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Stories and Cigarettes
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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in AmelieStrange's LiveJournal:

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Monday, June 4th, 2012
1:36 am
Humanity and Desire, Melpomene and Erato and Felicity and Calliope
I love this city.

I love the orange glow of the streetlamps on the broken pavement and the dripping of window units onto sidewalks between houses. I love violent rainstorms filling the potholes so no one can tell how deep they are (they're fucking deep). I love the laundromats and the fried chicken gas stations and the swarms of mayflies and termites that come in June. I love the cemeteries and the blighted buildings and the courtyards and hidden things. The way we hang all our excesses and souvenirs and scars and spare paint all over the walls of our bedrooms, scattered across battered wood floors that have been sanded and refinished at least a dozen times. I love the lines in buildings where the barge-wood clapboards have been pieced together with plywood and pressed pine and old nails.

I love New Orleans.

And she loves me back.
Thursday, June 16th, 2011
10:11 am
Bury the meat stick....
It has become apparent to me that, after two days in Atlanta, I do not "get" Phish.

I think it'll be alright.
Monday, February 7th, 2011
8:56 pm
What thoughts can I call allies?
"About as easy as turning left in New Orleans."

Can we make this a thing? I want to make this a thing. I want to be able to say, "Get into Princeton Law School? That's about as easy as turning left in New Orleans." Or, even better, "That girl's as pretty as a fleur de lis, sweet as bread pudding, and as easy to get with as turning left in New Orleans."

Yeah, I guess it's kind of a long shot. I was thinking about it this afternoon, as I drove to the Pelican Thrift store on Carrolton and Tulane. My next stop was to Family Dollar to buy a shelf for the bathroom. Family Dollar is on Canal and Broad, hardly a long drive from Pelican Thrift, but as I turned right on Tulane, I found (which shouldn't have been such a surprise to me) that I couldn't turn left on any cross streets. Of course I couldn't. New Orleans has taken a page from New Jersey in the U-turn department. So what should have been a ten minute drive turned to almost thirty as I ended up in the Central Business District and almost got funneled Uptown on Camp. As I hit Canal, thinking about recent upsetting events, I could only think, "Getting over you is as easy as turning left in New Orleans."

"That's why we ride bikes," Tina said when she got home. She seemed to think making that saying a thing was a good idea.

Things move slowly, and with patience. The boxes are still packed, sitting in the corner of my new room, waiting to be released. I moved in a week ago with Tina, into the upstairs unit of a shotgun on Dauphine. There are five cats including Leonard now, and he's adjusting well. Tina's not had a room mate in probably two years so I take this with patience as well - the sewing table is still in my room, so I can't get a mattress yet. I sleep on the floor in my sleeping bag. That is, when I'm not at work.

There have been many conversations about goings on, in bars and in the kitchen. Most of them are comforting, but I have to turn my thoughts away from assuming anything. Things are moving because the season is moving. It was almost sixty degrees yesterday but today it's down to forty again. Things will swing back and forth - the warm days making me fantasize about starting seeds. Marigolds and hollyhocks, four-o'clocks and chard, rhubarb and peas. There's an empty lot in the neighborhood that Tina once fashioned into a community garden, and I still see neighbors walking over to it, taking clippings of greens that have germinated and grown wild. Any day now will be planting time, and the gardens of summer will come soon enough.

Lonnie says it'll freeze until after Mardi Gras. I'll be on the riverboats and in restaurants and trying to stay busy. I'll be having a 7 and 7 while I do my laundry, waiting for things to change. There isn't much else I can do. The turn of seasons is inevitable and I can only move with it. Along with everything else, I have to abide. Thinking too much hasn't gotten me very far in this world. Agonizing only sets me back. Although it should be said that I am damn good at agonizing over the smallest thing.

But there are a lot of mantras I find myself repeating. Other than, "easy as turning left in New Orleans," and even apart from humming Irish drinking songs while serving sangria on the riverfront, there's one that I find myself coming back to. It's this song that happens to last exactly as long as it takes to drive over the I-10 bridge from New Orleans East to Slidell, that'd be over the Ponchartrain. I wonder if the folks over at the radio station know that. It's a pretty song, sad and lovely, with mandolins. When I was in high school, it used to make me dream of living in one of those flat-facade, high-windowed buildings on Decatur. The whole song is so lonely and sweet, but the bridge speaks to me constantly,
"What thoughts can I call allies, when this circle of ribs keeps working on it's own?"
Saturday, December 25th, 2010
3:48 am
It's either genius or laziness that leads me to become determined I will work and write all night and then, as I open each short story I am supposedly working on, coming to the conclusion they're just fine exactly where they are - even if they just drop off with no real finality. I suppose that is one thing I like about the medium of short fiction, you don't really have to follow the whole story arc thing. There certainly is a versatility to short fiction, but the reality is that I'm probably just lazy and am out of touch with myself as I wrote whatever story I'm looking at. I am still under the impression that if I'm going to write anything, it pretty much has to be done in one sitting immediately or it will stay the way it is whenever I walked away from it. Pages of notes don't help. In fact, the one story I'm writing so many notes for is the one that I can't seem to grasp into reality at all. I don't think the notes are helping - but then again it's one story that really hinges on a fair amount of research and I am now under the impression that I will not be able to create a goddamn thing until I read the Psychomachia, a medieval poem by a guy named Prudentius. The New Orleans library tells me that their copy's status is "status," so hell, it probably doesn't exist at all.
So I'm updating my livejournal in an effort to feel as if I have written something tonight, as I chain smoke in the apartment on Christmas day.
I could start the Louis L'Amour story. It would be an investment of time and effort, and I fear that if I started to write it, I would not be in the right place and would make a mess of it - then later, when I go to review it, I will decide it's just fine exactly like it is, which will be tripe.
Something about being able to track a fugitive (who is really a misunderstood protagonist) through the desert in a contemporary setting. Lipstick on discarded cigarette butts found on the shoulder of Highway 160.
Saturday, August 14th, 2010
7:12 pm
Cottonwood Atrium Opus
"I miss bars. And you."
"Fuck bars. I miss you..... and here I am, in a bar."
"Bars and I love you."

In the morning the fan is still whirring in the blue room where Tony and Ali are sleeping - the cat is pitching a fake mouse around the bedroom while one last errant cottonwood branch scrapes along the roof. Wind pushes the smell and sounds of grazing goats from outside, and I am awake.
The day brightens and grows and consumes eggs and bacon, coffee and laziness, learning to drive a manual on a long winding road. Aspens quake and shiver and glitter along the edge of the reservoir - sitting on the shore after escaping hungry bulldogs barking, dying to issue verbal warnings or maybe search the truck for purloined electrical spools.
The day brightens and grows and encompasses a quick goodbye and a kaleidescope of hectic radio traffic until the sun dips below the Watchman Cliffs and the waves are silent. Not even a crackle on the frequencies. Not even a whimper from the phones.
Blue sky on rosy sandstone and I feel like I am home.
Tuesday, August 10th, 2010
7:48 am
Hazy and half awake, I'm lying sideways with my face pushed into a dirty pillow, listening to the low-hanging branch of the cottonwood tree outside scrape, scrape, groan, push, press into the ceiling of the trailer - creak, creak, creak. Another wave of wind goes by, CREAK, CREAK, CREAK, like a moment of passion, and then the creaks are silent again. The cat is pressing its nose into my eye socket, purring. The lights are not on. BBC news reports that in India, it is common for those with psychoses like schizophrenia and paranoia to seek the help of gurus and spiritualists - leading certain shrines to be overrun by crazy people, screaming, cursing the gods and tearing at their hair. I get out of bed, turn the lights on and close the blinds on my bedroom window, afraid for whatever reason that someone might possibly view my getting dressed in the pre-dawn light. The cat follows into the kitchen.
The gas stove lit under a mylanta-green tea kettle, I pour hot water into the oatmeal, put a lid on the container and place it into my bag. Twenty minutes later, I am in an office, staring out at the dark. Waiting for the light.
It's a reverse sunrise, seen only in terms of its relative effects. Someplace behind me, beyond walls and walls of offices, the canyon frames the actual sun. I only see the light shining on one tall sandstone cliff outside the office window, moving down, down down, until it is morning and I am no longer alone in this building. It's like Plato's allegory of the cave - and almost as sad, because if this were all I ever knew, I imagine I'd be pretty upset.
No, I have friends with neck tattoos. And former lovers who are at once lovers and criminals. No, I drive a Volvo station wagon and to some people this says something about me. The radio crackles, and people go in and out of the waves through the course of their daily routines. To some, I am afraid to call attention to myself. To some, I am intelligent and provide good conversation - however, I am in need of an impression to be made upon me. Someone is hoping to change my perceptions of homeless kittens, families in need and all the other beautiful things that need saving in this world and remind me of something along the lines of an escaped murderer sitting on the steps of a church in Cody, Wyoming. Sure, it's worth trying, and sure it's helpful. But I haven't forgotton things like mystery and the magic of radio waves, and invasions of sea snakes and sometimes I even remember to forget being self-aware all the time. Neck tattoos aside, at least I accept that I embarass myself, to an extent that I think anyone else in my position would have given up the ghost by this point.
The wind is pretty intense today and the trees in the atrium are rocking back and forth. It makes me think of sawing off a cottonwood branch and a long night sleep without the creaking on the roof like bony hands, monsters in the garden or something terrifyingly lovely calling me out to play.
Monday, July 12th, 2010
7:24 am
And all the words you gave me, I lost on bended knee
But you can't stop these cravings just by praying that they'll cease.

I am sitting under a bridge beside a man with an impossibly red beard. I am reading out loud the story of Jumping Mouse, who ventured away from his safe home and busy things to the sacred river and then the sacred mountains, where from his own virtues and sacrifices, he became Eagle.
In front of me, on the bank of the Virgin River and below the hundred year-old bridge, is a small pillow of white paper towel. Inside it is the venerable body of Willis the hampster.

I am sitting on a used blue couch with an orange tabby cat beside me, sewing straps on a forty year-old sleeping bag. The cat has knocked over the hanging houseplants on the kitchen bar for the third time today. Outside the windows, two cottonwoods sway and grow so close to the trailer that they've started to scrape the roof. It's a project I will save for another week. And in the back yard, three chestnut horses graze. One has a brand above its haunch, and it doesn't seem to give a damn about my carrots. So I feed them to the bearded billygoat that makes quick work out of all of them.

I am riding in a busted up Toyota SUV up I-15, and it's just hit 200 thousand miles. The driver is excited, and it's a good drive - though not as good as the part where the front of the car free-styled on the topic of the Virgin River Narrows.

I am at a venue in Salt Lake City watching a band I hardly care about, but the floor is so packed with people moving and jostling that I have no option but to move along with it. Pushed into the pit, I can feel innumerable people's sweat stuck to me, hanging from my hair, dripping on the floor. I slip and fall hard on my wrist.
In the oppressive heat, I walk to the bar and order a shot of Seagram's on the rocks. The bar is empty because the band is a ska band and it's an all-ages show. One person walks up next to me and orders a drink. He asks me what I'm drinking. I tell him. He's drinking vodka and Red Bull. His name is Jay C and he leaves for Afghanistan in six hours.

I am at a desk facing a window that faces an atrium, a big courtyard with a few trees and benches, surrounded by the headquarters building. It's large enough that I can see catty-corner from my window into the fee office, and I know they can see me, half asleep at the computer.
It's big enough to see above the roof and behold the mottled cream and crimson sandstone cliff of the Towers of the Virgin. When I open the sun creeps down the cliff like a sundial, until it hits the roof and everyone else is at work.
I am at a desk, listening to people call into service. I time-stamp over the radio. I say, "Copy" a lot. I am a dispatcher.

I am a fortunate person, regardless of anything else. I am lucky. Even in Utah, in 106* heat, in a beat up trailer, I am lucky.
And today I abscond to Mesa Verde for a long-needed visit with those with whom my spirit is kindred.
And today I drink my coffee, and listen to the world wake up.
Sunday, July 4th, 2010
9:09 am
My name is Ozymandias, king of kings. Look upon my work, ye mighty, and dispair.
I've been thinking a lot.
Which really doesn't mean anything. You can say, "I've been thinking a lot" and the truth is all you really did was stare at something and space out. But I've been thinking a lot in the sense that these thoughts are following me like a trail behind me or a stalking predator. The themes that have followed me are inescapable and I feel like, yes, I've been thinking a lot, and I'm actually processing things. Funny huh?
I've been thinking about external validation, which when you look it up actually apparently has more to do with the scientific method than the not so scientific process of psychology, or more accurately sociology. But in this context I mean the way people support or do not support your decisions. And it's more complicated than that - it's a framework of decisions, determined by the kind of person you are, I guess. And that framework makes up how other people view the kind of person you are - but it's so subjective. The examples that I'm thinking of are mostly career-oriented but not necessarily so. It could deal with whether or not a person lives with their parents, or the kind of relationship they have with their significant other (or if they have a significant other). It could deal with transience versus settling down, planting roots. In the future, I'm sure it will have to do with getting married or having kids, but once you start getting specific like that (or maybe more appropriately, just typical cliches regarding what I'm talking about), it just seems so typical. Of course people will judge you for your lack of accoutrements of grown-up life. External validation. But it's not so direct, it's much more intangible than simply recognizing it as a general trend. It's part of a framework. And to say simply that people can judge is to appear to disregard recognizing that any individual is affected by that judgement, or lack of it. Regardless of whether or not one chooses to recognize it. It's obvious that in the past few days I have been stewing in examination of how I recognize it and how I react to it.
More specifically, I have been hanging onto this perception that my parents are very strong forces in my life of external validation. Probably to the point of being pathological. So many conversations, particularly with my father, have been about whether or not I am where I should be at this point in my life. What I need to do. What I need to pursue. Why I shouldn't be doing this.
Who doesn't deal with that? But thinking as much as I have been recently, I'm realizing that regardless of my actions that might suggest the contrary - I believe them. I believe my mother and father about being where I should be for my age, about being on a constant upward slope, improving and developing into career and those accoutrements of grown up life. It's a gestalt - a pattern the mind works around because if you didn't have that pattern it would be TOO open, too full of possibility to be able to function at all. And I have come to the conclusion that there is absolutely a middle ground... but I am a summer hermit in Southwest Utah, alone in a trailer full of time and paint and kitten. I am trapped in a contemplative timewarp that demands I examine everything because, well, there are only so many episodes of Northern Exposure to watch instead. And maybe my concept of "middle ground" was still a little too close to my parents' North Shore upwardly-mobile competitive worldview. And that's what I'm grateful to Henry for, and to his parents, too.
And that's what I'm grateful to the state of Louisiana for, too, I suppose. In cancelling the program that was going to put me into a career situation, the state has forced me to examine what my motives were for going in the first place. I was going because it was going to be fun, and because it was the only way I could find to learn the things I want to know. But there is a additional meaning to the concept of graduate school - a meaning that is apparent when one considers that pretty much anyone who goes to grad school is planning on getting married right afterward. It's part of a march, of a track that runs through the road map of the Western collective unconscious. And while I would always assert that something like that had no bearing on my own perception - I need to admit to myself that in losing the opportunity to attend this program, I felt a little like a failure. Even though the decision to cancel the program had nothing to do with me, I felt like my development, my progress as a citizen of the system we live in, has been retarded. Which is stupid.
Between the fallout of graduate school, my parents' natural inclination to direct and push and guide me, and my parents' additional loud opinions regarding my choice of romantic partner - I feel like I'm hitting some dire mid-twenties crisis. Which has led me to another thought about crises: Maybe it's better that I have a mid-twenties crisis in which I realize that it's not enough to say "fuck the system" and rebel, or buy into the concept of external validation wholesale without examining its merits, but instead to contemplate my own needs and perceptions of what that validation even is (particularly the extent to which it is imaginary altogether, just someting I myself percieve). Maybe that is better than to reach the point so many people reach where one realizes that youth is behind them and they never took advantage of it - which is just as archetypical, stereotypical, as anything else.
Is it wrong to accept that, when it comes to careers, most of the time I would rather be waitressing? Is it wrong to think that my life will not be over, I will not die poor and alone, if I do not get a graduate degree? Isn't it just as important to know this world and celebrate in it in as many ways as I know how (and it just happens to be that some of my favorite ways are through poverty, depravation, alcohol and transience)? And also to explore new ways to celebrate it? How important is career?
Sure, we all are special, but we all are not going to be important in the working world. We can't all be upper management, man. Which is good! I think the world would be a better place if more people accepted that declining the opportunity to suck at upper management does not mean you're some kind of sheep. The world needs garbage collectors, grocery baggers, plumbers, landscapers, gas station attendants, obituary writers, dishwashers and waitresses probably more than they need another guy to sell air conditioning units, or manage the people who sell air conditioning units. It's probably my fault that I feel so much pressure to be the guy who manages the people who sell air conditioning units, or to be the medical transcriptionist or the curator or the whatever. It probably has a lot to do with the way I think people see me, or whatever. If I decide to be an underling, to be an ant, to be a low man on the totem pole, have I done the wrong thing in life? A huge part of this contemplative funk I've been in has to do with the fact that when you put a question like that into writing, it seems so simple. Of course there's nothing wrong with being non-managerial. But really, how often does the average person think, of course there is something wrong with a lack of ambition? How much does one have to lack ambition before other people notice and disapprove? Do people compensate for a lack of ambition by being... interesting?
And the tumbling thought process goes on. If I had just a little bit of interesting company to distract me from this existential rut, maybe it wouldn't be this bad. But I suppose I need to take advantage of it while I can.
Youth is wasted on the young.
Tuesday, May 18th, 2010
7:32 am
You move in slow degrees, a sudden memory. You're a Leonard Cohen song.
Slow, the sun creeps in on Zion Canyon, only illuminating a thick blanket of pale cloud behind rich red sandstone. I have a front seat window on a courtyard and a monolith. I drink coffee and wait quietly for this place to wake up. As the sky lightens I am running tags and listening to one officer hassle people for sleeping in parking lots. He's not ticketing folks so I guess it's okay.
Each one comes online for the day - entrance stations call, doors open and people come. I am in an office.
Ten miles from here lies a trailer with peeling white and tan paint (except for a bright orange splotch of particleboard where the front door's window used to be). Inside it smells like desert sage and buzzes with flies (we can't figure out where they're coming from). There's an orange tabby cat probably clawing and kneading at a sleepy, skinny, hungover boy under an old comforter on the floor. It's almost audible how the walls scream for paint and caulk and spackle, how the stains in the ceiling sing slowly the imminent return of leaks and sagging. The deep blue light of dawn turns grey on my tomato plants, my garden, my deck and the 1975 Chevrolet Truck/lumbershed in the yard. Penstemon are blooming. Desert four-o'clocks open to the huffing of horses, braying of donkeys, and crowing of roosters. The wind was strong last night and I know the grass will smell fresh and Henry will open the windows whenever he wakes up. I am ten miles away.
It's never fun, not being long for anyplace. It seems like it would be but it sucks. I look around and think about how I will only be here til August - and the horrific part is that I have to tell my employer this, as I had suggested a longer stay. It's always that way - I ditched Galvez in New Orleans for this job at practically no notice, although I doubt that's an excuse to ditch this job at no notice too. But I've got a piece of paper saying I've got to register for classes, and they expect me in August in humid sultry Natchitoches, so close itself to New Orleans. And she moves on.
But for now Zion is my home and although I worry about every little thing I feel like I'm doing it right. That doesn't mean that Mesa Verde isn't my home park because it sure is. I feel lonely for it but Henry helps, and so does having a home to fix up and a garden to cultivate. It's just so easy to burn money when you're drinking every night and buying paint and supplies. It's just so easy to burn money when your boyfriend is unemployed even if he does have savings. Consciousness of everything is so hard to maintain. But everybody flows, everybody moves along so I guess I will too.
The grey sky backlighting the Towers of the Virgin and the West Temple, topped with a repeater bleating warnings across the air, I look out my window and listen to the Washington County Sheriff's radio traffic.
Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010
9:26 pm
And so it came to be that Emily felt herself go to her knees and bow her head, and became overwhelmed with gratitude.
Saturday, February 27th, 2010
3:25 pm
What thoughts can I call allies, when this circle of ribs keeps working on it's own?
So it goes on February's wake, on a dreary cold day in Florida lit only by the odd overgrown orange tree heavy with fruit on the side of 417 - on the way to the airport to give back to Oregon a dear friend who has made the past three weeks of my life just wonderful.
Somewhere in Charleston someone is thinking of a decadent Fat Tuesday night where our faces are now ghosts. Savannah weeps for want of Bernice the octogenarian Volvo. In Columbia, a high school girl is still amazed that someone came into her restaurant not knowing a thing about hushpuppies. The paella in Chattanooga is still only so-so.
And Natchitoches gleams on the banks of the Red River, bejeweled in antebellum bed and breakfasts, retirees and old headstones: "You may not believe it, but this is how it happened: One fine summer day, a little bug sneezed." The Pioneer Pub still has a deer glaring from its walls, disdainful because it has such tiny antlers. Birmingham riots quietly in its own way, because it knows no other.
And the Crescent City bends its back in ecstasy, constantly entwined in lust with the Mississippi River. It's reaching east, waiting for me to return. And next week I will. You know, you wait and wait for the miracle to happen, because you figure it just has to at some point. And just as you make different plans it comes as always in the form of a tall thin man with striking eyes, gazing lazily down the sidwalk from you like it's never been that big a thing. And he gets down on one knee and says, "It's about time that this happens."
Then the sun comes up on Decatur Street and the city is still for the only week in the year it ever is. Still and quiet. Hushed and spent, looking out from diaphanous curtains hung from floor-to-ceiling french doors, and just before it closes its eyes it smiles in satisfaction, and sleeps.
There is nothing wrong with gardens. Keep your old love letters, throw away your old bank statements. WWOZ is on the stereo.

Well, it's on the stereo. Well, it's on.
Friday, February 5th, 2010
8:45 pm
I'll hang around as long as you will let me
Somewhere the bells and whistles are beginning in a whisper, and in two weeks they will be a roar. Somewhere the band is beginning to play, and flowers are growing beside soon to be discovered granite monuments. And I am here in a sagging bedframe, in a room that is key lime green. Naked. Formerly muddy. And almost to content.
I hate the dull subaudible of discontent. It's always so much better when it's ruptured and bleeding, thrashing and unsatiable. I suppose I could have made it that way but anytime I'm in this place it's hard to get all too passionate about anything. I guess that's because it's safe. But it is what it is. You are what you it. There are no mistakes.
Somewhere chrysanthemums are blooming from beautiful women's mouths. And remember, child, gold and rubies hurt just as much as frogs and snakes when they pass your lips.
I got a volunteer gig doing favors for the ladies at the environmental center, which should be just peachy. I'm up to about 70 applications on the federal jobs website, although I've recieved only one maybe as of yet. But there are new ones every day. Poor Bernice is wounded and probably will never brake right again but she's outside on her haunches ready to roll, to show Ali Mae the south. And if there ever was a time to wake the hell up and get back to being audible it would be six days from now.
Gainesville. Savannah. Charleston. Chattanooga. Atlanta. Auburn. Birmingham. Jackson. Natchez. Natchitoches. Baton Rouge. New Orleans. Biloxi. Mobile. Pensacola. Tallahassee.
I got my paychecks from the job that fired me in the mail today. It was hardly enough to pay for gas out of the state. But I'll take what I can get. The plans are laid and money's just paper.
I've got a lot of irons in the fire - the environmental center, the sheriff's office, grad school, the feds, and if I've been waiting for the big bang since December, I've probably been waiting too long.
Friday, January 29th, 2010
1:13 am
You need to step it up
So it's all so complicated. I got fired from the restaurant in Sanford I was working at. I've never been fired before, and even though it really is so trivial, particularly in a state where you can be fired for wearing the wrong color underwear if someone wants to. But it's so complicated - because Ali Mae comes around the mountain on February 11. I mean, I was planning on ditching on the restaurant then, but that two weeks of work would have amounted to a lot of money, which I don't really have right now. And if she comes in two weeks, there isn't much of a point in trying to get a job between now and then. So I'm up in the air for two weeks. I mean, I suppose I could partake in all sorts of personal enrichment. And in all honesty it's really not that complicated.
I could think about how I may or may not have been officially employed by said restaurant and may or may not have messed up with my unemployment regarding any funds I may recieve in the future. I could worry about my money going away and when I should leave Florida. I could wonder how much longer I'll be up in the air about any Park job, or how long I'll be wondering whether or not I'll get into Northwestern State. I could worry about how disappointing it is that I'm living with my parents, or that I'm unemployed, or that I'm not doing this that or the other thing that I should be.
I've been doing that for days now -- stagnant, fidgeting, stalled and unmotivated. But By the Way, is right, to be patient for the love of god. And Dems is right, that I seem to wake up a lot with change stuck to my skin.

Money's just paper, liquors thicker than water
High wide and handsome, in thought word and deed.
Sunday, January 24th, 2010
1:00 am
Squeak vs. Tangerine: or, the good times are killing me
My name is Emily Anne.

I have seen the sun rise on the Atlantic
And have seen it set behind the lines of a sleeping mountain.
I have seen the dust storms invade from Arizona, mounting on the horizon
And I have seen the light of love in the eyes of men who likely swore never to love again.
I have kissed the earth in many states,
I have driven in snow, for better or worse;
I have a Volvo station wagon named Bernice.

My name has been uttered in passing conversations, in curiousities and wonders of
What ever happened to her?
My name has been screamed to the stars on high school revelry nights
My name has been whispered as a question, and as an affirmation.
I have written and recorded, remembered and revisited, and I have dwelled
Knee deep, in the realm of regret and should-have-been - but
Remember that I laughed twice as hard as I cried.

I failed in Oregon. I failed in New Orleans, and am
Failing in Central Florida - but
it's always behind the curtain freinds, around the bend,
And let it never be said that I didn't wait long enough
For the miracle to happen.

I have said refused to say I'm sorry, and I have begged for forgiveness
I have even let the most important things go
Because I didn't understand them.
I know the name of the anhinga, the yucca, the nutria, and at least
different words for snow.
I can tell you hello in Dine', goodbye in Dutch, and to go fuck yourself in French.

I apparently need to step it up.
I need to leave - but
It isn't so bad to go against instinct now and again.

My name is Emily
And I am twenty - five years old.
Monday, January 11th, 2010
1:33 am
High, Wide and Handsome
It seems as if it's been a lot longer since Christmas; a lot longer since I was in Oregon, and a lot longer since Italy. But it's January and I'm still in Florida and unfortunately enjoying it and, well hey, may as well stick around for a minute. It seems as if the busy waltz of the holidays has just bled over -- I'm not tired of seeing anyone yet, and I'm comfortable. My room is key lime green, the tomatoes are alright outside despite the cold, and I've got little lovely plans that don't have so much to do with traversing the sides of the cage or playing with a rubber band on the bumper.
I got a job at a restaurant on First Street in Sanford, which is a place I've always wanted to work at. And, next to the Hollerbach's Willow Tree Cafe, it's by far the best place I could hope to work at in the historic district. The owner is young and great to hang out with, and his girlfriend and the other servers are hilarious too. There's the possibility of making a lot of money as well, so until the new what's next shows up, I'm sitting pretty. Some people have been talking about renting out the apartment above the restaurant in Sanford, and I said I'd throw down too, depending on lease requirements.
I went to Flagler Beach to visit an old friend today - I do a lot of that these days, visit old friends - and Flagler's even lovelier. Rent seems pretty cheap and the town is just as pretty as can be. The longer I'm home, the more I become attached. So I search for things to do to make things matter -- If you're going to stand on her, if she will bear your weight, you must love her in return.
But there is a reconnaissance mission in the works regardin Miss Alexandra and myself. A sojourn beginning in a corner of the country that has a big green heart in it, careening to the sunshine state and then exploding across the southeast in search of KICKS. The mermaids of Weeki Watchee will stare in disbeleif, the city of Gainesville will fall to its knees, and the Appalachians will fill with the thick fog of the mystery we will bring with us. The streets of Jackson will burn and Birmingham will be interesting - just for us. The maps are on the walls, the place is a mess but indeed conspiracy is in the cards.

Have "High, Wide and Handsome" carved on my gravestone
With the date I was born, plus the date that I died
Then take one from the other, all that's left is a number
Just remember I laughed twice as hard as I cried
Tuesday, December 29th, 2009
10:08 am
I will dance at your wedding
All hail the return of the holiday hangover, and lovers who are now strangers come over the hill to visit and ask how you are. How are you?

It's wonderfully easy to be distracted by anything this time of year, the week between holidays -- a period of time where, in years past, these days wouldn't count, or would be topsy turvy. Let the servants be served, let the aristocrats be peasants and vice versa, and there might be a blood sacrifice somewhere in there for fun. Let up be down, let light be dark, let all our terrible desires be well intended and lets all get very drunk. I am the queen of the Bean; I am the matchstick madonna; I am a well-dressed receptionist with a 5500 keystroke per minute data entry speed. I am presentable and regal. I am grace.

This is not a time of new beginnings. In fact, they're practically impossible in this week and, as I venture forth in some attempt at being productive, I imagine no one will take it all that seriously. But I remember one New Year's day, in a particularly dejected time in my life, I woke up with a big bruise on my head and the dedicated intent to attend grad school. At least this time around I'm a little ahead of my own curves. I just need a good idea, that's all.

So spin the hampster wheel one more time, give my regards to the other side of the cage and meet me at the Nice n Easy. I'll be there one more night.
Sunday, December 20th, 2009
8:05 pm
And so I flew on a bird more than a week ago, over the places I used to live, and over places I want to live, and into the land of the lush where Multnomah Falls has frozen into the cascades. Far too cold for this place and time of year, I put my gloves on and looked through windows into lives I only sometimes know: Boys with glasses in the cold weather, in hipster bars and hipster houses with good people and a wonderful crazy girl and a dog named Juniper. Everything new and introduced in places strange and lovely. And the rain begins to fall down the Redwood Highway, finding me on the coast in a house that smells like some exotic strain of marijuana, or across town watching three boys bent over turntables playing loud music, gluing together pictures with tiny children, a boy and a girl. And thinking, however romantic it is to think, it is the god's honest truth that everything that I have done and has happened to me since November of 2004 is because of this person, and for this I am so fortunate. Bass blasting through the walls and a boy smoking an electric cigarettes. Always the talk of which hybrid this is, which strain, how it was watered and how much you can get paid to trim it. And down and down and down.
Through towns that could only have California names, over bridges from which you can see other bridges and an islands named Treasure and Alcatraz. Silicon Valley. Ben Mellen's house and an observatory high in the clouds. You're just as much of a smartass as you've always been, and thank you. Just to the north, the Necropolis of Colma sprawls over rolling hills of high granite monuments and angels, and it could easily take weeks to see it all. I ate Thai noodles with a man who has a tregus piercing somewhere in San Francisco, and the next morning drove back to San Jose to get my things. Before dawn, driving through neighborhoods of impossibly expensive homes on impossibly steep streets, watching the streetlamps go out and the fog roll off and I think, "Maybe I do like San Francisco a little bit." Onward and upward.
I came home to Eugene in the dark, almost forgetting where I was - thinking maybe I'm driving to Dove Creek or Rico. But no, Franklin, and Glenwood, and Chambers, Garfield and Lawrence. Friendly and the Lorraine Highway to the home of a family anyone in this world would be lucky to know.
I came to Eugene to take a test to qualify as a 911 Dispatcher for the City. I took it yesterday and, while I can apparently type 5100 keystrokes per minute, they wanted 5200. So thanks for coming, maybe next time. And thus, I will not be moving back to Eugene. But for this I am probably also fortunate; it probably wouldn't be too original or novel to move to the same place three times. A girl's got to have better ideas than that, and so it has been a lovely visit. I participated in the most lovely family Christmas celebration with Sean and his family, and I'm taking home a wooden goose with a Santa hat on as a souveneir. Nothing much has changed here, except some faces at some places I once worked at, but no, not much else. And of course not the rain. I kissed a few memories and paid homage to where I have come from.
For the first time, now, I am looking at having absolutely no plans, no ideas, no obligations and very few limits. I was waiting for something good to shock me into action, let's hope I get some good ideas.
Oh dear, the world is my oyster and I haven't the slightest idea of what to do with it.
Wednesday, December 9th, 2009
1:41 pm
So it's 1pm on a Wednesday, and I've just gotten back from a long lovely bikeride to the Seminole County Schools building in Sanford. It's 82*F and I've gotten an awesome glasses tan from the ride.
And it's hotter than hell, and I'm overheated, and standing next to the pool trying to will myself to jump in, but all I can think of is, aw shit it's going to be so cold.
Repeat: It's December 9th, 82* outside, and I'm all worked up because the pool water is too cold.
Florida is so spoiled.
Tuesday, December 1st, 2009
6:49 pm
Gratitude for November
I want to look at the world in terms of abstract cerebral paintings again. Think of the roads as wet, misty ribbons laid on thick green loam under a humungous sky. I want to walk the train tracks and think deeply about the way I look at the universe, and the way I feel as a resident of it.
I remember when these things were malleable - and I always will be less than I once was and that's alright. But I can still make my eyes wide. I can still see sex as a sacrement and a ritual, and a spell and a prayer. I can still be amazed by the smallest things, and I can still be easily amused.
I could look puzzled and content to say, "I wonder where I'll float next?" And I will. But I can also move the puzzle pieces and follow the scent. I can still look sideways.
I'm still pretty sure there's a missing piece that I probably just have to wait for, but that's frustrating and I'd rather find some way to work. Wherever the puzzle piece is, whatever or whoever it is, had better be pretty awesome. I am not usually content with being saved.
It's the first day of December, and I am viscerally aware of how fortunate I am. Now if I could only remember how to rejoice more appropriately.

Current Mood: pensive
Friday, November 6th, 2009
1:54 pm
Bless my poor tired traveler's soul
I guess this is probably what I wanted -- a winter of travel, discovery and intregue. But holy hell does it hurt a wallet.
I haven't been able to sit still in Lake Mary, although I love being home. But I'm fidgeting and apparently that can only be remedied by moving moving moving. So here we go.
I got called for an interview in Eugene for an emergency dispatcher job that would start in May. It's the one job I really really want -- the pay is great, benefits, the whole deal, and housing in Eugene is pretty cheap. So I have customarily taken this one necessary trip to Eugene Oregon to a level of complete elaboration. Because I started thinking, well, if I'm going to be in Eugene then I may as well get there a week early, drive to Humboldt to see Eddie, and if I'm going to do that it's only 6 hours to see Ben in San Jose. And of course I book the flight through Portland because it's cheaper (it is) but I forget that I'm still 24 and I have to pay an extra $25 a day because I'm apparently a liability. I called the Enterprise folks and they said there really isn't any way around this, although I forgot to ask if the extra $25 a day would be considered insurance, because it sure as fuck should be.
And then since that's in December and I'm not really in a position to get a job since my family and I are going to Italy in two weeks, I figure - what the hell - I'll drive up to Tallahassee to see some people, and then that's only 6 hours to New Orleans. You'd think I'd learn.
And then I decided that my room needs to be painted on my own dime, since my dad's not going to get around to it. You know it always seems that when you have money in the bank that it's inexhaustible, and by January 1 I'm sure I'll finally realize that is sure as fuck isn't and it's time to rock some serving job again.
But in the meantime, the weather is beautiful, wish you were here.
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