Friday, February 24, 2006

You know things are grim

when you start googling your exes. Just to, you know, see what they're up to. Where they live. If it might be worth the 4-hour drive and if they're single and hopefully no longer start their days with bong hits (though I'm not too picky about this) and if maybe they wouldn't say no to one tiny little make-out session. And then not talk to you again for about 8 months or so.

I forgot how certain aspects of being single can be very difficult.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Last Words

“I don’t know. Fuck you.”

I’m not terribly proud of it, but these were the last words I ever said to E., my boyfriend of about 3 years, before I slammed down the receiver (cell phones are bad because they eliminate this highly satisfying practice of slamming). I don’t remember what the words were in response to. I yelled them, drunk, into a phone at about 2 in the morning. Several days before, I had found out that he had been cheating on me since we started dating, and had slept with about 10 other people during the time we were together. But you know what? I don’t believe that. I think it was more like 40 or 50 people. But it’s hard to tell, because he’s a really good liar, in addition to being a cokehead, a stoner, an alcoholic, and a fan of she-male porn. Not that there’s anything wrong with she-males. He was also incredibly attractive and funny and weird and sometimes I miss him. Lately I miss him.

About a week after this incident, I started dating this 22-year old drummer (I was 27). I had planned only to sleep with him for a few weeks, but three years later we somehow ended up getting married, and now a year later, we’re getting divorced.

I wish my last words to Mr. C were as exuberant as those yelled at E. nearly five years ago. When we went to our first session of therapy (there were a total of 2 sessions, as he was really dedicated to trying to make things work) I said in a really mean voice on my way out the door, “I don’t want to be your friend.” I wish those were the last words. The next (and last) time I saw him was at the last therapy appointment. I had, in my trunk, several garbage bags of the shit he was too clueless to remember to pack the day he moved out. And he had some of my stuff he had taken by accident on that day, which was one of the worst days of my life. We agreed to meet after the therapy appointment to exchange this crap. I told him to meet me in front of the parking ramp where my car was, and in true Choad fashion, he was like 20 minutes late. By the time he got there I wanted to kill him. Instead, we rode up the elevator together to my car and I stood and watched him struggle to get the ripped trash bags out of my trunk, a trunk that still had film canisters in it from when he and his girlfriend used my car all the time to have their little photo-affair. I noted that I needed to remove them immediately when I got home, and perhaps needed to anoint the entire car with sage, to clean out the remnants of their loser love (I did do this about a week later). After he got the bags out, he started to organize the stuff right there behind my car while I watched, because that’s the kind of selfish asshole he is.

“Uh, I’m going to go,” I said impatiently, knowing that if I were to back out then I would run him over. My last words. I got in my car and started it, and then backed up without even looking. I thought, “I’m going to run this motherfucker over,” but at the last minute I looked and he and his stuff had disappeared. I have no idea how he got out of there with all of that stuff so quickly. I felt a little sad…I was looking forward to seeing him scurry to not get hit. But then it was just me and my tainted car and my sad bag of stuff he had taken by accident, just random stuff he needed to get rid of so he would have nothing to remember me by, and I haven't seen him since.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Dead Crush #12

I was lucky enough to spend my Valentine’s Day with this gentleman, Joseph Campbell. Sure, he’s dead, but in the reality that is a 1986 PBS special with a huge-glasses Bill Moyers that I just got from Netflix, he’s alive and kicking. And when I say kicking, I mean kicking.

It has been so long since I’ve agreed with everything a man has said. Yes, he’s a privileged white guy who got to study in Paris, and his early interest in American Indian culture kind of bordered on fetishism (he even created his own tribe when he was a kid), but he is truly an amazing human being, albeit lucky enough to have been born white and middle-class so that it’s been possible for him to share his brain with the world. When Bill Moyers (I kind of hate Bill Moyers), in the second episode of the series, asks him whether or not the purpose of embracing myths today is a way of seeking life’s meaning, JC shakes his head as if to shake off the depressing notion that life has to have meaning. “No,” he says, “it’s about seeking the experience of being alive.” Seconds later he states that he believes that a human’s meaning is this: You are here. That’s it. Be here—put yourself in the middle of good and evil. The best way to live in the world is to LIVE in it, in the middle of the sorrow and pain and chaos and joy. All you have to do is live. And then, when talking about the Judeo-Christian culture we westerners have inherited, he says “All natural impulses are sinful unless you’ve been baptized or circumcised? Come on.” He’s created his own belief system out of the myths generated throughout HUMAN history, and makes this ok. His belief system seems to be about searching, and he’s perfectly ok with that. He’s also ok with someone whose belief system is about Jesus, or Buddha, or animals, or all three (I think I may fit in there somewhere). He is in the middle of all of it. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more serene person.

I could go on and on. I felt so happy to have him in my living room as I got kind of drunk. The first time I really encountered him was when I taught at a summer camp for little geniuses a couple of years ago. The course I taught was called “Heroes and Villains” and it was a great experience for me to totally get my nerd on in a room full of mini-nerds who thought they were in heaven. We studied all kinds of myths, and used Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces as a primary text. The kids really got into him, especially as we traced the hero’s journey through all kinds of media, both old and new. It was really cool to see how ideas of heroes and villains were already a part of these kids’ daily lives—instead of teaching, Campbell’s book seemed to be more of reminder of these archetypes that were already simmering in their 11-year-old unconsciousnesses. That’s why I love him, I think—it is wonderful to hear him speak words that are already a part of me as a human—it’s like he’s saying the words our souls would say if they could talk. Even sixth graders could feel it. Of course, sixth graders are pretty cool.

While I was watching the special, my 90-year-old grandma called. She said “Happy Halloween!” when I answered, and it wasn’t a joke, though she figured out pretty quickly that she had said the wrong holiday. She told me that she had made rhubarb sauce for dinner (which for old people in Iowa means at noon) out of rhubarb she had frozen last summer. She is blind in one eye and losing sight in the other, so we talked about how hard that is for her, though I clearly have no idea how hard it must actually be. She is almost finished embroidering a table cloth, but can’t finish the middle because she can’t see. I got tears in my eyes when she said this, because I know eventually she may not be able to see at all, and she has been sewing since she was a little girl: I have quilt squares that she made in 4-H in 1925. She is going to give the table cloth to my cousin in South Dakota so she can finish it. And for the millionth time in my life, I felt sad that I can’t sew like the other women in my family, that I am too lazy or uncoordinated or not Midwestern enough, as I desperately want to finish the table cloth for her.

It was weird to have this 10-minute conversation and then go back to Joseph Campbell. The Bill Moyers special was filmed about 2 years before Campbell died. I thought about this as I watched, and about how my grandma may die soon and how peaceful she is. A few years ago, the defeatist and pessimist I was would have thought, “All of that work and thinking about existence, and now he’s dead. What a waste.” Maybe I still do think that a little, but mostly because such a powerful life force here surely would help to make this world a little better. I think the best thing I’ve learned from him is that you must go to yourself to learn everything you need to know about being alive: what you think and feel is everything. For me, myself is where god is, it’s where the core and pleasure and pain of being alive are, it’s where my poetry comes from. Self-acceptance seems to be the key to self-peace, and a world full of people who are at peace with themselves sounds like a good place to live. This does not mean a world full of happy people. Fuck happiness. I mean people who have accepted that the world sucks and is also a source of beauty--they are at peace with the paradox. When Jung (obviously a huge influence on Campbell) was asked, “Will there ever be world peace?” he responded, “If enough people do their inner work.”

Friday, February 10, 2006

Shameless Commerce Division

Well, I'm not trying to sell anything. I'm just trying to say read my poems

Dim Guadalajara

Please enjoy this photo of me being ridden while the elves are hard at work on a new Dead Crush.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Some Reasons Why I Love Austin

Monday, February 06, 2006

Could I live in Texas?

I was only in Austin for two glorious days, but as I sat in the airport waiting to leave, I looked at someone's cowboy boots and felt really sad. Could I be a Texan? No, probably not. L's (formerly of this nonglorious city) husband, whose family has been in Texas since before it was a state, informed me that Austin is not actually Texas and that I should move there immediately. He also told me that it is not the South or the Southwest. It is Austin. Here's what else it has/is:

80 degrees
literally hundreds of attractive over-thirty men (granted, some of them were dads at the car wash, but I saw no ring)
Texas barbeque
outdoor seating everywhere
cacti and these strange brown slender birds who make really cool noises
affordable and adorable houses
neighborhood pride
A cowboy who casually offered his lap to L. (who replied, waving toward her husband, "no, I only sit on him.")
One of the weirdest costume stores on the planet
one of the best coffee shops on the planet
strange and amazing neon signs
apparently one of the top three cities for single women
jobs for which I may be qualified
all kinds of connections through L's super political and community-involved husband
Adults. Having fun.
Families and couples who somehow don't inspire jealousy and/or disgust
non-white people

I have pictures and will figure out soon how to show them to you.

Ok, when it's July and 110 degrees, I would probably be miserable. Also--Texas? I think what I may have to do is just live there in the winter, and stay in Boston for the summer. My imaginary patron said this is ok, as long as I dedicate my first book to him. I said fine.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Shrew's Spleen Corner

Dear Residents of the Shithole* In Which I Am Forced to Live:

Please don't pull your backpack on a little cart behind you, especially when you are walking in front of me at a snail's pace and arguing with your loser boyfriend on your stupid cell phone. I beg of you to abstain from this behavior particularly on days which one or more of the following is true: 1)I have drank way too much coffee 2) I just spent $130 on a hairdo that makes me look like an old tired Molly Ringwald on a very bad hair day 3) I have to worry about running into people who a)ask me how Choad is doing (amazingly, there are still people who don't know we split up) b)are Choad's friends and/or whores c)are Sir Choadness himself 4)I just spent 2 hours in a meeting that has nothing to do with my job 5)my lawyer just moved into an office by the bowling alley and will not have email access for an undetermined amount of time 6)I have both wrinkles and acne and will probably be alone for the rest of my life.

You know what, I don't care if you're in law school. Pick up your stupid backpack and shut off your goddamn phone. You're embarking on a life of bourgsie entitled privilege and it won't kill you to suffer for five minutes. And walk faster. Or I may have to kill you myself.

Love, Shrew

*Shithole population=60% acned white boys, 40% tall white law students