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Archive for June, 2010

My first memory of going to look for my dad at 3:00 a.m. (or thereabouts) dates back to 1984; I was four. I’m sure these late night / early morning adventures took place long before then; after all, my mom and dad had been married for three years before I was even born, so this behavior I’m sure was nothing new. But my first clear memory of looking for my dad dates back to about then.

Have you seen the movie Christine? When the character Dennis Guilder drives away from Arnie’s house at night, troubled and and a bit angry, that song, “As I walk along, / I wonder what went wrong, / With our love, a love that was so strong / ….”. I don’t know who sings it; the Misfits maybe? It seemed like a throaty girl voice, like Carly Simon or Janis Joplin before the cigarettes and whiskey (with an e because I’m thinking she didn’t waste her time or money on proper Scotch). Anyways, that sound is playing in the background as Dennis drives away and the streetlights make these weird shadows, these shadows shaped like the rearview mirrors that bend and melt and drape over the over his face and the interior as the car maneuvers down the streets.

My first memory of looking for my dad was exactly like that, except my mom was driving the car, not Dennis, and she looked a lot more than troubled and a bit angry. She was also crying a lot. I was laying down in the backseat, being quiet, probably still half-asleep from being drug of bed for this early morning rendezvous. My mom smoked, and sang, and cried, and occasionally cussed. She asked me if I was ok, and not to worry, just go back to sleep.

I don’t remember if we found my dad that night. But many nights were like that. And, at the end of the day (or early the next morning, I guess) he always found us. He always found his way back home. I thought that was a good thing; I didn’t particularly want to know where my dad had been. I knew he had been bad places. I knew he had been drinking. That was a constant in my life; I never knew my dad any other way. Later I would learn that drugging and whoring was a big part of the drinking lifestyle, as well, or at least his.

But as a little girl, I just wanted my dad to come home and my mom to quit crying. And when he came home in the mornings, admittedly she would cry and yell even louder and more intensely than before, but it would normally get better. My dad would always hang his head in shame and mumble something about how sorry he was and how he would never let it happen again. Normally he would want me sitting in his lap while he apologized and sucked up to my mom; I was some sort of shield, I guess, from her wrath and fury. Within 24 hours, all would be well.

And then three days later, he’d be gone again. Rinse, lather, repeat cycle above.

She would punish him sometimes, of course. I remember once we actually found him at some scuzzy, fat, white lady’s house over off of Buchanan and the Boulevard, across the street from Horace Mann school. She brought his clothes over in a black plastic garbage sack and threw them in her yard. And he came back a few days later.

One of the funnier things I saw my mom do was pack him a special lunch before he went to work one morning following his typical late night shenanigans. I knew what was in that pail, but he didn’t. I’m sure his workmates had a damn good laugh when he opened his lunch pail at noon to discover a pile of bologna, still with the rinds, thrown into his pail with a few slices of cheese, still in the wrappers, a bag of chips, crushed to powder, and some moldy bread. Oh yeah, and a water bottle of hot ugly AMA tap water. Hee hee, take that cheater!

This went on for 20 years or so, at least that I am aware of. My dad always found his way home. And mom always let him back through the front door. The locks were never changed. But, she changed.

He changed, too. Out of necessity more than anything else. My dad is 63 now. His health is failing, both mentally and physically. He’s too old to drink and drug and whore. Now he drinks two beers and he’s tanked. Falls asleep on the couch. A shot of whiskey for his toothache, perhaps. Quiet, family man. It’s nice. I wish I could have had that before my brother and I had grown up, but it is what it is. I’m glad he’s better, although that’s really a relative term.

My mom…I cannot say she has changed for the better. Something died inside, a long time ago. I was either to selfish to see it or in denial. But there’s no looking the other way now. She’s broken. Damaged. Hollow.

I suppose in some ways I’m more like my mom than she realizes. I have her flaw of being a doormat to people I love and to people I think love me, even if it’s in the smallest possible way. Maybe that’s why she gets so angry with me.

My mom didn’t have a choice. She had a kid to raise, no education, and no skills. She suffered through that marriage for me, and later, for my brother. Now we’re grown up. She’s still suffering. She looks at me and says, you have a choice; you have everything I didn’t; I sacrificed everything, so you, my daughter, wouldn’t have to make the same mistakes as me, as my mom, your granny. You can take care of yourself. You still have a chance at happiness, even though you’re thirty. Don’t make the same fucking mistakes I did.

Change the locks.

Don’t let him keep finding his way back home.

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When I was a wee bit of a girl, about ye high as the old timers would say, (I’m actually still ye high, to be perfectly frank), I spent a lot of my time with my grandaddy in Dumas. My granny would wake me up early in the morning…we’re talking, like 5:00 a.m. She would cook me Aunt Jemima buttermilk pancakes in her microwave. She still has that same microwave, actually; at my granny’s house, appliances and other home furnishings seem to last for years. She would turn the microwave on for about 50 seconds and heat a stack of two pancakes. Then she would pull them out, rub them down with Land o’ Lakes whipped butter, and douse them in Caro syrup. I will never be able to walk down a grocery store aisle of of cooking oils and syrups and see Caro syrup without thinking of those early morning Dumas breakfasts. Most people in AMA don’t even know what Caro is; I will never forget it.

I always shared a room with my grandaddy; he had twin beds, and my granny had her own room, with a double bed that she slept in alone. I had never seen it any different, and I never thought to question it. I would pad down the hallway from the east end of the house and make my way to the stool at the bar in the kitchen. My granny would bring me my pancakes with a glass of Tang. Never orange juice; always Tang. After my breakfast, I would wash up and come back to the living room to join my grandaddy.

Around 5:30 a.m. he would walk to the garage door, right behind my little breakfast bar stool, and open the garage. Then he would reach down and pick up the brown shoes sitting beside the door. That was the spot for his shoes. They rested on a piece of newspaper. My granny didn’t like people walking around in her house with shoes on, so…(that’s probably why her carpet lasted so long, as well). I don’t know what brand they were; it would probably make this story more realistic. But they were brown, and had brown laces, and in my head the brand will always be Granddaddy Footwear.

After lacing up his shoes, it was time to hit the door and hit the road in his four-door Buick Le Sabre. We would drive down Dallam street, take a right at the stop sign, and head north to the Allsups. I loved morning coffee with the old timers at Allsups. They would always fawn over me and tell me silly jokes and congratulate my granddaddy on “makin’ such a good lookin’ kiddo.” He would chuckle and guffaw and pat me on the head, acting modest but lapping it up. He was proud of me and I idolized him; it was a nice symbiotic relationship. After the morning formalities, the fellas would gather around a common table at Allsups and read the paper and talk shit about God knows what while I would drink juice after juice and read comic after comic, with my granddaddy footing the tab the entire time. My favorite was Archie. I loved to read what new antics Archie would be up to, bouncing back and forth between the two women in his life, good girl Betty and sexy rebel Veronica.

I laughed at the love triangle back then. I didn’t laugh about similar situations later.

So this morning, we had our typical routine described above. When we got to Allsups, there were some new visitors, some lady friends of the old guys. That’s cool. They were cute. They pinched my cheeks and stroked my hair and oohed and aahed. My grandaddy made sure to introduce to all of them. I don’t remember one from the other; hell, I’m not trying to be rude, but to a four year old (and, to be honest, to a thirty year old), most old people pretty much look the same unless you are personally related to one, and even then it can be iffy in a crowded, smoky room (thank goodness I don’t run into my grandparents at the bar; I might not recognize them).

I can’t tell you what the woman looked like, is what I’m saying. But she’s an important player, so take note.

The rest of the morning passed uneventfully; the old guys had coffee with the old biddies and around 9 a.m. grandaddy and I went home. I don’t remember how the rest of my week went. I suppose uneventfully. My mom came to pick me up later that week and on the way home, I regaled her with Dumas stories of the grandparents. I don’t remember, but obviously one consisted of the morning Allsups time with the ladies. And I guess, 26 years ago, I remembered that lady’s name because I told my mom about my “grandaddy’s lady friend so and so…”.

And that’s when the shit hit the proverbial fan.

We went home and my mom called my granddaddy, her daddy. She was crying and she cussed him up one side and down the other. This post seems to reflect amnesia, but honestly, I don’t remember all of it. I just know that my mom said if he ever had me around that bitch again, she would kill them both.

Many years later I discovered that I had met the Other Woman. Isn’t that funny, that a man I considered to be devoid of all sexuality (seeing as how he didn’t even share a room with my granny) could have a girlfriend on the side, a sancha? Not funny, haha. Just…funny.

That was, I think, my first knowing brush with infidelity in my family. Later, it would hit come much closer to home. And I don’t mean L-Hole. That was simply the coup de grâce
for me. But this is where it began.

I wish I had something more profound to say. But this is it.

It is what it is.

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I woke up this morning and promptly fell apart.

It all began (don’t you loathe stories that begin with that odious phrase?) with my morning cleaning routine. Yes, you read correctly. Cleaning routine. I actually have a list (imagine that) taped on the fridge with each day of the week and what should be cleaned that day. Kind of like a McDonald’s checklist hanging on the bathroom doors, with a list of duties that are timestamped and initialed by the unlucky worker who had to perform those tasks (toilet and tub have been scrubbed, baseboards wiped down, cosmetics table reorganized, mirrors polished, rugs washed and dried at 8:47 a.m. by A.O.).

So I was working on my kitchen and an hour later, after scrubbing the stove, wiping down the cabinets, washing dishes, hand scrubbing the floor, and starting a pot of coffee, I thought I’d end my kitchen routine with a load of laundry. Mainly rugs from the kitchen and bathroom floors, a few pillowcases perhaps. I popped the dirty rugs into my Speed Queen washer and walked away to the living room, to plan a new cleaning schedule with some additions to the existing tasks and a reorganization of days to clean. (Yes, I’m anal, but not in the way that guys like, so that means I’m just single and really, really tidy…).

As I began my list of additions (clean ceiling fans weekly, scrub baseboards around the house weekly, move washer and dryer and fridge from their normal homes to dust and mop underneath the appliances bi-weekly, etc.) I also began to get a bit panicky. I really don’t know how people have a clean home and a full time job. Seriously. Do they all have maids? I basically have two full time jobs, plus my writing which I don’t get paid for, that takes up most of my time. As I looked at my schedule and wondered how in the hell I was going to pull this off when the fall semester started and I went back to work, I heard the sound of running water. Well, more like pouring water. Like rapids of water. In the kitchen.

I knew immediately what had happened.

When I moved into this house, this lovely quaint home in an old historic neighborhood, I didn’t have a washer or dryer; I did my clothes at the laundromat. For about three months. Because it sucked. I finally went to the local Taylor’s and bought a washer and dryer, brand new. The Speed Queen, recommended because it is so powerful. So powerful that when they installed it in my home, I figured out that the spin cycle, which throws the water off, is too strong for the plumbing int his house. So every time the washer hits spin cycle, I have to go in the kitchen, keep an eye on the sink, and when the sink starts filling with water due to the backlog of water being thrown into the pipes by the washer, I have to raise the lid of the washer, stop the cycle, let all the water drain back down into the sink, and then close the lid to start the cycle again. If I do not do this, the sink overflows and gallons of water pool up on the kitchen floor. And of course, any food in the pipes from the night before gets deposited on the floor, as well.

So I walked into my kitchen and stepped in dirty washer water and old rice from the last night’s dinner. And, to top it off, my house is slightly slanted so the water all had all rushed to the opposite side of the kitchen and pooled under the fridge and stove.

What did I do? I cleaned it up, of course. And bawled the entire time.

It just doesn’t seem fair. Yeah, I know life isn’t fair. I know that everyone gets equal doses of unfairness in life. But, as the pig in Animal Farm noted, some animals are more equal than others, so I assume that some people get more equal shares of shitty hands in the game of life than others.

I cried and asked myself, and God, why oh why do I have to suffer through this? I simply can’t do this alone. What is “this,” you ask?

My fucking life.

I am spending hours a day perfecting my lawn, perfecting my home, researching to finish my second M.A. thesis, reading new pedagogy books to stay abreast of writing techniques that I can bring into my classroom, reading new fiction to stay abreast of the competitive writing market I’m trying to enter, growing fresh herbs so I can learn fancy new recipes, making fucking apricot jam to give out to family and friends, trading BPAL on the forum, doing yoga and walking and toning to perfect my body, touching up my roots and making sure I have weekly pedis and facials (all done at home, of course) to perfect my looks…I have not even begun to list everything written in my daily planner.

And all for what? Why I am so obsessed with perfection? Why am I working so hard to achieve everything and be the best at everything, even stupid shit like having a clean home and being Betty Crocker in my free time?

I am obviously laboring under the delusion that being perfect will somehow buy me love from someone. A permanent, unconditional love. That elusive feeling and state of life that we all read about, see on TV, and some of us are lucky enough to actually witness it in real life, maybe in friends or family members. Maybe, just maybe, some of you actually have it in your own life.

It is very difficult and painful to know that you are a disappointment. And I am. I am not playing the sympathy card or seeking pity; I’m simply stating the facts.

I am my mother’s greatest disappointment. I figured this out long ago, in my teens, when my personality and convictions actually began to arise and show themselves. My mom loves me, don’t get me wrong. But she doesn’t necessarily like me. If we were to simply meet on the street, she wouldn’t be friends with me.

I’m not like her. She doesn’t like that. I’m a lot like my dad. She doesn’t like that. She loves my dad, but she doesn’t really like him, you know?And she feels the same about me. She would never admit it, and she’ll probably not talk to me for quite a while when she reads this. But I only speak truth.

Like many people, I tried to find love and acceptance outside of a family who really didn’t offer it. And, I failed at that, as well. You will read more of that story in the Benzo Chronicles, but suffice it to say that I couldn’t even get an unemployed, dirty, ambitious-less, and lazy man to like me, not to mention love me. It sucks that it took fifteen years for me to figure that out, but that’s just a testament to my dogged determination…I tried really hard, as with everything in my life, to be a success with him. But I totally and utterly failed.

I can only surmise that my need to be the best at everything I can be, whether it is teaching or housekeeping or writing or whatever…I can only surmise that it is my feeble attempt to find a way to validate myself. Most people get their sense of security and meaning in life from their loved ones; they are here for a reason, you know? They are important to someone, somebody, somewhere.

I want to be important to someone, too. But until then, I’m just going to back to the kitchen and raise the lid on the washer. I can hear the water hitting the floor again.

Sigh. FML.

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I had a conversation yesterday with a close girlfriend of mine. I’ve know this chick for a few years; I’ve actually known of her much longer than I have had the pleasure of being a part of her life. I used to always admire her from afar because she is one of those girls that part of you wants to hate, but deep down a bigger part of you wants nothing more than to be her friend.

No need to bore you with details about her looks; suffice it to say she is beautiful in a real way: voluptuous body, flashing blue-gray eyes that can be seen from across the room, never a hair out of place from her stacked ‘do and always with a full face of makeup. She is the kind of girl who doesn’t go out of the house, not even to go get a coke from Toot n Totum, without being dressed to the nines; stilettos are her shoes du jour.

She grew up on the rich side of town, went to the rich school, and hung out with the richies. I grew up on the north side of town (there are actually people in AMA who admit to never having crossed the Boulevard to my old stomping grounds…this slays me), attended a school with a less than stellar reputation (we were one of the first schools to add a daycare to our campus, in order to accommodate the numerous 9th graders who were pregnant and at risk of dropping out of school), and was raised around families that had to make decisions about whether to pay the water bill or buy food for the week…not exactly the kinds of decisions she was used to making, or even realized that other people grew up having to make.

When we were younger, I can guarantee she would have never give me the time of day; shit, the stuck up bitches at my ghetto ass school didn’t even give me the time of day. But people grow up, and for some of us, our friendship boundaries widen; we make friends with people we wouldn’t have in high school because we don’t give a shit anymore. We realize that old adage is really true: high school doesn’t mean shit.

So, in our mid twenties we met each other and slowly became friends. And it was slow, believe me. Because even as adults, we are two different people. (Well, from the outside, anyway. At the end of the conversation that I am recalling, I realized how alike we really are…) Picture it if you can. The two of us, sitting next to each other at the bar: She is tall and curvy, with supermodel cheekbones, icy gray eyes surrounded by smoky black liner, shadow, and mascara; her lips are plumped with Max Factor plumping gloss and her hair is reflecting the light because of her Paul Sebastian glosser. She is wearing a red carpet, plum colored, short, snazzy cocktail dress, like she should be at a club in NYC, not a dive bar in AMA. Her legs, planted into a pair of Manolo Blahnik high heels, are strong and shapely and tanned and glistening, like her hair; everything about this girl sparkles. Her rings, her bracelets, her smile.

And next to her is me. Voluptuous, yes; I’m half Latina, so I’m shaped like a guitar. Large bubbies, not on a J scale, that’s for sure, but as I’m 4’11” and not 5’9”, that’s probably a good thing as I’d tip over. My hair is dark chestnut and espresso, and is half curly and half wavy; ringlets in some places. Olive skin, full lips, fact cheeks, and dark brown, slanty eyes. I’m the kind of Hispanic that looks kind of chinky. Natural makeup; powder to cut the shine, a dab of mascara, maybe some gloss. My clothes are bohemian, not club stylish. My jewelry is nice, but most of it is in my face. And, probably most eye-catching are the colorful sleeves I proudly wear; most of my clothes consist of spaghetti straps and halters as to display my body canvas.

Like I mentioned earlier, I’m pretty, but in a totally different way. And on a totally different, lowered scale. We don’t look like two girls that would be sitting at the same table. But that’s what we became, and now three years later she’s sitting on my couch and telling me about her broken breasts.

Yes, you read that correctly. Her broken breasts; her mark as a failed daughter and mother.

She had tried to breastfeed when the Sweet One was born. But she simply didn’t make the milk. Her mammary glands, for whatever reason, were refusing to emit enough fluid for baby. So, she started buying formula. This, in her parents’ eyes, was absolute sacrilege.

They accused her of being lazy. Too lazy to feed her own child. She responded by trying to pump more; she would sit in her room for hours, breasts attached to the state of the art, best that money could buy breast pump machine, while the suction drained her breasts of the milky life that was supposed to be hidden within. Her parents would await anxiously in the parlor (people like that don’t have living rooms) and when she emerged from her room, they would harangue her with cries of “How much did you get? How much came out?” as if her value as a mother could be measured by the fluid ounces of milk the machine sucked from her breasts. And each time, with growing despair and defeat, she would answer sadly none, no milk, maybe just a half ounce after several hours of agony.

They gave her dirty looks, sucked their teeth, tskd tskd, and rolled their eyes. See how lazy you are, they said; your breasts are even lazy; your mammary glands suck at life, just like you.

Her mother went and rented a high tech, more state of the art machine than the own they had at home; it was 100 dollars a day to rent from the hospital, but she did it, and she came home and gave it to the Sweet One’s mother and said, Quit being lazy, go pump, go be a good mom. She hooked up her breasts; the machine sucked and pumped. Nothing; the Sahara Desert had more chance of fluid nourishment than her breasts.
Her parents gave up; took the machine back to the hospital. Cleaned and packed up the breast pump at home. Went and bought formula. Sighing and tsking tsking all the way.

What could I have done, she asked me tearfully. I took fenugreek and other herbal supplements; I did exercises, I did everything right; why did my breasts fail? Why did I fail as a mother?

Why did I fail as a daughter?

At her house, everything always looks perfect. Who knew inside of that house of perfection were broken breasts.

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It’s Friday night and I’m babysitting the Sweet One. He is happily asleep in his brown and tan teddy bear themed room; I think it’s Eddie Bauer or something else fantastically sheik and expensive. I am sipping a diet Dr. Pepper, which is gross because I hate Dr. Pepper. I don’t like fruit flavored soda. And I also hate aspartame. So I have a can of bitter prune juice with carbonation. It sucks.

On A&E right now, it’s 7:00 p.m. so of course “Intervention” is showing; tonight Angelina has fallen asleep in her bowl of cereal again. I don’t know if it’s due to the heroin or the Xanax. Her brother Bud doesn’t want to see her much anymore. But there’s always hope with interventions.

Maybe she will find her Brad. Maybe she can adopt some Ethiopians or Somalians with her trust fund checks (her family won a ten million dollar settlement some years ago when her half brother died, infant he was, in a hospital due to negligence) and fill that empty hole in her arm…I mean, heart. It must be hard to be Angelina; after all, upon blowing her lump sum from the settlement, she only gets one grand a month from her remaining trust, and that’s simply not enough to keep her high. Whatever to do?

Juxtaposed against this sad tale, this sorrowful white noise in the background, is me inside of a house that is spacious and…well, nice. I’m sitting on a brocade recliner with a matching ottoman; the chair has arm slips, but instead of just slipping them on like plain Jane recliners, these arm slips are buttoned on. And not just any old tacky brass furniture buttons; no siree Bob, not on a street called Cape Colony. These are arm jackets, not arm slips. There’s no slipping these off; no way. You can tell in a house like this, nothing ever slips off or falls out of place.

I’m imagining myself to be a Real Housewife. You know, not like a real housewife. I don’t have a lazy man sitting in his Lazy Boy, flipping through sports channels and dribbling beer and chips into the cracks of the furniture. There isn’t a stack of dishes crusting over in the sink or a lawn that needs mowing or three kids less than one year apart in age, screaming for food or hugs or swats or whatever it is kids scream for these days. I was thinking more along the lines of a singular aspect of the group of Real Housewives. I normally prefer to kill my brain cells watching the women in NYC or NJ, but I feel more like a Orange County housewife, sitting at home in my amazing home with central air and little switches that dim the lights in each and every room. The granite counter-tops are just aching for a bottle of Pinot Grigio to be popped open while I change the baby into his designer onesie.

I decide it’s time to feed the Sweet One; after I burped him and lay him down on the floor for some tummy time. Decided I would FB to let everyone know just how sweet he was…and as I hit the send button with my right finger while my left hand steadily patted his back, he projectile vomited across the room, over the blanket, and right on the hard wood floors; the hardwood floors that, according the flier I read lying in the foyer area, were authentic teak. Not just any old fake Home Depot wood, no siree Bob, not here in Wisteria Lane, I mean, the Colonies…

And, to make matters worse, as I was washing the hot foamy formula from my arm (yes, it was in the way of the flying bile), I see that four minutes ago a girl I went to elementary school with, a girl whom I was horribly mean to and should probably be bitch slapped by God for my atrocious behavior, just FBd that her husband and her were on a date without their daughter and he just told her she was THE (her emphasis, not mine) most beautiful woman in the GALAXY. Yes, she interrupted her date to FB that. She probably twatted it, too.

Believe me, I’m not making fun of her; FB and Twitter is the literal equivalent to the old cliché of shouting it from the rooftops. And who doesn’t want to let the world know that someone loves the shit out of her? Or him? (yes, yes, sexism revised)…

But, this is the kind of fairy tale realities come true that makes me feel like slug slime. Why does she get to have it all and I have to make believe in my friend’s parents’ house, with someone else’s baby? Am I that horrible of a person that I don’t deserve love and marriage and a baby carriage and all that happy crappy? Do I have the power to make that many people run the other direction from me?

I don’t think I’m particularly unattractive. I’m not a ten, but I don’t think I hit every branch on the ugly tree. And, from what I understand from books and movies and, um, the world going on around me, having a good personality is supposed to go a long way. Those of you that know me, don’t laugh. At least not out loud. I happen to think I have a fucking A+ personality.

But maybe I suffer from a form of personality dysmorphia, like body dysmorphia. Like a fat girl who looks in the mirror and thinks she can wear skinny girl jeans with stilettos and rock it like Paris Hilton (when really she looks like Perez Hilton all trannied up). Maybe that’s me. Maybe I just think that my charm is gregarious, my smile is winning, my laughter is infectious, my humor is witty without being too terribly sardonic, and my heart and loyalty are bottomless. Maybe the reality is far, far different.

So I just continue to sit here, at least for tonight, and play make believe, like a little girl again. Like that little girl who was so mean to the other little girl. The other little girl who grew up and found someone to be nice to her forever, and then decided she would let the world know, shout it from the rooftops, and FB it.

Apparently karma is a bigger bitch than I could have ever been.

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I have hit the delete button at least five times already; how does one begin the opening line, the infamous attention-getter, the hook that stabs itself through the readers’ mandibles and then drags them in to my world?

I don’t know; that’s probably why I’m lamenting my life as a failed writer. I’m such a failure that I haven’t even received rejection letters…I’m too much of a reject to send my work out to readers and editors. In fact, I’m too much of a reject to even put words to paper lately…well, if lately translates to the last, oh, ten years.

The odd thing is that I’m a compulsive writer; I spend about five hours a day reading and/or writing in some form. I’m the queen of lists; I actually have a notepad that is a list of lists: lists to be made, lists to be revised, lists that might or might not make it to the final cut of lists to be made. I carry scraps of paper with me at all times, in case I need to make an emergency list (that will of course be recopied at home, nicely and neatly, into a proper list).

From that large umbrella of  lists, the list wellspring, you might say, comes the smaller sub-genres of lists, the list rivers: grocery lists, cleaning lists (it’s Thursday, time to move the fridge and scrub the floor underneath and around it), exercise regime lists, gardening lists (what needs to be plucked? pruned? watered?) project lists (as in scrap-booking, organizing the garage, putting together digital photo albums, conducting genealogy research, finding new recipes to try)…and when all the list making is done, I try to actually accomplish said tasks.

Did I mention that I’m a bit compulsive? And obsessive? I have always been an extreme person, a very passionate, addictive person…I obviously swing from hypographia and hypergraphia.

hypographia: otherwise known as writer’s block; the inability to produce meaningful words via text.

hypergraphia: the compulsion to produce reams and reams of written text, sometimes to the point of overproduction which leads to meaningless text (i.e. more quantity than quality).

As Francis Levy noted to Alice Flaherty at a 2007 symposium at the Philoctetes Center title “Hypergraphia and Hypographia: Two ‘Diseases’ of the Written Word,” perhaps my hypographia kickstarts my hypergraphia…the classic chicken or egg conundrum, indeed, but I suppose that doesn’t really matter.

What matters is that I haven’t produced anything of substantial value or meaning for about a decade, unless you count my numerous scraps of paper and lists that, really, amount to nothing more than rubbish and dreams…or dreams discarded into the rubbish bin, take your pick. Clean the kitchen or begin that short story collection…both a pipe dream, so why not share a scrap of paper?

So in a moment I end this opener to begin a new list: how to categorize my blog entries. I doubt anyone wants random tidbits about my day (please, I hate reading blogs that are really nothing more than electronic tween diaries), so I propose to find a few niches and focal points, for my own sanity and the sanity of my as of yet non-existent readers.

Definite categories to come (all non-fiction):

  • The Benzo Chronicles (oh my, I hope that one turns into a best-seller someday…an amalgam of Danielle Steele, Michael Crichton, and Aprhodite Jones couldn’t dream fiction fodder as good as my fucked up reality of a life ).
  • Tales from Ten Years at a Community College (again, these stories or characters could in no way, shape, or form have been made up…I have yet to meet a writer with a mind sick enough to create such horrible people…not even Chuck Palahniuk or Stephen King could drink or drug enough to come up with these assholes…).
  • Daily Musings (which may not be as entertaining as the above two…we’ll see…I think my daily events are pretty effin’ funny, but honestly, who knows…).

Now what will be interesting, to myself at least as I don’t know about my hoped-for future readers, is to stay abreast of my non-fiction writings and then, later, see if and how they manifest into my fiction.

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