This blog is welcome to anyone and everyone, regardless of race, class, gender, sexual orientation, or political affiliation. Unless you don't like writing short stories or smelling bear. Or if you voted for the other guy. Also, I don't really like it when you leave up the toilet seat, so could you stop doing that? Muchas, muchas gracias.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

How I Came To Terms With My Diamonds

Diamonds belong in the ground, not on a throat or a finger. To procure them, Western countries exploit The Congo, just as Belgium exploited The Congo for years and years. So much blood shed over a rock that, when cut, looks pretty bloodless; in my opinion, the most beautiful diamonds live on top of a moonlit river or out past the moon.

Tonight I dumped my suitcase of diamond jewelry into the sink and turned on the disposal. Afterwards, I had a thought: if stainless steel blades can pulverize them, these diamonds weren't real to begin with.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The Following is a Present

from my friend Tina, the beautiful artiste, first to me, and then on to you. Now dance!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Selected Shorts : Short-Short Story Contest!

Hey, y'all: here's a link to a short-short story contest. It's a chance to win $1,000 and two tickets to the final Selected Shorts reading at Symphony Space in New York! The deadline is March 31st, 2007 and the link gives the guidelines (they provide the first and last line, plus the length limit). You can hear Selected Shorts, which is a great radio program, on your local NPR station.

For a little info about the short-short story, CLICK.

Wanna try?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Tonight, Yoga, the YMCA

I do love yoga, I do. But sometimes the poses crack me up a little. I couldn't find a picture of this one thing we did, but it resembled something a Shakespearean actor would strike while soliloquizing about his dearest aspiration to become king. You get down on one knee, as if to propose. One hand rests behind you, on the hamstring. With the other hand you reach up to the ceiling as high as you can, , with your palm facing the back wall. Gaze intensely at a spot on your palm. Try it. NOW!

Are you doing it? Now imagine a room full of people doing the same thing. It's a little bit funny, isn't it?

Still, though, if there's a form of exercise I plan to keep doing until the day I die, it's yoga. Flexible muscles work more safely and efficiently, and muscular function and efficiency = every single task is easier to complete. Balancing poses make us more graceful. And might I remind you that our bodies are our temples?

I have one last Christmas present to wrap. Can you guess who it's for? I found it yesterday, while I wandered around looking at sparkly blouses. Couldn't resist.

Being Single Just Sucks,

and that's partly because there's not much I can do about it (and please, you who have someone, PLEASE spare me the stories of how easy it is to meet someone and how lucky YOU are -- I've heard it a million times!). But here's a specific example of the suckihood of my present (eternal) status:

I have a friend who lives upstairs from me. She broke up with her boyfriend for reasons I won't get into, except to say that under the circumstances, this was a very wise choice. Since the breakup, she's been behaving like a single person, too -- going on dates, tagging along when I have plans, etc. Well, since the vast majority of you aren't single, you might not realize that New Year's Eve can be a huge drag when you're are. Single, I mean. Because everyone else wants to spend New Year's Eve all coupled up with their sig. other, sharing their special moment of specialness, marvelling at how long they've been together.

This New Year's Eve, I was covered, as my upstairs friend made me promise that I would spend it with her, and that we'd get dressed up and have lots of fun on our own. I said sure, okay, it's not like I have a date or something. But guess what! The boyfriend got back together with her this morning, and there go my plans to wear my sparkly low-cut blouse. Because the single person is the backup plan, when there's no better prospect. You know how that makes the single person feel? Lonely!

Here are the shoes I bought to dance in on New Year's Eve. Sad.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Stop, Thief!

Today I was a little disheartened because I learned that thieves had broken into one of my bookstores for the second time in a couple of months. This time, they shattered a window and ran off with some money. I was thinking about this in the afternoon, on my way back from the bank. Some people have and some people don't have, but right now we're all supposed to give -- is this why thieves take?

I'd made it about a block when I saw a man wearing a wool hat run out of this great little store with something under his arm. He was being chased by an employee. They began arguing on the street -- the employee was asking for the item back, and the theif wouldn't return it. As I approached them, I realized that nobody else was paying attention to this altercation. I decided to step in. I looked the thief straight in the eye and said, "Are you a thief"?

Lots of things were going through my head. Like, why should we stand for this kind of behavior? In our own neighborhoods, why don't we band together, help each other out, say NO to people who take things that don't belong to them? If we all said, Not in my neighborhood, if we, as reasonable human beings and good people made it clear we won't stand for bad behavior, maybe the thieves would go away.

This thief became increasingly nervous when he saw that there was not just one, but two people watching and following and working together. As we passed by a small Victorian, a young guy opened his front door and asked what was going on. "That man with the wool hat is a thief!" I said. He pulled his hat down over his ears and picked up his pace a little. Then I noticed something: a few other people were following, too. One man was calling the police on his cell phone. We tailed the thief for a few blocks, then I had to veer off and return to work. Ten minutes later, a cop car cruised by.

I guess what I'm saying is this: if we stand up for what is right, maybe we can make our neighborhoods better for everyone. There's many, many more people who are kind and just than there are people who'll take advantage. So don't stand for it!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

As Luck Would Have It,

I've come down with a cold. It's my day off, and I've spent it doing absolutely nothing.

This, on the heels of last night's kickboxing class at the Y. My instructor looks really cool when she punches and kicks. I can see in the mirror that I am a skinny, spazzy white chick. I have tons of energy, though, and maybe that counts for something. So far, this is the only class I've taken at the Y during which the instructor plays music that makes me want to dance.

But back to this morning, when I woke with a sore throat and sinuses. Maybe I'm working out some toxins. I slept in late, talked to my roommate, and then stretched my sore shoulders and legs while I listened to the radio.

And I heard about this movie, which is called The Beaver Trilogy. I'm just dying to see this film, which is based on a chance meeting -- in the seventies, the filmmaker caught a young man on videotape while he (the filmmaker, I mean) was in a parking lot, messing around with a videocamera. The young man was clearly excited to be filmed, and he launched into a series of impressions; John Wayne, Sylvester Stallone, and Olivia Newton-John. Mesmerized, the filmmaker keeps the tape rolling and ends up with about thirty minutes of coverage, I think it was? The story, which begins as a documentary, gets stranger from that point, and in the end of Part I, the filmmaker is left with these unresolved feelings of guilt. Part II is a reenactment of Part I, with a few variations. First of all, an actor has been hired to play the part of the young man in the original documentary: Sean Penn. The story progresses exactly as it was originally filmed, Sean Penn doing a pretty good imitation of its original subject, though there's a key variation to the very end of the movie. In Part III, the scene is once again reenacted, this time by Crispin Glover. Part III is filmed, rather than videotaped, and the filmmaker's part has been changed a little; his character is slicker, pushier, much less neutral.

That's enough of that. I've sent out an email in hopes that I can somehow watch this movie.

Now, here's some backstory. On Wednesday I flew to Grand Rapids to see The Who with Ginab. One of my flights was cancelled en route, so I just barely managed to get there on time. On the way there, I read half of Toby Young's memoir, How To Lose Friends and Alienate People. This book chronicles the writer's quick rise in the world of New York magazine publishing and then his equally quick demise as he makes a long series of stupid social faux pas. The author is a little hard to believe, I guess because he celebrates his indulgent, boorish self as an anti-hero. It's as though he's reveling in his own naughtiness, meaning that he winds up sounding a little priggish in the process.


Here's a picture of Toby Young. I think he's been bald for a while, now (he points that out in his book, though he also implies that the beautiful New York socialites he lusts for don't want to date him because he doesn't have lots of money or social prominence. I'm guessing that his personality [and not some problem originating with the ladies] was the real rub; though he points out his own flaws, he doesn't seem interested in correcting them. And I just don't like his tendency to blame the ladies for being shallow, when he -- well, you get the picture).


Anyway, we saw The Who, our seats were right up there near the stage, and afterwards I got drunk on three pints. The following morning (e.g. four hours later), we arose and Gina returned me to the airport for my flight back, during which I finished the second half of that memoir.

In the end of this book, Toby Young tells us the stupidest thing he ever said (he told the woman he'd madly pursued and then finally won that he didn't believe in love, and yay! she dumped him). He gets the girl back in the end, but it isn't easy. I hope he learned something, but he sounds a bit too high-maintenance for my liking, I guess.

Is that not an odd frame for a very odd vacation?

All right, I'm going to stir fry some vegetables, clean up a little, work on something, and then I'm going dancing because you know what? I think my head's screwed back on now. I'm glad I had a day off for this.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Once again, I'm Taking A Short Leave Of Absence.

I need to get my head screwed on right. See you soon!

Saturday, December 02, 2006



Blahbitty, blah blah blah.

Everyone's been extremely nice to me this season. People have thrown parties for me, I've received tons of gifts, I'm living healthier, and I'm getting more sleep. My job is a dream. Never before have things been this good. I've received so many phone calls, emails, and invitations I can't keep up with the replies.

Why, then, do I feel like this?:

When I used to get all caught up in myself, my ex-boyfriend would call me "problem-child". He used to make me laugh, though he was a bit of a problem child himself. I've been listening to the news and reading The New Yorker. Maybe it's the underlying problems that are getting to me now.

Or maybe it's just the holidays. I used to think this "holiday stress" thing was just an excuse for people to be mean because they have to be on their best behavior at Christmas. Maybe I still do.

Normally, when I find that I'm at my worst I strive to counteract it. But this year, I'm trying to grow into a whole new person. This year I'm going to indulge myself a bit, and see where that gets me. Let's tell it like it is this year! Let's get back at that department store Santa, that stranger who once dragged us into his lap while our mothers encouraged it! The bad aftershave, the creepy overgrown beard, the false promises, the midnight break-in, the threat of stick and coal.

Christmas -- bah!

Tell me something: when you're in a bad mood, what's your favorite way to wallow in it for a while? Give me some exercises, and I'll try 'em out. I'm dying to see what will happen if I let myself be crabby.

Guess what movie I plan to rent next?