Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Check out this wonderful sight of William Gedney photographs. Three Penny Review printed this photo a while ago and I fell in love with it, obsessed over it a little even. It's a fitting photo for my day, somehow. I am full of teenage melancholy, boredom and tears. I blame it on the fall and on having to go to jury duty early this morning only to learn that I have to go to Gresham tomorrow to serve jury duty there. All I really want to do is curl up in a chair and sleep.

Monday, October 30, 2006

The glorybower tree in my front yard is the largest living thing I've ever killed. I'm glad I wasn't there to see her get sawed down and dumped in the back of a truck. The butterfly bush, on the other hand, was like a monster that thrived on abuse. I'd violently rip and crack off branches and it seemed like ten more would grow in. Now, I'm starting fresh with my very own Japanese Maple. I wish her good luck.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

River City Saloon. Hood River, OR

Last night I learned that I am uncomfortable being on the dance floor of strange bars in small towns with short drunk men in Mexican wrestler masks. Remember this, in case it ever happens again.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Once again, in an attempt to participate with minimal effort I bought some vampire teeth this afternoon. I'm getting dressed and trying to figure out how the stupid things are supposed to stay on when I lean in towards the mirror, one tooth falls out of my mouth and directly down the drain. Can I be a one-toothed vampire? Can I get under the sink and get the tooth out from inside the plumbing? No, I can't because I don't care. I love Halloween, but prefer to be an observer. I decided to go as a zombie instead. The overall effect is that of a sloppy goth teenager who hasn't learned how to put her makeup on yet. Oh well.

Friday, October 27, 2006

The only good thing about losing an hour of daylight will be that it's that much more time spent seeing clients in my warm, candle-lit room. I love working in there when it's dark and cold outside. I have to keep it ten times warmer than the rest of my house and I love the bits of twilight I can see at the edges of the curtains. Sometimes I can get almost as relaxed as the person I'm working on. Maybe I should make my office space equally cozy and see what happens. Will I just fall asleep, or will it soothe my nag's grip on the tender throat of my muse? Poor little thing.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Okay, I admit it. It IS all about cats. All cat all the time. Who knew I'd end up this way? For ages I was allergic, or thought I was. Then I had a roommate who came with the sweetest, fluffiest little broken-tailed cat and I must have developed an immunity to the alergens along with a thorough addiction to the cuteness. What surprises more people is that Sean would be so thoroughly obsessed by our Kitty Mao that he would give the cat dozens of nicknames and develop half a dozen songs about her all in a matter of days of her rescue from the kitty jail.

Since Mao came along, the LOST CAT posters make me sad. This one has been up for months, its staples bleeding rust onto the paper. I love that it is both ridiculous to draw the cat this way and probably a perfect likeness as well. Poor Itchy.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

No, this won't become a gallery of cat photos, but I was stuck in the house all day, literally stuck here, waiting for the gas guy to come inspect my furnace (. . . must resist bad innuendo). He arrived at 6:30pm. By around 4pm I was feeling a lot like Mao here, the pampered but pissy cat, wanting nothing more than to glare at any intruders trying to interrupt my nap.

Some people wouldn't know what to do with such a thorough lack of drama. I ony hope that this peace won't leak into the lives of my characters.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

This is not a photo from today, but it is today's photo. My two loves.

I feel a wonderful symmetry these days. My writing unfolds, revitalized, while my body gets a much needed break from its hard labor. Now, the difficult task of keeping both the body and the writing strong.

Monday, October 23, 2006

A condo complex is being built down the street and I've found it fascinating to watch how something as complex as this comes into being. I can't even find a stud in my wall in order to nail up a picture so this whole thing seems a lot like magic, particularly because at any given moment it seems like most of the workers are just standing around oggling the women walking by on the street.

I was at a meeting early in the year when some of the business owners in the area were upset that the condo was going to look like this:
I'm not particularly fond of it and, yes, it's a lot bigger than anything around it but the main complaint was that it would ruin the feel of the street. There are all sorts of things that ruin the feel of the street. There is a 7-Eleven next door to this condo-to-be and the building across the street looks like this:I'd say the ranting drunks, the broken bottles, the fluttering garbage and the mean hippies rank far higher on the list of things that detract from what we like to call "The Boulevard of Broken Dreams" than a cookie-cutter condo. Perhaps the street will feel a little less broken with a fancy glass building on it, maybe not. Either way, this street's got a long way to go before it loses its grit or "character" as they say. Stay tuned for my thoughts on my theory of how The Dixie Mattress Company is keeping Belmont from rising to its full hoity/hipster aspirations. . .

Saturday, October 21, 2006

S-a-t-u-r-d-a-y night!

The bus ride downtown where the rowdy youngster behind us was sharpening his knife and bragging about the switchblade he just bought. Sean was most offended by the fact that these kids seemed too lazy to prounounce any consonants.
The blurry night photo of a man in his glass living room in his fancy new apartment building sitting in his fancy leather chair watching TV with fancy headphones on. We wanted to leave big sweaty ass prints on his glass walls but thought better of it. I wonder if he was really paying attention to what he was watching or if he was too preoccupied with the thrill of being watched.
Dinner at Diane's where she showed us the WWI knife she just bought, turned on some french death metal and served us a delicious veggie noodle dish while we talked about dental insurance and which street people bug us and which don't (Mercy Corp-yes. Street Roots sellers-no. Pimps-sometimes). We love Diane and the mummy pictures on her wall.

Friday, October 20, 2006

The residents of every area have their own weather rituals. We all know the rain is ready to settle in for good at any moment so we worship all glimpses of our pale autumn sun. If I could have, I would have stood under this tree until sunset, a parasol of bark and yellow jewels.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Assignment #43 from Learning to Love You More:
Make an exhibition of the art in your parents house
The vaguely spanish courtyard paintings that seemd so cool in 1979. There is currently a war going on over whether these should be hung in the bedroom.

The ceramic monster and lidded rainbow pot that have been on display since I made them in fourth grade. They are mixed in with the real ceramic pieces in my parent's kitchen.

A remarkably dusty Hummel-style figurine made out of various shellacked chocolates given to my father to remind him of his years in the chocolate business. I remember my father thinking this was very clever at the time he received it. I'm pretty certain he would toss it in the garbage now if it wasn't holding such a prominent place on the mantel.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Here I am dreaming of those great dim and drizzly days in Portland. Thank god mother nature finally came through:

The rain is your friend. You love the color gray. The rain is your friend. You love the color gray.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Yesterday I felt the relief that rain brings. No need to get out in the nice weather to absorb all the Vitamin D you can. Work gets done. Thoughts expand. Today, the clouds broke and the afternoon turned beautiful and I could do nothing but walk around, tired and happy.

Take a picture of the sun. So says assignment #27 at Learning to Love You More.

Monday, October 16, 2006

This summer my mother got hit in a crosswalk. When I was home helping in her recovery we had a big adventure out to the crappy grocery store with my mother on crutches, one of those giant braces with gears and velcro hidden under her baggy sweatpants. When we went to pay, the elderly cashier asked what had happened. My mother jostled her glasses into place and flipped her wallet open with a snap. "I got hit by a truck," she said. The cashier laughed, thinking she was joking. My mother looked over the top of her glasses. "No, I'm serious. I got hit by a truck." She hated the pain medication she had to take and the weeks she spent in rehab and the endless hours of boredom on her couch watching Law and Order marathons. But she liked telling people what happened, not for pity or shock value, but simply because there are very few people who get to say those words and have them be true.

Today is her 67th birthday and I love her more every year.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

I used to keep journals, not fanatically, but frequently. As I became happier, or maybe just older, those journals became less essential. My writing fell to fiction. While I lost much of the angst (okay, not all of it, but most) I also lost a bit of the freedom those secret books allowed. I wrote anything, free to be selfish or silly or melodramatic, giddy with love or wine. Now I have this public forum as my journal and the censor is on all the time. I wonder if I shouldn't cut back on this experiment if only to stop encouraging that nag with the big red marker that marches around in my head. She is on duty often enough when I work on my book. The other option would be to be as honest here as I was back then. Who would care? What would I say? Am I even capable of that kind of honesty at this age or have I grown too protective? What a disaster to think that I may have grown more fearful in some ways than I was back then, or at least more jaded, less flexible, less true. Maybe I really have embraced the cranky old lady in me a bit too firmly. I will try and ease my grip.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

The top photos is of Yelapa, Mexico where I will be going next spring. The bottom photo is of Tulum, Mexico where I was this past winter. In between I have been researching and booking trips to San Francisco and the Oregon coast. All of it is yet another form of procrastination. If only grass shacks were the cure.

Today, one of my clients asked me how my book was going. I gave the usual vague answer. A few minutes later she asked, "So...do you think you're ever really going to finish it?" She meant no harm and barely did any, but still...

Friday, October 13, 2006

Sometimes the essential comes in the form of a mad but very fluffy cat.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

"For life is short, reading is long, and literature is in the process of killing itself off through an insane proliferation. Every novelist, starting with his own work, should eliminate whatever is secondary, lay out for himself and for everyone else the ethic of the essential." So says Milan Kundera in the Oct. 9th issue of The New Yorker.

As a person who has often embraced her mediocrity I find the idea of eliminating all that is secondary not only impossible, but absurd. Sometimes I crave the "ephemeral, commonplace, conventional." I also don't believe in laying anything out for anybody else, a problem Mr. Kundera clearly has no problem with. And yet, I agree that there's a whole lot of crap out there and it's only getting crappier. I believe that most of us are hobbyists, not artists, regardless of how much love and passion is there. A little examination of what is necessary wouldn't be a bad idea.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I've been procrastinating from my procrastinating. Today, instead of working on moving my clothes out of my overstuffed bedroom closet into this bigger, empty one, I weeded the paving stones of my driveway. Last summer, a teenager across the street laughed long and hard at me for doing this. He was right to do so. I wished he was there today, pointing his big, gawky finger at me. They're weeds. It's your driveway. You have GOT to have better things to do.

I miss writing all afternoon and then trudging back to the computer to write all night. I miss the beautiful sentences. I miss the surprise image arriving fully formed and the preposition it took an hour to decide on. I'll have to try and find all that again. Maybe after I finish moving my clothes

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Monday, October 09, 2006

I have one of the least addictive personalities of anyone I know and yet, lately, I've been glued to my computer like a teenager. My eyes hurt and I emerge into the fresh air feeling hungover and vaguely disappointed. This makes me sad for teenagers and annoyed at myself. Today I purposely stayed out of the house all afternoon, walking through a neighborhood I rarely get to, trying just to look at things in all their amazing three-dimensional glory, the way I used to before the computer made me slow and stupid.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

After so many years of sending out submissions and tracking them, I suddenly realized today how sad it was that each time I open this file up most of what I see is reject reject reject. For my next procrastination project I will replace this line of rejects with a line of very neutral checkmarks. This will be a follow-up to my last procrastination project which was creating my new office space.

This was my bedroom for years before I realized that the slightly smaller back bedroom was shielded from 75% of the drunken WHOOOOooooos!!!! that bombard my street every night. Thanks to my departed roommate, I now have a warm yellow room to write in or, at least, a room to turn rejects into checkmarks. I have dreamed of this space for a long time and now I have it.
The fear descends. The real words, not these words, are waiting.
Getting what you wish for can be a real bitch.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Last night I dreamt that Greg Kinnear grabbed my ass while I was giving him a massage in front of my cousin's bridal party. The bridal party filtered out of the room and Greg and I were left to talk. We discussed the ass grabbing, but mostly I wanted to talk about The Feast of Love, the wonderful Charles Baxter book which they are now turning into a movie being filmed here in Portland. Despite starring in the movie along with Morgan Freeman, he told me that he hadn't really read the book. I told him he was a tool. I really didn't know what Greg Kinnear looked like until I looked up his pic. If he was a bit more gaunt and had wire-rim glasses he'd look a lot like the guy in my dream. In fact he'd look a lot like Charles Baxter whose visage was also completely unknown to me until just now. Curious...

Friday, October 06, 2006

My tomato, singular. I've never claimed to be a gardener, but this year's crop, has been pathetic indeed. Oh well.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Rebecca Scheer, a local Portland metalsmith, made this amazing set of "futensils" many years ago as a small part of a much larger collection of variously altered forks, spoons and knives. I finally pulled them out of the formal display-type box they'd been sitting in and stuck them up on my kitchen window sill. Now the afternoon sun (we love you afternoon sun...please don't go) filters through them and they are more wonderous than ever. Rebecca makes amazing jewelry too. Check it out. It'll make you covetous.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

My very generous friend gave, GAVE, me this Oxford English Dictionary when he got a new set of his own. How amazing is that? Now I have to buy a chair and a lamp to set next to my dic so I can fully embrace my geekdom (I know, I know, it's already embraced, but it must also be illuminated).
I offer you a few of my favorites from Volume VII N-Poy:

Monday, October 02, 2006

This giant cedar barely fits in my little yard. Lying on the ground and looking up at it gives the sensation that the whole damn thing is going to drop on you at any moment. Lately, it's been making creaking noises. If I have to cut it down, I'll turn my backyard into a bamboo forest and the neighbor behind me who hates the tree will hate the bamboo instead.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

I haven't worked out all the details of what my new and last life will be, but I'm thinking that it should, eventually, involve either the log cabin in the bottom pic or its modern cousin above it.