Blog

(spoilers for Twin Peaks: The Return)

There was a scene in the most recent episode (6), where a drug dealer named Red starts karate movies. He's saying these menacing things, but he's also doing karate moves like an excited child (we're getting ice cream?! karate kick! pow!). And the scene had this added layer of unsettling to me.

Last year, I was writing in a coffee shop and a man who was obviously not right in some way tried to get my attention. I refused to look at him. I had headphones on, I was writing, it was easy to pretend that I had just not noticed. He was at a table about six feet away from me. He got up. 

Then the man bowed at me and assumed a fighting stance. He started karate chopping the air. He did a kick. I looked at the barista. He was really upset. Everyone else in the coffee shop was pretending to not notice.  The man said, come on. Fight. He got closer to my table. He karate chopped the air really close to me. The barista came over and said, I called the cops. The man ran out. I didn't know how to react. It was disturbing. It was funny. The barista asked me if I was okay. I said in a (please excuse this adverb, it feels appropriate) surprisingly relaxed way: I'm fine.

I texted my husband. Told him what happened. He was really upset at first. Then we both started laughing after he said, What if that guy had karate chopped you in the head? 

One of the things that I hadn't quite realized until watching this current season is the effect that David Lynch has had on my writing, my work. I'm really interested in thinking about the dissonance of experiences, in thinking about the ways we do and do not accept whole truths. 

A lot of Lynch's dissonance is based out of surrealism and the juxtaposition of US white suburbia/rural beliefs that where they live is the safest place on Earth. All the things that rot beneath the surface that eventually has to appear. And some of that interests me too. I grew up in a similar place where I would hear parents say how safe it was all the time. And then I could walk down the street and be called so much shit.

I was unnerved by the experience. (Big spoiler) I wasn't like unnerved and angry enough to like run down a kid. But every once in a while, even without an obvious reminder, my brain comes back to that space. I think about an older white man with sandy hair and a red beard assuming a stance like a kung fu master approaching a village filled with bad dudes. I think about him approaching my table and karate chopping the air.

I didn't stop going back to that coffee shop. The next week, I went back. Ended up at the same table. 

Best Week, Worst Week

This week, I went to the dentist because I was experiencing some tooth pain. I need two root canals. When they were telling me how much it would cost, giving me all my options, explaining things, I got so overwhelmed that I started crying. And it was this miserable moment, worrying about money, making these important decisions about how to deal with my (genetically awful and also just goddamn, does bourbon mess your mouth up) teeth, crying in front of people that I don't know, and Ellen's on the TV in the next room and she's telling the kind of jokes you laugh at when you've had a long day and your just thirsty to feel anything, but tired.  

Then the problem became a little harder because the person they thought I should go to was on vacation until next week and they really thought I should go on pain pills. And I refused the pain pills. The main reason is I had promised a lot of brain work to people over this week: I had a fellowship proposal to write, a fellowship to apply to, a textbook chapter to revise, and more, and more. And pain pills make me in general TOO high. But now it's Saturday and I've been in pain for days and it's getting to the point where Advil (even the doctor recommended three to four) is starting not to cut it. So now I've been grumpy and tired and distracted.

On top of that, I found out something that I think is dumb and ugly, but I have to take care of and make right because of family obligations is going to cost another bunch of money. Doing the math, I realized I have never in my entire life been on the hook for so much money all at once in such a short span of time. I'm a little sick thinking about typing it right now!

On the other hand, I make an important life decision and signed with an agent. I'm excited. She and I click a ton, I think. I feel weirdly good about the decision (which is strange for me because I often spend my time feeling hesitant directly after something that feels like a big deal thing). 

It's just kind of bewildering to alternating between being so excited about professional stuff (it's something that I kinda didn't think would ever be possible. I regularly think when it comes to writing: well, this is as far it goes. It was a fun ride!) and then being so annoyed and tired physically and fiscally. 

What I want--because this whole year has been like this--where things just settle down for a while. I'm fine with having some mildly good things and some mildly tough life stuff happening. I'm just exhausted and burnt out from alternating between dealing with some super rough stuff. Give me a little bit of a break, life!

I promise I'll talk about books or art or Atlanta or something more fun next time. 

Last night I saw Florencia en el Amazonas. To be frank, it's just an OK opera to me. I didn't really emotionally connect with the music. It was pretty, but there was nothing that made me feel I would confetti into a million bits because it's loveliness mixed with emotions was almost to much.

But there is a moment I want to write about. Near the end of the opera, the ship bearing Florenica  and all the other main characters reaches its destination, only to find out that cholera has beat them there. In the stage production we saw, the lights dimmed into a magic hour blue. Out from the wings came people on every side holding lanterns on curved sticks  that had lights on the same spectrum of warm orange candlelight. They were all wearing black cloaks and skeleton masks.  From same angles, these people looked as if their costumes had been inspired by the Rider-Waite version of the Hermit. And then you saw the masks. The lights dimmed more. The dead became rows. They turned in circles, one hand holding onto their lanterns, the other hand held out as if grasping for a partner who had not yet arrived. Florenica sings of feeling her lover--the one she has come home to seek out--near. The dead surround the boat. Florenica keeps singing. The rest of the stage becomes darker and darker lit. Around Florencia, the lights were purple, green, and yellow. Bright.

It was a moment that despite not feeling most of the rest of the performance, made me so happy to be there, to see this. It was thrilling to see something that felt so much like a dream enacted. It made very little sense. It made so much sense.

third grade brain

I had big, dorky plans to write a long blog post today, but I've spent a big chunk of today working on writing projects and I don't have much brainspace left to write much. So here's a list instead:

  • I am seeing Creature from the Black Lagoon in 3D this Thursday. I just had to stop myself from mimicking my third grade journal structure: I am doing/will do __________ and it will be fun!
  • The weather is killing my sinuses and I hate everything when it is both polleny and humid outside.
  • I write almost every day and I still feel like I'm not doing enough.
  • I am making a big decision and next week, I'll get to talk about it and I'm super excited.
  • I hate making big decisions.
  • On Friday, I am going to make a plum cake. AND IT WILL BE FUN.
  • On Friday, I am going to talk to my chapbook publisher and cover artist and we're going to talk about my letterpressed cover. And IT WILL BE FUN.
  • And. It. Will. Be Fun.
  •  

 

anger

This whole month has been--to use a cliche that always proves why it's a good cliche--a rollercoaster. One of Jon's grandmothers passed away suddenly. Other family issues. I'm leaving a position I sometimes liked a lot at SmokeLong to take on being an Editor at The Offing. Our landlord has hired what appears to be the most incompetent roofer in the world and what we were told would take 2 weeks at most, has now lasted a month. Yesterday things were even worse because it rained and the roofer forgot to secure a tarp over the exposed sections of the roof. So our closet wall and ceiling are damaged now, a bunch of our clothes have gotten soaked, and I spent most of yesterday morning cleaning, vacuuming, and packing up clothes.

It was one of those days where I was so mad. And it was one of those angers where I didn't have to stop and pause like I usually do when I'm angry and think a) am I overreacting? and b) is this my fault at all? Most of the times when I'm mad, I think those things and I deflate pretty fast now. Or at least go stone silent until the anger washes out. But this was one of those holy shit, I'm not wrong and actually expressing (in a politeish way) my anger might make this situation get solved a little faster moments. What I have learned as an adult woman and especially as an adult black woman is that there are rarely occasions where you can actually express the anger you're feeling without people treating you like an insane person. 

I got invited to a debate party last night. And it probably would've been fine. I would have been surrounded by dear friends, good food, and lots of liquor. But after being angry most of the day, I just couldn't take it. Some of it was I think it's truly possible to just have too much anger. I don't think I could have sat down and watched either candidate discuss black lives in America without exploding. And not in a fun, cool, look how funny I'm being way, but in a teary, I am scared way.

And the other thing is I just didn't want to see a man get applauded again for basically transforming himself into blustering, stupid anger. And on some level, I intellectually get why people support Donald Trump.  Most people want to see themselves reflected in the symbols of their nations. He probably acts how some people feel inside. But every time I think about people who support him, I wonder what are they going to do if he is elected? When they have a reason to stop being angry (finally someone who has promised me all the things I deserve to be promised, finally someone who looks like me, etc. etc.), what's going to happen? Electing a president isn't like lashing out at someone in anger and being able to just go back and say, Look I should have handled that better. Treated you with more respect. I'm sorry. And I sincerely doubt that most of the people who are gungho Trumpheads are big apologizers. In general, I wish more people were better at apologies. I think those are the make or break moments for people to show who they really are. Do I care more about my ego or about respecting someone else? I want to (within reason) always be a person who cares more about the people around me than my own ego.