Sunday, November 27, 2011


I've been thinking, as I do from time to time, about want.  As in desire, but also as in dearth, because they're more intertwined then we care, most of the time, to admit.

Friday I finished a whole book about want, Caron McCuller's The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.  I thought it was going to be about the capital S South, and it was, sort of, but it was really about the state, the trap, of wanting. 

See, it's tricky.  There's an inherent hollowness to want, a kickback of unfulfillment.  If you want something easy, something you can identify and something that's within your reach, you get it.  I want to go for a walk.  Why, there's the door!

But in order truly to want, to writhe in a sate of unsatisfied longing like McCullers' sad sacks, there has to be a catch.  You can't quite tell what you want, perhaps.  Or you're mistaken about it.  Or there's something preventing you from getting it.  All those very tawdry, very human drivers of narratives sweeping and small,  printed and real.

The appeased wants, the dull, compact satisfactions, seldom make it into print.  Here's one for you anyway.
  • Large sweet potato, microwaved, mashed.
  • Bulgarian feta, crumbled
  • Capers
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Fork

Thursday, November 24, 2011

I Am Here

Asheville, NC.  I have seriously missed a kajillion of these.  But never mind!  Back on the horse of heredom!  Happy Thanksgiving, y'all.

Monday, November 21, 2011

After 8

I've been walking more at night.

Partly, it's out of necessity.  It gets dark MIGHTY EARLY on this here East Coast.  Like 5:00 PM early.  Like if I didn't work in the schools I wouldn't see the light of day on weekdays early.  It's pretty egregious, and it means that, by the time I get home and finish practicing, the sky has been tarred and feathered.

Partly, it's that I now live in a neighborhood where walking at night is not majorly idiotic. My previous neighborhood was lovely and rambling, with brick streets and run-down Victorians, but it was also...hopping! Walk down the street and watch the drug bust!  Dodge the deal going down on the corner!  Inform passers by that you are not a prostitute!  I once stepped out the front door with a bag of trash and then immediately stepped back inside, trash be damned, as three cop cars converged on a man across the street.

My new neighborhood is less exciting.  The rustlings in the underbrush are squirrels.  The folks on the corner are discussing remodeling.  The individuals who pee on things are dogs. 

And finally, there's this.  One of my favorite food bloggers mentioned recently how much she loved what she described as the magic hour after it gets dark but before people close their curtains.  I find that I love it, too.  Up with nosiness!   There's such pure pleasure in spying, in prying, in glimpsing, through half-covered windows, life loping along.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Shameless Self-Promotion

Well, it's come to this.  I've kept an anonymous blog for Lo, these four years, but today I'm outing myself in the service of Art.  Or something. 

Not that you don't already know who I am.  MOM.

Basically, my early music group needs travel funds to take advantage of our recent AWESOME competition win.  If you like music and are able to help, please consider donating to our Kickstarter campaign.  Every little bit helps.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


There's a rhythm to the morning jog.

Yes, there are the daily alterations, the small signs of the earth doing its thing.  Slowly, the trees turn red, surrender their leaves. The sun slips lower.  People start carting bigger mugs of coffee, scraping their cars.

But by and large, it's the same.  I have my route.  Out the door, down to the CVS, South on Brook, right, past the school, another right, right again.  After the last right comes the tired dad waiting for the school bus with his autistic son.  On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I see the same large, middle-aged African American man huffing past me in the opposite direction near the CVS.  We raise our hands, nod.

Same old, same old.  Until this morning, when my route was taken over by 17,000 idiots in spandex.

I say "idiot" because, really, what else would you have to be to want to run 26 miles without stopping?  I actually don't even know if 26 miles is the correct distance, because my brain shuts down after about 12.  And really, if it were wise, said brain would refuse to contemplate any distance greater than six, which is the mileage at which I begin wheezing and praying for death.

If you need to wear something called a "camelback" to accomplish your goal, is it really a goal worth meeting?

Halfway along my route, I slowed to a walk.  There's nothing like a surging tide of people running a distance you classify as "too long" for a car trip to make you understand that lurching through 2.5 miles is....lame.  I slouched low and tried to pretend I had already run my own marathon, earlier, in private, and was now moseying back home.

And it was worth a mosey: The neighborhood was out in force, kids to grandparents to overexcited dogs.  A red truck backed up to the "road closed" sign and unloaded five camp chairs, a beige couch, and a coffee table.  Extension cords were snaked from windows into the street, where Lady Gaga battled with oldies.  Folks at a station at the end of the block were holding out beer in plastic cups for the runners to grab as they passed.   (Who drinks beer during a marathon?  Young men and old people.   Go figure.)

It was colder than it had been.  The trees were caught midway through bursting, half their leaves scattered on the ground.  The last stragglers from the half marathon were stumbling past mile marker nine, their faces red, their bodies heaving.  The sirens came suddenly, then the police escort, then the pace car.  Finally, impossibly fleet, the man at the head of the pack.  I've never seen anyone run so fast.  I never will again.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Bed of Roses

My eyes were glued shut.

It's a familiar feeling.  You know if from nightmares, long, tangled dreams in which you stumble from one room to another, unable to see the horrors pursuing you.  You know it from slasher films, in which the heroine awakens in an abandoned hotel, manacled and blind.  You know it from first grade, when you came down with pinkeye.

Oh yes, my friends.  I suppose it's one of the perks of working with preschoolers.  Cuteness and hugs and good, old-fashioned conjunctivitis. 

But it sure isn't fun.  My eyes itch, for starters.   The whites are a bright, candy-striper pink, as if my twin windows to the soul suddenly decided to go around delivering shelter magazines to the hospitalized.  I sport, in addition to vampire eyes, dry, pasty skin; bedhead; the hangdog look of the uncomfortable; ratty clothes; and a voice like a chain-smoking Barry Manilow.

I am monstrous.

I'm afraid to go outside, for fear of being burned at the stake or excommunicated or stripped of my charge card or however it is the masses show fear these days.   I have it on the highest authority (WEB MD) that I am not supposed to return to work or preschool (they haven't cottoned to the fact that my work IS preschool) until I stop looking like a slavering zombie (WEB MD) because pinkeye is contagious.

As in Hot Zone, Andromeda Strain, 28 Days Later, Contagion, CONTAGIOUS.

If I come up with enough movie titles, do you think I can overlook the fact that I have to hang around the house for the next few days looking like something the cat was afraid to drag in because it looked so sad and awful?


Thursday, November 3, 2011


I've been trying to slow down.

Literally, to slow down.  I aim for below the speed limit.  I try not to accelerate rapidly.  I coast toward stop signs and red lights, my foot hovering over the brake until the last possible second. Fellow drivers make delighted gesticulations and try to get very close to the rear end of my car, as if to soak up my aura of peace.

Or something.  See, I work as an itinerant SLP.  This means I drive around a lot during the work day.  I receive healthy hourly compensation, even while driving, but I don't get reimbursed for mileage or gas.  Therefore, I have an obvious incentive to drive in a style which prioritizes fuel efficiency over speed.  Yes, it makes everyone else on the road crazy, but is it really logical for me to burn my own dollars to make it to the next site a couple of minutes faster?

Only it's really, really, really hard.  God, it's hard.  To tool along in the slow lane, to lurch, tortoise-like from my starting position: these things require constant -and stern- self-monitoring.  I have to stand over myself like a particularly exacting nanny barking "slow down!  Slow down!  Slow down!"

Ambling, strolling, languishing, lolling: my skills in these areas, if I ever had any, have atrophied.  In music, too, it's tough to slow down: every time I hear a recording of myself, my first thought is that I took it too fast.  I walk quickly.   I book it to work.   I wolf down my food.  I hop out of bed in the morning and whip through my to-do lists as fast as I can.  I even fall asleep quickly, slipping into unconsciousness within ninety seconds of hitting the pillow.

To pull up on my own reins, as I've been struggling to do in the car, is profoundly uncomfortable.  It feels like stuffing my throat full of cotton balls, or bathing in mayonnaise.  It's like slathering myself in caramel and yanking it off, like drowning in jello.  It's probably worth it, but if feels so dreadful it's difficult to tell.

Only occasionally does the world hiccup, loosen.  I ease off the gas and the trees flame up, red and orange, quaking in the barest breeze.  The radio crooner takes a breath and the horns blaze forth and the fuckyousfuckyous fly and there I am, drifting toward stillness.