Monday, December 29, 2008
I made this collage just now out of stuff that I didn't have any specific use for. It was all lying around my desk and my living room, not being useful for anything, but not wanting to be thrown away. I didn't cut anything and I didn't even use glue, just staples.
Now that the collage is done and has been scanned in and posted here, I think it's okay for me to throw it away. But I'm not sure if I will, even so, now that it's become grander than the sum of its parts.
The blog I like today is Eric McHenry's blog Evan Said It. Eric is a great poet, but devotes his blog entirely to exploiting his son Evan and daughter Sage, publishing their precocious, adorable quotes. This blog will be on my blogroll soon.
It took me a really long time to finally download new updates for iTunes; I was running version 7.1 for like a year. Now I have 8.0.2, which includes the Genius tool, which I have been using. What Genius does is create playlist "sets" of similar-sounding music, so if you're in the mood for a certain kind of sound you don't have to make a playlist yourself. Genius has just told me that "Oh! Sweet Nothing" by the Velvet Underground is similar to "Turn a Square" by the Shins. But is it?
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Last night I sent a group text to a bunch of my friends that said, "Merry Xmas! I don't wanna fight tonight!" and, though that is just a lyric by Joey Ramone and not my original phrase, I really didn't.
Nothing more to say today except merry Christmas to all of you! This was a super-busy year for me, wherein I got inspired by wonderful people both familiar and new, for all of whom I'm truly grateful.
I am full of mushy embarrassing love.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Something I really wanted to treat more fully: the issue of desperation. I'm worried that, in saying I had a terrible year and felt desperate all the time, I may have made everyone (incl. myself) all sad. What needs to be said is that feelings of desperation or anxiety can fuel bursts of creativity and "doing." Boredom can do this too (I caught Ana talking a bit about boredom later on in the night, paraphrasing Proust in her Zine Show). When my friend Johnny said he misses his desperation, I told him he doesn't -- what he misses is the urgency that rises out of it.
Also, I didn't have as terrible a year as all that. A lot of good things happened with my writing and DJing, and I met tons of amazing new friends. Possibly I'm telling myself right now that I had a bad year, through the lens of winter solstice darkness and holiday stress overload.
Joe, are you up for a New Year interview? It would be rad! I look forward to a heavier Joe on-mic presence anyway, with Ryan T's return to the webwaves.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
For a day or so I go around moping because I have lost my gloves. I wear my backup pair of (fingerless) gloves all the time, like, even right now while typing, but I suffer through the cold without a pair of fingered (!) gloves over them, because I am not ready yet to buy a new pair. It is a stubborn and silly way to behave.
Then, just as I'm about to cave in and buy new gloves, I discover that the lost gloves are inside my hat, and I have been wearing them on my head this whole time.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
This is also what my stepfather used to call my father. The Naz.
Nobody calls me that, not even after they consider my God-given ass. Some people call me the Czar or the Zar.
Now I wish I had a copy of the all-jive Bible. I have only ever heard of it.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
bus or bus to bus.
I always thought that was really weird and discomfiting, and I used to look at that line of type and say "bus or bus to bus" to myself -- and also "to bus or bus to bus," using enjambment from the previous line. This was already a few years ago, but I am still fascinated by the way those words look together -- the existential Hamlet echo and the absurdity of the context. It is still important to me, and I think that its still being important is also important.
The inclusion of a comma before the word "or" -- the serial comma or "Oxford comma," a grammar convention that I usually uphold, though it is never strictly necessary -- would have made the whole thing totally insignificant.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
It's unfortunate that this terrible music had to be the soundtrack to the most exciting and revelatory part of my youth. I wonder if it had any hand in my becoming a miserable, untalented person, insofar as I am miserable and untalented. (I am feeling bad about myself today.) I confess that I liked that one song by Fastball that went, "Was I out of my head was I out of my mind / How could I have ever been so blind / I was looking for an indication, but it was hard to find." I don't like it anymore, but back then I used to turn the radio up when it came on. I hope this doesn't mean I am doomed to fail in all of my creative pursuits.
Wow, thinking about millennium rock is much more depressing than I thought it would be.
What are the 10 worst millennium rock songs?
1. Sugar Ray, that song about the four-post bed
2. The Goo Goo Dolls, "Iris"
3. Third Eye Blind, that terrible song that was in all the movie trailers
4. The song "I'll Be," which is like, "I'll be your cryin' shoulder / I'll be a love suicide..." Is this the Goo Goo Dolls also?
5. That song that begins, "I wish you would step off of that ledge, my friend"
6. Smash Mouth, "All Star"
7. That terrible Santana song that's like, "Gimme your heart, make it real, or else forget about it"... I believe it is called "Smooth"
8. That song about closing time
I can't think of two more without using a search engine. I came up with those eight very quickly, right off the top of my head. An earlier version of this post included "One Week" by the Barenaked Ladies, but even though the Barenaked Ladies are irritating I don't really want to classify them as millennium rock. And I feel the same way about Sheryl Crow and that song "Bitch" by Meredith Brooks. Now that I'm thinking about the music of this era I can't get all these terrible songs out of my head, and I'm sorry I began.
Oh, I just thought of one more: the one that's like, "Tell me, did you sail across the sun, did you make it to the Milky Way..." I think there's a lyric in it that goes, "She talks like spring and she listens like June."
Today, in the elevator of one of the dogs I walk, someone had stuck a Post-It that said:
Dog TEDDY died last night (12/10)
Condolences and thanks to all who loved him.
Below this a few people had written kind messages about this dog. One child had written, "He was the cuddliest dog in the building."
I wished very much that I had a camera phone, and I almost stole the note, but I realized how awful that would have been, so I didn't. I didn't know Teddy, but I had seen him around. He was a chocolate Lab.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
You know the DayQuil high? Isn't it great? I have never done Ritalin, but I imagine the effects of DayQuil are similar: you're alert and speedy. It happens every time I recover from a cold, as now: I keep taking the drugs a few days after the cold is gone, and get a ton of writing done. (NB: I do not drink during the course of medication, nor should you; acetominophen + booze = liver failure.) My mother, never a big drug user even in the sixties, has said she once in a great while did coke and then vacuumed the house. If you know my mom that is funnier.
I walked Luke today by himself, because his sister, Leia, had lately eaten a bunch of dark chocolate and had to go to the vet. Luke and Leia are Cocker Spaniels.
Future short stories of mine will include a lot more drawings. They will also be better, and less about stupid bullshit.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Disoriented, I picked up the receiver, and waited for the black-and-white monitor to kick on and show me what was happening outside.
I'm almost done with a personal essay. It is in the final scab-picking phase, which is the phase when you wait a little while for a scab to appear over the story and then you pull the scab off and wait for the story to scab over again. Here is a sentence from that essay:
It was a trite choice, but appropriate -- the reproach toward she who used to dress so fine and laugh about everybody that was hanging out, but now has to make a deal with the mystery tramp, had never made so much sense.
The three old stories I'm tinkering with currently are: "Hotels," "Grasshopper's Funeral," and "Keepin' Together." I am not going to include any lines from those.
I feel over-focused aka obsessed. I'm home for the weekend and I think my parents are annoyed by the constant presence of my laptop at the table where we eat our meals.
My parents are fine. We watched the Fred Astaire movie Swing Time, which has a lot of gambling in it, and then talked about how common gambling used to be in the 1930s. While cleaning up the kitchen after dinner, my stepfather and I reminisced about the time when I was ten and I asked him what "As salaam alaikum" meant, and he told me it meant "I like salami" or, translated directly, "it is salami that I like." I knew that he was kidding, and that he thought I knew the answer already, so to avoid humiliation I had to go find out on my own.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
My horoscope for today told me, "Let your ego go shopping and let your soul take over." Dang, you don't need to tell ME twice! Shit!
Seriously, isn't it always your ego that goes shopping? You can't shop with your id, that would be like, "I need some... tears... fun... mother's arms stuff? Do you have?"
I hate all my records and it is time to get new records. Just downloaded What To Do About Them by the Swirlies and am getting all 1990s-ed.
Are you sad for any reason? Listen to this.
Friday, November 28, 2008
One exercise you're supposed to do while reading the book and following its doctrine: morning pages, three pages of longhand writing that can be about anything you want, written at the start of each day. Ideally you're to keep doing these after you're done with the book/course. I've been doing them. Now I have just looked through one of my notebooks full of morning pages and I feel like I want to stop doing them. When I complete them every day, I often feel like it's not necessary to write anything else. So instead of a notebook full of good drafts, I have pages upon pages of material that sounds like, "Dumb I feel dumb today I am dumb dumb dumb and also hungry. WHAT TO EAT? Also tired!" accompanied by marginal drawings of cute boys in sweaters.
I was going to scan in a sample page and post it here, but one of the main things you're not supposed to do with your morning pages is show them to anybody. Apparently it is self-sabotage.
The other piece of writing of mine I considered today was NO RADIO NOTHING IN TRUNK, the novel about college radio that I wrote when I was a senior in high school. I used to put on my resume that I had written a novel, before I knew how to write a resume. It's a funny read for many reasons, but this time I laughed at the names: in one scene kids are looking at records by "Vanilla Trainwreck" and "Toaster Strudel." It took me a second to remember that Vanilla Trainwreck were a real band, while Toaster Strudel was a band name I made up. Another funny thing about NO RADIO NOTHING IN TRUNK is that there are about ten semicolons on each page.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Here's a post Ryan Call wrote on HTMLGiant about the Secret Santa ring they are running. I'm going to participate, and you should too! Secret Santa is cool. It occurs to me that it's been a long time, years and years, since I last did something like that, either focused on independent publishing or not.
Thanksgiving this year will find me in Brooklyn with a few friends and hopefully not too much open hostility. I love Thanksgiving, mainly because of how much I love eating, but this particular group of friends (including me) have been known to argue with each other constantly. I just hope that doesn't get out of hand, is what I'm saying. The turkey v. tofurkey debate has already been won, by turkey, because we are eating at the home of Shay the vehement anti-vegetarian. Tofurkey had its day last T-giving, when Dave the vegetarian hosted. Dave ate part of the tofurkey and later, I assume, cuddled with it.
There is no Nazario Scenario tonight because so many of us WHFRrs are out of town -- the DJing alluded to above is a Ding Dong stint. But here is a cartoon I just drew about it for the WHFR program guide that Vern is making.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Wigleaf editor Scott G. interviewed me about it and put the interview on his blog. You can read that here.
I think it's funny that I was self-conscious about all this stuff yesterday (see post below) and now here's proof that I shouldn't necessarily be...
Monday, November 24, 2008
Nobody likes this. People get angry about it before they've even read it. It's discouraging. However, something that's partly comforting to me (and partly more discouraging) is the idea that people don't hate it because it's in New York, they hate it because it's about mundane quotidian stuff.
But is it really so mundane? Why, even when it's based on sad, disturbing events, does my fiction always come off like an Archie comic?
Better than a Cathy comic, I suppose.
Friday, November 21, 2008
I thought it looked like a masterpiece of culinary excess, and couldn't wait to, maybe not make one myself, but eat a piece of one that someone else had made.
When I read the recipe I discovered not only that the turkey is wrapped with bacon after being stuffed with the duck and chicken, but that the chicken and duck are also wrapped in bacon.
The thing seems pretty easy to make. The recipe is here.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Almost-empty Jim Beam bottle
Pair of silver fish tongs
Small jug maple syrup
2-liter Coke bottle
Flyer for NYC CD and Record Show
(Thanks, recent guest, for pointing out the absurdity of this tableau.)
I'm on the radio tonight, 11/19, at 7 PM. whfr.org!
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Then I walked further uptown, up Broadway, until I veered east to Amsterdam at 120th because I had decided I wanted something from Cafe Fresh. I saw a young blonde preppie woman in a black fleece jacket walking the opposite way. She noticed her shoe was untied. To tie it, she lifted her leg up and rested the sole of her sneaker on the side of a building. To me this looked ridiculous and ostentatious. I remarked to myself, "Of course, she's too good to kneel down to tie her shoe. To stoop? To tie her shoe? Oh, she'd never!" and I said other things like this to myself, until I laughed and felt better. And now I still feel a little better about my life and my writing, and all that.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Here is the article, about the pitfalls of being a woman author/woman literary or journalistic presence in this digital age. A coworker at the writing center sent it to me and I read it all, and appreciated it. Well-worn territory, but still.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
But in this morning's contest I won one round handily, and went on to capture the match. The six-letter word that put me over the top, which the other Amanda failed to notice? BODEGA.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Last night I had a dream that I was pregnant, like really big. I have never had a dream like that before. I was going to write the whole thing out here, but decided not to. I am frustrated because I want to write more.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
Here is a drawing.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
My mother and stepfather, who are from Europe, both became U.S. citizens so they could vote in this election.
I'm housesitting in an apartment on the Upper West Side whose rightful tenants went to Ohio to volunteer. This is a neighborhood full of richies who need their chairs pulled out for them, etc., but Broadway has been alive with whooping and horn-honking and stuff. Rowdiest it's ever been down here.
The day after Election Day 2004 was one of my least favorite days ever. Walking around New York seeing everyone so sad, not wanting to look at each other -- this made me feel bad in such a deep way. I can't wait to walk around tomorrow. I think?
Yeah, I dunno. I don't usually love talking about politics, because I think I sound boring when I do. But gots to have said something or other. Yep, I voted. I always vote, I just don't talk about it. Usually.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Then on Friday the 7th there will be a party at my home, featuring WHFR personalities and probably my bathtub appropriated as a cooler.
After WHFR fest, on Tuesday Nov. 11th, I will be DJing in a much more austere and dignified way at a benefit for Paris Press. This is a wonderful small press that's doing a lot to help bring to light the lesser-known work of women authors. The benefit should be a fun time with lots of beautiful (I was going to refer to it as "wall candy," but that feels wrong somehow) art on the walls. Details here.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
The Washington Heights CSA is a co-op that gives people in the neighborhood food from a farm in upstate New York. Vern and I have been getting our produce from them since June; it's always fun to see what grew during the past week and what can be cooked with it. They have a website here.
Monday, October 27, 2008
The record: The Cowsills' first album, in beat-up condition, for a dollar.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Who knows. Maybe the answer is just... misery. I have been miserable in relationships and out of them. But I'm tired of pretending I don't need to be in love in order to be happy, because it's just not true.
But the funny part, now: Sarah said I should take a photo of myself drinking a milkshake with two straws in it, with nobody on the other end of the second straw. I love that idea, that image, so much that I may actually take that photo.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Monday, October 20, 2008
Sunday, October 19, 2008
me: you called me, slut?
Amanda: yes, you sloppy courtesan!
i was calling to talk about laundry guy
me: ah yes. you mean peter
Amanda: how do you know his name now?!
me: jeremy told me. the bartender I tried to have a crush on for a second
me: I decided not to have a crush on him, but he did tell me the name of laundry guy.
Amanda: did he tell you what laundry guy does for work? this is what i was calling to speculate about
me: ahhhhh. no, he did not tell me this! I don't know if anyone knows!
He was dressed like someone who works at kinko's
me: but his shirt did not have a kinkos insignia.
Amanda: that would be awesome
me: he had on a blue button down shirt and khakis
Amanda: you could get LG to xerox zines for you for free
Amanda: you could dog walk his dog in exchange
me: but LG is so gross, seriously
Amanda: you love LG
me: his face is so ruddy and crater-y
me: and his beard has grown longer
Amanda: i dont think ive seen LG up close
last time he just had some stubble
me: yeah, dude, he's not for you.
Amanda: oh, i think he's your man
me: now he has like a three-four-inch goatee
Amanda: it's not like he hangs out in the yankee doodle taproom
that's where i roll
me: well, we'll see what transpires between me and laundry guy. it might yet happen.
I'm going to play the Ian Dury cuts from the Stiffs Live LP too. Probably I'll end up playing that whole album.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
The story behind my knowing E.L. is: we both listen to WFMU a lot and met over the accu-playlist for the Evan "Funk" Davies Show. (The accu-playlist is a list of songs that have been played on the show, with space for listeners to post comments and talk to the DJ and each other.) I was confused at first when E.L. began emailing me, because I didn't know why he was calling himself "Evan," Evan being the name of this radio DJ, but then I figured out that they're both named Evan. I added the two Evans to my two Joes and billion Ryans and then everything was copacetic. But anyway, E.L. is a really swell artist and his blog will tell you more, including that he is funny and has impeccable taste in rock music. He is awesome. He and his fiancee Ann are coming into town pretty soon and I can't wait to meet them IN PERSON.
Below is a comprehensive, non-interactive map of the neighborhood I live and work in (and am always in), with a sampling of places where I have seen Adam and Jeff. It would be cool if I found other boys cute enough, and frequently-seen enough, to note where I saw them, but sadly there aren't any more. I don't include boys who are really close friends of mine. They are cute, but it's not the same.
(ADAM used to work with Joe M. at the Kim's video outlet on Broadway and 115th, until this closed down last month. At the Kim's-is-closing party, he hugged me while drunk and then asked, "Wait, what's your name?" In addition to going to CCNY Adam lives in the west 90s, which is my dog-walking beat. He is tall and skinny and has cool bristly black hair. I don't know how old he is but I'm sure he's very young, still being in college. He has a lot of girls around him a lot of the time, walking around with him, flirting with him at the video store, and texting him on his phone. I surmise that that building he lives in is his parents'. It's unlikely that he will see this, because we aren't friends.)
(JEFF is a bartender at the Ding Dong Lounge who also works at the bookstore with Ryan T. He's applying for a degree in library science and this is very cute. I should be careful with what I say about Jeff, because we do actually know each other and I want him to keep being nice to me on my DJ nights, pouring me shots I never asked for. Jeff is from Pennsylvania with big shoulders and cool glasses. He has a beard, which might make you think he's 30 or so; in fact he's a lot younger, though he could pass for 30 easily, because of being gruff and sarcastic yet also quite polite and decorous. He has fifty girls all over him at all times. Jeff told me he knows how to butcher animals. You can probably tell that of these two dudes I like him a little better.)
I am conducting an experiment that's driving me crazy so far but that I think is working. Normally I write longhand a lot -- stuff that isn't part of anything, more like diary stuff, logging what is going on in my life, how I feel, etc. Right now I'm making myself not write longhand at all unless it's a part of this new and very cruel story I'm working on. Everything has to be in the same notebook, sequential, and in the story. Since I've implemented this rule, not only do I have a lot of the story done, I'm also doing a lot of emailing and bill-paying and drawing, things I can do instead of writing longhand when I feel the impulse to do the diary thing. Writing in this new blog is also a by-product of that.
Weird fucked-up shit is happening in my building where I live at. Yesterday my super, whom I've known ten years or so, broke into someone's apartment to rob them. He got arrested and is now moved out of the place, and our front door locks have been changed. This is the latest in a string of extremely unfortunate, inconvenient, sad events that have happened in my building very suddenly. I'm not fearful for my safety, but the whole thing is eerie and is creeping me out. I'm tired of seeing cop cars outside my door all the time. I want something funny or otherwise delightful to cheer me up.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Fred Seidel is my friend. I walk his dog and sometimes housesit at his apartment, the one mentioned in his new poem that's in the New Yorker now. I've met some of his family and been to a cocktail party at his place that took place, conveniently, on my birthday two years ago. And so I really loved reading that poem, which I didn't know was going to be in the magazine until I opened it up and read it. I like to think I'd have liked it anyway, even if I didn't know him. That's another aspect of reading someone's work who's alive and accessible to you: if you don't know them and you like the thing, it makes you wish you knew them.
The same thing happened a couple of months ago when I happened upon a poem in the Sun by Katrina Vandenberg, a Sewanee friend I'd just seen like a couple of weeks before.
Have I ever read any of my friends' work that makes me wish I didn't know them?
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
I was living in an apartment that belonged to my boss, but that she didn't use too much, only she sometimes boarded dogs there without staying there herself. I had the foldout couch and was waking up, still lying around on the outfolded bed, too lazy to get up and arrange the room the right way. Vern was living there too -- she was in the kitchen making food, then she left on an errand. SAMSON was there, an adorable black dog I used to take care of whose family moved down to Memphis a couple of years ago. There was one other dog there too, I think it was Ruby the Greyhound. The place was messy -- there were stains on the floor from where dogs had peed on the rug and it had not been cleaned up all the way. I wasn't sure whether that was my fault or not.
Eventually I put the couch together, because my boss was coming over with some friends and they were going to play Word Twist for money. A couple of the friends had college-age kids who were also there, walking around drinking and acting dumb. Because of them, the Word Twist game never got underway, and I was frustrated about this because I had really wanted to play Word Twist and kick everyone's ass in it. I noticed a giant heap of dog shit on the kitchen floor, with a beer bottle on top of it, and spent about an hour cleaning that up. I woke up thinking about Paula Abdul and MC Skat Kat (sp?), for some reason.
Monday, October 13, 2008
The main news is that I'm going to be in New South, which is a very fine journal out of Georgia State University. The story that's been accepted, "Darling Darling," was part of my MFA thesis at City College and is, as such, very dear to me. I'm all proud and stuff. The next issue won't be out for a while, but go ahead and pick up the current issue too. Why shouldn't you?