Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thankful for

a glass of water, setting sun below late November clouds, milkweed pods, poems retrieved from the trash bin, warm toes, scattered papers, cooking smells, a cat's purr, stacks of books, a pot of tea, blankets on cold nights, the magic of conversing one keyboard to another, lives preserved in words and music, feathers of birds, the scent of chilled air, a loving touch, laughter, the sound of the mail truck stopping, a rainy day, a sunny day, a cloudy day, a new sight, a new sound, an old face, a tree, a painting done by a friend, a memory, quiet, stopping, starting, the first sip, the last spoonful, the glow of embers, my breath and the breath of others, a leaf floating to the ground, lighted windows at night, the outline of bare branches against the skyline, the passing of time

Monday, November 23, 2009

Turning Inward

This picture was taken a year or two ago, about this time, when the freezing begins. Ribbons of ice curling up from, and back into the ground. Late fall. Night keeps getting longer. It is a time of introspection, at least for me. There have been many changes in my life, and the lives of those around me, in the past year. I've reached up and out, but can feel myself bending in, retracing my path, looking at it from a slightly different point of view. Yes, I've got a serious case of the November thinkies. Yet, even now, still, I can see the sensuousness of the ice crystals in the photo above, and long for that natural kind of freedom.

WTF is she talking about? LOL - I'm not sure. About to take my walk and think about it some more.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

everything is connection, learning is always

Randy Lagana's And Then There Was String

Sometimes change comes slowly. Continents shift. Glaciers grind. Sometimes change comes with a jerk. Faults jump. Rock or mud or snow tumbles. When all is said and done, the landscape is different. But it is still the landscape.

I am going to tell you how this past weekend went, but first...

I have a little exercise for you, if you care to partake. Click on the video below (way below) of guitarist Erik Mongrain playing his song "Fates" from the album of the same name (a most wonderful album - I remember waiting for it to be released a couple of years ago so I could get it - you can listen to more of his work at his website). Then click on the picture above and just look at it while listening to the song. Write something if you feel so moved. Then come back here. Or don't bother and just keep reading.

When I look at this painting, I see the rocks, the butterfly (chaos!), the strings, the mango and the hickory nut (at least that's what the green thing looks like to me). I see balance. But it's precarious. I see earth, sky, life. I see connection. This piece of Randy's is a new one to me. I'd asked him for his "most surreal" piece to illustrate a blog post that is - as I'm writing this - unwritten. I know what I want to write about, but I have no plan. Well, I had a plan last night when I was trying very unsuccessfully to write it. Hours spent with just bits and pieces spewed. So this morning I decided to try something different. I put this picture up and listened to Erik's CD and started writing. I chose the song "Fates" to link to below because that was what was playing when I got to that point in my writing. Weird.

Last Friday night, author Stephen Elliott came here to this part of the world to read from his latest book. It did not go at all as I would have liked it to go. Yes, I was the one  thinking it was a disaster. I don't like conflict. I hate it in fact. Sends me back to a place that is not a good one to even visit. I used to live there. I don't anymore. At least not much. My husband mentioned that it seemed as if I just melted away while all the ruckus was going on. Melted might not be the right word. More like what happens when you put a styrofoam peanut in a microwave. It shrinks and shrivels.

Earlier in the day, I'd gone through  The Journey in New York City. It is an art installation of seven shipping containers, interiors each designed by a different artist, exploring the journey of one young woman trafficked into the sex industry. My reasons for wanting to experience this work are many-fold. As erotica writers we want to portray sex in a positive way - because that is the way we believe that it should be. But in this world, it is not always so. I personally don't know what the kind of life shown in these containers is like, but I kept remembering a friend I'd visited once. She had been a prostitute. It had not been a glamorous life. She drove me around her town and showed me the places she'd known - a tour guide of sorts. It was one of the more surreal nights of my life. Here's a stanza from a poem I wrote about that experience - wrote it years ago - and still it's unpublished despite sending it out over and over again. It's a good poem - one with truth in it. At least I think it is. But sometimes I don't know how good a judge I am of my own work. I'm still learning about writing.

Tonight you do the reverse division.
Figure the numbers;
nights on the streets times number of tricks.
Slam head-on into the immensity of it all.

I'd read about The Journey - this work of art, quite awhile back, but just recently saw it mentioned on Violet Blue's blog here, and knew I had to go. I am so grateful she posted that it would be in NYC or I might have missed it. The installation is not at all pleasant. But I let myself experience each "passage." The second container, dark and noisy - you just close your eyes and listen - was the one that got to me. It was not easy. In fact it was damn hard. I was not alone, but I forced myself to not hang on to my companion. I let myself go to places I've not gone in awhile.

Some of us are damaged children. We hide the scars. Or wear them for all the world to see. Or something in between. We doubt ourselves. Refuse to believe others when they try to tell us there is something good about us. Some of us write. I started writing when I was young. But I stopped. I listened to the loud voices telling me that writing was not something worthwhile, and not to the ones whispering this is good. It took me many years to get back to my "river." Stephen Elliott, in Why I Write, speaks of this river. I knew exactly what he was talking about when I read that.

Between each container, you pass into a between place, through those large black hanging strips that you see on loading docks. A place to catch your breath. You stand on the pavement, back in the city momentarily. Then you push your way through into another space. Maybe one made to be a room, dirty with smells that make you want to retch, but you don't. Or maybe a gallery of surreal snapshots, the photographer himself standing in for the prostitute, following their instructions. Stand like this. Turn this way. One of the shipping containers is a black hole. At least that's what it seemed like to me. Walking towards a oval shape of such light-eating nature, I had to put my hand out for fear of bumping my head. But there was no "there" there, and I stood completely surrounded by nothingness. That was the experience for me. At the end of the last container, when you're almost done, there is a narrative piece about how this young woman is doing. I can't remember the words, but I can remember starting to feel panicky, because for the first time I was touching the hem of my own trauma again. I'd done the long work to move past it years ago. But it never completely leaves. Lately I've been in a place where those days seemed a washed out memory. Did I go through that? What exactly is it that I remember?

When we emerged back into the busy midday streets, I was shaky. We wandered over to Washington Square Park where I talked and my friend listened and I hoped it wouldn't start raining. It was the first of many times over the weekend that I would cry in public. We walked through the streets on our way to Grand Central Station where we were to meet Stephen. I'd met him before, I knew what he looked like. There were too many people there and I couldn't focus on faces. We talked on our cell phones and found each other. Finally we were on the train.

We got to my house and ate tacos my husband had cooked. They tasted wonderful. I was worried. It was raining and that maybe would keep people away. It did. Friends did show up. There was a part of me that was surprised at that. The bookstore lady - who had snarled into my life a couple of days before - came back to snarl some more. I didn't want to be bitten, so I retreated like a beaten bitch with her tail between her legs. Maybe I would have done something different if I'd been somewhere other than in my scared little girl place. But maybe not. And what's done is done. Something shifted and now the landscape is changed.

The next morning, I drove through rain and fog, while Stephen sat in my back seat, typing on his computer. At one point I mentioned that I'd hardly spoken with him the whole time. He said he'd noticed that. My friend was in the front seat. We talked. He talked to Stephen. We all sat quiet. I dropped Stephen off at his next stop, a cute little town full of places for weekending New Yorkers. It was hard for me to say goodbye to him. I felt like I'd missed something. Something crucial.

And so here I am, trying to express feelings that can't really be put into words.
I think of a quote from Andre Breton - "All my life, my heart has yearned for a thing I cannot name."
I think of when I was thirteen and wanted to be a writer. There was a lanky, stringy-haired boy, he looked like a young Neil Young, and he wrote haiku about the end of the world while I wrote about sun shining through trees. I liked him. He liked me. I was attracted to him. I was scared of him. One day he put his arm around my shoulders and I jumped. He never tried again.
I gave up writing. But it never gave up on me. Now I'm back, but have no idea where I'm going.
Like Stephen, I write to communicate, but I need to be able to communicate my truth, and I've been afraid to, because fear kept me safe. If I no longer fear... If I look at the truth...
It hurts to see the truth. To look past my ugliness and see something good.
And then to let other people see us as we really are.
It's usually not a pretty sight. But maybe the most beautiful of sights.

Here's the music.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Take that Bambi!

Tonight I hit a deer - a huge 8 point buck - in my little Mini Cooper. It just leaped over a guardrail and into the front of my car. Deer got away (cop said "he's been taking out cars for 4 years). I was unhurt - though a bit shaken. My car needs body work (though the engine looks fine and I drove it home) - there may be a sensor wire shook loose or something. Sucks. I just made my last payment on it last month. So tomorrow I start dealing with insurance.

Am fucking glad this didn't happen before or over this past weekend. I'm working on a post about that. But right now I think I'm going to go have a relaxing beverage and chill out.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

who's to say what's impossible

This past week I turned my world upside down - and though I want to write about what's going on in my mind right now - I just can't seem to form my thoughts tonight. So I went to YouTube and typed in "Upside Down" and this song came up. I'd not heard it before (yes, I've been living under a rock). Not only do I like Jack Johnson, but the lyrics fit just perfectly with my thoughts.

And yeah, I'll post about the absolutely surreal two days that were this past Friday and Saturday, when Stephen Elliott was here - but that's for tomorrow morning when my mind is hopefully clearer. In the meantime enjoy this catchy tune.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Mangled, tangled thoughts

I'm wearing this necklace below, that I won from a contest that Alison and  Tiffanie at Metal Taboo ran over at the Trollop Salon. It's sort of become my talisman.

Life is crazy these days - in good and bad ways - but even the bad ways may turn out to be good. Do you know what I mean? When you're in a situation that from most angles looks to be one of the worst you could ever lay eyes on? But could also be one of the best? I'm in the middle of that right now. The most frustrating thing is I want to sit down and write about all this - but I don't have the fucking time!

I'm in the thick of a busy weekend where my Erobintica life merges and overlaps and soaks into (sorta like wine spilled on a favored tablecloth) my "other" writing life. I've organized a reading by Stephen Elliott and he's going to be here tomorrow, literally HERE, staying overnight at my house so I can drive him to his next gig in upstate NY on Saturday. So, I'm trying to figure out all the things I need to get ready for that (remember to clean the damn bathroom and the cat litter boxes), get some food, deal with some stupid shit (I promise I won't go on and on about idiot asshole landlords), and be all ready to go into NYC in the morning to meet a friend and then meet Stephen at Grand Central Station and head back here.

And how did all this come to pass? From long ago (well, not THAT long ago) over at Alison Tyler's blog where I read this post (well, damn, can't get a direct link - it's the Dec. 24 2008 posting Stuffing My Stockings) - and I followed it to The Rumpus. And fell in love with The Rumpus. And gradually came to read more of Stephen's writings - some for the first time, some again, like those in some erotica collections I have. Then I signed up to take a class from him in NYC, Writing From Experience. I wrote about that here. Then I read an advance copy of his latest book, The Adderall Diaries as part of "the lending library." I posted about that here. Then I responded to his query of those folks to host readings. And now it's happening. Right at a time when a bunch of other shit is happening in my life. Much of it my the result of my own doings. But I don't regret anything, because it has all gotten me to where I am  now and it's getting me to where I'm going (which I have no fucking clue where that is).

I know this post probably makes no sense. But I don't care. I'll post a lot more after the weekend.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Fighting fire with fire

Shanna Germain was kind enough to send me a poem for my other blog (what other blog? you might be asking) - which is called Poetry Liner Notes. Yes,  I have another life. My erotic writing life and my other writing life have been mixing for awhile now, but now I think they're going in the blender.

So, please take a minute to wander over and read Shanna's hot poem, Kindle, and read what she says about how the poem came about.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Not enough for No on 1

Even though I am not a Maine resident - yet - I watched yesterday's election - mainely (ha, yeah, a pun) Maine's Same-Sex Marriage People's Veto, Question 1. Sadly, the results were not in the favor of the No on 1 folks. The results were close - last I checked they were 53 percent for and 47 against (in other words 53 percent against gay marriage). But I'd been hoping that Maine would make me proud to be a future resident. Since I live in a state that allows gay marriage - and duh! the world didn't come to an end - I've watched other states struggle with this. It makes me sad. My oldest daughter did some work for the campaign (for same-sex marriage) years ago, when she was at college in Maine, that this election overturned. If they're still at it when we get to Maine (a few years away still) - you can bet that I will volunteer my time so that those who want to marry can.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Wild Things

Friday night I went to see Where The Wild Things Are with a couple of my favorite guys. It was an excellent movie. Emotionally moving (yeah, I cried). Amazing soundtrack (the above embedded clip features Karen O and the Kids). Visually stunning. The structures in the movie reminded me of Andy Goldsworthy's work - I have his "River and Tides: Working with Time" DVD. (found a snip of it to embed). I am very fond of stone and wood. Have dreams of building stuff like that when we get to Maine.

And since I'm in a wild mood...
(I hope to get to see the Rock Bottom Remainders play someday)

here's some more wild...

and one last bit of beautiful wildness before I go and write some wild sex (I'm doing NaNoWriMo).