Monday, July 30, 2007

Bounty From France

All members of the family received bounty from Paris today. Needless to say we were thrilled with our gifts. Umberto and the girls extend a big thank you to Tia Tania. The puppets have been put to good use today. We had sharks chasing down alligators and a wolf just there for kicks. Umberto loves the coloring books. The kind Tania sent are particular favorites of his.
An alligator eating frogs....yum, yum.

Oh Happy Day

Life is about the simple pleasures. Today we received bounty from France. The world's coolest sister-in-law sent us moleskins! Hurrah. And a mini-Eiffel Tower as well as an abundance of puppets, coloring books, art sticker books, and a book about Picasso (Umberto saw it and said "Hey that's the painting we have on the wall."). I love treasures in the mail. And yes I know I am obligated to send out some treasures as well.
And then just to top it off, I went to the library and brought home lots of pleasure:

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Mundane Matters II

My own posts inspired me to email my dad just to say "Hey! I love you!" It's funny because these posts are not really dredging up any kind of negativity for me. After the first memory which is sad, and kind of awful, the good ones just started coming. Usually my good memories are reserved for those of living with my mom. I stuffed all those negative ones down and channeled them into negativy towards my dad. And the negavitivy wasn't unwarranted but it pushed out all the wonderful things about him. Mostly these posts have helped me accept that I just really like my dad...a lot. I used to feel guilty for that, as if I was betraying my mom. So I just shot him an email to tell him these things. I miss him, and I hope he drives through soon.

On other more mundane matters....H and I totally rearranged the apartment. I think we were both feeling that moving itch (we've been here nearly two years, and we're renewing our lease). We've been trying to figure out a way to keep the kids out of our hair. We moved all their toys into their bedroom. They just hauled the toys out. We tried to force them to play in their rooms...they cried and sobbed. They hated their bedroom. It was basically a space to sleep in not play in. It felt like a lot of wasted space. Instead of getting rid of the kids, we decided to move things around. We moved thier bed into our room so now we have a huge bed. Then we turned their room into a study. Eventually we'll have a table for our laptops, and another table for the kids' art projects. We moved their toys into the dining room (which once housed the computer desk and a cubical shelf). We also took all the shelves out of our bedroom and put them into the study. In addition, we moved the furinture around in the living room in such a way that we created a big open space in the middle right through to the dining room. It feel so much more spacious now. The kids are thrilled, and so far they're sticking to the area where their toys are! Hurrah! Of course we're exhausted, and I'm about to hit the wine in a bit.

I'm glad we started the project before school started but...I wish had our money. I want to clean our rugs, and buy the tables for the study now. B

Hauling Freight

My dad started driving truck when I was a teen ager. He liked the freedom it provided him, and he enjoyed traveling all over the United States. His various wives and girlfriends during that time were not too thrilled with his long absences, nor with his acquiring of more girlfriends during those long absences. My brothers found his new line of work exciting and a bit romantic. I spent a couple of years embarrassed but then just indifferent. They went on many trips with him, and while I often rode in his truck, I had never gone any long distance trips.

At eighteen, I was a bit lost. My recent graduation from a Christian high school had not helped in my planning. It had stripped me of any faith I might have possessed. I was lonely, tired of my mom's mood swings, and wanting very much to be different. A chance encounter with a friend's ex-girlfriend introduced me to an artsy, alternative crowd. And a job at a summer camp lead to hanging out at a college radio station. I dyed my hair black, shaved half of it off, and pierced my nose. My mom refused to look at me, and called my dad. I ended up on a father/daughter road trip to the Bronx.

My dad didn't refuse to look at me, and didn't seem overly horrified over my appearance. He kind of raised his eyebrows and asked what was up with the hair but he did it with a kind of laugh. Then he didn't say another thing. Not when we stopped at truck stops where red neck drivers looked at me a bit horrified. Not when we went into stores, and people were rude to me. He just acted like it as normal. This was both a relief and a disappoint. My dad, who normally was very concerned about appearance of normalcy, didn't give the reaction I wanted but I also knew that it was an acceptance that most of my family couldn't give me.

We didn't talk too much at first. We listened to music. Old 70s rock. I chatted inanely when he started to go to sleep, or lit cigarettes to help him stay awake. After running out of the inane, I started to talk about my confusion over the future. I didn't know about college. I was sick of school, and I have no idea what I wanted to do. I told him about how I felt trapped in Maine, and wanted to live in a city. I told him about things were rough with my mom. How she seemed to hate me, and was always angry. I told him about not having many friends. By the time we got to New York, I had purged myself. He didn't say much but he listened, and maybe that was really what I needed at the time.

The New York I saw that night is the New York that still stands out in my mind. It was very late as we drove the truck through Manhattan. The lights trailed up to explode into dark sky. People in various forms of dress and undress were still wandering out from clubs and into their homes. Even this late there were a lot of cars, and my dad had to carefully maneuver his truck through the narrow streets. Once in the Bronx, prostitutes jumped on to running boards of the truck offering their services. It was nothing I had expected, and everything I wanted. I wanted to live someplace like this. My dad hated it. He complained bitterly about the crowd, the noise, the dirt. He told me his dreams then. How he wanted to live on some land in upper state Maine. He wanted a small farm, some workhorses that he could work. He felt trapped by his job.

That morning, the truck parked nose to tail with another truck, part of a chain that snaked around a median, I slept in the bunk with my dad. I had never slept with my dad. In fact, I only have the fuzziest memories of cuddling him, or hugging him. I lay awake for a while, his feet by my head, listening to him snore. This person who listened to me, who felt similar feelings to mine was really a stranger. A stranger. My dad. Yet those few times when we were together, I felt this deep connection to him. I liked him. I liked talking to him, to being with him. And maybe this was why I was so angry. I was more than angry because he had left me. I was angry because I should hate him. I should resent him. And when I wasn't around him it was easy to feel this way. But when we were together, I just felt content and happy. I felt like I was with someone who understood me. My pain came not just from abandonment but from losing the parent who was like me. The parent who instead of refusing to look at me, just shock his head with a knowing smile.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Back to Schooling

We've semioffically started school this week. Nothing too formal but enough to pace us. Next year will be tight schedule wise. Both H and I will be working part time, and while I have independent studies I do have a thesis to write. I want to continue to educate Umberto, and I want this to be a loose unschooly thing, I am concerned that we might have to put them all in school once we start our Ph.Ds. I feel obligated to prepare him with the basics so to speak.

Right now we're just doing some worksheets, and a few project type things. For some reason Umberto just loves worksheets. For my part, I admit to feeling a great deal of frustration over teaching him to read. I feel like I sound the same letters again and again until I'm ready to scream. And he still doesn't get it. It drives me mad sometimes. H pointed out that I need to back off when I feel that way, and he's right.
I have some books with different ideas I just need to spend some time making flashcards, learning center, etc. And I'm buying a math curriculum in a couple of weeks. We'll see how it goes.

His latest poetic outburst: "The sun looks just like a ball that someone threw across the sky."

Speaking of Dads...

My dad and me.

H and his dad.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Merry Christmas

My first memory is a blurred recollection prompted, expanded from, and perhaps invented from an old photograph. I am four. I have long reddish hair, an equistive look on my face, and am wearing a long blue nightgown with lace around the neck. I am pulling a Fisher Price Circus train. There is no one else in the picture nor are there are any signs that it is Christmas. Nor are there any clues as to where I am. I assume it's my grandmother's house because we spent all our Christmases there.

In my memory, unreliable thing that it is, the train is a gift from my dad. But he is not there. It is Christmas Eve. I am upstairs in our apartment above my uncle's apartment. We have a small tree tucked beneath the eaved ceiling. It is a pultry thing, skinny with few branches, and holding only a few ornaments, tons of tinsel, and some lights. At four I don't care though nor does my brother who is only two. There are no presents under our tree. The presents will be at my grandmother's. This year I am concerned that Santa will know where to go but my mom assures me that he knows. Earlier in the month, she helped me write a letter to Santa explaining that we celebreate at my grammies. As my mom packs some clothes for our overnight visit to my grandmothers, she sings carols, badly with the radio. My mom can't carry a tune but she sounds happy.

--Bring these to your Uncle.

She hands me some slender gifts. I go downstairs. Here it does not smell like Christmas but rather it's dank and musty, smellling of old cigarettes and dogs. The hallway bothers me with it's dark paneled walls and twisting corners. I am terrified that I will fall. I make it safely to my Uncle's door, and knock. The door opens to reveal my father!


Now I know why my mother is happy. I drop the presents and launch myself into his arms. He holds me away from him looking surpised and then embarssed. It is only then that I realize this man is not my father but his brother. Everyone in the room laughts at his discomfort, and I tr hard to not cry. I don't know if I wanted to cry because I am humilated at this mistaek or because it is not my father. I stay for a short bit of time, long enough to get a candy cane, and then I go back to our apartment. But the moment won't go away. It is trade among my family for the whole night and the next day. Everyone laughs, and remarks how much my uncle looks like my father. The story will follow me years later. In fact, it will be told at least once every Christmas.

--Remember the year that Ginger mistook Mark for her father?

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Mudane Happenings in the Midst of Autobiography

Apparently I am engaged in an autiobiographical critique of my ownself...imagine the possibilities! But I am also less than a month away from the beginning of classes, and the added responability of a TAship. Add to this the huge job of educating my son and it's a recipe for extreme busyness. We're starting our "practice" run tomorrow.

I need a bit of time to adjust to a schedule. I'm just not a schedule kind of person. I love making them up, writing them down, and imaging myself actually following them. However, in reality, I just don't unless forced to by a job or something else awful like that. My first semester of school, it was Umberto's schooling that kept me line. Once we pulled him out, I just drifted along...we just drifted along. My classes were late enough to not require me up at a certain time. Now things are going to have to change. I have too much to do, and my time as Ernesto's so elqoutenly put it, is about to become "common time." And I am with Ernesto in that I find this meshing rather tramutic. And it's not just in the sense of dealines but in the sense of how long it takes on to adjust to other people's emotions, temperements, etc.

Of course this means less blogging for me. A sad fact as I am enjoying writing out my life in little vingettes. It's inspired to go to my mom's and gather up old photos. Maybe I'll even scan some...given time of course.

Now we're off to campus. I need to photocopy for a professor, and myself. I'm going to show the kids my office. We'll walk the gardens, visit the greenhouse, and then go out for New York Style pizza and beer. A fulfilling day...a simple day. And then tomorrow, lots of work. I have a meeting with my advisor about my thesis, and I'd like to have some kind of outline. I need to type my notes on to this bloody machine. I get my ass in gear. But really I just want to laze about , blogging, holding, my children, reading vampire smut.

Time, at least time that is not my own

Unable to Perform

She didn't like to be alone in old houses. Old houses always held ghosts; and ghosts always came to her. The room was tiny and cold despite it being July. Outside the wind rustled through the leaf laden trees, and the rain beat against the old metal gutters beneath the roof. She tried to cry but she couldn't. She took this as another sign of failure. When the tears didn't come, she began to envision their break up. She would have to make up some tears, some drama. Should she beg him to not leave? A hidden part of her spoke up, suggesting that him leaving her would not be a bad thing. Maybe she could go home with a bit of pride. Or she could stay here, and just not be with him. She quickly stuffed that voice down. Of course she would hate a break up, she loved him.

But does he love you? the voice whispered.

This was the first time she had ever been to his house. And she lay her alone. They had began well enough. He brought her to his bedroom upstairs, made her dress in some vintage nightdress with impossibly high heels. They played the usual games before he tied her up, clamped her, pierced her and then made love. Afterwards, he complained.

I like to go both ways. I need you to dominate me.

She tried but she was unable to perform. In these performances she was a bottom. He didn't understand that he intimated her with his age and knowledge. He was 18 years older than her, and he had been playing in these performances since he was 19. Everything she did felt silly and false. When she finally burst out laughing, he banished her from his room, his face dark and angry. His final words to her a threat: I don't know if I can be with someone who is only a bottom.

Maybe you can find someone else to top you. she suggested, paniced at his threat of leaving her.

No. he said. I don't do multiple partners.

Even now she snickered at the absurdity of it. Multiple partners? He was married. His wife's bedroom was directly across the hall. She wished she could go home. She had not wanted to come here in the first place. When they meet in Rochester, he would leave after a few hours. She would be able to read, write, do her own thing. But she knew that her it would be all at his mercy. And now she was alone with not even a book. Why did he have to control her? Why couldn't he just leave her a lone? Why couldn't he just accept what their relationship offered?

In the morning, they were both distance. He attempted little acts to break through her wall but she felt removed from him. He brought her to breakfast at a restaurant overlooking Niagara Falls. It was rainy and cold. The rain left blurred trials like slug tracts over the picture windows. After they ate, he brought her to the falls. Today, they did little to impress her. She felt far away from the world. He watched her, knowing that he had lost yet another piece of her.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Trust Me

When I was six, I moved to the County with my father. My memory proves fuzzy as to why this occured. There was no formal agreements between my mom and my dad. No visitation rights, no child support. Sometimes he would come get me, and take me to visit his mother but it was not often. I know that my mom moved to New Hamphsire at the time to live with my Nana. She took my two brothers. For some reason, whether by choice or not, I stayed with my grandmother, her mother, in Maine. After living there for a short happy period, I ended up in the North with my dad. This was not necessairly a bad thing.

My dad owned a large farm but I didn't stay at the farmhouse during the week. My stepmother would have had to take care of me and for some unspoken reason that couldn't happen. Instead I lived with my dad's aunt Louise whom I came to adore. She had two teenage sons who were in my eyes about as cool as you could get. They listend to The Who, Pink Floyd and KISS. The youngest had a drum set in his bedroom and he would sometimes let me lay on his bed and listen to music with him. If he was feeling very generous he would paint a star over my eye, and let me drum away.

At my dad's big white farmhouse, I had a canopy bed and my own room. But I hated sleeping there. There were ghosts who came in and whispered to me in the early hours of morning. Night terrors andd sleeping walking drove me to wander the house which was just filled with more ghosts. I prefered my little corner at Aunt Louise's house. She had given a daybed tucked into an alcove of the living room. She piled it hight with warm handmade afgans, and throw pillows. She kept a little box of dolls for me under it. She would tuck me in at night, and there, listening to the muffled sounds of my cousins' music, I felt very safe.

But my dad's farm had some compensations. It had the animals. Two cows, a huge pig, several chickens, a dumb black lab, and a few cats. In the mornings, I would follow my dad (anything to not be around my stepmother who hit me whenever she got a chance) through the morning chores. I hated the chickens because the rooster would attack me. But the cows smelled soft in the early morning, and the pig was my friend. In addition to the animals, there were several acres of land to roam. If my friends were over, Dad would allow us to explore in the woods. There was a little creek that cut my dad's land in the North from Canada. We loved jumping over it and yelling "Now we're in Canada!" We saw bears and moose.

My dad worked horses in the woods for a big cow and potate farmer. The big farm was directly across the road from Aunt Louise's house. Often my dad ate and spent the night at Aunt Louise's house (now that I'm writing this, I remember that my stepmother had a third shift job but there were other darker reasons for me not staying there). I loved to watch my dad come in from the woods behind the huge Shire horses. Their black coats sweaty. Behind them huge logs dragged over the ground, digging ruts. The horses were truely enermous. My dad's head only came to the whithers of Bob, the biggest, a gelding. The creature's head was nearly as large as my whole body. They were magnificent, strong and fearless. They never shied at the blowing leaves but stood solidly. I loved them but was a bit scared of them as well.

One day, a Saturday, my friend, Jimmy was riding his pony, a mean little Shetland. My dad brought out Bob.

--Do you want to ride him?

I looked up and up at into the horse's calm eyes. He was so high up there, and I was afraid.

--Don't worry. I won't let anything happen to you. You can trust your dad.

And I held up my arms to my father. He lifted me and put me up onto the horse. My legs couldn't even straddle the broad back. He lead the horse around on a long lead line, his hand resting against my leg. I felt as if I could conquer anything being up that high. The horse's muscle moved and contracted beneath my little legs. I could feel the termors that moved flies off his skin, Sometimes he'd swing his head back and nuzzled my leg until my dad snapped his head back around. But mostly I remember not being scared because my dad was there with his hand on my leg.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


When he inflicted pain on her, he felt he lost her. His intimacy with her body meant nothing when confronted with her distance from him. Every lash, every cut, every jab, pushed her further away into herself. He could see it in her eyes, the way they stared past him. Initially, he attributed this look to pain endorphins removing her from the scene. But she confided in him, once, that the pain did not do this to her. That she was actuely aware and present during the entire session. So he knew that his efforts to mark her were useless. There was no way to mark her mind. He longed to do so crawl into her and make her soley his. He wished to know her perfectly. Like a god. But she was too cold, too remote.

With each bit of pain, she became totally imersed in the sensation of pain. Each part of her body inflicted became fully known to her. She had no thoughts, no fantasies. There was a only this pleasure, this burning, this throbbing that brought her into herself. She, who hated her body, came to know it in minute detail. It was a kind of love. He ceased to exist during this time. She felt herself disconnected from him which scared her. She scorned him at those times. She laughed at his feeble attempts to control her, to own her. He did not understand that his infliction on her made her the stronger. When they made love, it changed. It brought her into her body. Back to a place that she hated. It disgusted her to feel him inside her. She would fake her orgams, hoping he'd come and leave her alone.

She always felt some relief when he left. She hid this though, sometimes even from herself. She pretended to hate that he was left to be with his wife. But when honest she admitted that his marriage suited her fine. It meant he always left. She could lay alone in her bed, feeling the briuses, reliving the feel of each one. Often she would cut herself, and let the pain bring it all back. She strived for that cold, distanct place, where she was fully alone.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

And Then He Cut Me...Part 2

The letters came every other day. Marbled homemade paper covered in a sweeping black script. At first, they were sedate. They asked questions. Soon they were filled with declarations of love, and promises that scared and excited her. Her own letters contained bits of poetry, and a young girl's darkest fantasies, and she wrote of her love, of her longing to be with him. Then the calls started. He called once a twice a week. He was demanding on the phone. He had no tolerance for her shyness or inexperience.

When they meet again, it was at another convention, in Boston. He meet her at the bus station in a big gray car. He drove them to a hotel located in the suburbs. His roommate looked her over, suprised, she could see that she was with his friend. The roommate was young, and thought it impossilbe that someone so young could want his older friend. She hardly saw the roommate, who excused himself quickly.

He ordered her to take off her clothes in the bathroom handing her a black silk robe. When she came out, he had opened his beige suitcase, and inside lay clamps, long strands of silk robe, leather cuffs. What lay on the bed was a smaller case, opened, revealing straight edge razors. He looked up at her. Her eyes were wide, and her hands shook.

-Do you trust me?


And he tied her to the bed. He spent an hour whipping her. Twisting her skin into iron clamps, piercing her ears with needles. She found it exquiste and horrible. It was like love. The intense pain coupled with gentle caresses, kisses that emptied her. Each bit of pain created her again and again. She knew that pain was supposed to transport you from your body but this pain made her actuely aware of her body. She had never known her body so intimately. She had never given her body so fully to anyone. After he removed the clamps, once the agony of blood rushing back to skin had subsided, he cut her. He cut her many times on her arms, and her legs. She could feel the blood. It was the only time anyone besides herself had cut her. He made love to her. The pleasure all the more because of the pain.

She went home with a mother-of-pearl straight razor, a line of bruises on each thigh, and the still raw scars of his cuts.

And Then He Cut Me...Part 1

"where there is a wound, there is a subject...and the deeper the wound, at the body's center, the more the subject becomes a subject: for the subject is intimacy. Such is love's wound: a radical chasm (at the 'roots' of being), which cannot be closed, and out of which the subjects drains, constituting himself as a subject in this very draining."

The scene, she knew, was like an old movie. She imagined that somewhere in the future she would look back, and laugh at the absurdity of it all. But tonight, she lay in bed and replayed it all over and over. The busy chatter of the lounge. How she had gone to smoke (her roommates at the hotel did not smoke). She had dressed in a short black skirt, ripped black tights, a shirt slashed and held together with safety pins. She had her vampire caps in which pressed into her bottom teeth when she smiled. The effect she had on others electrified her. The "normal" people not associated with the con moved away from her, uncomfortable, shocked. Some of the men would look longingly, something deep and dark stirred inside them. But their wives dragged them off, giving her distrustful, angry glances. But the real moment, the moment when her world began to spiral out of control was when she sat down on the huge circular divan that squatted in the middle of the lounge. She sat and began to smoke, not looking at anything in particular. And when he sat, she felt rather than saw him. When she turned, he was already looking at her. Dressed in black, with long hair pulled back, he smoked as well. He was older than her. His gestures were smooth, easy, almost effeminate. He smiled, and said "I like you tights." And then she smiled, and she saw something light up in his eyes.

"And I really like your teeth. Are they sharp?"

And something opened up in stomach. Something like a wound. Her head, that part which does not rule so well in love, sensed something but she didn't care. What she felt was that if he did not touch her then, that if he got up and would all be over. Life would never have color again. He took her to his hotel room, where they talked. When she left, he gave her his address, and kissed her, she cut his lip with her teeth, and he sighed.

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Way Sound Looks

Today it was Arcade Fire. Yesterday it was Nine Inch Nails. Today was more dangerous.

For some reason, the Arcade Fire CD didn't click in until I was almost out on the main road. Suddenly there was drums, Win Butler moaned out of my speakers. The car filled with noise. My world exploded. My heart thudded in my chest, my hands started to shake. I felt like my breaths were coming in gasps. The music didn't fill me. It filled my car. I could see it. It wasn't pictures. There were no images. It was more like the reality of this world seemed to shift just a bit, and everything was liquid. I couldn't see very clearly. As I turned onto an even bigger road, I almost hit a car that had the right away. I didn't even see her. All I could see was the music as it twisted the things that normally seem so solid into something malleable. At that point, it was apparent I needed to turn down the music. And I did. I had to gradually turn it up and almost take it in small doses. Yes, I could still see the music but the gradual emergence kept me from killing myself or anyone else.

Yesterday, the same thing happened with Nine Inch Nails. I actually got lost. In Charlotte. A place I have lived in and explored for nearly seven years.

Today, I rather hesitantly told H about it. I am a little bit worried that I'm going crazy. H thinks maybe I've unleashed some kind of creative spirit with all my writing. Who knows? Maybe writing is about madness? Is this madness a choice like the madness of love? Or maybe it's just that all that acid I did years ago is catching up

Sunday, July 15, 2007

On the Road Again...

In addition to this song, my dad listened to the Allman Brothers "Ramblin' Man." Whenever he played these two songs too often, we knew he was headed out again. My mom still hates these songs. My dad couldn't stay with us for too long, and even when he did stay with us he worked away. We learned very young to not count on him being home too often or for too long. Most of the times it wans't too bad. When he came home, he'd bring money for us so we could eat and have heat. He liked me, so I'd get to cuddle with him and watch t.v. We'd spend the weekend eating Fruit Loops (his favorite ceral) and watching Star Trek. Then on Monday morning he'd be gone. It was harder for my brothers as he had less patience with them.

But sometimes,usually when he had found a woman to "shack up" with, he didn't come home. This meant that we had no money for the week. Those were rough weeks. Sometimes we'd have enough mac and cheese, pasta and butter, and potatoes to survive. But there were times when there was no food. We'd go to bedd to hungry, and then get up early to walk about 15 miles to my grandmother's house to get food or borrow money for food. My dad had moved us into a trailer far from town, and my mom didn't drive at that point. When he finally came home, he'd either do so with the news that he was leaving which would mean a lot of screaming and tears, or with presents. At least with the news that he was leaving my mom could reapply for welfare and foodstamps.

Eventually he actually married my mom. I was about 9 at the time. We lived in a shacky kind of house in a town called Moscow. I hated it there. The kids at the school in the Bingham school were mean and violent. There was nothing to do and the library was too far to ride my bike too (and on a busy highway). My dad still left all week. He'd come home, and was now mean to everyone including me. I hated him during that time. He'd kick me in the ass if I didn't do what he wanted or if he hated my attitude. I finally turned on him, and hissed "If you ever kick me again, I'll kick you back!" He never touched me after that. But he bitched to my mom about my attitude. The fights between my mom and him increased. I would lie in bed listening them to yell, and him calling my mom "crazy bitch" and wish he would go away forever. It was better when he wasn't there. My mom was sad sometimes but she ignored us and we could be loud.

Then he left. He stopped by on Christmas Eve with some presents. I don't know what he said to us but he left that night. We woke up and my mom was sitting in the living room sobbing. Christmases were pretty awful for all of us until Umberto came along. My middle brother was really just lost after that. My youngest brother didn't really know my dad but grew up to resent him and hate him. My mom was a mess during those first years after he left. She cried a lot. One of my vivid recollections is of her wrapped in a blanket, sopping hysterically. She stopped functioning for a while. Our house was a mess, and she didn't cook. I managed to make us sandwiches and sometimes cook mac and cheese. My brothers ran wild and I spent most of my time in my room reading.

Later I asked my dad why he always left. He answered "Well Ginger, I'm a ramblin man. I'm a gypsy. I can't take being in one place for very long."

Friday, July 13, 2007

I Swear

Once again, there is no reason to say that the variables are merely situational, and that the statement remains constant in principle. Not only are there as many statements as there are effectuations, but all of the statements are present in the effectuation of one among them, so that the line of variation is virtual, in other words, real without being actual, and consequently continuous regardless of the leaps the statement makes...there is a constant tendency to seek a 'reduction'...Placing in variation allows us to avoid these dangers, because it builds a continuum or medium without beginning or end"(Deleuze and Guattari,"A Thousand Plateaus", 94).

What happens when we view not just language but our thoughts and our lives as not constants but constant variables? In this scenario, there are lines of possibility flowing from the one actual. We are always aware that beneath the actual lies the endless possibilities of the virtual. This allows a new way to view the world, and our choices. Instead of a loss maybe it's just an awareness of possibilities. This is similar to what Austin gets at. Language is performance. Even as we swear in one way, all the other ways to swear are inherent in that one utterance.

Relooking my own life....the actual: I am a bisexual woman. I am in a monogamous heterosexual marriage. I have three children through this marriage. Yet I still identify myself as bisexual. The actual does not replace the virtual. Behind my marriage trails the threads of the possibilities. The choice I made does not entail necessarily a loss but a different set of actuals. The other actuals are still there. They are always present like a friendly specter haunting the actual of my life. There is no one thing to reduce to. There is no one thing to loose. What could be is always here. It is there when I see a beautiful woman and imagine what her skin would feel like beneath my hand.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


"How a society orders its bookshelves is as telling as the books a society writes and reads. American bookshelves of the twenty-first centery describe fractiousness, reduction, hurt. Books are isolated from one another, like gardenias or peaches, lest they burise or become bruised, or, worst, consort, cofuse. If a man in a wheelchair writes his life, his book will be parked in a blue-crossed zone: 'Self-Help' or 'Health.' There is no shelf for bitterness. No shelf for redemption. The professor of Romance languages at Dresden, a convert to Protestantism, was tortured by the Nazis as a Jew--only that--a Jew. His book, published sixt years after the events it recounts, is shelved in my neighborhood bookstore as 'Judaica.' there is no shelf for irony."

Richard Rodriquez, Brown: The Last Discovery Of Ameria 12

Monday, July 09, 2007

More On Language

"To be a foreigner, but in one's own tongue, not only when speaking a language other than one's own. To be bilingual, multilingual, but on one and the same language, without even a dialect or patois. To be a bastard, a half-breed, but through a purification of race. That is when style becomes a language. That is when language becomes intensive, a pure continuum of values and intensities. That is when all of language becomes secret, yet has nothing to hide as oposed to when one carves out a secret subsystem within language. One attains this result only by sobriety, creative subtraction. Continuous variation has only ascetic lines, a touch of herb and pure water"(Deleuze and Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, 98).

Most of my life I have felt like a foreigner. My speech belonged neither here or there. At first it occupied a no man's land. I tried out words with my thick tongue that made no sense to those who reared me, nor to those who taught me. I practiced with that thick tongue, coaxing strange new words with complicated phonic syntax. As I grew older, I let go of the birth accent, and slipped into something undefinable. Now people make a game: Where is she from?

I am from nowhere. I am a bastard and a half-breed. Like a witch, I throw in a pinch of this and a pinch of that, stirring it all together with ocean water.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Random Things Spoken By Umberto

Sometimes he's a really funny kid, and other times, well, we won't mention those times.
Upon seeing a Pollock painting: "That just looks like Camille's drawings on the wall."

Singing to the Vader theme from Star Wars while playing Lego Star Wars II: "I am the Emperor, the Emperor. I rule the world, I rule the world."

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Friday Night Shenanigans

Shenanigans is one of H's favorite words. We had some last night our local Barnes and Nobles. Here's some photo fun for you to laugh at, comment on, or enjoy...


Since I'm feeling full of fecundity, and I don't want another baby, I cooked. I made a vegetable tart, and then some small berry tarts. It's amazing how an ingredient have a totally different taste depending upon what you do with it. Both recipes called for ricotta cheese (which is why I made them, I had some ricotta I needed to use up). The vegetable tart calls for the ricotta to be mixed with rosemary, basil, and salt. The berry tart mixes the ricotta with vanilla and sugar. Just with a dash of spice, you can transform an ingredient from a main meal to a dessert. That's what I love about those sublte bits of chemistry that make everything so different.

They both smelled wonderful, and tasted even better.

In other food related news...I gained this week! Only .6 so I'm not depressed, not crying. I guess as I sort of overdid on the 4th. And right now I'm feeling seeexxxy so my weight doesn't bug me so much. I wish could bottle this feeling. I did take my measurements...a week earlier than planned....and I've lost 2 inches of waist

Eight Wonderful Things...

I got tagged (this is a first for me) by Ernesto. So here's some reveals or as H says some things that "Half reveal and half conceal."

1. I was a public school English teacher for three years.

2. Back when I had just turned 25, I dropped an incredible amount of acid in a short period of time. Then I stopped, and did it once more almost a year later, and never did it again.

3. I have a tattoo on my right breast. It is a symbol that priestess (the holy Prositutes) of Ishstar used to tattoo on their right breasts.

4. I read sleazy vampire novels...the more sex the better.

5. I used to get so angry that I broke things that I loved.

6. I don't think I'm very smart, and often wonder how I've made so far in graduate school.

7. I used to go to a lot of scifi conventions in my early 20s.

8. I love Indian food, and would eat it all the time if I could figure out to make it taste like the resturants i go to!

Sick Of....

Looking at my own face. I need to post something so that it at least gets bumped down a bit.

I have written three posts since I posted my pictures, and deleted them all. They just sounded wrong, stupid, boring. Maybe I should have saved them? Hell they're probably saved thanks to google's idiot proof blogging system. I bet they're laying in wait for me in the draft folders. Crouched, waiting to attack me with my own words.

Lately I felt really funky...sort of in a middle place. I can't form here in this space....thoughts, writings, conversations, it's all very murky and disembodied. I feel this strange anxiety in the pit of my stomach as if something big is about to happen. I find myself fantasizing, staring off into space, and just being really unproductive. I feel the urge to move. To throw our stuff into suitcases and leave.

So postings...well I start a half dozen thoughts...I started thinking about love. Wrote a bit, and then got lost in some Shakespeare Sonnets. By the time I found my way out, I hated my post and deleted it. I started another post on language because I'm kind of in love with Deleuze (another dead person Ernesto). But again, I started looking at quotes, and fell into another book. I think I want to post about bodies, other people's bodies. I'm going through this thing right now where my body feels very immediate to me. Very sensual and yet scary, dark, and powerful. I don't know. I call these my goddess times and I haven't had one in a long time. They make me I could give birth to the world, like I hold death and life in the pit of my belly. I scare myself a bit when these moods come. It's not me, you see, who feels this way. It's like there is someone else inside me. Someone who has lay dormant and then rises up. I'm sure I sound psycho...and maybe I am.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Because Faces Are Necessary

Just Who Do You Think You Are?

It's taken me a couple of weeks to repost about the thoughts, the rather rude anymous poster left....anymously of course. And while I hate to give "blog time" to such things, I do want to address some of the issues he/she raised as well explain why I erased the post.

On the mudane level...why the erasure? First because it was anonymous which I consider amazingly cowardly. It always makes we wonder how serious the commentary was. Without a name (and what are the chances I even know this person?) the post takes a tone of pettiness as if Anonymous just wants to be a jerk. Now if a name had been left I would left the post, and allowed it to become part of an interesting discussion concerning the nature of memoirs, marginalization, etc. But a good critique has to come from someone who's interest is engagement not the closed circle of name calling and hiding behind a wall. I welcome critique, and I don't mind people challenging me or asking hard questions. Like most people, it hurts when people resort to name calling but normally i can even deal with that. So if you're truly interested in conversation leave a name.

So what did questions did anonymous raise? Well a few for me. First, it the outright anger and disgust with the memoir format caught my attention. I got the impression that this really pissed off the poster. He/she accused me of being a part of narcissistic bloggers (umm...aren't blogs inherently narcissitc?), and then proceeded to call something I think meant self-indulgent (self-compassionate isn't really a word, and if it was I hope I could apply it). And for the most part I agree. I'm not sure if that particular post was particularly that way but the one about my burns was. It's the one thing I HATE about the memoir. As a style of writing, the tell all memoir is like masturbation. It takes pleasure from putting oneself under the microscope. I always feel uncomfortable when I read memoirs...uncomfortable in ways I don't' feel when reading fiction. It is as if the fiction puts some kind of distance. And I know for me as a writer, humble as that title may be for me, I feel this when I write both things. In a creative nonfiction class, I read a book called The Kiss which was about a woman who meet her father for the first time as a young woman. She ended up having an affair with him, and then wrote this book about it. One of my professors when hearing about this book said "There are some things you need to keep between your therapist and yourself." And I tend to agree. The memoir has become a psyhic dump for most writers, and we as the readers get a vicarious ride through pain and misery. How many memoirs are now written to chronicle travels, good times, or just our experiences with other people?

Second, my poster raised some interesting questions about marginalization. He/she was obviously angry at what he/she saw as me trying to put myself in a marginalized place. I want to make clear first that I never claimed that status for myself based on my accent. That discussion arose in the comments (a welcome discussion I might add). But I do see myself marginalized based on my class and my gender. But I am not a victim of that marginalization. I don't buy into the cult of victimization. I do think that recognition can lead to anger which can lead to action. Due to my own marginalization I've found ways to help those in similar position just as many people helped me to get where I am today. And yeah it's just an average graduate program on the East Coast but I am proud of what I have accomplished and grateful to the people who tried hold me down and those who held me up. I'd rather be a middle of the road professor in middle America then the prophecy of a pregnant welfare mom that many foresaw for me. (Oh and as a side note, Faulkner was acutely aware of the prejudice many Southerners faced when going North due to their accents. Check out Absalom, Absalom !).

And as a point, when one looks at Deleuze's concept of words as "order-words" the relationship between power/words becomes an interesting entanglement. He writes "The compulsory education machine does not communicate information: it imposes upon the child semiotic coordinates possessing all of the dual foundations of grammar. Language is not made to be believed but to be obeyed, and to compel obedience"(76). When we create standards, we are really I think following what language does, it orders. It reaches into the chaos and sets things straight. It creates territories. I have to think more on this because I find this aspect of Deleuze a bit unsettling, and I think there is more to this essay than I am grasping (problem with middle-of-the road in middle American I supposed). But for now this is the thought I leave my dear (and undear) readers with.

Por Ernesto who made a lovely request for more Green Tea....

Monday, July 02, 2007

Good Morning?

I still can't believe I'm reading a self help book. With that preface, it is self that is. He comments that we often feel helpless because we don't accept adult responabilities like making appointments or managing our time. Now this spoke to me. I have yet to make Dr.'s appointment for the girls. And Piper really needs to go to the dentist. I hate doing stuff like this. I don't know why. It's not hard. I just hate it. And as I was reading I looked around my bedroom. It's total chaos. There are papers I want to file all over the floor. Most of them have been there since December '06. And my whole house was like this. There are stacks of stuff everywhere. Clothes hanging off the back of chairs, books in piles on every surface, bills to be mailed stacked on the bar. It's pretty bad. And it makes me antsy and anxious. So I asked myself as I read this piece in the book "Why don't you do something about it?"

And I went through a bit of a whine. Well that's "general" talking I said to myself. Deleuze would find that repulsive. It's all about the free flow and embracing the chaos. And I stopped myself. I was using a theoriest to justify my mess? A mess that makes me unhappy? Ok I thought, what's really going on. I think some of it is that I don't want to grow up. I still want to be that college student from 7 years ago. The one without kids who stayed up until 3 am and then slept until 11. The one who smoked, drank, and lived on coffee. But she's gone. And the body she once inhabited lives with three small children who need a grown up mom not a college student. And I thought about those wierd feelings I have where I feel like I'm "playing" at having a home. It's like I'm a little girl playing house with dolls.

And the thing is that my life has changed but I've not fully kept up. I continue to think of myself in terms that don't make any sense.

So I decided that I HAD to schedule. That if I was going to homeschool which I really want to do, that if I am going to graduate school (which I really want to do as well) then things were going to have to be a bit more ordered. So I got Sunday and finished cleaning. We went out to eat (I have lots of frozen Margaritas) and then I came home, and set up a skeleton plan for Umberto's schooling next year. I watched the Rollins' Show and then the rest of "Volver" and went to bed at 11. Then I got up at SIX. In the morning. I can't remember the last time I saw that time of day.

I'm not going to say I liked it. It was rough. I listened to the Pixies on the way to work. That woke me up...well that and having to drive very defensively as the idiots rushed to work. By the time I got to campus, I actually did feel pretty good. I get a lot more done when I wake up this early. I do feel energized, and I realized that when I get really sleep at four, I can exercise which always wakes me up. But I still think that six is much to early. Piper loved it by the way. She's defintely a morning baby.

We'll see how this goes. This time I'm not thinking that it will be perfect right off. I know that I'll have to tweak the schedule, and that there will be days when it all goes to hell. But I'm prepared for that, and I'm not going to see it as a failure.

Okay now off to do what I'm supposed to be doing...