Dealing with high school kids, particularly the freshman boys, when I have a cold really takes it out of me. I’m just happy I have a sleepy best friend who wants to nap with me when I get home.
Maybe I’ve said this before, but I think I would have done alright had I lived out here a hundred years ago. I get this sort of romantic notion of the past from my father who spends just as much time, if not more, buried in a history book as he does interacting with people and modern society. But other than my semi-weak immune system (I’m incredibly infection-prone. Once I had to get a shot of antibiotics in the butt after my ankle swelled up to the size of a grapefruit from a blister) and my lofty higher education goals (and feminist point of view), I think I’d do quite well. Here are a few reasons why:
For one, I could have been a school teacher. Feminist views or not, I’m going into a field that has been acceptable for women for quite some time. I could still surround myself with my books and spend time tapping away at the typewriter while also teaching writing and arithmetic at one of the nearby one-room schoolhouses.
Secondly, I’m totally fine being isolated and alone. I’m social when I need to be, but I’m most comfortable and content when I’m by myself. Of course, one is never really alone with a good book and a purring tabby cat curled up nearby. Yes, I’d be totally fine with being a cat lady twenty miles from the nearest town, although I’d obviously prefer to have my dogs too.
Thirdly, I could definitely be self-sufficient when it came to feeding myself. I know every modern-day hipster says this, but seriously I would. I have experience raising chickens and cows, and I’ve helped butcher and package beef. And I have enough knowledge of how to grow wheat, barley and garden vegetables that, even if suddenly transported into the past, I feel pretty confident that I could grow enough to fill at least my belly.
I feel like I should use these skills next time I’m getting hired for a job. Interviewer: “What makes you stand out from other applicants?” Me: “I know all ten growth stages of wheat and I can pluck and butcher a chicken.”
Of course, being born in that time, I suppose I would have to have the necessary skills and abilities to survive. I probably would not do so well if I were suddenly propelled back a hundred years after having grown up in the 21st century. There are definitely some things I would miss. For one, two of my favorite authors–F. Scott Fitzgerald and Daphne du Maurier–wouldn’t have written anything yet. Also, I like electricity a lot. And yes, it existed a hundred years ago, but it took a while for things like that to make their way to rural Eastern Washington. I could probably handle no blow drier and embrace the curls, but cooking with fire all the time would probably piss me off. I also am way too used to having information at my fingertips. I don’t really want to live without Google or Wikipedia. Or movies… or HBO shows…
I think this whole post has stemmed from being sick the past couple of days and being shut up in the house desperately trying to recover before I have to go back to subbing at the school tomorrow. Also, I kept eight chickens alive over the winter. And I’m feeling pretty damn proud of it. Every once in a while it occurs to me that I’ve kept pets and plants alive for a significant amount of time, and it shocks me. And yes, I realize that feeling a sense of achievement for keeping a chicken clucking doesn’t instill a lot of confidence in me having children.
I am in love with words. I am infatuated with the way they can tumble or drip from a page, or better yet from a set of supple lips.
I am obsessed with metaphors and similes. I become a puddle of emotion when someone decides that wind is like a battle in war or that a summer moon swells like a pregnant womb. Imagery invades our souls when eyes do not just tear or dampen, but drown. When skin does not just peel but flakes away like shards of wax from bloodless lips.
I delight in the power of adjectives. To draw from Dead Poets Society, “you are not very sad, you are…morose.” I want to feel the clamminess of the cold sweat, want to smell the putrid aroma of decay, want to taste the chemical sweetness of over-cologned skin.
Life can often throw a dark sheet over the human experience. But the artist–the writer, the painter, the musician, whatever his or her talent be–possesses the tool to cut a peep hole in the sheet, an opening through which we see that others perceive the world as we do, that they share our basic level of humanity. It ties us together as one, and even though it is so simple, it is also magical.
How funny it is that language, needed at its basic level to merely communicate, can become art, can embody emotion, can describe something in a way we’d never considered.
I’ve started so many posts in the last couple of weeks and then ran out of time or walked away to do something else. I’ve typed posts about my obsession with fairytales and mythology, posts about sunshine in Seattle, and about a writing conference where everyone looked alike, a thousand doppelgangers of people I have gone to college with over the years.
This is how writing has been for me over the past several years. I’ll get the itch to do it, start something promising, then lose the itch as quickly as it comes. Being in Seattle for the writing conference reminded me of my love to do it though and my deep-down refusal to quit. It’s an amazing thing, seeing over 10,000 people come together for a writing conference. It’s shocking that such a large population wants to hear and talk about writing. And maybe this is especially shocking to me coming from the kind of place where hardly anyone wants to talk about reading, let alone writing.
I went to one panel on writing about a small town as a woman though, and it got my brain working. I’m working on something now, slowly but surely, inspired by a woman on the panel who read a prose-poem that left everyone’s jaw on the floor. I’m also newly excited about a short story that I had basically tabled about a man and a woman driving through Eastern Washington in the snow and the psychological quirks that can make us lose everything.
The truth is that I’m back at a moment in my life when I need to write to keep the demons at bay. I keep having unsettling dreams that make me wake up anxious and gulping for air. They’re not nightmares, per se, but rather a realization of a handful of my fears and anxieties all jumbled together. And they’re terrifyingly lucid and sensical. Beyond the strange dreams is my frustration with the process of trying to go back to school and my frustration with myself for not applying to more than one program from the get go, a program that already makes me feel under-appreciated. What happened to graduate schools going out of their way for students they want? Or maybe I should take their hoops they keep insisting I jump through as a sign that they don’t actually want me. Given how over-qualified they keep reminding me that I am, this is a tad annoying.
Like anytime I actually get writing, I have to go do other things now. But I promise to return sooner than last time.
I always liked Maleficent better than Aurora… I’m sooo excited for this. And I’m really hoping it’s as dark as Lana’s voice is for my absolute favorite Disney song…
Disney, please, please don’t disappoint me. Take a page out of Guillermo del Toro’s book: fairytales can be beautifully, delightfully dark. In fact, they were meant to be that way. The Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, Carlo Collodi…stop making their stories cute. Redo all of them as they really are: fucking terrifying.
…Are the opening ceremonies over yet? I think it’s time for some Pan’s Labyrinth…
I wrote a post on Friday then forgot to post it. Then I reread it and decided it didn’t need to be posted. In other words, it was crap. But there were a few good moments, so here are the highlights (totally out of context, and yet still better than they were in the full post).
Each transition feels like a seamless scene change, a gentle glide of a high ball glass across the glass-top bar. (discussing the book I’m reading: The Trip to Echo Springs by Olivia Laing, a book about five famous writers and their addictions to alcohol)
How to Train Your Dragon macaroni and cheese, the extra shredded cheese forming gooey yellow spiderwebs between the noodles.
The moon feigned an eclipse, its tiny sliver of visible light smiling as thin as a pencil line, mocking my interest.
The puppy rolls onto her back, displaying downy black and blonde fur along her chest and pale pink belly. Her legs stretch out towards the ceiling and remain rigor mortis for several minutes before she topples over onto her side again.
That’s it… very disjointed. Something of real content soon to come.