Monday, September 30, 2013

"Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore's masterful new memoir tracks a radical activist's education in a changing city".

Just in time for my Chicago event at Women and Children First at 7:30 pm on October 7, a delightful review in the Chicago Reader!!!

In the annals of queer memoirs, some conventions have become cliches: Being Misunderstood, Coming Out, the First Relationship, Running Away. Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore's new memoir, The End of San Francisco, reworks all of these into a text where memory is inherently unstable, and where such experiences achieve a freshness while remaining uncompromisingly queer. It's a text that both remembers and reminds but is also a record of a historical and cultural forgetting.

Hallmarks

When you tell someone you like their store, and they say: it’s eclectic! That’s how you know it’s not their store. It’s so windy in Havre, Montana, that I can hear it blowing through the vents of the hotel where I’m staying. Even though the room I’m in has no exterior windows. It faces the indoor pool in the hotel lobby, but luckily the smell of the chlorine doesn’t enter.
Outside, I keep losing my hat. No, don’t say losing, because I need. What I mean is that this hat keeps blowing off, and then I rush to pick it up, brush off the dust. It’s very dusty here; everything is dry right now, and I recognize on of the hallmarks of the West from Santa Fe: gas guzzling trucks spewing toxic fumes that blow quickly away. Almost quickly enough.
It doesn’t seem like there’s been much development in downtown Havre in the last 50 years, so there are lots of gorgeous old buildings. I actually really enjoy my walks, once I figure out how to get across the thoroughfare that’s the only major street in the part of town where staying. Then I get back, and I’m wrecked, everything hurts, I meant to buy Epsom salts, but then I worried they would dry out my skin.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

To feel this way about something called community

The day before I left Seattle and everything was pouring – no, actually, the day I left Seattle, and it was pouring, and Broadway was closed off, police blocking everything, but who were these people in pink shirts? I went up to one to ask what was going on – is the AIDS Walk, she said, and she sounded so proud. I wondered what it would be like to feel this way about something called community. I don’t know if it did or didn’t matter that she was probably straight. Or, I know that it mattered, but I’m not sure if this influenced my question exactly, just that I ended up feeling so sad, almost crying, actually crying, almost crying again. I prefer of the actual to the almost. I’m not sure if this is true all the time, but definitely with crying.
Actually, the fact that she was probably straight did influence what I was thinking, because I was thinking about AIDS, and gay men, fags, queers, and do we have anything communal that marks the ways in which we’ve all been impacted? I don’t mean a nonprofit; I don’t think a nonprofit can ever be communal.
But then I’m on the train and the rain is so calming, the rain in the trees and the wind but then later, it’s already the next day, after waking up feeling kind of okay, I slept well I think, but then I go into the sightseeing lounge car with all the windows, but I don’t bring my hat or sunglasses and sure it’s still raining, but I still need the hat and sunglasses because I end up with the horrible headache and then I hate that I’m here, or anywhere, but especially here, because I’m here with this headache.
The train is always this way, I mean it didn’t used to be the headache, but it always goes back and forth from calm to frantic, softness to pain, rest to exhaustion and I’m thinking how there’s something romantic about living in the middle of nowhere with people you love and trust, but who are those people?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Oh, my – here's my updated fall tour for The End of San Francisco, complete with a long string of magnificent blurbs that you may have seen before but I'm including them again in case this gets forwarded – hope to see you at my events!

It’s time for THE END OF SAN FRANCISCO! Psychology Today calls it “one of the most important memoirs of the decade,” the San Francisco Chronicle describes it as a “frantic kaleidoscope of mourning and survival,” and Kirkus Reviews calls it “blunt, dynamic and original.”

Due to the relentlessness of chronic health drama, this will be my first East Coast/Midwest tour in five years, so catch me while you can! The events are below, followed by more excerpts from the phenomenal press the book has been getting. Of course, let me know if you want to bring me to your town or university along the way… And, please spread the word!

On a different note, it looks like I’m trying out that Twitter thing… You can find me @mbsycamore

Here’s the tour:

Fall tour for The End of San Francisco
by Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore
City Lights Publishers 2013

UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN
Thursday, October 3, 7 pm
Conrad A. Elvehjem Building
Madison, Wisconsin
Facebook event

CHICAGO, IL
Women & Children First
Monday, October 7, 7:30 pm
5233 N Clark St
Chicago, IL 60640
(773) 769-9299
Facebook event

SOUTHERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY
Friday, October 11, 4:30 pm
National Coming Out Day Keynote
Kleinau Theatre
Carbondale, Illinois

WASHINGTON, DC
Busboys and Poets, 5th & K
Tuesday, October 22, 6:30 pm
Cullen Room @ Busboys and Poets, 5th & K
1025 5th St. NW
Washington DC 20001
Facebook event

NEW YORK UNIVERSITY
Tuesday, October 29, 6 pm
Kimmel Center for University Life, Room 912
60 Washington Square South
New York, New York

NEW YORK, NY
Bluestockings Bookstore
Wednesday, October 30, 7 pm
172 Allen St
New York, NY 10002
(212) 777-6028
Facebook event

BROOKLYN, NY
Brooklyn Community Pride Center
Monday, November 4, 7 pm
4 Metrotech (corner of Willoughby and Gold Sts., entrance on Willoughby St.)
Brooklyn NY 11201
(347) 889-7719
lgbtbrooklyn.org

PHILADELPHIA, PA
Giovanni’s Room
Monday, November 11, 5:30 pm
345 South 12th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 923-2960
Facebook event

BALTIMORE, MD
Red Emma's Bookstore Coffeehouse
Friday, November 15, 7 pm
30 W. North Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21218
Facebook event

WESLEYAN UNIVERSITY
Tuesday, November 19, 4:30 pm
Middletown, CT

AMHERST, MA
Food for Thought Books
Thursday, November 21, 7 pm
106 North Pleasant Street
Amherst, MA 01002
(413) 253-5432
Facebook event

BOSTON, MA
Harvard Book Store
Wednesday, December 11, 7 pm
1256 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 661-1515
Facebook event

And, a Facebook invite for the whole tour!

More praise for The End of San Francisco:

“Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore… is the posterchild for all that was culturally alternative in San Francisco in that pierced-lip poser decade [the '90s], while at the same time possessing one of the loudest voices cutting through the bullshit clamor back then and questioning it all. She's also a brilliant writer… Her new memoir… is written in such a hypnotically elliptical style (summoning City Lights' Beat poet legacy) and contains so many spot-on observations and era-damning epigrams that anyone who lived through the period described will cling to its pages while wishing to hurl the book at a wall in embarrassed self-recognition. Searing, funny, maudlin, elegiac, infuriating, and confessional, The End of San Francisco is a deliberately disordered collection of vignettes dealing mostly with Sycamore's span living in the city… Along the way we get drug overdoses, AIDS, lesbian potlucks, heroin chic, crystal meth, ACT UP, the birth of the Internet, the dot-com boom, the dot-com bust, mental breakdowns, outdoor cruising, phony spirituality, Craigslist hookups, hipster gentrification, Polk Street hustling, fag-bashing, shoplifting, house music, the Matrix Program, crappy SoMa live/work lofts, "Care Not Cash," gallons of bleach and hair dye, and processing, processing, and more processing… As we weather another dot-com boom of homogenizing gentrification, The End of San Francisco is a timely reminder of the community that can spring from resistance.”
—San Francisco Bay Guardian

“Leave it to Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore to have us all excited about the end of San Francisco… Her writing is furious and unlike anything you’ve ever read… Drunk on language that ought to be incomprehensible but is somehow piercingly lucid, [Sycamore] wails elegiac for the dream of a transcendent queer culture once glimpsed with such promise here."
—SF Weekly

“Can memoir be honest, emotionally or otherwise? Is counterculture actually possible as a way to live? What happens to those who dream of a radical queer community when the dream fails? Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore’s latest book, The End of San Francisco, is a despairing memoir of loss—the loss of the dream of radical queer San Francisco, the loss of formative friendships, the loss of personal and political innocence. Written in a free-associative style and merging personal and social history, it is—like all of Sycamore’s work— innovative both formally and politically… The End of San Francisco is the opposite of nostalgia. Nostalgia is fundamentally conservative, and its conservatism is often embedded in the form in which stories are told. The End of San Francisco seems to me radical, not just in content, but formally, in insisting on other ways of remembering and documenting.”
—Los Angeles Review of Books

“Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore’s long awaited memoir… will rip you open; crack your rib-cage and pour glitter into your heart… Brutal and brilliant, the memoir weaves in and out of time, bringing readers into the intimate details of Sycamore’s adolescence and early activist days. Never defaulting to tidy recounts, cleaned with the passage of time, Sycamore invites readers to share in the complexities of growing up and finding yourself… There is no rose-colored revisionist memory here. Expertly, Sycamore tells not only the story of her past, but also gives a glimpse into the world of anyone who was ever young, idealistic, and too queer.”
—Lambda Literary

“Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore is the artistic love child of John Genet and David Wojnarowicz, deconstructing language swathed in unbridled sensuality, while flinging readers into a disrupted, chaotic life of queer anarchy… Images cascade and collide with one another in an accomplished literary cadenza of salvation.”
—The Gay and Lesbian Review

“The End of San Francisco begins and ends with intense wants for recognition and connectivity. Throughout, there isn’t one part where [Sycamore] is disengaged from this intensity. But that want for more, for something deeper, for integrative relationships and structural change, which is so often mistaken for cynicism, is fueled by love and aspirations.”
—BOMB

“A whirring, thoughtful—but not nostalgic—elegy for San Francisco as queer haven. The book is invested in trying to understand, in trying to process both joyful and traumatic experiences even before laying them out in linear time… The book weaves and glitters, it holds the hopes and threats of Clairice Lispector’s The Passion of G.H. and also David Wojnarowicz’s blood-filled egg—one of his images for rage—while at the same time creating its own brave, tender, kinetic world.”
—The Rumpus

"This autobiography is a story of the way people fail each other, whether out of malice or exhaustion or just not knowing how to be there. It’s a chronicle of the ways that we need each other, and the way that need can be turned around, inside-out, torn in all the wrong places but still the only blanket that you have. It’s about critiquing out of love and loving despite critique, despite failure, until you can't do it anymore, until you genuinely feel as though an entire city has come to an end."
—Maximum Rocknroll

Sycamore’s work… is structurally challenging, and reads like it was driven more by free association — Freud’s psychoanalytic technique that employs spontaneous and unconstrained collecting of emotions and ideas — than by any style taught in an English literature classroom. The result is brilliant, a collection of unstructured vignettes about sex abuse, dying parents, feminism and veganism, Tracy Chapman and Le Tigre, dyke bars and gay tricks, AIDS and ACT UP that all weave together a life of hope in ’90s San Francisco and the disappointment that follows.”
—The Advocate

The End of San Francisco is as much social critique about the impossibility of collective dreams as it is a memoir looking back at queer and feminist community building in the ‘90s. And it feels life changing reading this book in the midst of the marriage debates… As a reader I felt like I was inside my own memories while I was given access to the formative moments of someone else’s life. I kept wanting Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore to be sitting next to me so I could say, “Right, me too”... The End of San Francisco is a reminder of the ways hopefulness runs alongside longing. It is a model for turning internalized pain into unabashedly anti-assimilationist liberatory politics.
—HTMLGiant

"A trenchant observer, [Sycamore’s] denunciation of racism, classism and homophobia is fierce and she does not spare queer communities for their refusal to reject hetero-normativity—marriage and children—or capitalist consumption."
—TruthOut

“This book is a useful reminder that the gay community is far from monolithic and that it is especially important to listen to the voices of resistance.”
—New York One

"Sycamore identifies the complicated messiness of identities wrestling with belonging, activism and being instruments of gentrification. . . Her style—emotional and conversational—creates a rich, satisfying, evocative and deeply relatable world."
—Broken Pencil

“Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore has a model for relationships that says: “First you reveal everything, and then when you can’t think of anything else to reveal you go deeper.” In The End of San Francisco, Sycamore lets the reader feel the bitter sweetness of that relationship model, the “push-pull of intimacy” that makes the process of excavating memories so painful but so cathartic, so difficult but so urgent… The centrality of activism in Sycamore’s life makes this memoir a vivid description of the unbreakable link between personal experiences and political issues.”
—Rain Taxi Review of Books

"The End of San Francisco could be the most insightful break-up memoir the city has ever received."
—KQED Arts

“Shirking the idea that time unfolds linearly and our lives are both affectively lived and narrated chronologically, Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore's The End of San Francisco gives us memoir as "an active process of remembering" to be experienced simultaneously by author and reader. At its core, The End of San Francisco is a narrative of emotions loosely tied together in constellations of events. It's a trippy read—in multiple senses of the word—but at the same time profoundly honest and raw.”
—Velvet Park

“Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore’s searing new memoir chronicles a series of losses in Sycamore’s queer activist life, but none of these losses evokes traditional nostalgia for an earlier, happier time. Instead, each loss is held up to the light to examine how it reflects the contradictions inherent in our attempts to build authentic relationships in a world where personal and structural violence separate us from each other and ourselves… Sycamore’s insistence on hoping and feeling—in a culture that promotes numbness—propels her narrative forward. And in a memoir that offers no tidy lessons or sweeping conclusions, Sycamore demonstrates how these very longings for something different can fuel our movements toward liberation.”
—Tikkun

“Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore's whip-raw memoir… feels like emerging from a chrysalis...”
—The Stranger

Described as "startlingly bold and provocative" by Howard Zinn, "a cross between Tinkerbell and a honky Malcolm X with a queer agenda" by the Austin Chronicle, and one of "50 Visionaries Changing Your World" by Utne Reader, Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore is most recently the author of The End of San Francisco, described by Psychology Today as “one of the most important memoirs of the decade.” Sycamore is the author of two novels, So Many Ways to Sleep Badly and Pulling Taffy, and the editor of five nonfiction anthologies, most recently Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots?: Flaming Challenges to Masculinity, Objectification, and the Desire to Conform, an American Library Association Stonewall Honor Book, as well as Nobody Passes: Rejecting the Rules of Gender and Conformity and That’s Revolting!: Queer Strategies for Resisting Assimilation. Sycamore currently lives in Seattle. www.mattildabernsteinsycamore.com

Monday, September 23, 2013

Oh

Today is not a good day. I’m sitting here thinking I can’t do this, why am I doing this, this tour, why? Why am I doing this to myself?
I’m doing this so I can connect with other people who connect with my work. I’m doing this so I can go to Boston, to fill in sensory details for the new novel. I don’t even know if I need that, but I felt like I needed it, so I’m going. I’m doing this so I can visit people on the East Coast, even my mother and grandmother. I’m doing this because I want The End of San Francisco to continue to get attention, I want to build the momentum.
I don’t know if this is a good decision. I might have decided not to go at all, except that I wanted to spend that time in Boston — and, when I decided to make it a whole month suddenly it seemed kind of relaxing, a fun exploration. But today none of it sounds fun. Especially not the beginning, when I’m just on an endless train to Havre, Montana, where I’m stopping for two nights just so I don’t have to take the train for 48 hours. So it’s split in half, 24 hours to Havre, and then another 24 hours to Madison, where I’m staying at some extended-stay hotel on the side of a thoroughfare, and that definitely doesn’t sound fun either. I’m kind of curious about Madison, but I won’t have the energy to explore, since I have one big event, and then another lunchtime event the next day. And then I head to Chicago. Maybe after I take the train to Carbondale, way at the bottom of Illinois, and then come back to Chicago for a few days, maybe then it will feel relaxing? But, no — then I have to take the overnight train to DC, where I’ll be for a week but I’ll be recovering from the train. And then New York, where I won’t be able to settle in right away because for the first four nights I’m staying somewhere different then the next 10, and I don’t know, all of this just sounds horrible right now, maybe that’s why Boston sounds better, because I’ll be there for a month. Except I hate Boston.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

After

Okay, it’s one of those days when all the ideas are coming together in my head, I mean coming together in the way that means they might happen, or at least means they might happen before I eat, which is so soon, why so soon? I mean I like eating, but as soon as I eat, everything crashes away. It already happened. I wanted to write before, but then I needed to eat. So now it’s after.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Into my body

This energy going into my body, especially at the beginning of the day before I’ve eaten anything, when I’m doing feldenkrais, or even sitting here at the computer with the breeze blowing in through the window—it’s kind of hilarious timing because it’s been more than 12 years since I’ve done drugs, but I’m writing a lot about doing drugs, since the novel is called Sketchtasy, right? And one of those horrible things about crashing from ecstasy was the knowledge that the feeling in my body could only be accomplished through this drug, this drug that annihilated me, left me obliterated.
Now I feel obliterated most of the time, but then this energy in my body, and it is that same sense I used to feel on ecstasy, actually, the tingling, the head rush, the feeling that suddenly I was inhabiting the space inside myself. Gentler though, briefer, more fleeting, but also not so draining. Maybe I was wrong, maybe that feeling I remember can be accomplished in other ways.
Yes, of course there’s the endorphin rush from exercise, especially dancing, but that’s not something I have access to anymore either, because of pain and exhaustion. But this is more subtle, it’s coming from inside maybe if I can bring more of it into more of my moments then I can start to feel more of what I want.
But then there’s my walk, the instant headache as soon as I step out the door so I come back inside to get a bigger hat. The bigger hat isn’t working, and now I’m a snot machine. Oh — this is the seasonal allergy headache. I was deluding myself that fall wouldn’t be so bad. I guess I leave in eight days.
Lying in the park doesn’t help, I have to stumble to a bench to recover from trying to recover. Am I a little better, or a little worse?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

The rest of my body

I can’t believe I just finished the second edit of Sketchtasy, whatever that means — I mean it means I finished the second edit. It means that I want to go back now with the clarity I have at the end, and start cutting at the beginning, but if I do that now I will just drift further from getting ready to go on this tour that starts in nine days. I want to talk about the excitement of editing, but at the moment there’s a wave of fatigue starting in my head and pouring down through the rest of my body. I want to talk about the tour, but remember, at the moment there’s a wave of fatigue starting in my head and pouring down through the rest of my body.

Monday, September 16, 2013

A gorgeous review of The End of San Francisco in Rain Taxi Review of Books!!!

This book might be about the end of San Francisco “as a place where marginalized queers could try to figure out a way to cope,” but after reading it one thinks that perhaps there was never a beginning to this place. Perhaps we still have to figure out ways to cope, reveal, rebel, revel, and be together.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The body kicks in

Was there a time when creativity didn't feel like such a desperate act of self-preservation? I just read that 95 percent of the body’s serotonin is produced in the gut, which makes a lot of sense, considering that I feel like I’ve lost all my serotonin and maybe it’s stuck there with everything else.

Meanwhile, it’s been months since I’ve had sex, or even jerked off. I look at some guy on the street, and he looks hot, there’s a craving there, somewhere in my body, but then it just falls away. I remember a time when, if I met someone who said they hadn’t had sex in a few months, I really couldn’t understand at all.

Sex used to be a way to take me out of exhaustion, at least for a moment, but now there is no way out except through ideas. At first I thought maybe that was positive, not that I’m more exhausted, not that the only way out was through ideas that can only last so long until the body kicks in again, the rest of the body that isn't in the mind. But I thought maybe it was positive that if I’m exhausted then also sex sounds exhausting, or is exhausting, that somehow that was more connected. Except when everything just gets more and more exhausting this doesn’t sound so hopeful.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The eye mask

The contradictions of my life: I need to turn all the lights on in my apartment, so that the computer doesn’t hurt my eyes. But then when I’m not at the computer, I need to turn all the lights off, so that the light doesn’t hurt my eyes. Outside I need a sun hat and sunglasses at all times. Inside I need to adjust the curtains and blinds just right. What will this be like when I go on tour? The eye mask, I know the eye mask will be useful.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

"The chapters sail through an Odyssey of experiences, enchanting and terrifying, etched with a narrative skill that never flags"

Wow – another phenomenal review of The End of San Francisco – and, this one even includes a video of my reading at City Lights! To tell you the truth, when the book came out, I thought that reviewers were going to hate it because they would refuse to enter the narrative on my terms. That's what's so often happens with work that challenges the hackneyed terms of narrative closure — thankfully, there has been so much incredible engagement, and I'm excited to see what happens this fall as I tour the Midwest and East Coast – to more!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The tyranny of the personal story

Democracy Now has been doing some great coverage of the US-backed coup that ousted Salvador Allende as the president of Chile 40 years ago, ushering in the notorious Pinochet dictatorship, but I will admit that I was a bit mystified when yesterday they were relying on a Hollywood film (“Missing”) to bolster their arguments. And then today’s guest, Juan Garces, who was personal advisor to Allende, started off the interview by saying that the methods of torture and rendition backed by the Nixon-Kissinger administration 40 years ago are now being backed by the US around the world, but instead of focusing the interview on this important point, Amy Goodman shifted to a Hollywoodized account of Garces’ last moments with Allende. The tyranny of the “personal story” in journalism so often masks a larger structural analysis, even in programs that are dedicated to that analysis.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Hope that it heals me

The question of the day: how can I feel this awful? Of course, that’s the question every day, but some days are better, and some days are worse, and today is worse. In fact, today is so much worse. Although, not so much worse than yesterday, so what do I mean by so much worse? I mean worse than the general debilitating imbalance that feels like a fragile balance. Worse in the sense that I feel like how will I ever feel better?
I even felt like I slept okay, or it wasn’t very interrupted, and after spending several hours in the beautiful sudden sunshine of yesterday afternoon I thought maybe something shifted. But today I’m already canceling plans — forget about the farmer’s market, I can’t go alone. Even though that’s my favorite thing to do, all the delicious produce that’s so much better than any store.
And now the sun is out, so I will walk or stumble, probably more like stumble yes stumble to the park, and lie in the sun, and hope that it heals me, or at least helps me to feel a little better.
I went to the Park. I don’t know if I feel better, but at least I got some sun. Lots of sun. I even think I fell asleep, kind of. Now I have to deal with the rest of the day.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

More and more skills

There’s nothing like going to a museum exhibit about fashion to remind me of the ways that industry and art wrap around one another in a hideous embrace annihilating the possibilities for creativity outside of commodity. Two of my favorite moments at “30 Years of Japanese Fashion” at the Seattle Art Museum. 1. A mannequin wearing a brightly-colored, layered, cartoonish outfit, labeled “Street Style” by Anonymous. This in a show consisting almost entirely of outfits made by exclusive designers that occasionally are interesting and almost certainly all cost several thousand dollars each, all labeled with the designer's name, birthdate, and year of collection 2. The roomful of Commes des Garcons outfits that come complete with down pillows that you can insert in different places in your body to create “strange” shapes — that’s right, once you manage to anorexify yourself enough to fit into one of these dresses, you can also squeeze in an extra lump on one side of your ass. Or, maybe a hump on your shoulder. This from the designer that the exhibit tells us is widely regarded as the most influential of the last 30 years. No doubt taken from the company’s press release.
There’s nothing like waking up feeling so obliteratingly awful, head glazed and will I ever wake up? I mean I’m awake: will I ever get out of bed? I mean I’m out of bed: will I ever feel better?
I keep developing more and more skills for dealing with how awful I feel. And I feel more and more awful. Days like today, I don’t know what to do. I thought I was feeling a little better, coasting along with the energy from editing, but now I’m annihilated again, a deep sadness pouring out and where is that coming from? Could it be the season change — sometimes this happens when fall starts, even though fall has always been my favorite season. In Seattle is probably not my favorite season, since fall mostly just means darkness for the next eight months. It’s amazing how quickly the winter approaches. The Seattle conversation: did some are just start, or is it over?
But I don’t know if that’s what this is about. I’m not even sure I care. I just want to start feeling better, in some way, any way, something discernible that doesn’t also make me feel worse, some sense that I’m moving through all these chronic health problems that become more and more debilitating. Even if I become better at coping. Better coping, and more isolated. More limited in terms of what I can do, and especially how I can interact with the outside world, without making me feel even worse.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

The lights at night

President Obama is scheduled to meet with Russian LGBT activists on Friday — will he ask them if they want the US to bomb Russia? Meanwhile, I wake up and there’s a thunderstorm. Or, is that the trucks hauling away the debris from the two beautiful houses they tore down yesterday? Maybe it’s a thunderstorm, and the trucks. Making way for a new building to house people who could’ve been housed better and more cheaply in the old building, I imagine — progress, indeed.

Outside, there’s a girl gang of shirtless boys jogging in their underwear – is this the new wave of violent crime in Seattle that everyone’s talking about? Here come more trucks, hauling away debris. Strangely I don’t mind the sound today — does this mean I’m feeling better? But wait — here come the toxic diesel fumes. At least I now have a view of the skyline, temporarily. I like watching the lights at night.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Interventions.

President Obama announces that he will seek Congressional approval before bombing Syria. Oh, how cute — it’s almost like he’s pretending we have a democracy. At therapy, I’m trying to figure out the different places I go in my body to do different kinds of writing: the political essay writing that mostly feels draining; the prose or novel-writing that feels energizing. But then we mostly talk about the draining, although I get all animated and I don’t feel drained at all, not in this case. What does that mean?

But then I feel annoyed that we didn’t talk about the writing that feels energizing. Although right as I’m leaving I realize the difference: the political essay writing isn’t for me, it’s for someone else. The other writing is for me. At first I called the political essay writing interventionist, but both types of writing can function as interventions, just different kinds of interventions.

Monday, September 02, 2013

The rest of the time

I love it when I’m in an appointment with an alleged healthcare practitioner, and they suggest that I look something up on the internet. Oh, sorry — I thought I was here to get credible advice. Even worse, when I wake up and I realize that yesterday was the good day, are you serious? I turn the radio on, and some soldier or former soldier is talking about watching pieces of his friend’s skull blown off his head: I think there are limits to this type of mourning.

Twitter is for pronouncements, Facebook is for denouncements. I’ve been thinking about Twitter lately. Not sure why, exactly, but I may try it out. I have a profile already, but I’ve never used it.

There’s a lot of dialogue in Sketchtasy — now is the time to decide which parts of the dialogue are crucial for building the characters, the relationships, the scenes, and which parts were just crucial for writing them. When I’m immersed in editing, a kind of feel okay, sometimes I even feel like I’m doing well, suddenly, maybe this is the moment. But then there’s the rest of the time.