Sunday, April 27, 2014

Surface areas

How do you hold onto something that’s already gone, I mean I know how to do that with relationships, unfortunately, or not relationships but the emotional memory, the loss. How to let that go, but bring back the softness in my body, the safety of self-expression, the intimacy of collapsing into support.

Oh, wait—what is going on? I have a headache from staring at the computer screen, so now I’m trying to stare in a softer way, help! Okay, I’m closing everything, and putting on the eye mask. But I hate those moments when suddenly I remember I live in a city without a bus map. Seattle, what is going on? I’d love to take a workshop on crying, but I still haven’t made it to a cuddle party.

Translation assistance: when someone says “I don’t hate anyone,” this really means they hate everyone. I can’t believe I just read an article about a new bar in my neighborhood that had to “marry” two bottles of some high-priced whatever in its first week, in a space “slated for redevelopment” within the next few years. If combining two bottles of liquor is called “marrying” them, what’s it called when you smash them against the wall?

But there’s good news—someone discovered the difference between nothing and nothingness. I still can’t decide if it’s a good sign when I wake up thinking about straight liberal homophobia. The Associated Repress. Oh, no — I must be on the wrong planet again because people are wishing Gloria Steinem a happy birthday. It’s a bit unnerving to see black mold spreading over the wooden frame of the building going up across the street. In a few weeks or months they will cover that with something, and then the building will be mold-free, right?

If there’s already black mold on the frame of a building under construction, can they still call it a green building? What’s it called when I thought I was going to do so much, but then my head glazes over? Every day. Although, this one is better than usual, or at least I thought so. I’m trying to get enough energy to not feel so exhausted. One thing that’s comforting about watching this building go up across the street is to see how much human labor is still required to create these structures we live in. I’ve decided to get rid of one of my sofas so that I can add another table. I need more surface areas. Hopefully this won’t just mean that I move some of the papers and books from one table to another, and then eventually they’re both covered.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The only person

Sometimes I think I’m the only person who still goes outside thinking something magnificent and unexpected might happen. Today I walk towards the sun, stand at the bottom of the hill before the stairs to the street above the highway overlooking the skyline, and watch the shifting color of the leaves blowing in the wind. Halfway down the stairs there’s a friendly dog, almost too friendly because he keeps jumping up and I didn’t realize English bulldogs actually jumped. But I liked English bulldogs even before I liked dogs, so it’s okay. Also, there’s the sun, so this is a different world, flowers growing in a field which isn’t really a field, just some rocks overlooking the highway. I discover a grassy hill I’ve never seen before, walking up the hill helps to realign my feet so they don’t hurt anymore, and when I get to the top I have to step over a railing to get back to the street. Then there are the usual gay couples who ignore me. Someone points in my direction, but actually he’s pointing at a condo. I decide to go back up that hill again, so I go down a different way, and I notice someone else wearing purple pants, but actually I’m not wearing purple pants. She smiles at me, and then goes back to texting. There’s that field of bluebells again, just past the hill I’m going to walk up, and when I look at the window of a building that looks redone I see that someone might be looking out, and then halfway up the hill I realize it’s not as pretty this time. Maybe it’s not as pretty because I’m already thinking about writing about it, halfway up or maybe two-thirds of the way the grass turns to mud and moss and then just mud and cigarette butts, and I keep almost stepping in dog shit. I guess if people are going to smoke somewhere, it might as well be outside. Back on the street, I’m walking up the hill that usually seems overwhelming, but now it doesn’t, and when I get back to my block there’s some really loud noise, maybe the construction is going on late tonight. Actually it’s someone with a leaf blower, blowing allergies right into my face, and now my head hurts. There’s a container of dental floss on a chair in the lobby of my building, I do need floss but I don’t think I want someone else’s.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014


I love it when I call a doctor’s office to make an appointment, and they say how are you? I wonder if there will ever be a point where lying in bed wired in the morning means I’ll actually feel good when I get up. Today I convinced myself that I would move into the apartment on the top floor to get away from the smokers downstairs, but then when I got up I realized I could never move anywhere again. My therapist told me my head is part of my body, but I’m still not sure what to think about that.

I agree that it sounds hard to wrap your head around an argument. But what if my free association is only dissociation? Saul Bellow’s blurb on the cover of this book says “In Levi’s writing, nothing is superfluous and everything is essential.” Which makes me wonder about Saul Bellow’s writing. When someone says when was the last time you had a good night of sleep, isn’t that assuming there was a first time? Stop making assumptions about my presumptions.

When I suddenly feel good but not in that wired way that’s just the flip side of tired, why can’t it always be like this? It’s already gone, that feeling, but I’m trying to hold onto it anyway: more breath going into my back, a softness in my head, how to get there more often instead of crashing into oblivion so fast. Food helps, I mean it helps me get to oblivion, how do I get food to help with something else? And there goes my brain, fading away from the computer pixels.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

I guess I would call this a dream

Amy Goodman is shooting Democracy Now in my apartment. I’m sleeping on the carpet in the entryway with all my blankets, and I think of trying to explain that I’m there because there’s more air, but she’s already downstairs in the basement with today’s guest who maybe I’m supposed to recognize. I go outside to look for a ride and there’s a huge plume of black smoke in the near distance, that must have been what I smelled last night, is there a problem? But now this is normal, San Francisco is always burning, and the people who pick me up are on the way to an NA meeting, I find this out because they’re testing me to see if I’m tired because I partied last night, it was Valentine’s Day, and I’m still not wearing any clothes except boxer shorts while we drive in the wrong direction and the guy in the back seat with me pushes his foot into my crotch while looking in the other direction, white tube socks and it feels kind of good. Just when I think they’ve taken me too far to ever get back, we turn around and we’re on a highway. This is like the desert, someone says, and it is the desert, I know because I lived in New Mexico, we’re driving all the way back and somehow this is comforting.

Monday, April 21, 2014


I’ll admit it: sometimes, in the morning, while I’m cooking, I make up names for the vegetables. Cauli and her Flower. The Brox. But who would imagine that one day I would dance in the kitchen to a song that goes “the boys are hot, the girls are cool… The girls are hot, the boys are cool.” Don’t tell anyone. Oh, what will become of us? It looks like they’re out of the rhinestone GOOD VIBES T-shirt at the yoga boutique. But, they do have a shiny gold jacket-sweatshirt for $130. It looks like plastic. Just in case you aren’t sweating enough

Monday, April 14, 2014

This new review of The End of San Francisco is so stunningly beautiful & insightful not just about the book but also queerness & so much more it made me cry so much...

 "Sycamore’s work is in equal measure personal memoir, manifesto, gossip column, theoretical intervention, belles lettres, prose poem, call to action, and letter to a younger generation of emergent queers who, like the young Sycamore, dream of escaping suburban America for the seductive tumult of the gay mecca...Sexuality may be the lens through which Sycamore’s actions are best understood, but sexual possibility—which I take to imply the continuous rethinking of sexuality—is her real concern. The End of San Francisco is about manifesting that possibility despite a regulated, policed world, where it is always already lost, where to be ‘political’ is to mimic certain beliefs. Sycamore’s text is about enacting such possibility as a method for thinking beyond the now: what queer might yet become, rather than what it is."

Sunday, April 13, 2014

The contract

I’m trying to find the contract where it says that I can’t ever have two good days in a row—or even two slightly okay, bordering-on-good days. I need to strike that clause. If someone had told me five years ago that one day I would get up in the morning, I would have laughed. If someone had told me five years ago that one day I would like getting up in the morning, I would have thought they were delusional. If someone had told me five years ago that one day I would think that 9:30 am was a little late to eat my first meal, I would have thought that was the most absurd thing I’d ever heard in my life. If someone had told me five years ago that one day I would live in that schedule that so many healthcare practitioners told me would change my life, the opposite of the schedule I always lived in, that this schedule would become routine and even somewhat pleasurable if only for the morning light, if someone had told me five years ago that one day this would become my schedule, but I wouldn’t feel even slightly better, I would not have been surprised at all.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014


The new homophobia is so much cooler than the old homophobia. Is it my imagination, or did someone call William Friedkin a great director? Did he die, or something? When the old left meets the new left, is this called nothing’s left? Your time has arrived—I’m opening up a gay wedding boutique called Where Despair, Wear!

The sound of the birds chirping in the pouring rain: maybe this will be a good day. I’ll admit that I kind of like getting up in the morning when it’s still surprisingly dark, maybe Seattle will work out, after all. The warmth of my body in bed, even after I’ve left the bed. I just tried to say something to my voice activation software for the computer, but I was using my phone headset. This must be called something.

Missed recognition. But there’s an update for queen’s slang: today work becomes unworkable. Hoping Without Groping will be the name of the sex club I open next to the gay wedding boutique. Groping Without Hoping is the real name of every sex club that already exists, so I thought I would flip something. Hoping is more marketable than groping, but groping still determines the marketplace. Is it worse to start a horrible trend, or to follow one? One day someone will open a museum where straight people teach homophobia to kids, and the gay kids grow up to perfect it. The museum will be called MARRIAGE. Oh, wait — that museum is already open. So much for my idea. Maybe if people realized marriage was a museum, it wouldn’t be so popular. Museum as coffin as mausoleum as menace as mystery undone by property.

Gay people are getting so good at homophobia that one day they will claim to have invented it. I remember when Fred Phelps came to San Francisco to protest at the funeral of Randy Shilts, and people from ACT UP wanted to protest Phelps. But why? Randy Shilts was more responsible for structural homophobia than Fred Phelps. Shilts was the one who popularized the idea of "Patient Zero," that promiscuous gay flight attendant infecting everyone. Shilts was the one who used his position of power as the San Francisco Chronicle journalist covering AIDS to shut down the bath houses that he covertly frequented. The fact that people read books by overtly homophobic gay men as objective gay history (like Shilts’ And the Band Played On) is far scarier to me than anything Fred Phelps could ever do.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Relevance without relevance.

To succeed is to bleed. To bleed is to concede. To concede is to secede. Anatomy of a cut: I’m in a rut, and no one is taking the time to show me the show-me state. Can’t you see the state I’m in?

I hope these turnips aren’t rotten like the ones I ate yesterday. Help! Someone used the word sidereal, so I made a U-turn and you turned against me. Now I’m stuck in an elevator without a building.

Which do you prefer, relevance without revelation, or revelation without relevance?  But it’s kind of shocking that this one construction site is using real wood for the walls—it’s almost like a real building. I love it when some car speeds up while I’m in the middle of the crosswalk, just to show me who’s boss. Maybe one day I’ll live in a building with enough hot water.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Since I've taken the train cross-country for my last five book tours, I thought I would share a few thoughts about the so-called Amtrak writer's residency…

From my piece in Bookslut:

If there’s anything that all the buzz about the Amtrak residency for writers should call our attention to, it’s the lack of funding for writers in this country. I’m still depressed that thousands of people have applied for the hallowed privilege of being stuck on a train for who-knows-how-many-hours. Some of these people are well-known writers, extolling the virtues of train travel online with the hopes of snatching a barely-discernible prize. With coverage from the New Yorker to CNN to the Chicago Tribune to NPR to PBS to the Paris Review to Huffington Post and on and on down the list from the old guard to the new guard and back, this has to be the biggest publicity bonanza Amtrak has experienced in ages. It’s almost like they’re glamorizing the worst parts of the journey: you’re stuck in a tiny room for hours on end with nothing to do -- perfect! You don’t even have to pay us for this torture.

Well, I had so much fun endlessly posting for April Fools' Day on Twitter that I've decided to share everything for you at once…

Did I mention I’m the new spokesperson for the IT GETS BETTER campaign? Did I mention I’m the new CEO for Feminist Marriage Matters? Did I mention that today I’m starting the first chapter of Leaf Blowers Anonymous? Did I mention that I’m starting a cosmetics company for upwardly mobile white supremacists called Marry KKK? Did I mention I’m launching a new line of Christian condoms called OH COME ALL YE FAITHFUL? Did I mention that the Corrections Corporation of America has a new campaign? PRISONS ARE PEOPLE TOO! Did I mention that it’s sunny in Seattle? OMF Higher Power did I mention I just got A MEDIA SPONSOR — that's right, Huffington Post will now broadcast live from my asshole. Did I mention I’m starting a new line of young adult novels for senior citizens? Did I mention the US military has a new slogan? YOU BUILD IT, WE BOMB IT. Did I mention I’m on a Google bus? Did I mention I’m making a Kickstarter for the NSA? Did I mention I’m the new life coach for Lars von Trier? Did I mention I’m starting a new design firm called GENTRIFICATION MATTERS? Did I mention that I’m the new director of the MFA program at the NSA? Did I mention that I’m opening an eco-friendly cupcake shop where all the icing will be made out of the dog shit left in Seattle parks? Did I mention I’m the new director of public relations for a private company specializing in surveillance technologies? Did I mention I’m opening an eyeglasses store called REVISIONIST? Did I mention I’m opening a museum called COFFIN? Did I mention I’m opening a funeral home called WE CARE IF YOU DIE? Did I mention I’m opening a mausoleum called CONGRESS? Did I mention I’m opening a psychiatrist’s office called THERE’S ALWAYS SOMETHING WRONG? Did I mention I’m the new Head of Doggie Daycare for Cat Power? Did I mention I met your mother? Did I mention that all new construction in the US will now be permanent low-income housing? Did I mention I’m opening a bank called ROBBERY? Did I mention that plastic now rhymes with garage? Did I mention I’m in business? Did I mention that I’m an emerging market? Did I mention I’m opening a publicity firm for the book you haven’t written yet? Did I mention I’m opening a nail salon called BITE ME? Did I mention I’m opening a public relations firm called CLAUSTROPHOBIA? Did I mention I spent so long trying to hit the nail on the head that I hit my head? Did I mention this rendition is extraordinary? Did I mention I’m opening a yoga studio called HUNGER? Did I mention this is a screenplay? Did I mention that I’ve decided to change my maiden name? Did I mention I’m opening an anger management clinic called MY SPIRIT ANIMAL IS A DRONE. Did I mention I’m the new director of a chain of pawn shops called FOOL’S GOLD? Did I mention that I’m the new executive vice president of a nonprofit charity hedge fund? Did I mention that I’m the CEO of your co-op? Did I mention that I finally digested the chewing gum from seven years ago? Did I mention the unmentionable?