I thought it was allergies, but I’ve come to accept that it’s a cold.
I thought it was allergies, but I’ve come to accept that it’s a cold.
I think that, because she died how I hoped she would, in some ways, Sadie’s death has been fairly easy to deal with. I’m sad, but not devastated.
But sometimes, it’s really terrible, just for a second. And it’s always at the moments when I’m like “Oh, crap, I dropped that. Well, Sadie will eat it.” or “What was that noise? Well, I’m sure if it’s a psycho killer, Sadie will bark.” It’s those seconds when I forget that she’s dead and then it becomes real all over again that really suck.
Fortunately, they’re few and far between, but I hate them.
You ever dream that you’re falling and what wakes you up is the feeling like you’ve just hit your mattress? It’s disconcerting. Were you floating and fell? Was your consciousness out of your body and pulled hard, back in?
Anyway, that’s kind of how I’m feeling. Like I’ve been pulled to earth and I didn’t even know I was flying.
You are in the fridge at home. I am here at work. My lunch bag is full of all the other crap that’s supposed to be in there.
But you, beloved, are absent.
I wrote this song for you:
WHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhy, God, why?
I think you can pretty much figure out the tune.
Edited to add: So, I went downstairs and got a regular Dr Pepper, which, like I told my co-worker, is like getting tickets for Led Zeppelin and it’s the motherfucking singer from Whitesnake.
One thing I’m surprised about is how much there always is to do. Because, I have to tell you, except for when he was trying to impress a girl, the Butcher didn’t do all that much around the house. But someone else half-assed sweeping and half-assed cleaning out the litter box is an immense improvement over me having to do it.
If I ever have money, I will happily pay someone else to clean my house.
It just feels like so much to be aware of and responsible for. And, my god, if I can find the trimmer and figure out how to use it, I’m going to. The yard so needs it.
I feel like I’m doing well, but then this morning I realized that the Professor and I aren’t going to have a long lunch in my office ever again and I just felt so sad.
What can you do but get used to it?
It’s the year of things I feel ambiguous about. I want the people I love to have rich, full lives of wonderfulness. I don’t want to be left behind.
I want to put on “Going to California” and mope about it, but, if you listen to the song even twice in a row, it becomes painfully obvious that it’s incredibly stupid. Like the kind of dumbfucking stupid that makes you start to question whether Led Zeppelin is even a good band. Don’t ruin Led Zeppelin for me, Led Zeppelin!
At least all the animals want to cuddle with me. That part’s nice.
You guys, I had such a nice weekend. But I also am covered in bug bites, the worst of which are places I picked ticks off. I spent yesterday sleeping in and then writing a Pith post and working on a baby blanket for my cousin and working on the Sue Allen project. And then I went to bed early. It was lovely. Except for the seed ticks I had to pick off.
Seed ticks are the devil. The big black ones are annoying, but you can feel those. But those little red seed ticks will get right in the creases of your knees or at the leg band of your underpants and just… ugh… The Butcher told me he once found a seed tick on his dick. I was like “And you still go outside?!” Because, I tell you, the first time I find a tick in my vagina, that will be the moment I start walking outside with a flamethrower. Just FSSSHHHHHHHSSSHHHHHH to clear burn a twelve-foot radius of charred death around me wherever I go.
A tick on your genitals is how anti-environmental super villains get started. It’s an origin story no one would argue with.
Perhaps I should add that in to the Sue Allen project. The villain is evil, but it’s understandable because he once had a tick on his dick. It makes him sympathetic, I think.
God, I hope The Butcher doesn’t become a supervillain now.
Anyway, I have to laugh a little bit because, revising the Sue Allen project, I’ve come to realize that the ending still doesn’t work for me. It’s still where my hang-up is. But, the switch in narrator and my desire to focus on the characters who change means probably the middle third is going to change majorly and then the last third… I’m going to end up rewriting it again.
But let me just explain my failure to you. My goal in the old structure of the book was to briefly introduce you to John and his dad here in the present. Then we switch to focusing solely on Sue and her life at which point John reenters the narrative as the bad guy. Kind of like Hemlock Grove. But, while I don’t think that Sue’s story is actually that boring, the absence of John isn’t as much mysterious as it is confusing.
So, instead, I’m reshaping the story so that the narrative focus is on these two women who both see ghosts and who share a complicated relationship with both a ghost and Lee Overton.
I think it works better, but it’s a strange process–creating a first draft of something out of a failed eighth draft of another. I’m not sure how revisions are going to go.
How many ticks can you find suckling at your breasts before you accept that you are, to them, the nurturing life-giver and the destroyer of worlds?
How about three motherfucking ticks on my boobs.. Latched on to my boobs.
I need therapy. Years and years of therapy.
I went to bed at 10, woke up at 8. Migraine gone. Sinus headache in its place. Both have the same root cause–this cold front that can’t quite get motivated to get here. But at least, with a sinus headache, I don’t feel like throwing up and I trust myself to drive, if need be. And medication should take care of it, whereas migraine medication gets rid of the pain, but not the loopy crap.
So, it’s aggravating, but an improvement.
Since Google Reader is going away, presumably because Google hates America and Superman and baseball and Mom and apple pie and the thrill of riding around in an old V-8 with a backseat as big as a couch, I’m switching to The Old Reader.
I hate it, on principle. Because I hate unnecessary change.
But I am attempting to get used to it.
I wish I were at home on the couch reading a book and napping.
Instead, I will be doing a spreadsheet.
Young people, learn one thing from me–there’s always some damn spreadsheet. You could major in flutes of the ancient Romans and get a job in flute curation and still there are going to be spreadsheets.
Learn them as soon as possible.
I’m not sure today could have been much weirder. At least, I hope not.
But at least I’ve moved on from the “watching the clock until I can take the next dose of cold medicine” portion of the cold. I really hate cold medicine. It helps, but I react to it poorly. Last night, for instance, I kept seeing a cat in my peripheral vision where there was no cat.
So, that was weird.
I’m feeling better today but still not great.
I hope it’s not true that the first of the year is a preview of the whole year, because I am so very, very sick.
Nothing in this whole wide world is ever over.
I’ve got a beer sitting out for any Ancestors who want to stop by and a fire to keep the darkness at bay.
This is it, the darkest plunge into the deepest night. There will be colder nights, but none so long, not until we swing around to this position again, the spiral ever twisting–the moon around us, we around the sun, the sun in its arm of a twirling galaxy.
We have not been here before. And yet, we keep coming back here.
Have a drink, my old gone friends. Come on out, into the light. As Gillians says, let me see the mark death made. And I will show you the scars on my body in return.
I tell the same story over and over again. And always I put myself in the middle of it. So angry at the betrayal of Paradise. Still holding out hope I’ll find a comfortable way in.
Always ready to fuck over the people who have been so good to me for the brief affections of those who have fucked me over.
Spinning, spinning. Waiting, knocking.
And who waits at my door? Who knocks to be let in?
I really hate this time of year. It just feels like grief–stale and fresh. And I wonder when it happened. I wonder what, exactly, it is. And I can’t say. Only that I recognize that it’s gone.
I miss those folks so much sometimes that it takes my breath away. Who knew me like they did?
And yet, it was me who let go. It’s always me who lets go. The dance ends, the partners switch and I am gone.
Spinning. Slipping. Gone.
Until we’re back again, in the longest night. Me and my dead things, waiting.
Trying to make peace.
Oh, y’all, yesterday I got some lovely financial news. Not completely unexpected, but sooner than expected. And I was so happy yesterday evening and proud of myself because I immediately acted on this financial news not by spending what came in–not even a little, not even as a treat to myself, but by funneling some toward debt and some toward savings. As one does when one is a grown-up.
And I spent the evening being all woo-hoo. I am getting my affairs in order. Finally.
And then I had nightmares all night that I had fucked something up or that I had to pay cash for some huge operation or that basically everything was a lie and all the numbers were just made up and just when it looks like I’m going to be on okay financial footing–in a position to actually put a little away and get some of the big projects around here done–it’s all going to slip from my grasp.
I woke up feeling kind of like shit about it.
It’s funny because this whole ceiling thing taught me so much about goodness and how small acts by folks can have an enormous impact on a person. It was wonderful. And nothing shitty happened, you know? No one was like “Oh, wait, I just noticed what a jerk you are. I want my money back.” and no one has shown up with a saw to cut out their portion of the ceiling in either room. People can plan a nice thing, have it work out, and nothing bad has to come of it.
If I didn’t quite believe that before, I believe it now.
And yet, I have to tell you, I can’t quite believe that’s true of myself toward myself. I have been doing a series of tiny things, very tiny because I had so little money not tied up in bullshit, to get myself untied from bullshit or, if not untied, then to put myself in a position to untie myself at a later date.
And here it is, one of those later dates, where the tiny thing I started to do seven years ago has just become a pretty big thing I can do to fix a situation that’s been vexing me since my twenties. But I can’t trust that it will come to pass. I can’t believe that a plan I put in motion might work and not backfire on me in some painful way.
To me, this is the way growing up poor most shaped me–that I know in my core that all my hopes and plans are fucked. Even if it doesn’t appear so, something will come along and fuck them.
The thing is that I feel like I am so very close, just a few years, away from having a small safety net against this kind of fuckery.
And I am so afraid something is going to screw it up.
This isn’t something that’s easy to explain–that kind of terror. And how it motivates you to act in all kinds of fucked up ways.
But whenever I hear someone talking about poor people, about why don’t they just…? And I think, man, how nice it must be to feel certain that there’s some “just” you could do that would obviously improve your life.
That’s just not a certainty a lot of folks have. For most of us, no matter what you do, something comes along to fuck it up.
So, anyway, if you see me and you notice all the fingers on all my hands are crossed, it is because I just so want to stay lucky, just for a bit more.
I should just finally admit to myself that I don’t like grilled cheese sandwiches. I like the idea of grilled cheese sandwiches, but I always feel like I’m eating someone’s warm snot.
I went out to nap in the hammock this afternoon. It was beautiful and green and lovely and I was sleepy and everything was gently rocking and I awoke with a start because I realized I was going to puke. I sat up and put my head down and it kind of stopped. I got in the house and then, weirdly, even though I’d eaten lunch, did this weird kind of dry-heaving retching thing, but nothing happened.
Then I laid on the couch all afternoon, but I couldn’t sleep because I just felt so nauseous. I ate some popcorn and it kind of settled me stomach.
But other than that, I feel fine, if a little spacy from feeling almost seasick.
So, that pretty much shot my whole afternoon, which is too bad. I hope that’s the end of it. I don’t feel like I’m getting sick or anything. So, I wonder if it was the hamburger I had for lunch or what.
Mrs. W. was kind of limping last night, so when she went to bed before I did, I didn’t make her get up and go to the bathroom before I went to bed. Which meant that she had to go to the bathroom at four this morning. Which also included all her nightly lollygagging. So, when my alarm went off at 6:15, I admit, I decided, “fuck it, I’m going to sleep in” instead of getting up to walk with her.
Which means I’m going to be grouchy all day and that there’s a good chance she will poop in the house, since she’ll be all off schedule. Plus, since she didn’t walk and stretch that knee out a little, it’s going to be stiff on her all day.
So, you know, not a victory of any sorts.
I also wrote a story this weekend which I hate. The weird thing is that I don’t hate it because it’s bad. I think it might actually be fine. I hate it because I find it so fucking unsettling. And I can’t really put my finger on where the unsettlement comes from. I mean, you might read it and like it or hate it just fine, you know? It might not be universally unsettling, just unsettling to me.
But it’s making revisions or even thinking about revisions impossible because I want to rush through reading it, just to get it over with. It’s like I read it the same way you rush past the creepy house on the way home from school.
I think it’s in part the protagonist. On the one hand, the story is about identifying with him and his grief pretty completely and compellingly. And then a thing is done–a sensible thing given the circumstances–and he takes devastating revenge and I deeply dislike it. I guess because I deeply dislike circumstances in which there either is no right thing to do or where the thing that looks like the right thing still costs.
And I wrote this post at Pith, which may be the most bitter thing I have ever written.
I woke up to discover that I had no antivirus protection. And then I couldn’t get my firewall to work. And on and on. Fixing it took all day and even Microsoft trying to convince me to spend $100 to fix the problem. But basically, the resolution came from resetting crap back to June.
Which I wish I had figured out back around lunch.
And then I found a tick stuck to my scalp.
So, it was that kind of day.
It’s hot. I don’t want to do anything outside. The dog is irritating me. But the dog does want to go outside. She just wants it to be cooler out than it is. Which irritates me.
I should be entering corrections, but I’m too busy being grouchy.
Also, I wonder if I’m at the age where I can just stop wearing a bra ever. Is that an age?
One of the embarrassing things about being stalked is that it doesn’t just happen to you. No, when someone has decided to focus on you, it smears all over your friends and family. My brothers were followed, because my problem couldn’t always tell if it was me or them in the car. Guys I was friendly with got threatened for talking to me. My mom got to hear about what a whore I was. And on and on.
It was not an easy time. When my brother was “borrowed” after school when I’d been out sick with pneumonia and my problem wanted to have an accounting of how I’d spent my week, I got in trouble for not being able to control my friends. I also got sent over to this guys house on a few occasions to “make up” with him because my behavior toward him was the problem, since it was causing him to act this way toward me, though no one could explain to me what, exactly, I should be doing differently.
It’s weird, in some ways, because that was so long ago and I don’t really feel any anger toward him any more. We were kids. He was fucked up. And it’s been over for a long time. When I am forty, it will have been twenty years.
But the thing that has stuck with me, at my heels like a shadow I can never lose, is that feeling that, objectively, knowing me meant you had to be involved in this fucked up shit, even though, what I would wish for you more than anything is that it wouldn’t affect you in the slightest. That you would never notice.
I know, intellectually, of course, that it wasn’t my fault that I couldn’t protect people from what was happening to me. But I still get this feeling, every once in a while, that it sucks for people to know me and like me, because their relationship with me might give someone else an excuse to abuse them.
I’m just down. I’m tired of being sick, once a month, every month since fucking god knows when. I’m just not feeling the whole garden thing this year. And I kind of feel like I’m failing because I just don’t have the skills I need to succeed. Nobody looks at me and says, “if she can do that, then I can get her to a place where she can do this.” And I don’t know how to get to the place where I can do this myself, because I don’t even know what this is. And it makes me angry, but I can’t quite articulate why.
The Professor and I were talking about the difference between our 20s and 30s, and how much of our 20s was devoted to figuring out what we didn’t want and fleeing from it. That’s what motivated us–fear. And I feel like I’ve spent my 30s trying to learn how to positively want things–to not be motivated by fear, but by desire.
I’m afraid I’m going to spend my 40s learning how to live with not getting the things I want.
I am completely panicking about the impending tornadoes. I’m not so worried about getting hit, but I am all worked up over the idea that NASHVILLE could get hit and I might not be able to get home. I’m going to leave here before 1 p.m.
Though there were points this weekend when death seemed like it was sitting at the other end of the couch, not because it was my time, but because one never knows when a person might accidentally choke to death on her own snot.
My dad was like “Are you still sick? You’ve been sick for four weeks!” To which I had to explain that, no, I’m getting sick at the end of every month, not one continuous illness.
To which he replied, “Well, at least March is a long month. You’ll get some good non-sick weeks in there.”
I know I’ve said it before, but one of the hardest things for me at this stage in my life is that I’ve believed, for my whole life prior to my late 30s, that, if something is not right–either externally or internally–if you can figure out why it’s fucked up, even if you can’t fix that it’s fucked up, its fucked-up-ness cease to affect you. The explanation will be the solution.
But as I’m getting older and more used to the rhythms of my own quirkiness, I realize that “the explanation will be the solution” is just false. I mean, I can tell you why I get such vertigo in high open spaces, why certain stairways are just off-limits to me, but that doesn’t mean I still didn’t have to find a libertarian to haul me across the catwalk to Radley Balko’s talk.
And I know I didn’t used to have problems with something at that height even when I was in grad school, because I navigated the library just fine. But I also know that, with the exception of Monday and my trip to the Nashville Room, that it’s been many, many months since I’ve had problems at all. So, it’s worse than it was way back when and better than it was a while ago. But it’s not resolved, you know?
So, all day I was feeling good about “Sarah Clark” and proud and then, like fifteen minutes after I got my revisions turned in, I got this massive anxiety about myself as a writer. I spent the evening getting the final version of “The Witch’s Friend” copied from the website into a Word document because I am overcome by the need to “do the right thing” with it.
Oh, fuck. “The right thing.” Much like “deserves” it’s a boogeyman of a concept that floats around after me, often compelling me to good things, sometimes compelling me to waves of fretting that cannot be soothed.
I couldn’t work on Sue last night, which also caused me great fretting. I sat down to write what should be the most fun scene to write of this whole section–a full, formal seance–and I just finked out.
But anyway, I’m thinking about selling “The Witch’s Friend” on Kindle if I can figure out how to get it from a Word document into an ePUB. I’m not preserving all the links, but I would like the table of contents at the beginning to work. I guess this is going to require either a brief foray into XML or a long trip into Amazon’s website to see if they have directions.
A City of Ghosts is about 80,000 words, I think, and it’s $4.99 for Kindle. “The Witch’s Friend” is just about 20,000, so I’m not sure if I should just price it at $.99 or if I should price it at $1.99, so it seems like it’s a little more than just fishing for readers. But I am fishing for readers! I don’t know. Feel free to fret with me about this. I think $.99 is probably right.