fear creeps in. as surely it must do, that which is not sure, uncertain, born of confusion and doubt comes and overtakes the brain for seconds at night, while reading. how is it that i let it? why must i eat away at myself, my insides full of all the emptiness i sense, crashing uncertainty into uncertainty and building into a nothingness in me, an absence of me, of action and how to be. for it is always the same question that i am asking and staring at self in mirrors, doubting it, wondering which failure comes quicker and how will i let my life be eaten alive by my life, the things i must do? it is not the mundane that i fear consuming me, but rather it is the mundane i rely on when i cannot rely on my dreams. and how will i be able, when the time comes, to cope with everything my life has become and all i must do - the squeezing of soul out of soul - and how can i muster love and sureness in the face of all that i've never been or done? when others tell me i am capable because i am stubborn, because all of us are capable, i do not believe them. i do not trust that which i cannot see. i am afraid, terribly so. i do not know how to force myself into shadows. i do not know how to become that which i adore, ultimately, but am uninformed of, do not necessarily recognize by sight. i do not know how to overcome myself to become myself, that shadow indeed, that pedestalled and glorious monument of myself in the future, its arms wide open and its face smiling. i am not that me. i am deathly afraid of that me. i know not how to overcome the obstacle of myself to become fully myself and to sell myself after to strangers. in truth i am not motivated enough. i am too lazy. i lay here on my back all day with stomach churning, wishing merely for it to stop and yet not taking the walk that was recommended and having trouble swallowing that which will attempt a calming. and instead of using my time of nothingness, and of misery in order to sit still here in front of the computer, concocting my future and my dreams into words on the page, typing my fears away, i sit still in bed, waiting for the moment to end. but nausea lasts longer than a contraction. i'm working on over a week here. and so too, i do not want for that to occupy the thoughts on the page, so why not just avoid writing altogether? why not simply never work towards that which i most want/fear? why not become merely a shell of myself, incapable and undesirable, mothering and nursing and crying all day long? i will instead huddle in corners, fear everything, be nothing and amount to very little. i will live the life of my title character, created from past and present and friends and smoke, and eat each sleeping pill one by one, stomach filling and spinning wildly, upset by convictions finally mustered for the worst possible task, and die miserably and self-righteously and selfishly and all that. i will instead hate myself not for not doing what i want, but for accomplishing the very opposite, the destruction of myself, the tearing down of all ambition, and the swallowing whole of hope. what beautiful pictures i paint, polar opposites of one another, and i, believing neither to be really attainable, sit in-between straddling dreams of one and the fear of another (or perhaps dreams of another and fear of one), walking nowhere, achieving nothing, and endlessly bitching about it all.


there are only two things that i think about all day: the baby and art. and yet here, i've nothing at all to say about the latter, as it is the baby that occupies my dreams and upsets my stomach. it is the baby that is becoming, ever-so-slowly, yet surely indeed, an overwhelming force in my life, something to consume everything that came before it. all we talk about is the baby and its names and its things that it will need. we call everyone we know to tell them of our news. i take prenatal vitamins and eat six times a day. we read books about the baby and keep a journal about the baby. we know its size and the shape it should be taking. sometimes i talk to the baby, though it has no ears. all my flesh becomes tender and my dreams are taken over by the baby, by my belly, by labor and nursing. i dreamt that i was nursing the cat. i dreamt that i went into labor and spent three hours filling out paperwork. i dreamt about shopping for clothes for the baby. the only thing that i have actually bought for the baby to date, is a halloween costume in the shape of a chicken. my mother thinks this says something about me as a weirdo, or me as a person, though i'm not sure precisely what. jon runs my diet so that i eat beans and lots of dairy and raw vegetables and fruit. we differentiate between good fat (nuts) and bad fat (beef). we check salad dressings and other condiments for sugar and sodium content. at the grocery, we buy low sodium, fat-free, organic soups in cans and ginger ale to calm my stomach. i wash my hands every time i play with the cats. i lay down on the floor carefully, to avoid injury to anything. i wear sensible shoes everywhere i go. i carry bottled water and sunflower seeds in the car for a snack. we looked at the baby section in the store the other day just to window shop. we looked at swings and car seats and plush toys and onesies and receiving blankets. jon was confused as to why everything was pastel. we laughed at the baby clothes encrusted with pro and college football insignia. we examined diaper bags and changing table pads. we saw babies in strollers and babies in shopping carts. every time the phone rings, i talk about the baby. every christmas card that comes says something about the baby. so instead of my life taking on the shape of the writer, with me writing furiously and hysterically, my life has taken on the shape of the pregnant woman. mi es embarazada. i am hysterically and fervently considering the welfare, the future, the present of my baby. it is all that there is here, just now: baby, baby, baby, baby, baby. i am not, however, particularly upset about this. i must simply find a way to return to normal. i must figure out how to become accustomed to myself as the pregnant woman without defining myself as such, without limiting myself to the title.


jon and i are reading great writers and at the same instant, reading about great writers, and we are finding that it is impossible, yet not, to be in their company, and yet here is jon telling me that i should write everyday when i get up in the morning and make it my full time occupation, so that i can hope to achieve, one day, the company of steinbeck (the aforementioned great writer that jon is reading about), with all his honesty he was reaching for, and evidently found, and then with salinger (my dear favorite) with all his mystery, and again too, honesty. how else do you describe a clarity of emotion in literature? salinger is truly amazing in his achievements. the great american writer among us, it's surely true. certainly of the latter half of the twentieth century at least. his achievements - like i said, clarity of emotion in literature, yet without the bogging down of a literary style. there is an absence of modesty, yet an absence of arrogance as well. there is a straightforwardness, a directness about the literature not weighted down with literature. and surely i cannot ever hope to achieve these heights - my honesty is me only. there is no clue into a childhood or out of it here, merely a mentioning repeatedly of the problems of the artist as such and the striving for and the reaching to of greatness, of some hallmark of achievement. there is no mention made, however, of the path, merely the struggle itself. and shouldn't i, the artist, be trying to articulate the path, the paragon of being human? isn't that the ultimate goal? does there need to be an ultimate goal at all? am i not a supporter of the hallmark of storytelling? haven't i always believed in the straight story, as it may be, with it's tiny twists and turns and the absence of arrogance, the straight story more valuable than a encyclopedia of anecdotes, but a story - just a simple, straightforward story. i believe in these stories. i am an advocate of these stories. it's just i've no idea of how to tell them. i know not what the story is. i have no method of pounding it out when i do not see the future in the eyes of these characters, when i have not lived a life filled at all with much of anything, let alone something worth writing home about. what haunts me? the process of my journey haunts me. the journey itself. the end of this journey. i've been frightened of death all my life. how can i write about that? what is there in it? no, don't answer, i'm sure i'll find it on my own and as i make mention of the tiny things that plague me, i'm certain i'll find my own answers hidden in the questions, just as i may have already done. if you ask the correct questions, in the correct, accidental order, you'll find your answers hidden inside yourself. it's almost always true. certainly in matters of the heart, or matters of the obvious, as the case may be. i find it to be true all the time. once i start talking about something, out loud or on paper - once i start to articulate the problem of my heart, the confusion of my brain - everything suddenly clears and i find in my explanations the truth that was hidden from me, i usually articulate exactly what i wanted to know, without needing any input at all. which again brings us to psychology and why it is a crock of shit - because if we just laid on couches in our own living rooms and talked out loud about our problems, we'd probably eventually find all the answers we ever searched for right in the creases of our tongue and the forming of our lips. psychologists merely usher this process along by asking those correct questions in the correct order. all of the answers to your confusion lay behind the mask of the obvious, the costume of the apparent. you are responsible for your own unburying, just as i am responsible for my own greatness.


painting yesterday was about archaeology and psychology. the concept of digging through one's soul to find oneself. where did i bury me? which ghosts of my former selves come back to haunt me? and i find words suddenly pouring out of my paintbrush and they are asking questions and pointing out the varying aspects of how we think of ourselves - ghosts of yourself, yourself of yourself, paleontologists of yourself, then graveyards and death wishes and brain traps and everything spinning and forming the abstract notion of time suspended in the head - of whatever it is i deemed it to be and now having created this concept out of imagery with these hands and the choosing of colors. and i realize how dark my imagery is while i am so happy, so inexplicably so, so unfathomably so, yet true nonetheless - and i am wondering where it all comes from, and as i'm wondering, i'm recording the process and it's only coming to me in snitches of verbal imagery about pterodactyls buried beneath the earth and in my head there may very well be graveyards. in my head there may very well be graveyards - and that is the concept i am reaching for and trying here and failing to explain. which is perhaps why paintings deserve no words. which is why psychology is such a ridiculous profession because it's all filled up with guesswork about the abstract and the cyclical. perhaps only mathematicians could ever say anything truly interesting about the brain and of course if you're an artist you'll always believe that they've gotten it all wrong. so suddenly, here, on the page, zha seems to be as completely off his rocker as i may now sound to you, dear reader, for he thinks he can map it all in some sense or at least attempt the explanation that i am failing so rapidly to merely preface. most days, it is the concept of me as an artist that i address, and very rarely if ever, the art. yet today, it is the art and i am finding with extraordinary rapidity, that i should perhaps stick to my former subject, regardless of how you may tire of it, because i am much better at expounding upon the turns in my head about myself than i am about that which comes from me because honestly, i do not know from where it comes, i am unaware of why i pick the colors i pick when i am painting or sometimes where the poetry is coming from, each line, fragment, watercolor... i can only say that there is a process that occurs between me and the page, wherein a dialogue goes on and the white of a canvas tells me where to uncover the brushstroke, and the ugliness that was there is wiped clear with color. with language and with color, texture, visual metaphor, there is an element of the dreams that i have, or images of what the figures themselves would do, and i throw them in the mix with no explanation and leave the audience to get a sense of a scene rather than to tell them directly everything i intended. i believe that art is for the audience; that it is the audience who should accept or decline an artist's invitation into dreams, and that when delving in whole-heartedly (as when reading a novel or staring, unblinking at a painting), it is the audience's dreams that will be reflected. that is not to say that it is the audience that i am thinking of when i am working, but it is the audience who ultimately handles the work in the landscape of their minds and hearts, and thus, it is always theirs for the having.


blink of an eye. my universe changes by seconds and i am stuck, wrapped in and warped by my confusion, seas of possibility outstretched and contracted again. my body alters and morphs itself, aching, abdomen coursing across muscles and thighs sore and again confused by their ache. my head gets fuzzy. i am out buying books and health food and i am restricted now from everything. and all of this is more than pleasing and more than fabulous because that thing inside, growing, is mine and filled with and created by my love. seven-and-a-half months from now, i will be a mother. and i am thrilled by this endeavor. i am ecstatic by this twist in the story of my life. and suddenly, i am no longer planning my life, it is no longer held suspended in the abstract notions of what the future will look like and how i want things to grow or be in my house or out of it. suddenly, my life has planned me and my life is now being lived by me and will from now on be that thing that i do and not some concept hung in my head by starlight. suddenly it is a waste of time to think here, "what will it all look like?" "what will it all be?" no. now it is. and now i have things to do and responsibility is claiming me by the throat and i am going willingly. now i will do what i have to do to engineer my dreams, because without my hand directing the traffic of my life, like god reaching through clouds, it will not go in the way that i had hoped and the dreams will not take the shape of their making. instead i will get stuck and grow fat with the laziness of destiny-making. i must do that which i want and love if for no other reason than to not be one of those people who wishes they had pursued their artistic dreams instead of becoming merely a mom. i will not regret my life or my motherhood. i cannot let that happen. i cannot let that be the example i lead by. i must instead utilize this opportunity to see through the eyes of my child and be myself the child i once was, only now with the responsible mom in me clinging to my side. i must take chances now for me and the life we've created (even if it is just a fetus, non-viable outside the womb). i must now do what i dream and become me as i am, me as my potential embodied. i must read the tao to understand my life as it is, and grow by leaps and by bounds. everything i've ever wanted is now coming to me at moments in my history when i was most certain of how my future would look merely because of the convictions of my statements. i am ready for my future and to be me as i am now. i am no longer waiting for anything.


sitting on the painting in the cemetery eating sushi. overlooking the city and questioning everything anyone's ever said about me and feeling, once, now able to write, yet having not written. now taking a vacation. me and my husband drinking beer and playing video games. it is not quite the image of me committed to writing as i'd held, but we are now just resting in preparation. and strangely enough, i can say, for one brief moment perhaps, but surely nonetheless - i am happy. i cannot explain it - perhaps it is the friends in the park with the sushi overlooking downtown who give me strength and give me the courage to hold tight in my fist and to run with far into my future and my dreams of me in it or just my dreams of me as they might be sometimes. it is my friends who push me to "engineer my dreams". my friends who force me to believe if however briefly, that i am capable of all that i imagine. that i am capable of being me fully embodied, that i may be now in fact me to my fullest, me embodied, me bottled in me. me as me, as nothing less than all of my potential. i am a package of anna kiss. i dreamt last night of celebrities and telling them "hi, you may have heard of me, i'm anna kiss - would you like my autograph?" they thought it was funny. i'm not sure if i was only kidding or if i'd expected them to reply in the affirmative, that yes, i am anna kiss, and wow, aren't they impressed. my sleeping dreams are as ridiculous as my waking ones.


that once pedestalled comes to me now as putty, unsure and unwilling to go forward or backwards and leaving me to interpret spaces between sentences in not-so late night e-mails. the familiar exists in both the brain and the heartache, the arrogance once so claimed as surely nothing bigger than mere pride, the confidence - now comes, and it is realized that it is tiny, it is fruitless and made up entirely of the empty - that arrogance is combined of confusion and self-loathing and it is claimed to merely go on. and i have seen this in you before, i thought, surely, we must be the same and i am so much of nothing, and here you come to me and it is true. we are filled of the same eyes and the same hands and the same ambition and constant disappointment sprung out of fear. how does one jump off cliffs exactly? how does one commit oneself fully to the starving and the dying role of the artist and terrorize one's brain to extract the comment, the image, the glimpse of heaven embodied in a snail shell? and the question looms at each intersection of what is true and what is merely inevitable and how does one associate oneself with the fame one seeks while simultaneously realizing and holding tight to one's heart the truth that we know - that it too is empty and all filled up with confusion and self-loathing. even that which we seek is corrupted and where, then do we fit in, where do the van goghs and the basquiats fit in? we now hold them in history. they are only valuable in their absence. and it is their insanity by which we measure their genius. and somehow, that feels familiar. so, the question, again, how do we objectively judge ourselves and know of ourselves our ability to create and for it to be meaningful and to not drink ourselves to death in the process? where has the passion to go on existed without the company of misery? is it then possible to commit this brain to that objective beyond all illusions and pretenses and beyond the necessity for clothing or cars, beyond the necessity of love and of some semblance of stability, beyond oneself, one's recognizable self (clothed too, in counterfeited personality, yet with some reasonable depiction of normalcy), beyond all that one knows is the world existed, this reality, to fully envelope oneself in what is potentially, and with some measure of probability, assuredly fatal? is it reasonable to venture into the unknown and live to tell about it? and, to the point, is that your question? or is your statement merely that it is terribly frightening, it is unbelievable and you hate and adore everything and nothing and long, with every fiber, to experience it as both, for the later purpose of extraction to fling, to float, to place onto the page or onto the blank canvas. life is lonely. we want to exist in our worlds and to not exist in our worlds. we want to prove something to ourselves, to prove something to the world - that we are comprised wholly of the insatiable and the magnificent, the creator damned to his own life. and yet i feel that i am missing the point entirely because my words are incapable of cupping this idea in them, of conveying the point of the story and the outcome of the misery of the creative energy of worlds destroyed and built again. your brain as babylon. and so too, your heart. it is an essential aspect of the balance of the universe - that you, capable of such dizzying highs, are brought, here to your spiraling lows where everyone you know is a stranger to you and every word they utter, a lie. here, now, you've touched insanity, how then to escape and be again what you love? no. how then to make use of it for it is inescapable? perhaps. where did you go? what self was it that was not you? here, you feel again yourself, though it is comprised of everything terrible about you. and left is no initiative to accomplish anything. which direction do you turn? which way, which path, which dharma is yours? what precisely are you intended to do, because nothing at all is fulfilling, so wouldn't it then be simpler for someone to tell you? wouldn't everything be easier if you had a patron who demanded of you, whip in hand, to paint all day? wouldn't your role as an artist then be clear? how does one become everything one desires precisely when, in one's head, one is not at all anything like what one desires most to be? remarkably, one is stupid and terrible and worthless, not at all the greatness embodied by one's dream. i am then a walking paradox. i would like very much to own a quiet cabin in the city, where i might feel at home finally, my surroundings built to be like me, the structure formed for it's precise purpose, holding an expressive quality that describes what it's intended to house: an irony. i am a contradiction. i want nothing more than to be a housewife with children climbing all over me. i would like no less than to be a great artist, to be the writer i may or may not be capable of. my words are phenomenally powerful for saying nothing. i alternate between, and at times, exist simultaneously with the notions that i am tremendous and i am damned. i am always busy building myself up and tearing myself down again. i should be hanged for betraying myself. and so often the words escape me to tell you, to say to you, as i cannot say to myself, how beautiful your work, if you would only work, how phenomenal your photograph, how incredible that phrase, and each sits, quietly in the museum in my head, bathed in moonlight and dedicated in your image to the canals of history. i am a fan if no one cares, or if you do not even care, and sometimes i know that you think the same of me, that you are the reflection of me without the constant doubt and without the paralysis. so then, why is it that you are left incapable? you cannot leave me with the belief in hand, hanging, confused, stunned expressions on my face that all is lost because you have changed your mind and gone irrepairably insane, and i might lose you to it. you cannot tell me you love me and trust me in silent sentences and not go forward with what i associate you to be. if you do not soon return to the habit of "fuck everything", then i will not be able to accomplish it myself. i need inspiration inside of me from outside of me in order, that i might do, that which i dream - the jumping off of cliffs and the abandoning of compromise. i am here, and poised with recklessness, now on my count, you go first.


seconds tick by as i read the excerpt of michael chabon's book on amazon, and i am waiting, desperately waiting, to plunge myself into this world, to be what i want most, and to be done with this with which i am exhausted. i am waiting to return here and to see my life before me as something other than a series of deadlines and a continuum of futility. i am waiting to comment on it, to have something to say about my own existence, to have observed something of note in my day, to have felt as though i have learned something worth the reiterating or worth the application of to my life. i would like to see something stunning, here, in the world, and to feel it in my chest. i would like to not feel so useless and counterproductive. i would like for my fingers to have something better to do than to write papers on subjects i find mildly interesting at best and typically, merely trivial. i would like that rather than memorizing slides of art in a dark room, that i go to view art. i would rather participate in art. i would rather have art in my life from the perspective of an artist, where the analysis is about the soul rather than about the allegory. i would rather not formulate sentences precisely to get the best possible intent of out the most possible words to increase the length of the page. i would rather be writing from my heart than from my ego. i would rather learn about and formulate how to be that which i dream than to scribble as quickly as a professor can speak, postulations on the nature of learning or dreaming or being. i am ready and waiting for my life to begin to be again my life. i am ready to take again the helm and to exert some control over my own destiny. i am learning as i go. i am done with learning the path that i might one day view it.


i am paralyzed to create by the necessity to study. i am required to be writing papers instead of poems and on three by five note cards rather than in my journal. i must study for exams rather than create studies for paintings. i am very much looking forward to next week. in a matter of days i will be able, finally, to concentrate on that which perhaps i've been procrastinating and that which perhaps i am a little fearful of committing to, but it will be required by the threat of my own guilt to focus and to commit myself to a life of being, finally, myself, the writer, this person, writing. in a matter of days my new occupation, my new full-time job will be to write. my new station in life will be to explain in words that which i am and that which i've created and how it all happens, each day, every night, all over. my new persona, will be a writer, staying up late and thinking constantly about my characters and what their motivations are, will be, have been in the past. i must spend all of my time now plotting and replotting the path of point a to point b and possibly back. my new office will be in front of the computer or outside on sunny days drinking hot liquids (because it should get cold at some point soon, i'm assuming) and writing furiously, writing manically, writing fervently, writing infinitely, writing perfectly, writing absurdly, writing squiggly, writing sheepishly, writing impressively, writing impassively, writing murderously, writing egotistically, writing narcotically, writing eagerly, writing zealously, writing enthusiastically, writing creepily, writing suspiciously, writing wrongly, writing rightly, writing justifiably, writing writing writing writing writing!!!


i am the good little housewife. i am full of being busy and washing and baking, hands in constant motion, tracing with the fingertip a bit of stray dirt off the table and picking leaves dragged in, off the carpet. i am good and i am productive. i merit the donna reed badge of self-worth for being so devoted and careful to take those steps necessary for domestic tranquility. and still, somewhere far away, a liver has failed and a brain is bleeding, taking with it mi familia. my devotion to my household does not stave off death for those damaged by alcohol, by years of lone star in cans and one singular concussion, one kiss of asphalt and forehead. when i was quite small my grandfather shot a rattlesnake that was eating his chicks. everyone rushed outside to see the snake held high in his hand with two round lumps near the head, two chicks swallowed whole. my grandfather wore a cowboy hat and cowboy boots everyday and a big metal belt buckle. living in texas requires such attire. even for chicanos. when i was twelve my grandfather made me sing "somewhere over the rainbow" for him. when i was four my grandfather was yelling at one of my aunt's cats, kicking it out of the house and i said, "now be nice grandpa, be nice." my grandmother tells this story every time i see her. my grandfather has a giant grill in his backyard that looks like a well. my grandfather owns seven acres of land with five massive oak trees with spanish moss hanging all over. my grandfather collects old metal signs which he covers his barn with. my grandfather will die soon. i will miss him.


disastrous living has made the everyday catastrophic from the miniscule to the major. perhaps not disastrous living. perhaps merely disastrous thought. the constant, incessant buzzing of the analysis running in my head of detailed descriptions reworked and reformed of my head and all that it sees. everything i do comes out of fear. writing now, here, at the computer, not reading up on chardin or indian art or cell structure, is about the fear of eyes reading or looking and finding an absence of new words. its about the fear of being the opposite of an artist, of being untrue to my art. it is sprung of the fear that nothing new has crossed my thoughts today. and then, when i will stop, at whatever moment that comes, it will have come out of the fear of ruining that which i've written, of writing too much and unorganized and ridiculous. it will be born of the fear of what procrastination has brought me to, this fury of fingers typing and working, eyes reading, scanning, the cutting of the pictures to fit the flashcards and the rapid memorization of everything. fear triggers most every move. and this adds to my life, a texture of the damned. i give that to myself in the magnification and dramatization of my life and how it is lived. but in truth there are not enough good days to go around. in truth, the texture of my life is full of these dark holes that i've perpetuated by my own cyclical thought, these holes that i bore in my own skull, in my own mode of thinking and the breathing of my breath through hands and beyond tears, choking, understatements filled with self-hatred, resounding about the room and never landing upon other ears. my heart is crushed between rocks and hard places that i've imagined and placed, there, where the mundane should lie, looking so much like the everyday of everyone's lives, but here in my heart quaking with the sensations of torture. i am my own illness. i am aware, overwhelmingly, of my own hand dealing me the blows. here, on the page, it sounds as though my brain is a prison where bombs are dropped in continuous motion. it is, in truth, merely a melancholy, a confusion, shackled with hand and with fist to me, this mind and body. it is merely my lot and i live it.


influenza. there are no medicines available for what has ailed me and the cough comes deep and with green ghastly phlegm now. momentary no smoking. and no classes. aced a midterm coughing and chewing on leudens throughout, tissues wadded in hand and palms sweated and shoved into the coat pocket. sixty degrees outside and i'm wearing the full winter artillery. hat, gloves, scarf, wool pea coat. bundled up and coughing unable to bike the rest of the way home, i call a friend to drive me up the hill. seems to me the last contact i've had with the outside world. went home for the weekend for my sister's birthday. jon's as well. decorated the cake in the car and saw katie allen and her brother paul walking by - jon and i bang on the windshield to wave hellos. goodbye. and the sinister feeling that though it is not cold yet, as it should well now be, winter has crept and bonded itself to my heart. i could not get the classes i wanted for next quarter and have decided that i will either commit myself fully to the life of the writer, as the writer must be, up late and smoking cigarettes and drinking, typing at the computer the story of the girl, whoever she may be, the composite of me and everyone i've ever met, killing herself slowly, or quickly, but surely dying - or i will most likely hate my life and die it slowly or willingly or somehow. it is how the story will go. and these are not options that i have set before me, on the table, lined up like choices or the holy grail of my life, but rather, these are the choices as i know them to be, as i know it in myself to become. this is what my future looks like. and i am banking on you, the reader, to read. or, as it is more likely to happen, for jon to make enough money to support our future as we have deemed it with our satin finish nickel-plated whatever (probably bathroom fixtures) and the red, red walls of my living room with books. me, writing. because it has come to my attention, and perhaps to everyone i know's as well, that i am a writer and that i must write. that i must write my fictions and my poetry and my vision of the world in all its watercolors and nightmares. that i must write my story as it occurs to me, and my experience as it is experienced by these eyes, this heart, flesh, blood, bones. dust. i am book ended, as we all are, by my past and my future, and i cannot for the life of me, take my eyes or my mind off of either. birth, death, and all that lies in-between, collecting memory and soot. i see my future stretched before me in the great cyclical nature of the universe, spiraling beyond me, outstretched, waiting. i cannot tell you for certain how it will occur, but i know inside of me all about its foothills and deep, reaching valleys. i know all about its tangles of intent and miscommunication, about misinterpretations of me and what i say, who i am. i know about the lies and the heartbreak. i can see all of it spiraling out beneath me in the past. i know that it will all repeat in infinite cycles. and my grandfather is without tumor now, yet in texas, intensively being cared for, unconscious. he is dying. it is not certain, but likely, and i am to make the decision right now about staying or going. i have decided to wait. i will wait to go until the immediate future is clarified. because i have responsibilities here. i have invested thousands in passing this quarter in school, and i have decided to try to do it. this decision is not without feelings resembling regret. but going could not be felt without regret either. there are turkeys to be baked and dressed. there are hearts here to be mended. perhaps that process is lifelong anyway, though. perhaps this heart will never be mended. it has not yet been successful. it seems likely that success will never reach the arteries. there is no certainty with anything, however. there is no certainty worth citing anyways. the apartment is spotless as of today, and there is satisfaction in that. yet not much hope for the future. sadness is trying very hard to overcome me, to envelope me. much like the disease with no cure, it spreads and is fought off by blood cells or by brain cells, and much like this ridiculous war, it is never certain which side is winning. at least not by my watch. there is no way to measure it. there are no words to hold it, no language to clarify or explain. water slipping through cupped hands and so on and so forth. there. i've hit on it finally. words with which to articulate the texture of my life - water slipping through cupped hands.


sometimes i live life. sometimes i can feel life coursing through me. most of the time, however, i'm too scared to do it. to take risks, to prove myself or whatever. i think it's kind of funny i'm supposed to be an artist and yet i'm sitting, cowering away from life like the weight of it will crush me. or maybe life is just the mundane punctuated by the spectacular and i'm in it, but afraid that it won't always be the spectacular because it isn't. afraid, perhaps, that it could be and that i should be capable of seeing it through 'til it's all fascinating, but i most likely won't, or can't. perhaps there is a way to see what we need - to dedicate ourselves to experience and then the art of experience, the regurgitation of experience through art. perhaps there are places in the world that don't resemble hippy communes where people make art all day and live it and eat and drink and are merry etc. perhaps it is up to me to create that experience within the confines of this mall-america, within the confines of my own humble existence, within the confines of this life. perhaps life is not defined by achievements, but by the mundane, by the washing and the caring. i cannot look back and tell you the texture of my life without creating anecdotes, telling the stories as stories, or ending them with punchlines. i try very hard to convey the feeling, the texture of my life as the thing that it is, but i cannot define it with language, so i cannot tell you whether or not i have really lived or whether or not i have been merely racing toward the end of this like a rocket shot from the eternal pocket of dust, of memory, of obscure similies in emails. what i do know is that i want very often to reach the end, or to cut life short. perhaps that is an egotism, and perhaps i already knew that. it's because the sadness is everywhere, all around, and i am trying everyday to write it right, so i get all caught up in myself, and the parts of me that are not myself. but there's an alternate egotism that stops me. that makes me think that i've got something better to do than to weep every day, each night, all over.

*thank you to just for letting me reproduce this email i wrote to him.*


the words you say send me over edges. and i am off of cliffs, careening into the space of my brain, its agony and misery, its inexhaustible depths, where i lay and weep and wail about all my hatred for myself, professed by your words as well and thus only reiterated. the things you say to me are terrible, but perhaps not even intended in this dosage; perhaps not intended to do that which has been done, to commit the act of pushing me over the edge, eyes covered over, not knowing. and yet i find myself falling despite mislaid intentions; in spite of my will to not fall. the part of me that goes on and on for hours, perpetuating the agony, is not the part of me that has control day to day, but rather the unconscious part of me, my molecules fighting off misery and thus producing a variety of its own. much like the flu and the blood cells that fight off the virus, causing your fever and your aches, your cough, your sore throat - something that is not of you that takes control and your body hurts itself trying to get rid of it. my body does not have a say in the virus that inhabits it. my consciousness does not choose to hate itself. and yet i become overwhelmingly aware of my own role in all this. so much so that it adds to the misery. i know full well that i am being ridiculous - that there is no reason for me to weep, the thing is not so much to hate yourself over. the thing is merely the thing - whatever it is that you said. the hurtful thing spoken, yet perhaps not intended. and still i find the truth in your statements. i know that i am self-obsessed. i am aware of my own indulgence of my misery. i am overwhelmingly coherent in all this. so much so that it kills me. or at least it'd like to try. it (me being the it, but not me) would like to slash throats or down pills, starve to death, stick this head in that oven. it'd like to swim very far out in the ocean and not come back, to exhaust itself. it'd like to gouge out its eyes. whatever the method, it is trying very hard to kill me and i am trying very hard not to let it. it's a bizarre dance - the right hand holding back the knife in the left, one trying to hurt the self, while the other is trying to save it. the words dance about on the page even while i am attempting this explanation of that which inhabits my head. there is something growing deep inside of me and i've been learning over the years how to quell its periodic manifestations, yet i've not had the opportunity to diminish them to a nonexistence and it's a doubt that i ever will.


nothing/everything. the plans of my world are falling into being plans and not necessarily into place, but there's a sense of relief coupled with anxiety nonetheless. my plans are not growing from my fingers like words in books as should be their intention. my life is not taking the shape i am intending for it. i am in-between. i am waiting. i am working on the quarter and being tired and uninterested in the lives of those around me and generally pretty uninterested in my own life. i am curious as to what the therapist, were i to return to her as i am supposed to, would say about all this. would i have anything to expound upon - my life, the forms it takes? for right now it is in this amoebic shape, going nowhere, doing nothing, merely waiting for winter to come, to swallow me, merely waiting for the moment when the novel is ripe in my head and thus in my hands - when it is ready to spring forth from the wells of my being. yes, the waiting. currently the thoughts in my head involve balancing the checkbook and doing the laundry - tasks and tasks and chores and tasks. what did i forget to get at the grocery store? how much of this material must i read in order to do well on the midterm? will anyone ever come into the computer lab while i am in here, this huge sterile white box, filled with the heat of these machines and their incessant humming? would it matter? and these thoughts are of the mundane - i am beginning to think that i am of the mundane, that same stuff the rest of the world is made up of, i too, am apart of this, these actions, daily and overpowering, their consequences miniscule and unremarkable. am i too then unremarkable? must i admit that the fantasies in my head of daily life with children and family and my own home are the mundane, the weak, the opposite of powerful, striking, fantastic? must i admit that all that makes me an artist are simply the same things that make others human? that i see the same thing, perhaps not even in a different light or with a different edge, perhaps it is merely the same thing and yet i am struck by it - i am fascinated, and one day, when i have managed my fantasies of my own family and that life, it will all disappear into the cloudiness of everyday. for what is it that keeps us wide-eyed and child-like? what is it that keeps us fascinated by sunsets - the stillness of twilight, anything simple and remarkable? what is it precisely? i have noticed in my time here, on this earth, that there are those folks who make everything we do seem amazing. there are those in the world who make being in a parking lot incredible, those whose smile is an electric storm on your brain, kerouac's mad ones - so is it them? are these, whose aura is so electric we cannot spend vast quantities of time with them, the reason that life is beautiful? or perhaps is it that the world is beautiful already and yet these mad ones become the eyes we need to see it with? is it that everyone is capable of seeing the world in this light, with star-struck eyes, but some of us lose our grasp on how to use them? is it that everyone sees the world as this incredible thing that it is, but forgets when they are wrapped, unconsciously, in this blanket of the mundane? is it possible that i might lose my sight and forget forever? barring that, is it possible for me to write it right, to show the world in my words that everything i see is incredible for split seconds, that the way that light reflects off walls is more full of meaning than a volume of my descriptions of it? there are moments in this life where i am conscious of what things look like and what they mean by looking the way they do - and though i am without the language for it, i hope to be able to convey somehow, somewhere, the meaning and the history wrapped inside of each and everything that i do; that anyone does. i remember specific instances in my history - sitting in an old car with a good friend watching the sunset, talking about our futures; standing above the city in which i grew up any number of times with all the men that i ever loved, feeling truly sentient; and last night, as i was leaving the bar, giving hugs to those i love, finding two friends, deep in discussion, hugging and kissing goodbyes, but holding on longer, squeezing tightly, without words knowing and conveying that i am sorry, for whatever it is, for whatever it might be, i am here and your tears do not need to be hidden. and how do i tell you, with typing, what this was for me, however momentary? how am i to keep telling you, years from now, what i think and make it beautiful, and make it worth the reading? how do i say everything that the world is, everything i know or don't know, when i am all filled up with functionality and the mundane is creeping in and threatening to kill me? more importantly, does it matter just now, or am i trying to fill my time up with the contemplation of anything of remote importance?


i am trying to make sense of myself and my life. i am trying, everyday, to understand where it is that i am going and why i want to go there and how it is that i will reach that destination of which i am ignorant. how can i feel my way along the path without knowing what the path looks like and being blind to my goal? it comes simply down to questioning what it is that i want and what it is that is best for me. i do this all the time. i've written volumes on this. i do not know where my skills should take me or what i should do with my talents. i am trying to be the best writer that i can be without thoroughly committing myself to a life of writing. i am trying to be a great artist without making art. and i am always stuck in the struggle of doing and not doing, of creating and not creating and the guilt and the anguish involved and doing the dumb shit that i gotta do to survive and to be a productive citizen. i am not defined by my station in life and yet i feel this intense need to define what my station in life should be. i am grasping at the air blindly searching for my dharma, without any idea as to how i will choose the path that leads me to it. i am always lost. i am forever confused and aching for some hint of truth, some insight into me and who i am and what i want. all i want is to understand what it is that i want. most likely i will never find out. most likely we are intended for this earth to hack it out as best we can and we will never fully understand what the best is. most likely i must keep turning to myself with a stunned look in my eyes and confusion on my mind, struck dumb and wondering what the hell it is i think i'm doing. perhaps that is what keeps us in check and struggling for the best, on the path to the unattainable - enlightened versions of ourselves staring back at us from imagined futures with organization under our arm and confusion banished to the ends of the universe. most likely, those things impossible about the universe are the only things worth reaching for.


tumors. tumors and tumors and tumors and tumors. and taking apart the word itself and finding only cells that multiply and multiply and multiply and understand no boundaries and cells that react to harsh therapy and innocent cells that die and cells that occupy brains in grandfathers and cells that overpopulate the cerebral cortex and sap all the nutrients and cells that create malfunctions and tumors and tumors and tumors. tumors that come to me in the movie theater, watching drew barrymore and crying because i cry at movies - it's what i do, it's what's expected - i cry at movies because movies are glimpses of lives that i want or lives that i am deeply familiar with or lives that have experienced enough of what i have or have not myself experienced and so i cry at movies and my friends giggle at me because i cry even at previews for movies because they are all the sad or beautiful moments of movies packed into two-minute montages with that guy's voice-over starting every one the same, "in a world..." and then there is the new kevin spacey movie or the new russell crowe movie and tumors coming to me there, as i'm not drinking my two-dollar-fifty-cent sprite, as it's melting beside me in the cup holder in the theater and my friends sitting next to me and i lean over and say, just before the feature presentation begins, that my grandfather has a tumor, it's in his brain, and there, i've said it, and it's been said and i'm not all that worried, because how can i be, he can be a mean old bastard anyway, and he is going to die one day anyway, but i am concerned for my family and what they are thinking, but it is true that i love him regardless of my own life and sometimes in spite of it. that is how family works. the tumors just come to me in the movie theater and in the car, driving, not listening to the radio and not being concerned about those who are cutting me off or driving too slowly in front of me - all i am thinking is tumors and tumors and tumors and tumors for what else is there to be thought about? the brevity of life? hasn't that occurred to me too often and always, as i inch my way towards that drop-off, that cliff of the end, as sometimes i try with running starts to throw myself over, yet always stopping right here, this spot of the immutable present? is that what a tumor is supposed to conjure in the car or in the corner of the party, sitting, watching the drinks and the drugs consumed and feeling sleep pounding at the door of my eyes? should tumors bring to bear the idea of death? or, is it more about a crowding of the brain, a crowding of the flesh and the pushing out of you, out of your eyes and your chest? tumors remind me of the hollow vacuum of my head - how memories go on forever into darkness and into forgetting, how love is never the thought at the forefront where it belongs, how the preciousness of life is held here, where the cells don't regularly multiply, but rather we kill them off by the millions with concussions and with beers, it is here, in our heads where all that we know is stored, where the value of life is held and thought keeps the world together, our reality in hand. it is the tumor pushing my grandfather out of his own body. it is the tumor that occupies all thought, so that the only things that remain are tumors and tumors and tumors and tumors.


tomorrow there will be the carving of the cubist pumpkin. today there is sick stomachs and a lack of understanding regarding gene theory and the double helix in all its glory and riding a bike in the cold and not wanting to erase the dry-erase board and not wanting to check that the computers are logged off and not wanting to do much of anything and yet there are things to be done, there is the library to be gone to and the eyelet to be fixed on the costume and the smells of cooking to affect and create and the cleaning and the sleeping and the going to of the store. eleanore has been ill, has gotten better. grandfather is in the hospital, unconscious thousands of miles away, moving limbs yet and breathing independently. the character of the novel is coming together in snippets of habit gathered from everywhere and some created separately. the blog has been left un-updated. my dreams are of hangings, accidental suicides of boys from bands named jude who fall, while moving diego velasquez's las meninas, out the window and hang, dead, in broad daylight, suspended with a little princess below on dark backgrounds and reflections in mirrors and people in doorways, painters staring beyond the canvas, breaking the picture plane and confusing the separation of that which is viewed and that which is viewing... head itches, pain in side. scratch, mumble, sleep. the wind is blowing tremendously, showering us in bursts of dried leaves, and watering eyes and noses. the wind howled this morning through the headphones and drowned out gordan gano's voice, explaining again the good feeling and how it always feels like you're leaving. in all this activity, i am searching in myself and out of myself, quietly, unhurriedly, wondering how to reconcile differences between myself and my husband, the way in which we view things, deal with that which we're given. in all this i am wondering how to go on, how to not get sad and break down everyday in the cold while walking. pain in my side is making me want to curl into balls under the covers, hidden, sleepy, dreaming nice dreams where people don't die or come back from the past to haunt me. i'd like to think nice thoughts where things are the opposite of confused, where things are clear, where the future is a straight line from this point to that, cluttered over with lovely memories yet to be had and bad things that are not so bad. i'd like to see me in the future, writing novels, and coming to greater understandings of myself and my purposes, those around me and those i love. i'd like to see me in the future with happiness, depicted as a family portrait, myself and it in front of blue skies, framed or in an album. i'd like to know that all of this is headed in a direction of my choosing and it, in its correctness, makes me feel whole and of value. i'd like to know that i will succeed in overcoming the great obstacle of myself and my confusion, my perpetuation of negativity, guilt, anger, fear, hurt feelings. i'd like to know that one day, i will die without fear and without regret.


i want actual things and inactual things. i want love and community and space to roam and the roaming of space. i want a white sheep. i want a big red barn. i want rabbits in a cage outside in the barn. i want cats running all over. i want some dogs and some fish and maybe some turtles or birds. i want a window that's over the kitchen sink and i want bird feeders and a bird bath just outside of it. i want to grow grapes up the side of the porch so that one side is just a wall of vine and bunches of sweet globular wetness. i want a deep purple metal roof on a brick farmhouse with trees blocking the view of the road. i want hydrangea bushes all along the flagstone path to the door. i want a red living room. bright red. i want a wood-burning stove. i want to make popcorn. i want dried herbs hanging in the kitchen. i want art on my walls and art on my mind and art all over my hands. i want rows and rows of floor-to-ceiling bookshelves loaded down with books. i want to bake bread. i want my own washer and dryer. i want a claw foot bathtub on black-and-white ceramic tiles. i want to paint stars on my ceilings. i want to have little girls who wear fairy costumes at halloween and not at halloween. i want foot massages. i want blankets draped over the backs of overstuffed chairs. i want fresh flowers and organic fresh ground coffee. i want to grow vegetables and herbs. i want lots of chickens. polish hens especially. no roosters. i want to be happy and to meditate on the nature of things and see everything as it is. i want truth. i want the world to get better. i want the war to end. i want to go to italy. i want to go to florence to see david at the uffizi. i want to go back to new orleans and stay in a bed and breakfast. i want to write everyday. i want to work on things that are meaningful to me and that make me feel as though i am accomplishing something in this life. i want to learn how to throw pottery. i want to draw better. i want to make short films. i want to write short stories. i want the new yorker to publish my fucking poem about julian schnabel. i would like to meet j.d. salinger. but i don't know what i'd say to him.


pardon me while i recount events in completely unpoetic language instead of having beautiful insight into things or whatever it is i try to do when i write this, it will only take a minute of your time.
i got into a bar fight last night. well, sort of. this guy who i sort of have met a few times sat down with my two girlfriends and i in our booth and was incredibly inebriated and we just sort of humored him for a while, but then he started railing on me not being a real writer or some ridiculous bullshit and i sort of argued with him a little about that, but mostly was just showing him how unreasonable he was being, which is probably a dumb thing to attempt while someone's trashed and then he referred to my friend lisa as a bitch when she got up to go to the bathroom and i yelled at him for that and told him to go away and then lisa came back and he was calling all three of us bitches and whores and bastards and i was just cussing him out, telling him we were going to leave and that he should just shut up and go back to his own goddamn table. then i grabbed the rest of his pitcher and poured it all into his glass, spilling it all on the table and told him to "go ahead and have some more beer". then we were turning away and he was still saying all this bullshit calling us all cunts and whores and bitches while moving out of the booth and sitting down at a table. so i was screaming at him and grabbed his glass and dumped his beer all over him. then i turned around to leave and all of my friends were sort of standing there and we were trying to get my two girlfriends and i together to go and he threw his empty glass towards me while my back was turned. it luckily didn't hit anyone, it just shattered on the floor, but sarah and i started yelling at the bar staff that this guy had just thrown a glass at me (and the music was in-between songs and everyone in the bar is just starring) and that he needed to leave. so the bartenders all come out from behind the bar and try to get this guy to go, at which point his girlfriend comes back from the bathroom and starts talking shit to sarah and saying that he didn't throw the glass and that he doesn't need to leave, trying to tell the bartenders that everything is okay while we're telling them, "there is broken glass over here" and then she says the most ridiculous thing of all - she starts asking me and my girlfriends if we're feminists, to which we just laugh at her and tell her to fuck off, etc. and then this argument goes on for a minute and then she starts saying she'll meet us outside (well, mostly she's saying this to my friend sarah who has gone remarkably ghetto all of a sudden, certainly for a jewish girl from shaker heights anyway) and sarah's just cussing this girl out and laughing the whole time saying that "sure, i'll meet you outside, what are you, stupid?" and the bartenders are still asking them to leave and this guy is still just making faces at me and applauding me and telling me to go write poetry about it all and i'm turning to all my friends, who are trying to figure out what's going on and who saw him throw a glass at me, and suddenly i'm just admitting that i spilled beer all over him, as though this is really bad and i must confess so it's not confused - i fucked up, etc. so then we just turn around and go and are pumped up beyond belief and can't sleep and i've got my head feeling weird from alcohol even still.


"i don't know what i'd do without cable."
ideas thrown around in art of 18th century europe before the professor started talking:
* "they should have syndicated show channels - you know, like "the wonder years" channel."
* "my boyfriend leaves the tv on for noise. he remembers everything. he can answer game show questions about shows he doesn't watch just because the tv is on. it drives me nuts."
this kid in my class thinks he'd go nuts without entertainment weekly and er. he's upset that er is on every weekday morning for two hours in a row and he has class at that time. there's a whole group of them - addicted to tv. they discuss their respective shows that they watch - buffy the vampire slayer, law and order, star trek: the next generation, etc. it seems that each of them loves tv more than anything; is even willing to and excited by watching large blocks of the same program repeatedly. they make mention of "three's company" marathons and one kid gives some anecdote about what episode of "three's company" everyone should know. i don't know what episode he's talking about. it doesn't appear that any of them has the vocabulary to use their extensive tv knowledge to write a stimulating dissertation on television or the varying methods employed in constructing a good situation comedy. they all just talk about being sucked into tv, of watching programs they don't care about, have no interest in, and yet it does not occur to any one of them that this may all be some conspiracy - some comic-esque method of making american citizens fat and lazy consumers. it does not occur to them that they are being terrorized by jennifer anniston's ridiculous pregnancy and martin sheen's presidency (though he is indeed the american president we can all agree on); that indeed, this is terror! they are instead pleased with their mutual addictions. they find it fascinating that there are others like them out there who care more about the latest episode of "dharma & greg" than rococo ornamentation in germany. i cannot help but admit that my feelings are markedly similar; that i am often overwhelmed with the urge to buy whenever i see a slick catalogue with images of an ideal world and all its ideal fixtures. i can only assume this urge has been planted in me by my television - its flickering images, it's brightly colored sets and fast-paced commercials. i too am a brainless consumer, fed my consumerism by the screen of my television, the speakers of my radio, the monitor of my computer and the pages of my magazines. i am a slave to america. i am a slave to her multi-national corporations, but i feel helpless to change any of it.


the world is fucked up. the kkk picked a new leader from dayton, my hometown. he's setting up a headquarters in ohio, and the probability is that he'll pick ohio for the headquarters of the national chapter at some point in the future. how is it that this is happening? i'm a firm believer in the first amendment and that as soon as you silent one group, you risk silencing everyone, but mustn't there be some loophole or some reasoning to shut them the hell up? isn't that somehow very much like a terrorist, to use god to justify hatred? isn't this the same thing? if we're involved in a war against terror, doesn't that include terror that comes from our backyard? if you're going to hunt down all the evil in the world, wouldn't that require some partial lobotomy for everyone to remove their own bits of bad? isn't everyone just as prone to being mean as to being nice? in ourselves and in children, we justify stupidity and cruelty as mistakes, so why doesn't this apply to the rest of the world? where do the differences lie? what is the precise difference between a freedom fighter and a terrorist? and how precisely will violating the privacy of citizens help significantly to quell murderous thoughts? when will freedom ring? when exactly? where is this supposed justice for all? why is it that while this war is waging, while these anthrax threats are spreading, companies are laying off employees and going bankrupt left and right, and right-wing legislation (ban on homosexual marriages; again, the allowance of law-enforcement agencies to spy on u.s. citizens) is creeping its way through congress? isn't someone benefiting from all this? wouldn't that maybe be those at the top? isn't someone making money by filing chapter eleven bankruptcy then selling assets for huge profit, all while scaling down the workforce? aren't these the same people who fund campaigns and plant lobbyists in washington? don't you think that these same people have defense contracts, require cutbacks in environmental standards to lesson their costs further, and get huge government bailouts in the name of national disaster or the promotion of the gnp? doesn't this all sound familiar? doesn't this sound remarkably coincidental? doesn't this sound like what we've heard before - that war is good for business?


it's been decided. having come to conclusions and reached decisions finally without, by some miracle, letting the statute of limitations on that process lapse, i am in the transitional phase, or more aptly, the stuck phase. i am in the middle of the week, perpetually, though the air will grow colder and the clouds will come cover everything (my thoughts included) and i will have to continue fighting through the winter, fighting the down snow off my back, away from my heart (cooling it, letting it slip into sleep), and finishing classes because i have already paid for them. i have decided to do that which i have always longed to do - all of those things most dear to my heart, including drinking whiskey and smoking cigarettes in front of the word processor, its cursor blinking up at me, asking me and begging me for movement, for the fingers to decide the course of its life. i will be doing whatever it is i most want to do and i am terrified of this notion because here, way back here in october, the cold has not come and classes are far from over and i have not planted myself in my seat in my brain for the activity of writing and the novel pouring from me, my hands frigid in the air over the keystrokes - and i am terrified that i will change my mind and i will be too scared to go through with it and i will create again a million reasons not to, i will rationalize my way away from myself, my true self (whoever she is), i will walk away from the cliff's edge, citing monetary grief or the fear itself as too powerful to be held at bay by the simple gall of my actions. i must find methods for fighting fear now in all this, i must find ways of not only maintaining contentment and forward progression, but now of maintaining a fearlessness, an audacity with which to covet myself and my freedom. and the question - how do i do? how do i find courage except by doing? has anyone in all time been heralded for their bravery before an act exhibiting it? doesn't courage always come from doing the thing you thought you couldn't? isn't that what i must now do? only not now, later, months from now, after the history of india has been clarified and rococo ornamentation has been memorized and evolution has been properly analyzed and all of this tested and retested and written about by these hands aching for fiction to fill and overflow them.


I Have Something To Say. Everything that I believe in tells me that this war is wrong. I do not believe in God, I am not God-fearing, but I am opposed to the killing of people. I am opposed to the killing of people in the name of self-righteousness, I am opposed to the killing of people in the name of oil prices, I am opposed to the killing of people in the name of vengeance. It is remarkable to me that this nation should be so arrogant as to assume a moral superiority, to assume an understanding of the value of life, to assume righteousness in the face of "evil". If I did believe in God, as our leaders claim to, as the terrorists claim to, and as something like 95% of the world claims to, I would most certainly not fly airplanes into buildings in God's name and I would most certainly not claim that my freedom was more valuable, more superior, or more valid than someone else's by using the excuse of an attack to stifle the civil freedoms of my own citizens, or "defend a way of life that allows companies like Boeing to get rid of 30,000 people" (http://www.michaelmoore.com/). I have been unable in the last month to understand the perspectives and the goals of those in power when everything I see tells me that all of our muscle-flexing and all of our safety measures will result in nothing but the destruction of some mountains in Afghanistan, the deaths of lots of innocent and some guilty people, and the restraining of freedom, the reduction of freedom here in the U.S. and abroad. Isn't the most basic right the freedom to live? Doesn't killing someone by the rationale of "an eye for an eye" because they took the freedom to live from Americans seem a bit medieval, a little backwards? "An Eye for an Eye" hasn't worked for the last two thousand years and I have serious doubts that it will suddenly start freeing people the world over. Los Angeles gangs demonstrate this concept perfectly - someone gets killed so the deceased's "family" must then take revenge for his death which results in some accidental death (because several people get taken out at once in street fights or drive-bys) which must then be avenged and the cycle repeats, ad infinitum. Somehow, this idea of cause-and-effect (and effect and effect and effect, etc.) has been lost on our nation's trusted leaders as well as most of their supporters and a lot of their detractors. More importantly, aren't these effects a tad immoral? Doesn't it just come down to that? Isn't killing people wrong? And interestingly enough, isn't it uncanny the way that speedy measures are being taken to "ensure domestic tranquility" by passing legislation that allows U.S. law enforcement authorities to spy on U.S. citizens, by dropping bombs on people you and I have never seen half-way around the world, and by guaranteeing the cooperation of the U.S. media with huge defense contracts for its owners? What we are witnessing is "bucket" politics - the roof is leaking all over and we're grabbing at buckets rather than fixing the roof. More aptly, we are shooting holes in the roof.


this kid in my class committed suicide. everyone's whispers coming at me - "you should never do that, it's not worth it," "ohmygod." and my thoughts about the matter are the polar opposite of that. this kid must be fucking brave and really incredibly desperate and i know what that feels like and that is fucking unbelievably scary. and i'm wondering if he didn't have anybody to save him, if he didn't have anybody who would hear the cry for help, because i cannot imagine going through with that which i ache for at times - the ending of everything, the wiping of the slate, the clearing of the path, the silencing of screaming and ticking in clocks on mantels and against walls, the silencing of thoughts and people's voices and the party next door, the silencing of the world and all its noise: the cats, the dogs, the insects ticking, the thunderous sounds of matches against matchbooks, flicking of fingers in ashtrays or against countertops, the projectors in the art history building, that roaring tunnel of light and dust - all the noise of the world buried under the snow of your line of vision, the darkness enveloping you like mountains of snow, but warm, snow made of down, snow made of fire, snow of electric blankets and forts on the living room floor, snow of memories, of aching, of changing your mind, snow of your mother, snow of the smell of the ex-girlfriend, snow of your best friend's smile, snow of the first day of class and the last day of everything, snow of your favorite meal, snow of kisses and dandelions, snow of hot chocolate chip cookies, snow of microcosms growing in your head: the bugs of your hands, the atmosphere of your fear and the earth your desire to drown. it's all connected back into your bellybutton - everything is apart of your little world, your reality has not the patience for your body and the realm it exists in, it's too complicated, takes up so much time and exhausts every bit of energy, every step in the real world can diminish your beliefs in everything you are, every touch, every glance, every word exchanged between you and the man on the corner, "no, sorry, i don't have any money." it all chips away at who you are and your patience for the world. so, yeah, i can see getting there, and that's incredible, because as much as everything you do drags you down, it's ten times as hard to look the other way and decide definitively to change your perspective. committing suicide is just as hard as getting better.


troubled sleep. sleep full of tossing, the 360 degrees and back again, lights on, off again, thoughts and dreams... i am thinking of how to make a decision (still). i am considering how it is i will come to the decision i most want and how to do it appropriately so as to not fuck up as much as it seems i could. and all this is making me turn from the left of the bed to the right of the bed. the cats were unable to sleep with us last night, their spots not kept warm because the feet continued kicking them out. and dreams... dreams of the decision to be made, abstracted, giant truck with my mother, telling my mother some lie, and shane in my dream explaining to me, rationalizing and justifying why exactly he is not an alcoholic. and i agreed. i let myself be swayed, perhaps because of the baby. because in my dream shane had a daughter and it was the most magical wonderful thing that had ever happened to him. then holding a cassette, a picture of hitler wearing burgundy doc marten's on the cover, then watching hitler's home movies, every shot a leni riefenstahl wet dream, sides of faces and the mundane captured like an expert fashion photographer, people in a wasteland, person sitting in an easy chair in the middle of this wasteland, windmill, old and decrepit in the background, man being marched to it and disappearing into its depths, its daytime bleak darkness, the tongues-in-earsness of dark spots in dreams. all of this a metaphor for me, this moment in my life - my decision not being made, me marching myself to class each morning without care, without concern, the taking of notes, the asking of questions, the stimulating of interest - it is all an elaborate game. this is all a metaphor for me, a reflection of myself in the distorted mirror of my mind, my eyes gathering pieces of information and me viewing them like a movie, sitting in the darkness of the theater in the dream, a man in the seats in front of me and the sound of a projector as the wasteland and the faces of people went forward, then back, then forward again - and me, i am in bed going forward and back again, i am inside of my mind, wondering and not deciding, merely going forward and back and forward eventually everything just goes in circles. i have always been guilty of not deciding those things most pertinent - i will just let it be, let it rest on the bedside table, silent, in my peripheral vision, waiting in vain for me to pick the thing up again and examine the choices once more - after some time has passed and some thoughts have gone quietly and without me noticing into action, without my consent or effort, a decision will have been reached through accident, perhaps natural disaster, the flow of the river of my life choosing its own course, or there is no decision left any longer to be made and i am now on a path that i believe with half of my heart, has chosen me.


nothing has changed since yesterday. i am wrapped in the same blanket of confusion and the argument with myself as i was before. i am struggling against wishes to free-fall into the world like some feminist incarnation of jack kerouac, spouting novellas from my typewriter and etching paragraphs in minds and on the backs of hands. i am struggling with myself, wrestling my brain to the floor like some crazed monkey hopped up on speed, and i want to see it just to laugh like that again. i am struggling with myself, arguing between one self and the other, which path to take, which decision to make, which rules to break and how exactly to accomplish all that there is to accomplish inside the span of eyes blinking and kisses hello-goodbye. i am wishing for there to be clarity, for it to enfold me and have the hands of gods come shooting through clouds to tell me which way to turn. i am wishing to see me blinded by the stars twinkling in my eyes, laughing like candy-coated youth (that ideal form). i want so badly to want. i want so badly to drink madly and deeply of life and cry it all down in bottles of rolling rock and eight months at the word-processor. i would like very much to spontaneously combust just now, because at least then a decision will have been made. just like i've always said, i've been trying forever to somehow die unintentionally so i wouldn't be responsible any longer for the thoughts flinging themselves around my brain, hitting the me trapped there, inside cowering, terrified of falling and desirous of everything in the same breath. i want no more want. i want action. i am beginning to think i must demand it of myself and spill my guts daily to the computer, asking every question and competing with my fingers for control of the situation, dictionaries piled on floors, highlighters and magic markers strewn inside and outside library books, everything littered with images of everything - this and this and this and this and that - all that there is to think having thunk and excreted and edited again and so on and so forth and unkowing and forgetting and remembering again. i am filled to the brim with so much bullshit, it is utterly ridiculous.


here i am. here i am in waves of uncaring, in waves of upset stomachs and arguing with myself through the ideas of education - how education is not education in fact, but somehow merely a format for setting rules and guidelines for the world, or rather, a format for enacting the rules and guidelines - college is a place for instilling in us our consumerist nature and all under the guise of fulfilling our wildest dreams and becoming or gaining the tools with which to be who we are in the future behind caravans and picket fences and 2.5 children and whatnot and whatnot. i don't really want it. i'm here to discover ancient ruins in books with glossy color plates and the foundations of life in powerpoint lectures. i'm here to see if i can do it and i'm here for plan b - having that paper which promises me a place in the job market (sort of). i'm here because i know i will fail one day in the future and the paintings will not sell and i will not ever master the web and the manuscripts will not sell and i will not be the fucking poet laureate. i am here because i doubt that i am a good writer. i doubt that i am a good enough writer. good enough to write to deadlines and write literature in a hurry and i am here because i have no insight into the world. i am here because i am not brilliant - i am average. i am deadly average. i am here because i am not capable of figuring it out on my own. i am here because i feel guilty and i am scared to death of the world that i have been in and i am scared that i will get caught there, so i must stop myself, bring myself back into the world of idealists and researchers and philosophy. into the world that i know - where we argue willingly well-researched points and we learn to recognize all sides of the discussion, where we must forcibly down diversity and pretend that half of those around us are not in truth unopposed to the idea of an all white universe. a place where under the guise of the search for enlightenment, we become exactly like one another everyday. more and more. here i am pretending to be unlike everyone else, pretending to be a unique snowflake. i am pretending that i like it. i am pretending that i would not rather not exist. i am pretending that my life has direction and that i am contributing to finding that direction and creating my path. in truth, i don't know what the truth is. in truth, i am lost like everyone else, trying to find ways to add structure to my world and to understand it and to understand myself inside of it. i am frail and i am tiny, and i do not know much of anything.


void of thought. nothing takes so much time to accomplish. this sighing and not waking up on time. this lazing about all day, procrastinating making dinner and reading books. this postponement of the inevitable. what i'd like to do is to disregard that which i am supposed to do - take up new hobbies instead of doing my homework. i would like to gather some dried maple leaves in all the varieties of orange, yellow, and red, write poems on them and laminate them and send them to faraway friends. i would like to make bouquets of dried leaves, hang them from the ceiling; buy some pumpkins and some baby pumpkin squash. i would like to eat chocolate cake for breakfast. i would rather that instead of always saying what i would like most to do, i were able finally, to do it. i would rather that my life did not have to be filled daily and overflowing with either school or work, the inevitable school and/or work, the unpreventable, the unstoppable, the unavoidable, the time-sucking scum of the earth. there is too much pretense involved in school and work. school believes that it is comprised of hour-or-so-long segments of education supported by excruciating hours of reading-as-education. work believes that it is comprised of eight-hour days and forty-hour weeks of purpose and employees filled up and smiling with intention. in both cases, you are lucky to spend an hour or so a week either learning something or feeling as though your task is valid. in fact, an hour sounds like a lot now that it's out there in the open on the page like that. i would like sometimes to abandon it all - and haven't i done that before? six years ago i quit high school and spent my days smoking cigarettes and writing on the roof. but wasn't that very much six years ago? six years ago i was not married, had not even met my husband. six years ago i lived at my parents' house, drove their '88 caravan to and from the coffee shop as often as possible, and did things i was not allowed to do simply to do them. six years ago, i was sixteen years old. sixteen years old is a completely different perspective. well then - three years ago i dropped out of college, spent the summer with five friends on the curbside discussing the film we never made. again with the smoking of the cigarettes. but alas, i also spent the summer typing my poor frozen fingers into oblivion - thousands of keys per hour - racing to finish and racing to stay awake in the air conditioning, breaking each finger in its carpal tunnel agony. so again with the working. i worked to fill my pockets and to fill my time. a year ago i quit working to move to columbus with my husband and live off the cashed-in life insurance policy. i didn't do anything at all for months and months. i worked at the coffee shop through the end of december, watched television nonstop, and cried a lot. then in january i half-assed getting a full-time job and sort of spent the winter half-assing doing everything. so here i've had all the time in the world to live like the drunken writer and romantic pea-brain i want to be, and have spent really very little time trying to accomplish any of it. the truth is that i get in the way of myself. i am sad for months on end and become incapable of accomplishing anything of value. i clean my apartment to make myself feel as though i have been a contributing member of society. so the question remains then, were i able (as in rich enough, or supported enough), would i undertake the bohemian pinings in me? would i reach for stars hidden inside my brain and become that which is creativity embodied? would i guzzle whiskey and develop a hack? would i garden and paint endlessly? or would i merely sink between the couch and the down comforter and eat campbell's soup and feel sick and watch friends 15 times a week? would my depression eat me up inside because my creativity wasn't? will i ever see these ridiculous swinging-on-stars dreams of mine fulfilled, or even attempted properly, or will i merely go on dreaming about them until i am able to no longer attempt it at all and die miserable in my rocker, having become nothing i value?


focusing/not focusing. school and such is dragging (god, i can't spell anything these days) on me. making me tired and making me hate it. i spent this evening in the bar, trying to explain the difficulty of relationships to someone who is but five months into theirs, while i myself am inching my way towards three years of marriage. somehow i become incredibly articulate explaining the need to find commonalities in a sea of lost passions. explaining how it will always be hard and that perhaps you can only hope that the firsts of childbirth and rearing will provide you with the emotional excitement you once seeked in one-night-stands and the freshness of new relationships. how you must find the spaces where you work with your significant other, however cramped and slender they might seem. how you must remember and rediscover the reasons you decided to be where you are. why is it that i decided so many years ago to be with jon? what was it that stuck me like glue to him, so long ago (and yet we are "supposed" to be in our "honeymoon stage" even still)? what was it that made me know so thoroughly, so inside and out that he was the one for me, that he was the person for me to share my life with? and how could i ever imagine letting that go? i told erik tonight that it was about how we work, how our relationship has extended beyond sex and passion into the familial, that we have found, somewhere outside of ourselves, a way of reconciling the mundane with our passions and our goals. that we are still, to this very second, finding that. i explained to erik that jon and i are searching in nooks and in crannies for that something that holds us together - that we don't always understand what it is or how it affects us. that we learn daily how to love one another and how to go on with one another and how to replace the emotional thrills of the former newness of our relationship with something that is somehow more important, though we haven't the language to explain it, though we are born without the ability to articulate it. we understand somehow that what we have is different from what every other long-term realtionship has. we understand that the sequence of experience differentiates us from everyone else on the planet, but that there is a commanality there - the commanality of searching deep within ourselves for our faith - what can be described as nothing besides faith - in one another and in ourselves and in our relationship and our interraction with one another. we have somehow found faith, even within the constraints of our deep-seated atheism, we have found faith, finally, in our relationship. so we know that beyond everything, beyond ourselves even, we have a commitment that outweighs our psychological desire for that which is new and stark and striking and beautiful. we have found a new realm of understanding - a new way to understand and reconcile ourselves, as both individuals and as a couple, to that which is emotionally stirring and resonant. we create and find new ways of seeing each other and ourselves within the constraints of a partnership, within the hope for a future.

all this, regardless of my having drunk four to five beers and my tiny weight of ninety-eight pounds.


and how it goes. gone for the weekend and having returned, i can say that the things that bothered me before are not so bothersome anymore. i have bought books to try to explore things in my life further. jon and i have spent time alone and time talking in the car, time chatting and singing along with the radio, time making fun of dale chihuly just because that's the sort of thing we like to do. we're feeling like we once did again. we're feeling like we're nineteen again, ready to elope any second. in fact, last night, for the first time in a while, i dreamt about jon. we were discussing something - maybe going on vacation - and he said, "and after that, we'll get married." that would be our third time getting married. which i'm okay with. i think we should get married again and again and again. getting married tells him i love him enough to want to do it for the rest of my life. doing it over and over says that i love him enough to actually do it for the rest of my life.

now that i've returned, i have a whole google of new things to bother me. like school started last week, and it's continuing this week, and my classes are terribly dull, and i hate the fifty bagillion kids i go to school with, and columbus is filthy, and it is raining, and it is getting cold - all of which leads me to question what the hell i'm doing here. why bother with school? the degree will not help me. i wanted to learn about art history, but really, at what cost? i am mildly interested in all of my subjects, but there is homework and there are students and teachers that get in my way. school prolongs my life, prolongs the time it takes to read something or learn something, all under the guise that i am learning this fully and completely, more than if i had merely spent some time with some experts and read a few books, for one reason - the fact that i am tested on it and expected to write papers explaining what i know. and shouldn't i be busy working on my first novel? getting it out of my head, where it is buried, unearthing it and making it beautiful? shouldn't i be busy commenting on the nature of fall and how i love it and how nostalgia fills me up and breathes me leaves burning and wet ground and cold seeping in slyly and pumpkins for sale by roadsides? shouldn't this all be poured into the computer, like the thoughts in my head, and explained as prose and ejected finally as a manuscript and folded nicely into manila envelopes and sent around the world to beg for help in editing it and making the public see it to satisfy my own egotism, to reconcile my narcissism (that i speak so often of) with my urges to create something? shouldn't i be busy proving myself to the world and not some silly college of arts? wouldn't i rather be working towards my true future, than some idea i've got stuck in my head about careers and the ability to attain jobs? shouldn't i at least be attending a school without walls, or majoring in creative writing, then? should i spend all this time learning about the eighteenth century in european art, knowing full well that i will not remember it and that it is not all that interesting anyhow? wouldn't i rather spend my time focused on the nineteenth century? shouldn’t i be instead reading rolling stone, holed up in some coffee shop, drinking coffee? shouldn't i be downing whiskey and smoking packs of cigarettes a day and typing furiously like some old beatnik man? shouldn't i be staying up late with my thoughts coming out of my head and writing awards flying towards me in time? shouldn't i at least be focused on my writing, on improving it, and making my prose work well? shouldn't i be forming writers groups and doing research in the library and experiencing something more to write about? should i perhaps be showering in preparation for my first class rather than sitting here wondering which wall to lean on, which direction to point myself, and knowing full well that i will not attempt any of it until i have suffered through school and taught myself something besides how to count the number of times the teaching assistant says, "um"?


what it is. this is abstractions for the purpose of disguise. this is discussions, serious and otherwise. this is love, hurt feelings, doubt, new love, old love, trying to find love, sex and questions, passion, shared perspective, old friends, new friends, confusion piled on uncertainty. this is the start of school, getting up early, drinking coffee, sitting in the bagel shop, watching the bagel girl, explaining how the bagel girl looks like a different person since she cut her hair, is now less intimidating. this is watching nicole, remembering nicole, not really knowing nicole but for drunken seconds on rooftops explaining the birthday, the loss, years ago... this is lovemaking and remaking and unmaking and tying up feelings to heartbreak. this is memory and dreams taking over. this is this moment in front of the computer having come expressly from ordering the new york times and jon newly out-the-door, class but an hour and a bike ride away, the text of biology sitting, unread, on the bed. this is the telling of secrets to those unexpected just to get it out. this is not understanding any motivations for anything at all. this is not wanting to feel adolescent again. this is poems not so late at night explaining, "you have made me seventeen again and all filled up with emptiness." this is "your magic is sighs impressed in heart-wrenching detail and yet your hands and thus your pen, are left in the dark." this is me, "i am losing myself in myself, you have shot the first arrow, cast stones in the pool of my heart and all the while your face has been turned the other way, over your shoulder, asking vultures for their wings." this is the confusion of the poem, "you have left me terrified, unwilling to escape my life, to unravel it." this is the confusion itself, "i am ignorant of these devices, these loves two at once and uneaten sandwiches fallen out of palms." this is trying to figure, amidst all the confusion, the true path and the path most right, the path most me as i am, the path to be taken, and "i am begging for someone to send help: the stars have not yet crashed into my eyes, i am holding them at bay, trying, as hard as I might, to trap them in jars." this is the confusion that comes in attempts to not disclose too much, even to myself.


when will it end? when will this all become just a memory? when will i be able and willing to function inside my head like i do, as me, as me without bomb threats and me without planes careening into space? when will my dreams return to normal? why is it that every step taken and every channel turned is connected, somehow, to all of this - to this black tuesday? nothing, not even words can break apart me from my environment and though people walk down streets as they've always walked down streets and push in lines as they've always done - somehow everyone's brain is focused in the same direction. we are ever ready for the conversation regarding it. the news stories unheard to be retold. and i am sitting in corners, trying to think about my relationship with my husband, how his memory fails him; about the novel and the fact that i've been ready for a while now; about just, our evening together; about scribble, stuck in my dream; about school starting and all that is required of that; about the coffee shop being torn down next saturday and how i must find a new place to dwell during breaks between classes, how i must convene with the others on this point; about not wanting to participate fully in the world just now. i am learning to just shut up because i don't want to talk about it anymore. i don't want to argue about it anymore. i don't want to persuade or explain or guess at the future. i don't really want to exist here now. i want to dive head-first into my dreams, etch them out on paper, live in some other life in some othertime. i want to be enveloped by books and try to concentrate my body into them; focus myself to exist seperately from my world. i want to disappear, to drown. i want to be merely myself all the time and not some concerned citizen or some liberal mouthpiece. i don't want to think about it. i want to fall fully into narcissism, to think about myself and where i am headed, what that entails. i want to focus on figuring the knots of my brain, unraveling my motivations and all of my desires. i want to find my future and perhaps try it out for a bit then change my mind. i want to fucking go somewhere. i would like very much to escape this and live fullly and freely as best as i can. i want to see the world with my own eyes and not stare forever at the new york skyline all filled up with holes. i myself am filling up with holes like sinking ships or loosening lips. i myself am, or may very well soon be, collapsing in on myself, tumbling inward; spontaneously imploding, folding like so much cloth. perhaps i am being put away somewhere, to hide me, to circumnavigate my innards and know them entirely. perhaps i am merely wishing for ends to these trains of thought, for a way to get off and find again solid ground upon which to rest my weary heart.


sick of it all. terrified of what is coming. why not promote peace? how will peace ever be achieved if the world is so blood-thirsty? if we are so blood-thirsty? so much bullshit. so much patriotism swelling up and looking ugly and full more of hatred than of concern or feelings of loss; grief. everything is ugly. and i find myself defending myself relentlessly - i am not unamerican, i am not uncaring. i do indeed give a shit. i just don't trust the government. which i shouldn't because they want to bomb everyone. i am so inarticulate right now, it is ridiculous.


look at this. and this. and this. which i got from this. and he said this. he also said this.
the poetry of war cannot be pretty. this is of nightmares and rubble. how do i say without anger and without emotion the truth, what i feel - that i disagree with national sentiment and certainly with national policies and it is because of the "terrorists" who founded our country that i have that right and should be expected to feel such. i believe that all killing is wrong. i believe that we should not boast ourselves to be morally superior to the rest of the world. i believe that the sentiment that is building - this us versus them mentality - is a bad thing. i believe that guns are being jumped. i believe that military action will be in direct opposition to that which we supposedly support; that our freedom is being ridiculed by our actions. i believe that the separation between church and state has suddenly blurred. i believe that this whole thing is turning into one huge rationalization for racism and xenophobia. i believe that money is disappearing to ensure our right to gas-guzzling machinery, nice running shoes, and a starbucks on every corner. i believe that what was intended was a questioning of american values, or the lack thereof. i believe that in our fight for civil rights, we have, are, and will eliminate the civil rights of others. i believe that these words "freedom" and "democracy" are being thrown around like so much confetti. i believe that it is possible that bin laden is not, in fact, responsible. i believe that this is all terrible. i believe that people died needlessly. i also believe that people die needlessly every day at the hands of america. i believe we have blood on our hands as well, and that before we start throwing criticism around like snow (or sand as the case may be), we should take a look at ourselves and our policies and admit what this act was intended for - to smash our national illusions of not only security, but superiority.