About Me

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I'm in a perpetual phase of transition which doesn't seem to be phasing out.

Sunday, December 25, 2011


I asked for a block printing kit for Christmas. I haven't played with this kind of stuff since high school.  This is my pretty ridiculous first attempt since. lord.

Carving is the fun part.  Distributing the ink evenly is the trickiest part. I got highly flustered.

I've been writing a ton too but have been getting no where with it.  Maybe the story I'm currently working on will turn out decent enough to post on here.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Saturday, November 26, 2011

I made this for my dear friend Caleb

It's probably pretty hard to read: I once knew a rooster named Space Man. He was the most stoic rooster I'd ever met. My step-father Rick told me that this nature was good in a rooster. That he'd be transformed into a great cock-fighter real easy.  "Just gotta get his blood boilin' a little, that's all." He'd say.  I didn't want Space Man to become a fighter, so on a whim I rang his neck.  It wasn't a very difficult task to achieve.  Rick gave me a good smack across the face, but my mother prepared a mighty fine feast that evening (she tended to feel guilty about his volatile nature).  Rick managed to come around and enjoy the meal.  "As easy as you managed to ring that cock's neck, Arlene, I'm not sure I would've gotten a good fight out of him anyhow!" He exclaimed. I ate Space Man's thigh that night, my eyes full of tears.  I didn't want another smackin' for not finishing my supper.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


I've been in a difficult spot mentally lately. I don't think I'm depressed,  I'm just having an odd sort of writer's block.  Not really writer's block, more like a breakdown of intuition.  I basically feel like I don't know anything about my surroundings anymore, and I used to think that I knew a lot.  I've been reading too much philosophy about subjectivity.  People are complex, good people do bad things, bad people do good things.  I don't even really believe in good and bad, every person is an amalgamation of sorts. Labelling the ugly and beautiful mental mosaic of humans is often too categorical to allow for anomalies, and let's just admit it, we're all big 'ol cluster fucks of contradictions.   I've felt too freaking exhausted lately to attempt illustrating these complexities in fictional writing.  Plus I'm kind of having a breakdown, and want to erase all presuppositions I've held about people I know.  "He's this, She's that"...It doesn't freaking work that way. I guess I'm just maturing or learning to be less judgy or something. Yet at the same time I've felt more distanced from people than ever.

Anyway all I have right now are some broken excerpts from invisible paragraphs, which I haven't written down yet, and maybe never will.  That's okay.

Straight from my journal:

-When I try to think of the infinite, I just get lost.

-When I try to imagine death I'm always a bystander observing my own rotting corpse, and that's not death at all, I won't be there to observe myself. Nor is a corpse "myself".

-Frantic ecstasy is the worst feeling in the world when it's in the past and you're thinking about it with a tired mind.

-For me happiness has to be fleeting for it to feel awesome.  That's kind of fucked up.

-When I consider the potential optimism of believing in reincarnation I have no faith in myself.

-Sometimes I just want the details of every day existence to disappear, but I'm scared I'll be left with four black, invisible, suffocating walls and not any sort of higher understanding. 

-I was never drawn to the miracles of Jesus Christ.  Humans always need proof, evidence. I don't think all those miracles should have been necessary.  But they were and are.

-Sometimes it's revitalizing to have contact with a truely crazy person.  Makes me feel very sober, very sane. I think I need that juxtaposition from time to time to remind me that I'm not actually nuts.  I tend to romanticize neuroticism.  I'm a lot more level-headed than I want to be.  I'm a pretty good actress though.  I kind of want people to think I'm crazy sometimes.

-Damn it.  Why do I have to believe in the human soul?  My brain doesn't buy it.  Screw you, oh heart of mine.  You're so annoying.  Making me go read all this metaphysics stuff only to learn that I can't read hard books to find my own soul. It's gotta be all simple and shit.  Ugh, simplicity is exhausting, or maybe avoidance is the exhausting part.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

I've got to stop posting songs

I'm trying to complete some stuff to post on here.  In the process I've been listening to a lot of music.  I like these two quite a bit.

Amy LaVere


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Gah. I've abandoned the Smashing Pumpkins for quite some time.

This came on the collge radio station while I was driving home last night.

So good to listen to in the dark... it was especially good while I was driving.  Billy Corgan just does somethin' for me.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Some Stuff

I never watched M*A*S*H, it was a bit before my time.  But this is enjoyable:

I like this song too:

Unaffiliated sidenote (the above two items are also unaffiliated):    I currently am employed as a Barista at the most successful corporate coffee shop in the ya can't guess which one. My discretion is of magnanimous importance here folks.

Anyhow my dad called me at the house today and said "Hi, I'd like to order a latte."  I said "Alright sir, any specifications? do you need it to be skinny, half decaf with extra whip cream?"  He said "no, I just want a alotta latte, please."  then I said "Alright, here you go sir."  And he said "Wow! that's a lot-tay."

Then we went on to talk about other things.  My parents are oddly concerned about the amount of exercise I get. I think it's A.) because they don't want me to be fat and/ or B.) I've put them through hell with my varying mental states over the years and they think exercise will help me maintain the chilled out personage that I've established as of late.

Either way, I informed my dad that I went on a jog last night.  I corrected myself and said that really I just went on a walk with a little bit of jog here and there.  About a ratio of 5:3 (blocks of walking versus jogging).  He said he knows all about that and calls it a "wog". 

wogging...ha...I love it. 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Here's another story...guess this is becoming a short story blog.

A Significantly Empty Encounter

I decided to go to my favorite coffee shop the other night and showed up an hour before they closed. I hadn't been there in a while. I had just gotten through another god-awful day at the department store where I sell shoes to miserable people who are unaware of their own misery, as well as the misery that they cause me.

I could not go home immediately after work.  The night felt far from young, but I was on edge, and simply could not go to my apartment, not yet. I was restless.  Nostalgically focused on blank memories faintly resembling forgotten, memorable points of my life. Just whiteness.  Maybe there were flashes of green and blue in there.  Grass and sky. Childhood.  Mostly just white though, grayish-white. Sterile, yet so confounded and opaque. A detail-less mess of blurry forms. My mind felt drunk with anxiousness, and too exhausted to decipher it's own creations. The bottom of my stomach felt sunken in, and churned with a similar feeling to that of feet after they're relieved from being sat on too long.  All of the sudden I couldn't imagine my stomach not feeling that way, as if it always had, and always would, churn like that into eternity.

I had a collection of short pieces by Kafka in my car. While driving to the cafe I laughed at my firm decisiveness to go read that book.  I didn't want to do anything else in the world.  All of the coffee that I had already consumed that day felt stale and heavy and my my mind remained anxiously focused on nothing and so many things. Incomplete thoughts that probably had some sort of chaotic order to them but individually seemed futile, irrelevant due to there being no source of relevancy. I felt sick. I had to put an end to this inconsistently flowing rhythm. It was like a bad Sonic Youth song on repeat. I had to make it stop. I needed to zero in on the thoughts of someone else, to escape into his or her mind, away from my own.  But I didn't want to listen to anyone else's shit.  I didn't want to be around anyone at all.  I wanted to feel anonymous, to be a bystander in the world of someone else, someone with no awareness of my existence.  Kafka was going to have to be that person. He was the only thing available in my car and I simply couldn't go home.

The reader and the writer have a beautiful, mutually selfish relationship. The eyes of the reader listen to thoughts of someone else, but the reader in no way has to counsel the writer. Yet the immortality of a piece of literature was once a writer's very mortal desire for some sort of therapy. Maybe some version of the reader was on the author's mind when he wrote whatever it is the eyes hear, but that, in itself, was a selfish motivation for the writer, and therefore much more for himself than anyone else. Still, maybe the reader is fulfilling the book's destiny by reading it, as will the person that buys it from the used bookstore that the reader sells it to.

I was not obligated to read Kafka on that dreadful, decisively lonely evening. That was the beauty behind my obliging myself to do so. Usually when I get that sinking feeling I blame it on the coffee and decide I need to booze up my homeostasis. I'll go meet some ghosts of people at a nondescript bar in a laughing hell. However, on nights like the one being described, in which I think it's better to be alone, I can't imagine ever wanting to be anything other than alone and I get a strange desire to spit on all of those people I encounter regularly in my life, who are probably more real than me.  More alive than me. And what an odd sort of envy; to wish I didn't feel deader than other people. And yet to simultaneously feel intoxicated by the deprecating satisfaction of loneliness.

I think I only understand about fifteen percent of what Kafka writes and there is no way I could determine the accuracy of that percentage, for the man is dead.  He would not tell me what I know or don't know anyhow, because if I met the man I'd never ask such absurdities as "so what does this all mean anyway?" He'd probably just grumble and say "I haven't a clue." Plus I'd rather simply make out with him and maintain the language barrier in silence.

I traveled to the coffee shop expecting to enter a near empty room.  It was ten p.m. on a Friday night, it would be dead, with the exception of an over-zealous student here and there and maybe a customer as lonely as I.  I wouldn't want to talk to that person, yet I'd simultaneously desire to strike up conversation.  It would be easier and more cheaply stimulating than attempts to decipher the elusively brilliant Kafka.  But if there's one thing I believe in, it's the virtue of respecting another lonesome soul's solitude. 

The cafe turned out to be far from empty.  It was packed with people of an average age of probably nineteen. I felt old, but the blankly opaque white was still dominating my thoughts and twenty-eight years of life was just a mesh lost in the shadows of spiderwebs to which time doesn't cling.  I suddenly became aware of my index finger tracing the frown line on the right right side of my face.  God can I be vain.  A narcissist who is easily crushed by the site of masses of people younger than myself.  They were enjoying the bubble of academia that I was once engrossed in.  On that night these youngsters were out supporting their barely pubescent friends, who were performing live jazz music.  It was so goddamn loud. 

I had made the decision to go to that cafe, and I had certain premonitions and predilections about the environment that I would walk into on that evening.  I couldn't even find a table, except for one that was right in front of the musicians.  I could not bare that positioning.  I felt too bashfully misanthropic that night to tolerate the burning of people eyes starring through me towards the players. Plus it was unbearably loud.  I stood on the outskirts of the various table arrangements and felt disoriented and a bit panicked.  I couldn't go anywhere else.  I was already set on time passing by me in that space on that evening, at least for the subsequent hour. 

Suddenly an older man, the only older person in the cafe, got up from the most hidden table, in the darkest corner of the room.  I eyed him down like a bird of prey to a rodent.  I tried to read his body language to predict whether or not his getting out of his seat signaled a complete exit from the shop, or simply a bathroom break or a refill.  He caught me looking at him with an earnest curiosity and approached me, empty mug in hand.  He offered me the table. I could have kissed that man.

I put my stuff down at the table, I claimed it.  It was mine for the next hour until closing time.  Then I went up to the counter to order a cup of coffee.  Half decaf, I judged myself a little on that call, I've always found decaffeinated coffee to be absurd and disgusting. The girl in front of me paid the barista and carried her mug over to the cluster of tables.  She looked as distressed as I did. She came back towards the counter, not knowing what to do, for her drink was in a ceramic mug to stay.  She interrupted my order by informing the barista that there were no tables available.  Her eyes were open wide like a lost child.  I told her that she could share my table with me.  She looked at me gratefully, agreeing to do so.  She followed me to the table after I paid for my coffee. I felt apprehensive about having to make conversation. Fortunately she was there to read in solitude as well. We exchanged a few terse sentences as we sat down.  It was a social requirement.  Even two strangers may talk about the weather or various other humdrum topics before falling asleep during a one night stand.  After all, they're sharing a bed.  And we were two strangers sharing a table.  We introduced ourselves and gave incredibly undetailed descriptions of "who were are."  She picked up on my desire to keep conversation to a minimum, as I did with her.  What a perfect agreement for table-sharing with an unfamiliar person.  We both wanted the same thing: to read and be left alone.  Why couldn't I share a table with her until the end of time? To be alone with someone else within arm's reach yet untouchable, what a beautiful nightmare.  A pleasurably cruel fate.  That's all I wanted in that moment, and so that's all I wanted forever.

Occasionally I glanced up, away from good 'ol Franz and looked at the girl as discreetly as possible.  She was the most beautiful woman that I had ever seen, that I ever would see.  I hadn't, nor would I ever come across someone more gorgeous.  Her prettiness wasn't even all that unique or striking.  But she was glowing against the stale, white opaque walls of my past and the future.  The walls were encircling her. All blank, and unliving.  She sat above them on a wooden coffee shop chair, a throne of the present moment unconsciously reigning over the dreary flatness of my world. She was simply passively consumed by the words of someone else. I couldn't even be angry with her for causing me so much distraction, from doing exactly what she was successfully doing. 

But suddenly her concentration broke.  She checked her phone a handful of times and looked around the room in between. I pretended to read as I watched her lose her once impregnable serenity.

I felt embittered, disappointed.  I wanted to watch her do what I came there to do.  I wanted to absorb her peace of mind. 

A young attractive guy walked by our table and checked her out. She was the type of girl every guy wanted. A pretty girl with brains. She was unaware of his eyes.  Pretty, artsy girls who are unaware of their own dreadfully lovely they are.

Her name was Sam.  A gorgeous stranger.  She told me that she frequents that cafe.  As do I.  I assumed we'd sat in that same room simultaneously before, but that our worlds never collided in the essentially collisionless manner in which they did on that particular evening.  As I was leaving the shop, I felt socially obligated to make the evasively friendly statement; "I'm sure I'll run into you again sometime."  But I don't want to jovially acknowledge someone that I don't really know every time I bump into her again.  That may lead to us getting to know one another.  She already fell from the heavenly bodies when she became so quickly disenchanted with the literature she was consuming.

I wanted her eyes to be better at hearing than mine. For everything in my world felt so muddled and confused and intolerable.  And Kafka certainly was not abating that sentiment.

She was just as lost as I. 
In this shit modern world. 
And we were arms length apart.
And I never want to see her again.
A perfectly real stranger made up in my head.
She'll die if we get to know each other.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

2011: The Surreality of the Second Dimension Isn't Exactly a Dali Painting

It was the middle of winter. A girl and a guy were sitting on a cheap patio bench with several inches between them. They were on the porch of a rundown apartment building.  They both smoked their cigarettes slowly, sipped on their beers and shivered half-consciously; neither appeared to feel a sense of urgency to go back indoors. The girl said to the guy "I feel so alone" and he replied that it was good she could at least feel. They finished their cigarettes in silence. Both reached for the ashtray to dispose of the butts.  Their knuckles bumped and the girl glanced furtively at the guy, but met his eyes and looked away quickly.  He grabbed her face a little audaciously but not violently...she stayed the night.  In the morning she awoke early and dressed immediately.  He was a light sleeper and woke up as she was shuffling around trying to quietly gather her things.  She thanked him for temporary filling a void.  Then he asked her if they could try out being lonely together.  She responded, "See you around 2 am, then."
"That's not what I meant."
The girl laughed, "Well that's the way I've chosen to perceive your meaning. And I like to avoid verbalizing the beauty of human miscommunication.  After all, you seem to think it's good that I feel alone."
"No, I just think it's good that you feel something.  Your avoidant nature makes you enticing on a mental level. And it's not like I think the orifices of late night drunkenness are going to lead me to your brain."
"Ha. that'd be one hell of a maze."
"Well the best way to find your way through a maze is to just tear down the walls. That's probably better done by day, sitting across from you, coffee in hand."
"You're so cheesy. See ya later tonight."
"Fine, damn it."
They both laughed as she walked out of the room.
She walked down the 3rd floor hall of the old apartment building and then down the dusty staircase and laughed at her bullshit attempts at being ironic. All of the sudden she felt hysterically underwhelmed by all of her shallow "complexity" and texted him from the sidewalk. The text read "Coffee sounds good."  He went over to the window and yelled down to her.
"You're dumb for texting me that. Noon tomorrow?"
She got in her car and drove off; he debated whether he wanted to read some Albert Camus or watch porn.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Drive-Thru Blankets

I drove to Asheville this morning for the grand finale of my apartment clean-out. Now I'm back in Greensboro.  I felt pretty weird and sad all day.  This morning I felt especially melancholy.  It wasn't really a bad sort of melancholy, actually it felt kind of good, oddly comforting.  A numb sort of sad. 

As I drove out of Greensboro I turned on the radio to the college station that I like, hoping it wouldn't fade away too quickly.  When I tuned in, one of my favorite songs had just started playing, Kurt Vile's "Smoke Ring for My Halo." It worked perfectly as a soundtrack for my vacuously pensive sort of mood.  The sky was a complete blanket of light gray.  An omnipresent cloud.  And the morning air felt brisk. It was the first cool day of the season. I felt exactly like the climate.  We were one...and this song was the backdrop.  I wrapped myself in that cloud and felt completely immersed in this song and the sky. Hopefully my driving wasn't dangerous, I wasn't really paying attention to it.

The subsequent song was a total buzz kill, so I hit the scan button. The next station was playing Tina Turner's "What's Love Got to Do With It?"  I completely abandoned my melancholy for a joyous relief of frustration, i.e. I belted out this song with Tina until my throat hurt.  Did I mention I reallllly can't sing?

God that felt good. My moods seem so chaotic when juxtaposed next to each other, yet the sentiment behind all of them is continual, unceasing.  I just haven't quite grasped what my general sentiment is.  I probably wouldn't be so moody if I could figure that out.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

While I try to figure out my life I decided to write a short story

I hope it's a decent story.  I would love some in put from readers!

A Visit

“Damn it” Meryl thought to herself as she walked into a cafe, “I made a point of being late and I still beat him here.”  She hated being the first person to arrive for a two-person meeting of sorts, especially the emotionally significant sort.  It made her feel submissive, and she was far from the subservient type. She was always twelve to seventeen minutes late for a rendezvous.  If necessary, she would dilly-daddle in her apartment with hair pins and lip color for her staged tardiness to occur accordingly. This gave her the upper-hand; she felt a need to keep people waiting, to have the power dynamics tipped in her favor from the start. Meryl was a woman exiting her youthful “blooming” period of whimsical luster and entering the whole new world of the “thirty-somethings.” It was three weeks before her thirtieth birthday.  She had taken a brief sojourn to Lexington, Kentucky, the town where she lived for the first twenty-six years of her life. It was the first time that she had visited since her original departure.

Meryl took a seat at a small circular table by the window. The café was one that she had frequented with him years ago. Now the place felt like an old album once much beloved, but played too frequently by the admirer. A dust covered, faded album retrieved from storage and finally played again.  It was simultaneously fresh and nostalgic. Only albums don’t really change and places do.  The furniture was arranged differently with several new additions. The walls were painted mint-green; they were once grayish purple.  The art on the walls, which was always changed out monthly, was a particularly poor exhibition. Meryl felt a bit disoriented and a little sad.  She began starring out the window, obsessively searching for a face that matched Will’s in the mix of passersby.  At one point an elderly black man with wild Cornel West hair walked by, who did not even slightly resemble Will. After starring at the man for a moment or so, Meryl shook her head back and forth sharply as if she were snapping out of slumber. She became aware that it had taken her at least a split-second to register the stranger in her mind as “not Will”.  As she glanced at other pedestrians it dawned on her that she was placing Will’s face in the visage of each and every person. She quickly felt silly after realizing that the various people walking by looked nothing like her ex-fiancé.  She didn't have that clear of an image of him in her mind.  She’d been with Will for four years, yet somehow she remembered his qualities more than his face and his face more than their experiences together. It was a bizarre and unsettling sort of awareness for Meryl.   Things were blurry. Her mind tried to focus in on the past, but instead she found herself thinking about the subjectivity involved in human recognition.  How for someone to be “not Will” took far longer to register than it would have three years prior.  What made Will himself, for Meryl at least, was the array of characteristics that subconsciously comprised her view of him. But Meryl didn’t really know Will anymore. So she was morphing the facial structures of passersby to fit her recollections of his.  She wondered if he had changed, and figured that he probably hadn’t.  She started to feel uneasy and a little bored.  “Where the hell is he?” she thought to herself.

Then all of the sudden she jumped in her seat with the realization that she was making direct eye contact with him through the window. He was facing her, waving eagerly with a big goofy grin on his face.  She gave an embarrassed half smile, waved back and quickly diverted her glance to her feet.

He entered the café and walked towards her table.  She leaped up to hug him and he picked her up off the ground and spun her around a few times.  This was an unexpected greeting for the both of them. As he did so he said,
“It’s so good to see you Meryl, sorry for the delay”
“No worries Will, I’m just glad you didn’t stand me up!”
“Never” he replied.

They sat down across from each other at the small table Meryl had picked out. They made solid eye contact and Will sank back into his boyish shy self. Meryl was so goddamned beautiful and intimidating.  Those intense fiery green eyes did crazy things to many a rational man.  And he knew that she was aware of it, that she even liked it. She was a terrible person and wonderful all at once. Her hair was long and ironed stick-straight. It was dyed dark-brown, nearly black, with bangs cut straight across her forehead just above her brow line.  Will thought back to her natural dark blond, wavy hair, how soft it had once felt on his chest.  His mind flashed back to images of her when she briefly forgot about her appearance; like a time when she was wearing his Dinosaur Jr. T-shirt and some thin boyish panties. She was sitting on their sofa painting her toe nails on top of a book of Diane Arbus photographs while listening to French Rosetta Stone tapes, repeating words with an adorable attempt at an accent francais.  At present she was wearing dark eye makeup and sporting a tight fitting skirt that came up high on her waste with a lacey sleeveless button-down snugly tucked in.  She looked professional and artsy, like someone straight out of SoHo. As preppy and clean-cut as Will had become, he was surprised to find himself drawn to Meryl’s unnatural, edgy look. She was too skinny though, and he wondered if she was still smoking cigarettes and surviving off of granola bars and spinach salads. In their college days she proclaimed that she led that lifestyle out of necessity.  Now, thought Will, her only liable explanation could be pure vanity. He figured she was probably sad too. He knew just from the first meeting of their eyes that she had seen a lot in the past few years, but that she had not found love.  Her air was still too sexual; there was nothing docile or sedentary about her.

“Good God Meryl, how the fuck do you live with yourself? You’re just as brutally gorgeous as ever.”
Meryl laughed and took notice of the complete abatement of her nervousness.  She was not the slightest bit uncomfortable around the gentle-hearted Will.  She replied, “Oh Will, doll, you know that I’m in love with myself and you also know that I worked hard to look this good for an ex-fiancé I haven’t seen in three years.”  
Will grinned, remembering how blunt Meryl could be.  She always laid the cards on the table, always gave off an impression of transparency.  It never really fooled him; he knew she was thickly layered and that the rawness was simply a defense mechanism.
“Come on Meryl, you know you don’t have to put effort into your appearance for me, but I guess that’s exactly why you do it.”
Meryl replied, “Ha! Well William, darling, you’re not looking too awful yourself.  Although I do miss the ridiculously unkempt beard.  You really had me convinced you were a man when we first hooked up.  And now you’re cleanly shaven…You’re all grown-up Will, who woulda thunk it?”

(Will was younger than Meryl. He was nineteen when they met, Meryl was twenty-two.  They met the way a lot of college people meet, at a party.  Will was quiet-natured and for the most part just stood around awkwardly nursing a warm beer.  Meryl saw him and thought he was good-looking. He had big brown eyes, chiseled cheek bones, a huge beard and short sandy colored hair.  He looked kind, pensive, not like your average "bro". She approached him and said “Hey there Wallflower, what’s your deal?”
Will responded a little defensively but also flirtatiously,
“What kind of question is that? I don’t have a deal.  What’s your deal?” Meryl laughed hysterically and Will felt uncomfortable, noting in his mind that this beautiful girl was far more intoxicated than he.
She responded, “Let’s just make-out and I’ll tell you later.”
Then she pulled him in and kissed him with sloppy aggression.  His timidity often inhibited him from these sorts of encounters, so he didn’t stop her. He drove her home after a little while and spent the night at her place, but didn’t take advantage of her state, just laid there next to her.  Meryl could not believe his level of respect and grew fond of him quickly. She liked him because he listened with a tad bit of aloofness; it motivated her to sound interesting.  Will had no idea he came off as aloof and loved to hear her perceptive musings on life. The fact that he was younger and Meryl had an ego made it impossible at first for Will to detect any insecurity in her, thus he felt diffident.  Still, he was good with his words and he was also terse.  He spoke with concise clarity and came across far more stoic than he actually was. Meryl had sought stability in all the wrong places and things in the past, but Will felt safe without being dull. He was a physically large guy, tall and broad shouldered. What he lacked in emotional availability he made up for in his engulfing physique.)

"Well working a nine to five does somehow make me feel all grown up, sometimes in the worst sorts of ways" Will responded. 
"And what are the worst aspects of adulthood would you say, Willy Boy?"
"Oh you know...being too exhausted at night to do anything but fix a strong cocktail and watch the news....Oh and selling yourself to a highly specialized job title, slowly but surely accepting your occupation as your identity.  I guess the worst part is that I can sit back and watch myself change.  Sometimes I wish I could truly accept things.  Instead half of me is embarrassed by my conformity, tries to escape from it, while the other half kind of loves the security, repetition and even competitive element of it all. And Meryl, I'd be lying if I said I didn't care about how nice my paycheck is. Talking to you about it makes me feel a little ashamed."
"Oh come on Will! Look at me! I'm not exactly shopping at the thrift store these days. We've grown up, I'm sure there's still a bleeding heart-liberal tucked into that suit somewhere."
Will laughed and looked a little insecure, as if he was searching his inner being for his old self.  Meryl could not believe how open and talkative Will was being. She knew that it was abnormal for him to be this way, even if he had changed a good deal.  It seemed as though he had been repressing a lot. She wondered if this was a sincere confessional, if he really felt guilty, or if her presence was swaying him to feel that way.  He was clearly trying to give off a certain impression of himself, but Meryl was a bit put-off by his self-deprecation.

(Will was in internet advertising. He was an old-fashioned guy, a lover of the outdoors and an advocate of simplicity, but was somewhat paradoxically computer savvy.  Back in school he had been a fairly politically active, socialistic fellow.  Meryl was more self-centered than he, but she was sharp as a whip. She hated materialism and the sense of entitlement rich white college kids had.  She was able to socialize superficially while always maintaining an emotional distance. She was a cynic who knew how to play nice and be a chameleon.  Despite Will's optimism, he found her criticism of the modern world appealing. Her outlook was more satirical really. She made fun of circumstances and society with a fragile light-heartedness.  Fragile meaning that breakdowns were not necessarily uncommon for her.

Will came from a wealthy, surprisingly normal family.  Meryl was raised in far less fortunate circumstances.  Her father left her mother when she was pregnant with Meryl.  Meryl's mother remarried when she was three and her stepfather adopted her immediately.  He was a wonderful man, too kind and unassuming for Meryl's perpetually discontented mother, who abandoned the two of them when Meryl was twelve. Her adoptive father slowly slipped into alcoholism but managed to keep it under control while Meryl was still under his roof.  When she moved into the dorms on the campus of the local university he grew terribly lonely.  He had never really forgiven Meryl's mother, never really fallen out of love with her either. He shot himself in the head not long after Meryl's nineteenth birthday. 

Will had grown up in such a sheltered suburban world, and Meryl's history was unlike that of any other person in his life.  It humbled him greatly.)

"Now that I've set myself up for all sorts of criticism, can we go order coffee?” asked Will.
“These sweaty palms need the security of a mug handle." 
"I know one thing that hasn't changed Will…You still cope with your anxiety issues kinesthetically.  Let's go get you that mug." 
They walked towards the counter and got in line behind a couple of people.  Meryl told Will to hold out his hands.  She grabbed at his fingers and inspected them.  
"Just as I suspected, all chewed up to hell! Maybe you should order decaf buddy!"
"Let's just go to the bar Meryl. I don't even drink coffee."
Meryl always considered it a character flaw when people didn't drink coffee, mainly because she was a total addict, but also because she knew that most people who didn’t drink coffee were still addicted to caffeine, and consumed it through much more repulsive beverages like diet Coke and energy drinks. Will had a weakness for diet Dr. Pepper and Meryl found that nearly intolerable.
"Fine" Meryl said, "but I think that's a bad idea."
"Oh don't flatter yourself Meryl. You know Sarah and I are very happy." Meryl did know that, and she believed it too. She had kept up with Will through letters and email and he always spoke so fondly of his wife Sarah. Occasionally Meryl wondered if there was an ulterior motive behind his very candid expression of feelings.  Meryl would twist it in her head and convince herself that Will was trying to make her feel bad about herself and their past.  Deep down she knew that was her own shit, and far from his intention. Looking at him now, she understood it all.  He was good to Sarah, he loved Sarah.  His love was the love of a smart, stable man.  He valued the security of having a good person in his arms every night over the impassioned, rocky sort of relationship he had once held with Meryl.  He didn't find a sick sort of pleasure in the misery of instability like Meryl did.  It infuriated him and it hurt him.

Will was thinking of Sarah, how she wasn’t crazy about him meeting up with Meryl, but let him go anyway. Sarah was kind; she had a Jackie Kennedy sort of appeal. Yet she was bossy and feisty enough to keep things interesting.  Will needed his mate to have a slightly domineering edge.  After leaving Meryl, however, he reminded himself that bossy and bat-shit crazy did not have to come as a pair in a person, nor were they synonymous.  Looking back at his relationship with her he thought it was all pretty stupid and futile.  She and he had both distorted reality so fantastically, and he didn't like straying away from his grounded nature.  However, he did not know that he was capable of being a romantic until he met Meryl, and a part of him still held onto the highs of their time together. 

Meryl agreed to go to the bar and they went back to their table and gathered their things.  Then as they were walking towards the door she got out her wallet and veered over to the counter.  She handed the pretty, tattooed barista a ten dollar bill and apologized for taking up a table without ordering anything.  It was kind, spontaneous gestures such as this that had always thrown Will off, always kept him convinced that deep down Meryl wasn't as misanthropic as she conveyed herself to be.  They headed towards the exit again and Will quickly jumped ahead of her a few paces in order to get the door.  Meryl secretly appreciated chivalry and didn't always find it chauvinistic unless the person holding the door had gelled hair and overwhelming amounts of man-whore cologne on.  She thanked him with a mild tone of flirtation and they proceeded to walk down the sidewalk several yards in silence, both trying to figure out where the conversation had left off. Finally Will asked Meryl about her visit. 
"So you're in town for business?" 
"Yeah I'm meeting up with Ben Rotunda to get some pieces from him for the gallery.  He hates the West Coast. I'm surprised he's even letting his stuff grace the walls of a California gallery.  Last time I saw the old man he said he couldn't wait for California to detach from the continent."
Will laughed, but felt a panging sensation from images of Rotunda and his crew of philandering drunken old artists who Meryl used to go around town with.  He had known that she was fully capable of handling her own; slap a man if he made advances, kick him in the groan even, but Will had always struggled with trust.  The funny thing about Meryl was her paradoxical virtuosity.  She never once cheated on him.  That actually made the end worse. It wasn't like putting Capone behind bars for tax evasion.  She hadn't done anything to spur on his decision; he had no accusations against her.  Sure she was a flirt, a God-awful flirt, but she wasn't a liar.  She never even tried to be.  The honesty is what made him leave. She was a caged bird, never afraid to express her hatred of captivity.  So one day he finally set her free. He could never be the key-bearer to a woman's cage. He was a good guy.

"So I guess you'll be seeing that whole artist crew then, huh?"
"Well of course Will, but what does it matter? I have to take them out, pay them back for all my youthful free-loading. You know they never got what they really wanted in exchange for all the free booze over the years.  I at least owe them some good bottles of red."
Will gave a half-assed laugh. "Okay, okay Meryl, let’s change the subject. There’s no ring on your finger and you seem unattached, though you come off that way regardless. Tell me, are there any decent fish hooked on your line these days? Or are you still the same paradoxical lone ranger who is surprisingly skilled at social mingling?"
"Ha! Will we haven't reached Zelda's and you're already taking on a berating tone with me. I'll have you know that I've fallen in love once since we split and had several decent affairs aside from that. It's been fun, but you of all people know that I’m totally neurotic. Happiness comes my way and I run from it. It keeps me going Will, keeps me fresh, keeps my gallery running and my own art above mediocre."
"Yeah, well, I could preach to you about the contentment and simplicity of settling down, however I'm just as dissatisfied as you for different reasons. Reasons I cling to instead of run from. Really though Meryl, I'm happy.  I'd like to travel more, take more risks, spend money a little more recklessly, but ultimately life is good for me." 
"I believe you Will. I'm just glad you still think, still crave. You're not empty."

They reached the outside of Zelda's, a small dive on the outskirts of downtown that they both loved.  Meryl managed to grab the door handle before Will and as they were entering said "Oh Will, you know that I'm terribly envious of you"
Will gave a half smile and followed Meryl over to the bar. She was clearly eager to order something, Will could sense her edginess, he was actually starting to make her feel uneasy.
"Two shots of Jameson and two Pisgah Porters to chase please."
"Sure, can I see both of ya’lls ID's?" asked the bartender
"Ha! Will did you hear that?"
"Oh come on Meryl, they're supposed to card anyone that appears under forty." Meryl gave Will a smack on the arm.
"Shut up Will, it's the bangs, they make me look young. Now let’s take some shots for old time’s sake."
The bartender poured the shots. 
“Sure Meryl, I believe I’ve already told you that you look great...God I think the last time I took shots of whiskey was at my bachelor’s party.”
“If I was a bystander to this conversation and took note of both of our left ring fingers, I’d think that comment was some ironic foreshadowing for the evening” responded Meryl
Will’s face twisted with annoyance and a tad bit of sexual frustration at her joke. Meryl handed him his shot:
Meryl took a quicker shot than Will and reached for her beer far lees hastily. She was growing tired of the unnecessary weirdness between them.  She had a hard time considering other people's emotions; her boldness often inhibited her from having empathy. She knew she had hurt Will many times, but it was so long ago.  She could sense an undertone of hatred in his behavior, an odd sort of loathing rooted in a stale love he hadn’t overcome entirely. She had long been over him, had long lived far away from him.  She never even stopped to think that he was probably sitting in the Southern Appalachian Mountains longing to know what she was up to, where she was, when she’d send a letter. This had nearly dissipated when he established a serious relationship with Sarah, but the sentiment never faded completely. On seeing Meryl, all of the good and the bad things had come back to him, both in memory and feeling.

Meryl’s routine had been so far less monotonous than his since they split.  She was unable to have the same level of vividness in her recollections. Plus she was the admired and he was the admirer, the latter person in those sorts of relationships always suffers far more when things are over.

“So is this still commonplace behavior for you Meryl?”
“I own an art gallery Will. Being able to hold my liquor while I booze up others is part of my business. My best sales come from people who are three or more glasses in. I have to keep up a tolerance so that I can drink right alongside my clients and never reach their level of intoxication.  Maybe I could just sip throughout openings, but that’s just not as fun! We’re not in my gallery right now though Will, and as far as I’m concerned you’re not a potential client.  Going to the bar was your idea anyhow.  I thought the coffee shop would be far less threatening.”
“Lord Meryl you’re a sly-ass entrepreneur.  Never thought I’d see the day.  So I guess you’re throwing some real classy parties over there, huh?”
“Oh yeah, Will. Networking is the name of the game. It’s pretty disgusting really I guess, but unlike you, half of me isn’t skeptical of my own behaviors. I’ve probably lost a good bit of integrity over time, but looking back I wonder if I really ever had any.  Not to play the victim card too strong, but I feel like I deserve this. The death of my father really embittered me, I can’t enjoy life authentically, so I at least have the right to throw a great fucking party, Will. Jesus Christ, I didn’t exactly get handed an easy lot in life. It’s not like I’m at the top of some massive conglomerate laying people off for every minor dip on Wall Street.”
Will put his arm around Meryl. She grabbed his wrist and thrust his arm away from her.
“I’m sorry Meryl, I wasn’t trying to be insulting. Life’s twists and turns are just funny I guess. You’re different, but if anything, it’s impressive. You’ve done well for yourself. I’m happy for you. I’m proud of you Meryl.”
Will’s heart sank.  He had held such high hopes for Meryl. He had idealized her so much.  Despite the emotional hardship she had put him through, he had always felt that her future lay in some sort of philanthropic, low-paying career. Maybe the Peace-Corp or random non-profit work like painting murals in the ghetto or something. She’d always gotten so emotional about the circumstances around the world.  A memory flashed through his mind of a time when Meryl painted a sign on poster board and nailed it to the wall next to the television.  It read “THERE WILL BE ABSOLUTELY NO NEWS BROADCASTS PLAYED WHILE MERYL IS MENSTRUATING. CONSEQUENCE: THE NEAREST LARGE OBJECT (I.E. HAIRDRYER, STELLETO HEEL, ETC.) WILL BE THROWN AT SCREEN.” She wasn’t all that toughed-skinned really. Meryl exemplified that a woman can be both incredibly strong and easily affected by the world around her. It took getting close to someone like her for Will to really get that.

“Thanks Will.  It’s not like it’s been easy.  I’ve worked my ass off.”
“Yeah I know.  I’ve received letters from you from what feels like every state in the union, most of the E.U. and from what I recall, several Asian and African nations. I think it’s incredible that you’re exhibiting art from all over. That in itself is doing something for the world.”
“Yeah, I’ve had so many amazing experiences, and some difficult ones too. I’ve made a point to seek out artists that are only big in their region, and some artists that are barely known at all. I’ve held several exhibits which exclusively displayed the work of poor craftsman from developing nations.  Sure I get some of the proceeds, but I’m not a total neurotic businesswoman on a power trip.  I still feel William.”
“Okay, okay I crossed the line. That all sounds incredible Meryl.”
He ordered them two more beers.
“I’m going to have to go break the seal Will. I’ll be right back.”
Meryl grabbed her obnoxiously large purse and went to the bathroom. 

Will sat there, sipped on his beer, and took notice of the spinning sensation in his brain. 
“Jesus I’m such a light weight now.” He thought to himself.  Meryl didn’t make him feel nervous in a romantic tension sort of way nearly as much as he had expected.  Her presence made him feel boring and insecure, but was relieved to really know for certain that he wasn’t in love with her anymore. He had clung to his good memories of her over the years; he had created a Meryl in his mind that was totally distinct from the Meryl presently taking a leak.

She took a while in the ladies’ room but finally returned with an unlit cigarette between her fingers.  She got a light from someone at the bar and then sat back down next to Will. “Want a cigarette? I was trying to hide the habit from you, but, damn it Will, I still haven’t quit, I haven’t even really tried. I figured you had cut the habit by now.”

“Sure I’ll take a cigarette, I sneak one here and there, but I gave it up about a year and half ago.”
“When you met Sarah?”
“Yeah, well when we got serious I did. She hates cigarette smoke.  I sneak a smoke when she’s off at book club. Geez, I’m such a married man. Ha. Wanna hear the best part?”
“Everyone in the book club uses a kindle. God it makes me nuts.”
“Wow that’s a great mental image. The Stepford Wives of the 21st century.”
“Oh she’s not that bad Meryl. She’s very bright. They’re not reading Twilight or anything, I think they mostly read American Classics.”
Meryl ashed her cigarette and simultaneously reached for her beer. She took a big gulp then rubbed her nose in a suspiciously furtive way. Will noticed a new redness to it that hadn’t been there earlier in the evening.
“Yeah, yeah. Anyway who are you trying to keep your figure so tiny for? Be real with me. What’s going on? Are you depressed? Have you fallen for one of those foreign artists you exhibit?”
Meryl rubbed her nose again a little and responded,
“Ha! Right! Oh I’ll admit I’ve found myself helplessly infatuated with a few of them here and there. But the same thing always happens. Their work never transcends into their being the way that their being transcends into their art. It’s like they can only really be what I convince myself they are when they’re in production mode, when creativity consumes them.  Outside of that, they’re surprisingly uninteresting and usually egotistical.  It’s as though I like what people represent, but I don’t like who they are. God that doesn’t even really make sense.  Even when someone is absolutely amazing I don’t stick around, I get scared the veil will be drawn, or maybe that mine will.”
Meryl all of the sudden crossed her arms over the bar and put her head in them. 
“Meryl what’s wrong?”
Meryl perked her head up a little, but remained hunched over the bar and said:
“The gallery is failing Will. Not because I’m not selling art, the mega rich still buy art even when the economy sucks. It’s because I’m mismanaging money.  I’ve blown more cash than I can make up for in sales.  I owe my rich uncle a ton of money. I have a sensation, a yearning for “home.” But that means nothing to me Will. This town is full of bad memories.  Where do I go to find home Will? I hardly have any family.  I don’t speak to my mom.  My Uncle and I only talk business.  I have no one.”
“The gallery is your home. You love that gallery, you love your life. Stop fucking up. And why the hell are you doing coke? You’ve been rubbing your nose ever since you got back from the bathroom. I’m not a fool Meryl.”
“I’ve met so many people Will, I fraternize with hundreds of different elite fucks all the time, it’s part of the game.  I’m so lonely. So terribly lonely. So goddamn alone.  I’m always with people Will. Twenty-Four Seven, Three-six-five. I threw a party at my gallery on Christmas with all the Jews I know so that I wouldn’t have to be alone. That would’ve broken my dad’s heart Will.”
“A lot of it’s your fault, you know?  I mean your loneliness.  You don’t let people in. You don’t give people a chance. Los Angeles is a huge city, there have got to be some good people somewhere. Stop being such a bitch Meryl.  Stop hating so much.  It’s unattractive. Get yourself cleaned up. This is just ridiculous.”
“You never really understood me Will.”
“I understand you perfectly Meryl.  More than you understand yourself.  Now stop being a dumb ass and clean yourself up.”
Meryl laughed
“God I hate you.  You’re younger than me and a male, yet somehow you’re always fucking right about everything.”
Will sort of grinned.
“I’ve slowly managed to get over you Meryl, but I still care. Don’t stick around town too long. L.A. is fine and you know it. Get your books in better order and stop throwing away money. And seriously, find yourself some real people.  Coke-head neo-aristocrats are generally bad, selfish humans. Meryl, please find your heart again.”
“Okay Will...Look it was great to see you, but I’m ready to walk myself to the hotel. Please don’t try to walk me there. Here’s forty bucks for the drinks. My treat.”
Will put the money right back in her purse.
“Don’t be absurd.” He hugged her and she reciprocated with a cold, distant embrace.
“Great to see you Meryl.”
“You too Will”
“Oh by the way Will, I didn’t come here to buy paintings from Ben Rotunda. He’s not even in town.”
She walked out of the bar and he didn’t follow her.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

okay I'm going to write a reasonably interesting post soon but....

My mommy and I took these goofy pictures on my laptop earlier and I had to post them.  They would've been better if my gorgeous seester was here with us!

Sunday, August 14, 2011


Wow looking over my posting history really reiterates my bi-polar insanity.  Oh well, at least I'm happy half of the time.  I guess I could use a dose of mental/emotional consistency or relaxtion or contentment or balance or something like that.  I bought an english translation of the Upanishads the other day.  Maybe that will help. 

Things are looking up.

Life is feeling pretty good here lately.  I moved home to Greensboro which I thought would be terrible, but it's actually going really well.  I'm doing a good deal of art and writing and reconnecting with old friends.  My best friend from high school is moving back home next week too. Apparently 92% of recent college grads have had to move home.  Guess that's life.  I'm trying to look at it with a good attitude.  I'll live rent-free for a while, get a mindless part-time job and spend all of my spare time reading, writing, drawing and hanging out with good friends.  I've also been riding my mom's bike a lot and cooking really delicious food.  wahoo.  I rode the bike over to see the art teacher who changed my life.  I took classes from her for 10+ years and she is the most incredible woman.  She said I could come and use her studio for free whenever I want.  Amazing.  Oh and I've been good and sober for a month +1 week.

My dear friend William took these pictures of me with his fancy antique photo app on his iphone. I really love them.

Picking out greenbeans for a thai yellow curry recipe.

Sitting in William's awesome downtown apartment being goofy.

Dancing in the kitchen at my parents'. always.

I don't even really like dogs...

God. Me as a housewife. ha. frightening

Monday, July 25, 2011

Filled up Empty spaces and Clocks. Someone once told me I shouldn't mix Einstein and Metaphysics. Don't know much about either, but it's all I can seem to do.

Last night I found myself in an apartment. An apartment in a building that was probably built in the 30's. (Soon I suppose I'll have to start saying the 1930's).  More specifically I was in the living room of an old apartment. I found myself in the living room of an old apartment with what would appear to be minimally utilized space. There were scanty amounts of familiar furniture that came no where close to filling up the empty space of that very large, high-ceiling(ed?) room.  I found myself in a large living room in an old apartment with scanty, mismatched furniture and also hardwood floors.  One section of the hardwood floors supported a strange (but not that strange) assortment of bottles, most of which at one time contained alcohol and most of those once contained beer.  One of the two renters of the old apartment had a music project going on that involved blowing into bottles.

If the room I found myself in last night were devoid of human beings it would appear very, very empty. (Oh no! its the ol' tree falling in a forest out of anyone's earshot debate, I will leave that be.) However, on this night it felt full...full of commotion and bodies and sounds and lights.  In this room I was surrounded by six people as well as a one hundred pound Alaskan Malamute and an orange striped kitten.   I was sitting in an oversized green leather chair that the renters (2 of the 6 people in the room) found on the curb like most of the rest of their odd assortment of furniture.  It was a comfortable chair and my body was quite relaxed, yet my mind was rather ill-at ease.  Lots of conversation was being exchanged in this large, old room last night. The conversation probably took many twists and turns on a variety of topics. I was the only sober person in the room and I felt the most detached. I wasn't listening to anything anyone said. I'm not even quite sure that my ears heard the sounds produced when one of the six other people uttered words. Or 2 of the 6 people or 3 or all kind of jumbled together into a blah, blah, blah until it was just white noise lost. Mere appearances of meanings and the appearances were lost before translation for me. And I got into a snobby frame of mind feeling that there was no meaning worth deciphering in anything said that night. 

Eventually I just zoned out entirely. I cannot recall what I was focused on in my mind, and somehow, despite my detachment, I was very conscious of my being in a room. Of the type of room I was in, of the togetherness of the objects taking up space and the flow of energy moving from one object to another, making the room warm and lively and making me feel deader than dead. An immortal bystander in a world far from frozen, only I feel so cold. I was sharing the oversized chair with one of the two renters. A gorgeous Brazilian girl who I've grown to know well, who I'll never know at all.

For a while I watched the kitten attempt to interact with the dog. The kitten wanted to play and the dog was aloof to these yearnings.  The kitten sought out the attention of the dog and always grew fearful and scooted backward when his attempts were even slightly successful. For a moment or so I felt as if I were that kitten because I was so deeply immersed in watching its actions and making sense of its behavior. (I'm not sure whether I was humanizing the cat or if I was allowing the cat to unconsciously felinize me).

Yet in that large living room within that old apartment building on that night I wanted no attention at all. The exchanges of sentences continued for a time period that I had taken no real track of but I knew  it had been a while. I eventually became focused on what would be the most respectful method of exiting...the most mannerly means of departing from that large room filled with people who I spend so much time with, who I know so well. I had to leave because I didn't feel like knowing anyone and I had lost all sense of closeness to the people in that room.  They were intimately familiar strangers. Like warm blooded ghosts, only I'm the ghost not them.  And as much as I find other people transparent, we're all so opaque and alone.

I wanted to leave because I felt like my state of mind was not in accord with the harmonious, jolly-natured air of the living objects within my vicinity. But is it not always the case that there is disharmony between the possesor of "I" and the surrounding "they"? Or could we ever be aware of a harmony between multiple souls if there was such a thing? Maybe while making love or collaborating on creative endeavors or something. I'm not so sure, because I can only be sure of "me" and even that falters from time to time.

Conversing is so much easier and natural-feeling when I'm drunk.  I'm currently on a binge of not drinking.  I left that room last night uttering "I want to go home". Usually I make up some excuse or act overbearingly apologetic.  Last night I found myself in a room and once I found myself there I felt a sort of angered frustration oozing through my nervous system. I felt like an exile surrounded by other exiles who I could not communicate with no matter how many words I put together. So on that night in that big, old room filled with other souls, I chose to use no words.  Silence. Until I said "I want to go home"

I am what composes my being and they are what composes theres.
And there is always a void
Between me and Them
And Them and me
And I'm almost always aware of it.
Especially now that I'm sober.

Filled space, filled time
And an eternal emptiness
An emptiness that the life-forms of every epoch perpetually attempt to fill
Until the end.
An end that we're all scared of.
Yet we busy ourselves, often mindlessly
until it reaches us,
or rather we reach it
And on our deathbeds we can't recall what exactly we had done with ourselves
or with time
or with space
And then there's that extra dimension
That one those philosopher's try to put into words and logic
That dimension that is only my own
or your own
or his own
or her own
That private, dusty dimension
That can't ever be explicit to this world that we're exiles in
Even when we want it to be conspicuous
It's never explicable and yet it's the only thing sacred to the self.
And it's often ignored and stifled
and that's what I'm fucking depressed about.