Archive for the ‘You Can Go Home Again’ Category

Sushi über alles and catch you on the flip

April 26, 2011

One thing about the hiatus is that I’ve had a guilt-free great time being extra-close to all my face-time dear friendohs recently. They’re amazing, insightful, fantastic, and get me through everything with grace and good humor. Big ups to all my wonderful friends; I don’t know how you guys put up with me. Really.

Have you hugged your friends today?

via pandaeraser on the tumblr. Check her out!!!

But, that said, internet homies, it’s been a super-tremendously rewarding day back in the journal’s saddle. Though they’ve all been ghost posts which I’ve written the night before, I’ve really liked it. Let’s never part ways again. Butterfly kisses.

Got to set off some soosh bombasticos with panda tonight, so I’ll catch you on the flip!

Vonnegut Month: The people on the edge

February 8, 2011

Nous allons a la lune! via.

“I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can’t see from the center.

“Big, undreamed-of things — the people on the edge see them first.”

(Player Piano. Scribner, 1952.)

I think this is more important now than I ever have before. I stayed comfortable in the past, I kept nervously to the middle and tried not to draw attention to myself even though I found it unfulfilling and dissatisfactory, purely because the idea of doing anything else and letting the real me out seemed far too iffy.


And now I have been galvanized in to action, in to pursuing the things I want, and I can’t believe I ever kept away from the edge, kept myself boxed-in and low-key and up-and-up. I don’t regret the time I spent hiding and gathering courage to myself, because that’s no use, and I don’t disdain myself for my fears or insecurities, nor anyone else for feeling like they are not able to be a jumper just yet, but I’m just so glad I’ve begun.

Daily Batman: A-caroling we shall go

December 24, 2010

It’s Christmas Eve, kids. Get out there and earn some figgy pudding today! Make a joyful noise.

Christmas memories

December 23, 2010

Once, a boyfriend and I were drinking spiked egg nog and sitting on the couch in his seedy apartment, surrounded by the trappings of our small, personal Christmas Eve gift exchange. I was planning to go home later in the evening and spend Christmas Day proper with my parents, and, since neither of us believed in Santa anymore, although I was wearing a smashing Mrs. Claus number from Frederick’s of Hollywood that he’d just given me, we saw nothing wrong with doing the gifts on Christmas Eve rather than pushing in on my family celebration for the morning.

His arm around me while we watched a burning log on a channel he’d found on the television, this boyfriend asked me, “What’s your favorite Christmas memory?”

My favorite Christmas memory. I was four years old and we lived in our second doublewide and, being a runt and not even considering myself worthy of a bed but dimly aware that it was too near a waste of money to buy child-sized things, as we would just outgrow them and render the gesture useless, I still slept in a crib. It was the year Strawberry Shortcake was first really huge, and I used to beg my parents to rent a VCR so we could watch Strawberry Shortcake tapes.

We went to Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. It was the first time I’d ever been to Midnight Mass and been awake for it. All the lights were off in the church and we each carried a candle with a little cardboard-paper holder to protect our hands from the wax. I cradled mine in front of me and tried to guard the flame from my breathing — you know how kids breathe hotter and harder than adults, like they take in bigger gulps of the world, like we give up more on wanting a part of it all the older we grow, until at the end we can only reluctantly take in these thin little sips that don’t even stir the air. I shifted from foot to foot and spun my head around to get the best view of Our Lady Star of the Sea, looming and receding, so deliciously unfamiliar and creepy, in the flickering shadows thrown up by the candlelight, as the cantor sang the lineage of Christ.

At the final lines, “And thus, all things being right in the universe (or something like that) … Jesus Christ is born,” and the lights all came up at once and a tympani rolled and trumpets began as the choir started singing “Gloria in Excelsis Deo” and it blew my mind.

On the ride home, the defrost on the Honda we had didn’t work anymore, and my dad had his window down and kept leaning out and wiping the windshield. In the backseat, the dew on the windows refracted the orange sodium vapor lights and I could see myself reflected in the window, suffused with the glow of dancing lights as we passed under them.

It was a pretty decent trailer court (one of those ones that says it is a Mobile Home Park) and a lot of people had gone all out on decorations. Because I was only four, I hadn’t been out and about seeing the lights at night in the weeks prior, so it was new to me. Everything looked unearthly, serene and intended and transformed, and the air that came through my father’s rolled-down window was humid because our town was surrounded by bogs but frosty, too, like sucking in freezer air, or the blowback of your breath against a tray of ice cubes. It was bracing and beautiful in that way that only very cold things can be.

When we got home, I went to my room to put on my pyjamas and there was a bed in my room. It had an actual headboard, which my parents’ bed and certainly the hide-a-bed in the couch did not, and turned-back striped pink and green sheets and a Strawberry Shortcake quilt. There was a red heart-shaped decorative pillow on top of my regular pillow, edged with cotton eyelet lace. Propped against the heart pillow sat a Strawberry Shortcake doll, and I could tell she was one of the new ones that had strawberry-scented breath. The doll was the part that startled me the most, because it grounded the experience: this was something I’d seen on the television and not even dared ask for. This room could not be mine.

I stood in the doorway gaping. I remember I had to pee and was freaked out that this beautiful bed was in the middle of my room, where my crib should be. My first reaction was anxiety. I felt like I shouldn’t be there, or that someone was going to take it away. My father came in and threw me on the bed, so I bounced, and my mother took pictures of me holding the pillow and the doll.

After I’d changed and gotten ready for bed, and climbed in it for the first time, my mother came and sat by me and told me how my father got the pieces for the frame and my grandfather and uncle had put the bed together while we were at Mass. My aunt had bought the doll, my mother made the heart pillow, and my grandmother sewed the quilt. Money was very tight for my family at that time, and everyone had come together to make sure I got a big girl bed for the first Christmas I’d remember. While she described their plans, this feeling in my stomach shook looser and looser, and it got away from me and filled the room and I started crying.

My mother clucked over me and said I was tired, and stayed next to me with the light off until I made my breathing regular enough to convince her I was asleep and she left. I lay in the dark looking at the textured ceiling, trying to avoid the spots where in the dark it made shapes that scared me, and felt tears run backward down my cheeks and drip slowly in to my ears. It was like Christmas and the choir at Mass and the cold vastness of the empty town on the drive home, with the lights on and no one on the street, and yet the tiny little family with all their love filling up the inside of my room and our home — was all so big and simultaneous that I could only cry, not from being sad, but from being humbled.

I thought about all that when my boyfriend asked me my favorite Christmas memory, and got shy. “You go first,” I said.

He described how one Christmas, after they’d opened all their toys and were having breakfast and watching cartoons, his mother surprised them with another box full of toys for him and his sister.

I asked, “Do you think — was that maybe the first Christmas after your parents divorced?”

“I don’t know,” he shrugged. “That all runs together. It was just awesome when she brought in that box and I knew it was full of more toys. I got everything that year — G.I. Joes, the Castle Greyskull, like, seriously. Everything.”

I looked at him and he had these particularly garish colored lights strung up on his fake Christmas tree, the kind where the red is really pink, and he’d set them to blink, and at that moment he was lit by them in a way that made me not recognize him as he stared at the television. He seemed like a total alien, like someone with whom I’d never spent hours: a stranger the planes of whose face I had never memorized in the dark. And I never told him my memory.

It wasn’t his fault, and I railed against myself for it later and tried to pretend it hadn’t happened, but, in that exchange, this sharp divide fell down between us, for me, and I could never seem to want to get it back up. Maybe if I’d told him then about this disparity in our childhood memories, things would have been different, because it really wasn’t a big deal and might even, in the telling, have picked up some softer and selfless side, some deeper soul in him that I cheated out of revealing itself. I’ll never know, because I never told him about it.

Now, when I remember the Strawberry Shortcake bed, I remember, too, those decades later, sitting in self-imposed silence in my cheaply-ribboned red velvet and mirabou beside a stranger with a pink forehead and shadow-socketed eyes before a picture of a burning log, when I maybe missed the mark — or maybe ducked a knife — and I think again of the bigness of my family’s love and the smallness of the details of our lives, and am grateful more than ever before. And I still let tears roll into my ears sometimes, because of course they will all die, they have already begun, just as I will and have nearly, and all that I can do is cling to these passionate recollected moments, captured so clearly in my memory, and hold them close enough to keep my heart in its right shape, so then when I join them they’ll be able to recognize me.

69 Days of Wonder Woman: Day 36, Muppet connections

November 29, 2010

Now this is the quickest way to my heart.

One-way ticket, express train. Complementary snacks and beverages.

Lynda Carter appeared on Episode 36 of The Muppet Show as herself, Lynda Carter. As with the Roger Moore “Bond” episode, where he appeared as himself, much to the consternation of the cast who were hoping for spy action, the Muppets’ running gag was to continually try to draw out Wonder Woman.

Appearing in a sketch as Wonder Pig, Miss Piggy asks Lynda if she regrets not bringing her costume along. All the Muppets take superhero lessons to impress Wonder Woman and Fozzie learns the value of bullet-deflecting bracelets.

Another Muppet venture, the Children’s Television Workshop, referred to the character of Wonder Woman in the recent Sesame Street “Preschool Musical” episode (a parody of High School Musical), when little Mariella up there sang about dress-up and how it made her in to someone else, someone that reflected the dreams and desires of who she wanted to be. Mariella spun until she changed in to the above outfit, and she remained in her superhero costume for the rest of the sketch.

Yesterday, Paolo was taking Corinnette back over to the coast for school, so I slid down to C-town to keep Miss D some company. We watched Muppets Take Manhattan on the television and folded laundry. “Sea Breeze Soap — Use it so you don’t stink.” It was truly wonderful. Besides the great writing and the actual entertainment value, I think that what makes the Muppets special for me is their relatability, their familiarity, and the comfort of their consistency. Maybe this is part of what has made Wonder Woman, too, an enduringly popular character, a standout hero in the genre, and a classic element of how we tell certain types of stories: if a girl is going to triumph, then she is Wonder Woman. “You’d have to be Wonder Woman to get all that done!” There is something special about that.

I need to give her credit for this: people love Wonder Woman, not only in comics but also in her pantheon of moving viewing material. They come back to her again and again and feel retro and nostalgic about it. I respect that, because I have things that I, too, love in that way.

Burroughs Month: Thanksgiving Prayer

November 25, 2010

“To John Dillinger and hope he is still alive.
Thanksgiving Day. November 28, 1986.”

Thanks for the wild turkey and
the passenger pigeons, destined
to be shat out through wholesome
American guts.

Thanks for a continent to despoil
and poison.

Thanks for Indians to provide a
modicum of challenge and

Thanks for vast herds of bison to
kill and skin leaving the
carcasses to rot.

Thanks for bounties on wolves
and coyotes.

Thanks for the American dream,
To vulgarize and to falsify until
the bare lies shine through.

Thanks for the KKK.

For nigger-killin’ lawmen,
feelin’ their notches.

For decent church-goin’ women,
with their mean, pinched, bitter,
evil faces.

Thanks for “Kill a Queer for
Christ” stickers.

Thanks for laboratory AIDS.

Thanks for Prohibition and the
war against drugs.

Thanks for a country where
nobody’s allowed to mind their
own business.

Thanks for a nation of finks.

Yes, thanks for all the
memories — all right let’s see
your arms!

You always were a headache and
you always were a bore.

Thanks for the last and greatest
betrayal of the last and greatest
of human dreams.

I do not believe it is as hopeless as all that. This year, I am incredibly thankful to be alive at all, let alone to live where I do with the people I love. I understand Mr. Burroughs’ criticisms, I just think that we must keep caring and trying to win out against the sense of defeat and cynicism, and maybe then the dream can still be saved. I don’t believe people are inherently bad; I believe the opposite, and I won’t get discouraged and filled with bitterness toward all of humanity just because of the publicized exploits and outrages of the bad apples in our barrel. I believe that for each one of the headlines that sends people in to despair over the state of the world, there are a thousand unreported little kindnesses and gestures of love and connection.

And world peace. I know. I get cheesey. I’m just feeling very happy and free and alive.

Almost all photos via Square America.

Daily Batman: Got my sea legs back

November 23, 2010

The trial which had me so tied up in knots has ended better than I could have hoped. I celebrated a friends’ Thanksgiving with my closest friendohs. I attended my cousin’s wedding in San Antonio and feel grounded and affirmed being surrounded by friends and family in the past few weeks. I also ruminated long and hard and ultimately gained finality in a drawn-out situation that I hated, and I feel, in the grand summation, a whole lot less like I’m walled up in a castle behind thorns. Whew. I have my sea legs back, and I am ready to resume sailing steadily along this journey. Prepare for a post parade.

Flashback Friday — Liberated Negative Space o’ the Day: Inoculation edition and the obliteration of innocence

September 10, 2010

This entry originally appeared on January 31, 2010 at 3:13 PM.

By laser314, Amsterdam.

Answer: No.

Last week, my daughter’s friend and schoolmate told her that she had a “secret.” The secret was that, whenever her older brother got out of the shower, if no one else was home, they would have sex.

My daughter and her friend are both 5.

After my daughter told me this secret, which she rightly suspected seemed “off,” I turned the car around and drove immediately back to her school, where I tracked down the girls’ teacher and told her what the friend had told my daughter. I made no judgment in my retelling as to whether I thought this was true or not, just reported what had been said and put it in her hands. The next day, the friend’s mother picked her up from school, so I assumed things were okay. The day after that, it was the girl’s grandfather. She hasn’t been back to school since then. So I guess it was true. A five year old girl should have secrets about magic and dreams and glittery wands, about easter baskets and kisses on the cheek under the slide, not being penetrated by her brother’s penis when there is no one around to keep her safe. This is more to me than just the loss of innocence, this is a complete obliteration of it, the sucking dry of a life that was only newly struck when it got pulled down.

I have spent the week trying to wrap my mind around the entire thing, while dealing with the questions of my daughter, who still dimly feels she is under a cloud of trouble or suspicion for having this secret with her friend. She has asked me why kids can’t have sex, why family members can’t have sex, and why her friend’s brother would want to hurt her; whether her friend will still want to be her friend when she comes back to school, if she comes back at all, what is going to happen to her friend now, and why her friend cannot stay with her parents if it was her brother who was the problem. Dealing with her questions and keeping her close during the day has occupied my mind. But it’s not so easy at night, when she is asleep, and I am asking myself some of the same questions.

I did not believe there were evil people, just evil decisions, until a friend of mine died violently. It changed my view. I don’t think evil is an excuse, or a disability. I still think it’s a choice, but it’s a more overarching and wholly tarring choice than I originally perceived. For a long while after my friend died, I was obsessed with crime and criminals, afraid to leave my house, dreading that the same thing would happen to me. My daughter’s birth came within a few years of my friend’s death, and I think — I know — that my paranoia increased. After my marriage and move to another state, I isolated myself and my daughter completely in our house and told myself I was finally safe and happy.

Neither of these was true. There is no way to escape a dark place that isn’t a physical reality, but a pit in your mind, that keeps dragging you back down. I’ve done my best, I think. I recognized my unhappiness, I stopped running, I emerged, and I took my daughter with me, but to what end?; I’ve brought her to the only place I’ve ever lived and actually felt safe, put us both back out in the sunshine, so to speak, and now evil is already intruding in her short life. It makes a moment when she will be taken from me by some less-than-human person seem inevitable. It haunts me, it suffocates me, this idea. It is breathtakingly terrifying. I really don’t know what to do.

That’s all I can say for now. It’s too upsetting.

edit: What I’ve come to since then is this. I cannot control other people (yet — as soon as I get Professor X to lift this block, I am gonna rule the crap out of all y’all, so just a heads-up; don’t worry, I’ll be mainly benevolent) , but I can control how I respond to the events in my life, and I can control how I prepare my daughter for the good and the bad in life. My main goal now is to make sure she understands essential safety precautions and recognizes dicey situations without descending in to the prickly-sweated paranoia of her mother.

As an example, the unlock button on my key fob is going bad and when it took a couple clicks to open the doors not too long ago, I said to Miss D, “I really need to get it fixed because what if someone is chasing me through a parking lot and that’s the night it finally gives up the ghost?” So I guess I want the kidlet to be less like me and more like herself, only a safe but still innocent one. So again, to answer the question posed in the graffiti: “Can I inoculate my child against the looming darkness? No.”

Girls of Summer: Delores Wells, Miss June 1960

August 31, 2010

Photographed by Don Bronstein.

Delores Wells, Playboy’s Miss June 1960, shares her October 17th birthday with the anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989, which stopped the World Series and collapsed the Cypress Structure on the Nimitz Freeway and part of the Bay Bridge, and with the birthday of my dearest old friendoh Big Ben, who I’ve gotten to see twice this month and am super glad of it (a much more cheery connection).

At the time of her Playboy appearance, Ms. Wells was living in Chicago, like a lot of the early centerfolds. She worked as a bunny in the Chicago club. Sources suggest that Ms. Wells made $1,000 per week working at the club, but that her payment for this pictorial was only $500.

The above picture did not make it in to the original spread because Ms. Wells’ pubic hair was slightly visible, which god forbid — until the Pubic Wars of the 70’s.

Ms. Wells eventually wung her way west and appeared in several of the surf-rock propelled, beach party movies that were popular in this era: Beach Party, Muscle Beach Party, and Bikini Beach.

Beach party movies came up for us recently in the context of Sharon Tate’s Actual Life Awareness Month, but I had not taken the time to discuss them because I was trying to stick to my self-imposed edict of keeping the spotlight on Ms. Tate. In this post I am beholden to no such stringency and will tell you all about it.

American International Pictures produced the first “beach party” movie, titled, go figure, Beach Party in 1963. I do not count the Gidget movies. Wikipedia does, but I do not. In my opinion the AIP beach movies were too different to give Gidget inspiration credit, and had a totally different market and theme in mind. Also I have been a huge Connie Francis guy since birth, and even though I know it is stupid and pointless, I bear a grudge against Sandra Dee for being the one who got to marry Bobby Darin. Yes, I know: stupid and pointless.

Following the success of Beach Party, AIP cooked up more films featuring beachy monkey shines, about seven in all, which mainly served as frontispieces for selling the motion picture soundtracks with appearances from popular musicians of the era. (You know — like Shrek movies.)

Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon starred in the majority of the AIP beach party flicks, and players like Ms. Wells appeared regularly as the same “Type” of person, though sometimes with different character names from film to film. The important thing was their recognizable persona. You know, the giggly flirts, the schoolbookish types, the buffed dimwits, etc … and, of course, the ne’er do wells. In the AIP beach party movies, the ne’er do wells were the comically inept Rats & Mice.

Oh, the decorative sex*. Hands-down my favorite shot.

The villains of the story were usually biker Eric Von Zipper (played by comic actor Harvey Lembeck as a parody of Marlon Brando in The Wild One) and his inept gang the Rat Pack, or “Rats & Mice”.

(the wiki)

The most popular running gag of the beach party series is “The Himalayan Suspender” technique, originated by Professor Sutwell in Beach Party, in which the forefinger is pressed against a certain part of the skull, rendering the victim paralyzed. The victim of this move (aka “The finger”) was always [Rats & Mice leader] Eric Von Zipper, who learned it from Sutwell and threatened people with it in subsequent films, calling it “The Rats’ Revenge.”


However, Von Zipper’s finger never worked on others, only himself. Once Von Zipper became paralyzed (usually with a big open-mouthed smile on his face), the Rats & Mice would carry him out and declare “Eric Von Zipper will return!”


I am pretty sure one of my girlfriends in high school lay “the finger” on our other friend as he knelt between us in Math class trying to coax my friend to share more of her large water bottle full of vodka mixed with orange juice, from which we’d been healthily improving our outlook on the late morning for at least a half hour. We told him to go away before he made it obvious what was going on, but he was having none of it.

I was particularly concerned about “maintaining” because I was not the kind of student who got in trouble, living a very weird double life in which I outwardly exemplified a golden student and banner citizen and genuinely cared about service to others and studying for tests, yet I also secretly ditched school, drank, and smoked. I was too young at that time to reconcile those behaviors with one another. I was also worried because I was better friends with his sister than with this guy, though he too was a friend, and I looked up to her as a role model, and my opinion at that time was that the less he knew about my bad behavior, the better.

A close contender for favorite shot of the spread.

Exasperated and sympathetic to my worries, my girlfriend made hoo-doo signs in the air over our annoying friend’s head and elaborately pressed her index finger to the middle of his forehead, and he did a method face plant from his knees in to the carpet of the classroom.

We thought this was hysterical.

I have no idea how any of this was going on while a teacher was in the room, but that shit would never fly with me. My covertly misspent youth is a mixed blessing for my students: I am empathetic to their desire to break the mold and be bad, and party down and word up and whathaveyou in the process of living their life, man, but I am simultaneously wise to their shenanigans. The hell you are flashing a pack of Marlboros in here, young lady — if the girls’ bathroom during passing period was good enough for me, it’s good enough for you; and you may save your joints for behind the tennis court like everyone else since time out of mind, mister.

Coda about the three characters in this anecdote, as we stand fifteen years later. My girlfriend in this story’s son and my daughter were baptized together five years ago. She works as a physician’s assistant. The guy on whom we lay the finger and I got high a few years later on the state seal the night before he went to join the Marines, or maybe the Air Force. I’d gotten over my hang-up about fearing too greatly the judgment of people I cared about. We stumbled to the Hard Rock Cafe and ate our weight in onion rings, and he told them it was my birthday even though it wasn’t, so we scored free dessert. Later he worked as the music teacher at our Catholic high school in town and is now pursuing a full-time career in Los Angeles as a musician.

I am now substitute teaching at the very church at which we all met, and drive every day past the high school in the story. All that time I wanted to drink and smoke away the trapped feeling of the pressure of living in this town, which shrinks the longer you live here and the more people you know, so that a town of 215k or so can start to feel quite small indeedy, and now I like it just fine. Did I mellow out, or did I sell out? I think the former.

One of the above pictures has made an appearance here before, in the inaugural “Showdown!” edition. I’ve totally dropped the ball on “Showdown!”s. Those were fun. All apologies: will remedy it soon, promise.

Coda to Ms. Wells’ story: the very lovely and talented Ms. Wells continued to work in film and television in Los Angeles. Later, she worked for a while as personal secretary to the late Linda Lovelace, controversial star of Deep Throat. They met at a party at the Mansion in Holmby Hills. I assume her time with Ms. Lovelace ended before Ms. Lovelace’s denunciation of the pornography industry.

Ms. Wells is still alive and kicking and will celebrate her 73rd birthday this coming October 17th, which brings us full circle to the beginning of an entry that it’s taken me four days to write. Again, all apologies — had a lot of dogs in the fire, Stanimal. No reflection on marvelous Ms. Wells or the AIP beach flicks. This post has now reminded me that I need a movie moment on both Deep Throat and the magnificent camp parody Psycho Beach Party. I’ll try to get to that, I swar to gar! All y’all keep on rockin’ in the free world and please forgive me my absences.

*Phrase borrowed with amused admiration from chainedandperfumed right here on the wordpress, then googled and found to be of even more apt camp and vintage. Thanks for the loan, c&p. Truly you are the O.G. of this biz.

Daily Batman: Get down with your crazy self

July 28, 2010

Bats in the belfry.

via and via.

There is no genius free from some tincture of madness.


Hey. I’m home from going home and after I post up a few things, I will work back through the comments. I hope you have all had an illuminating, fascinating, orgasmic last ten days and I am totally willing to hear all about it whether you have or have not. It feels good to be back!

You Can Go Home Again — Girls like a boy who reads

July 25, 2010

The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.

St. Augustine

Even though I have long been grudgingly hep to St. Augustine’s game, I still like this quote, but that’s mainly because again, despite my hepness, I still dig him.

You Can Go Home Again — Ms. Parker

July 24, 2010

via subwayphilosophy right here on the wordpress.

“The best way to keep children at home is to make the home atmosphere pleasant — and let the air out of the tires.”

(Dorothy Parker.)

Oh, you. Seriously, though?, I believe she may be right on this one. Certainly my parents lit out of their hometown as fast as they could. I, on the other hand, not only romanticize their hometown but truly believe that I have never been happier anywhere other than the town in which I presently live.

Bridge at Knights’ Ferry, photographed by me. April 2010.

I have found myself returning to this “home” again and again to live as an adult because I feel genuinely that my eyes are offended by sights other than the ones I love so well here (country drives, quiet campgrounds, familiar trees and rocks in the middle of fields off the highway — these are like guideposts for exploration of my own soul) and the companionship of familiar places and faces; what interests me is that friendohs who have lived around here longer than I and never much anywhere else seem to take toward my town the same attitude my parents did to theirs: can’t wait to leave, consider it bougeois, boring, etc.

I don’t know if it is so much a case of familiarity breeding contempt as it is of inconsistency bringing longing for roots.

How sad that got. I’m sorry.

You Can Go Home Again — Every day.

July 22, 2010

“Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home.

(Matsuo Basho.)

I’m not so sure. This seems like one of those things people get on magnets or coffee mugs. I’m not feeling this quote as much as the others I’ve been using, but I wanted something generically twee to accompany the delightful twee picture, whose credit I have lost. Sorry if this quote super-duper speaks to you, but I’m more of a light-my-soul-on-fire kind of a journeyer and I find this a little too sitting indian style suspended above a koi pond for my taste. Some day I will tamp down this ferocity and mature and grow more zen and finally gain the knowledge I claim to want … but apparently not today.

You Can Go Home Again — Tired but true Frost wisdom

July 20, 2010

via diskursdisko.

Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.

(Robert Frost.)

I hope they do not find it too much a chore with me — I’m bringing biscotti, pignolas, and a little kid half of them have never seen.


I am happily and firmly ensconced once more in the land of crick gypsies by now, I reckon. It’s a comfortable place to be. To go from the tony cabins on the lake in to the deep woods and see assorted family is my favorite transition to make. In the case of these photo choices, I need to defend what people from “Down South” (ie: anything below Boise) seem to consider to be the overabundance of prefab and mobile homes in the fam’s neck of the woods. I was born and bred in the briar patch and let me tell you it’s a good thing, not a white trash thing. Here’s what it means to me:

Parker Posey via suicideblonde. Isn’t she lovely?

It means it’s a place where people actually understand that less house and more land is the way it ought to be, and not an endless pursuit of the opposite in the very antonym of the symbiosis which our Earth deserves. It is a move against space-waste and toward conservation of personal resources. I say yay to trailers and have actually said for many years that my ideal house, once my child(ren?) had grown and gone, would be not even a singlewide but a small camper or lite RV on some land by a river.

I know, I know: I will have plenty of time for that when I’m living in a van down by the river. But really.

You Can Go Home Again — No yesterdays on the road

July 18, 2010

via retrodome on the lj — this wonderful pic is giant, you really must check it out. I’d love to be able to name all the girls.

What you’ve done becomes the judge of what you’re going to do – especially in other people’s minds.

But, when you’re traveling, you are what you are right there and then. People don’t have your past to hold against you.

No yesterdays on the road.

(William Least Heat Moon)

What a great idea, right?? Super-great quote. Can’t identify most of the ladies in the pic, but if you click to enlarge, I believe the seated short-haired one in the center is lovely and talented Barbara Cameron, Miss November 1955, is it not? That toothy smile seems familiar.

edit: Another i.d. and photo credits via Diamond Minx:
Diamond Minx Says:
July 20, 2010 at 1:04 am

The lady in the fringed skirt with the fur stole on the right is one of the most famous burlesque performers ever – Miss Gypsy Rose Lee. The rest of the girls were part of a touring show she produced.

Here are the photo credits:

Ralph Steiner (1899-1986)
Curves Ahead (Gypsy Rose Lee), 1950/51
Gelatin silver print
7 1/8 x 9 1/8”
Gift of Therese and Murray Weiss

Many thanks — “Sing out, Louise!”

You Can Go Home Again — Journeyer’s advice: The things left behind; hole in your sole

July 16, 2010

Hole in your sole or whole in your soul?

William S. Burroughs’ shoes. Photographed by Peter Ross.

Desperation is the raw material of drastic change. Only those who can leave behind everything they have ever believed in can hope to escape.

William S. Burroughs

And his shoe polish. Photographed by Peter Ross. Both via bigfun on the tumblr.

What a great quote but, zuppa toscana!,* what a challenging endeavor. True change, the inside kind that counts, not the slimming down of the outside or revamps to hair and style, but the alteration and bettering of stuff beneath, is such a difficult process of discernment and goal-setting. There are things in which I believe that I would not wish to leave behind, but, come to think of it, I likely believe in them now because of having already left behind some old things. So I think I’m on my way and perhaps in the clear …

… Maybe.

Kerouac and Burroughs in a chat. I love the supercilious expression on Burroughs’ face. He is literally looking down his nose. I bet they were high as little beatnik kites, too. via “If Charlie Parker…”

*as an example, I’m still eager to eat at Olive Garden, as that food euphemism proves. I can rail against consumerism and branding and obesity and the devaluing of the individual artisan, but when push comes to shove I want me some chain-restaurant high fructose corn syrup facsimiles of truly nourishing food. Really, though — don’t some Olive Garden breadsticks sound goooood? Oh, me. I am such a fruity work in progress.

You Can Go Home Again — Daily Batman: Road trip

July 15, 2010

By wonderful Adam Hughes, of course!

A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.

John Steinbeck

Worrrrrrd. On that note, my first stop (really days from now but I’m constructing these all well ahead of time) after having spent the first night of old home week (aka You Can Go Home Again) in Eugene and seeing Christer-in-law and her apparently amazing boyfriend the night before will be to drive up the road to my brief hometown Portland and have breakfast at Elmer’s with my husband and his father as though it is a regular happening of a Saturday morning.


My husband I can handle but I’m 100% sure I will cry at the sight of my father-in-law. He lived across the street from us and was a constant, quiet, perfect presence and companion in my life and since the day I left Portland we have not spoken a word to one another. I suspect he will be as fine with the bare fact of this, which is the part others might find odd, as me because of how deeply we both of us repress; neither would have expected to hear from the other when there are such sad thoughts to be thunk and beers to be drunk while watching baseball or sitting in a lawn chair looking over the backyard.

But I am afraid that what will cause a stir between us is that I will cave under the weight of the sadness of not having quietly done all that together all this time rather than separated by these miles and deep emotions, and I will cry and it will make him sadder. I feel that I have already dealt him such a bad turn by springing on him that I had to leave, that to compound my betrayal of our connection and friendship and love by showing him further proof of my weakness and self-indulgence by crying about my sadness instead of squeezing hands and exchanging a meaningful glance and saving the tears for the gas station on the way out of town would really end me. Please send vibes.

Goin’ on a tiger hunt

July 15, 2010

I guess I should mention in case things go haywire in the next nine or ten days that I won’t be here — haven’t been for almost a day now, actually, I think. It’s all ghost posts for the next week and some odd days.

I’m taking my hips on a gold road trip to the Old Home. It will bring good and bad. I will be stopping at several points along the way there and back for some painful purposes, and at other times for what I hope will be crazy-joyful occasions of reunion.

The only way out is through.

(Geneen Roth.)

This quote puts me in mind of a memory that is tied closely to the trip I am about to make. A long time ago, when I used to live where I am going, my aunt — the one who is a nun, not to be confused with my bereaved aunt who is reading Kubler-Ross and about whom I talk all the time, nor my chic deaf aunt who lives on a cliff — used to sing to me this song called “Goin’ on a tiger hunt,” some variant of which you have doubtless been taught in church youth group or some scout camporee or perhaps by a cartoon. Animaniacs was surprisingly educational at times.

If this picture of a little girl making a wish on her birthday candles some fifty years ago does not make you accuse the room of being dusty you have no soul. I hope every one of her dreams came true and she has lived a long and happy life.

The main thing of the song — which sitting on the steps of my grandparents’ house by the highway singing with my aunt is one of my happiest memories — was this syncopated repetitive chorus whenever the hunter would encounter an obstacle. You would chant back and forth while clapping rhythmically, “Goin’ on a tiger hunt. * But I’m not afraid. * Cause I’ve got a gun. * And bullets at my side. — What’s that up ahead?” and Aunt B would respond, “A tree! / Tall grass! / A fence! / Mud!” Then you must say,

Can’t go over it * (can’t go over it)
Can’t go under it * (can’t go under it)
Can’t go around it * (can’t go around it)
Gotta go through it.

And then you would delight in making squelching noises for mud, slidey hand sounds for grass, creaking like a gate, etc. *

You went with delcious slowness through the first part of the song, forgetting really in the process that your whole job in this call-and-response game of foley artistry is to hunt a tiger and catch him with bullets all while not feeling fear, and then suddenly when you asked “What’s that up ahead,” Aunt B would shout, “THE TIGER!” and your heart would pound and you’d hastily run backward through all of your previous sound effects trying to go as fast as possible while keeping in the proper order and lastly mimic the final sound of the slam of the gate behind you. Then you would say, “But I’m not afraid.”

In Girl Scouts we played it as “Going on a Squeegee Hunt” and we just skipped the guns and bullets part. I’m not sure what a-changing times lead to the substitution of the made-up “squeegee” monster for the visceral image of the tiger — whether it was less scary than the tiger or whether it was less encouraging of poaching a potentially endangered species — but in any case I feel like with the whitewashing the song lost its sizzle.

I am going on a tiger hunt, and I am afraid, and I do not have a gun, nor bullets at my side. But I cannot go over, under, or around what comes next — I will go through what painful obstacle stands in my way because that is simply the only choice I have. Which, as that is the case, it can only be meant to be and I therefore have double reason to persevere.

I must maintain this mindset. Wish me luck.

*For the tree, I believe we said, “Gotta climb it,” the only deviation in the song’s demandingly strict meter — why not just omit the tree in favor of a thing which might be gone through? It is scarcely true that you cannot go around a tree, and climbing it is the same as going over it. Really the only thing in the words of the chorus that you can not do when faced with the tree in this song — besides obviously the impossibility of going through it as is evidenced by the replacement of “go through it” with “climb it” — is tunnel under it, but even that is only for lack of time or machinery. You technically could go under it as well as around and over it. “Through it” is wholly out, and thus it destroys the fundamental message of the repetition of the chorus. A puzzling lyric.

Has anyone ever been taught to chop it down? Get back to me if you have. Now I’m ten kinds of curious.