Saturday, February 26, 2011

hiding in the maze of wretched celebrity

I chased a man who took something from and hurt me. Maybe he killed somebody I loved. He ran into a classroom with two doors. Another man, one who helped me, stood by one door and I the other. We ran into the classroom and caught the man who hurt me. He gently smiled and I felt some sympathy. Killing him wouldn't bring back what I lost. But still, I pulled out my laser gun and shot him right in his temple. Without waiting around to see what happened next, I ran out.

I ran down and through a series of hallways, deeper and deeper. I knew that the further back I went, the less chance for me to be found. I saw the double closet doors, two layers of them. I would be safe behind them. I went through and the first person I saw was Jay Leno. He said, boy oh man, he was gonna like living back here. How gross, I thought as I ran past him.

I kept running until I found a young, red-headed girl. Maybe she was who I lost? This was a tearful reunion. Here we could be together and I could raise her. I was so happy and we had a room here to live. I wrapped my laser gun into a blanket, tied it with a red cord and put it up on a high shelf.

There was another woman bathing a baby and a toddler in a sink. I'd seen them before on the outside. They weren't her daughters, but she wanted to raise them and here she could. This all seemed so nice.

I walked through a busy Target store, trying to figure out how much time had passed. When was now? I looked at the items on the shelves. Lamps and wooden phones. I thought about what I could buy for the little red-headed girl. I worried that someone might recognize me. Had enough time passed? Maybe being there wasn't safe.

I walked through the back, through an employee door and kept going back, back to where I first ran. There was a fancy conference room with wooden phones in front of each chair. Fancy bathrooms with black toilets, glass walls and no privacy. I kept going back and found the red-headed girl. Now a teenager, she was in a room with hair salon sinks and a naked Courtney Love. I didn't like seeing her with Courtney Love. They were both getting their hair done and talked about hair products and cosmetics. The red-headed girl tried to talk Courtney out of some kind of lip gloss. I realized that it was a long time since I made any effort on my appearance so I took two cosmetic samples. I tried talking to the red-headed girl and realized things changed. She was older, didn't belong here anymore and resented me for it. She'd try to leave sometime soon and I worried that I didn't prepare her for the real world. Would my attempt to protect her, in the end, fail her?

I went into another room and spoke to the hairdresser, an older woman. I decided that maybe it was time to get my hair done too. Maybe I hadn't had my hair done since I got here. Yet my hair seemed to have not changed or grown. Time really goes fast here, I said. The hairdresser didn't agree. She didn't live here in this protected maze. She comes and goes. On her schedule talks and other events were marked.

She couldn't do my hair until the following week, but had time to give a consultation. She asked what kind of person I was. I said wacky. She pointed out that now that I'm older, I might not be able to get away with hair like the red-headed teenager because of my roots. I said that I liked my red hair and its worked well for me. I pointed out the three shades of red currently in my hair. I told her my hair used to be purple. See, I'm wacky! I was afraid she'd make me a mousy brunette.

A man with a cheesy mustache came in for his appointment. I got up and left.

I walked around the huge maze of this place while eating a bag of sour cream and onion chips. How much had I explored, I wondered? I went into a huge, fancy cafeteria full of fancy people. It was a large room full of tables in the center and on each side there were large ships full of restaurants. I walked around, still eating my chips, and looked in the windows, at all the different types of chic and fancy people eating, noticed how the table were set, some with candelabras. I expected to see ________ (fancy, wretched celebrity poet), but didn't. I was very conscious of how I looked, with my old hair, potato chips and wondered what this sour cream and onion was doing to my breath

The boats started to rock. Everyone looked nervous. I stepped back, not sure what would happen next. I felt like I needed to put some distance between me and the rocking ships. Then there was a huge explosion on the other side of the room. Chaos. Everyone got up and ran. I shoved a handful of chips into my mouth and dropped the bag. I followed the exit signs, found an exit door, placed my hand on it to make sure it wasn't hot. It wasn't. I went through and ran down the stairs. Others ran too. Where would this take us? Where would it let out?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

writing process snapshot

Woke around 5am this morning from a wretched grossmare that is too weird and foul to share in any detail. It started with me in my darkened bedroom making the conscious decision to write about people and specific experiences. The middle of the dream involved [bizarre sex stuff deleted] and it ended with a man poet, sort of in a daze, possibly unknowingly or drunkenly, peeing in my bed. Chris (my logical/methodical/go-to/caretaking animus figure) picked him up and carried him away while I stripped off the sheets and hoped it didn't get on the blankets. As I took care of the bed, two women stood nearby, laughing.

Urine belongs to the second chakra, the Svadishana, to the kidneys, or reins, to the bladder, the pressure of instinctual urges and our awareness of them (Jung, 1087). It denotes the urgency of emotional and creative self-expression, the feeling-toned "yielding to or allowing the flow of what needs to come through one" (Whitmont, Perera, 243). But embedded in our modern idiom, we find urine also representing affect that is hot, intense, personal and sometimes not ideally contained. We speak of a "pissing contest," a display of aggressive power; of being "pissed off," suggesting resent or fury; of "pissing and moaning" as angry complaint; and "pissing in the well," a spoiling of a creative source through envy or rage. Countless dreams document needs, inhibitions, complexities and frustrations around urination--and the significance (and relief) of letting go of one's golden stream.

. . .

Bedroom also evokes for some the experience of the feminine womb as both regression and revivification. In the rhythms of sleep and walking or in sexual surrender, there is a ritual continuity of symbolic death and rebirth. Healing or admonishing voices from the "spirit world" are activated in the lunar darkness. The bedroom can be said to be a liminal space where one's defenses and persona yield to the vulnerable humanity of the naked self. The nocturnal journey of consciousness into the "underworld" of psychic depths echoes the cyclical movement of the sun, its light extinguished in its setting, only to be renewed at dawn. Just so, in the morning one rises from the horizontal space of sleep and dream, dresses and makes the bed, closes up the night in the bedroom and enters the vertical world of day.

--The Book Of Symbols: Reflections On Archetypal Images by Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism (Taschen)

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Gideon turns 6 on Wednesday. For some time now, the plan was to go to the Build-a-Bear-Workshop after school on his birthday. He's wanted to go there and make a stuffed animal forever. Luckily we were at the mall yesterday and I thought I'd stop into the workshop to ask if we needed to schedule an appointment. As it turns out, they're closing on Monday and reopening at a new spot in MARCH. If we would have showed up on Wednesday to a closed Build-a-Bear-Workshop, I would have likely pulled a Clark Griswold at Wally World.

So here's the latest addition to Gideon's stuffed animal hoard. Meet Fluffy:

Monday, February 7, 2011

my awp experience (hindsight)

My AWP experience was, for the first time, rather pleasant. I didn't attend any panels (aside from the one that I was a panelist for). That was because I was tied to the No Tell/Bloof table for most of the days. But that was OK. Sure, they put us in the crappiest room at the bookfair that most people never made it into, BUT we had the best spot in our ghetto and despite all that, book and lottery sales were rather good. Thank you book buyers!

I did make time to have my Tarot reading done by Hoa Nguyen at the Fact-Simile table. The reading showed a break through in my writer's block (sweet sweet Empress). I wasn't so sure, but today I dreamed that Charlie Jensen (the director of MY writer center) was in my powder room having trouble with the soap dispenser. I went in, cleared the pump and then that soap FLOWED!

I only went to one reading (Coconut/Horse Less Press/Switchback). It was a really good reading -- for what I could hear of it. There were a bunch of jackasses in the back who were talking really loudly. At one point Chris turned around and bellowed SHUT IT! and they were all like "who the fuck does he think he is?" and "fuck him!" and I thought, Dear Lord, please let my husband beat some poet ass into the ground, that would be so very very completely hot.

But the good Lord rations bliss and clearly I received all he was willing to give for one night.

On Saturday I taught Gideon how to network at AWP. He brought along his own business cards and together we worked that bitch of a bookfair. He fumbled a little, but overall was pretty good at it. I just don't want him to grow up to be some newbie fool hassling editors about rejecting his work or whatever.

My favorite part was probably Jill Essbaum teaching him how to say "Do you know who my mommy is? . . . Reb Livingston!" while shaking his fist.

In a few short years, I suspect Gideon will become the AWP King. Maybe then he'll go back and finish the job with those rude, loud poets from the reading--in the name of his mama.

Sunday morning I must have been retaining poets or something because I couldn't fit my rings or my shoes on. I have never been that bloated, not even when I was pregnant. It was disconcerting, but don't you worry, I got my magic rings and ruby slippers on this morning with no problem.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

my awp experience divination

You read it here first:

The card represents the critical factor for the issue at hand. Seven of Music (Fancies): "To Me This World is all One continued Vision of Fancy or Imagination". Inspired by a range of opportunities and ideas. Expressive challenges involving dreams and daydreams, or altered states of consciousness. Challenges of immediate versus long-term gratification. In the creative process: Let your visions and dreams lead the way into deeper realms of your imagination, and be prepared to express them. Rehearse and explore wild ideas in your mind before acting on them.

* * *

Divine your awp experience

* * *

Now that seems pleasant enough. If you see me ranting to myself in a restroom mirror, do not think me m4d, I am rehearsing and exploring my wild ideas before acting on them.

awp finite finito

Lindsey Lewis Smithson interviews me in the Winter issue of The Coachella Review.

There's also two poems from God Damsel.

* * *

Yes, I'll be at AWP this week. Here's where you can find me:

Table D7 at the bookfair. No Tell Books will be sharing with Bloof Books.

My official "author signing" time is Friday, 10am - Noon, but I'll be there a lot. The full No Tell author signing schedule is here.

Bloof, Cooper Dillon and No Tell will be holding the LOTTERY. Winner receives our entire catalogs.

I'll be participating in the following panel:

Friday, 4:30 PM - 5:45 PM
Executive Room
Omni Shoreham Hotel, West Lobby

Writing the Beltway: Four Washington, DC Publishers Navigate the Capital. (Matthew Kirkpatrick, Reb Livingston, Richard Peabody, Caitlin Hill, Dave Housley) Editors from Barrelhouse magazine, No Tell Books, Gargoyle magazine, and Poet Lore magazine read from their journals and discuss their experiences working to produce and promote literary art within the politics-obsessed sphere of Washington, DC.

* * *

And that is it. As I mentioned last week, I passed on participating in readings and offsite events. I'm not even sure how many I'll attend as an audience member. If I make it to two, that'll be a clear measure of my Capricorn ambition. There were some really nice offers, oh but my heart, fleeing. To keep track of everything going on offsite, I select "maybe" on the FB invites so each day I'll have a handy list. Or that was the idea. It sort of worked last year, but this year, it seems that I have the option of attending 10-20 events each night. Now I can't look at my upcoming event list because when I do I start to hyperventilate. And the invitations are still coming, even today. I wonder how many people I made hyperventilate by linking to the above No Tell going ons. If I have, I apologize.

This going to be my last AWP for a while. It's simply too much. About a month after AWP people start working on their panel proposals for the next one so I get about 5-10 invitations to participate on panels about "online" and "blogging" and "social media." I am so very tired of those subjects. Then summer comes and you have to reserve your hotel room if you want to stay at the conference hotel. And of course they want a deposit. Then AWP sends out it's barrage of messages encouraging/frightening you to register, order a table, buy a pricey ticket to the big dance. Then people start making plans for all the offsite stuff which means more and more emails with proposals, questions and schedules.

I feel forced to think about AWP all year long. There's never a break. It's constantly there. Looming.

That doesn't even touch on all the personal garbage that comes along with it. Having to see the people you'd rather not, the over-saturation of other people's drama, anger, insecurity, jealousy seeping into your own sphere, being unsure of people's motives, being approached by folks who are pissed because you didn't take their work, or invite them to participate in something, or are still offended by something you said last year, or wrote on a blog and lord knows what else.

Not going next year is a really easy decision. Chicago. Again. Expensive. Cold. Unpleasant associations. Blah. No thank you.