Thursday, October 30, 2008

Toronto, here I come -- and Montréal!

So Many Ways to Sleep Badly in TORONTO
(insomniac intros by Hal Niedzviecki, Stacey May Fowles, Tara-Michelle Ziniuk and Sandra Alland)
Monday, November 3, 7:00 p.m
The Boat
158 Augusta Ave. in Kensington Market
Sponsored by This Ain't The Rosedale Library
86 Nassau Street
Toronto, Ontario
Canada M5T 1M5
Advance tickets are free if picked up at the store any time in October, $5 after

So Many Ways to Sleep Badly in MONTREAL
Thursday, November 6, 7:00 p.m.
McGill University
Biology Building
1205 Dr. Penfield Avenue
Room S 1/4
Montreal, Quebec

Where I've been staying

Chicago -- relatives, quinoa, radish greens, how to read the novel by reading it, and whether I'm leaving

I get to the Bookslut reading way ahead of time, the bar is huge and the reading is upstairs in the back in its own private room almost totally isolated from the rest of the bar. The best part is that there isn't even a hint of secondhand smoke, yay! But it's just me and the organizers and somebody’s older relatives from Eastern Europe or Israel, at least I'm guessing they’re somebody's relatives. In any case, they're making me nervous, especially when Caroline, who’s introducing the readers, asks me to go first I say how about second?

But by the time the reading starts, of course it's packed with a different crowd, still much much straighter than my usual audience and they’re super-quiet for the first reader, Doug Dorst, until the end of his reading but definitely engaged and by the end they’re louder too I always prefer the loud audiences. There's no mike in the room but it's small enough that you can still vary your voice and everyone can hear you, I read from the section at the end when everything comes apart I mean maybe everything is always coming apart at the end where it's coming apart, it's a last-minute switch because of my nerves and I think this audience will like it better than what I'd planned, which was more immediately sexual. And it does go really really well, pretty much everyone is feeling it or at least with me, except for the relatives in the right corner -- there I was right.

All the readers are great, actually, and it's an interesting mix of styles from Doug Dorst’s Colma (Bay Area graveyard city) noir to my mania to Todd Hasak-Lowy’s conversational cacophony of Israel and David Mura’s memoir. Afterwards, Doug Dorst, who lives in Texas now, says he's heard about me for a while and it was exciting to finally see me read, which is sweet of him to say, and Todd Hasak-Lowy asks whether I started out as a poet, and if you figure out how to read the novel by reading it, which confuses me at first because I think he means how to write the novel but then I realize no, he's totally right, and I'm ready to talk more about writing with these writers who I might not otherwise encounter, but then everyone drifts back to their social circles and I go out with Mairead Case to get food and we talk about writing and gentrification and segregation and politics and dreams and excitement and I don't even get sick from the emergency food we’re eating, since everywhere we try to go is closed.

Next day is the reading of Women and Children First, which is crowded and I'm excited and Chelsey gives me a great intro, even saying that two out of three of her favorite books were edited by me, can't ask for anything more than that! Sometimes at readings I have this sense that some of the audience is totally perplexed by the gap between what they expected and what I'm offering, which seems to be the case at this reading, but the discussion afterwards is super-engaged -- questions about how I remember the details, my process of writing, the narrator's relationship to San Francisco and my own, whether I believe there is possibility for queer resistance, the never-ending quest for the perfect gay acronym. I talk so much that then time’s up and dammit I neglect to mention my upcoming readings, but then afterwards I’m invited over to the house of some of the people involved in the queer activist group Bash Back, and Heather who just landed in Chicago cooks this delicious ginger stirfry with radish greens and spinach, broccoli and water chestnuts over quinoa and we talk about anti-Olympics organizing, STD awareness, gender fluidity, sexual striving and merrymaking, chronic pain, spin the bottle, health problems, queer organizing, cats, traveling, trains, and Chicago, of course Chicago and whether I'm going to leave San Francisco because I've said that whenever I go on tour I wonder why I'm living in San Francisco, I mean what it offers, and I don't know.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

From one window to the next

Waking up, I'm impressed that I've managed to keep the same hours -- bed just before 3:30 am , wake up at 2 pm, and I even slept okay! In some ways, strangely I think I sleep better while I'm on tour -- let's just keep that going, okay? Although I feel way more exhausted, so drained that as soon as I eat I start wondering if I'll ever get through this dangerous blankness in my head, much worse on the phone when I'm trying to get someone I don't know to understand or not understand just to communicate without sinking. That's the worst part -- a walk down the street is okay, cold bracing everything in the stores is on sale, the Latino-run clothing stores with cowboy outfits and shiny tights and big plastic earrings that remind me how tired I am not the cold I mean the walk, walk, walk but not that far. Okay, just walk. The most interesting thing I see is a huge brick apartment building converted to condos with shiny new white-framed windows, advertising specialty kitchens but the middle digit of the starting price has rubbed off 1 9,000. Up close it's 189,000, boarded-up windows at bottom maybe smashed? There's a message on the sign that says fuck you. Or just unfinished? All the units are empty, in the corner rooms you can see from one window to the next.

Monday, October 27, 2008

My favorite comment from the college set

"How do you two know each other, you seem like you're in such a different age group!"

(But wait -- are you saying that I don't look like I'm 18 anymore?)

Another side

Even though everyone has written about it, there's still something potentially liberating about the process of travel, pulling into this new city and we have an hour, the conductor promises me an hour so I walk outside onto the 1 am streets that aren't nearly as deserted as I expected. I've seen the grand old robber-baron buildings lining the downtown from the train but I didn't expect people at this time, bars with okay music I mean there are more people in this downtown than most, vacant lots between buildings and drunk hobo-types hanging out on corners asking for change plus this one guy who says he's doing marijuana research, even a few punk kids wandering around looking homeless. Sure the bars are filled with frat types and women unsure of sluttiness but I didn't expect Spokane to be so bustling. No one even threatens me really, except one guy who says what is that, I mean sure people stare but I don't feel unsafe even on empty blocks. Almost makes me want to stay and explore I mean there must be a bathhouse or a gay bar around here somewhere except the air is thick with some kind of soot maybe agriculture and I have to catch the train.

Of course there's also something liberating about 1 am and it's similar to travel, the way you're alone and suddenly there's a spark and no it won't last long but it wouldn't happen without this space of time or landscape and you want to hold onto it like anything is worth it even the loneliness that surrounds you on either side seems special when the music in your headphones lets you explore the empty hallways with different feelings, testing out expressions. Then in the bathroom you’re studying your face in the mirror looking close like someone might stare if he were kissing you, suddenly you're fond of the eyes and lips and even the little red cut on chin a dot it’s centered. The new hairstyle is working, especially the curls in front and your cheeks seem full tonight maybe the light in here is good although that seems surprising. Maybe you'll rub your chest, looking at hair in mirror down to dick in hand maybe sit down on closed toilet seat with traveling shorts, pastel plaid, and boxers, gray and white paisley, to the floor you're exploring hairs on chest to the sweetness of armpits yes a little smack on the cheek or dick into hand, louder and redder until something feels like closure not that explosion just home in body this is before the walk.

Sure, before the exploration and before the walk I was feeling trapped, trapped in my body of pain just eight hours in I've got about another 40 and how will I function if I've already reached that place of ache all over soon it'll be ache over ache over ache, but then I discover an empty room one of the larger rooms and I lie on the ground doing feldenkrais movements, that helps me get to the music especially when the pelvic circle brings chin down the release on floor yes movement. I'm already in the music but then the bathroom of course I've been to the bathroom many many times already but this one is different a visit to myself and then the walk through not-so-deserted streets where I'm almost tempted to go into a bar for a moment, this one bar where the music is almost what I want from music the dance floor is in the back and the smoking around the corner maybe it doesn't get inside except not the crowd and I left my ID on the train anyway.

I wonder when sex became so utilitarian, the beginning of giving up there must be other options. Instead I want to spit hearts in the wind between our lips my tongue a musician of press and pull but mostly our eyes and we can dance there. Clarity, I think that's what these moments mean and then I want more, the satisfaction of moving through space into different towns different moments through the emptiness of exhaustion the hopelessness of pain and into a calm kind of like mania sure it is mania until it's flat and that's a fatigue I can maybe deal with because at least I felt another side.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Press press press -- yay for press!

First, two brilliant articles in the gay press:

A super-smart review in Windy City Times.

And a wonderful hybrid review/interview in Xtra.

But oops -- the San Francisco Chronicle slams me. No surprise there -- I'll take this blurb anyway: "So Many Ways to Sleep Badly is like William S. Burroughs meets David Sedaris, offering a sort of surreal urban grit with poisoned-arrow that stings and... reveals."

Why does everyone keep comparing me to William Burroughs? Is there something I'm missing, I'll have to revisit some Burroughs -- actually I never read Naked Lunch...

And then, drumroll please... the Utne Reader has included me in the expansive cover story: "50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World" -- there's a wonderful profile of me that even includes a photo and a great headline, "More Than Marriage." More than marriage, indeed! Here's the whole story online, but it's much more glamorous in print so if you see it on the newsstand then check it out...

Okay, now I have to get ready for my two-day train to Chicago, so I'll be out of range for a little bit...

The cat, where's the cat?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Thoughts on the vocabulary of disability

Billie says: Mattilda has MCS. I say actually I have fibromyalgia. She says oh, I thought you said you also had MCS.

At first it's just the abbreviation that throws me, I always forget what abbreviations stand for, But then it's also the way you become accustomed to a certain word to describe your condition. Since I can't even function this there’s smoke anywhere near me, and even fresh air in the middle of the day seems too polluted with car exhaust, it's safe to assume that I also have multiple chemical sensitivities. Or chronic fatigue, which is pretty much the same thing as fibromyalgia except that the exhaustion is prioritized in the diagnosis instead of the pain. People with fibromyalgia are also surrounded by exhaustion; people with chronic fatigue are also overwhelmed by pain. There's a way in which fibromyalgia is maybe given a bit more respectability in the world, and I'm not sure if that's part of the reason I embrace that term. Of course, my awareness of it all started with the debilitating pain, the pain that I couldn't figure out that's still hard to figure out except it's always there or waiting to be there. But recently the exhaustion has been the most overwhelming part, exhaustion plus sinus drama equals that sadness that surrounds.

Billie, who also has fibromyalgia and multiple chemical sensitivities, mentions a point in time that she describes as "before I got sick." For me it was different, it didn't seem like I got sick so much as the pain became overwhelming, pain from every everyday activity every movement everything I did to help myself stay out of pain. But looking back of course there's a trajectory from a childhood of longing and hopelessness and betrayal and violence and powerlessness to a present of still trying to get it all out.

I feel like I haven't listened to NPR since I wrote So Many Ways to Sleep Badly, here's what I hear right when I turn it on...

In the morning, when the kids wake up at 5:45 am, they watch him kill and skin the goat and then eviscerate it.

Olympia -- water and light, food from the co-op, growth, Bash Back, and a comfortable place underground

So I'm on the train to Olympia, all this gorgeous water and light yes water and light that's the theme of the Pacific Northwest for this tour, but my head is clogged fogged blocked with that wall of sadness, remember this is the first moment when I think how why am I doing this what on earth how why am I doing this what on earth? Until I get off the train and Ernestine says how are you, I'm doing well and then I am I mean I know I'll crash but for now I'm doing well. The event is downstairs at the Evergreen State College library, underground they say, no mike and at first I'm self-conscious but actually there's more freedom and my voice doesn't get all scratchy. Remember this event was almost a week ago, still with Thea that feels like a long time and I have some self-conscious moment about fiction and faggotry and what I mean who I'm supposed to be. I like the questions about writing process and the publishing world, how voice software affects my writing, and then talking in depth with people afterwards, one person reads my blog and says they started a chapter of Bash Back after reading That's Revolting!, and I mean to ask about Bash Back I want to hear the details but I forget so tell me now if you know! A long conversation with someone about writing and stream-of-consciousness and meaning, people want to hear books I recommend and it's harder to remember without my bookshelf in front of me. Then there's Sara Pete, the librarian from the Olympia public library, who's done all this work making gorgeous flyers and it's so exciting meeting her, so much warmth and excitement and she even brings me vegan treats from the co-op, how amazing! And then there’s the person who came to hear me and Kirk Read in Olympia way back in 2003, he was in high school and in contact with Kirk and he tells me at the time he was thinking of moving to Seattle but I mentioned some anarchist spaces there and he got scared, decided to read Pulling Taffy anyway and he was worried he would get expelled if someone caught him, now he's telling me stories about his own mischief and troublemaking in Olympia, it's exciting to see people grow!

It's a quieter event, and it's a bit harder for me to stay engaged afterwards as I feel myself crashing but at least the library feels like a comfortable place.. And then I'm back on the road, this time in a car or a van with Thea and her friend Anna and we end up talking about friendships in ways both connected and disconnected, the friendships as well and then I'm back in Seattle, late-night in Seattle the air is so fresh and crisp and clear it's almost stunning.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Where I'm staying...

How to walk

I'm talking to my therapist from childhood, the one my parents made me see starting when I was 12, my sister and I are there together and I say: I know my father is dead, but he's still trying to kill me! The therapist says we didn't see each other for eight years, not eight years, what do you mean eight years? He says: if there's one thing your father was concerned about his whole life, it was truth.

I'm in a car with my father and I have to get out before he kills me, I run out of the car just before an intersection and crouch on the steps of a building around the corner, will he see my feet? He drives past and then I'm running through the aftermath of Pride, which is a food court that starts eight stories up, and when I finally get to the bottom I'm trying to describe my rage at my father to a friend who gets scared like I'm enraged at her. Alone, I finally get out of the maze that's the end of Pride and I'm surprised to find myself on the beach instead of at Civic Center -- at least I can see the ocean, fresh air. Then I step outside, onto the beach, piles and piles of hundreds of cigarettes and trash and broken glass poking into my feet this is the aftermath and the ocean comes in just as I’m trying to figure out how to walk.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Bellingham -- what it is that gives me energy and what takes it away

One of the great things about going on tour is that I end up having these deep interactions with people, interactions that might not happen otherwise. Like with Dewey, who offers me a ride to and from Bellingham and on the way we connect about sex work and love for animals and ethics and the way the light comes through the trees at different points on the trip, we’re in heavy traffic in and out of it, in pouring rain and then out of it and the sky stretches on with the clouds reflecting the watery light and when we stop at a rest area I inhale the fresh air so many trees. I love these offers.

The reading is small, but the host gives a great introduction and it's wonderful to meet Jory who interviewed me for the “alternative lifestyle” paper in Bellingham + to see Zoe from a past reading and Chad right at the end from a few of my past readings. The audience is quiet during the reading, which means I have to give a bit more energy and my voice is hoarse but then afterwards there are great questions about what I want people to get from my work, how my work is perceived, how blogging relates to my writing process, fibromyalgia and chronic pain and what it comes from, and then Dewey and I drive back in the dark and share more about writing and editing as a collective process, I give advice about the publishing world, and then Dewey talks more about the possibilities of sex work and healing and even though I know my body will hurt more tomorrow from all this driving it already hurts but I'm guessing more later, even though the reading was so small it still feels like it was worth it and somehow that's confusing, what it is that gives me energy and what takes it away and what takes it away but also gives.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Because you're human

I know you'll be shocked to hear that I'm letting go of linear time for a moment, so that I can write about right now before the Olympia reading and other things in my notes, or not right now but earlier today no it started with that train to Olympia then the next day, on the bus after feldenkrais when I was talking to Aaron but I could hardly speak and then later, which was today, after I slept pretty well I think that I was so exhausted I could barely do anything, even thinking just felt tiring that wall in my head my body I mean the good thing is that I've been able to move through pain it hasn't gotten overwhelming although I'll admit I'm worried about the drive to and from Bellingham tomorrow, how much that will hurt, but the exhaustion has definitely surrounded me and Seattle is my place to relax and hopefully get through it before the 50-or-more hour train to Chicago. I'm glad I'm taking that time to relax, but it doesn't feel so relaxing.

And today, earlier today I was wondering if it's worth it. Talking to someone who was planning an event for me at a college in Brooklyn but there isn't much funding and I've already reached my exhaustion overwhelm, it sounds like a fun event with four other people on the panel talking about feminism and queer struggle but the problem is that I really don't have the energy, especially since it's the day after my Bluestockings event in New York and the day before I'm supposed to be in Philadelphia and it's so much more tiring to do an event when I start out completely exhausted instead of somewhat close to relaxed or present not just something I channel and then fall. The event would maybe be worth it if it was highly funded since I don't have many of those yet on this tour but the best decision for me is not to do it, although I commit to doing it anyway and then I go in the room where I'm staying and sit on the floor in the cold that clears my head I'm sitting on the floor hugging myself and I almost start crying I mean I do a little bit I wish more and I realize I have to call the person back about the Brooklyn event because she needs to know the details by tomorrow and it will still be a great event without me, it doesn't make sense for me to push myself more when probably I'm already pushing myself too much, so I call her back but don't reach her though I leave a message and I think I'm clear, it makes me sad but I'm clear and it's the right thing for me to do, makes me think about the way I sometimes get invited to speak at exciting university events, exciting lectures and conferences that often pay quite well, I mean way better than anything else that I do and I have to say no because I can’t fly to those events or it will destroy my health so much I won't even see the end of that sinus drill through my head into the physically-induced depression and Wade, who I'm staying with, says something sweet when I say I'm feeling sad about turning this event down, sad about my physical limitations that people don't always understand because drive and self-preservation and search for connection and meaning can sometimes camouflage the other side, and he says because you’re human, and I like that.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Seattle, Seattle, Seattle (I just crashed again before thinking of what to call this)

I've never read at Elliott Bay before, but I've been to readings there -- I like the way they have a separate room set up it's big yet intimate like a library with dramatic lighting and the microphone is precise and smooth like at Powell's. The room is crowded even though the store is almost completely empty -- maybe because there's a Presidential "debate" -- almost all the chairs end up full, they even bring more chairs out right before we start and the reading goes well again, I like playing with the intonations of my pieces as I get more comfortable although I'm aware of this self-consciousness I have in relation to Thea's work. I'm worried people want me to be reading nonfiction too, and even though Thea is brilliant and I think the combination is interesting I'm not so sure that I like the way it makes me feel.

The first questions are for Thea, about writing about people she knows and she says that actually it's brought her closer to ex-lovers, which wasn't, um, exactly the case with me, although Thea also mentions that with one person she realized she'd gotten their identity completely wrong, and the piece really was about that person and not Thea so she decided to change it to make a correct. A question for me about how I write in a nonlinear way so I talk about my goals of writing without plot and then the way I was able to use disability to actually further that goal I mean I didn't know if it would work but it did. A question about make/shift and that means I get to talk about my relationship to feminism, yay! Then for both of us about how we started writing and I love that one I end up talking about the crazy things I read so early like Dostoevsky and Tolstoy in sixth grade I was an overachiever and then the way writing made me feel like I could survive in the world starting with elaborate stories of floors made of lapis and floors made of amethyst on to language poetry where everything became two or three words on the page and the way it was spaced and then to stories about turning tricks and eventually to where I am now. A question about whether deadlines help me to write, in particular my Maximumrocknroll column but actually now I write so much that the question for the column is what should I include? But I like that my Maximumrocknroll column gets read by people in prison, that's exciting. One person says my writing is more like someone would think, inside your head, and he's right I'm trying to collapse the boundaries between thought and action, feeling and what happens.

Right afterwards I crash but then end up going to the co-op with Socket and Ponyboy and they help me get my groceries and yes, before I was thinking of getting dinner with people but no one can think of a place and actually the co-op is calming, it's almost empty just before closing but people are friendly and I like getting groceries. Makes me think about Seattle and when I lived here and it was the first time when I kind of felt calm, so now I have this emotional relationship to the town in a way, even though it was 11 years ago when I moved away, after living here a little over a year but you know the way that a year in one place can feel like a whole period of your life and I wonder if I would feel calmer somewhere other than San Francisco I mean I'm not sure.


It's exciting when other people with fibromyalgia, chronic pain, or other disabilities come up to me at readings and tell me they follow my blog or my work and then I don't feel so alone, I mean alone in the struggle to do these readings or this work or this blog in the first place the struggle that's not necessarily visible at readings except when I make it visible I mean when I talk about it and I like when people acknowledge that struggle or their own struggles it makes me feel supported.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Good news, bad news

Bad news: on the train to Olympia, I get my first moment of complete overwhelm, I'm so sad and unable to function, staring into space trying to figure out what happens when I get off the train I mean I know what will happen I'll conjure some sort of energy but then what about later? Good news: feldenkrais saves me, the practitioner focuses on this movement of tongue out of mouth like licking a big ice cream cone she says it’s a very early movement we learn it when we're babies but sometimes we forget things get stuck we lose the connection between the base of the neck and the base of the spine. And then afterwards I can see clearer my body more a part of everything else and then bad news: it takes an hour and a half to get back on the bus and I'm crashing again into that exhaustion overwhelm but then good news: Andee calls, while I'm waiting for the bus in the rain, the rain on my head because I waited too long to pull the hood of my sweater over now it's too late my hair will get too messed up but Andee understands waiting for the bus in the rain we waited for a lot of buses together in Seattle and now the rain actually feels okay.

(More on my Seattle and Olympia events coming soon, but right now I'm running from the computer to avoid hurting my body)

In the neighborhood...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Portland -- excitement and openness, that's what I'm feeling!

Portland streets are deceptive in the way that they all seem overly large and everything on the side too much stripmall, but inside there's such vibrancy and excitement, outside too with everything growing growing growing because of the rain I guess and someone just mentioned volcanic ash in the soil that makes sense too. But architecturally there are a lot of pretty old houses but otherwise it's not so inspiring, especially with all of the hideous new condos stretching block after block and especially downtown where there used to be just warehouses and a storefront here and there now it's huge towers with multilevel windows or even balconies like diving boards high up on one and after dark streets are empty like the suburbs except the buildings face flatness inside and out.

But Portland, where there are so many food coops and health food stores it's insane almost a different one for every neighborhood and I can't help but admit that I love food coops and health food stores and then the reading, yes the reading it's totally packed and all of these people I recognize from my last reading in Portland, plus a bunch of people from Eugene, including Johnny who drove up with a few friends and John who moved back and came to the reading on his birthday with his sister and brother! A lot of queers with fun ragged haphazard clashing outfits that kind of reming me of San Francisco before it just became fashionitis or maybe I'm just romanticizing something I don't know as well but you know how I love fun ragged haphazard clashing outfits but mostly I love packed readings and so much excitement and openness too that's what I'm feeling.

Thea is brilliant, reading about gender discovery and transition and when your desires clash with your feelings clash with your logic clash with your hope and when it all comes together, there are a couple places when really I could cry these beautiful scenes of self-determination and throughout a critique of the medical establishment and a hesitation to offer support without accountability, I love that. It's great to see these pieces I've heard before in different surroundings amplified here with a different audience and all the emotion this brings.

There is a comfortable and uncomfortable juxtaposition between the pieces that Thea and I read, Thea’s more essayish and mine with a different focus on form I mean Thea’s are focused on form too but with a particular destination in mind they are more issue-driven I think and I do get self-conscious at one point because of the difference in style I think but also that's what makes the reading so great. We are not looking for a singular affect or effect.

The microphone at Powell’s is great, not too sensitive or distorted like it so many places, and I enjoy playing with my intonations and rolling the text and pulling it back in and that's what I love about reading. Afterwards the audiences quiet for such a large group, first a question for Thea about how people in her communities respond to her critiques, mostly Thea says people are supportive and they also check her on certain things and make her work stronger. A question for me about how I developed the style of So Many Ways to Sleep Badly and here I get to talk about fibromyalgia and challenging form and everything else so much fun.

Then lots of great people coming up to us to sign books and chat and it turns out one of the people I recognize is from Olympia, I mean we met in a few of my readings there and he gives me a sweet note inviting me for tea in the Bay Area over the winter, yes I love propositions! And Johnny gives me a gorgeous heart painting and says dinner in the Bay area as well, actually he says do you do much socializing I say no not really not in public but dinner one-on-one, yes to one-on-one!

Afterwards, I'm trying to figure out a good place for late-ish vegan food with a group of people and at first we can't think of anywhere but then luckily someone suggests the Red and Black, an anarchist café open ‘til 11 pm and the food is cheap and great and it's quiet there we get a big table and talk about the sex parties they’re planning and right after the reading when I crashed I mean after the signing I started to think maybe I shouldn't be going anywhere, my body hurting especially the front of my hips I think because I stand so far forward when I'm reading and then I did some stretches in the bathroom and went on a walk outside the Red and Black and then I go inside and everything feels calm.

Three dreams about Derek

In the first dream, we’re in Derek's room and he’s taking a pocket knife and cutting open his face right at the center from the top of his forehead down through his nose so that he can get his lips open to tell me something but the knife gets stuck right below his nose and I'm worried he won't be able to get further, we'll have to go to the hospital.

Second dream: all this phlegm stuck in my throat and I'm trying to pull it out with my fingers but I end up pulling out my tongue.

Third dream: I run into Derek on the street, he's carrying a huge heavy bag and I walk right by him but turn to the side so that I don't say hello and I walk to my house to smoke a cigarette but I don't want Derek to see that I have started smoking because of him.

I pull myself out of the first dream because it's too gory, this is on the train. I'm not sure how I know that the second dream is about Derek, except you know how dreams are. I think I had that dream before, before it was about my father. In the third dream, the landscape is a bus stop along a desolate road in a city that has burnt down, reds and browns and chimneys and dust everywhere except I guess the cabin where I'm living, red velvet curtains like I tacked up for so many years, kind of like my cabin when I lived in Provincetown and things did feel desolate except the surroundings were gorgeous like the way the water would filter through the light everywhere and in this dream there’s no water just ash no light except the blood of the reds.

This towel keeps falling to the ground, but doesn't it look gorgeous there?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

And here's what I wake up to...

But here's what saves me -- this room, all to myself

Maybe this is the sentence you were looking for

I forgot how unfriendly Amtrak employees can be, like the person at the Emeryville station who tells me there’s no red cap assistance they’ve discontinued that service on the West Coast and then I’m wheeling my luggage down to the train car it’s a long way my wrists are hurting especially because one of my bags is really heavy with all the food and water. And then I see one of those carts drive by, with people on it and their luggage too and I’m wondering what that’s called, if it’s not red cap service, it’s the same thing someone driving you to your car and helping you with your bags.

Meanwhile, the voice software has already crashed in Word so I’m in Microsoft Works which is much messier it doesn’t hear things the same way words jumbling together spaces not showing up I keep having to lean forward to use the cursor the correction function doesn’t work maybe I need to put the computer back on the pillow because ouch my neck is hurting but at least I can write something. I wanted to say that I had my first great train moment, listening to the MP3 player and there’s this song I’ve never noticed much before since I don’t listen to music on headphones very often I like to be aware of what’s going on around me, always aware and maybe hyper-aware that’s important. But traveling when I go immediately into zombieland it’s so great to put those headphones on and drift away, and listening to this song with such simple lyrics okay, all right, okay, all right like it’s making fun of dance music with the beat of words making dance music -- you know, how you can use words to give you that deceptively simple beat and then go, I’m standing in the aisle while everyone’s asleep moving my hips back and forth okay, all right, okay, all right.

I notice someone’s thrown a book in the trash, the kind of book you throw in the trash I guess a trash book I open it up to this sentence: “the small room back called handed over cost glass windows listed surveying layered session and shuffled out like a someone along strips by concrete or eyes were closed it was the Irish accent of a lifeless peek into banjos and deserted beaches and the house breakers and football aprons and sleeves some talking skip the shield has its heart in the flash car Canadian might market whiskey water radio music tape home financial commitments frozen smile our records I knew something made a mistake and the hospital when he looked one of them went to hands the amount of boards hammered into broken trunks especially the huge way home about page initiative license to rape pocket quickly than knife and tourist selects s learn to avoid the obvious.”

Friday, October 10, 2008

I'm off!

Okay, better pack but just wanted to say that I'll be on the train for a bit (overnight to Portland, why is it overnight? if only we had high-speed trains in this criminal country!). And then I'm on tour for two months and of course I hope to keep up as much as usual, but there may be some blank spots without internet access, oh no!

By the way, thanks to a new photo by Kevin Coleman and the always-delicious design talents of Harris Kornstein, the front of my homepage is featuring a slightly different look...

Now I'm going to make some tempeh sandwiches for the road.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

A review from The L Magazine in New York!

Here's a taste:

Drug and alcohol addiction, HIV, cancer, depression and family dysfunction all make appearances in So Many Ways to Sleep Badly, yet, perhaps surprisingly, the book is anything but grim. Sycamore’s frenetic pacing and jarring prose — indeed, his optimism that a better world is possible — makes the book a compelling read. Subtly political, it posits friendship, camaraderie and activism as ways to defy the morass of Republicrat rule. What’s more, in quips worthy of Jon Stewart, Sycamore slams NAFTA, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom and the Iraq War.

So Many Ways to Sleep Badly is sometimes shocking and sometimes sweet, a perfect antidote to the election year posturing of folks we can only assume sleep as soundly as babes.

Read the full review here.

The launch the launch the launch

Okay, right away City Lights is emotional because all these wonderful writers and friends who I respect and admire are showing up early and I’m all edgy but happy at the same time and all chatty before I start reading, nervous that the microphone is distorting my voice a bit and I want all of the resonances of my reading to stand out, right? I mean I work on that.

I’ve never done a reading downstairs on the main floor at City Lights, usually it’s upstairs or once in the basement because on the main floor they have to move all the shelves but it’s spacious and light and so so glamorous – and packed all the way to the back where people are standing in the entryway, and then a group of City Lights employees are standing upstairs in the office looking down, it’s fun to be surrounded, I mean surrounded while I’m reading and oh I’m touched by the people who are part of my immediate friend circle and then also the people who I rarely see, all here tonight and everyone is really intent on my words although they’re awfully quiet is what I’m thinking, maybe it’s because there’s live jazz outside on the street or it’s the way the microphone amplifies my voice in a strange way and I’m focused on that or it’s the way the space is open so people’s voices don’t echo as much or maybe people are just quiet that’s the way some audiences are, here is seems like people are focused intently on the words but not as much laughing as I’m used to or no there’s a lot of laughing but it’s not all-out explosive except for Gina de Vries who I hear on the sidelines, yay!

I like catching people’s eyes or surveying the expressions as I’m reading I can tell people are really paying attention I like that. And lots of applause, yay for applause, starting at the beginning before I read -- that's extra-exciting. Lots of questions afterwards – someone wants to know my favorite drug combination, well of course it’s starting with Xanax and then two cocktails a few bumps of coke leading to ecstasy before tons of K and pot and back to Xanax to go to bed, I mean when I did drugs. Someone else wants to know how much of the book I wrote when I was on drugs – none, darling! Which reminds me that even when I did drugs and loved them, I never wanted to write while on drugs because if I depended on them for my creativity I would never stop – drugs were something else for me, I wanted to be so high I didn’t have to think about anything in this world, no nothing really nothing I wanted to be somewhere else.

Although I see how the way I write in So Many Ways to Sleep Badly is kind of like drugs and of course I talk about drugs and there’s a way in which the focus on voice and tone and texture over conventional plot structure kind of makes you feel drugged-out and then there’s the insomnia angle which shifts the writing oh and someone asks if I ever sleep well, maybe a few times in my life, I mean really a few times. And if I’ve had any revealing interactions with people since the book came out, people who are upset about how I represented them – yes yes, but before the book came out—two people who were completely scandalized by the tiniest things like I can’t believe you said I didn’t take school seriously – honey, that was a compliment! But really – two central characters, and the people who inspired those characters were so concerned about these tiny things about how I was representing them, but not interested in working on our relationships at all!

Oh – a question about why I don’t love New York, well because it’s a consumerist monoculture, right? Oh, and my writing process, which I always love talking about, especially in the context of fibromyalgia and how it changed my writing and how I was able to use it in a way that really expanded the potential even if I’m still stuck in pain. Then, why the cover is a bit different from my other covers, well because City Lights didn’t want it so bright and garish and contrasty and at first I was sad about that, but now I think it looks gorgeous, especially with the matte cover it’s really sensual. And the relationship between my activism and my writing, I think I’m still figuring that one out! So many other great questions it’s so engaged that I almost forget to eat until the end when I start to fade, just before the lineup for book signing, really a lineup I can’t help but say that I love that, especially the chance to interact one-on-one with people after the public engagement and hugs yes hugs I always love hugs.

Sure, afterwards I’m completely exhausted and I can feel my shoulders feet neck hands arms hurting my face clouding over but still a manic energy, now I just need to figure out how to pack and get ready to leave in two days, yes two days.

Oh – and City Lights is starting up a book club – next month the book is So Many Ways to See Badly – it meets on Tuesday, November 11 at 7 PM at the store… And that’s Jack Kerouac reading So Many Ways in the window, in case you’re wondering.

Life, at some point

Remember I banned myself from cruising craigslist, when was it that I banned myself I can’t find the exact day? I think I said until October, because October is my book tour so then I won’t have time. Now it’s October, so I opened it up and glanced at the ads and I got kind of depressed no I was already depressed that’s when I cruise craigslist. When I can barely function at all in mean I can’t function so I’m cruising craigslist with the hopes that it will give me energy it never gives me energy only takes it away.

I haven’t missed it, don’t see the need to ban myself permanently because it barely seems like a temptation right now except there’s always the thought that maybe I should check again. And again. And again. Like I just did—you know, just in case. I even went to adam4adam, which is such a dead end that there isn’t even a beginning so what would that be called? Just dead, I guess. Although that implies life, life at some point.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The rumors are true...

Today is my book launch, at the renowned City Lights -- I’m a City Lights author, even! This was one of those impossible dreams that I imagined or didn’t imagine so long ago it seems and now here I am! Okay, come join me…

Wednesday, October 8, 7:30pm
City Lights Bookstore
261 Columbus Ave. at Broadway
San Francisco, CA 94133
(415) 362-8193
A Litquake event!
Cosponsored by the Queer Cultural Center


Right at the beginning of So Many Ways to Sleep Badly there’s a sentence that keeps striking me because I wrote that sentence maybe seven years ago. And now. And now. I’m worried that sex will never again change my life. Do you see what I mean? Seven years ago and now. And now. And now I’m really worried.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

"Queer Activist's Novel Is No Will and Grace"

From BeyondChron

A snippet:
Ultimately, it’s refreshing to know that some of us are still living truly outlaw queer lives at a time when Will and Grace has made us boring to the core.


Ready or not

Okay, so my book launch is Wednesday and then I leave to go on tour two days later – what? Twenty minutes ago, before I sat down to write this I thought how on earth can I possibly do it I mean I know I’m doing it but how on earth? But then something switched and I got all wired and excited, excited for the first time really but still I’m not ready. Would I be ready if I had another week, or would I just be thinking I’m not ready, in another week. Maybe I’ll still be thinking that.

I’m looking forward to that moment soon after the train starts moving and I think oh, this is my life, my life for two months, and I love that feeling. I’m not sure what it will be like after that first night on the train, overnight to Portland I just hope I sleep and my body doesn’t hurt too much and I can recover that’s the big issue whether I’ll recover I mean recover fast enough that I don’t go immediately to that place where I feel like I’ll never recover.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Pulling it together

Pulling Taffy came out in 2003, but I wrote it from 1995 to 2000, that’s how publishing works. Writing was always important to me, I definitely prioritize my relationships and direct action activism, which felt more crucial or immediate. As for activism, in the early ‘90s it had been ACT UP in San Francisco where I met so many incredible activists dedicated to combining an analysis of race and class and gender so that they were inextricable from politics around sexuality and AIDS; this was an ACT UP chapter centering around universal healthcare, prisoners with AIDS, women with AIDS, and needle exchange, not the narrow politics of access to drugs. From ACT UP I got involved in all sorts of other groups focused around reproductive justice, police brutality, US imperialism, and then there was a period where I had to stop because I realized that at meetings when everyone would tear each other to shreds I would just take everyone’s anger and put it inside me and respond in this super-calm way and that’s what I did with my father’s rage.

When I got back to direct action it was the late-’90s in New York and a group called Fed Up Queers which challenged the tyranny of Giuliani’s New York, then Gay Shame which was a once-a-year challenge to the consumerism of pride celebrations, and then when I was back on the West Coast I helped create Gay Shame there and we turned it into a year-round direct action extravaganza dedicated to exposing all hypocrites. And when this all really intersected with my writing was when I started to edit That’s Revolting!, an anthology challenging the violence of a gay establishment obsessed with obtaining straight privilege at all cost. This is the book that maybe made me represent something, and I know that sounds strange but I think it’s true, I mean in the realm of public perception.

I wanted to break through the clampdown of a corporate, consumer-friendly gay identity on the queer imagination, challenging the hypocritical priorities of gay powerbrokers – marriage, military service, adoption, ordination into the priesthood, gentrification, willful participation in US imperialism and on and on. In my relatively short time as an activist, I had already witnessed the emergence of these grotesque priorities—marriage and military inclusion, instead of marriage and military abolition – and I wanted to invoke the more radical histories of queer resistance. And then my next book, Nobody Passes, in some ways came out of That’s Revolting – if That’s Revolting centered around the violence of gay assimilation, Nobody Passes examined passing – across all identity categories – as a means through which assimilation sometimes takes place, and is allowed to remain invisible. I wanted to expose all hierarchies of belonging.

But wait – this is where I got into trouble again, yes niche marketing tyranny but from the other direction! The publisher, Seal Press, who had approached me, wanted to make sure that all of the pieces were “relevant to women.” They wanted to make sure everything was gender-related, as if race and class and the big passing crises of the moment – immigration, racial profiling, and anti-Arab hysteria could ever not be about gender as well. As someone assigned the label “male” at birth, I was unable to claim feminist authenticity of the surface variety. And so I was subjected to a passing crisis from the other direction!

Backing up a bit too a few years earlier, I had other passing problems that have dramatically shifted my writing process. In 2000, when I was subjected to the possibility of living in New York City for my fourth summer, I fled all of that horrible humidity and pollution so deep it was hard even to get to the subway, fled for the beach in the gay resort town of Provincetown where I could still turn tricks for a living and I was doing all this exercise and I started to get this pain in my wrists right where I held the handlebars of the bike I rode around town. I thought it was just a muscle that I hadn’t used before and it would get better, but then it got so bad that I couldn’t hold the handlebars, couldn’t chop vegetables, couldn’t open doors, and then that pain developed from repetitive stress injury symptoms to fibromyalgia, which basically means pain all over my body, an inability to get restful sleep, hypersensitivity to scents and temperature and movement, a reactive digestion, and sinus pain and everything wraps around the other until I can hardly function.

So I couldn’t write the way I used to write. I edited That’s Revolting and Nobody Passes with all this pain, but for my personal writing I couldn’t go to that frantic place in order to get it down I mean it was still in my head but it wasn’t physically possible to connect the thoughts with the page in that way. But I needed to continue writing. At first I felt overwhelmed and horrified, but then I decided to try to see my limitations as a strength, rather than a weakness, and to write two paragraphs a day with no intention of plot or structure, and then take a look at the whole thing when I had 200 pages. I wanted to see if this experiment could expand the manic style and engagement of my writing, rather than leaving me feeling stifled. I wanted to see if I can do what I usually did for five or six pages, but continue it for 200. Actually expand the whole idea by fracturing the writing even more and so I would hear something interesting on the radio or someone would call me and say something disastrous or I would think of a funny phrase that rhymed, and I would put that all down, into the novel, because I knew it was a novel right away it was something I was working on as one flow.

After two years, I had over 400 pages, and I took a look at the whole thing — what was amazing was that some sort of plot actually emerged! The repetition of voice and character and theme and sound and spark led to a wacky and expansive narrative arc, nonlinear and revelatory. I'm a neurotic editor, so of course I spent another few years cutting anything that got in the way of the voice, but allowing six different things to happen in one paragraph and it ended up almost like music the way it builds up to a crescendo and then falls and then builds. If Pulling Taffy is about searching for home and not necessarily finding it, So Many Ways to Sleep Badly is about the overwhelm the everyday --when you get to a place where nothing in your life is exactly coming together, where it often feels devastating just to engage with the outside world , and where it's only sudden moments of connection or insight that mean anything — the world is falling apart and San Francisco is falling apart and the narrator's apartment is falling apart, and I leave the reader to pull it all together. Or leave it.

(this is the end of that piece I might be writing as an introduction for university events)

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Update on tour events

First of all, the specifics for the Olympia event:

So Many Ways to Sleep Badly in OLYMPIA
(with Thea Hillman)
Thursday, October 16, 7 p.m.
Evergreen State College Library, Underground
2700 NW Evergreen Parkway
Olympia, WA 98505

Second, Olsson's, the independent bookstore where I was scheduled to read in DC, has suddenly closed all stores!!! So I'm looking for a new location for that reading, hopefully on the scheduled date...

I'm keeping an updated list of all events here (on the sidebar of this blog, under "links"), so feel free to check in from time to time in case there are more changes...

Wait -- look at these crazy ties I got from Paula, just in time for my tour -- thanks, Paula!

Saturday, October 04, 2008

A gorgeous review in NOW Magazine (Toronto)

I can't help posting the whole thing here:

When I read the first chapter of the newest novel by San Francisco poster child for surviving-and-thriving gender/queer punks everywhere, I felt like I was being yelled at by an excited, manic friend who was pacing around a roach-infested kitchen, occasionally breaking into a runway walk while wearing hot pants made of burnt rainbow flags.

By the third chapter, the narrator was curled up next to me, near fetal, talking through a panic attack, going from non sequitur to non sequitur. Wanna hear a funny anecdote from yoga class? A cocksucking-in-the-park story interrupted by a brief blip of illness-related neurosis? A funny trick? A bit of crush-on-new-boy? Here’s an incest flashback, an allergic reaction and finally, perhaps, a vegan snack. All without a paragraph switch.

The narrator speaks conversationally, with no thought to the conventions of description, plot or character development. People are named in a paragraph, yet we don’t know what they look like, what they’re about; we only see who they are in relation to the narrator.

While the book often appears to be so loose it’s in danger of losing us in the noise, it’s also deceptively layered, building story over story. Pulling off such a joyous and raw cacophony requires a skilled hand.

So Many Ways To Sleep Badly is an original, visceral reading experience. I give it extra points for including a sex-worker theme that avoids all the overdone stereotypes.

Though it certainly lacks your typical story arc, I recommend opening your mind to it. The rapid-fire, honest glimpse into the post-gay ruins of San Francisco will likely break even the toughest punk heart.

-- Zoe Whittall

Friday, October 03, 2008

"So deep in a left-wing analysis of lawless sexuality..."-- the SF Weekly plugs my launch!

Here's what they say...

The Wall Street giveaway and bipartisan "values"

When I think about this Wall Street giveaway my whole chest tightens up and I feel kind of nauseous and start walking around in circles and all I can think about is bipartisanship, what a hideous concept! Bipartisanship means Barack Obama and John McCain sit down together and figure out how to continue the systematic dismantling of any structural mechanisms for care in this country. Sit down and figure out how more people can lose their homes and lose their jobs and lose their families and get gunned down on US borders and shut away in slave labor prisons and yes I know that’s not literally what they talked about. I know they talked about saving the US economy, which means saving the US war on Iraq and Afghanistan saving the Israeli apartheid system saving Guantánamo and who knows how many other secret prisons and terror campaigns and wars.

Yes, let’s just funnel $1 trillion over to Wall Street and everything will be fine, that’s right just fine! Nancy Pelosi says there’s “plenty of time to do more,” plenty of time for more dead Iraqi children she means. Nancy Pelosi – “my” representative, the person most responsible for continuing the war in Iraq as far as I’m concerned, the one holding together this mythology of bipartisanship which means continuing the status quo at any cost.

I feel no anger towards the Republicans. I’m scared of them, sure, I think their agenda is horrifying and monstrous, but they are doing exactly what they’ve promised – they’re doing a great job of continuing US wars and destroying the environment and hacking away at any systems of care, they deserve an award for consistent vision! It’s even Republicans who blocked the immediate passage of the Wall Street giveaway, because they felt it contradicted their free-market views… When I think of Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi and the other Democratic power brokers, that’s when I get really angry so angry it’s like I could scream so loud my throat would burst open so I try not to scream I don’t want to hurt myself. In national politics this is all we have to look forward to, more screaming and more throats burst open and maybe we can picture flowers in the ruins of charred bodies from another US air raid another Wall Street giveaway what could possibly be the point of such flowers except to remind us of our violence?

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Help! It's so humid out that things are falling off my walls...

Surrounded by their violence

One problem with talking to Amy is that I don’t necessarily know whether she believes me, I mean believes that I was sexually abused by my parents and of course I would never choose a therapist without that being part as the foundation of the therapy. And, of course, Amy knows my parents, I mean she was their therapist, and I would never find a therapist on my own who would offer details about my parents’ interior lives and I don’t know if that’s helpful. I mean Amy always wants me to know that they love me, I mean that my mother loves me now and that my father loved me before he died, and that really doesn’t matter to me. What matters is what they did with that love, it almost makes it worse that they loved me and could only respond with all this violence. Or not only with all this violence, but with so much violence that it outweighs everything else, and it’s the foundation.

Amy wants to figure out why my mother acts the way she does, which is something else a therapist I would choose would never do – I mean I don’t think it would come up. I guess maybe Amy is trying to break the pattern by understanding it first, but on a certain level I wonder how I could ever expect my mother’s manipulation and violence to stop if she’s never done any work to change it. Amy wants me to know how important I am to my mother, even as a child she would look to me for support. Amyeven tells me that my mother found that support, that she would look in my eyes and see my understanding. Which is deep on so many levels, because as a kid I wanted to rescue her, even if she would never rescue me.

But I always thought that feeling was a delusional fantasy, I mean not always but now, as an adult, I realize that of course I couldn’t do anything I mean I knew that then too but I could still fantasize. But then Amy is telling me that my mother actually felt that, she knew that I understood and that I wanted to help. And that it did help. And again that almost makes everything worse, because she was looking to me, her child, for support, and giving me nothing. I keep saying that to Amy, when she talks about my parents’ love – it gave me nothing. I was a status object and they were obsessed with my attainment and making sure that my goals matched theirs but never anything about me. It’s like Amy is trying to humanize them, but I already know all of it, too much of it, maybe I didn’t know that my mother found some sort of solace from me as a child and I’m not sure whether that helps. I mean it’s awful. But then Amy says it’s worse than nothing, you felt extracted from an extruded upon and okay, I guess this is what she’s trying to get at, and I say yes, and also I was surrounded by their violence, and if they wanted me to die than it would have made sense, but they didn’t want me to die, and I even think they looked to my initiative as some sort of prize, like my father could drug me and put his hands around my throat and squeeze until there was nothing left except his eyes there was nothing left except pain there was nothing left except still I wanted to live sometimes I wonder why I mean how, how was it possible that I wanted to live, that I remained driven to survive and thrive and do all these things? Now I wonder if this was one thing that also fascinated them.

I wonder if my mother was in her own self-induced drugged-out world of pills and time in the bedroom alone or if that just sounds better than the fact that she really wasn’t there, wasn’t there my whole childhood except maybe to ask for a washcloth while she was in the bath during her period, her hands pressing my face into her lap. I might delete that sentence. It’s harder for me to talk about my mother’s sexual violence from that time because I haven’t explored or processed or looked for the memories like with my father, I can say my father raped me them bought me so simple and clear but with my mother I don’t know exactly. Maybe she raped me and then disappeared.

I don’t know if any of this is useful, especially now when I’m so exhausted and I’m trying to get ready to go on tour and I’m talking to this therapist who I kind of trust on certain levels but not the deepest ones, I mean when I’m talking to her I just say violence, and also their violence and abuse and sure she knows what I mean, sure I said before that sometimes that I know my father raped me but then I circle back around and around about details, details like whether I was drugged or whether that drugged feeling was just leaving my body except I know the feeling of leaving my body and this was drugged I mean everything went white. I said the first part of that sentence, do you see what I mean? It’s harder to say the second part, the second part is more vulnerable. I mean I’m vulnerable with Amy, but I’m not sure why. I want my mother to create this account because it’s something tangible, something she can actually do to help me that she can’t immediately take back. Amy understands that, I mean that’s where she’s been supportive. But also she searches through childhood, brings me deeper into the abuse I could see how that might seem helpful to her, maybe her understanding maybe she thinks it helps me too I already have that understanding. Mostly I want release not exploration I mean if I chose a therapist it would be body-oriented that’s how I can go the deepest not head I’m always in my head I don’t need these logical circles.

But does she really say that’s your issue? I’m talking about my mother now, I think I stand in disbelief at that particular quote, when I was reminding her about the account and she said why, because it would make you feel secure. Right there – she had it right there, it wasn’t something she had to search for like Amy suggested. I said yes, and she said you are secure, because you have me. And I said how could that ever make me feel secure, when anything you ever offer I have to think is that really going to happen? And my mother said well that’s your issue. Really. And of course it reminded me of when Derek said those are your issues, sure it’s a totally different context but the same words that’s why it’s hard to think that my mother really said that.

I didn’t get a chance to say no, actually the reason I don’t feel secure is because of you and Dad, the only way you ever used money was for power and control and manipulation, never for security or comfort even if there was always money there was never safety. Never. I never felt safe. You can’t change that now, but you can make this small gesture to help me to feel some sense of financial security at least, but instead you’re continuing these monstrous power games.