Thursday, April 18, 2013

Desperate Times Call for Desperate Confidence

So I'm in a self inflicted bind. I need some way to get at least 700 dollars in the next two months in order to stay afloat with school, and an apartment. It's not as bad as it was a month ago, when I was basically fantasizing about mild acts of prostitution as a possible solution (I'm sorry Mom, but we're all adult women here and we've all had those holes.)Thanks to the fact that I have some superpower when it comes to finding really amazing friends wherever I go, the fog of "Oh my god, this is so fucked up I can't even imagine it ever changing, good or bad, like I can't even conceive of the very worst result", that fog has lifted a little. But...there's not a very large margin for error, and I want to be able to stay in school, so I'm not fucking around with this.

I don't think of myself as someone with very much to offer this planet, but I do think the one thing I know how to do with semi-reliable accuracy is write a short short story. Especially when I have a very specific audience. Like, you guys know, you've read those posts that were very obviously intended for one person, usually a boy. I'm not a good typist. I'm not a particularly good comedian. But I can be a good writer.

So for a donation of ten dollars, I will write you a 300-400 word story, about anything you ask me to. Anything at all. I'm sort of hoping you will get creative with it, but I will not promise to write porn. I won't *exclude* it, but I reserve the right to ask for a new subject. And then you will own that story. If I ever want to use it again, I'm going to have to ask and possibly pay you. If I was a painter, this would be the equivalent of me painting caricatures for tourists on the beach. If I was a musician, it would busking on a street corner in Ann Arbor.

Also you can totally buy more than one story, but you can't buy a longer one for more, like I'm not writing a 1000 word story for 20.

After you buy one, I would ask that you come back to this post and leave a comment telling me if you like it or not. I will allow you one edit - I will go through and change things you ask me to.

As an added selling point, I would like to remind you I wrote this. 
(I love that post so much, I will pretty much link to it at every given chance for the rest of my life.)

I really really didn't want to start a kickstarter, because this is isn't 2009. So I'm just going to request you use paypal. My email is So make a payment and then email me what you would like. Within 5 days I will email you back a story.

If nobody does this, and this was a stupid idea, I'm not going to tell you guys either way, so there.

Friday, April 12, 2013

A Conversation Between My Dad, Dorothy Day, and Cesar Chavez

This is what Dorothy and Cesar look like when I try to put them in the same room in my head. 

Today is my dad's birthday. He is not dead, just to clarify, this isn't some conversation taking place in heaven. I just thought I'd bring two dead people back, because when I think about who I'd like to see talking to my dad, these are the two foremost names I associate with him. That may not be completely his fault, the choice of pacifist urban catholic hippie school they sent me to had a large part to do with it. Remember, before environmentalism, how we used to celebrate Peace Day by writing presentations on Day, Chavez, Ghandi, and MLK, and then sending off large amounts of dangerous balloons careening into the atmosphere? It was very pretty though. And they stopped it, a while ago. We were just so innocent then.

So anyway, my dad is not dead, and looks like himself. Chavez is dead and now thanks to Google is irrevocably illustrated in my head as a Dora character. Dorothy Day, for reasons best kept to myself looks like a combination of Dorothy Parker, and Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. In real life, that's not that far off. She's also dead.

Scene: A Parma Pizzeria, with green vinyl chairs and little red votive candles on the table. 

Dorothy: Food for the body is not enough, there must be food for the soul. In the spirit of that sentiment, I would like to suggest we order the Vegetarian Lovers.

Cesar: If you really want to make a friend, go to someones house and eat with them. The people who give you their food, give you their heart. So we should probably just get the House Special. I can pick off the peppers. Also, extra pepperoni.

Dad, to Waiter: Can we please get one large, with half green peppers and mushrooms for the Saint here, and the other half pepperoni?
(aside to Dorothy) Cesar's not such a fan of vegetables unless he knows where they come from.

Dorothy: Don't call me a saint, I don't like being dismissed so easily. But whatever.

Cesar to Dad: The fight is never about tomatoes or peppers, it is always about people.

Dad: I know. You said that.

Cesar: I mean, it's never about ferries.

Dad: Very funny.

(The pizza comes. Dorothy covers hers in red pepper, and Parmesan. Cesar eats his plain, with a fork. Dad gets a slice on his plate, then stands up at the bar a couple feet away to eat it.) 

Dorothy: So, I don't understand facebook.

Cesar: I can see how social media has the potential to be a powerful organizing tool, but the last rally we held, we had 217 replies that said they were coming, and only 20 showed up. That seems like an irrational proportion.

Dad: Well, that's why getting low income people internet access is so important - the people who need the organizing don't have those lines of communication yet. And you cannot get a job in today's workforce if you don't know how to use a computer, you can't even be a mechanic anymore. And it's why it's so important that we fight for keeping the internet unmonitored, without corporate regulation. Because this is how the world talks to itself these days, this is the beginning of a new era in human connectivity, and we can't let people be kept behind. Facebook is just a sort of commercial infancy, but it has it's uses. For instance, my daughter has never been able to remember my birthday ever, her entire life. It took her twenty years just to get it in her head it was in April. But this year Facebook told her. She's still super poor, so she can't get me anything, but I'm sure she'll call at least.

Dorothy: I'm sure part of her inability to remember you or her mom's birthdays is because somewhere in her very active childhood imagination she associated your birthday with you dying one day, and we both know if you or Bonnie ever die, she is totally screwed, she needs at least twenty more years to be okay on her own.

Cesar: Maybe she'll marry someone rich and get them to build the ferry for you.

Dad: That's enough Cesar.

The Plain Dealer gave a birthday present to my dad today, go read it here. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Missed Connections

Guys, I'm obsessed with Missed Connections on Craigslist.
And I'm not the only one. I keep meeting people, one here, one there, who all admit they read it every day.
I recently referred to it in a set as the Romantic's Lottery, which no one found very funny.
But a couple people did.
In Cleveland, for a minute, for a good six months, I got really into writing fake ones. But like, obviously fake ones. One to every hipster boy in the ABC on a Thursday night. Another one to all of my ex boyfriends at once. I usually got a lot of responses to those - boys who just wanted to say how funny they thought it was, others who obviously trolled the boards writing every single w4m ad trying to arrange apartment trysts in the time between their girlfriend leaving and their shift at Olive Garden.
In Cleveland, you always saw a lot of Missed Connections posted for pregnant women, there were a lot of pregnancy fetishes - or maybe men in Cleveland are just obsessed with fertility in the face of crushing economic depression.
Here in Wilmington, there's not as many, and most of them are for bartenders or college girls. Not a lot of people use craigslist. I've become a cheerleader for it, in the hopes of making it more active, I tell people about it constantly. It's 2004 again, and I'm still hoping someday all the regional craigslists will take off, as I wander wistfully through the NYC boards.
I've never had one posted about me, except maybe this one that I think was from my ex boyfriend, about how much he never wanted to see me again and how much my book sucked. I'm not positive it was him, but I read it and thought immediately it might be, which is how these things work. If it's not him, then somewhere out there is another girl writer whose ex also hates her, and that scenario massively appeals to me too, especially cause I want to know if her book really does suck.
Recently there was an ad posted on the m4w boards here with the title Bigfoot was a Republican, and was a "literary" ad, which basically just described his dream girl as a barefoot hippie with a lot of trash in her car who picks up hobos and reads a lot of Tom Robbins, and then threw his vision out into the universe, waiting to see what stuck to it.
I wrote him and told him I liked reading it. We emailed each other a few times. It died off, like these things do.
But the point is I am skidding on the line between just reading and actively participating.
The other day this very cute guy was at my friends house, and mentioned he read them all the time too. he has a girlfriend, but if he didn't, it would be incredibly tempting to write him a real one. Except how does one even do that?
Yesterday a customer brought a professor from school in who I hadn't met, and introduced me, and he made a really good impression. Then I googled him, and found this hilarious local paper article about him, that made me like him even more. But the teachers are never searchable on facebook really, so I wrote him an email at his school address that was basically like " this made me laugh a lot, sorry this is creepy I googled you, if you want to talk to me here's my real email." And I keep feeling like I've done something untoward, even though I don't think I have really? He's my age. We're adults. But before I actually wrote the email, I actually thought about writing him a Missed Connection, just to see if he was the type.
Because there's something nice and a little crazy in a comforting way about someone who reads them, to me anyway.

But they are so crass mostly. It reminds me of the people who pick up civet cat poop to find the coffee beans. Just digging in shit for some caffeine.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Wait, Kurt Cobain is Dead?

 Something like Kurt Cobain dying, I guess I wasn't old enough for it to really be anything to me, but it seems like it means a lot to everyone else my age. I don't know why this is, except for the way I was culturally behind all my classmates cause of my parents being hippies/hipsters/weirdo nerds. I mean, don't get me wrong, all the hippie/hipster/weirdonerd parents I know now, my taste turned out awesome, I think it's properly bloomed in all the right places. But be aware that you are automatically sending your children through the same cultural growing pains you went through. And maybe they won't care about Kurt Cobain the way they are supposed to.

 Nirvana Unplugged is the album that meant the most to me because it was the one I had consistently in every car or radio I was regularly around. The first album of theirs I actually got was when I was in eighth grade and I signed myself up for one of those Columbia club things - my credit was doomed even then. It was one of those deals where you get five free cassettes for the price of one, or you have to cancel in thirty days or something like that. I ordered Nevermind, The Blue Album, Whipsmart, Dookie, Flood. Flood was the only one I actually knew I liked. The rest were guesses. They were pretty fucking good guesses for an eighth grader.

 Kurt Cobain's sweater probably influenced me more than anything else. If they make a time capsule of the nineties, that sweater should be in it.
 And then they should burn it, the whole thing.

I don't understand why the nineties have come back into style.
I'm not ungrateful, I understand that as a single woman in my thirties, I have a unique opportunity to actually know a little bit more about dressing in that particular crushed velvet style better than the girls who are awkwardly struggling through how to wear floral print right now. But I don't want to. I hated that style even then. The only good things that came out of that were plaid shirts, doc martens, and army jackets. Frankly, it's a little cheating to claim army jackets for the 90s instead of the 70s, but you guys are old, you're not going to argue. You're more worried about your taxes.

 I'm in my thirties, I should be worried about my taxes too. But maybe that's one of the reasons why everyone still talks abut Kurt Cobain's anniversary even though there are far more important things going on in the world -( like for instance last night I learned my moon is in Capricorn, which apparently tells me that I'm constantly trying to be pragmatic about my emotions, which totally explains my fling with open relationships.) Anyway, no, that's not one of the important things, but my point is why do we bother nineteen years later to conjure up any emotions about this short lived singer who while very influential musically, hardly taught the world anything meaningful except how we all have weird fucked up sexually ambiguous lyrics bouncing around in our psyches. We've all moved on to more self involvement - we've clarified our selfishness over the years. I guess that's an important lesson - Kurt's championing of self involvement definitely influenced the blogosphere and Twitter. But not Facebook, it didn't influence Facebook, that's a whole new kind of self awareness or lack of, and that to me proves that he's sorta defunct in this time. It's not far enough away from the turn of the century for us to be idolizing our turn of the century monsters yet. Give it another thirty years and I'm sure Kurt will feel more relevant. To me Nirvana, and the early nineties, was about a large part of the population discovering culture. Now we've got too much culture, our society hasn't figured out even how to process it correctly yet, we're lagging behind our accesses.

 But we've run out of fashion styles to fixate on (there are far many less styles of human dress than we like to think, it is only a fraction of the internet), in this day and age where it's more about costumes of self than ever. So the nineties got resurrected, because it's cheap and easily replicated in Targets. All the loose cuts mean it's easier for clothing manufacturers to mass produced the patterns and prints. Pleather is cheap. Plus, honestly, tights and leggings are never going to go away. Once it become socially acceptable to wear them without dresses, girls were never going to wear pants or pantyhose again - because we like being comfortable but we all hate our legs. I'm hoping what will happen is the cuts of the nineties will stay and the prints will change.

 Maybe that's what Kurt did - and that's why even little grade school me liked him - because he kept all the same cuts but changed the prints - made them solid lime green wools that beaded up easily in the washer, and were impossible to wash blood stains out of. That's why I resent him being thought of so importantly, because to me the lesson was the singer was totally unimportant, what mattered was an entire group of people growing up in the same economic class, dressing the same, in the same country, the same TV culture, all understanding what he was saying and feeling that potential in ourselves, both to be great and to be a colossal failure of a grown up who does too many drugs and ends up killing themselves out of pure spite in like, the most selfish way possible. A messy way.

 In summary, I think this is all about clothes.And also about how we worry as adults that the kids won't be as angry as we were, that the world will run out of time for anger, like we have in our always exhausted adulthoods. Which I guess also is all about clothes, but in a more sweatshoppy way.