Letter to 2015

Dear 2015,

It’s 7:26 am on the first day of you, and I’d like to explain a few things before you get the ball rolling too hard. You are not a year of grief, though there will be moments of grieving. You are not a January of quiet frenzy, of missing your father too much to know how to grieve him. You are not a February completely forgotten or a March spent lying in bed, cowering. You are not the harried April or May of fixing up and selling a house with a man who hates you for every minute of it. You are not a June of panicked, unhappy travel or a July in the woods, again with a man who hates you enough to leave you there after all the plans you’ve made together. You aren’t the tears spread throughout these months. You aren’t the heart-racing panic attacks over half-built bridges on rainy mountain nights. You aren’t August too weak to move or to eat, the August in which your aunt-and-uncle and then your mother and grandmother have to feed you, to look on sadly as you wander the minefields of breakdown. You aren’t September’s recovering alone in a friend’s empty house, teaching yourself how to eat again, how to think again, though the recovery will be remembered with joy. You aren’t a drive slantwise across country in October chasing the sun’s trajectory, though you could be that again someday, to somewhere, to the wanderer who is you. You aren’t a November full of new, paralyzing faces in a new, paralyzing place. But please reflect the results of it: bravery and independence in the face of the fire. You aren’t December, a month of learning who you were and what you’re made of, a month of shedding fear layer by filmy layer. Again, you’ll remember December like a tattoo of December on your breastbone. 2015, I don’t know yet who you are, but I know you won’t be your younger sister. I know you’ll be clearer and fuller and imbued with the sweet light of early morning before anyone’s awake because they’ve all been partying all night. But you haven’t been. You’ve been quietly waiting in the wings for the moment to snap to attention. At the crack of dawn, you’re stretching your wings, loosening your joints, letting the day come slowly, with gratitude. 

3 thoughts for the end of the year

Apparently, according last night’s dream, Disney’s Cinderella is missing a significant detail: the seahorse in the mason jar filled with blue water. At least, that’s what the lady in the Disney mini-dress said in her presentation.

Secondly, why is everyone so up in arms about the factual science of Interstellar? What space movie in the history of film has stuck to what we know about the universe? Movies are fiction; they don’t just use imaginative leaps, they are imaginative leaps. Not to mention, Interstellar is a father-daughter love story. Duh.

Finally, everyone’s doing that “end of year what a great year it’s been” thing on Facebook. I’m not going near that shit. This is the last year on the planet I want to look back on. What a debacle of a year. Fuck that.

Pity the Fool: An Interview

For Drunken Boat 20, I did a micro-review of Paul Hannigan’s The Problem of Boredom in Paradise, which is mostly an interview with Flim Forum Press’s Adam Golaski about putting together this book. The piece includes The Fool from the Tarot deck and a Venn Diagram, which is my version of Hannigan’s version of the circles of hell. Enjoy!

A fab poem from Transom

“Icons” by Chelsea Weber-Smith

Bodybodybodybodybody

This is a fabulous and astute essay at Delirious Hem by Natalie Eilbert on women’s bodies, selfies, exercise, obsession:

DAY 7:FEMINISM AND FITNESS

A few juicy quotes:

“Shakespeare’s famed description of masturbation, “having traffic with thyself alone,” is a compelling phrase when put into the context of female sexuality, and then again when put into context of any type of lone physical release we perform. Exercise, masturbation, nervous breakdowns. To call what happens in our bodies traffic is to make more complicated traffic. Though of the terrible traffic, exercise is the one that is socially acceptable to perform in public, and the visibility of my exercising is often part of what makes it so vital in my life.”

Exercise, masturbation, nervous breakdowns. Yes, yes, yes…

“That no one really looks like their selfies offers a kind of Internet mask, a temporary annihilation of the yucky responsibilities in their everywhere yuckiness. I have used the word temporary to describe beauty too, which can be a mask as much as it can be a weapon.”

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My best selfie, performing Jeff Alessandrelli’s “Poem Against Selfies” at Poetry Press Week, Portland.

 

“I feel the deity of my neurosis like a bad light shed somewhere nearby.”

Fuck.

“Exercise gets complicated when you introduce the female body into the equation. There is a pressurized ghost of the perfect woman’s body hidden in every machine, and as we ellyptical, as we lift ourselves up, a new iota of self creeps out. We notice the dimples of cellulite now more than ever, the light that doesn’t radiate out from between our thigh gaps. Exercise re-navigates our investigations of mind to inspections of the body. And yet, despite this potential obsession, exercise is very good for us. And so we embrace the need to do it while reconciling its imperial presence over our psyches. But it is good for us. It is good for us. Nothing works until it does.”

Thanks to Chuck Young for making me read this essay yesterday.

Watching, listening

I’m thinking this week. This is a thinking week, which sometimes means an obsessively looping track of nonsense. While that’s there (self-doubt, self-blame), there are important things to think about too. There’s the urgent conversation of racial injustice in our country. I didn’t know how to speak about it, particularly after the Ferguson fiasco, as a white woman, but then I discovered that I can share things that move me. I can’t preach, but I can share. The #BlackPoetsSpeakOut tumblr is unbelievably powerful, particularly this video in which Rachel Eliza Griffiths reads “Incident” by Amiri Baraka over some brutal, necessary images:

http://vimeo.com/113862942

I’m also thinking this week about being a writer and what that means, the impetus to action, the desire to be fearless. I finally watched the documentary The Artist is PresentMarina Abramović last night. It’s about her 3-month retrospective at MoMa and the days leading up to it. For me, the film felt like a call to arms, a stand-up-and-make-your-life moment. I transcribed a lot of her words from the film, which I’ll share over the coming weeks, but here are two moments I loved:

“I lost the man I loved, I lost my work because we did it together. It was, like, a new beginning or I totally go down and destroy myself in depression.”

“Artists have to be warriors, have to have this determination, and have to have the stamina to conquer not just new territory but also to conquer themselves and their weaknesses. So it doesn’t matter what kind of work you’re doing as an artist, the most important thing is from which state of mind you’re what you’re doing.”

I won’t stop thinking about the haunting and beautiful nature of her new piece for this show: sitting in a chair 6 days a week, 8 hours a day, meeting the gaze–every time–of each museum goer who sits opposite her. The mining of inner silence, the wash of present-tense, to meet eye-to-eye so many people, wordless and stripped of everything but the gaze…

from The Flame Throwers

These two excerpts from Rachel Kushner’s The Flame Throwers are really speaking to me as I’m navigating a new city and new ideas about what it means to love someone.

 

“But he was elsewhere. I was alone and rootless. I had fallen through a hole and landed in a massive crowd of strangers, this stream of faces, a pointillism of them. Face after face after face.” –p. 278

“Lovers offered only what they offered and nothing more, and what they offered came with provisos: believe what you want and don’t look carefully at what isn’t acceptable to you.” –p. 279