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Location: Brooklyn, New York, United States

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Tim Earley on the James Frey literary scandal

"All I know is I want to be spanked by Oprah."

Monday, January 30, 2006


Stole this from a blog called early hours of sky because it struck me as something I need to learn:

“What must I do, to tame you?” asked the little prince.

“You must be very patient,” replied the fox. “First you will sit down at a little distance from me—like that—in the grass, I shall look at you out of the corner of my eye, and you will say nothing. Words are the source of misunderstanding. But you will sit a little closer to me, every day….”


been rediscovering this aimee mann song:
so, don't work your stuff,
because I've got troubles enough,
don't pick on me,
when one act of kindness
could be deathly.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

fever dreams

Dream that the United States is conquered by Muslim Fundamentalists. I have a choice: cover my face or stop reading. I cover my face and keep four philosophy texts with me at all times. I wear lots of lipstick under my burka though.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

note on love

it seems like a good goal
to stop
making it about replacing
something I
fear I've lost.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

How To Be Alone

Just back from the city, where I saw Gloria Deluxe play and Anne Carson read with Christine Hume at the Poetry Project. I also wandered around used bookstores to stay out of the rain, almost bought a book called "Never Let Me Go" but was prompted by my date to buy the aforementioned book of essays by Jonathan Franzen instead, the irony of which seemed to be lost on him. The date that is, not much is lost on Franzen, although he admits to not reading all that much himself. There are moments when I felt less "isolated" by his "intellectually engaging self-awareness" as the Times Review touted, but I ultimately felt a little more lonely reading him because he reminded me of the smart, self-absorbed men I've gone out with in the past, who go on just a little too long about a subject, who are a little mad at me for their desire, a little too interested in their own intellect and self awareness, and who ultimately failed to never let me go. I almost wrote him a letter once, after his remarkably self-absorbed review of Alice Munro's Runaway, in which he seemed to think it was sufficiently interesting to the reader to proclaim that he liked her books, and didn't seem to feel a need to talk about the books themselves. I wanted to tell him that if he turned some of that awareness and intellect to the actual content of her writing, he'd say that her genius is in articulating the complex inner life of women, which is the element decidedly missing from his own writing, good as it is.

Now, back to nursing my cold and making another damn syllabus. I'm too lazy to link right now, but at least you know I do have thoughts beyond literary scandals and abc mini-series.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

truth and fiction

Coles Burroughs recommended this great Mary Karr editorial about the whole JT Leroy/James Frey literary scandal, which as far as I can ascertain, is way more interesting than either of their books.

Monday, January 16, 2006


I've been renting this mini-series. A friend described it as a show about "a bunch of people who survive this plane crash on an island where all this fucked-up shit starts to happen." That's pretty much what it is. The island offers unique challenges to each of the individuals that usually have to do with redemption in some way, facing something from their past. They all butt heads about power, fate vs. science, and its riveting and ruthless enough to kick you out of thinking about anything else for 45 minutes.

It's also popular, and I think the reason people like it so much is because we all want that--the chance to start over. We're living in such an incredibly lost time that this is our "Fantasy Island": the chance to recreate ourselves somewhere totally different with 40 other (attractive, interesting) strangers and only the bare essentials. I think that's part of the reason I've gone to art colonies, and moved around, and even part of why I came to this weird little small town.

Friday, January 13, 2006

what does this mean

X tells me last night she has to have surgery to have a lump in her breast removed.

I fall asleep and dream I am on a plane that’s been hijacked, (don’t watch LOST) though we, the passengers are only vaguely aware of this fact. The pilot comes on the intercom and says “we have secured the terrorists, but we have lost the bottom level of the plane." It is a plane with two floors of seating, and I realize he means everyone on the first floor has been killed. Then my mind starts to critique the dream—how could you not have experienced the terror, even if it was happening below? So the dream goes backward, like a postmodern narrative, guns to the head, ending with the moment where it started.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Neu Jahr

Sunday, January 08, 2006

A good, plain, very resourceful woman

“The speaker is a woman who has the great and terrible gift of being reborn. The trouble is, she has to die first. She is the phoenix, the libertarian spirit, what you will. She is also just a good, plain, very resourceful woman.”
Plath on Lady Lazarus, as part of a script for a BBC broadcast which never took place...

Trying to write an academic paper as part of the phd application--It's been almost ten years since I did my MFA and I somehow lost what little academic writing I did then, and while I've been teaching expository over these years, I've done little to none of it myself. I joked with a poet friend the other day that I was going to try to write something about Plath because I was looking for unmoored territory. Like Dickinson, so many have this voracious hunger to claim her, and I am not divorced from that. Threads of her story weave through the life of any woman who writes, and these are bright red threads: my aunt went to high school with her; my own mother remembers the town gossip after her first hospitalization. At Yaddo, I wrote in her writing room and fell in love with a poet who was given Ted Hughes and her bedroom. My ex is about to publish a novel called Lady Lazarus. (I'll say no more about that.) Even if I didn't find her work endlessly important and enormously admirable, the ghost of her drama was bound to intersect my own.

What strikes me the most as I immerse myself in her writing and her life, is that despite the tragic trajectory of her demise, she was, as she describes her persona, a very resourceful woman, and a very ambitious one. Her will to live immortally ultimately surpassed her will to get up in the morning "before the glassy music of the milkmen."

Saturday, January 07, 2006


A panel of linguists has decided the word that best reflects 2005 is "truthiness," defined as the quality of stating concepts one wishes or believes to be true, rather than the facts.

That reminds me of a word my friends and I invented in high school--godish, meaning when humans portray godlike qualities. This has been an old testament godish year. This has been a truthy year. Everyone a little outraged beneath their complacency.

It's the 7th. Seven is my favorite number. I've already broken some of my resolutions, but I decided they are goals for the year; I will cease negative spirals, quit smoking, practice fearless giving in 2006...and then some. I am happy again, this time just because. Because of the lights I just put up around my windows, because I cleaned my car and my bathroom and my clothes today and I did it for me, because I'm going to retake the GRE's this week and finally actually apply for a doctoral program, because I smashed my finger and bruised my leg and I will survive and let them heal, because I am staying in to be calm and write, because of the new cafe that opened on Warren street and the view of the Hudson, because my neighbor dyed his hair purple, because I've done what I can, because I have a phone number to call for a woman who helps first time home-buyers, because a woman said to me today: you have perfect timing.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

one must pray to be abandoned

all those pulleys, animals and pain. when falling, we want to grab the nearest branch and hold on with all our might...
but sometimes it's better to just keep falling all the way down, then think about getting up, dusting the dirt off our skinny knees.