Friday, March 31, 2017

death is real

i don't want to learn anything from this / i love you 

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

what does this mean about me

When you love someone romantically, and take a vow to love them in sickness and health, and know they are your person, and can love no other more than you love them, and never had a best friend so best, never had a lover so love, and then that person becomes ill and becomes another person and you are full of hard ugliness, one of the worst things, the upper three worst, is that you don't know if you are good enough. Good enough and healed enough from the trauma deep cuts still seeping, not torrentially blooding but seeping wounds of the first seventeen years of your life, to not only pat yourself whole to raise your children clean and whole but to continue loving in the face of getting nothing you want but also possibly might need to be a person in this world, the way
your children, blue eyed and brown,
need you to be a person in this world,
unless you want them to start with a sigh, 'My mother...' in therapy when they are older, their mother who had a chance to be better and couldn't be any better than she'd managed to be in forty-two years of life.
It's not you; it's me.
It's not me; it's you.
Intertwined means pain in both hands while the rope is pulled out from underneath my palms and I wake up with this stigmata that means
you love him so much
this pain is agonizing
you are the only one to feel it
you are the only one to know it's intimacy and midnight confessionals and bargaining
the only one to know the details, those precious and dark blackened sick coughed up rot of details,
which you as a writer
naturally desire with every bone in your body to expel into words
and spat on the page,
leaving only the clean creation of the thing you wish to build.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Behind Closed Doors

Finished draining the last of the bright red blood and the tap is rusty brown blood in spots on tissue and in underwear, taking it with it micronutrients and the heartbeat of the body, iron. So much iron. My face pales, I feel the blood pulling in the tide of my heart away from my lips. My lips become smaller and pale. My eyes look startlingly blue against this pallor and the wheat colored freckles of winter's passing.
I am so tired. I am so sad. 
I feel I am in a strange place where everything I can do to care for myself best is something other people don't want me to do and it is seriously beginning to dawn on me that I am 42 and there will never be a time when what I need is OK with everyone else. There will never be a time I can create a life of possibly even happiness without hurting someone else or disappointing them and I know from reading hundreds of biographies just how many women accept and don't accept this bargain. I don't know what kind of woman I am. I am tired. 
You have to become incapacitated for people to relent that possibly you must do what you must do.

What I am tired of:

My husband's bipolar. I was doing very well with it. I am doing 'self-care' or what I am allowed to do. It's not enough, so I am very sad, and anxious, and every night when I go to try to sleep the second I close my eyes I see myself falling from high places of all kinds, cliffs, hot air balloons, the hands of God, 9/11. I open my eyes and sigh and try again. Even during the daytime, when I close my eyes, I am falling from somewhere, someone, something. This has been going on for about four months. I am close to being a single mother for the last five months but it's much harder because (and I was a single mother for eight years so I know) the person who could is right there, inches away from me, or behind a closed door, and I cannot reach him. I feel grief. I feel rage. I feel scared. I feel confused. I feel disappointed in myself. I feel worried that I am not up to this task. And I have to protect the kids from his irritation and depression and lack of interest in them. I have to be his advocate to the kids and help them understand the disease. Meanwhile inside I have the same questions they do, and the answers run head-first into a cement wall and fall down dead.

Being the only one to take care of Ever. She talks all the time. She won't play alone. She is non-stop. She is precious. She is my life. She sleeps with me. We do everything together. We laugh a lot. We play. We shop. We garden. We clean. And every day there is a point where I am so furious that no one else can step in and take over for two hours that I hate myself, because feeling furious makes me hate myself, and it always has. He showers or bathes her every night and that is wonderful, for her and for me. But besides that, there is no one else to keep spirits high, to play, to observe with a friendly nature and answer the endless stream of questions, to teach the endless things there are to teach every day, to do. To be

And the force field a person needs against for protecting against this kind of emanating dark energy requires, demands, a power source that I don't currently have: a traditional belief in God would probably do.

with no speical legend of God to refer to,
with my calm white pedigree,
my yankee kin,
i think it would be better to be a Jew

Facebook and Twitter.


Everyone else.

Grocery shopping, sweeping the floor, wiping down the banister, vacuuming, flea-combing the dogs nightly (can't afford Advantage), planning dinner, making dinner, cleaning up after dinner. Lola washes the dishes, thank goodness.

The long struggle every night to sleep; falling asleep in fear.


People dying in horrible ways much too young. All over my Facebook, all over the world.

Trump and everything remotely associated with him.

Exhaustion so deep it sometimes makes me cry.

Feeling embarrassed for being so tired all the time, and looking it.

Unlearning. The older I get the less I know and it's not freeing. It's deeply disconcerting and distressing and leaves me floundering through things that I didn't used to.

Being poor/ish. I am working hard and keep adding clients that I write for, but we aren't there yet. 
I can write about almost anything and do it very well. I do great work. I need more of it.

Children getting hurt.

Thinking about my dad. My sister. How they've been lost to me for so many years now. I'll never get over it.

What I am not tired of:


Sylvia Plath.

Eleanor Roosevelt.


Grass, tree, bush, flower, bee, bird, sun, sky, dirt. 

Hot water.

My children. Even when I am, I am not.

Poems, but mostly older ones.

Sincere plainness. 

Sincere flamboyance.


John Irving.

Ottessa Moshfegh. 

Feeling safe. I wish I could get there right now. 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

My Essay On Pat Conroy, Trauma, and the Power of Books

I wrote an essay here, if you'd like to read it. If you do enjoy it, please click the little heart shape to the left of the screen, and or share. Thank you! Writers are little without readers.

What was so incredible to me–besides both Mr. Conroy’s genius ability to tell a story that you cannot, cannot stop reading, and his breathtakingly beautiful prose– was the precice way Mr. Conroy illuminated how each person in the family had been affected by what had occurred, and how deeply sick their silence, perhaps more than what had even occurred, had made them. Mr. Conroy’s passion for breaking open the secrets of his own family life cost him his relationship with one sister, and the respect of many family members– but what if it gave the man back to himself? What if the way he could truly heal was never going to be in a therapist office, but in the telling of a story. His story. And what if it’s all right that he claimed his own life to tell.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Social Media is a Basic Bitch

The world of Facebook is becoming dangerous to my writing. This is the most pressing issue of my life outside of the obvious, and it's serious, very serious to me, because writing is not only or just 
something i want to do
something i hope to make money off of
something i enjoy
something i'm proud of

writing is for me a survival mechanism. Writing and reading, and they always have been more than just entertaining, more than just escapism. They are the ways in which I translate life, the ways in which I understand myself as a human being and understand other people, the ways in which I turn all the suffering I experience into something else, something I can then use or move with or work with or move past or elevate or change; I can change my narrative:

but only with words that are in fire, and I'm losing my fire inside the never ending roar of Facebook and twitter. Never ending roar of opinions, outrage, demands for attention (including my own), and processed thoughts. Social media is a basic bitch.

Most of the best writers are not on social media. Yes, you can name a few, Joyce Carol Oates being the most obvious, but mostly, everyone I can think of off the top of my head who I revere as unique and brave and truly trying to carve something different with their words, something that takes immersive thought and processing, something that takes confidence, they are not there, or if they are 'there' they are barely there. Even Roxane Gay, who tweets a bit, is almost silent on Facebook, which I have come to see as the particularly troublesome place for writers.

Ottessa Moshfegh

Zadie Smith

John Irving 

If you are a journalist this probably isn't true. Journalists by nature take in enormous amounts of societal input and then create reports with research. 

But if you are any kind of a creative writer, the way your brain must work to produce work that is truly alive, unique, saturated...

Social media is five, ten percent high-quality, and the other ninety percent is repetition or argument or watered down versions of the original idea, framework, creation. I'm not talking about people's personal posts, which is a whole other thing, a wonderful world of listening to someone's inner thoughts out loud, but an addictive world as well. The human interest stories and shares on Facebook are what make it so addictive. 

It feels urgent and important in a way that completely confuses my brain. Like living in an ER waiting room.

I used to take in enormous amounts of poetry and novels. Now I take in an hour a day of poetry or novel. 

I spend an enormous amount of time on Facebook. I get all–100%–of my freelance work there, mostly from private groups I am a part of, and my freelance career has been increasingly successful. I've recently been published in The Rolling Stone and Washington Post and The Guardian and I am very proud of that, very proud of all my publications.

I also finished my novel and it is out to beta readers.

This is amazing. I still can't believe I actually finished it. I'm proud of my accomplishments, very proud.


I can feel that the part of my brain that cored into the processing center, that created a crystal ball which reflected and illuminated the way I see and know the world into a thousand words that only I could produce, that part is being dulled. Stultified, that wonderful word.

I have been thinking about this for a few years. I realized this was happening and over the last two years I've observed a noticeable decline in the wonder of my imagination and the clarity and fearlessness of my perspective. 

Hillary Mantel

Obviously this is a hundred times more so since Trumplestilskin took over. My Facebook feed is now 50% what is happening in our country (as is right, I myself share on this frequently) and 40% essays and short stories and writing world announcements, and 10% personal- a quick estimation. 

But even before, yes, I could feel it happening, could feel myself going slack jawed and stupid when the feed opens, and the word feed is so perfect, as if I open my eyes and mouth and the stream of feed just pours into me, while I sit as dumb as a rock, taking it all in, and most of it is not the quiet, intense, passionate, intelligent depth of writing that I have lived off since childhood, almost none of it is. 

I am not a snob. I love, without irony, cat memes, hilarious YouTubes, the sappiest music you can imagine, the Kardashians- I don't let anyone tell me what to like or what is worthwhile. Yet the brain is a machine–one we cannot understand, but still–and like the bowel, reacts badly to being fed shit all day e'ry day.

When I lose the ability to write my poetry and my stories and my novels in the fearless and clear way that I have lived off of doing my entire life, I feel absolutely horrible. I feel as if I am anemic. I feel stripped of my power, as if someone had taken my sexuality and smothered it to death. I feel as if I cannot process the world: I am overwhelmed, insecure, more neurotic, and feel that I might be slightly worthless.

Maggie Nelson

My writing has already suffered from the fact that my mother (hi mom) and my children (expect for Ever) do not want to be written about in any real way and I decided to write less, almost nothing, about Ed's bipolar (which I'm reconsidering due to misery from silence). Some writers, many writers, write about people anyhow, regardless of how the person feels about it, but I don't.

But my greatest source of therapy, of solace, of peace, of comfort, of self esteem, has been diminished, greatly, and I have suffered a lot from this over the last three years, I really have. It's depressing as hell. And yet, this is my fault also, but I cannot see the way out all the same. For example, I could try to write things out of my life, and then erase the people somehow. Perhaps I will try this. 

A journal that no one can read? No. This is not it. It must be public, stuck on a door with a pin, or posted on my blog, or published in a magazine, but public, or it loses the magic.

I also know how true this is of social media and my fearlessness because now a days, when I read a novel or memoir, I am obsessed with wondering 'how did they find the courage to write these words?' when my entire, ENTIRE life, I always thought instead 'I will write any words I please, and never care what anyone thinks! Writing is everything to me!' But this was when I was a true outsider, and now I have in the last ten years somehow become finally a person that suburbia does not need to groan and roll about with as if I am a stone in the stomach, and I can pass as 'normal' and I have a better relationship with my family of origin, and I have witnessed ten, twenty, a hundred, five hundred arguments and 'burn them on the stake' chorus' on Facebook over a writer's words, where they said something that offended someone, hurt someone, disgusted someone, and those voices have made a home in my head where the cast of elementary school and middle school used to reside, telling me I am stupid, ugly, weird and wrong, wrong, wrong, now these Facebook judges reside.

How to solve a problem i can clearly identify but have crafted my days around? 

I already avoid FB over the weekend. I try to not go on all together most Saturdays, and maybe go on for an hour Sunday.

It is the rest of the week when I am working, and I am addicted to this great street meeting now, and how do you solve a problem like Maria? 

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