Friday, September 30, 2005

And I'm not on Ritalin 'cause I never got around to asking for it

I'm doing that thing again. That thing where I sit down to write a paper (in this case, a freakin' FIVE PAGE critical essay for my "Reading the Shape of Change" class) and I Just. Cannot. Sit. Still. I'm all over the internets, reading boring things I don't care have a whit about. I'm off to the grocery store, in the hopes they have something blueberry flavoured and fizzy. I'm scratching my nose. Anything not to write an essay about a book I freaking loved (Jim Grimsley's Dream Boy) and a topic that fascinates me (the nature of desire). Five pages, people! This is nothing! Except I've apparently stumbled into the section of my brian still trapped in Mr. Bridges 7th grade English, sulking its little heart out.


Fizzy and blueberrry.

Just so you know

Serenity is a good movie. You should see it.

Unless you're my dad. If you're my dad, don't go -- there's shooting and sad bits. Actually, if you have no stomach for shooting and sad bits, you probably won't like it, whether or not you're my dad.

But I have a fairly low tolerence for such things, and i made it through. So.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

We've created a monster

911, the cat we're sitting, has a reputation for viciousness. The contracters next door avoid him, the book-keeper talks to but does not pet him, and we, for this first month or so we've lived here, treated him like a large, furry grenade.

Over time, however, his attitude towards us has warmed and mellowed. When he hears us at the door, he comes and meows us welcome. When I'm writing, he sits as close as possible, preferably on my computer to some degree, and swats at my typing fingers. He purs like crazy when we pet him, and when he tires of petting, he swats at our hands claws in (an unheard of concession when first we met). And though he never deigns to come with us when we go to bed, he's always there curled up at our feet when we wake.

The secret? Beef jerkey.

The consequence? A Hindenberg of a cat.

We've put him on a bit of a diet. Jerkey only as a special treat, only small bits of dry food in the morning and evening. But Oh! does he whine. Oh! does he meow. He sees beef jerkey as his due, and he is (very nearly) willing to scale the heighest heights to get it from us. Luckily, is just too fat and lazy to climb the shelf it's on.

He's watching me as I type this. All kibble and no jerky makes nine a grouchy kitty. All kibble and no jerky makes nine a grouchy kitty. All kibble and no jerky....

Monday, September 19, 2005

Arrr! Who be windsurfin' now, matey?

The only thing better than reading Sen Kerry's skillfull takedown of the Bush administration's response to Katrina is reading it through the pirate translator over at mediocre minds.

If I could do it all over again

I'd have gotten Trixie and A. this for a wedding gift. 'Cause you never know when you might get thirsty.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Come to find out, I'm right on track.

From On Becoming a Novelist by John Gardner:

Like any other kind of intelligence, the storyteller's is partly natural, partly trained. It is composed of several qualities, most of which, in normal people, are signs of either immaturity or incivility: wit (a tendency to make irreverent connections); obstinancy and a tendency towards churlishness (a refusal to believe what all sensible people know is true); childishness (an apparent lack of mental focus and serious life purpose, a fondness for daydreaming and telling pointless lies, a lack of proper respect, mischieviousness, and unseemly propensity for crying over nothing); a marked tendency toward oral or anal fixation or both (the oral manifested by excessive eating, drinking, smoking, and chattering; the anal by nervous cleanliness and neatness coupled with a weird fascination with dirty jokes); remarkable powers of eidetic recall, or visual memory (a usual feature of early adolescence and mental retardation); a strange admixture of shameless playfulness and embarrasing earnestness, the latter often heightened by irrationaly intense feelings for or against religion; patience like a cat's; a criminal streak of cunning; psychological instability; recklessness, impulsiveness, and improvidence; and finally, an inexplicable and incurable addiction to stories, written or oral, bad or good. Not all writers have exactly these same virtues, of course. Occasionally one finds one who is not abnormally improvident.

And the painted ponies go up and down

Finally, some seasonally appropriate weather. Granted, San Francisco is often brisk and cloudy, but today it feels all right and September-y, and I'm feeling the urge to make curried lentil and cabbage soup (they were eating it in this novel I've been reading, and I've been craving it ever since).

The brisk air is good for the roaming sense of guilt I've been feeling. Good in the way that it's making it go away for a while.

For some reason, fall is the most strongly nostalgic season for me (the smells maybe?). The new apartment is right in the middle of what seems to be the elementary school nexus of the universe, too. We've got a Catholic School, a Friend's School, and the Harvey Milk Civil Rights Academy, all within one block of us. It takes a girl back it does, seeing all these tots and hearing their dulcet screams at recess. The other day I was walking past the Quaker school's field during what looked like a PE class. There was this one girl with long wavy blondish hair who was tagging along at the end of the lap-runners, sort of half jogging half walking, stopping intermittently to examine random clumps of dirt and grass. I got all ruminative about how that was totally me, and now here I am all growed up and moderately a jogging type, and wow how I've grown. And then I totally tripped over a crack in the sidewalk.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Bardo, Dante, Guilt, and ow.

So for my MFA thesis my advisor suggested a novel. Which I think is a good idea, for the most part, excepting the whole ack-a-novel-thats-huge.

My ideas for a novel are still pretty fuzzy, but I'm sort of toying with a story that'll examine the idea of justice & punishment. Wait, no, punishment's not really the right idea. I'm sort of thinking of punishment like the levels of the afterlife Dante's Comedy -- you know, how people get what they deserve, but it's also kind of crappy and unfair.

My friend Hope invited me to a lecture next month about the Tibetan Buddhist concept of Bardo, which is sort of like this space between lives where you have visions, and your reaction to the visions determines your next life. And that reminded me of something I read a while ago, which argued that one of the lasting aftereffects of slavery was that white people had cut themselves off from empathy towards such a large group of other people that it caused long-term damage to society and family. That idea of something dogging you forever, until you get it, intrigues me. It's like punishment, but more like a karmic thoroughness.

Oof. Shouldn't a girl with a masters in writing be able to get this out better?