Lunch With My First Unknown Reader

Peg was the first reader I had who I didn’t know.  And today, I finally met her at a little dive bar in Champaign.  She made me spaghetti sauce.  I didn’t think to bring her anything, and yet, I should have.

I told her if word got out that she brings gifts of spaghetti sauce places she might suddenly have a lot more strangers clamouring to meet her.

It was cool.  Peg is just how she is in her comments–straightforward, funny, and deeply compassionate.  She also seems like someone you might get drunk with and end up mooning folks on the interstate.  Not that we did that, of course; you have to save something for next time.

Every Led Zeppelin Song Ever Created

The Butcher went up to see our overly tattooed friend, who I’m sure must have had a nickname at some point, but I can’t remember what, which is probably an indication that said nickname sucked, so he’s probably better off without it… Anyway the Butcher went up to see him.

And came back with every Led Zeppelin song ever created, I estimate.  Seriously, there’s like ‘Groupie catches Robert Plant singing in the shower–1975" and "Page hums a merry tune while wandering around Crowley’s house."

I’m looking forward to listening to them on the way home. 

Hellhounds on My Trail

Again, as we were driving back from Farm & Fleet, my dad said, “I told you never to put anything in writing.”

This is still the fight about whether he should mention Tiny Cat Pants in his Christmas letter, though I’ve resigned myself to the inevitability.

I sometimes think that my dad is as stressed out by me as I am by him.

When the Butcher got home from visiting friends today, my dad was more than happy to see him.  He seemed relieved.

I told him I had to work this morning and he wanted me to pick up sticks in the back yard instead.

It seems kind of unavoidable, that it would come down to this: I need to write.  I need to dump as much into my head as will fit there and then see what happens when it flows through me, what order it takes, what sense it makes.  And I need for nothing to be off-limits.  I need to be able to tell the truth as I see it and measure it against common knowledge and often against fact.  I need to set words in orders I find pleasing.  I need to articulate things to myself.  I need to connect my particular experience with the experiences of others.  I just have to do that.  

He needs to feel that he alone is in control of how he’s perceived by the world, I think.  He desperately wants me not to write.  And yet, I think, he’s extremely proud that I write well.  So, under the guise of bragging about me, he’s trying to ruin this thing I enjoy by exposing it to people I’d rather not have read it.  I don’t even know if he gets that that’s what he’s doing.  I kind of think he does.

I feel like such a fuck-up, I can’t even tell you.  I love my dad and I feel like the things I need to do in the world in order to survive and thrive are painful to him.  I about can’t stand it.  And yet, as much as I know he loves me, I doubt he’s sitting around worried about whether the things he does are painful to me.

Today he also said something about my pig collection, hinting around about whether I was going to take it back to Nashville.  I don’t know why I collected pigs.  I didn’t really like them.  I always just thought he thought it was appropriate for me to collect them because I resembled them.

Maybe that wasn’t the case.  I don’t know.

God, could this be any more disjointed?

I just am torn and I kind of feel like I’m going to throw up and I’m not sure if any of this is making sense.

I’m constantly mad at him and I’m tired of being mad at him.  I just want to accept that this is how it is and make my peace with it, but I don’t know how to do that, because I can’t stand it when he’s upset and I can’t yet resign myself to the fact that this is just his way.  He just does it because he does it.  I want to believe he does it because he’s deeply hurt.

If he’s hurt, I can change and make amends.  So, I cling to that, but it’s stupid.  All I can do is take responsibility for what I do, not for how it makes him feel.

So, bring on the relatives, I guess.  What the fuck. 

I think I’ll just go to bed and see what tomorrow brings.

Mom Dances

On Saturday, my mom was telling me about her understanding of how hip hop rose up out of the salsa clubs on the lower east side of New York. I have no idea if this is true or not, because, frankly, I didn’t get any farther than my mom saying “It’s my understanding that hip hop…” before I was blindsided by a giant “WHAT?!?!” and everything that came after that was lost in the ensuing confusion.

But who knows? Over cards tonight, we were listening to Outkast and trying to explain to her that awesome move in “So Fresh, So Clean” and she hadn’t seen the video but she asked me to teach her.

If the fates are kind, I hope I’m sixty years old and dancing around my kitchen to whatever the kids are listening to in those days having as good a time as my mom did tonight.

Anyway, here’s the video worth emulating and the emulation.

(First video was removed from YouTube at demand of Viacom)