? I like marriage and want babies. Hypocrite!
Secretly, here is what it is: I can't hang with the Big Girls (like Wife and Khaliah), can't walk the walk or talk the talk, not anymore, possibly I never could but I faked it well . . . but I'm unwilling to admit it.
I tell Julia Allison to shush her mouth about couples because she doesn't get to have it all, and then what do I do but go and want it all? Hypocrite!
I scold Wife when I perceive in her writing a divide between the "singles" and the "marrieds," but maybe it is only because I don't think it's fair that anything take her away from me, but whothefuckdoIthinkIam? I don't get to tell her how to feel. I don't get to take away her fire. Just because she loves me doesn't mean she can't be outraged about how the world treats her as a single woman. Sometimes I hate myself.
Nobody listen to me ever. Except you, David. I am a big load of crap. Wife? Don't let me be your lifecoach; fire me. Clearly, I don't know what I am talking about.
… And this past Thursday I just went to Planned Parenthood to get more birth control pills.
I actually had some misgivings about it. I was thinking about how someday I do want to have children, and how “prepping my womb” means getting all these chemicals out of my system: birth control hormones, caffeine, alcohol. You know, make the oven squeaky clean for all that baking.
Makes me a little sad is all. We’re not in the place that my friends are, with their steady jobs, their advanced (graduate and doctorate) degrees, their puppies and yards, their homes—as in houses—that they own, and the money to not only produce offspring but also provide for them.
We just can’t keep up with the Marrieds. We don’t own a home; we rent an apartment. We, in fact, pay too much rent towards our apartment to even begin saving towards buying a house, an apartment, a studio, even a storage unit. Also we’d have no idea where to buy this unattainable home, because we don’t know where we’ll end up for good—or even in the next 3-5 years. We don’t share our lives with animal companions (which everyone knows is children practice), and half my plants took the cross-country move really hard and are still sulking. We don’t have a yard or a fence. We have two B.A.s between us. Our secret passion careers are to be a writer and a musician. And, worse still, our “realistic” jobs are to work for a non-profit and in the airline industry.
I can’t help but wonder—oh, okay, and worry!!—how we’ll ever get the stars to align. We are 27-going-on-28 and 29 already. Our five- and ten-year plans seem less a lark through a field of dreams and more a minefield of the increasingly impossible. In ten years, we will be almost 40. Christalmighty. It’s not like we can put off the future forever; it does have a way of catching up with you. You think you’ll be a literary protégée at 25, your superobvious talent enough to shoo you under the wing of fame, and suddenly you’re 28. You think you’ll have kids by the time you’re 30—you know so you can be those effervescent and impossibly hip kind of young parents—but can’t imagine popping out the babies now, not now when you are still pursuing other interests, directions, travel pursuits, etc. When you’ve not yet achieved your dreams, how can you start to dream of the future for someone else?
Also, even if you were able to keep following your fancy and tripping around the outer space of your ideal life, eventually life—with its keen sense of gravity—would bring you back down to earth. Your parents are getting older, you realize your friends’ once darling babies are now surly teens, sighing with ennui, and all you have to show for your years is a bunch of plane stubs. Oh, and the richness of experience, of course. Well, thank god for that, because there ain’t any other “richness” in this picture.
Oh, I’m in a dire mood. Pity party time. I’ll sign off for that and go pop the wine.
In searching (futilely, I might add) for one such professor's book, The Man Who Drank A Thousand Beers, I came up instead with this list of books. The list itself was so beautiful, it was almost like a poem, and I figured this shit has to be archived somewhere forever. Where better than on my blog? So, without further ado, I give you my new, book-title plagiarizing poem:
"Searching for the man who drank a thousand beers"
the man who dreamt of lobsters
the man who drove with Mandela
the man who envied women
the man who fell from the sky
the man who fell in love with his wife
the man who fell in love with the moon
the man who fell into a puddle
the man who fell to earth
the man who flew to Churchill
the man who flew to the Memphis Belle
the man who fought alone
the man who found Nineveh
the man who found the missing link
the man who found time
the man who founded Georgia
the man who "framed" the Beatles
the man who gave himself away
the man who got away
the man who grew two breasts
--Time Out New York, January 30, 2008-February 5, 2008 issue
But I was also shy. So it never ever occurred to me to study anything in the performing arts because doing so might require me to, uhh, well, perform. To this day I never ever like to be the soloist or even the member of a very small ensemble--be it dancing, singing, what have you. The irony is that I do love the act of singing and dancing (ehh on acting), but I hate the performance aspect of it. If it were up to me, I'd sing and dance my little heart out in a never-ending series of rehearsals, always a part of the crowd but never the solo individual. Yet the lives of my closest friends here in New York revolve around the performing arts: Wife (playwright, scene-stealing actress, and general manager/intern/money manager/producer/possible founder of a ton of non-profit theaters in New York); Delia (improv and comedy); Androoo (actor, director, filmwriter, filmmaker, etc.); Luke (sometime stage manager or something while he painted on the side); Eric (performance arts marketing something-something I forgot his degree); Lady Meredith Ribbons (dramaturge and grant writer); Kate (actress, puppeteer, and amazing prop-maker); Amanda (actress, puppeteer, amazing prop-maker, and cabaret drag king). I could go on, but I might look even more like an asshole for not knowing exactly what all my friends do, and that list was starting to get a little vague there.
But it is kind of hilarious, if you think about it.
Q: What does a 18-year-old very shy and terrified girl do when she gets to the Big Bad Apple and scary Sarah Lawrence?
A: Befriend the extroverts.
Of course I haven't gotten completely away from the performing arts. I did write a libretto for a Hawaiian opera, Ka'ililauokekoa, back in 2006, which got performed summer of 2007. Also I am overdue to commence writing another, which will probably be about paniolo, Hawaiian cowboys. (Actually, cowboy operas are HOT right now: Brokeback Mountain is being made into an opera. And for that matter opera in general is becoming much more popular.) And I totally still sing in the shower.
Anyway, the unfortunate part is that most of my friends who, post-SLC grad, toiled away for pennies at non-profit theaters have moved on to bigger and better (and their own) creative endeavors. This is great for them--FRIENDS! HOW PROUD I AM FOR YOU, AND HOW GLAD!--but it sucks for me, because it means less free tickets to Broadway and off-Broadway. And because they aren't living and breathing theater company office drama, it means I don't have to sit through it when we're at happy hour, or dinner, or a party, or a bar. I thought I'd be glad for this day, but honestly I kind of miss the overinformation. Left to my own devices, I might accidentally end up at, like, The Little Mermaid or something, and then my friends would have to disown me.
I will say this with confidence: I really wish I could see this play and this play. And I really wish I had seen this opera. And I am really glad I saw this play, this play, and this play. Oh, and this one was so bad it was almost good.
And now, since I'm rambling, I'm going to sign off. But I would WELCOME comments about life-changing theater in New York right now, because well now I have to pay to view so I will have to learn to be more discerning.
Lin-Manuel Miranda: When I was writing the first draft of In the Heights during my winter break I would go for walks when I got stuck for inspiration I would take a walk around. I think I was on 181st Street walking around. I always tell people Washington Heights is full of music and they sort of think it’s just a line I use to plug the show. But I swear to God when I was writing the first draft I was walking around and I saw a Chinese delivery guy riding his bike with a boom box strapped to the front of his bike. It wasn’t a little radio; it was a two speaker boom box blasting music. It was like Pimp My Ride but with a two wheeler. I always thought that was a classic New York thing: Of course the Chinese delivery guy has got a subwoofer on his bike!
--Gothamist's interview with Lin-Manuel Miranda, playwright of In the Heights
Friday, February 22, 2008
By knowing that right now a young woman is yawning because she was up most of the night finishing a story—the first draft, anyway—and soon it will be time for her to go to work; and this story, which she wrote while I was sleeping, will sit on her desk for a week before she has a chance to look at it again. During that week, there will be flooding in southeast Asia, and two impoverished nations will go to war over a minor border dispute, and an elderly man who lives across the street from the writer—a man who can’t remember the last time he prayed—will feel God’s hand on his shoulder. But this is only her first draft. She’ll rewrite the story three times before she sends it to me.
--Sy Safransky, The Sun, December 2007, pp. 47
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Yep, I'd whip those up in a sec . . . if only I had a sec.
I read this. Bitterness--though slight and comic for the masses--does not become you.
Here is a truth: sometimes you do not get to have it all.
Darling girl, you have the world. Your fame and success right now hinge on being single. So don't begrudge those of us that have no fame and success but do have love.
Besides, I guarantee that every woman currently in a relationship has been crushed at some point (and sometimes several points) too.
On Sunday, Dave and I were in the city to (1) unbelievably go back to Bed, Bath & Beyond and the Container Store for the google-billionth time and (2) drag Wife out of her bed and into brunch. And in the Container Store, who should I run into but Krissa from petit hiboux! Krissa and I went to school together at Sarah Lawrence; she was, in fact, one of the first people I met from SLC, because preceding first-year orientation, our families had opted to stay in the same bed & breakfast in Bronxville. I remember her then: bright, vivacious, sparkly, with wonderful warmth, confidence, crazy curly hair, and an absolute uplifting bounce to her entire person. She's pretty much the same now--except older, of course, and I hear she now eats vegetables. In her words, "Krissa 2.0." It was such an amazing run-in because neither she nor I were expecting it, and because she came right up to me, and we both kind of shreiked, and then we hugged each other with all the gladness in our hearts. I got to finally meet the famous Stuart, and Dave and Stuart shook manly hands. After they left (they were off to a party, I think), Dave told me how funny it was that Krissa has the same kind of reaction when she sees friends that I do: that is, the shreiking, hugging, not-caring-if-people-are-looking-at-you-funny.
Yet another reason why we are friends.
The second run-in occurred as we waited, interminably, and in the cold, for Cafeteria's hostess to call our names. Dave, Wife, and I chatted, when all of a sudden Dave grabbed this girl's shoulder and said "Akiko!" I readied my friendly smile, although I had no idea who any of the four people that stopped were and sensed I was about to have to fake my memory. Rapidly I went through the possibilities, all involving Dave: new JAL co-worker? old JAL co-worker? old Delta co-worker? old college friend? Well, it was (E), none of the above, because evidently the two women--Akiko and Kazuko--had gone to high school with us in Hawai'i. As soon as it was put in context, I remembered: they both played violin, Akiko was a year older than Dave, and Kazuko a year younger than me. Both were living in New York city now. Akiko made us promise to hang out sometime, and Kazuko made us promise that once we got inside Cafeteria that we would get the cheddar-and-fontina mac 'n cheese spring rolls with smoked gouda dipping sauce.
(We did eventually get inside Cafeteria, and Kazuko was right to point out that appetizer, in case you have a chance to go.)
The final run-in in question happened earlier this evening. Dave and I were headed back to the Astor St. 6 stop from the East Village, where we were sampling Ramen Setagaya (more on this later). And who should we see but this kid Daniel that we also went to high school with. Daniel was my year (Iolani '98) but played bass with both of us in the orchestra--and in fact probably played for longer with Dave since they were both actually good at playing their instruments. Actually what happened was I reached into the opposite flow of foot-traffic to sock Daniel on the shoulder . . . because when you see someone you know, you got to carpe diem.
Anyway, to sum, it's been a long, strange journey filled with familiar faces at every turn. What is the Universe trying to tell me? That blasts from the past can be surprisingly refreshing? That sometimes there is nothing like an unexpected friendly face in the middle of a city known for granting anonymity? Or, really, I should say: what is it trying to tell me that I haven't already begun to figure out on my own?
Wrong. I'm no masochist, though. If the wait is 45 minutes or longer and I'm hungry, I'm just as happy eating at California Pizza Kitchen, a few doors down, with the rest of the rejected, hungry mommies, daddies, and passels of kids (and their strollers).
That said, sometimes there is nothing like a Summer Bries + a frrozen hot chocolate with someone you love.
Serendipity iii: still good after all these years.
While I think it's generally a bad sign if your love "cuts you open" to the point that you "keep bleeding," I really like this song. And Miss Leona Lewis is a seriously fierce diva, like old school Whitney (before Bobby and the drugs) and Mariah (before Glitter and her breakdown).
(Thanks to Perez Hilton for the tip.)
c/o Barbara Hickey
Coordinator of Faculty Support
Sarah Lawrence College
1 Mead Way
Bronxville, NY 10708
February 19, 2008
Dear Members of the Advisory Committee on Appointments,
Victoria Redel is nothing short of remarkable. It thus gives me great pleasure to write in enthusiastic support of her achieving tenure at Sarah Lawrence College. Victoria is a wonderful, warm, beautiful (I could go on) woman with a keen intellect, a clear passion for her craft, and someone who truly finds joy in teaching. She is that all too rare combination of talented and successful writer and talented and dedicated teacher. I have known Victoria since 1998 when I entered Sarah Lawrence as a first-year and I was lucky enough to be given Victoria as my don. I (enthusiastically) entered her classroom again the last semester of my senior year, along with another person from V.’s first-year class of donees; all three of us enjoyed the experience of “coming full circle.” V. was my don from 1998 until graduation in 2002, and then continued as my unofficial don and dear friend for the six years that have followed. Thus, I have a very good sense of Victoria as a teacher in class, teacher in conference, don, writer, and colleague.
Back in 1998 when I was a SLC first-year, Victoria also fulfilled the roles of den mother and psychologist. All of us coltish 18-year-olds absolutely had stars in our eyes when it came to V.: as far as we were concerned, she hung the moon, the stars, and all of the planets too. This was partially due to the fact that she was an incredible writer, and partially due to the fact that she was a totally hot woman who wore black leather pants to class … and a mother of two boys (what a badass!). Victoria was genuinely excited about the thirteen different directions our writing was taking us (although to reread some of that fiction now is painful, and I understand now how skilled V. is because she sees and nurtures talent that isn’t quite yet there). When “H.” came in with her experimental fiction—consisting of ten pages, each page bearing only one word, finally spelling out her story “the grass is green today, blackbirds, blackbirds, the phone rings”—Victoria capitalized on the “experience” to talk about the fine line (was there any line?) between fiction and poetry, drawing on her experience as both poet and fiction writer. When J. came in with his fiction so thick with clever turns of phrase and vivid metaphor it was hard for readers to extricate plot, V. delighted in his joyful language play while also helping the class to understand J.’s basic intended plot. And when I came in with early feeble attempts at short stories set in Hawai’i and utilizing Hawaiian Creole English (a pidgin dialect), V. threw herself into understanding the language and encouraging me to explore the world about which I wrote.
In each of her classes I took (1998–1999, spring 2002), V. was committed to laying out for us the bricks with which we would build the architecture of our fiction, whether short story, novel, or poem/shortstory/novel blob (think of “H.”). V. was concerned with POV, dramatic structure, settling, dialogue, tone, voice, subtext, plot, different ways to find entry into a story and/or to combat writer’s block, and language, always the gorgeousness of language. Some might see this regimen as “the basics,” but what writer can say he or she is above consideration of these things? She was always prepared with a basic structure for each class: going over a story she’d had us read, class discussion about the craft issues the story raised, workshopping a few students, class discussion (again) of the craft issues the story raised and what was working or not working about the story, and innovative and related writing exercises, some of which we did in class, some of which we took home. But V. was also always open to the class discussion heading off into some other unforeseen direction for which she hadn’t prepared, because her class was a democracy, not a monarchy with her at its head.
In conference, I will admit that at least the first year what went on (at least in my time with her) was a lot of hand-holding: about being homesick and far away from Hawai’i, regarding my lack of a career direction, about how awful dating was and how mean boys were. And then ever so gently, V. would always find a way back to the writing. The first way she truly revolutionized my writing life was to put her foot down and make a rule: I was no longer allowed to write about boys and girls and lovestuff. This stopped me from writing melodramatic prose about 18-year-old boys that weren’t worthy of living on in literature, and forced me to consider what else I knew: mothers and daughters, Hawai’i, friendship, Hawai’i, coming of age, Hawai’i, and Hawai’i. But what makes V. so great in conference—which I see more as a space in which to mold the individual student and/or writer—is that she is a poet, a short story writer, and a novelist, so she can provide guidance and draw on her own experiences, no matter what direction a student is headed. V. has also had the experience of having a book turned into a screenplay (her novel Loverboy was made into a movie directed by Kevin Bacon). And, finally, obviously, she has a lot of experience getting published: Already the World (poems), Where the Road Bottoms Out (short stories), Swoon (poems), Loverboy (novel), The Border of Truth (novel), and another novel in galleys as we speak.
As my don, well . . . there is no other professor that has so importantly and deeply affected my career path. All four years at SLC, she made herself available to help me consider the classes I wanted to take, and to help me consider which writing professor might be the best for me at whatever point I was at. Because she encouraged my language play with pidgin and the writing about Hawai’i, I ended up writing a novel about Hawai’i, which is on major draft number 3 or so. Because she was so filled with passion and concrete direction for how to craft fiction, she has inspired me to want to teach creative writing. Because she instilled these things in me, I have taken the next step and applied to MFA programs in Creative Writing, from which I am anxiously waiting to hear back and hopefully which I will enter this summer/fall. And, might I add, for which Victoria wrote my recommendation letters, because she is still my don, still knows about my life, and is still very much involved in it.
Last but hardly least, Victoria has become a deeply treasured friend. I’ve attended every book party she’s had since we met, and so because of her been to some very fancy parties where I ogled and rubbed elbows with famous writerly folk. Most recently, Victoria was in San Francisco for a Jewish book festival, at which she was to read from her book The Border of Truth, and she met up with me and “J.,” another former donee (from that same 2002 class of donees). We went out to dinner and drinks, talked endlessly about our lives, and then, while people watching in the bar, of course what else would happen but we end up starting a fiction story in the middle of the bar. Which began something like this: “The fat girl wanted to get into the tub. Go on, Fattie, get in!” No doubt the story would have gone on, but J.’s date showed up and the night came to a close.
I have yet to come across an educator and friend as hard working, passionate, inspiring, and dedicated to her students as Victoria. She is also one of the most charming, delightful, and warm persons I know. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Victoria has earned a right to tenure at Sarah Lawrence College, and that with her job secure, she will go on to inspire and shape the lives of young writers at Sarah Lawrence. With SLC’s heavy emphasis on its writing program, having Victoria on staff would be a major boon.
If I can provide you with other information that might help in your decision-making, please do not hesitate to contact me.
C. Mayumi Shimose Poe (formerly Shimose-Avery)
SLC class of 2002
I stay up late some nights, scribbling, trying to write as fast as I can think, positive this is the sentence that’s going to make me a star. This is the first page of a novel that’s going to be the next huge first page. Because I never get beyond the first few pages. I wake up the next morning, like a bleary-eyed sorority girl, wondering, ‘What did I do last night?’
And it’s always crap. I can see that now. I’ve lost whatever precociousness I once had. It’s not cute anymore. Now, I’m just another sad, hipster, writer-wannabe. I might as well go buy myself a beret.
--Why We Write #48, by Kelly Dunleavy, who writes for a fashion magazine
Well, if there’s any moment that led me here, I guess it was this one: I distinctly remember saying to my girlfriend at the time (lucky for me, she was soon be my wife): “Look at most TV shows. They suck. And you have to assume that those scripts are the GOOD ones, right? So… I can write stuff that’s at LEAST as good as that, right?”
I don’t think that qualifies as inspiration. Or even inspirational. I’d say it was ignorance that allowed me to try and open the door. And luck that that door was marked “WRITING.” And unlocked.
--Why We Write #46, by Charlie Craig, Co-Editor of “Why We Write” and Executive Producer of “Eureka”
This blog is deeply awesome. (Thanks to Adrienne for the tip.) Although I do find it funny that many of the writers featured became writers because (a) they couldn't be something else and/or (b) someone told them they couldn't be a writer.
You want to know why I write?
Because I can't do anything else as well.
Because I have so many stories in my head.
Because sometimes I sound better on paper.
Because I read too much and surf the Internet too much, and so all that useless knowledge has to go somewhere.
Because I dream of fame and fortune. (although, haha, if I dream of fortune, maybe I should go to graduate school in, like, banking or doctoring, instead of getting a MFA.)
Because there is so much beauty in the world, and so many interesting people.
Because it doesn't feel as real if I don't write about it.
Because if my life doesn't make me want to write about it, I need to wake up and make my life more exciting.
Because I can, I live in a place where self-expression is (largely) still legal. So I guess I write also for those that cannot.
Because my desire to write surpasses my need to know I have an audience.
Because I believe that most of the problems in the world (in love, in war) could be made better by clear communication of stances and desires.
Because no matter how different we think we are, if we all sat down and talked story we'd understand each other. I write because you can't sit down and talkstory with the entire world.
Because I'm too shy to say it to your face.
Because it's in my blood: my mother, who's my hero, is also an amazing storyteller.
Because it's in my blood: my father, who's an asshole, is also a writer.
Because if I didn't, I'd turn 80 someday and realize all I'd done with my life is mold the words of others, never shape my own. In the immortal words of Vivianne from Pretty Woman, "And you don't make anything? ... And you don't build anything?"*
Because, frankly, I look damn good in a beret.
Because I really like cafes.
Because I love my home office.
Because I'm not afraid to be alone with myself and meet no one else for hours.
Because I can't afford therapy.
Because, secretly, I like the idea of leaving something of yourself behind for somebody else to find.
* I'm the Managing Editor of this journal.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Let me just say: It is not a good idea to fly past your destination when your destination is Hilo, Hawai'i. The Big Island is the last Hawaiian island heading east; after that it's just a lot of ocean till you hit California again.
The incident is being investigated because it is suspected that the pilots fell asleep. Like, both of them. Geezus. Isn't that why there are two pilots? So at least one stays awake? Also, it is an interisland flight! It's not like a cross-Atlantic eight-hour-long jaunt; it's at worst a 30-minute flight. And it was a flight at 9am, which, unless you are my wife, is a totally respectable hour.
Look, you've got her ably covering the singles' scene. Don't you need someone (let's be clear here: me) to cover the marrieds' scene?
May in the Bay
p.s. please ignore the earlier blog entry in which I wrote: "There's no such thing as a columnist who writes about sex, relationships, and love amongst the married. Please. Even married people don't want to read or hear about married people! That's why we have single friends: to continue to live vicariously through them. Ohhh, right . . . and because we love them for themselves, christ, fine . . . I'll put that in or my friends will have my head on a plate."
Thanks for stopping by, and thanks for commenting. Congratulations on your comfortable, realistic, and yet still dreamy-sounding marriage. :)
Regarding your friend: Concrete lists are fine. It's nice to have an idea of what you're out there looking for, I think, when you're single and looking. It's when they become RULES that I think you get into trouble. Sometimes those rules are just barriers a person puts up (1) as a reason they are alone (i.e., “haven’t met the right person yet”) or (2) because they are scared … not to get involved in a relationship but to invest one’s self into something that could someday end (i.e., they are scared to trust someone else and/or potentially get hurt).
One friend of mine—who reads this blog, hi you, you know I’m talking about you, again, sorry but you do make a great example—used to have a really intense and exhaustive list. Her potential mate couldn’t be younger than her or more than four years older. They should be Chinese (later, this was expanded to include Hispanic/Latin). Preferably they should be from her home state. They couldn’t be a student (students are too flighty or too stressed out). They couldn’t have been married or divorced. They shouldn’t be a virgin. They shouldn’t be too promiscuous. But they should have had slightly more experience than she had. They couldn’t be a smoker or a major drug user or drink too much. They couldn’t be too masculine. She wouldn’t make the first move, so they also had to be assertive … but without being, you know, scary. They couldn’t meet online. They couldn’t meet at a bar. They couldn’t meet at a club. They shouldn’t meet at work. Oh, and a sense of humor was important. And they were not to call each other “baby” till it got really serious.
This list served her really well—in avoiding all forms of potential romantic human life. At least until she threw the list out the window after meeting the right person. But you want to know what? Ironically the person she’s now with does fulfill many of the things on her list, but my friend likes this person so much that I don’t think she would have cared if the person didn’t fulfill the items on her list.
But back to your friend … Maybe she’s too picky, maybe not. Maybe she should lower her standards, maybe not. But it is definitely the case that “she should give more guys a chance.” The more guys she gives a chance, the more she will experience human awesomeness in its full arc: the deal breakers (cheating, lying, abusive, self-centered, nonworshipful of her goddessness), the I-can-live-with-it imperfections (gawd, the SNORING!, but okayilovehimilovehim), the imperfections that actually start to grow on you (my husband sometimes whimpers in his sleep, and while it wakes me up, it makes me laugh and makes my heart feel so full), and the simpler ways that a person can be so perfect for you that you would never even know until you met them, the kind of ways that would never make it on any man grocery list, but when you fit with someone like that, you feel like you won the lottery.
It may be “a gamble to invest in someone you're not thrilled about,” but therein is the rub. I think your friend just needs to get out there and take a lot more men for a test drive. And she absolutely shouldn’t invest unless she becomes interested in some of them.
It may seem like a helluvalotta work for a no-guarantee thing, but c’est la vie. The alternative is to be alone—and there is nothing wrong with that. As the pretty and witty (and fictional, even) Carrie Bradshaw once said:
Later that day I got to thinking about relationships. There are those that open you up to something new and exotic, those that are old and familiar, those that bring up lots of questions, those that bring you somewhere unexpected, those that bring you far from where you started, and those that bring you back. But the most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you find someone to love the you you love, well, that's just fabulous.
(Tip from Shoebox Blog.)
(Thanks to Shoebox Blog for the tip.)
That said, we were just simultaneously reading and commenting on each other's blogs--at three fucking a.m.
We need to get lives.
Wait, correction. She has one. She was probably just coming home. I've been here, in front of my computer, all night long.
I need to get a life.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
No, really. It is her fault. She even filled out my profile for me. Against my will.
I'm totally lost with all the options, games to play, people to look at or for, even different places to file photos. It confuddles the mind.
Also? It is 1:25 am, and I just spent twenty minutes adopting a fake pet, filling out its profile, and using fake money to feed said fake rabbit fake carrots. And I kinda enjoyed it too.
WTF?! This is bad news bears. Wife you are TROUBLE.
Mind you, this is a die-hard fan talkin’ here.
The show highlighted what I see as a false dichotomy: between the marrieds and the singles. With the singles coming out as the fast-talkin’, witty, emotionally and sexually adventurous, wholly fulfilled, and ultimately braver of the two.
I must have missed the memo that when I decided to promise to love one person for the rest of my life, I’d crossed over to “the dark side.”
Believe me, it ain’t necessarily easier on this side of the fence: to pay your bills, to fulfill your dreams, or to evade the well-meaning but obnoxious queries of family, friends, strangers on the street, and columnists in the NY Times and/or The Atlantic about when you're planning to fill your womb with what is basically (coldly) a foreign growth. It may, in fact, be easier for unmarried women to do some of these things because their decisions are that—their own. They don’t have to have long and drawn-out discussions in order to make decisions mutually satisfying to themselves and their partners. If they want to move to Paris, or Japan, or, like, Iowa, they can! If they want to go back to graduate school, or join the Peace Corps, or become a bum, they can! If they want to buy a pair of $200 shoes and trade off by eating macaroni and cheese from a box for a month, they can! The world is their buffet and they don’t have to share.
I don’t say this to be falsely modest about my own happiness on “the dark side.” Because I am happy. I say this because while women (and men, for that matter) are single, they should fucking enjoy themselves.
Now, when I started this blog entry, I had only read Wife’s blog, not yet the article to which she refers in her blog entry. I agree wholeheartedly with much of what Wife writes in that entry, although I think it’s not really a single vs. married woman issue but, rather, one concerning what the world expects of women in general. So, basically, in the passage below, wherever Wife writes “single women,” I gloss to mean “women in general”:
Why, why, why, why is the singular image of family and motherhood the mirror which we are always being thrust in front of? When we look at the image of ourselves and what we should be, why is that the only thing reflected back? Why should marriage and motherhood that be the defining decision of a woman’s young adulthood? Why aren’t people concerned that single women will … I don’t know. Something else. There must be something else to worry about. I mean, we have enough people in the world. It’s not like the population is at stake. Why does it seem like that’s the only life decision that matters? Why aren’t people worried about whether women will get higher degrees, vote, donate to charity, learn to fly planes, renew their CPR certification or heck, floss regularly. Please, please, please, why can’t the world be worried whether or not single women make good people, not just make babies?In other words, for me, what it comes down to is an issue of gender: what the world expects of women (a.k.a. “breeders”) is procreation. Not like this is a newsflash.
Then I read the article in The Atlantic. In it, a single mother advocates young women who want kids to settle (down) early so that they can have children.
My advice is this: Settle! That’s right. Don’t worry about passion or intense connection. Don’t nix a guy based on his annoying habit of yelling “Bravo!” in movie theaters. Overlook his halitosis or abysmal sense of aesthetics. Because if you want to have the infrastructure in place to have a family, settling is the way to go. Based on my observations, in fact, settling will probably make you happier in the long run, since many of those who marry with great expectations become more disillusioned with each passing year. (It’s hard to maintain that level of zing when the conversation morphs into discussions about who’s changing the diapers or balancing the checkbook.)
My reaction? Solidarity, shmolidarity. This (married, but it doesn’t really matter) woman hates that woman too.
You know what, lady? Shut up. You are forty and sour on life. I hope you don’t raise your child with your worldview. If you go out into the world with shit-colored glasses on, shit’s all you’re ever going to see.
According to the author:
I’ve been told that the reason so many women end up alone is that we have too many choices. I think it’s the opposite: we have no choice. If we could choose, we’d choose to be in a healthy marriage based on reciprocal passion and friendship. But the only choices on the table, it sometimes seems, are settle or risk being alone forever. That’s not a whole lot of choice.
And no matter what women decide—settle or don’t settle—there’s a price to be paid, because there’s always going to be regret. Unless you meet the man of your dreams (who, by the way, doesn’t exist, precisely because you dreamed him up), there’s going to be a downside to getting married, but a possibly more profound downside to holding out for someone better.
And finally adds:
That’s why mothers tell their daughters to “keep an open mind” about the guy who spends his weekends playing Internet poker or touches your back for two minutes while watching ESPN and calls that “a massage.” The more-pertinent questions, to most concerned mothers of daughters in their 30s, have to do with whether the daughter’s boyfriend will make a good father; or, if he’s a workaholic, whether he can provide the environment for her to be a good mother. As my own mother once advised me, when I was dating a musician, “Everyone settles to some degree. You might as well settle pragmatically.”
Really? I mean … really??
I strongly (obviously) disagree with the author. I do think it’s because of too much choice that “so many women end up alone.” I think it is *by choice* that some women end up alone—only we need a better phrasing for this choice, because it is a choice, and not at all a dire one. (Unless of course it’s not the choice you’d choose if you had a choice … say that ten times fast.) And it is the crazies you get from *too much choice* that leads some women to dump men-almost-of-their-dreams-except-he-farts-in-bed, and some men to keep playing (and sowing) the field. And it is the *proliferation of choice* embedded even in the very institution of marriage, which comes complete with later options for divorce. Marriage just isn’t taken as seriously anymore. There’s other fish in the sea. There’s irreconcilable differences. There’s I do, but I can always decide later that I don’t anymore.
And, furthermore, I think some people have the wrong idea entirely about romance and “the man of your dreams” and “fate.” And for that matter, about “settling.” I think of myself as a die-hard romantic, an “always romantic” even. But I am not a jackass with my head in the clouds. Figuring out romantic relationships and love stuff is not a golden-bricked path strewn with rose petals, champagne, and bubble baths by candlelight. You can meet “the man of your dreams,” someone who fulfills everything on your grocery list of a man, and later find out that he pees with the door open, falls asleep directly after sex, gives 2-minute-long massages, or farts in your presence. Are those deal breakers? If they are, maybe you should be alone. You aren’t looking for a human being; you’re looking for an abstraction that doesn’t exist.
It isn’t settling to realize that your partner is human. Do *you* never fall asleep after sex or accidentally burp in front of someone? Would you—in all your glorious human imperfection, your ragged ends, and your quirks that will come out after the “honeymoon period” is over—make the cut on someone else’s grocery list of a woman?
As for “fate” … the concept as often conceived is deeply icky. I mean, does any self-respecting feminist really want to star in Snow White, version 2.0, released circa 2008? Do you really want to befriend forest animals and live with dwarves while you sit around wishing for the one you love to find you today? Blecchhhhh!
You know what I think fate is? Fate is finding someone in this rushed, crazed world that you want to stand still with in the storm. And fate is making a conscious decision to choose them, without keeping an eye on all the other options and hedging your bets. Fate is taking a cold, hard look at a person, adding up the things you like, subtracting the things you don’t, multiplying their personalities by how many kids you want or don’t want, dividing by the hard times when you’re broke and the tough times when you’re really irritated at them and the stressed-out times when you don’t want to have sex with anyone but it doesn’t mean you lost a “zing” forever just that you probably couldn’t zing with anyone because you’re too stressed out, and then doing some other neat mathy things I can’t talk about, because, like, I went to Sarah Lawrence and I don’t do math. Fate is taking that look, making that choice, and then flinging yourself at them with all the hope in your heart. Fate is the hope that you’ve chosen someone who’s weighed the choice of you just as gravely.
What you’re saying with your seriously chosen choice is that out of all the people in the whole world, I make the decision to share my entire life—dreams, passions, desires, changes in priorities, changes in career, births of children, deaths of family members—with you. I mean, maybe people should read the fine print on marriage before they get up to the altar:
Do you XXXX take XXXXXXXX to be your husband/wife/life partner … in the holy estate of matrimony? Will you love him/her, comfort him/her, honor and keep him/her, in sickness and in health, for richer, for poorer, for better, for worse, in sadness and in joy, to cherish and continually bestow upon him/her your heart’s deepest devotion, forsaking all others, keep yourself only unto him/her as long as you both shall live? [Ed. note: edited out the godstuff]I mean, really . . . Isn’t that romantic? Much more so, anyway, than some notion of feeling struck by lighting when you fell in love at first sight with a complete stranger.
It was Houston's.
I got ready to privately (i.e., not on the Internet) make fun of her, because she eats at fancy places like Per Se and Le Cirque, and she counts a chain restaurant among her favorites?!
Then I remembered that Houston's has a prime rib french dip sandwich that changed my life.
Mea culpa, Julia. Rock on with your own bad self.
Now twice in one week I've come across mention of them. First, a few days ago, Julia Allison mentioned one she got from her dad, and today le Cassandra posted a picture of one.
According to Wikipedia, which is my #1 go-to (though integrity-wise questionable) source these days, "The Claddagh ring is a traditional Irish ring, given in friendship or worn as a wedding ring." The Wikipedia entry continues:
The Claddagh's distinctive design features two hands clasping a heart, and usually surmounted by a crown. The elements of this symbol are often said to correspond to the qualities of love (the heart), friendship (the hands), and loyalty (the crown). The expression which was associated with these symbols in the giving of the ring was: "Let love and friendship reign."
The way that a Claddagh ring is worn on the hand is usually intended to convey the wearer's romantic availability, or lack thereof. Traditionally, if the ring is on the right hand with the design facing outward and away from the body, this indicates that the person wearing the ring is not in any serious relationship, and may in fact be single and looking for a relationship. When worn on the right hand but with the design facing inward toward the body, this indicates the person wearing the ring is in a relationship, or that "someone has captured their heart." A Claddagh worn on the left hand ring finger, facing outward away from the body, generally indicates that the wearer is engaged. When the ring is on the left hand ring finger and facing inward toward the body, it generally means that the person wearing the ring is married.
First off, why have I never heard of these rings before? It's like I was living under a rock. Or on one (thanks, Hawai'i, with your overflowing quantities of Irish people and cultural traditions).
Second, I like them! They are pretty rings with a sweet sentiment. But I have to say, all those directions about facing this way or that way on this hand or that hand is awfully confusing. In Hawai'i, we just had to remember which ear to tuck a flower behind.
--NY Times, February 19, 2008
So writes the NY Times on February 17, 2008.
And I say to them: BULLSHIT. Anyone who can call that "island hopping" has clearly not been hopping to the right islands.
Sorry, I grew up in Hawai'i. I have standards.
milk for coffee (crossed out)
new rice cooker (?)
new metal steamer
yogurt (crossed out)
clear plastic bags 4 recycling
and something illegible, and inexplicable, but which is most closely rendered as "art."
Neither of us recall writing this down. It's not clearly either of our handwriting. How did this item come to be on the list on our fridge? And why do we need it? Is the Universe trying to tell us something?
"I have no idea," Sumire answered.
"People would take carts out to old battlefields and gather the bleached bones that were buried there or that lay scattered about. China's a pretty ancient country--lots of old battlegrounds--so they never had to search far. At the entrance to the city, they'd construct a huge gate and seal the bones inside. They hoped that by commemorating them this way the dead soldiers would continue to guard their town. There's more. When the gate was finished they'd bring several dogs over to it, slit their throats, and sprinkle their blood on the gate. Only by mixing fresh blood with the dried-out bones would the ancient souls of the dead magically revive. At least that was the idea."
Sumire waited silently for me to go on.
"Writing novels is much the same. You gather up bones and make your gate, but no matter how wonderful the gate might be, that alone doesn't make it a living, breathing novel. A story is not something of this world. A real story requires a kind of magical baptism to link the world on this side with the world on the other side."
"So what you're saying is that I go out on my own and find my own dog?"
"And shed fresh blood?"
Sumire bit her lip and thought about this. She tossed another hapless stone into the pond. "I really don't want to kill an animal if I can help it."
"It's a metaphor," I said. "You don't actually have to kill anything."
--Haruki Murakami, Sputnik Sweetheart, pp. 15-16
In early December 2007, while reading Sputnik Sweetheart, I found myself so in love with the book that I began taking notes of favored passages. After copying down the above quote, I then wrote to myself: "Fuck, I'm going to end up scribbling down Murakami's entire damn book."
Sunday, February 17, 2008
But, othertimes, I am saddened by--and not a little worried about--the dangers therein. The January 21, 2008, issue of the New Yorker featured the extremely sad story of Megan Meier, a thirteen-year-old who committed suicide after her male MySpace friend "dissed" her. The author of the article, "Annals of Crime: Friend Game: Behind the online hoax that led to a girl's suicide," writes:
"On MySpace, and on other social-networking sites, such as Friendster and Facebook, a person can project a larger, more confident self, a nervy collection of favorite music, books, quotations, pleasures, and complaints. He or she, able to play with different personas, is released from some of the petty humiliations of being a middle-schooler--all it takes to be a Ludacris fan is a couple of keystrokes" (p. 35).
Unfortunately, what MySpace and other such networking sites also make possible is the proliferation of falsity: fake profile information, false pictures, and so forth. If people were able to divorce their online lives from their offline ones, or if people were better able to discern who and/or what they can trust online, perhaps this wouldn't be such a problem. But it's when you "meet" people online and then actually decide to bring them into your offline reality that you run into trouble. This is where the story gets even more disturbing: this male MySpace friend didn't really exist; he was created by some of Megan's neighbors.
Most disturbing of all? When I say "neighbors," I'm not talking just about other mean children, like a real-life version of Thirteen or Mean Girls. Sixteen-year-old "Josh Evans" was a creation of parents Curt and Lori Drew, as well as their 13-year-old daughter (unnamed) and a 18-year-old employee of the family. This fake profile was tailored to Megan's tastes, at least at first so that the Drews could monitor what Megan was saying about their own daughter online (allegedly Megan had called their daughter a "lesbian," which I guess is passing for an insult these days in teenagedland). But a friendship between Megan and Josh developed, as did her crush on Josh.
Thirteen-old Megan was diagnosed with depression and ADD but was on medication and from many accounts came off most of the time a confident and upbeat young woman.
However, after an afternoon melee of Internet insults slung between teenagers, most notably including Josh (calling her a slut, saying she was a mean person, saying the world would be better without her in it), young Megan hung herself with an Old Navy belt in her bedroom closet.
Now I do happen to think that the Internet merely makes easier/faster what we would do ourselves, by some other means. The Internet itself is not, per se, evil, but it can reveal the evilness of our all-too-imperfect/cruel human selves. Collins writes:
"[Everyone was] certain that something sick, and distinctly modern, had happened, but no one could agree whether its source was a culture that encouraged teen-agers to act too grownup or one that permitted grownups to behave like teen-agers" (p. 35).
Even though we went to the same high school, my husband never believes me when I recount how mean teenaged girls can be. His eyes glaze over when I tell him for the 53rd time that high school at Iolani was traumatic. I mean, I didn't even have "it" that bad, I wasn't scarred for life or anything. I can't even really recall too many particular circumstances beyond the one year that a girl who'd been my best friend the year before got the majority of my friends to stop talking to me for a full year. Why? Because we were teenaged girls, that's why, duh. And I sort of remember something vague and lame about a "pecking order" and/or "totem pole," enough to remember that even amongst friends I was ranked at the bottom of it. Christalmighty can teenaged girls be mean.
Perhaps Dave doesn't know what I'm talking about because teenaged boys have a different set of problems. Boys are too busy dealing with their increased hormones and the fact that the girls now have boobs to get too petty and mean. Most boys can only be "accused" of not liking girls back or perhaps not letting them down easily enough, you know, the usual "romantic"-type problems. It's the girls that instinctively understand where the jugular is and how to lunge for it in the least time flat.
But if you have the right emotional toolbox, you deal. If you are me, you withdraw from your high school experience and invest in other experiences. You pour yourself into Hawai'i Youth Opera Chorus, where you've grown up with the other kids to the point that squabbles are nothing more than those of siblings, and all part of the rollickingly familial experience, and where even if kids were that mean, they wouldn't be allowed to be by the staff. You don't have friends at HYOC, you have sisters (and a few brothers). And you get an afterschool job where you meet older kids (like ones in college!) and they all think you're a sweetheart so they're nice to you. And you plot your escape, to the furthest place you can imagine, New York, where no one else from your high school is headed, where in fact no one knows you, and where you hope to reinvent yourself.
Perhaps what Megan's story impresses upon me the most is that we need to provide kids with a better emotional toolbox. They need better coping mechanisms. When kids feel hopeless, angry, hurt, depressed, etc., we need to provide them with the tools to deal. We need more open communication at the parental, school, and community levels; we must increase education about depression, teenaged violence, and stress; we ought to dispel, once and for all, the stigma against therapy and medication; and we must make available therapy, and, when necessary, medication.
Honestly, it has taken me the better part of ten years to want to see any of my Iolani classmates at all. It took moving to New York after high school graduation--despite being terrified to do so, and utterly out of my element--to grow "a pair" (as they say in the vernacular), and to find kind friends, and to repair my relationship with my self and my own self worth. The irony, of course, is that New Yorkers have such a reputation for being rude and cold; but what I found was that the most sincere, awesome people lurked beneath cold facades, which were in place for necessary protection. But once you'd broken through the facades and befriended them, New Yorkers were ready to give you everything. Of course, I should also admit that my New Yorkers were not just New Yorkers: they were Washingtonians and Philadelphians and Georgians and other Hawaiians and Californians and Texans and actually even an Australian and a Brit and so forth. But I think that just makes them even more New York: everyone's from somewhere else, right? ("If you can make it there, you'll make it anywhere" and et cetera.)
These ten years later, ironically, I am finding--or being found by--these Iolani classmates on Friendster, MySpace, Facebook, and so forth. And the interactions have been entirely pleasant, leading to many renewed friendships that are deeper and more awesome for the time we all spent apart from each other. A large part of it is that we've all grown up. That while I was busy doing my experimenting and growing a pair and changing, they all got to do it too. We're able to find each other on a more level playing ground, as it were. We've all mellowed, and we're honestly, sincerely, curious about each other: what have we all been doing for the last ten years? and who have we been doing (haha)? who got married? has five kids? has the most degrees? is most successful? in what fields? and, of course, who got cuter? hotter? skinnier? fatter? pregnanter? I guess it's still competing at some level, but honestly I don't care as much what people think of me, so game over. Actually, I take that back: I care what people think of me, but I only care what people I love/know/respect/understand/am close to think of me. And, anyway, if anyone dared to mistreat me the way they did in high school, I'd rip them a new one. So. We're good. Ten year reunion up this year. Bring. It. On. Son.
Anyway, Megan Meier's story took me vividly back to those days. Maybe I'm imagining it but it definitely seems like teenagers are becoming increasingly more emotionally disturbed, and, in turn, violent, whether towards themselves (increased teenage suicide rate) or towards others (Columbine, etc.). Is it TV/movies? Broken families? Violent home life? Mental illness? Living in a world constantly at war?
I don't know, but I do know that you have a lethal combination when you combine: teenaged girls + increasing emotional disturbance + the Internet.
May Megan now rest in the peace that eluded her as a 13-year-old female growing up in America.
A deep silence ensued. Her mind was as clear as the winter night sky, the Big Dipper and North Star in place, twinkling brightly. She had so many things she had to write, so many stories to tell. If she could only find the right outlet, heated thoughts and ideas would gush out like lava, congealing into a steady stream of inventive works the likes of which the world had never seen. People's eyes would pop wide open at the sudden debut of this Promising Young Writer with a Rare Talent. A photo of her smiling cooly would appear in the arts section of the newspaper, and editors would beat a path to her door.
But it never happened that way. Sumire wrote some works that had a beginning. And some that had an end. But never one that had both a beginning and an end.
Not that she suffered from writer's block. Far from it--she wrote endlessly, everything that came into her head. The problem was she wrote too much. You'd think that all she'd have to do was cut out the extra parts and she'd be fine, but things weren't that easy. She could never decide on the big picture--what was necessary and what wasn't. The following day when she reread what she'd printed out, every line looked absolutely essential. Or else she'd white out the whole thing. Sometimes, in despair, she'd rip up her entire manuscript and consign it to the trash. If this had been a winter night and the room had had a fireplace, there would have been a certain warmth to it--imagine a scene from La Boheme--but Sumire's apartment not only lacked a fireplace, it didn't even have a phone. Not to mention a decent mirror."
--Haruki Murakami, Sputnik Sweetheart, 2001. Pp. 12-13.
And it is for passages like that that I want to fling myself at Murakami's feet and beg him to marry me.
Here are the BEFORE pictures. Brace yourself.
Here are the FIXING IT UP pictures, having painted and partially unpacked. Do not be alarmed by the preponderance of boxes. Some of them are empty, I swear. And yes we do have a ton of shit. You don't have to tell me. I am quite aware.
Hopefully by the end of the month we will be able to post incredibly smug and hateworthy AFTER pictures, wherein we relax in our gorgeous space toasting each other with champagne. But don't hold your breath for it.
Saturday, February 16, 2008
I don't know of any other Shimoses that aren't related to me. Granted, I don't know the whole world, and also I don't live in, like, Japan, so for all I know "Shimose" could be a pretty common surname there. Or in Bolivia, where Pedro lives.
But I so want to be related to Pedro! He's a Bolivian-Japanese poet and essayist who often writes about national identity! Damn! He's cool!
Here's a link to some of his poems, only I don't read/speak/translate/understand Spanish. Can anyone translate these poems for me? Correction: can anyone translate for me better than Google translator, because I'm doubting Google's abilities to do a poet's language justice. Although I do kind of hope his book of poetry is really titled "I want to write, but I get foam."
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MEA CULPA: It appears that "West New York" really actually is a city in New Jersey.
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "IKEA: wunderland of Jersey.": Just so we're clear: you know that West New York, NJ is a real city, right? Like Kansas City, MO. Not a euphemism. If I knew how to link, I'd show you on Google maps. Not to be a know-it-all, but when you live in NJ you learn things. . . like geography. Love, Shaun
DAMN. [winces, anticipating a flood of righteous hate mail from Jersey dwellers]
Thank you, Shaun, for keeping me from looking like a total idiot. But I do have to point out--in my defense--that I am fairly sure my Hawaiian middle and high school classes skipped over the geography of Jersey. So, therefore, you're just lucky I know what coast it's on.