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My 5 pages of novel for this week are going to be delayed due to lack of computer access. My new computer is due to arrive over Thanksgiving weekend. Too bad the office is closed on the expected delivery date. I hope I don't have to go to the warehouse to pick it up. Not that the warehouse is bad, just that it is another hour lost in which I could be writing. Every minute I am not at work I am thinking about how I need to be writing, the details of stories, the particles of narrative and design.
I feel my personality is disintegrating under the weight of ideas. There isn't enough time for me to clear a space and write, so I hunch myself to writing in my journal in every awkward place — at the Woodsman Lodge, outside the grocery store, on the light-rail public transportation, under an awning in the square, in a parking lot, in the lunchroom, in the bathroom at work on single-ply toilet paper, at a stoplight when I'm driving, in my cube with my back turned and the journal ready to snap closed between my knees and drop into the recycle bin.
I'm crazy behind already. Why do I sign up for this every year? Ever since 2003 I've been pushing myself to write seriously. I used to write for fun, a past time, something I had to do so I did it. 2003 was the turning point — joined a writing group, slaved through National Novel Month, and began reading about writing. I feel I know less than I did. The vision of what I want hasn't changed just somehow it has become harder. More to keep track of, less time to apply myself; seems unlikely that I chose the wrong path.
He used my library card to put some stuff on hold. I had one boyfriend whom I gave all my passwords. He had full access. He would probably say he didn't ask for it but I know he did. He was a hypnotist. He was a mesmerizer. He was a hack. I trusted him. I gave him the key to my apartment and let him read my mail. He was ready to make me his minion. I didn't realize the trap I was wrapping around myself. It felt like a comfy blanket, just go to sleep, it was a sarcophagus.
I hate people with umbrellas. How rude, how inconsiderate. Some ass with a huge umbrella walked by and doused me with runoff. Several times yesterday I was jostled by XL umbrellas and the scared, blinded people maneuvering them. It seems umbrellas have grown popular. Probably with the California crowd moving here, developing our muddy wetlands into paved gated communities. Did they not read the fine print on the informative brochure? As a native Washingtonian I think Portland's weather is mild. Having grown up on an island I find the nearness of the eastern desert reassuring. These Umbrellas should fold up.
I remember Grandma and I looking through her scrapbook, the book she put together when she was just twenty one. That year was 1933, she had a Brownie camera she used for capturing her new life. In Nome she met my grandfather. He was working in a bar as a cook. The scrapbook: yellowed and sweet photos of them young, playing in the snow, progressively more in love. My Grandmother told me what to look for in a man: someone with a sense of humor, someone you like to look at, someone who is generous, someone who likes to work.
I need to start. I've done just about everything I can to avoid sitting and writing. Now it's midnight and I'm nearly too tired to even begin. But I need to get some words down. I have to get some words down! Even if it is only 100 at least it is something. Okay. I need eleven thousand words tonight. I've got about four hours to write. I hope this works. First I have to move the computer so I'm more comfortable. Then I need to arrange my eating situation so I can snack while writing. Then to review it.
I stared at him until he noticed. He was gazing out the window, half asleep. He looked embarrassed, he looked annoyed. I kept staring at him. I wanted to see him, to see into him, to understand him and have him understand me. He said, Stop looking at me. I smiled and continued. He took my hand and fumbled with my fingers. He looked away and back again. His hand was coarse as flipped my hand over and examined. He folded my fingers, still avoiding my stare. Finally he put his arm around me and hugged, kissed, said, Thank you.
I can imagine her in the hospital, stretched on the hard cot surrounded by gauze filament dividers. I can imagine because she had been there before. Years ago she fell, broke her hip. Years before that, cancer and surgery. Years before that I wasn't born but I've heard tell. She survives, she carries on. She used to say, Pull yourself up by your boot straps. She used to say, A smile never hurt anybody. She used to say, You're the special one. I can't imagine her departing. I can't see the world without her. I hold that she will live.
I'm catching up on all my internet obligations today. It is a lovely day to have access. Everyone at work is gone but for me and the receptionist. She is younger, but not by much, and spent two years skiing. Two years skiing. I have never skied in my life. Once I got on an inner tube and bounced slowly down an iced hill in a park in a city. Many times I rode up Mt. Rainer piggy back on my father's motorcycle, camped out in the cold by a crisp glacial creek, roasting potatoes from the black, stiff saddlebags.
She is crumpled on the bed, slumped at an angle and wincing as a nurse grabs at her fleshy hips and leans over to look at her ass cheeks. I'm standing there witness, embarrassed for her and sad that I have to stand by and watch, helpless, unable to scold the nurse or take away the pain. She's red with the beginnings of bed sores and I think she looks like a doll, pale, waxy, stiff. I want to pick her up and put her back in her house, maneuver her legs to the kitchen, make cucumber sandwiches and tea.
We entered the apartment and surveyed the landscape; table, buffet, kitchen, reading desk, TV, book shelf. Three hours later the landscape changed; box of books, box of papers, box of breakables, box of dishes, box of towels, box of cords, box of bed clothes, box of jackets. We boxed up our emotions. Occasionally little things punctured the cardboard — the glass serving plate, the collected calendars tracking births and visits, the still unwrapped gifts waiting for holidays. No haggling. Does somebody want this? And a shout from the bedroom, I'll take it. The last challenge, departing, blueberry bush my travel companion.
It was another boring day at work. When i came back from lunch a computer tech was at my desk, using my email. I thought of all the personal emails lined up in the trash, yet to be disposed. Then I overheard my former cube-mate (now office manager) has managed nicely to get one of the partner's old lap tops into her possession and will be taking it home. When she first thought of the idea (about a year ago) she had me included in the plan but then ditched me to serve her self. Typical. I shouldn't expect less.
She decided that she didn't want to die like a dirty, hopeless old person living by social security funds with no family and no future. She said, I can make it to the next place. And she did. She fought for two weeks, barking orders at minority staff — those people who don't know a chemise from a tank top — and demanding better assistance to the toilet. She rang for help fifteen minutes in advance, predicting the typical delay. She kept track of the details of her visitors lives, asked pointed questions, requested more visits. And she lived longer than expected.
I hate having to make up for other's negligence. Espec when the negligent party is an attorney neglecting to print out emails for the file and the file is huge and these emails have to go in chron order. What a rip. AND I made a copy of the file yesterday which would have been the time to fork over missing documents but NOOOO he had to wait until it was done and pegged to make it as annoying as possible. He could have forwarded me these emails back when they first came in and it'd be done already
Sally Sue lived with her grandmother in the country. There were neighbors and such so it wasn't like she was in the middle of a wheat field. Still, Sally Sue wished there were more people around. She felt tired all the time; her grandmother told her to get her reading done and enjoy the solitude. Sally Sue hated solitude. She dreamt of the big city. She'd seen pictures in magazines and watched tv shows. Tall buildings crammed with people, arms waving out the windows. Every night the train would whistle as it passed through town and Sally Sue would dream.
Knife Hits - take some hash (or drug of your choice), two standard knives like you use to butter your bread, turn on the stove so it's goodnhot, put the dab of drug on one flat side of a knife, put the other flat end of that knife on the hot burner so it glows, see smoke rising from drug. Press other knife against the drug and inhale the resulting vapor. Pretty stupid when there's a bong in the house and yer a spoiled college graduate working the records department of a hospital... but whatever. To each his own.
SO went crazy for meditating when I told him I was leaving if he couldn't control his drinking... AA pushes crap like that. Years ago I was with a guy who read 7 Story Mountain and Mount Analogue and decided he was going to be a monk. I was quite insulted b/c at the time all I wanted was S, D and R&R. He was the one who introduced me to Knife Hits, after all, he couldn't abandon me for some crack pot spiritual calling! Now he bartends at the that one Brit bar.... so I can never go there.
He walks up and takes over the conversation, hierarchy. He has about five years on me and is a professional. He chose law, I chose movie projecting. I had fun, he worked hard. How he is gone almost every day, fun, play, golf, travel. Behind, paid a fifth of what he makes, unmarried, no kids, no advanced degree. It makes me want to go into law. Two years from now be in his shoes. But then his shoes are ugly and I want more freedom. I want to worry less, not more. I want to write of love not law.
Good afternoon, I say into the phone then realize it is one fifty two. The man on the other end laughs, Oh you mean good evening, ha ha. His voice sounds like a radio announcer. I say, Yes. I don't laugh. The man says, My name is Joe Beck with Coastal Copy Supply. I know immediately what he is calling for. He wants us to try his business' services. I am prepared with my speech to get him off the phone but he asks about the weather. Is it snowing down there? He asks. I say yes, to his disappointment.
Here are all these. I printed the Legends on the back and the cover looks to be okay. You'll review them of course, maybe find a mistake on number 6 and have me redo it but that's pretty good seeing as I used to screw up every other one. I didn't like paying attention. I didn't want to slow down and look for typos. I just plowed ahead with nary a care. Now I am diligent, careful, I look over everything before I hand it to you. You still treat me the same, same vote of no-confidence, same over-told instructions.
After three years you'd think I'd know better. But I don't. I walk around saying, I have all the power. I have all the power. I have all the power. But I'm still here, not doing what I want to do, not living the life I wish I were living. Where is my disconnect? Some neuron deep in the folds mischarges. I'm frustrated and angry most days. I need out. I can't go on. But I am here, going on, as though I were fine, as though I were happy, as though this job didn't make me sick with self-loathing.
I had so many things I was going to say. There were ideas, real and tangible and life changing ideas. Those things are gone now. What can I say? It's a shame, a sham, a shambles. I'm confused, lost, disillusioned. There is little to be done about it and yet it should be an outraged. How can we be so accepting of our failures? Some cultures, at certain times, would demand retribution. Pound of flesh, seppuku, Vietnamese call it suicide, my mother would call it release, freedom, mercy. Hemlock Society wants nothing to do with this until specifications are met.
My cat sits next to me, eyes wide. He looks at me expectantly, willing me to run my hand along his cheek. As I stare back at him he begins to purr, each passing second he increases the volume, the very tip of his tail begins to wag, he blinks and hs eyes teak on a glossy, adoring sheen then close ever so slightly, slowly, as he settles into the acceptance that I only want to look at him, to observe him, in this morning light. His head turns away from me, a minor punishment, only then do I pet.
Long Beach, Washington, the longest beach in the world. As we walked along, the occasional SUV drove by, compressing the sand into zigzags. We snorted in disgust at the tourists cruising through for a quick view of something so profound. I asked if that island in the Middle East was finished yet, I asked if Long Beach was still, technically, the longest beach. Nobody knew. It was cold, a few days later there would be snow, but that day was sun and wind. The surf pulled out, leaving a white trail of detergent foam. What could be better than this?
We are all together now, the aunt, the dad, the step-mom, the mom and her daughter and her daughter's wife, the mom and her daughter and her daughter's heavily stoned boyfriend, the brother — autistic, the grandmother — in spirit, me and my SO. The turkey is long gone, gobbled up — oh, I didn't just write that — and the corned beef whittled down to scraps in tin foil. The last day, the day in which everyone is hungry, scavenging, going from room to room looking for new stimulus, new faces, fresh adventure. I've got nothing more to give, introverted panic attack fatigue.
Hindenburg Omen plagues me this morning. I spent a few minutes reviewing the terms. I reduce it, bastardize it: You are allowed new highs and new lows but not both simultaneously, you must be in motion, and those around you are in a negative. I want to change the Hindenburg Omen so it reflects daily life. I want to use it in the here and now, not in the fictional land of liquid money as it tabulates through ether. I think it applies to the writer — someone who is always in conflict, generating despair while knowing the end is hope.
I read Edgar Allen Poe to my computer. I'm trying the voice recognition program. Technology may save us after all. I read Fall of the House of Usher. I had listened to Vincent Price's reading of it so many times that the opening page was nearly recited from memory. It is like The Gold Bug or Berenice: Misery is manifold. The wretchedness of earth is multiform. I shall not pretend to describe the feelings with which I gazed. Is this cheating, memorizing these words? They have followed me. Is Poe read to children anymore? I used to think it wrong.
Jerald has a thing for ice cream. It is snowing outside, below freezing, and he has the heater on, tropical, Hawaiian shorts and flip flops with chocolate fudge dripping down his chin as he licks the spoon then dips it back into the tub of Lord Have Mercy On His Blood Sugar Levels Delight. She worries that he with be diabetic. She begs him to go jogging, to be more austere. He laughs, 'you only live once.' She knows a man, 64, now in a diabetic coma. Her mom, 62, can barely walk; both Type 2. Her hand, his wrist.
There are these emails, daily things, written by some guy who travels around essentially life coaching adult babies. Seems there are more adult babies than ever before. People can't figure what they want. People don't understand the world. People feel insulted by their environment or their upbringing. We are all so sensitive and limp wristed. The emails are poorly punctuated, extraneous commas and runon sentences. I've thought about offering to edit them; telling the guy he can, has a moral obligation to, do the motivational messages right. I wonder if anyone snickers like I do while reading the motivational messages.
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