Sunday, November 30, 2014

For the Love of Cobalt

Tonight marks the end of my one-entry-a-day-for-the-month-of-November stint.

I know that everyone and their neighbor says that if you put as much effort as you can into a situation, then just a bit more, everyday, you will get somewhere.

This is true about writing, but this isn't even what I'm thinking about as I type this.

I'm including this picture that I found (on en parlait la nuit, 2014) from the Tumblr of Aniela Dzikowska. 

In it, there is Cobalt Blue paint, the color very important and loved by a friend of mine who is very important and loved.  There is the number three, of course, which is just one part of an obsession that I have with numbers. But most beautiful is the combination of the two with a third: a window. To let in light, to shut out wind, to be open, or to be private.

A time of reconnection has arrived between me and someone who has been a huge source of influence, love, intelligence, and peace to me. It's been a few years of holding onto each other from afar.  It feels good be coming back home together.

Anyway, keep doing what you need to do. Don't listen to the shit-talker in your head that tries to talk you out of it. I have your back on this one. Just make sure that you have your own, as well.

be well; be loved,

k.

PS. I've been diving into more short stories to read on 15 minute breaks from everything, lately. Reading people who are new to me, but also returning to people whose reading makes me break down in tears.  It may be strange to say, or perhaps not, but Ray Bradbury is one of those people.  I am thankful for how he wrote his descriptions. I'm going to leave it at that, for now.  I am certain I will be writing about him in the near future.


Saturday, November 29, 2014

We Interrupt This Program for: A Brief Moment of Victory



I did what I set out to do: Write a novel of 50,000 words in less than one month. 

Thank you to people who have been supportive of my decision to do this. It means a lot. I swear I will start hanging out again without writing with one hand while doing so.

Maybe.


Either way:

It feels feels fucking good.

be well; be loved; stay tuned, because now comes the editing ~

k.



Friday, November 28, 2014

No.

Today has been about shutting down Black Friday, rain, die-ins and the police.

The end.

k.


Thursday, November 27, 2014

Acerbic Acrobatics

Part of today was spent doing basic research on maxillary canines.  Also admiring the various forms and aesthetics of resistance.

The indulgence of today was waking up to the second half of a short story by Joanna Russ that hit home in a particular, sci-fi way.  I'm glad to have stumbled upon her, typing away as I do in a city where she once lived. She sounded like one smart and pissed bitch that was in physical pain.  Good on her.  And thank you for existing and taking the canons of sci-fi down a few hundred notches with her critiques.

In any case, that's what I've got for today.  Now I am candlelight and eucalyptus and finally being warm.

be well; be loved; be aware that everything isn't always how you thought it was and this, in fact, can be a very good thing.

k.

(Image: Xanti Schawinsky 1936-1937 Black Mountain College via Bizarre Disco Tumblr)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Harp Standing Next to Me


Today marks the final stretch and just the beginning of so many things. In my life. In the world.

I am home now.

And will be wrapping myself up in blankets that were given to or made for me, long ago.

I want to wrap everyone in them.

I also want the Macy's parade to be shut down.

Now's not the time for floating turkeys and old traditions.

Although I would rather see them taken down, than temporarily and politely cancelled.



be well; be loved. Be safe out there.

k.

(image: via andallgoodthings tumblr)

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

All Its White Horses : Shut It Down



Watched the announcement real-time yesterday night.   Fuck this white supremacist system and every part of it that kills literally and inside. I've been getting reports from friends who are also in the streets last night/today/will be in days to come that there has been shut downs (in my city of the the freeways; in other cities bridges and freeways).

There will be more of this. 


(image via bemyoitumblr via yvonne constance tumblr)

Monday, November 24, 2014

My Favorite Children's Librarian Drums for a Crust Band: A Bit of an Ode to Judy Blume

Let's take a moment to celebrate how much of a bad ass Judy Blume is and has been.  There she was when she started her writing career in the seventies, writing some of the first books that were published for young adults and younger about bullying, sex, masturbation, menstruation, racism, and just being kind of crazy.

[Now don't get me wrong on a few things here:  I say that she was writing some of the first books on these topics that were published.  Which is different than being the first person writing books of this sort.]

Anyway, I've been thinking about her lately.  To be honest, until earlier this year, I didn't even know that she was still alive.  There's something about reading a book as a kid that I just assumed everyone who had written anything I liked was super old, or was already dead. I mean, the books had been out since before I was born...obviously this person was 98, right? 

Needless to say, it is a completely bizarre feeling to be an adult and be reading Judy's blog post from a few years ago about her breast cancer diagnosis and feeling my heart pang- as an adult for another adult.

Weird shit.

Anyway, if you had ever read some of her books, or just want to get a feel for why she was, in her context, an important writer, I'd say do two things.  One, is read a bit here about her views on censorship (as you probably know, many of her things were banned or attempted to be banned).  The other thing, and I will warn you that if any of her books have touched you this one will be a tear jerker, listen to this song that Amanda Palmer wrote as a song to Judy as one of her inspirations and heros:one version of it can be seen/heard, here.

While her books were never a huge part of what I read- I had read only a few- I saw how her books influenced those around me, and later, when I put her work in the context of censorship issues, I had a deeper understanding of why they were so important.

(pause)

Kid and Young Adult literature is crucial.  Efforts like We Need Diverse Books and apps like like We Read Too, an app that showcases boks written by authors of color with characters of color need to be saturating the libraries.  In working in libraries most of my life, what I know is that they are one of the few places where shit is free.  Internet. Books. ESL resources. Voting info. Music. Documentaries. Movies. Large Print. Braille. E books. Audio books. Comic books. And sometimes, even hand puppets. They are the places where, no matter how fucked up or absent or present  your parents are, you can go and explore and figure out who the fuck you are.

What we don't need are more white dudes like Roger Sutton who have positions of power within and influencing children and young adult books writing shit like this.

(In case you're interested, yes, it is my long ass comment midway down from 11/21 at 9:09pm.  And yes, I'll say that a few of the other comments are by bad ass children's librarians that I have the please of knowing.)

(pause)

Stay well and loved.

Keep reading, keep sharing.


-k.

(image: Man Ray, Permanent Attraction, 1948)

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Bruise on My Finger

Some days there is a lot of shit to deal with.

Some days there are just really good danishes to eat with
coffee.

(The kind that flake all over your lap as you eat them. The kind that make you close your eyes as you taste them.)

Some days, there are both.



Stay warm out there.
Love, light and only real sweeteners,

-k.

(photo:Phedia Mazuc via Afroui Tumblr)

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Sheet of Glass

My bedroom is on the third floor, and my window is thin.  I am currently listening to the reverberations caused by a semi truck, three people talking and laughing loudly on the sidewalk, and the occasional profound howl of a dog that is either begging for attention or is on the verge of dying.  All of this accented, periodically, by the slamming of car doors in a nearby heavy-traffic parking lot.

These are some of the reasons I love living where I live.

I will always prefer loud, frank ways of being and living and doing things.  For me it is the quiet, careful and stifled actions that have always signified danger. The glorified turn-taking and level-voiced polite spaces of the world have always, in the end, revealed some of the sickest, deepest, and most ensnaring forms of violence that I have ever experienced.




-k.

(image: Laurence Demaison, Self Portrait Body Water via Bizarre Disco tumblr)

Friday, November 21, 2014

Snippets of Life: A Grocery Store Parking Lot


The other day, in the parking lot of a grocery store, two silver-haired gay men got out of a car and started walking toward the store.  They were deep in conversation, looking at each other- dressed slightly alike in flannels and blue jeans.

As they passed by, I heard one of them ask the other,

"Have you gotten shorter than you used to be?"

 to which the other replied,

"Yeah."

There was a pause,

then the first guy added,

"Me too."




To the beauty of watching each other grow shorter,

k.

 (image: Fishing Harbor Ragnar Ungern)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

White Men Unite to Cover Up and Other Stories of Gross Ass Shit

Okay, here's the deal today:

I'm fucking pissed off that Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket) took a big ass racist shit at the National Book Awards last night on a moment that should have been about celebrating Jacqueline Woodson's work and writing.

Is it a surprise that a white, cis, straight man did this? Not at all.  It's the typical racist shit that happens when a black woman is seen as "winning" or having her work/existence applauded. Some white person steps in to do and say a bunch of racist shit and then sends out some bullshit apology later. It happens all the fucking time.  Artie Lang just did it a few weeks back when Cari Champion was about to make her debut on E:60 and Artie takes a big shit by tweeting out sexual fantasies about Cari Champion having to do with slavery.

I'm also pissed off that Neil Gaiman felt it necessary to re-tweet Daniel Handler's bullshit ass apology. Yes, Neil tweeted out saying that he was glad Handler apologized so that we could all get back to celebrating the winners of the night, but he also re-tweeted Handler's apology.  And for what? To help lift the voice of this white dude who is sniffling around an apology after taking a racist dump on a moment that was Woodson's? Fuck that.  It's that shit that white people do when someone does racist shit. "Oh, hey White Person! I'm another White Person!  I'm sorry you got caught being racist and now have to apologize because it may impact you financially in the Capitalist system that we dominate.  Here...let me help you clean this up."

FUCK THAT SHIT. Let the hollow, wah-wah apologies fall to the ground without the wind of white-privilege-invested collaboration.

They will be hearing from me.



k.

(image from Franticl0ve tumblr)




Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Blue Glow of Televisions; The Blue Reflection of Hotel Swimming Pool Rooms

Last night I went to a lecture, then to a show.

Both made me think about the value of art vs the value that is shown for art in this culture at this point in history.



It is beautiful to see and know and be people who are making and expressing things, unapologetically. 

We all slide back and forth in our ability to feel value in what we create, or if we should be, but, on a good day- or evening- we know that art matters and that our voice and visions are important.

Find time to create something that lets your ideas and visions and hope and demons and angels spread themselves upon the world.

It is what will play a part in making it worth being in

and

in changing it.




be well; be loved,

k.

(image via crowbones tumblr )

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

It's All Around You

Yesterday proved to be so much of what I needed.  In content. In conversation. In internal guidance. In connection. In artistic creation. In tapping into the invisible things that exist in this world- on all levels and at once.

The people and sources in my life continually inspire and change me their capacity for love.  One thing I am struck by is how much the love that the people in my life show towards the people in their lives, including me and themselves, has the ability to heal things that I never knew were injured or missing.

It truly is the essence of the transformative power that love has.

Pay attention because it is there if you look for it, and if you are open to it.

I may sound like a hippie, but I am more closely related to a robot at times.

With that, I'll leave you with the video for all of this that is somehow fitting in more ways than seven.

Play this , turn up the volume of your headphones, or simply let it surround you
in your room
with sound.

It's all I have for today
and as it turns out
it is exactly what is needed.


be well; be loved


k.


(title: Lyrics from Bjork's All is Full of Love)
(image: via EGOmim Tumblr)

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Bear in My Kitchen Scrubbing His Little Claws Down to the Bone

I've been looking into the history of the Brawny Man for something I'm writing.  His shirt color and facial hair status changed various times over the years. Who knew? Try to picture him right now as he holds a package of his famous paper towels.  What color is his shirt?  Does he have facial hair or not?

In looking up information about the where, when, and hows of this decision, I came across this Slate article from 10 years ago that is at least informative about the drastic difference the addition of a t-shirt under his flannel can make.

I started looking into who was actually credited with coming up with the concept of the Brawny Man, but decided better of it:  I prefer to just imagine some fabulous bear in the advertising industry at the time who knew exactly what he, and homemakers of the 1970s, wanted most.


be well; be loved,          


k.

P.S. This article has nothing to do with crap like lumbersexuality.

It's also not related to the new school of Brawny men who are clean shaven sensitive baby faces, although I think this is hilarious:  watch this 30 second bit.

[Image credit: a close up of some art by Alfredo Roagui. Check him out if you haven't seen his work.  He is on Instagram at Roagui. Here is a link to his Tumblr and it has all the info for FB, Twitter, etc. click here for a link to his Tumblr ]

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Smell of Fir, or, With Her Left Hand Upon a Book of Magick

Today has been an urgent one, although I don't have much more to say about that.

Tonight is the night of Hecate (or Hekate or about three other names). 

If you get a chance, look into it and into her.


k

(image: William Blake's Hecate, or, The Night of Enitharmon's Joy)

Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Sound of Bottle Rockets at Night


Today is a day of excitement.  I get to hang out with one of my favorite people while he schools me on comics because I know very little about comics and graphic novels or even what, technically, distinguishes the two.  Between him and Matthew, who sends me comics from Chicago with notes of recommendation that read like stand-up comedy, I have learned a thing or two about a comic book series or two.

Now I'm just excited to get a feel for what I like.  From Hell was pretty impressive if only because of it's copious and fantastic amount of research-mixed-with-make-believe.  Then there are the books that are usually considered more of art books (lots of pen and ink, black and white- few words) which I love- Everything is its Own Reward and a few others.  But what beyond this?  I know I was a sucker for the comics-meets-trauma-stories like Lynda Barry's Cruddy. I've stuck my toe into political graphic novels like Palestine and MaĆ¼s, but I want more! I can tell I'm on the cusp of falling/jumping into exactly the depths I need to be in- I just need to find which waters suit what will set the gasoline-soaked rags I've been hiding in the cushions of my life - aflame.

Here is to following those invisible and golden threads until you find exactly the ones that should be in your hands at this moment in time.

Be well; be loved-


k.

(photo: by yama bato via Gugnoltum Tumblr)

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Ones Worth Suffering For



Sex is hottest when I am in love.


The things at risk are much larger than the moment.



-k.








[p.s Seeing Slint perform Spiderland was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.  This is the song I would fall asleep to. It is also the one I will fall asleep to, tonight. ]

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Construction Site Hands: The Basics of Beauty

I've been listening to and reading a lot of conversations that are exciting as of late.

I feel inspired.

There are is a lot that been revealed to me that are both simple and obvious truths, yet feel new and profound, somehow.  Like feeling the reason why you love someone by someone telling you a story about them you had never heard before, or like remembering why something is 'your favorite'.

One of the things that's come up is the simple yet beautifully complex truth that gender roles can be built within a relationship to be exactly what you want them to be.

Read that last sentence again, because it's the simple but profound piece of things that's been surfacing in these conversations, for me.

Here I'm not talking about gender assignment or boring and dictated man/woman played out crap: I'm talking about how and who we want to be in our relationships.

It has nothing to do with trickery or assumed roles or fixed roles.

We can build anything we want to be in our relationships. The relationships we have in our lives are so much a part of what our lives are made of, which means that we can build the life we want to have with each other. We can leave the expectations of the world at the door and build from the ground up.

It takes work and bravery and guts and all of that, yes.

But with that
we can
and do
and are

building the life we want to have with each other.



And that is something pretty huge to be involved in, and excited about.


-k.

(image credit: street etiquette tumblr)

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Letting Your Hair Dry in the Sun

I'm typing this from within the warmth of a strip of sun just long enough for the length of my body, and just wide enough for its width. 

Sometimes everything, momentarily, turns out exactly how one wishes it to be.

The rush of the day has already begun, but before it lifts and tears me toward obligation, let me feel the warmth of the sun on my toes while I read a bit of a comic book sent to me from a loved heart in Chicago.

be well; be loved,

k.





(image credit : a present sent to me, that I've kept long after it had been sent)
 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Bang Bang: Needing Someone to Need You and Other Yawners

Today is already incredible and it is only 9:43 in the morning.

Waking up to music, sun, and a sweetly hand-delivered morning sweet- I am ready to start the day.

Here's a bit about a song running through my mind these days:


I fuck you, and I love you to love me to fuck you
But I don't fucking need you
Don't need you to need me to fuck you
If you need me to need you to fuck
That fucks everything up
La la la
La la la

 
I have been dancing about the city and my room singing this particular version of this Momus cover by Amanda Palmer.  I feel it.

There's nothing like people needing you to need them to toss it all in the toilet. 

Watch it and sway along. This particular recording of her version of it is really fun.  (Aaaaaand, of course I have to take the beginning part as not anti-Detroit lol).


It's what I've been doing

with a smile that won't stop

and

it makes people stop in grocery stores

but I don't mind.

It just makes it feel

like I'm dancing with them.

And that's when I realize

that these days

I generally am.


-k.


Monday, November 10, 2014

That Tough Ass Model-Looking Dude Sipping Goji Berry


Sun on my back in the morning.  A sweet rarity in these days of November.

I've been appreciating my relationship with my friend and ex, Bradly.  Always, over the years I have known him, but especially over the past few months. I don't know anyone else like him. His art is incredible- brilliant, original, intricate. He is the combination of tender and tough that I love to no end- perhaps a trait from an area of the world that we are both from but, more than likely, more a product of what we have both seen.

He has a way of calling shit out in a way that is hilarious but dead on with what it is critiquing. I love how he treats the people in his life. I love how he supports women artists in his life.

I love the way that he supports me: Sometimes through humor and story telling, sometimes listening, and one time- I'm thinking about this because it's been on my mind, lately- him coming up from LA to go with Jodi (who also came up) and a few other of my friends to court with me when I had to get that protection order against that guy I didn't know who was stalking me.  That was scary, scary shit. It meant a lot to me that he came up for that.

Anyway:  I love our phone conversations because I get to be a witness of sorts to the process in which he figures out how to best love the people in his life while loving himself at the same time.

 And fuck can he can cook some amazing ass food.


Just thinking about him today, and feeling thankful that he is someone in my life.


be well; be loved

-k.

PS If you're looking for music, art, and the crossover of the two~ check out some of the videos of the bands from the label he does, and the label in general,  here .

(image: Stephane Rolland Haute Couture)

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Nerd-Core Love: On the Topic of Mental Illness and the People We Love

A topic that has come up over the years has been related to how to love people who are in our lives that struggle with mental health issues while ensuring that the person's struggles aren't having negative impacts on our own ability to lead a bad ass and joyous life. How can one care about a person, be passionate about not buying into the stigma that people who have mental health issues have to deal with, but at the same time know when it's best to let someone go because of how un-managed or not-more-fully-yet-managed illness can manifest?

When a person has healthy ways of managing mental illness, it's a matter of flexibility and just compassion for someone having to deal with some pretty serious and consuming things that they can't entirely control. Depression, bipolar disorder, PTSD, and various anxiety disorders, to name a just a few, have all been things some of the things people in my life have or do struggle with.  They are all real and life impacting realities.  No one is "being difficult", "being a downer", "being dramatic", or just "being crazy".

To say those kinds of things implies that mental health issues are a choice.

I want to share something because these conversations have come up in my circle of friends lately. It's something that has worked for me in figuring out if the friendship / relationship is sustainable or not.  (Here, I'm not talking about family relationships. For numerous reasons, these can be way harder to navigate or distance yourself from). 

What has been most helpful to me in my decision making process is actually related to, of all things,  time:

If you find yourself having to handle negativity or spite or lash outs or process that is directly connected to the person's mental health situation more than you are able to do anything else with that person:  It's probably something that should be let go of.

If, for the most part, you find that you have to alter your behavior so that they don't break down (crying or yelling or going on hours of negativity-- whatever it is that would manifest), this is something to pay attention to, and to respect by considering how this is or is not working for you/your goals/your needs and happiness. While it is important not to stigmatize people with mental health issues, it is equally if not more important not to sacrifice your own happiness/excitement/sense of adventure in life in order to keep them in it.

Just because a person struggles with mental health issues, does not mean that you need to change your life to be centered around their illness.  In fact, you shouldn't. Being in a 'care taker' role with someone who struggles with mental illness isn't respectful of them or of you.  If the person cares about you, too, on some level they will understand why you have to distance yourself from them.

And if they don't?  That is a whole 'nother level of something that has nothing to do with you.

Love yourself.  Love the people in your life. Don't perpetuate mental health stigmas. But don't allow yourself to be mistreated by someone struggling to figure out how to manage their mental illness.



[An important note:  Mental health issues and abuse can co-exist.  A person's mental illness is not an excuse for abusive behavior.  Here, I've focused mostly on mental health issues assuming that abuse and patterns of abuse are not in the mix.  However, they can be and without question, sometimes are.]

(image from street ettiquette tumblr)

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Cutting Room Floor

There is nothing better than the process of waking up, on a Saturday morning, with a tiny cut of sun upon your face, and the arms of someone you love around you.




be well; be loved

-k.
(image: Gacougnol, 2014 via Street Etiquette Tumblr)

Friday, November 7, 2014

"Heartbreaker" as Code For "The Bitch Asked For it"

What a week.

A threat of gun violence to the library system I work in, an incompetent police handling of the situation (amount of surprise = zero), and an ex from long, long ago resurfacing with his b.s. of white man syndrome demanding things go his way.

I'm friends with most of my exes. This fact, while it annoys some people, is not something that comes as a surprise to me.  I tend only to date people I feel fairly certain I want in my life forever, really. And these people have been in and continue to be in my life as friends, lovers, teachers, inspiration-machines, and all of the above.

But, there are a few named exceptions. Of the roughly four I can think of, those exceptions are people who have tried to use violence against me (physical, emotional, verbal or sexual).  That is not something I want to have in my life, and I have no issue with entirely dumping a person who does those things. I just don't.

Sure, it's annoying when their acquaintences tell me what a "heartbreaker" I am, and how their friend is "so sad".  It's like, do I just say "Well, that's what happens when someone is acts in abusive and violent ways in a relationship"?  Sometimes.  Do I say "Well, that's what happens when someone violates my sexual boundaries,"  Sure, why not?  I come from the school of politics that sees a value and power in naming the violence, not buying into this bullshit of racist/sexist/classist/binary gender enforcing/etc corrupt system that defines violence for a person. (Oh! That crowd of people (read: black)  needs to be subdued and tear gassed vs. That crowd of people (read: white) are just having a Pumpkin Fest, as an example of violence defined by such a system...) I'm not apologetic about that fact.

But there is one specific person I reserve a particular dislike towards.  It is only because he is the type of person who is the kind of guy who will go to conversations to "help other men learn about becoming allies to women" when he's a guy who, when I was being violently stalked a number of years ago by a man who was a stranger to me, purposefully did some things to make the situation more dangerous for me.  When I confronted him about it at the time, he told me that when we were dating (I had dumped him about a year prior), that he "never felt like (he) had an impact on (my) emotions and wanted to have an impact on (me), even if it was a fucked up and negative one".

I seriously can't even believe that people like this exist.

But, they do.

In the area of men and violence against women and women-read people, there are men who are allies, there are men who are neutral and thus are not allies, and then there are men who will help and/or make it easier for another man to use violence against a woman because of their own insecure and baby-ass shit.  (P.S., Bigboy: Using systems of oppression and violence against me when a stranger was following me home at night from work and threatening to kick my teeth in is not you "having an impact on my emotions": It is you being pitiful and desperate.)

(pause)

A man's insecurities can end up with a woman being dead- by his hand or by helping the hand of another.

And it happens.

Every fucking day.


So when somebody calls me a "heartbreaker" in regards to this motherfucker,  you're damn fucking right they are going to know the name of that violence.



be well, be loved.

k.

(image credit: from eroc!ca tumblr)

Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Midnight Disease : A Brief Note



Every year, usually starting at some point in October, I become convinced that I have hypergraphia. It lasts until at least January. Sometimes, longer.

One would think that I would have quit my job, have absolutely no social life, and the entire privilege of time.

And yet, somehow, this isn't the case.

(Although I do admit to scattering invoices and open folders upon my desk at the library at times, only to be feverishly scribbling words in a notebook that has absolutely nothing to do with my library work.)

This year, I will be attempting to harness it by writing the 50,000 word novel I had mentioned earlier, but also to keep rolling along with the National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo) ordeal, which calls for one blog post for every day of November.

One aspect that I have been enjoying is that I have been playing with a lot of experimental methods of writing.  Seeing how everything from locations to temperatures to scents to corsets have impact on my writing.

To be continued.

(pause)

For now:

Any moment I am not working, in class, doing homework, or taking care of any other obligation/responsibility I have in life, I will try and convince everyone I have ever known or even briefly met to go out with me for "work dates" or "art nights". It is my structural way to be around people and still make sure I am able to formulate non-written sentences, all the while scribbling away while they do their own writing, work, painting, or snipping and constructing of collages.

I look forward to going out with all of you and joining forces. It is always a true love of life to have company in any artistic, and thus necessary, descend.


be well; be loved-

k.

P.S. That little barometer on the right will be tracking my progress with the 50,000 words...

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

How Did You Know That Man In the Leather Assless Chaps Was Gay?: A Snapshot Tale of Midwest Retirement

One of the benefits of corresponding with my mother while she enjoys her retirement is that she is hilarious.  For a long time, she has told me about a young gentleman that she has befriended through her church.  Let's call him Felipe.

I have yet to meet Felipe.  However, through my mother's stories, alone, I have come to recognize him as a fellow queer.  What first tipped me off was the initial and simple information that he is not a member of the church that my mother goes to, he just plays the organ in the choir loft. Um, hello...

Next, was the story of how Felipe had stopped hanging out with his friend Michael, who had also become friends with my mother. Every mention of Michael would come about in the sentence, "Felipe's...(pause)...friend, Michael".  Come on, Mom. This is not the 80s.  No one is anyone's "friend" or "housemate" anymore, unless they actually are

About a year ago, I was clicking around on Facebook and came across the profiles of both boys.  When I clicked on them, I was met with tank tops and perfectly landscaped facial hair.  The first person listed under their favorite musical artists was Cher.

I could not make this stuff up.

(pause)

Something you should know about my mother is that, like many women of her generation, she is only able to mention illness, misfortunes, divorce and gayness in the hissed tone of a whisper.

So when a few months ago my mother started whispering to me in the privacy of the hotel room we were in for my brother's wedding about how she needed to tell me something about her friend Philipe from church, I just started laughing.

"WHAT is so funny?!", she demanded, stretching her neck out the way she does that makes her look like a chicken stretching for feed.

"He's gay, Mom."

"HOW-DID-YOU-KNOW?" , she accused- scandalized.  I watched her widened eyes study my face to figure out if I had, somehow, met Felipe behind her back.

(pause)

Felipe and I flirt with each other in the way that gay boys do- only having never met, and through my mother.

When I left for the airport from my brother's wedding that weekend, I sent my mother home with a Marc Jacobs lip gloss that makes her eyes pop and told her to ask Felipe if he approved.

A few weeks later, she returned with a story that Felipe wanted her to tell me about how much he loves seeing Cirque du Soleil any chance he gets and that his favorite performer is Pink.

I love knowing that my mother has fags to adorn while in her retirement.

I love hearing about the relationship they have been building with each other, and the joy that it gives her.

And, come the holiday season, I know I will love meeting the Cher-loving star of the Polish National Catholic Church choir loft:

Felipe. 





be well; be loved,

k.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Sex on the Sheets


This painting, Reclining Woman on Leopard Skin (1927), is by Otto Dix.

Consider it, will you?

(click on the image to enlarge it)


Be well, be loved,

k.


P.S. I'm past the 10% mark of the 50,000-word-novel-by-the-last-night-of-November goal that I started November 1st. Makes one be creative in when/how/where they can write while still working, going to class, taking care of life.  It's a good lesson to learn, stretching these muscles and finding these crevices to hide in and write.  Strangely, there is still a lot of socializing that is possible when you're around other people and their artistic endeavors: An added and deeply enjoyed bonus.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Step By Step and the Next Thing You Know, You've Learned Some Shit.

It's been a beautiful morning.

Not many people talk a lot about how they love their jobs. Perhaps because so few are able to love their jobs.  Perhaps because they secretly do, but don't want to annoy the people who don't have such a situation.

I love my job as an interpreter.

What I've noticed is that, over the years I have been interpreting, I have never left a job and thought to myself "I hate this job! I need to/wish I could quit." Not a once.

Everyday it is different.

I get to be in situations I have never been in before. 

I love the way interpreting makes my brain feel.

I love the creativity involved in it, and I love being witness to the constant evolution involved in languages.

I get to see and hear things that, under usual circumstances, I would never see or hear,  which is directly related to my own privilege and power- both systemic and, in that moment, of being usually the only person in the room who can use both languages in spoken form.

If everyone who lives in my general area knew these languages, my job would become obsolete.

I hope for the day that this happens.

Because if it does, it will mean that everyone uses multiple and common languages.  It would mean that direct, person-to-person-without-a-middle-man communication would be happening.  It would hint toward the fall of the English-as-empire aka "speak English" violent crap that hurls (blatantly, or "politely") itself around and looks down on non-English languages.

As much as I love my job as an interpreter, I would be absolutely elated if the need for it ceased to exist.

(pause)

The at times overwhelming truth is that, if I did not know these two other languages besides English,  there are so many people that have heavily influenced and directed my life- as friends, mentors, and/or all-around influences- who would not exist in my life.

(I would like to say that they would be in my life to the extent they are now, but the basic and logistic truth of immediate access to language says that this wouldn't be true. Not to the depths that it is true right now. Depths that will continue to take root when one considers that I will always 'still be learning' languages I did not grow up with.) 

And it is impossible to imagine what my life would look like and consist of without the people who have been in and are in my life, and I'm just thinking of that today.

Being grateful for the stretch and reach across languages and cultures- the code switching that happens for everyone not using their/our native languages, but still stretch to it by a desire to communicate. Being grateful that people took the time while I learned/learn their languages, and while they learned mine- it never being an equal exchange because I live in the U.S. and was brought up with spoken English- a dominant language that gets imposed and prioritized.

I guess it is that reaching across languages and cultures that I am feeling humble for/about today.

Twelve years ago I thought myself ridiculous for trying to learn another language.

Five years ago I thought the same thing.

If you're thinking about learning another language, don't buy into this shit about children and uber brainiacs being the only ones who can learn multiple languages.

Because it's bullshit. 

And if you don't buy into the bullshit

and have the drive

and the humility to be okay making an ass out of yourself as you learn something (because there *is* no "faking it" with language learning, people...)

it will change your life

and the way your mind works

forever.



be well; be loved; keep falling in the good way
and more importantly,

keep standing up.


k.

(image credit: from fetusmuffins tumblr)

Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Mental Preparation to Walk Down the Street

Women and the experience of being a woman is not a singular experience.

Discussing women's experience in this singular way is anti-black at root, along with an extensive list of other oppressive-ass things.

There's been a lot of discussion in the media about street harassment as of late, mostly due to a video that went viral that was produced by the group Hollaback!, an anti-street harassment organization that educates and produces information on the topic. Shortly thereafter, it was admitted by the organization that many of the harassers who were white men had been edited out. Severely problematic for so many reasons, one of which is that by doing this, you are editing in a way that will guarantee to perpetuate the idea that street harassers are predominantly men of color while simultaneously editing to protect the violence against women that white men commit, unapologetically.

Also, let's move to stop calling it "cat calling".  It side-steps and belittles what the issue is and what is happening for anyone who experiences it, and that is not an innocent act. I know that "cat calling" has been in the modern vocabulary for a while, but let's get rid of it- for reasons of oppression and internalized oppression.  What "cat calling" describes does not involve meowing, cute little creatures, or something that somehow sounds fun or asked for:   It is harassment and it is a form of violence.

In the meantime, if you're on Twitter, or even if you aren't, start reading the #youoksis thread. It describes experiences of tangible and effective interruption to harassment, describes the reasons and experiences of why these interruptions are necessary, and just, on the whole offers a lot of insight to various types of violence that various types of women experience in the area of harassment. It has been around for a bit and has been spreading in large thanks to blogger Feminista Jones who started the hashtag and speaking publicly about it. 


be well; be loved,

k.

(image credit: from Vanilla Pilifera Tumblr)
(title is connected to a few things I read this week discussing how much time is spent by people who are targets of street harassment simply preparing and putting their hard face on just to walk down the fucking street.)

Saturday, November 1, 2014

"Well, We Aren't as Good as You, You See, So We Don't Use Christian Names."

There's been quite a bit of ups and downs these past few days.  All for good, growing reasons.  I may have grown past the spitting of venom when faced with my own disappointments at some point in my life, but that doesn't guarantee that I won't destroy in other, not-as-vile, departments.

Where is the outlet and smear of paint when someone loves as if he/she/ze/they were watching television?  Not in the grandiose sense, but rather, in the sense that they stay where they are and click helplessly away at an imagined remote control that doesn't seem to change the outcome of their current situation? 

click click click

I imagine a stream of urine running down their leg.

Inaction truly is a shame.

But what is left to do for the self-imposed helpless than to simply look away?

[I don't mind their urine.  I simply re-route it to nourish the plants that flourish in the gardens I care to tend to. Those that bear sustenance as opposed to pretty, but bitter, fruit.]

(pause)

In other news, today has been day one of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).  I will be writing a novel of 50,000 words by the end of November.

I am excited.

I am nervous.

I am having a lot of fun.

I have, officially, reached (and past!) the target goal of 1667 words per day.

For day one.

To be continued.




And for now, I am off.

Love and rigorous reading (and writing) to you,

k.

(title is a translation by Gwynne Edwards from the original "Debe ser, entonces, que entre nosotros, que no somos iguales, nos llamamos con nombres no cristianos", from the play Flores de papel by Egon Wolff)
(Obviously, "Christian names" is a farcical concept. Unless someone, themselves, decides that they are not.)