Monday, March 31, 2008

Read David Wojnarowicz with me...

Tea Time at Modern Times
Tuesday, April 15 @ 7pm
Modern Times Bookstore
888 Valencia @ 20th Street
San Francisco, CA
415-282-9246

Join me, your host, for a discussion of Close to the Knives, by David Wojnarowicz, the first book I discovered (back in 1993, after I heard about David Wojnarowicz in an obituary) where I finally saw a reflection of the radical queer outsider rage I felt, combined with maybe a little bit of hope in a world of loss.

There will be free tea and biscuits, and I'll talk for a little bit and then we'll get acquainted with the book and all of our opinions -- if you haven't read it yet, it's not too late to start now! I can't wait to hear what you think...

"I feel that I'm caught in the invisible arms of government in a country slowly dying beyond our grasp. There is something singing of this, something in the currents of wind and breeze floating along the black electric cables lining the roads, something I can't see or touch but moves in the shape of vowels and uttered sounds like the spinning soft bodies of birds playing with the sky." -- David Wojnarowicz

That bass, give us that bass

Eventually I decide I'm going out, that's when of course I'm shitting nonstop I guess because I get that rush maybe adrenaline whatever it is it's annoying, how can I leave the house if I keep shitting? But I've gotta go -- this might be the only chance I have to go somewhere without smoke or a smoke machine, I emailed the guy who throws it and he actually wrote back and said don't worry, I hate smoke machines too - but the place was on fire!

That was in January, then I missed February because I thought it was last Fridays and not fourth Fridays -- I hate monthlies, it's kind of depressing that San Francisco can support hardly any weekly clubs anymore, what the hell is up with that? I mean, when something’s once a month it's so much harder for me to get to, because I'm always tired and there's too much pressure, I guess people like the pressure I just like something to depend on. When I leave it’s 1:45 a.m., no surprise really since I've always been the kind of girl waiting for a 2 a.m. entrance.

The rhetoric for this club is all about somewhere where everyone gets along its fags and dykes straight and gay and it's all about the dancing, remember when it was all about the dancing? Of course it was never really all about the dancing, I'm always suspicious of this brighter days club nostalgia, although you know as much as anyone else that if they throw down “Brighter Days” I'll be screaming until next winter.

Don't get me wrong -- honey I miss those clubs I needed more than just about anything, back when missing for just one week felt like the end of something I needed, but then that really ended now I can only dream. What was that club I went to when I first moved to San Francisco, every Monday at The Pit which was formerly The Underground so everyone still called it that, now it's Asia SF? 1992 and I was all about the industrial, throw down some Throbbing Gristle or Cabaret Voltaire or My Bloody Valentine and I was ready -- that's when I’d just taken a dance intensive so I knew how to fall to the ground like it mattered, I became friends with the DJ and some of the regulars and over time everything shifted to techno that's where we were going. Then there was Junk when it was after the $.99 queer video fest, not so much for the music but because it was all dykes so you could assume the fags had some politics, that was the only time when I ever picked up fags regularly from a bar. Then there was Fusion and I guess that's when I started the crystal but oh just to bounce up and down on that glass dance floor sometimes I got in trouble because I would accidentally step on people's toes with my boots, ouch that hurt.

That was around when I’d try try try to stay up until 6 a.m. for the End Up because it was the only place where I liked the music where it was hard enough and that's of course where I really got the crystal I mean the crystal got me I could dance into the afternoon, yes. Together on Tuesdays, in the basement of 1015 when it was really just a basement with ceilings too low not that gorgeous glamorous thing they have there now but oh the music yes the music that was one of those places where I didn't want drugs to touch me I just needed to dance until they closed. It was Together until 4 a.m. when no one would give me a ride, they had to get back to the suburbs or something. Your Sister's House was fun too, above the McDonald's on Market after Junk got to sceney and dramatic and we didn't like the music anyway, Rebecca and I would go there it was kind of ravey without the rave and Rebecca always wanted to know if everyone was a dyke but mostly they were more into dancing with me, didn't matter once we got all sweaty and then outside into that cool air yes air.

Don't let me forget Club Babyhead on Sundays in Providence, 1994 where no one liked me but I didn't care I was there for the music, even after someone threw me against a pole and said I'm going to kill you then smashed the windows of my car, just like that because I was dancing too flamey or something I still went back. Boston 1994, 1995 was all about Paradise on Thursdays, the Loft was fun too but to tell you the truth Michael Sheehan really threw it down on Thursdays, that player piano Osheen song I lived for the bitch would throw that on and I would jump to the ceiling, that was when I did more drugs than ever but never on Thursdays, Thursdays was all about the music right the music, see how I'm trying to disrupt the rhetoric but then I am the rhetoric? When I came back to San Francisco at the end of ‘95 I couldn't find anything, not much better luck in Seattle except that one time when I went to hear that DJ from Detroit and I asked him if he had a mix tape for sale and he just looked at me like I wasn’t human, that's when things were really changing and DJs were becoming stars in a big bigger way it was sad. In New York pretty much everything was awful except Danny Tenaglia late late-night at Vinyl, although I lived for the Cock on Sundays, dancing in the front and sex in the back what could be better? Or Mondays, mostly just dancing, maybe Thursdays too but anyway I'm getting distracted, not distracted I was trying to show you the way any of us can give in to brighter days nostalgia really brighter nights because who needs days when you’re dancing all night? Seven years and I haven't had that regular place, you know my struggles.

So I get there at 2 a.m. and I don't know what I expected, but this feels more low-key and actually more mixed too -- old-school Tenderloin bar drunks and younger trendy dykes and drunk young mainstream gays but not Castro types because they're actually friendly in a genuine way, a few dance queens in the corner. I'm just glad there's no smoke, no smoke machine either I mean you can smell the residue but that's like heaven compared to the other options. The music is kind of droning in that maudlin dark electro neo-synth pop sort of way I mean I was all about the electro revival but now I'm back to just wanting the beats. I'm dancing anyway, people look excited and then there are more cokeheads and thirty-something ‘70s clone-wannabe types coming down from upstairs I guess and a few mainstream dykes and this hot boy who was standing outside when I arrived keeps looking over at me but then dancing with his dyke friends, really close and messy until I say what about me and we grind for a minute but I can tell he's more nervous around the fags and I'm not really a grinder so much it gets me out of my rhythm.

One woman in a fake Chanel t-shirt dress number with teased black hair is fun to dance with, she does a little goth-like runway with a twirl and then there’s the trannyboy-type who does the club thing where you synchronize your moves but act like the other person isn't there, even when you're moving in and out of the other person’s gestures I could dance with him all night but the fag I'm hot for likes to grind with him, and a styley dyke and the ‘80s Chanel woman and I'm trying to remember to let my head go, Donna said let your head go it's hard to do that when you're studying someone else you have to go into your own space just your own.

I take a break, I'm supposed to take breaks so that my body doesn't hurt too much, right? I'm in line to get water from the bathroom and this woman says to me: my friend’s gay but he says he wants to sleep with me, do you think that's weird? I say well, do you think he really wants to sleep with you or do you think he's trying to prove something? She says well he says he's bisexual but he's totally gay, don't you think that's weird?

I get water from the bathroom tap and then this drunk middle-aged Tenderloin fag says something to me, he's too drunk for his words to work oh he wants to dance and then we’re shaking it on the dance floor and he's smiling and swaying I like that. Then suddenly the dance floor’s crowded again and there are more people with attitude but no critical mass so most of the attitude goes out the door and then, yes then is when it really starts because oh, those beats I'm screaming GIVE US THAT BASS, yes GIVE US THAT THAT BASS, my legs up into the air I can't help but fling my club drama moves, turn to the side and I'm screaming the BASS! THE BASS! Using different tones of my voice, that way it doesn't get all scratchy and now the DJ’s screaming too and other people are screaming and this is what it's all about, I take a break when the music slows again, no longer that clack clack but back to the ‘80s synth but wait there it is again and this is when I'm dancing like I'm swimming except it's my movements that get all watery, I can trip or fall to the side and it all flows and I'm screaming for the horns, yelling vocals I don't even know, biting my fingers and this boy with flowers behind his ears is imitating my bite I give him the you. Yes, you. Turn to the side. You.

Then the DJ screams something about are there any metalheads, any old-school metalheads here. I'm not sure what to expect until wow, maybe those are metal songs but with driving bent broken banging techno rattle seesaw jumping sing-song beats yes this is what it's all about, until it's winding down into a hip hop sound that actually gets mixed in perfectly it's all about the mixing and the beats but it's 3 a.m. and everyone's leaving. I'm glad I came late because otherwise I might've stayed too long, too long for my body and just now, someone’s smoking pot and the whole room fills with it I'm trying to stand still and talk to someone who's promoting his night but my eyes are watering I say I have to go, out the door and the hot fag from earlier hugs me and says do you have a cigarette?

Outside, it's my dancing crew and I'm still feeling the beats, this one woman says you're really fun to watch and I say we can keep going, let's keep going, but really I'm ready to head home and they offer me a ride, I don't need a ride I'm only five blocks away but it's hard to turn down, the driver is about to smoke in the car I say can I be rude enough to ask you to put that out until we get to my house, then it's out and we’re on our way and my body's already hurting I'm angry at myself for not just walking I need that cooldown but then I remember I also need toilet paper so I walk downhill but the store’s closed. I thought that store was open 24 hours. One of the stores on my corner is actually still open, so that's where I get the toilet paper, and then I feel accomplished like everything is coming together and upstairs I turn the shower on, throw off my wet clothes and jump into the hot water please don't let me hurt tomorrow. Donna says I get the pain from panicking so I'm trying to relax into all this moisture and when I get out I'm warm and I heat up some food and then I'm doing my feldenkrais movements on the floor and why does the heater smell so toxic, like all this dust is caught in there and burning where did all this dust come from?

I stand up to figure it out and oh no, that's something from the kitchen -- a plastic lid and an oven mitt on fire I grab them and throw them in the sink but it's the concoction is still burning until I pour water on it. I'm just glad the fire alarm isn't going off, although you have to admit it's kind of ironic that I've avoided the smoke and now it's smoking in my apartment. I open all the windows but it's pretty damn cloudy, oh no there goes the fire alarm and I can't figure out how to turn it off -- all my neighbors must hate me. I decide not to worry about it, remember worrying is one of the things that gives me pain so I'm doing the forward bend pelvic movement and using the neti pot to clear the smoke out of my sinuses then boiling eucalyptus in the kitchen and then I do the rest of my movements on the floor the eucalyptus smells great but the fire alarm is still going off and then I'm sitting down to eat, oh this food tastes so good especially with the olive oil why is it that I can digest olive oil so much better this late at night?

Finally the fire alarm stops and it's getting close to 5 a.m. but I'm not going to worry, I eat more toast because actually I’m worried that I'm still wired and how will I fall asleep if I'm wired? Then I get in bed, actually it hurts to turn to the right where usually turn first so I try the left and that feels fine, another sign that something has shifted. Shifting is good, right? It means things are moving around.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

My head pulls up with the rest of my body almost like floating

I think this might be the best feldenkrais session ever, especially because I'm able to do this new movement where I pull myself up by imagining a transparent paper-thin plane dividing me into two sides, then I bend my knees how and place the soles of my feet together to follow the plane and when I release my legs my head pulls up with the rest of my body almost like floating. When I leave I feel so much more hopeful. On my way to the bus, my walk feels different, falling forward like Donna recommends but this time it doesn't feel messy or confused, instead things feel aligned more upright not sloppy I'm trying to remember what this feels like.

I go to a play with Grant, a one-act Noel Coward play at a theater where the whole place feels like part of the show, part of the farce and the merriment and the spectacle. There are two other acts following this play but we leave after the first one, I'd like to stay for the rest but my shoulders are starting to hurt I'm glad I'm taking care of myself. Then the 27 shows up practically right when we get to the stop, it's so seamless that I'm worried something's wrong. It's not a bad thing when feldenkrais makes you exhausted that means your body is learning but today I don't really feel exhausted, which is even better. As soon as I sit down in the kitchen, then I realize oh there, there it is but still I'm calm I'll just rest.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Don't confuse passion with pathology

I have a lot of weird patterns, but one of the weirdest is probably when someone is cruising me really hard, and I decide he must be straight. To give an example, when I first moved back to San Francisco at the end of 2000 and was still in New York mode, I ran into an acquaintance in the Castro after a trick and he took me to Badlands of all the horrible places in the world, for a cocktail, but after one drink I said we need to get food! He wanted somewhere with cocktails, so we ended up at Nirvana, one of the few places in the Castro with food that’s kind of edible, and the bartender kept coming over to chat, and he was feeding us drinks, and the friend I was with said: he's really into you. What, I said -- I think he's straight. But then I realized wait, he just asked us what we’re doing afterwards, oh.

This was in a gay restaurant, in a gay neighborhood, where you can pretty much be assured that everyone in sight is more or less -- well, gay. Part of it might have been that he had kind of a punkish look, and you know how subcultural faggots are so rare these days I start thinking anyone doing something indie must be checking out my fashion. I mean my fashion, but not the rest. But really it's something deeper, this way I convince myself that someone cruising me, outside of a conventional sex space, in all my glamour and flair, can't really be cruising me, because -- you know -- so many faggots just can't deal. Including me, I guess -- I mean that's how I deal, in this certain kind of situation, I decide that what's obviously happening isn't happening.

Anyway, so then I’m at the Nob Hill Theatre and when I step in the door there's this hot guy working who I haven't seen before, dark hair with sideburns and maybe a mod-ish look -- it's hard to tell because everyone there wear a uniform -- but what I do notice is that he's staring right at me with that look like everything has stopped and there's just me. So I get friendlier, but then he's a little bit standoffish so I decide oh, he's one of those straight indie boys who works in the gay porn theater. That's the time when there's no one downstairs, except someone locked in a booth, so I walk in circles, or squares really since that's the shape of the tour of duty, yes duty in all of its terrible meanings, and then I'm on my way out and there's the guy again but yes, distant, probably straight.

A week or two goes by and then I'm back at the theater getting ones to put in the machines from that same guy, he says to me: there's been a lot of drama tonight. I say what kind of drama? He says well one of the dancers got 86’d, and now he keeps calling to say he’ll be waiting outside when the place closes, and then some of the other dancers started acting up, getting in the way of one another and the international ones were pretending they didn't understand when I told them they were cockblocking. I say that's your job? He says yeah, then he turns to go to the back so I go downstairs.

Drama. Cockblocking. Okay -- so he's not straight. In the bathroom, they've moved the informational poster about the drug-resistant staph infection to the very top corner of the wall, right by the ceiling, with no more postcards. I guess it was probably getting in the way of business, I know the first time I saw it I got a paranoid, ended up sucking someone's dick through a glory hole anyway but it wasn't hot, I was worried about my lips touching the wall and what if that wall was a carrier for the drug-resistant staph infection? And I'm not usually that paranoid about these kinds of things, I mean not once I'm sucking cock. Although I do hate those glory holes, I mean not enough to stop me from utilizing them when necessary, but really I want the guys hands on my head, okay? I want to hold his balls and rub his chest and stand up to spit his come into his mouth or at least make out all wild afterwards and get silly. Which doesn't happen much at the Nob Hill Theatre.

I get lucky this time around, this guy says you suck great cock, do you go to Blow Buddies? I say yeah. He says I think you sucked my cock there. It's like that scene from Cats where the cats start singing "Memories..." Just kidding -- I've never seen Cats.

Anyway, then I'm walking around and around -- traffic control, or just traffic I guess. Upstairs the guy’s really flirty this time, or maybe it's me who's flirty, now that I've heard him say drama. Cockblocking. Drama. I'm ready.

He’s looking at the Pride guide, or maybe not guide it's a list of businesses I say let's play a game where you close the book and then open it up to a random page and find something. The first thing I find is Ball Wealth Management. I'm serious. So then this guy is leaning over the counter so he's really close to me, especially since I'm leaning forward and I even touch his finger it stays there. Okay, so I'm not even going to attempt to retell this crazy road trip story he tells, the one that starts after his friend comes to visit him in New York and says: you can't live like this. The coke, the ex-boyfriend writing on the walls with blood, things like that. Buys him a plane ticket to Minneapolis and they're planning to drive cross-country to San Francisco in a U-Haul but they get stuck in a snowstorm and all the roads are closed and they’re in some small town in Wyoming the good news is when they get to Laramie, that's the good news because one of the friends sends a text to her brother-in-law or something like that who turns out to have a ranch in Wyoming and then they end up shipping their stuff and taking a bus to Denver, but of course the story is all about the details he's good at the details like the car accident that started before the road trip and it was like -10 out and they had to count before rushing out to the car to tape up the windows, trying not to touch the shattered glass. Staring me right in the eyes I'm trying to figure out whether he's coked out but maybe in the hot way, if there’s a hot way it's the way this guy is staring at me and I touch his hand again, brushing one of his fingers he’s still looking at me, I mean he's casual about it too but he's still looking.

I don't usually flirt with people who I don't know when I'm at their work, I get all self-conscious about whether I'm invading their space and part of that is from being an incest survivor so as a kid there was no way to have boundaries that weren't crossed. I'm always worried about anything that isn’t 100% consensual, but then I get stuck in places where I'm assuming some guy who's flirting with me is straight, maybe part of that is so I don't have to make a move. But I'm getting better, better at making the move and then if it's the wrong one I can just move back.

The funny thing is that he doesn't really ask me any questions, but there’s this great dynamic between us where he'll say something and then I'll say something back that shows him I know exactly where he's coming from, and he totally takes it, nothing seems to make him uncomfortable I can tell he's a player but I like to play. As long as I'm not getting played.

He just moved here from New York, lost his job because he got too strung out, I say you got so strung out they noticed? He said well, sometimes I just wouldn't show up. I say coke or crystal? He says both, but mostly coke. I say that's New York. I say did you like New York? He says I loved it, I mean I worked until 1 a.m. at a wine bar and then afterwards I just wanted to go to sleep but I had to go out because otherwise I might not get seen by the right people I was totally addicted to that energy that scene. I say that's the coke. He says at least I got that out of my system. I say well if there’s a place to be a cokehead, it's definitely New York.

My favorite part is when he busts out snappy queeny ready lines all the sudden, which doesn't happen all that much here in San Francisco unless it starts that way -- it's this certain kind of New York club demeanor and even though I don't miss the clubs or those people I do miss the language, I mean it's kind of my language or part of it anyway. Part of my history, the way I experience things and I miss it. That's what I'm thinking about, maybe an hour into our conversation and I say what are you looking for? He says love, but it's a joke, and then he says a sugar daddy. I say that's too much work, why don’t you just turn tricks? He says how do you know I'm not turning tricks?

Brilliant. But it turns out he's already found love, a boyfriend it's just become official. I ask him if it's monogamous, he says well we haven't really talked about it, the relationship in New York was nonmonogamous but then anytime someone would flirt with him the boyfriend would start cockblocking. There's that word again. Acted like he wasn't sleeping with anyone else, but it was such a lie. I say that's New York nonmonogamy. This coworker of his said don't confuse passion with pathology. I say wait, you mean the other way around, right? Oh, yeah -- that's right, he says: don't confuse pathology with passion. Sounds like good advice.

I've already given him my number, but he didn't want to give me his -- work, I say, or the boyfriend? But then I say wait, let me write down my website too, he says what's your website? I say I'm a writer, it’s for my books. And then he gets all excited, what are your books? I say well the most recent one is called Nobody Passes: Rejecting the Rules of Gender and Conformity. He says wait a minute, are you working on a new one? I say yeah, Why Are Faggots so Afraid of Faggots? He says my roommate forwarded me the call for submissions, we're all writers that's what we do.

So then he gives me his number, at this point it’s 2:10 a.m. already and he gets off at 2:30. I say well, if you want to stop by my apartment after you get off, just to chat a little more -- and I write down my address. Wait a minute, I say -- maybe I'm too exhausted. He says well the boy’s coming to pick me up. I say well you both can come over, he says maybe we’ll give you a call. I say well give me a hug, and he steps down from the counter and really does hug me, strong and warm and then I'm on my way home.

At home I'm so so hypoglycemic and my body hurts, shoulders all tense what the fuck why the fuck was I standing for so long -- first walking around for an hour then talking to this guy for another hour, I hate it when I get angry at myself for the way my body is so fragile. I mean, I was having fun talking to that guy, it was really fun it got me all wired but now I'm crashing. I heat up some food but it doesn't taste as good as I was hoping, then Michael actually calls -- that's his name -- he's at his boyfriend’s, which is only a few blocks away, he says are you still into hanging out? I say I think I'm too exhausted, now that I'm home I'm exhausted, but let me talk to your boyfriend.

I want the boyfriend to know that I'm not being shady, but first thing he says is: you didn't like my picture? I say I haven't seen your picture, he says I have a really big dick. He sounds kind of drunk, I guess it is 3 a.m.. Oh, I say -- maybe I should watch you two having sex. He says I really like fucking face. I say well then maybe you should come over -- no, I'm too exhausted.

Back to Michael, I say well I just suggested that I watch you two having sex some time. Michael says definitely, we're probably just going to go to bed right now. I say sure, have fun -- and let's get together soon!

When I get off the phone I'm angry at myself again, this time I'm angry that maybe I've missed out on an opportunity -- maybe it sounds strange, since I was at the Nob Hill Theatre at 2 a.m. talking to this guy about coming over my house later with his boyfriend, but I wasn't actually thinking about sex, I mean I wasn't thinking of having sex right then. I just wanted to chat for a few minutes, but now that sex is on the table again I'm worried that I should have said come right over, even though I'm completely exhausted I would've gotten wired right away but then that would’ve been a disaster, I mean a disaster afterwards when I would've crashed even harder, harder and later my sleep would’ve been even more of a mess, yes that's always possible.

Friday, March 28, 2008

So they moved the informational sign for the drug-resistant staph infection almost all the way to the ceiling and there were more people having sex...


No way to start

These days I've been taking a lot of showers -- showers relax my body, but kind of dry out my skin. Days like today, after no no no not another night of that's not sleep it's something I do in my bed in my head I'm dreaming of sleeping no dreaming of sleeping would at least be sleeping instead I'm dreaming of trying to sleep no I'm sleeping now wait. Then it leads to these times when thoughts are difficult I mean it seems fine when I'm focused on something but as soon as I relax its over. I guess that means I'm over. I mean there was so much I wanted to say -- I even had a beginning, and an endpoint, and then a different beginning, and a different endpoint, but then I called Grant to see if he wanted to go to a show tomorrow, a Noel Coward play at this theater that sounds interesting and strange, and I could hardly even speak, I mean my words started but ended wrong and then I couldn't do much but laugh and that was fine, I like laughing. Until I got this shooting pain in my right arm, why my right arm -- what was I doing with my right arm? But still I had a beginning, and an endpoint, but now I can only remember the middle and that's no way to start.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

"You do much better if you're rich and guilty than if you're poor and innocent"

I particularly like the phrase "death in prison," from this interview on Uprising Radio about youth receiving sentences of life in prison without the possibility of parole -- for non-capital offenses, even. Sonali, the usually-stoic host, even mentioned that looking at pictures of these kids made her start crying, which made me start crying.

It looks like they're doing something in the lovely courtyard...

These noodles

Upstairs I'm feeling so calm -- a walk was such a good idea, a walk late at night it clears my head. Except then I'm kind of wired, wired at 3 a.m. isn't a good idea I mean it feels good but then I'm wired in bed and wired leads to worried, worried I'll just stay here all wired and then eventually I'll have to get up again.

But I do fall asleep -- the problem is when I wake up, that's always the problem, this time I'm worried maybe I didn't eat enough before bed, although before bed I always worry I'm eating too much. It's kind of like a high, the way it calms me and then immediately I lie down. It makes me feel disgusting, especially when I always wake up with stomach pains, but if I don't eat right before bed there isn't even a point in trying to go to sleep. I mean, if my sleep ever gets better and I'm relaxed then the next step is to try to go to bed without eating. But I'm nowhere near that next step, remember? I'm lying in bed writing a book proposal, wondering whether I should use neoliberalism because it's trendy all the lefty presses love that word or consumerism, which is more accurate, the first line will say something like Gay culture has become the ultimate nightmare of consumerism: desire becomes a product; a product becomes desire. Or, should it say Gay culture has become the ultimate nightmare of neoliberalism: desire becomes a product; a product becomes desire?

I know I'm using “become” too much, but I'll save that for later -- for now it's consumerism versus neoliberalism, see what happens when I get wired I just can't stop I'm writing an email to my editor at City Lights asking when I should expect my edits, I mean now I'm getting nervous since I know my deadline is April 25 and that's a month away I've been waiting since August. Then I'm brainstorming publicity ideas, would a book launch at midnight work, I mean the book is called So Many Ways to Sleep Badly. I'm not sure why I stopped writing that book, I mean I have so much more material.

So I give up, and get out of bed. At first the sun threatens to hurt my eyes, but then I close the blinds in the kitchen and it's still bright though more diffuse and I'm thinking about rice noodles, I guess I'll cook rice noodles. I haven't gotten up like this in a long time, usually I can just make myself stay in bed and then eventually I fall back asleep but today that's just not working. Maybe it's because I got in bed later, got in bed when I was kind of wired, got in bed after the walk that I thought was maybe answer but maybe it was only the answer if I want to get up in the middle of the night and make rice noodles.

I used to have to get up almost every night and eat toast, but I haven't done that on a regular basis in over a year so I feel like I've broken that habit and maybe I can just think of this as that once-in-a-long-while exception, a special event, a total fucking anomaly something you stare at and say wow. That's right -- and wow, I'm out of bed and it's the middle of the night, but I hate it when I glance at the clock on the computer screen: 10:55 a.m. -- that threatens my reality, I mean 10:55 a.m. doesn't sound like the middle of the night but oh it's so different the way I feel, the way I feel in this 10:55 a.m. fog, sinking as I'm eating these noodles, these noodles that are irritating my digestion I'm worried I'm going to have to shit before I get back in bed but actually I just sit on the toilet and it's cold. At least the noodles taste good.

Here I am in the new shower -- I love the new shower!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Three etched lines

Meanwhile, there's this infected cut on my middle finger, every night it heals and then I'm doing dishes and taking a shower and it gets infected again. Chris said to buy some gloves, which is probably a good idea, but I went to the store and they only had packages of 40 which just seemed like a waste, I mean they had thick rubber gloves in single sets but those always end up hurting my hands. The cut has almost healed now, see this is what happens every night -- now I'm thinking I don't need gloves, but what about tomorrow?

Really I need to go on a walk, but I keep looking online for sex, even though I don't want sex, that's just what ends up happening. In some ways it's better to look when I'm not in the mood, because then I can get off the computer quickly when it's not working, since it's usually not working. Or, at least I can get off the computer kind of quickly. It's so distracting, which is maybe what I'm looking for. No, I'm looking for a walk -- remember, a walk -- don't get distracted!

Okay, my new strategy actually works: taking a cab a short distance away and then walking back, remember? I know you don’t remember, because I've never really tried it. I mean, the best part about the Nob Hill Theatre is usually the walk back, and that's a short cab ride away, but then there's that hour of walking in circles in between so usually I end up over-exhausted instead of refreshed. Once I tried taking a cab to Lafayette Park, it was so beautiful walking up the hill to the top of the park with those towering palm trees underneath the moon and all that air, but then I hurt myself walking down, and really that's too far. Tonight I take a cab to Polk and Pine, the depressing part is that I only run into three people during my five blocks down Polk, I mean Polk Street used to be packed at any time of night, or maybe not packed but lively -- now it's only a few minutes after the bars closed, and there's no one around: one guy taking stock of his belongings; a woman with dyed black hair, chewing gum and walking fast she's probably tweaking; someone who offers me speed. That's all -- then I turn the corner on O'Farrell and there’s a cop convention, you know when they put their flashing lights on but it's only so they can park in the middle of the street.

I always think those three etched lines on the glass door of the new bar at O'Farrell and Larkin mean that the glass has been smashed, and then I get kind of excited, but then I remember: oh, three etched lines -- it's part of the design. Although I'm not sure what the design is, exactly.

It's actually busier down here than on Polk Street, someone's waiting outside my building and I wonder if it's is one of the speed dealer’s customers, I always like their excuses: I left my phone in the elevator. Or: I can't believe I'm eating this comedy mind if I come in? But no, it's a fag with a newsboy hat and something argyle who repeats my name Mitt-tilta with a slight question mark at the end, yes that's right Mitt’s my name and baseball’s my game. But wait -- there's a homerun waiting to happen in my apartment, oh well there's his roommate arriving to usher him in, she looks like she might be the one who subscribes to all the fashion magazines on one of the lower floors -- okay, have a good night!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

I'm working at it

I really don't understand sleep, I mean I really really don't understand it. Last night I was in bed for almost 14 hours, and most of that time I was actually sleeping not just thinking about every loose end until it’s just me in a bed of loose ends, if only scissors would help I've got lots of scissors.

But really, I'm lying there in bed, switching sides when my shoulder hurts too much and adjusting the eye mask so the sun doesn't come in, sure there’s that time when I'm wide awake way before I should be awake, but I'm not sure so I'm sitting there thinking about it. I mean I'm lying there, not sitting -- I'm in bed, lying there trying to figure out if I should get up. But I don't feel wired -- kind of relaxed, actually, until I realize I need to sleep more, and then I actually fall back asleep, this happens maybe five or six times until I guess it's time to wake up, no maybe I need to sleep more.

I look at the clock: oh, it's after 3 p.m. So I get up. And then I feel like how can I possibly get my head to work, what's in my head, the thing that usually works, I'm working at it.

Monday, March 24, 2008

I've been listening to the brilliant Invisible-5 Audio Project...

It's an audio tour of environmental justice struggles along Interstate 5 from San Francisco to LA, including a lot of historical information that highlights the structural issues that created, and continue to create, all the problems in the first place -- check it out!

Yes, I do like my food better after I photograph it...

I don't think I've ever had a bathtub so white. Or cream...

Familiar with the drill, even while trying to subvert it

At home, the fumes aren't so bad but I figure I should leave for as long as possible anyway, since I'll be inhaling whatever's left while I'm sleeping. It would be nice to sit in a steamroom is what I'm thinking, since it was so cold at the beach and now I have all my windows open to get rid of the poison so it's even colder in my apartment. I guess I still have a membership at 24 Hour Fitness -- even though I've probably been there 20 times in five years I can't bring myself to cancel it, I don't want to acknowledge that I can't exercise that way, I mean that it's not an option. But you're supposed to wear a bathing suit in that steamroom and that sounds like a rash just waiting to happen. Anyway, I couldn't really stay there until I'm ready to go to bed, that would be a little conspicuous. Eros has a steamroom but they close at midnight, that's why I never go there. Besides the fact that it's in the Castro. Of course there's Steamworks and that would keep me out way longer, but by the time I got there it would already be time to leave to catch the BART back before it closes.

So, guess what? I post an ad on craigslist -- anyone want to drive from SF to Steamworks? And, who knew -- I get six responses right away, including two people who actually call me. The first one says he'll be outside any minute in his silver Mercedes, and the second one is on his way too -- he doesn't want to go by himself, so I tell him he can come with me and silver Mercedes, or if that's not all right with Mercedes then I'll just go with him. Silver Mercedes calls from downstairs -- this is a rough neighborhood, I'm going to drive around the block. I go down there but he's nowhere to be found, but after a few minutes the other guy shows up so we go across the street to use the ATM and then when we come out there's a silver car waiting up the block, I say is that a Mercedes? Jason says I think so, that's his name and we walk down the block towards the silver car but it drives away, Jason starts to run for it but I say oh, don't worry. Then we wait a few minutes to see if it comes back around, but no sign of it.

We walk to Jason's car, he's cute with preppy hair in his face and shadows under his eyes, his car is a 1980s Volvo GL, which is kind of funny because I only think of people like my parents driving that car, I guess because that's what they drove in the ‘80s, the car I ended up driving when it was old, except that one was a DL, the standard model. GL was fancier, but I guess it's not fancy now because this guy already said: I don't have a fancy car. Because I was saying the other guy got nervous because he’s driving a fancy car. See how things circle around?

It takes us a while to get to the bridge because all the on-ramps are closed, we're talking about different public sex spaces I mean I'm asking him where he has fun but he hasn't gone to many, he grew up in Florida then went to school in Georgia and he just moved here a year ago. I guess that means he stayed in Georgia a while after school, or he went to school for a while, because I'm guessing we're about the same age. He says I was really sheltered but now that's all blown away. Then he tells me a story about hooking up with someone online, this 20-year-old who lived in a rundown Victorian in the Western Addition, in a tiny room underneath the stairwell, with wigs and makeup taking up most of the space. The guy got right to sucking Jason's dick on the floor, and then his phone rang and he said you've got to get over here, we're going to have some fun.

I say: he answered the phone while he was sucking your dick, isn't that kind of rude? But then another 20-year-old got over there and there was already someone else who was giggling most of the time, and then this blond 16-year-old with a huge dick arrived so Jason couldn't complain, but then this 60-year-old transvestite with no teeth walked in and said what the hell are you doing -- I let you stay in my room and you end up having a sex party? Then the guy started yelling at her -- you told me to have a sex party, you're just in a bad mood because you just woke up from a nap!

So Jason ducked out, just as I'm thinking what kind of fag in San Francisco uses the word transvestite? But what I say is: you left without saying goodbye? He says yeah, I know, but I believe in karma and when I walked out the door I realized I left my cellphone there so I went back in and the transvestite said you went out the wrong door. The guy was still arguing with her -- I think they might have been on drugs.

No kidding, I say -- sounds like tweaker drama, for sure. We arrive at Steamworks and we both get lockers because there are no rooms available, I don't know if I want a room anyway. Before we met, Jason he asked for pictures, and I sent some, but I also said we don't have to have sex, I'm just looking for a ride. I change into my towel and then I can't find him, I do the rounds through the rooms and over to the glory hole area, then back, and there he is in the hot tub. We already talked about the hot tub, I can't go near about hot tub because of all the chlorine, and we also agreed to stay till about one before driving back, he seems like a sweet person is a little nervous. I sit next to him, but not too close to the tub, he says it doesn't seem like there's much going on. I say it’s more crowded over in the back, have you gone over there? He hasn't been there yet, but he doesn't look too enthusiastic about it.

I say we could make out, he says I like hanging out with you and I think we could be friends. I say we could still make out, and be friends. He says I can't really have sex with friends -- it just feels separate, do you know what I mean?

I'm familiar with the drill, even while trying to subvert it. Mostly I'm just glad I got a ride. So then the highlight is when I'm sitting in the steamroom and this guy is jerking his dick by the entrance, lubing it up so it's too greasy to suck, but no way did he really just take out a bottle of poppers?

I rush out the door, this guy at the water fountain says you should have seen your face, you were like: I'm out of here! I'm laughing and he says you remind me of my best friend from Jersey, Bill.

It's funny how, when I take my clothes off, I can become interchangeable with people's best friends, I don't know if his name is Bill or that's the best friend's name. This guy says you have the exact same laugh. He seems sweet, but I'm not attracted to him. I walk around and around, around and around, around and around. The good news is that I go up to all three guys I'm hot for, but everyone’s so skittish. I mean, everyone's looking extra-close like they're trying to make sure that you’re 100% what they're looking for, I mean totally their ideal and not even a little bit variant. In other words, no one's having sex, except a little bit of glory hole action and I don't even know if that’s sex.

So then I get skittish too, and I start looking at everyone to make sure that I really think they're hot, or whatever, instead of just going with the feeling and then if you're not feeling it any more, you say thanks and move on, right? That's what's supposed to happen, but these guys might as well be on the internet.

Eventually I'm hugging this guy with a shaved head from behind while someone’s sucking his dick, or actually no one’s sucking it, it's just there in the hole. I say we have to find someone to suck your dick, so I lead him to another hole but then I guess he's bored by the guy who’s sucking so we go down into a booth and I'm worried I've already hurt my body too much so he ends up on his knees, I guess I'm leading him there. Someone's reaching in to grab my balls from beneath, which is kind of hot, but then this guy's knees hurt, he says: I have a room.

So we're on our way there, I see Jason in the hot tub still, I say have you had much fun? He says no, not really -- do you want to go? I say I think I'm going to go with this guy in that room, and I point in his direction, if that's okay. I'm conscious of some weird embarrassment like maybe that guy doesn't fit the standards of attraction I'm supposed to have. I think he's cute, what else matters? Jason says sure, I'll wait in the hot tub.

My favorite part about this guy is rubbing his head, the softness of the new hair I love rubbing rubbing rubbing it. When I say my legs hurt, even though he's sucking my dick not the other way around, he says why don't you lie down? So that's what I do, I can't decide whether I'm enjoying it but I do like the fact that I'm just lying back you know it's kind of relaxing not to get too excited until he shifts his angle and oh there, I pull away to come he says that was fun, thank you, and I stand up to hug him and kiss his neck.

Jason's waiting, I take a quick shower and then we're on our way out. I guess he didn't have sex with anyone, he was playing with someone but then he felt a bump on the guy's dick and he got paranoid so he went back in the hot tub because he figured all that chlorine would kill just about anything. He says: I guess most people have bumps on their dicks.

I'm trying to remember what sex is supposed to feel like.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Punk punk punk punk pussy

The beach, oh the beach -- I haven't been there in so long. Just seeing the ocean from the bus is enough to get me excited and when I arrive it's not as cold as I thought it would be, but then I remember I'm across the street and once I get to the other side it's a different story, especially once I walk down the stairs and into the sand blowing everywhere but oh all this light and air I keep walking. I forgot how flat the beach is over here, sand stretching on and on if I didn't have this bag I could twirl around or something except it's freezing I'm so glad I have this new scarf that I can wrap around the old scarf and then I feel warm, especially once I get closer to the ground on the sheet that I can't stop from blowing everywhere except once I put my bag on one corner, food on another, one shoe on each of the others but still there's sand everywhere. That's okay, I'm sitting in the 5 p.m. sunshine, smiling at the birds and even the dogs running so fast it's crazy I mean I don't want a dog but if I had a dog I’d have to bring it to the beach, look at how much they love it!

My face starts to hurt, which always happens when I'm in the cold near water, maybe something about the moisture but now I'm thinking it's something about how I hold my jaw or the way my scarves are too tight and my shoulders get all tense. The sand is more comfortable than I remembered, that's right you can shape it to support your body. My food gets all sandy but I'm eating it anyway, a little grittiness between my teeth.

The sun is so much different here with no buildings to block it, nothing but all that water straight ahead I mean I thought it would be setting but it's nowhere near the horizon yet. 6 p.m. already and it's too cold to stay but I climb up to the benches overlooking the beach and it's a little warmer, then I end up walking towards the windmills to see if I can find the cruising because she's too will I be near the windmills? Just when I think I've walked the wrong way there are too many people on this path it must be the other way, that's when I stumble upon a few guys standing just by a fence, hidden in a little wooded area between the soccer field and the road. They each have their own little clearing and I wonder about these spaces carved by generations of gay footprints. I also wonder if the generations are coming to an end, because these guys were probably here in the ‘70s or if they weren't then they could have been. No one's having sex, just standing or walking around, that's what people do in cruising areas these days. Maybe it gets busier after dark, but whenever I'm somewhere way after dark and there's no one around I think maybe it's busier earlier. Who knows -- there's a dusty clearing and I guess it's the garbage dump for the park, lots of elaborate graffiti on the dumpsters and then simple red letters from the homophobic set on top: PUNK PUNK PUNK PUNK. PUSSY.

I can't believe I'm walking this far with my bag, I'm already worried about pain tomorrow but now I have to get back to the bus which is the other way, oh here's a public bathroom, some guys playing something on the field -- two different somethings, I guess, because they're playing in different directions. Two fags standing right outside the bathroom, someone probably straight turns to look at me while he's pissing but I'm not really feeling it. I sit in front of the field and try not to watch, mostly people are watching me as they're leaving, I'm so glad I brought my new scarf with the purple and green stripes wrapping around each other and then it reverses on the other side and it looks great with plaid, that's for sure. Eventually I get back to the bus stop, the sun's going down and now it's almost as cold here as it was on the beach before, everyone's looking around like they can't believe how long the bus is taking. The problem with this stop is that you can see the bus idling right across the street because it's the end of the line, but that doesn't really tell you much about how long you're going to have to wait.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Days when everything feels toxic

Today my jaw hurts from eating wheat, it was after a reading and I even got to choose the restaurant, the only place to get anything edible in the Castro, except it was noodles and dumplings. It tasted fine, but today my whole face hurts, it's like I've been clenching all night but I'm not sure if the allergy makes me clench or if it just makes my face feel bruised. Meanwhile, my tongue feels like it has sores on it -- that's from eating garlic -- when I look at my tongue there's nothing to see but I can feel a raised portion every time it brushes against my teeth. The area from my neck to my chest over into shoulders down into back -- all of that feels torn, jutting out -- I don't know if that's from allergies or my jaw or sitting in uncomfortable chairs for too long, oh the dangers of sitting!

It's one of those days when everything feels toxic, and all I want to do is read, but I know that I can't read because it will hurt my body too much. I open a book anyway, the one I got last night, and the smell of newsprint surrounds me I have to push the book away.

It's times like these when I think the most about the preservation of my own self-image. Maybe it's redundant to say my own, but somehow it feels right. These little things that make me look in the mirror and think okay, something's fine, I'll be okay. Like when the sun makes my skin glow, but not when it frames dark circles under my eyes -- since the time changed the light became more shadowy, I mean since 3 p.m. is what 2 p.m. used to be and the sun at 2 p.m. is more shadowy. So I start obsessing about 5 p.m. sunshine, that's what softens my expressions, but usually that's when I'm taking a shower or trying to get out of the house, not sitting on the fire escape trying to absorb joy.

Lately I've become paranoid because my hair’s become brittle -- it's probably just because of all the hairspray I use, but I start thinking maybe I'm losing my hair I can't lose my hair it's what makes me feel sane. Of course I know it's just a surface, something to texturize that frames my face, but it's one element that helps me deal, someone will say did you just get electrocuted and then I know: my hair’s working. Because obnoxious people will always say obnoxious things, but they bounce off me except when I'm ready to fall down, I mean really ready. Like today on my eight-block walk, eight blocks felt like a lot but for some reason everyone wanted to harass me. I hadn't eaten enough, it was too early, it was hard to deal with everyone's snide laughter, a group of teenagers turning around and pointing.

Times when I arrive somewhere and someone says how are you doing? If I answer something other than achievement -- new books, new writing, new thoughts -- something about how I'm actually feeling, often that person will say well you look great. I'm so addicted to that.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Kind of bored but I'm committed

I don't know what's going on -- these days when I get ready to go out I get so frantic, like when I was shitting for hours before going dancing, or tonight when suddenly I'm freezing so freezing that I start shaking my teeth chattering. I guess I've actually succeeded at hooking up online, and it couldn't be more convenient -- a block away and he wants to know if I'm Australian or Scottish maybe it's my look with plaids and corduroys, French cuffs and a wool cardigan. Good, he says, because Australians are stupid.

I don't know if I was right when I said sex in a bed might hurt less than sex standing or kneeling or leaning against a wall, I mean cocksucking is still cocksucking, right? And it still hurts my neck. At least I can relax when I'm tired, I mean there's more space, leaning into this guy's chest I like that. It's different, though, more like work I mean I'm kind of bored but I'm committed, here in his bed that's okay just different -- at a sex club I might hug him and walk away, here I’m focused on his hand jerking his dick but also I like the way I get him to rub my belly he’s pulling on the hairs that's right hands under my balls yes, and when he's ready to come I'm actually relaxed but I get there he says do you want to eat it, of course, as soon as I taste his come I'm shooting just like that it's hilarious.

He's a Tibetan Buddhist, he was studying to be a monk but then he realized I'm 24 I've been doing this since I'm 21 and I don't want to take a vow of celibacy at this point in my life. Now he's 27, his room is very spare, even the altar. I ask him what he thinks of the protests in Tibet and he says monks should never be political, which kind of surprises me because protesters are getting murdered by the Chinese government while the world is celebrating the Beijing Olympics and here this guy is saying monks should never be political.

There's something that feels more hollow about sex online, more hollow than the charge of the public. I guess it lacks the immediacy, feels more like performance. At home I listen to a report where the Dalai Llama says he'll step down if the violence continues -- but he says nothing to distinguish property destruction by the demonstrators from murder by the Chinese government. Says he wouldn't support a boycott of the Olympics, even though it has already displaced hundreds of thousands of people in Beijing alone. Sometimes the ideology of nonviolence seems so violent.

The best place I could find to sit in the sun (they can't take away the fire hydrants, can they?)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Jerking off ONLY

Okay, there's this guy on craigslist who posts about how he wants to meet someone to jerk off, jerk off ONLY, ONLY JERKING OFF, so I guess we kind of get the point about what he wants to do but this is my favorite part, tucked at the end of the post like it's just a standard detail: HIV-negative only.

And it is a standard detail, unfortunately. I always find this type of prejudice monstrous, but coupled with a behavior at no risk for transmission of HIV (unless the guy comes into a syringe and the other guy accidentally shoots it into his jugular, I guess, or he aims his come shot for an open wound -- on your marks, get set, go!), I can't help but find it even more preposterous. I guess it still startles me to see the way fear of contagion can warp people’s minds in such a dramatic way that they declare it to the world as logic.

News, darling -- here's some news...

Nobody Passes is a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award, in the transgender category -- yay!

There's a great interview with me in the current issue of the Radical History Review -- I'm not sure where you can find the journal other than in an academic library, but if you find yourself in one of those, do check it out...

Monday, March 17, 2008

Made in Secret: the story of the East Van Porn Collective, and me

Remember, the first time I did porn I was 19 and I needed the money, it was awful and traumatizing really because they didn't tell me what they were going to do ahead of time, just: will you bottom? Then spray-painted my shirt, pulled my hair and dragged me through gravel, I wasn't ready. I remember standing outside in the sun afterwards, that familiar feeling of oh what just happened, holding my head up and brushing everything aside I didn't yet know why this was familiar.

The second time was maybe a year later and it was worse because I was dealing with incest flashbacks so I told my boyfriend at the time, my first boyfriend, that I couldn't have sex for a while but he called me from a porn shoot because the other actor showed up obliterated on drugs so they had to send them home, did I want to take that guy’s place? $250.

So there I was, my boyfriend fucking me on camera I was never very good at getting fucked I got too scared but there I was. Afterwards I couldn't come, which was required, and my boyfriend actually got frustrated and didn't hold me afterwards. I didn't know what to say, or how to say it -- I felt like he'd raped me. I mean I knew I'd consented, but the money felt like coercion his anger about something so unimportant made me feel so small.

Then, after I was a whore for five or six years I decided to try doing a video again -- this time it would be hot, I convinced myself. $250 was an hour’s work to me at that time not the whole day that a porn shoot took, especially not the one where the director assured me that I could pick the guys everyone would be hot he showed me some pictures. The guys in the movie with me were definitely not in those pictures. This time I told the director that I didn't get fucked but then I arrived and, sure enough, they'd planned the scene with me getting fucked. Luckily they handed me Viagra and the other guys had probably already been taking it for a while so it didn't do much for them, I ended up fucking both of them on a gym bench but it wasn't hot.

A few years after that, by this time maybe eight years into my career as a hooker and it felt interminable. My friend Chris and I decided we would make porn because we didn't want to be hookers forever we already felt trapped but once you've turned tricks for years it's hard to imagine getting a job that pays $10 an hour, you sit there all day and you hate it and you get nothing. So we planned it all out -- we were going to make unscripted orgy scenes on the beach and group scenes in public bathrooms, and we decided we wouldn't pay anyone less than $500 even though the going rate for things like that was maybe $100 or $200 we wanted to be fair. But then we thought through the financial situation and realized that, in order to pay what we thought was ethical and make the movies we thought would be interesting and hot, we’d have to spend more money than we thought we could make. So we decided not to make porn.

The hustler-to-porn-director trajectory is pretty familiar at this point, and generally it’s a tragic tale where the hustler takes on the values of the trick -- exploit exploit exploit, what a nightmare! So I'm glad Chris and I didn't make porn.

In Made in Secret: The Story of the East Van Porn Collective, one of the collective members says, "Porn is a word that makes people stop thinking -- we're trying to be the opposite." Which is kind of beautiful, and so is this documentary, which follows a collective of white, twenty-to-thirty-something dreamers in East Vancouver, British Columbia with screen names like Professor University, nerdGirl, Mr. Pants and Monster who are set on making movies where they cast themselves in their own sexual fantasies. Like BikeSexual, a polysexual romp about -- yes -- sex and bikes. With a catch: they agree that the movies are only for themselves; no one else can see them.

It's an intoxicating twist on the idea of process-oriented art, which usually dwells in the high art realm or the purely conceptual: still satisfying artistically, but lacking in political vision except for the potential that the product becomes decentered or unimportant. With the East Van Porn Collective, a name under contention by at least one of its members (the one who I quote above), not only do the videos remain private, but they are hardly the point of this whole engagement that involves participants meeting at least once a week for several years. Certainly, everyone seems excited about making movies, and making them with somewhat fancy equipment like a boom mike, but they are far more excited about their collective process. This becomes especially apparent in the final scene of the movie, which depicts a 10-hour emergency meeting of the collective, called to decide whether to show BikeSexual at a private film festival of like-minded DIY pornographers in Portland, Oregon -- while all movies will be burned at the end of this festival, celebrating a similar ethic of privacy/exclusivity to that of the East Van Porn Collective, this would still be the first public foray for one of the collective’s movies.

And, yes, I did just say 10-hour meeting. As someone who's been involved in a number of direct action activist groups working with a consensus process similar to that of the East Van Porn Collective, I've certainly participated in my share of indeterminable meetings. But 10 hours? I hope I'm accurate when I say: never, please never!

The meeting is called when one member of the collective doesn't want the movie screened, and I couldn't help cringing when various other members try to pressure her into consent, first by saying she wasn't even in this movie, so shouldn't she sit out the decision? Then, by saying well, am I correct in assuming that everyone else is in favor of showing the movie at the film festival? This exposé of power dynamics within consensus process is the core of the movie, and I can't say that I've seen this portrayed so clearly, honestly and intimately before. In the end, the collective decides not to show BikeSexual because they don't have consensus (remember, everyone has to agree!), and instead they decide to show the movie someone is making about their process (oh, that's the movie we're watching!). And that's where the politics come together so explosively with the process, which isn't only the process of making art but the process of their relationships and their political, emotional, cultural and sexual engagement with the world.

I'll admit that I don't entirely relate to this cast of eloquent and excited yet surprisingly awkward and shy characters. Their expressed faith in DIY cultures is stunning when juxtaposed against the awful hierarchies, scenesterism, and exclusivity so rampant in many of these cultures. Some of the collective members are so intent on making a movie that is “sexy,” as if this is some sort of absolute. In one scene, a guy who claims he has never kissed anyone he wasn't in love with (so far only women) gets all nervous about making out with another guy, who has also never kissed a guy. In another context I might think oh no, the lefty bi-curious set, please -- but then they kiss and it's so cute and sweet and yes, sexy.

So I find myself inspired. Inspired because here is a group of people so excited about the potential of their own sexualities and the possibilities of a collective process of desire. I start to wonder what my own collective would look like, maybe not a porn collective but a collective of people (maybe fags, I don't know) trying to regain a sense of liberation and excitement in our own sexual lives. This personal project I've been working on, but so far it's remained individual (of course, I'm also editing an anthology!) -- but what would this personal project about my own desires look like with a group of like-minded faggots (or whomever) committed to a collective process?

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Too much

Dancing doesn't destroy my life this time, I mean the next day my shoulders are burning and I'm completely exhausted, but my sinuses stay stable and the pain goes away. The main problem is that my sleep gets so much worse, worse I guess because I'm up too late on the night I go dancing body relaxed but mind pulsating and then once that happens my sleep doesn't get better. But anything can do that.

Today is the dentist, remember the dentist is what set off my pain last time, made it worse than it's been in years. First it was giving feedback on two manuscripts, then editing my own, then the dentist, getting my face fucked really hard in Lafayette Park which didn't hurt at the time it felt good but then there’s after, carrying a box -- the ingredients to a nightmare. So I'm worried about the dentist, luckily I tell him beforehand that last time I ended up in a lot of pain, so then I get up and walk around and do feldenkrais movements every 10 minutes or so I think that helps. When I leave I actually feel calm, over to get some groceries, I'm almost out of grains but it always seems like I'm carrying so much less when it's rolling around in a cart and then I get outside and what the hell this bag is ridiculously heavy. So then I hurt my body, I mean probably it's already hurt but now it's definitely hurt, first my hand but that goes away actually. Then shoulders, I jump in a hot shower to try to calm things, and after I eat I can't help dancing a little, dancing because my brain doesn't work I'm exhausted from another night of terrible sleep and I don't know I just need to escape for a few minutes.

It’s the new song that's driving me crazy, it's the even bass almost like a clap or suspense in a movie but more regular then a whistle on top, yes a whistle and then just one word: unh. Unh. That's it. Like you're feeling it, the whistle over bass, and then hands on hips turn head to the side, unh.

Dancing actually doesn't hurt, that's what I'm thinking I mean it doesn't hurt more than I already hurt. It's so exhausting trying to keep track of everything, so hard not to get upset at myself for doing something simple like getting groceries -- what the hell were you thinking, why did you get so much? Why did you get so much when you were actually feeling okay, maybe things would be okay if you didn't get so much? That's what's going on inside my brain.

Actually I always get too much, because I'm thinking when will I be back? Groceries run out so fast, and then I have to fuck up my body again. These days I get produce delivered, probably I need to figure out how to get the rest delivered also, although I'll admit that I like those random social moments in public -- sometimes groceries facilitate that. Like, the other day when I was standing in line at Real Foods or no I wasn't standing in line I was talking to that boy who I asked out on a date, the one who’s only dating bio-boys who identify as bio-boys, remember he actually said that -- I mean on myspace, since that's the only way he gave me to get in touch. Anyway I'm chatting with him because for some reason I'm friendly to people who are shady to me and maybe he didn't even mean to be shady I don't know -- he's applying for a job at a bank, and the woman who's next in line wants two receipts for $4.26 each, she's traveling with a friend and she's sick of paying for everything -- that makes sense, right? I say of course it makes sense, who wants to pay for everything? She's getting bread and cheese, she looks outside to her SUV, I'm getting wired I say can I get a ride? Just a few blocks away. She says as long as you don't mind dogs.

So then the boy at the register hands me a flyer for his show and I'm rushing out to the SUV, a second blond woman in the driver's seat and sure there's a big dog in back, but no one mentioned the driver would start smoking as soon as the car pulls away. I open both windows, and hope for the best -- these two are going to veterinary school in Southern California, the one from Real Foods says: we’re living in lovely Pomona, but we’re from Northern California. I say what's Pomona like? The driver says oh, it's ghetto -- we live in Marina del Rey, which is a little nicer. Or something like that. A concentrated social engagement and then it's over, not long enough to get me exhausted except when I get too much to carry or someone’s smoking. I mean I'm exhausted. And I just said that I always get too much.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Washing away everything that's sinking me

Oh, no -- one of those days when I wake up thinking finally now I could sleep. Except it's 3 p.m., flushing the toilet I miss the sound of the water when it keeps running, it did that for a year and a half and I'm just not used to my apartment without that sound, can you flick the handle a few times so that stops?

Or, just dealing with it. But now it's fixed, and I feel lonelier.

I'm thinking about those times when someone comes over the house and I smell something in their hair and my whole day changes, my mood sinks and suddenly I'm suffocating just because of hair products or not suffocating but claustrophobic, trying not to breathe as much. Actually, it's only happened with Gina, but it's happened several times I guess it's happened enough that, on days like this when I miss the sound of the toilet running running running I think of hair products.

Usually it happens outside my apartment, like I get in the elevator and oh no, perfume! Or outside: cigarettes, pot smoke, more perfume, pollution. But outside I can scan ahead for the hazards and turn left, right, dodge.

It's amazing how much hot shower can do, washing away everything that's sinking me, water against water, bounce. Lately there hasn't been enough hot water, as soon as it gets hot I'm wondering if it will slow to a trickle a cold trickle I'm left freezing. But today it stays hot, slows only for a few moments but mostly it's a powerful flow washing over me pounding into my shoulders. I just wish the shower head were a bit higher so that it would relax my neck, I wouldn’t need to kneel in the tub to feel the water over my head. But I'll take what I can get, today I've got a hot shower.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Unfortunately sometimes this is as exciting as it gets at the Nob Hill Theatre...



Layers of exhaustion

Thinking about my trip to LA and all the layers of exhaustion, starting with the complete and utter overwhelm due to traveling there: broken body, pain everywhere, sinuses sealed, hypersensitivity, exhaustion. Then, more pain from lacking my day-to-day comforts: different bed, different pillows, not enough air in the room, different pots and cooking utensils, carrying water from the bathroom all the way down the hall because that's where the water filter was, different chairs to sit on. Then, more exhaustion because I can't sleep. Then, environmental hypersensitivity because of the pollution, because my sinuses are aggravated, because my sleep is disturbed, because of cat hairs covering the bed and into my nose. More pain from sitting in cars to get to places, when sitting in a car is what brought the pain to such an extreme in the first place. More pain from sitting in restaurants, sitting, walking, trying not to do too much, doing too much, trying not to do too much.

On top of all this, there's the overwhelm of trying to engage with my sister in an open, intimate, revealing and vulnerable way, while she remains emotionally disengaged. The ways in which we connect and laugh together and I can recognize her intonation in my voice when we're talking a certain way and sometimes I can see similarities of comprehension, but then she'll say: I would never do anything just because it would be helpful to you. And I listen to this, listen to this like it isn't preposterous. I listen, that's what I do. So then there's the exhaustion of not responding, holding emotion, holding.

Mostly, I say what I mean and then I let her respond. But there's the exhaustion of not getting the responses I want. Not getting any of the responses I want. She says: I would never do anything just because it would be helpful to you. I guess I don't say: then what is the point of our relationship? Because I already know, I already know that still I love her like I'm a little kid and still I want to protect her even when that means silencing myself, I mean sometimes when I engage on her terms and I don't allow my own expression, exclamation, except when I'm sobbing, sobbing is my favorite part I mean it leaves me drained but also renewed because I'm able to be vulnerable. Sometimes I don't know why, except that it's the only thing that helps me not to feel suffocated. Except when I feel suffocated.

I can't help thinking that still Lauren has this allegiance to my father, and allegiance to his decision never to acknowledge the abuse. I mean, 11 years since I confronted him, then another year when she knew he was dying and still she couldn't ask, couldn't ask a thing. Can't even support me when I ask my mother for something so small, something that wouldn't change her life on any level at all and still Lauren says: I'm worried Mom won't have enough. Won't have enough. Enough.

Lauren says: it's her money. Which is gross. Gross because it accepts my father's legitimacy, his control over money controlling everyone even after his death. Gross because it accepts my mother's legitimacy, her control over what's controlling her she has no control even when she's controlling, that's what she'd like you to think. Gross because it acts as if this money is unencumbered by all the violence they've enacted against us. Gross because it fails to acknowledge that it's their violence that’s left me in this place where it's difficult for me even to function -- the least my mother could do is to remove the financial part of the struggle. Gross because Lauren would rather leave me vulnerable than tell my mother: of course you should create that account. Of course. Gross because Lauren doesn't even believe that. Gross because yes, so many times I've done things just because they would be helpful to Lauren, maybe even now while I'm talking to her, allowing her to say draining and preposterous things to me because I want her to be able to speak.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Sex with gay people, or not quite

Okay, so I've decided that it would be great if I had five or ten people that I had sex with regularly, people who I could call when I was horny and say: what are you up to? Actually, something bolder, like do you want to have sex? Or, do you want to make out? Depending on the mood. But instead of five or ten people to call, at the moment I have the big 000, which feels like so many fewer than one.

I actually have a moment when it's still kind of early and I'm ready to have sex -- that's pretty unusual, usually I want to finish various tasks, creative or mechanical or even conceptual, and then it's late by the time I'm ready. But it's only 8 p.m., so I decide to call a few people, just in case I do actually have a sexual network.

First I call Robbie -- he's the guy I had sex with maybe three years ago, we met at the Nob Hill Theatre and he liked my pants, the pink patchwork plaid pants -- what a tongue twister, who knew? Robbie complimented me on them right away, he didn't have to say all that, just: I like your pants! He was wearing a white t-shirt with black dress slacks, and carrying a flashy embroidered vest, folded over so you only saw the smooth black backside. Anyway, after our time in a booth we ended up walking uphill to his apartment for more and that was fun, we even got together another time and he showed me the labyrinth at Grace Cathedral. I was expecting some kind of shrubbery hiding the path of the minotaur, but actually it was a meditative maze in stone, kind of fun.

He was in finance, that's what he said and I didn't ask him more questions. I did notice he had a large two bedroom on Nob Hill all to himself, he was going to meet his parents in Malibu, and he told me he met one of his neighbors when they realized they were wearing the same Prada shoes. Our time in the labyrinth he was wearing a very trendy leather jacket that was probably Gucci, like his shoes -- did he really say that he wore the Prada shoes for laundry, no maybe that was what he said about the neighbor who he met.

Robbie smiled a lot at things I said, but he didn't have much to add and that was okay when we were making out, maybe a little empty before and after. Actually, after the second time I ended up feeling really really sad, then we didn't talk for a while but he came to one of my readings without me even telling him about it! I liked rubbing his head and giving him a hug, but that was two years ago and we’ve talked a few times since then -- sometimes he invites me to meet him at a bar even though I told him I hate bars or he calls me, late, when he's drunk, or I call him late, when I'm not drunk, and a month or two ago we ran into each other on Polk Street -- that time he was dressed kind of like a jock, sports casual, and he said hey buddy, which confused me but I liked hugging him anyway. His big eyes got all excited. Anyway, tonight I call Robbie and I say do you want to make out? But I'm talking to his voicemail. The last few times he hasn't called me back, so I'm not necessarily expecting anything.

Number two is the guy who I met on craigslist, the one who's on the way to a bar every time I call him. I've already called him four times, but why not try five -- I mean really, am I worried what he's going to think of me? Maybe, but I get over that and when he answers he actually sounds excited, starts telling me about going to Fort Lauderdale where he was drunk the whole time and it was so much fun, he tried things that he'd never done before -- pissing in someone's mouth, drinking piss, getting tied up, it was so much fun! I say what are you up to tonight? Watching American Idol.

I guess my voice changes a little bit like he said something funny, because I don't know how else to react when someone says they're watching American Idol, or anything on TV really. So then I try to think of something to say, so he doesn't think I'm being shady, but I don't know anything about American Idol except that I guess Paula Abdul is one of the judges and she's messy, and I know that Kelly Clarkson was a contestant on the first one and she struggled with issues about her weight or eating or something like that because Julia wrote about it in a writing workshop I took once. Oh, maybe Clay Aiken has something to do with it, although I don't know who Clay Aiken is -- maybe he's gay, or he got outed, or he's a British pop star -- something like that. So I just say oh, and try to sound more enthusiastic this time -- what are you doing afterwards?

He says he's going to the Cinch for a few beers, then he adds: a bar on Polk Street -- I guess in case I don't know where the Cinch is. I say I could bring a few beers over your house and we could have sex. He says that would be fun, but I'm getting over a cold. Oh, I say -- well then we shouldn't get together tonight, but why are you going out for drinks when you're getting over a cold -- you should stay home and rest. He says I know, maybe I'll just crash out, but I haven't had a drink since Friday.

It's Tuesday. He says we should get together Friday night and into Saturday morning -- I say definitely. But we don't make plans, and he probably won't call me, since he hasn't called me yet.

Number three is the guy who was flirting with me online but he wanted someone three times a week in Berkeley, except then he kept flirting until I said my wrists are hurting too much, why don't you call me? Of course he didn't call, but when I got back from Blow Buddies I realized he sent me a text-to-landline message, I only knew that was something that existed in the world because the guy in finance actually sent me one, a computerized voice saying: hey, hottie! This time it just sounds like Whomp whoohp whomp. I listen again: Whoomp whooh whommh. Finally I realize it says: are your wrists okay?

So I call him, it's been a few days and he answers, I say I'm just calling to let you know that my wrists are doing better, I mean they hurt the next day but now I'm feeling okay again. Who is this, he says. The guy you were flirting with online, you left me a text-to-landline message asking whether my wrists hurt, so I just thought I'd call and let you know. He's doing that thing that gay people do, where they act like you're completely preposterous and you’re supposed to apologize or outdo them with snottiness and then you can go back and forth, but instead I just get friendlier and friendlier, asking if he ended up meeting someone, whether it was hot, what the guy looked like, until he's just getting more and more standoffish so I say okay, hope you have a lot of fun!

I could probably have a seriously successful show on Comedy Central -- Sex with Gay People, like Strangers with Candy, without the candy. Or Sex in the City, without the sex. Not that I know anything about those shows, I'm just playing with words. Some gay people would get it, and they would be scandalized -- they would turn it off quickly, but you know what happens when you turn something off quickly -- you turn it back on. Straight people wouldn’t get it, but they would love it: look at that flamer, talking about gay people!

But seriously, a large percentage of the people who I theoretically could have sex with are gay people. Unfortunately we don't have that much in common, aside from sex I mean desire. I mean longing. I know I'm speaking in generalizations, and generalizations are lies, but so often when I try to interact with gay people I'm struck by the dramatic gulf between our worlds. The ways we construct our dreams our politics our desires our imaginations our hopes and horrors our ways of looking in the mirror and looking out, yes looking out we're not looking at the same world. Usually this is okay, I mean it's part of how I've created my engagement it's part of how I survive. But in the world of touch and touching, I'll admit that I haven't figured out where else to go for bridges.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

New day, new food

The gap between us

Back to LA, remember I'm at my sister's apartment and outside it smells like fabric softener, inside it's too hot we’re getting ready to go to dinner except I'm not sure if I can deal with the restaurant because last time it made my body hurt too much I'm not even sure I can deal with going outside into all that fabric softener but I can't stay here with the heat, either. I get my bag ready, and my sister asks do you need all this, kind of like a parent I guess and I just start sobbing it's one of those moments where I can picture Julianne Moore in Safe again, the tiniest irritant in the world is suddenly too much.

That's just a snapshot of how I'm feeling, how I'm feeling until I'm sobbing. The first conversation we have is about my mother, I mean the first conversation we have that goes deeper than the immediate. Deeper but distant, I mean Lauren's literally 20 feet away in the living room, sitting on the sofa with her laptop, watching the election results on TV with her boyfriend on the other sofa, she turns to face me. I'm in the dining room, eating one of my first meals of the day, I like this new glass table they have -- before I guess they always ate on the sofa, which is too soft for me I mean it's one of those sofas that surrounds you. Anyway, we end up talking about our mother, how she doesn't have a sense of self she can’t acknowledge any of her manipulative patterns has she gotten worse?

It's one of those conversations that could intimate and affirming, but Lauren wants to argue about everything, kind of like my father is what I'm thinking -- you have to justify every element of your own emotional reality, it's all about logic. Sure, Lauren and I don't necessarily agree about the specifics. I put a lot more blame on my father, even though I recognize that after a certain time my mother consented to live in a misogynist relationship I still recognize the reality of her living under him. Lauren doesn't think much about my father's effect on my mother's selfhood. She also appreciates her relationship with my mother, even if she wants to tell her to shut up and deal. I say do you ever tell her that? Lauren says I can't tell her what to do.

I say well I'm not asking you to tell her what to do, but I've been having this conversation with her for 15 years, and it would be helpful if someone else were telling her to deal with her shit. Lauren says I would never do anything just because it would be helpful to you. I say well, you were talking about how annoying it is to listen to her, I thought maybe it would be helpful to tell her why, so that's about your relationship with her, not mine. But yes, it would be helpful for me if there were someone else holding her accountable -- I know you don't look at things that way, but that's the way I do. Lauren says I don't want any involvement in your relationship with Mom, I want our relationships to be independent.

And then she says it again: I would never do anything just because it would be helpful to you. She says this at least five times over the week that I'm with her, and there's a way in which it sounds logical, like she wants to be true to herself. But what is the point of a relationship if you never do anything just because it would be helpful to the other person, the person you love? It's this gap that sits between us, larger than the space between my chair and her sofa, the way she looks down at her laptop from time to time, she's looking for a new moisturizer.

This conversation happens before the day we've set to spend alone together, while I'm waiting for Jessica to pick me up. Lauren likes to have the harder conversations when there's a deadline, when she knows it'll be interrupted if it gets too deep. It’s hard not to match her form of engagement, the distance she keeps from emotional intervention -- it's the way we learned to deal. Every technique that no longer serves me, I mean when I'm trying to stay emotionally present. I know the logic, I know the logic of the illogical, thought over feeling. Maybe this is why I cry about the fabric softener too, my sister’s gesture: are you sure you need this?

I need this, and so much more. This is after the first conversation, maybe the next day we go to dinner but I can't say much because we're at dinner. Because I'm too worn out. Because there's too much to say, at dinner, in this restaurant where I'm trying not to hurt too much.

The crying helps, the crying before this restaurant. The food helps too, this is the only restaurant I know about on the West Coast where I can go five times in a row and not get sick. But by the time we get home, Lauren's too tired to talk much more, except to say: I would never do anything just because it would be helpful to you. I'll admit she says it slightly differently each time, it doesn't feel as repetitive until afterwards, afterwards when I'm thinking through everything, wondering about what's next.

When I'm talking to Lauren about how she would scream help, help when we were kids, help in her pink room, help meant my mother would soothe her back to sleep, help she doesn't remember screaming. About the dynamic of our relationship and the way our parents were jealous of any secrets, the way they plotted to make sure no trust was held. The way desire for me meant being thrown into a vat of shit, how I wanted something I could express. How I wanted to be my sister, and wear tights with cutoff shorts. How I struggled so hard to keep every secret, every secret she would tell, the way I wanted to scream help. But I was trying to be perfect, I wanted things to be perfect, that's how I was able to deal and Lauren chose the reverse: to scream and yell and tell every secret. How, on some level I still believe that I deserve to die because I hated her.

That's about as far as I get, through my tears so many tears and this time Lauren is sitting across from me at the glass table it's a small table she's close but far. At the beginning, she says: I don't know what to say. I say you don't have to say anything, I mean you can say anything you want, but all I want is for you to listen. At some point, Lauren interrupts what I'm saying about how our parents couldn't deal with us being close, they wanted to make sure that we didn't build the trust I wanted so desperately, at some point when I'm talking about the dynamic where Lauren told every secret, tried to use it all against me and how I don't blame her, I blame our parents, at some point Lauren says I don't remember that, but it sounds right. Which is strange, because she's the one who reminded me of that whole pattern, maybe two years ago she said I'm sorry I was such a terrible sister. And that's the first time I said I don't blame you, I blame them. Maybe not the first time.

Lauren also interrupts when I say something about jerking off, she says I don't think I want to hear this I’m your sister. But actually I'm not talking about jerking off I'm talking about desire and shame and wanting to die, and Lauren says oh. Oh, meaning this isn't what I thought you were going to say so it's okay. But then, when I'm talking about how I knew I was evil so I had to act perfect I didn't want anyone to realize I deserved to die, I looked at other kids and couldn't understand them -- Lauren says this is too much, I think this is too much for me to deal with I'm not good at expressing that boundary.

I say I wonder if it's too much to deal with because you're not feeling it, I mean you're not emoting -- I'm sobbing, and you're sitting still. Lauren says you're right.

But I guess that doesn't change anything, I mean it doesn't change the fact that it's too much for her to deal with. I say one of the reasons that I feel a sort of urgency around telling you all of these things -- Lauren interrupts to say I noticed that urgency. I smile -- it's something a therapist would say -- not like the emotional distance arguments we were having earlier, or maybe this same technique but more affirming. Did I mention Lauren's in a psychotherapy training program, to become a better therapist? Hopefully not a therapist like our father, the psychotherapist, but Lauren says there are other ways to do therapy, I don't think the method is the problem it's the practitioner. But that's a different conversation.

Anyway, I say, one of the reasons I feel this sort of urgency is that, when I was here last year and we were talking about Dad and my feeling that you were basically trying to protect him against me, instead of to support me in expressing anything I wanted to say, which is obviously what I would have done for you. And you said: you're right, I was there for him, he was in a vulnerable situation and I did feel protective. And I wrote about this on my blog, I can't remember exactly what it was but you said that it was hard to read about something that I hadn't told you first. And I thought about that, and decided that made sense, so then I was thinking about all these things about our childhood, but I didn't want to talk about it over the phone because that wouldn't feel as intimate, would you rather talk about it over the phone?

No. So I was waiting to say all these things, because it's what I want to write about, and I've been waiting a while. Lauren says: I guess I'd rather read about it first. Which is funny, because it's exactly the reverse of what she said earlier, and she doesn't really acknowledge that she's changed positions. But I guess that makes it easier for me, anyway. It's hard enough to write about all of this, but then when I worry about what Lauren's thinking that makes it harder. I mean I'll worry anyway, but at least now I don't have to worry that I haven't kept a promise.

I'm glad I got to say that on some level I feel like I still deserve to die, because I hated my sister. That was the most important thing. I say well, I said most of what I needed to say, the other thing isn't about childhood but about when I told you I'd asked Mom to create an account for me that would pay my basic expenses, and I guess it surprised me that you weren't supportive. I mean, I've always supported you in taking whatever you can get, I've always said they have the money, they supposedly made the money so that they could support you, so take that support if you want it. And, until the last few years, I structured my whole life so that I never needed to depend on them for anything. I mean, part of the reason I was a whore was so that I could make a living completely outside of everything they had ever imagined. And so, now, when I'm asking for money because it's something Mom could do that would actually make a big difference in my life, and it wouldn't change anything about hers.

Lauren interrupts to say that's not the way I look at it. I say she has 4 1/2 million dollars, and that doesn't even include the condo she lives in. Lauren says 4 1/2 million dollars? I say yeah, you got the financial statement too, right? Lauren says I worry that she won't have enough, but also I don't want to have any part in her finances -- it's her money to do whatever she wants with.

I'm doing this strange thing where I'm trying to give my sister space, even if she's not allowing mine. I say oh, I can understand why you wouldn't want to have any part in her finances, when that was how Dad controlled everyone. Lauren says I mean she pays for therapy, but I wish I could afford it without her -- if she offers me money, I'm going to take it. I say that's why I felt like you are imposing on me when I mentioned that I’d asked her to create that account -- you've always depended on them for money, and you feel guilty about it. But that doesn't have anything to do with me, and I guess I felt kind of shocked that you projected that onto me.

Lauren says of course I think that if you need money, then you should have it. I just don't want any role in it, I want my relationship with Mom to be separate from yours. And I don't even know what I think about your idea -- I mean I’d have to think about it more. But then she says something about disability, which is exactly what my mother says, which makes me think that she must have talked about it with her. But at least she said she didn't want to have any part in her mother's finances, at least that means I don't have to worry that everything isn’t out in the open. I mean I’ve put it out in the open -- I've even said that if she wants the same account, I think that my mother could easily do it and nothing would change about her life. But still I worry, I want to make sure that I'm not playing games, the games they want me to play, they meaning my father and mother, my father who's dead but still this is his legacy.