Archive for April, 2004

font hell

There was a chance that everything would go smoothly but it didn’t. I have to go and buy a different font and re-layout some stuff. I’m hoping not the whole damn thing. I used some random font called Big Caslon as I didn’t have real caslon but it didn’t do the italics right, even when i embedded the font in the pdf. And the printer was super nice – a hilarious old guy who is semi-retired but has a huge print shop. “If I didn’t flirt with you, you would think I’m dead. I’m 70 but I’m not dead. Don’t they ever feed you, honey?” actually very funny and uncreepy. We had problems making his computer see mine until I remembered you can start up while holding down T…. But he works in os9… and his version of quark was old… and version of acrobat old… He patiently tried different things but to no avail.

So that means I need to buy real Caslon font family, change all the things in italics to that, but i think the rest of it can stay in embedded big caslon. PLEASE LET THAT BE TRUE. Yarrrgh! Also i need to have Toast to burn a CD and avoid all those file transfer hassles and having to go in and out of OS9 and OSX. Pain in ass!

On my tape player in the car (random ancient audio tape picked up off moldy floor of the truck) the song “Everybody Loves Me, Baby” came on and I sang it with both glee and bitterness. Don McLean sings it with an ironic bitter self awareness and sense of humor but also total serious pompous smugness. (The version on iTunes is not the right one.) I am trying to listen hard to current criticisms of me without my usual immediate reaction of fear and defensiveness. It strikes me that this song might express what is annoying about me. But it’s also what is good about me. What can I do about that, I am not sure.

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jobs

Moomin suddenly obsessed with “jobs”. He told me the other day that he was going to grow up to be a “book reader”. Yes, my child…!

After our 7:30 am reading of “busy busy world” this morning he was cracking many jokes. “I’m an Ice Cream Eater for my work!” “How about _I_ make the peanut butter sandwich and YOU go on the couch and I’ll bring it to you! Hahahah! That would be SILLY!” “I’m a Couch Sitter!”

this morning:

- kid squeezed. cat procured for his lap. kid dressed. kid fed. lunch made. books read. must remember to brush my own hair.

***
- call printer. do they have the fonts? do they have network?
- make the pdf. upload it.
- go to bank for cash for clandestine paying of printer under table
- go to kinkos and put all the crap on a zip disk if printer doesn’t have net and i can’t download it
- meet pastiche and s. at printer. bring ALL THE BOOK CRAP
- dont forget to put A.’s cd-making friend’s name in the credits for the track we used from that cd
- put the godamned hacek in there. i could not find a free mac czech/croatian font to make an hacek.
- will the printer let us test print it?
- at printer, FIDDLE AROUND ENDLESSLY. as i predict everything will be fucked up and will need fiddling because of paper or printers or fonts or something

yarrrr… please let this not take all day long.

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a little fretty

I am fretting a little because the book is not Perfect.

Pastiche was just over and was very helpful for making me get everything together. We looked at it all page by page twice, fixing page breaks. Once you twiddle one, everything else fucks up. BECAUSE I DON’T KNOW CRAP about layout. But it looks pretty good anyway.

There will be Mistakes. There will be places where if I had put in more effort i could have laid out a poem – especially the ones with really long lines – better on the page, or more consistently in line with the others.

Someone will be offended by some of these mistakes… I will have fucked up their work and disappointed them…

It is also only by turning off my own brain that I am able to cope with laying out my own stuff on the page or putting it on the CD. The ability to disassociate is sometimes quite valuable.

The other people who are vaguely ambitious or active – the givers of workshops, etc. – will want to kill me and pastiche. For not including them – for doing something that they hadn’t thought of – etc. – for the revelation that we were sort of a secret cabal of people meeting w/out inviting other people on purpose… what? you were having these secret private readings and didn’t ask ME? and then i guess me making recordings, and now us making the book, makes that secret private cabal seem more important than it really was/is. I swear to god. People around here complain that no one will publish them, or that there is no way to crack into some kind of a market for poetry, but then.. why don’t they make something beyond some dreary little books of their own work? or sitting around taking each other’s back-patting workshops and wishing upon a star and feeling inferior? I swear to fucking god it’s like I’m about to be slapped for not also feeling all inferior. Why should i go around feeling worthless and like unless i suck ferl3nghetti’s or dana gi0ia’s dick nothing i do is worth anything? I wish people would get a little confidence. do they think the pope is going to come down from heaven, give them an MFA, and declare they are Real Poets now?

what i am hoping is that the bomb will explode, the dust will settle, and someone will realize “hey. we have these readings every month and they are often fantastic. why don’t we do something other than xerox them and pass them around once in a while. Why don’t we publish a huge collection of W@verley Writers? If they would do this it would be fantastic. Truly (besides ennobling the stuff i really want to go together because i think it is great) this is what i want to happen. More people should do stuff and take themselves seriously. Because then better things happen and ideas fly around and more people see it and can respond and IN THEORY everything gets better. right? evolution? why is this not obvious?

I am really afraid of the merciless backbiting and nasty criticisms i am about to experience. I haven’t even really gotten any yet, though, sort of. but I am shaking in my shoes. and a little resentful as I feel like it will be criticism for successfully imagining something and then carrying it out or like punishment for trying.

On the good side, Pastiche described A.’s reaction to the manuscript (A. being one of my favorite 2 poets in it) “FUCK. FUCK!……. FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! THIS IS FUCKING GREAT!” very gratifying. I wish I’d seen it. you know what. i don’t think it’s actually all THAT great. but hey. it’s better than usual. what i love is pocket poets, black sparrow, etc. and the world of zines. And two lines also very great. DOES THE WORLD REALLY NEED ANOTHER PALE, CHINTZY IMITATION OF THIS? Or This? Or this thing (run by first class assholes in power suits)?

Anyway all that will really happen is we will sell maybe half of them and then it will be forgotten. But there will be a small ripple effect.

I am also fretting because I do not own one of these. I mean really. Have you read those “testimoanials”? I remember seeing some early version of this thing in old issues of on our backs from like 1989. It looks even more interesting now. I always kind of wanted to ride the bull at Gilley’s – this looks MUCH BETTER doesn’t it?

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impossible

I have put down book 4 somewhere in the house and lost it. Where? Where? Where?

I find myself thinking of some things from the past. As I am senile enough to lose a book that I just bought this afternoon that I was dying to read, I am also senile enough that I don’t remember if I’ve told this story on here before. And these days I am a very happy person as anyone who reads this and knows me would know. But as I’m thinking about it, here goes nothing on a long and painful story.

After the unspeakable hell that was my high school experience (yes I know everyone says that, but trust me) and a year of chaos and many, many boyfriends and girlfriends – 2 months or even a two-night stand sometimes being so intense and interesting that I am still lifelong friends with those people – but really Too much chaos, and then the super psycho stalker boyfriend who went insane and broke into my house and ended up with pneumonia in the hospital and then in a mental hospital. Let’s not forget Kirsten and her (our?) girlfriend who stabbed her with the giant butcher knife (non fatally but scarily). The Other stalker boy who kept sneaking around and i caught in my room spying on me. Oh just too many incidents to mention. Being deep in love with Raquela but strangely tonguetied and ending up in those situations where she would want to seduce some boy and she’d make me come along for the fun and we’d pounce on the boy and tie him up – gosh sounds fun and wild and weird so why not except that it tormented me because I just wanted to be with her w/out intervening boy including, horribly, once, the guy who had raped me but i could not seem to get it across to her and i think she was really high/on speed and i ended up leaving her and him in my room. Oh, ugh! Okay that was horrible too. I slowly realized she was speeding kind of a lot and boy somehow that just hit me hard that i had not realized it and it undermined everything.

why were things this way? I was 17, cute, no inhibitions, vague yet strong philosophic belief in Women’s Liberation and Free Love, had only even got my period for the first time 2 years before, ran around in no underwear and no bra all the time looking rather nubile, and if it seemed like someone wanted to fuck me, I mostly figured it was harmless and why not make them happy? Also, sleeping around functioned well to prevent people from getting too attached or possessive or nasty, a lot of the time. This, obviously, not the way to be an Ethical Slut. Oh, far from it.

None of that is the story.

One of the random guys, Dr. Dicke, who slept with me stuck around and then a room opened up next door to him and I moved in. It got very cozy. He got more and more jealous but in a gradual slow way so that I didn’t realize he was fucking NUTS until somewhere in there I knew that I had to explain myself if I were going to leave my room just to walk out for 10 minutes and get the mail. By then I was firmly ensconced into a lot of cozy domesticity, cooking a lot, watering my houseplants, laying around with him reading in my pajamas while he massaged my feet, drank a beer, petted the cat and listened to “George Abdo’s Flames of Araby Orchestra” or “Funky Kingston” or some Wire album. Hey you know he drank KIND OF A LOT OF BEER but somehow i also didn’t notice that part. He woudl also listen endlessly to my neurotic, 10,000 word midnight tailspins – a valuable quality! Too bad I didn’t notice the part that he never had anything interesting to say back. Okay… you know I was only 18… what did I know… also he was much older (I think 26 to my 18.) He got me to give up seeing Raquela. He got me to agree to be monogamous. etc.

It was kind of nice to have everyone else lay off me, because they knew I was Dr. Dicke’s girlfriend, and seemed to automatically respect that. I took a job as a co-op officer and for the next 2 years became sort of a stable earth-mama figure always appearing with huge trays of warm brownies or making lasagna for 100 people. (Yes, 100.) The domesticity made me really happy. I would go around humming gently and smiling as I watered the plants and read books, leaving piles of books and papers everywhere and writing poetry about being all happy. (I’m still like this.) I had the keys to everything. All the rings of power obeyed me and the land did flourish. Walls were built, railings painted, gardens dug. I felt like the chatelaine of a castle. I had a social function to play in things and was well-liked for a while.

I didn’t mind that Dr. Dicke often went out and stayed out really late as he loved the local music scene and who was I to stop him from going to clubs and shows just because I was underage and couldn’t go too? He would crawl into bed reeking of that weird stale acidic sweat smell that you get when you have had too much beer and he’d nuzzle up to me and I’d maternally pet his head – he had really nice long straight hair kept nicely washed and brushed like a princess or one’s childhood fantasy shetland pony – and bring him toast and juice the next morning at 11am for his hangover. To this day I recoil from that smell.

My main actual social life was with the queers of the co-op I suppose, who gently pitied me and flirted mercilessly. I felt that I was missing out on a lot and the jealousy was really horrible but I fought it as best I could and was always fighting to assert my perfect right to go hang out in the living room across the way and drink tea and talk with people, or something else equally innocent. Once when he was on vacation I made out with this girl Kari but I was chicken to do anything else with her though she was right there in my bed – as I didn’t want to have to lie about it to Dr. Dicke later. So I backed off and made some nervous excuse. There was also always someone around with a giant painful “platonic friend” crush on me and I’d take their back rubs and presents and help in the co-op kitchen so that they would end up being my best friend. But yeah I knew all along what was going on with them. And yes I feel bad about this. (Nada was the last of those, and she got me on the rebound from Dr. Dicke.)

At some point he pressured me really hard to marry him secretly. He said that it would make people act weird and stuff, my age, my parents, his parents, our friends would treat us differently, but he wanted to marry me and just not tell anyone. THANK GOD I REFUSED. Not that it was really any better what happened I guess.

The punchline of this story is that one day 2 years later I was at work at the Geo library and one of the grad students who looked vaguely familiar got very chatty with me. I don’t remember how the conversation started but somehow all of a sudden (in the very deserted library) we were talking about bisexuality and the place where i lived and she said she knew some other people there. She then offered to come back later and bring me dinner as I had the night shift alone.

A while later Dr. Dicke appeared in a giant panic and got me to take a break and go outside with him. There, he broke it to me that the Ruby, the friendly grad student, was his fiancee. They had been engaged since high school, stayed engaged all through college and she followed him from their home state out to TX. I remember the way he kept holding my hand and nervously twisting it and his voice kept breaking as he continued confessing this whole story. I swear it was like I had just fallen off a cliff. I really felt the sensations of vertigo and I think I may have gone and thrown up in the bathroom afterwards. She realized talking with me that I was Dr. Dicke’s next door neighbor, magically divined that I was bisexual somehow and got me to talk about that, and her big plan – which she then called him up and told him about – was that she would procure me as a sort of kinky present to her fiancee, for a threesome. He rushed right over to the library to do some damage control. “Don’t talk to her. Please don’t tell her. Let me handle this. You don’t understand. Don’t tell her we are going out.” He begged me in desperation.

I think, when she showed up with my dinner, later (me having to work and keep sneaking off to cry every five seconds) I tried to maintain some sort of front, out of a misguided sense of gallantry or loyalty, but failed completely. “He’s my BOYFRIEND. I’ve LIVED WITH HIM for 2 years. I’ve never HEARD of you.” She exhibited her engagement ring and began talking about “when we had Our Abortion” and other pathetic confessions were made until the 2 of us were covered with snot and tears and hugging each other in terrible sympathy. For years he had told her that in order to finish his PhD she had to respect his work time and that he had to work all the time, so she shouldn’t visit him where he lived. He had this whole life with me, and every day at lunch, would go meet her and have sex in her room in a different co-op. It was at least comforting to think that I hadn’t been as much of an idiot as SHE had been to believe all that.

Why? What the FUCK? Did he just get off on the idea of bigamy? What was going on? A pathological liar?

There is even more to this story. And I’m not proud of it. It involved what must have been several months of back and forth screaming fights, breaking up, me believing his desperate apologies and sudden impassioned declarations of how important i was to him, but then more and more lies revealed, then him forcing me to move out finally as he wouldn’t move out, so that i was cut off from my whole community.

Worse, years later I found out that SEVERAL, nay MANY, of my so-called friends actually knew about Ruby the Fiancee, and about, apparently, countless other girls. But they didn’t tell me. “We all figured you knew and were okay with it.” “I didn’t want to get involved, it was none of my business really and I didn’t want to upset you.” Thanks, “friends”.

Don’t forget, I was 20. WTF. Which to me now looks like “young enough to have been my daughter.” I’m sorry, newly nubile young Badger. If only I could travel back in time and straighten you out about a few things.

Oh yeah I forgot the part where I got pelvic inflammatory disease from him so bad I was in the hospital for a week and a half and could barely walk and was in incredible pain and it scarred up my fallopian tubes so that in 1999 I had a life-threatening ectopic pregnancy, major surgery and a lost baby. “Try not to wipe backwards next time, dear,” I believe one helpful hospital nurse said to me when I protested that my boyfriend was totally faithful to me and I couldn’t have possibly got it from him. THANKS DR. DICKE. Still can’t feel anything when you wear a condom you fucking jerk? I hope your dick has rotted and fallen off by now you sick, sick, lying asshole…

*deep breath*

A year and a half later I ran into Ruby on the streeet. She was married and had a toddler and a newborn baby. Quick work!

Anyway if I get a little bit prissy, a little uptight sometimes about honesty, that is why.

I think everyone has these ghosts, who drift in and out of real life and real relationships. The ghosts can’t really be completely dispelled or exorcised. Dr. Dicke’s ghost is with me for life and has plenty of company. So when i feel the ectoplasmic chill wash over me it is good to take a hard look at the ghost and stare it down. “Oh yeah. It’s YOU again. For a minute I was almost scared. “

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best 100

J. of Blogosity has challenged me to list my favorite 100 books. — Not “the best books of all time” but merely my favorite. I have NOT yet read his list as I don’t want to be influenced by it before I make mine.

Difficult! But I am going to make a stab at it. Huge things like Remembrance of Things Past or all the Patrick O’Brian books count as one.

I have so much work to do right now. But I can’t concentrate at all today so will think of favorite books and then start book 4 of proust. I am pretty sure this is where we get to the good parts as it this is the volume named “Sodom and Gomorrah” (or “cities of the plain” depending on the translation) Come on, Proust! don’t disappoint me now! After that freaking boring ending of the 3rd book with the duchess and duke drivelling on about their ancestors for 50 pages while Marcel is freaking out that Swann is going to die and they don’t care.

I’ve been sitting around eating bananas dipped in melted chocolate chips, which is nice, but I’m also feeling a little bit more sober than I was earlier.

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readings

3 readings coming up:

I will be reading something here in SF May 13 at around 7pm and there will be food and wine I’m pretty sure.

May 14 at 7:30 here in Palo Alto I’m not reading but it will be fantastic and also the book release for the Cuts book I’ve been talking about for 6 months. Really fun jazz musicians and sort of beat poet-y at times.

May 17 bilingual sp/eng reading at Will0w Glen Books. (San Jose/Will0w Glen area) Will be selling books at this too.

There will be a big thing sometime in june or july for the book, too – I’m not sure where it will be.

***

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writing on the train

I’d been wanting to ride the train so actually the 2 hour commute back home from Berkeley was a lot of fun. I like to write and look out the window or look at the other people and think about where they are going. It is a great feeling to think that I could just get off at the next stop, too, and walk around exploring, open to random chance… I didn’t get off the train but I liked knowing that I could.

Date was incredibly fun but I feel like writing much about it here would cross so many people’s boundaries that I just should not do it at least not right now. even if things don’t work out as i am hoping or imagining, it is still great. i wish so hard for it not to hurt anyone or be bad for anyone…

I am spending this weekend with Doss… looking forward to that too… reconnecting with her and going to this odd women’s rite of spring million names of the goddess festival.

And yet it is not at all as if my sort of normal life and Rook are less interesting and in fact i feel extra appreciative of him, looking forward to spending a quiet evening with him, extra good about everything and extra loving towards everyone, a little as if I were drunk or had achieved some sort of enlightenment. i feel more like myself than usual, if that makes any sense. Surely this must be a good thing, and the universe will not punish me for being happy.

sorry if that is oversharing for some people, maybe it will help if, while reading, you stick your fingers in your ears and go “lalalala i can’t hear you, lalala, don’t gross me out with your affairs…”

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invented memory meme

From whump, an invented memory meme.

Invent a memory of me and post it in the comments. It can be anything you want, so long as it’s something that’s never happened. Then post this in your journal so that people can invent memories for you.




happiness

I was just driving home thinking of my feeling of nearly pure happiness looking around on campus this afternoon in the sun… and the feeling that though I have a lot of work to do, I can do it and will do it.

When I was little I seriously thought that happiness was a dumb idea. And that only really stupid people were happy, because they were too blind and stupid and sheeplike to see that happiness was an impossible myth, probably invented especially to jack people around, trick them, fool them, mindfuck them, dazzle them and then WHAM, fuck them up 50 times more than they would be otherwise. Since obviously we were all going to die. And I probably wouldn’t’ even get to grow up anyway because of nuclear bombs.

I had this sort of paranoia that would paralyze me. If I were still like this today, life would suck. Because I was often in a state of absolute panic. For example sitting the back seat of my parents’ station wagon chewing on the ends of my pigtails and eating a lollipop from the drive-in bank I would be thinking in a sort of quiet repetitive mental scream, “If I sit on THIS side of the car what if there is an accident and i am all mutilated or killed so maybe i should sit on the OTHER side but what if THAT is the side that will be smashed up in the accident and OH MY GOD THERE IS NO CONTROL AND I COULD JUST DIE AT ANY MINUTE and it doesn’t matter what in hell I ever choose to do and what if I sat on the RIGHT side to not die but because I did, little MINNIE DIED and I would feel forever guilty and it would be my fault.”

“Or what if, if a butterfly could stamp its foot in china and make a hurricane in the atlantic, and you can’t ever know what is going to happen, what if my just moving my hand right now to scratch my nose made something bad happen at some later time or I decide to do something and that means a million people die in some new Holocaust?”

I would also lie in bed at night and, during the moments when there weren’t potentially nuclear-bomb-dropping-planes flying overhead, I was still paranoid about meteors, aliens, or just some unspecified Badness happening. I would make up things on purpose to have an illusion of control. “I know this isn’t true, but maybe it will work. If I go under the covers and don’t look and count to 1000 really fast, Nothing Bad Will Happen.” Repeat as necessary. (Often.)

I don’t know how it is that I didn’t become totally obsessive-compulsive. It was very helpful to read all the time so as to shut up my screaming, panicked, angsty brain.

The key there seeming to be recognizing mortality, and recognizing that control over my fate was somewhat illusory. As I was driving just now I thought, “Yeah, I could still die in the next few minutes same as always. Aliens could land, meteors couldl strike, or I might crash the car because I’m absentmindedly thinking about my neurotic life as a little girl. But unlike when I was little, that uncertainty does not undermine my happiness. Why is that?”

My last couple of months of high school and freshman year in college i had this odd realization that I surrounded myself with unhappy things. I think maybe some boyfriend (Richard?) mentioned to me that I only listened to depressing music. So I started trying to seek out happy sort of music and think “maybe with an effort of will and without being a complete lobotomized moron, it would be possible to figure out what happiness is.” All that acid and ecstasy was helpful too — either by giving me glimpses of happiness or beauty or by killing off enough brain cells to make me stupid enough to be happy, I’m never quite sure.

The question also makes me think of the buddhist parable of the person hanging off the cliff on the vine reaching for the strawberry, “How sweet it tasted!”

“SCUM is too impatient to hope and wait for the debrainwashing of millions of assholes. SCUM wants to grab some thrilling living for itself.”

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barely on earth

good meeting with advisor. Though i have not many concrete results he seems perfectly happy with what I have done and how I’m thinking about this stuff. I said I would write 2 reviews and send them out to be published somewhere. one is half written. i think i can do this… I am vastly encouraged…

it is all sunny and summery… everyone on campus looks like nice people… all jolly and enjoying the sun as it isn’t 100+ degrees up here in the city like it is on the peninsula.

there is just this general exuberance

la!