Monthly Archives: June 2002

Salmon & Swan Boats

I don’t know why seemingly insignificant places will forever remind me of a single day, a single moment in time. Especially places I’ve been to a million times over, places I continue to walk by or sit in years after the defining event occurs. It happens with music, as well. A certain song — even part of a certain song — will be this distinct part of the sidewalk I stroll through daily, a park bench where I waited for the bus in the snow, the stoplight at Packard’s Corner, or Prospect Street when I got the phone call I was waiting for while driving at 4:30 on a Friday.

I was just sitting in the alley behind my place of employment. I was thinking about this phenomenon because I met a friend for lunch, and she said — “I’ll walk you to the building. But this time to the front door. That alley is disgusting.” And I got kind of defensive, like “what’s wrong with my alley?” It’s dirty. But I’ve gotten past that and I don’t even notice the piles of trash bags, the double-parked delivery vans, boxes and styrofoam from Radio Shack stacked seven feet high on the sidewalk. It always smells like salmon. Hot salmon. The spread at Fire and Ice features over 50 ingredients, and the loud industrial exhaust fans constantly circulate the smell of hot salmon, even in winter. And that smell reminds me of a day last summer when I sat in the alley, on the tiny aluminum ledge of the building, thinking more about the show in Providence I was going to that night than the fact that I might be fired that afternoon. Smoking and smiling in anticipation.

The alley greets me four times a day — 9:00, 12:00, 3:00, 6:00. Why, each time I step in or out, do I think of that singular moment of mixed anxiety and bliss? The details remain: impossible summer heat, brand new camel brown Camper sneakers, a sunburned nose, my long dark hair blown in my face by salmon industrial fans, the excitement in the pit of my stomach that no matter how bad the day was turning out, the night would be unforgettable.

And Grendel’s Den, which I was also thinking of distractedly — I sat in those wooden booths hundreds of times, ordering $2 apps during happy hour. But the one tiny moment that always surfaces is the night I came in from frigid post-work Harvard Square, fingers numb, face flushed. I sat down at one of the worn knotted wooden tables with its own lamplight, unfurling my waistlength gray polartec scarf, realizing I could never do without the Cambridge winter night. Tomato and fresh mozzarella. They were playing Flamenco guitar. I was waiting for friends, reading Jack Frusciante Has Left the Band for the millionth time, and I carved my name into the table with my navy blue Fleet Bank swiss army knife.

Why?

Big fights, first kisses, horrible accidents, life-giving encounters — who knows where those things happen. I only know that if I leave my house as I start my Howie Day mix disc, by the time I hit the third stair down on the Davis T platform he will be telling the story about the cockroaches. And when that disc ends by the time I get off at Charles MGH, Jump Little Children’s “Dancing Virginia” will guide me through the bricked streets of Beacon Hill.

So I’m leaving work soon. Time for sleep which has been a silent stranger to me. I’ll leave through the alley and light a cigarette, which will be finished by the time I hit the swan boats in the Public Gardens. And I will pause at the Park Street clock and pay tribute to a brand new memory there.

And as I approach the cement steps on Broadway where I’ve lived for 1,027 days, I will remember the October night I sat on them in my black wool hoodie with my head covered, ankle-deep in leaves, crying and unable to stop listening to Moby’s Play.

On my way there now.

Three Days was the Morning

If you go long enough without sleeping, the world starts to look strange. Underwater technicolor. Vivid, vaporous, stained with rainbows.

Tonight I burn through thick fog. The air is heavy, wet with June summer. The humidity makes my skin glow, makes me feel sultry and alive. I saunter through the misted Commons. Walking too fast, I am almost running on damp feet, slightly breathless, wings itching for flight.

My fingers are tingling. There is too much to touch.

Lightning flickers behind brooding cloudsky — indigo and amethyst. Smoky lightning without thunder. Then a gentle rumble. But it’s miles away.

We are dancing tonight in the wet heavy darkness, twirling in circles, enchanted. Spinning rapidly through the words… endlessly. Sentences strung line to line like moist pearls, milky and synchronous, dancing in the pit of my honeyed stomach.

I cannot stop them.

The night wraps itself around me. I am radiant. The sky opens and soaks me in warm fat rain, drenching my gauzy black dress, filling my chunky shoes with water. The clock at Park Street sings its tenth hour. And I’m laughing. I want to sit in the mud and just laugh forever.

If you go long enough without sleeping, when the mind is dreamwalking with too many dazzled thoughts, soaked with exchange, torn down and reconnected; the imagination throbs on, painting oily images in the black pools of rain, where steam lifts from cracked concrete. Dancing through the weeping willow night beneath a sky lit gold and magenta by electricity.

I am luminous.

Tonight is fantastic, impossible. Mardi Gras. Carnival. New Year’s Eve. It’s the weather, I think, the insatiable trembling of electrons in the air, making me giddy and dangerous. It’s a holiday. And I’m wandering home, water drizzling down my face, stunned and sodden at the hands of the storm, submerged in this ardent, churning city; it flows through every inch of me.

I am this electricity. This soulburning mindfuck.

Child Labor Laws

The florid sultriness of August is passing, leaving in its wake a roll of unconsummated passions.

Maybe jazz will save me.

My childish fantasies end tonight. The object of my gushing daydreams, indeed, childish. Probably not even the Age of Consent. However, I think it was the safety of an unthreatening subject that made me choose a virginal convenience store cashier as my prospective playmate. Pack of smokes, Diet Coke, weighted stare. His real playmates stood tonight along the subway exhaust of the Davis Sq. subway, backpacks laden with chemistry books, spitting and cursing, rocking on skateboards, chain-smoking cloves and waiting for him to get off work so they could drive around Medford smashing mailboxes.

*Sigh.*

Maybe my recent fling, frigid and wrinkled, has thrown me into a frantic search for willing teenagers as a remedy to my impending adulthood.

In any case I allowed myself to run with the idea. I imagined it — the first kiss, endearingly nervous, standing on my toes to reach his lips. Awkward and eager, smiles and blushing. The burning stomach crush. His finger looped through my chain link necklace. My finger looped through his 42″ cinched-waist skate cutoffs. Then walking through the humid night along the Minuteman Trail sharing a Newport.

The carefree feeling of not knowing what lies ahead — not caring, not thinking about Forever — or even, for that matter, next week.

I am, no doubt, a hopeless romantic.

Hopeless because there is no way in the world a relationship of such proportions would last happily for long; cursing friends and curfews would sooner or later trample the ecstasy.

“A bird may love a fish, but where would they build a home?”

Maybe I don’t want to build a home right now. Maybe I just want to be young and enjoy lying on my back in the August night with a blond boy who doesn’t care that I have a bachelor’s degree and a 401K.

Isn’t that alright?

And now the heady heat of summer wanes. September always feels to me like something besides a season is drawing to a close. In a way it’s the same feeling you get at the end of the night, when the Last Call Bell is rung at closing time, and you haven’t gotten the phone number yet — you haven’t asked for that dance.

A little bit pressed for time and gutsier because of it.

Do You Feel… Like Swimming?

Today is the first day of summer. In Wicca, these days are known as Litha, when the powers of nature are at their peak; a great time for magick of all kinds. The Earth is saturated with the fertility of the Goddess. Bonfires are lit and leaped over, encouraging fertility, purification, health and love. Cauldron fires are lit and mirrors used to capture the fire or sun. Altars are decorated with a ring of flowers. Nymphs dance in spry light. We are happy.

The city in the summer is indie rock. All the creatures emerge from winter-induced hermitude — when Colonial New Englandites hang wreaths, shovel sidewalks and take 10 day vacations in Boca.

The city in the summer is ultra-romance and shabby passion. Cheap incense from street vendors with names like Coconut Love Machine, Black Rain, Tropical Reggae, Musky Marketplace Dreams. Central Square is the smell of Indian food on the table and last night’s beer on the sidewalk, cloves and traffic, Manic Panic and leather-studded dog collars round the necks of slender gothboys recoiling from the brightness. The sunlight exposes us all.

We come out in force. Nag champa seeps from sidewalk sales at Una’s. The subway smell wafts in your face as you wait to cross the street. Music flows everywhere – pouring out of car windows, blaring lo-fi from storefronts, Hip-hop on the shoulders of boys cruising down the street, sunglasses low on their noses, blue and yellow band of their underwear creeping above baggy jeans, pearls of sweat making foreheads and forearms glisten.

The heat now is different from how it will feel in August. Now it is fresh — never enough — like getting in your hot car after swimming in the frigid ocean, the vinyl burning your clammy thighs with beautiful heat.

Or Sunset at the Middle East restuarant with Shannon and falafel.

Harvard Square at night, iced coffee on the patio of Au Bon Pain under tiny white lights the leaves have just begun to curl around, hearing the drum circle from far away, roasting cashews hanging heavy in the air.

The front porch on Broadway when I’ve managed to keep my plants alive, my two dozen Mexican prayer candles lit, windchimes, smoking cloves and drinking Chai with Shea.

The roof of Ruby’s house in Harvard Square that I’ve promised not to throw more bottles from, watching the fireworks or listening to them when they explode below the treeline, Garbage and Radiohead rising through the creaky and unstable ladder shaft.

Route 16 at 3:30 AM on my sparkly white scooter, cruising 45 Mph down deserted roads listening to the Blue Moods of Spain.

Davis Square at the Someday Cafe on summernight with too-loud Trip-hop and pit bulls on ropes, sunburnt bike messengers and punk rock chicks with hot pink hair making out in the shadows.

Powderhouse Park in the tiny place in the grass where you can’t see the triangle of surrounding streets but you can see a slice of midnight blue sky and feel the air gently moving through the trees.

My kitchen table in the unbearable heat with ice water in a cobalt blue glass, condensation making circular prints on my notebook, radio crackling with Morphine – Like Swimming — the Official album of summer.

Why Two Kay?

Further Adventures from the Interstate Archive — Live from Fleet Bank, 515 Massachusetts Avenue

F*$%ing Monday.

Oh woe is me. I was having good day. Then I put a floppy disk into a CD-ROM drive and the damn thing accepted it. So my Y2K testing (of over 100 computers and Roy says: “today, please”) went roughly, with people passive-aggressively angry that I needed to shut down their machines. . .

I had a stupendous day Saturday. It was, actually, perfect. The first Perfect Day I’ve had in a while. Leila’s party was incredible. Smoked salmon, bruschetta and flagstone floors. I think my next apartment will have exposed brick. And a closet.

It’s too bad Damian turned out to be a total prick. It made me think a lot the other night — how I often croon for the beautiful boys but you know, they realize how beautiful they are and they just fuck everyone over because they can. Like Fair Matt from the land of Nordic lineage, voraciously destroying everyone in his path, including me, use and abuse, just to get what he thinks is owed to him because he happened to be born on the right side of the double helix.

That’s really all it is — genetics, luck. What purpose does a good jawline serve? In the grand scheme of things? It’s not a mark of a good heart, or interesting words, or the ability to make me smile, or fuel for chemistry even. In my case, brutal, undeniable attraction rarely has anything to do with the luck of being born to parents with pale eyes and all their chromosomes. And I have been known to have strange taste, anyhow, in the physical details. . . a tiny space between front teeth. The ring of amber around one pupil. Short dreadlocks dyed like a sunrise. Tattoos in sexy places. Asymetrical features. Half-Asian androgyny. The walnut and sterling cane to compensate for a rough adolesence in the wrong part of town.

Tomorrow I miss a day of work because I have to get my phone service turned on. In a Fair and Just world, the utility companies would have to massage my feet and clean my bathroom.

August Snowflakes

Further Adventures from the Interstate Archive — Live from Fleet Bank, words conceived in Central Square, inspired by a broken August on Acadia Street in 1999:

I must write furtively if I am to survive; boss arrives in twenty minutes. This morning I feel small and empty, confused. I’ve got a lot on my mind and I’d like to divulge some of it here.

It wounds my heart, these gifts, the rain; small brown and orange moth seeking shelter on my step as I sit to smoke a cigarette. . . and the golden sad sweet gospel voice of a woman singing in the lobby of the bank simply because her heart felt full, singing as the cold drops slide from the sky amid the screeching of buses, steam spilling from manholes in the shiny black pavement.

As we all know, I have not been writing much. I decided to take a small break from the Interstate Archive to see what would happen. I don’t know if it was that break, that distance from my creation, or a certain person’s words on the subject of my “August in Winter Hill” train chapter, but suddenly everything I pick up that I’ve written feels overdrawn, melodramatic, almost teenage in its sentiment. My first instinct was to stop writing because I became convinced that I suck, and I just can’t write, and after a period of mourning I’ve realized that is probably not true.

On my way to work I started thinking that things were falling apart, that I was losing a grip, my writing, my sense of self, that things were breaking and I could not hold on to them. Now I see that the opposite is true. Certain things are breaking, certain things are dying, but only to make room for the new.

I believe every person I meet has a lesson to teach me.

The lesson I am learning today is one that I’ve been aching to learn for years, beginning when I wrote “I just want someone to barge into my life and knock me on my ass, challenge my instincts and everything I believe in, and then love me anyway. . . ” And that’s exactly what I’ve got.

You would never be so easily coveted or dismissed. Too forceful, too involved. Too big. Not the kind of thing to slip between the cracks and disappear. You are immovable. Rays of energy spilling out of your head, sometimes the dark kind, a black, intense, brooding violence around you all the time. I am enclosed in glass and water and you shake me, rattling the false snow flakes from their resting bed beneath my feet and swirling them into the air like papers in a storm.

Forcing yourself in, you inspire me frightfully – it is negative inspiration – inspiration not to love what I am, but to change myself – and I can’t keep up with you and you unravel me too quickly. I am spinning in delicate balance at the end of that string you hold; if I miss one beat I will be flat on my face — it will all come apart.

You are like everything I ever wanted and needed and was afraid that I would get – and I want you to be different but I’d only hate you if you were – you refuse to kiss my ass and so I know you’d never lie to me, but by the same token you are incapable of being gentle – scathingly honest, blunt also at times, not one for comforts – and that awakens in me a childish urge to act out; when you are honest I want to hurt you, pinch you, take away the pleasantries I’ve given you, but perhaps you don’t want them. Perhaps you’d like me to be so brutally honest with you. I’m not sure. I don’t even know if I could do that. It would be a very ugly world.

For now I’ll stay under glass with false snowflakes spiraling around my head, trying to figure out if I asked for this, and if so, exactly how.

Public Service Announcement

For all of you who have broadband or spend 35 hours a day in front of your computer like I do, I’ve discovered an unbelievable radio station that broadcasts on the Web. It’s KEXP in Seattle, and they play perfect sets of music.

Most of the time it’s variety format, and if you go to the site you can see the playlist which is updated during each song, and make a list of CDs to get.

tune in here

This hour was Nick Cave, Bright Eyes, Enon, Hooverphonic, the Pixies, Bauhaus, Badly Drawn Boy, Sonic Youth, Guided By Voices . . . the list goes on.

One of the bonuses is listening to the weather report in Seattle — makes me appreciate Boston climate slightly more. “Today 65 and cloudy, tomorrow 62 and rainy, friday 65 overcast and showers . . . ”

Rock on, sunshine.

The Kitchen Murders

My fish tank is a total soap opera.

I have quarantined the betta known as “Kitchenfish” from my once peaceful community tank and he is glowering at me through the Fleet Corporate Consumer Liaison candy dish now serving as his bowl. He blows bubbles angrily every once in a while, creating a sticky film along the rim. Mere feet away lies the destruction he has left in his wake.

Kitchenfish must be the reason she jumped. She was pregnant, you know. Just filled to the gills with babies.

Though I probably would have jumped too, knowing I was about to give birth to a family of 100. She was unnaturally swollen when I found her, curled and crisping on the kitchen floor, head and tail arching toward one another over the pale swell of her distended belly.

I left her there for an entire day. I don’t know when I became squeamish. I don’t recall a moment before then having the stomach churning light-headed feeling I got immediately upon seeing my brand new Sunburst Swordtail decomposing on the kitchen floor.

I remember distinctly several small episodes testifying to the strength of my stomach. I worked at a pet shop in New Haven for several years, and of course removing dead fish came with the territory. In the morning I would make a sweep of the hundred or so tanks, clearing away carcasses from the previous night’s visit from the Grim Reaper of guppies.

There were usually two dozen or so casualties, which I put into a little plastic bag that was inflated like a balloon and tied into a knot. The guy Jon with whom I worked would do the same on his shifts, and we would be funny and throw the body bag at each other. Or we would hide it where it was sure to show up when we were taking care of a customer. Reaching to open the little cabinet for a magic marker to cinch a big sale, and out falls the bag of dead fish, many colors running together like an oil spill, heads lolling and tails breaking apart. I would laugh heartily and toss the bag aside.

In another show of secure stomach fluid, I attended to a Golden Tegu at the store. Tegus are these beautiful lizards with intricate map-like patterns on them. I had a particular liking to this Tegu – he didn’t bite so much but would act all tough. I had his number. Then one day he did something stupid and got his tail caught in the screen top. The injury ravaged his tail, and despite antibiotic treatment, things weren’t looking good for the little guy. We were afraid the infection would spread. So I took him out of his cage, steadied him on the table, and lopped off his tail with a steak knife.He lived out a long happy life thereafter, free of infection and with quite an appetite – the sign of a truly healthy reptile. I brought him home and added him to my collection of misfit pets. (Not all of them were unwilling patients of my early veterinary experiments.)

So I’m not sure why all of a sudden the sight of a tiny orange and cream colored fish drying out on the linoleum tile made the room swim before me. Eventually I had to get a paper towel and look out the window, humming loudly as I peeled her from the floor and headed for the bathroom, feeling the saliva rise in my throat.

So a few days later, when Kitchenfish killed my favorite Pearl — a bright white Lyretail Molly — viciously and without surrender, I didn’t know what to do. I sat at the kitchen table, fiddling with CDs. I tried to write. To read. I certainly could not eat. I had already seen her there, lying at the bottom of the tank on top of meticulously laid river stone, turning steadily into carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen.

I fretted over this. I had to give her a proper burial in the commode – a dignified end for any finned passer-on. I simply could not bring myself to put the net in the water and scoop out her tiny, listless body.I paced. I chewed my lip. I swallowed the saliva that rose in my throat whenever I thought about the horrible task at hand. I couldn’t relax. I certainly could not do anything productive in the kitchen, which is my control center for life – stereo, computer, library, restaurant.

I left her there for three days.

On the third day, she was unrecognizable as an actual fish because a thick coating had encased her, fuzzy and gray. This was a small comfort as I could no longer bear witness to her unfocused, listless eyes that seemed to berate me for both subjecting her to the wrath of Kitchenfish and deserting her after he had finished his dirty work.

I walked into the pantry and pulled the string for the overhead light. The bulb swung ominously, lighting the corner of the pantry where the fish bucket was stashed, the green net purposefully sticking out handle side up, pointing disapprovingly at me. My throat tightened. I seized the plastic grip, exhaling one long, low expletive.

Twenty minutes later I was crouching on the kitchen floor, seven feet from the fish tank, watching the bubbles rise to the surface of the miniature graveyard. Panicky and salivating I sat, my knees pulled up to my chin, cradling the fish net guiltily. Then I heard a key in the door.

Paivi entered, immediately pulling me out of my little obsessive fishdeath headtrip. She stood in the doorway of the kitchen, sorting through mail, smiling sideways at me, curious. “Hei — hello! Why are you sitting on the floor?” Paivi asked in her charming Finnish accent, pushing her tiny wire framed glasses up on her nose.I pointed accusingly at the candy bowl on the table in which Kitchenfish stalked back and forth angrily, one minute clear and flagrant, the next distorted behind the Fleet logo.

“Kitchenfish killed the Pearl Molly.”

“Oh,” came Paivi’s hesitant response, tucking blond hair behind one ear. “So what are you going to do? Flush her?” The very thought made me dizzy. Tiny beads of sweat broke out on my forehead.

In a rare moment of acknowledged neurosis, I blurted out:“I can’t do it! I can’t!” Practically in tears, I was red-faced and ashamed. How silly of me! How could I take on the responsibility of an entire fish tank without thinking of the consequences? Did I not learn in the second grade classroom that pets die? When that crusty little gerbil turned up Monday morning with a sunflower seed lodged in his throat, didn’t I learn how to properly and respectfully dispose of the dearly deceased?

Then Paivi spoke the magic words that would forever indebt me to her. She held out her hand for the net and said, “Do you want me to do it?” And giggling as though the task were quite fun, or because I was writhing in terror on the kitchen floor, she disengaged the remains of the little Molly from the gravel and made for the bathroom. I squealed and ran out, embarrassed but trying not to vomit on the living room carpet.

I have never felt such a glorious relief as when I heard the toilet flush, and peered around the corner to see smiling Paivi waving goodbye to the little Pearl spinning in slow circles on her way down the drain. Kitchenfish will certainly be spending the rest of his days a prisoner of Fleet Corporate Consumer Liaison’s poor taste in glassware. And my tank, for now, will remain a lifeless and beautifully bare garden of plastic plants, river stone, and artificially-induced bubbles.

Brattle to Broadway

Live from Au Bon Pain, Harvard Square

It’s barely seven in the morning on this perfect Saturday, cool enough for shivers but not enough to make me wish my hair was dry. I woke up at 5:07 with the sun on my face and decided to take a cue from nature and get moving early.

I was going to preface this entry with a warning that it will be a jumpy and directionless with no central theme except once again engaging in the process of writing outloud after a week of fearfully hiding behind other people’s words. But it has been brought to my attention that perhaps I should stop prefacing everything, and apologizing, and I know I need to stop taking things back, and being empathetic that one should have to endure my existence, and I’m learning as I go and not regretting any of this experience — this hesitant shoving of creation out into the world, for better or worse. I’m growing immensely and trying to move forward each day, no matter how stumblingly. Thanks for joining me.

You will get no apologies and no prefaces from me today. (Wait. Wasn’t that a preface?)

Oxford to Mossland to Elm to Willow to Kidder to College to Broadway. I’ve been walking a lot lately. Last summer at this time I was ready to slit my throat with pain from my broken leg, and trying to get out of the damn cast, and being told that I’d never run again (ha! you should have seen me yesterday on mile three) so I am grateful to most of the time be able to move about as I please.

I’ve been walking home from Harvard Square most days of the week. I’ve been loving the walk, and though it takes me much longer than one might expect, it is not about the commute to me. It’s about feeling present in my body, and using all of it, and not severing its connection with my mind. It’s about realizing that red roses and white roses smell differently, and that yellow roses smell sweeter, and that all three smell the best when soaked with rain.

It’s about finding this giant chair this morning, carved into a treetrunk on the sidewalk of Oxford St. I stopped and looked at the treechair for a minute, slimy green on the outside and covered with moss, and it completely cracked me up. Immediately, as I always do, I began plotting photograph scenarios — who I could put in the chair for the perfect picture and what they’d be doing. For some reason it reminded me of the photograph I took of Eisuke on my parent’s front lawn in Connecticut — discarded bits and pieces lined up for trash day — and he was sitting on a toilet on the side of the road with his legs crossed and his pink hair sticking up, smoking a cigarette. Of course, Eisuke created photographs every where he went. All I had to do was show up. I’ll have to come up with something good for that tree trunk. I have plenty of time — it’s probably not going anywhere.

This morning I walked without music, which is a rarity for me, Minidisc player permantently imbedded in my skull like some character from a Gibson novel. I walked along without music because it was quiet, and because there was rhythm to my footfalls, because Davis Square at 6:00 AM suddenly looked to me like it did on New Year’s Day 1999 when I went out at sunrise to get orange juice and found the place completely deserted, and it was such a strange and surreal sight, like a stage before the play begins.

Walking through Porter I passed by Acadia Street, and realized that there was a sign hanging there that said “Acadia Street — No Outlet” and I looked at myself, where I am, physically and mentally, emotionally and spiritually, and I said, “Oh yes — there is. ” I survived a torrid summer on Acadia Street, sweating and hurting and dreaming and hating. And while it could have held me captive for lack of an Outlet, I had made my own.

I walked by that street and smiled to myself, seeing the sagging front porch at the end of the cul de sac. I have survived many things in the past three years, and survived them all through the work of my own hands.

Here is a phenomenon I’d like to explore further: people whose dogs beg (unforgivable to begin with) and they get pissed and yell at the dog and then give it a piece of food from the table and angrily say, “Now go away!” People need pet psychology. Maybe I’ll hold a seminar at CCAE.

Hey I meant that kind of jokingly, but maybe that’s a good idea. People around here are a little bit psycho about their dogs anyway. They’d pay for that. Joyful Canine College.

Yesterday was Friday and I took the day off from work. I took a vacation day because I felt I needed it. Things been wearing me thin at the ol’ dot com. Most days I love it. But some days the thought of typing one more word makes me want to vomit on the keyboard. So I took a day off to still the nausea.

I had a hot date with myself (not in the Polyester Chicken sense) and I bought a particularly juicy swordfish steak, and grilled it just for me, and sat at my perfect kitchen table listening to the radio and reading the Village Voice.

It was one of the best dates I’ve had in a while and I’m glad that I can sit in a room alone and feel like I’m in good company, and take care of myself in this fashion, and treat myself to asparagus cooked exactly how I like it because I’m the only one eating it and there’s no one complaining that their pee is going to smell funny.

Benjamin and I are getting a snake. I spent Thursday night lusting after newborn Colombian Red Tail Boas online. I want an albino one so bad it hurts, but they start at $1,000. Yeah. As my mother says, “If you spent that much money on an animal, you’d be down there giving it mouth to mouth if it died.”

We are setting up a slick terrarium where the television used to be, which is part of the reason I cancelled the cable. I will be sure to post plenty of gorgeous pictures of her when she arrives in the mail via UPS. She will be very tiny and will grow very quickly. I will bring her to shows, like my last snake Izzi, who loved rock and roll. See, snakes don’t have ears, so they can’t actually hear, but they have tympanic membranes that allow them to feel the vibrations. Izzi loved ska. And the cool thing was, Izzi helped a woman overcome her irrational fear of snakes by letting her curl carefully around her arm. She was a sugary sweet snake.

The sun climbs now. It’s getting warm. The back of my neck is burning. I’m digging this morning. Thanks for sharing it with me.

This may be all for now. Going to walk a bunch more today. It helps me slow down. It helps me remain present. Be. Feel the rhythm of footfalls on moist brick, the gentle pulse of traffic, being able to see all the flowers on Mossland, on Kidder, the huskies on College, the smell of the laundromat on Mass Ave.

Walking by my old apartment on Elm Street, next to the bike shop, yellow stucco and bars on the window, the summer the Interstate Archive was born, bringing back memories of heat in that bare and dusty room, loving the freedom of not living in the dorm for the first time in my life, standing on the sidewalk on the corner of Elm and Willow in my pajamas throwing bottles at the streetlight, trying in vain to shatter it just once so I could sleep without the relentless phosphorescence glaring through my eyelids all night.

With that I go. In case you’re not sure what to listen to on this perfect clean and sparkling Idaho day, I recommend Josh Ritter‘s “Golden Age of Radio.” If you like it, you can go see him play at Lilli’s tonight.

Vanilla Tupperware

Live from the Someday Cafe in Davis Sq.

My junior year at BU I took an Internship at this weekly entertainment magazine that was popular with the college crowd at the time. And I started writing for them, and doing fluff articles like “Skiing 101” that were totally tongue in cheek, and on-the-street interviews that were actually completely phony and inspired by rejected face shots from our photo file, much like The Onion. Fluff was fine, and I had a good time with it, and I started writing music reviews, which was also fun, especially since they sent all these CDs to me, and I got to hear new music, review specific venues, and go to shows for free. Some of the music was even good.

Then one week we had this Japanese model for the cover of the magazine. She happened to have put out an album, and it happened to land on my desk. When the editor stopped by, he told me the review would be printed in the issue where she was featured on the cover, and that he wanted it to be a “supportive” review. So he didn’t want a review — he wanted a PR piece.

Which wouldn’t have been so bad, except I was taking an “Ethics in Journalism” class at the time, and while I wouldn’t always consider my Internship there to be “journalistic,” I was writing reviews for a weekly entertainment magazine, and my name was on it. I put on the CD with a deliberately open mind, and was physically cringing in the first ten seconds of it. I had made better quality music on the Casiotone keyboard I had in the fourth grade. It was universally bad. And the editor wanted 500 words on it.

I ended up skirting the issue, writing, “If you like your music Debbie Gibson-style, but slightly sweeter and with significantly less self-aware songwriting, you’ll probably enjoy Miniko’s new CD, Cotton Candy Dreams.” I handed in the article and quit, telling them that I didn’t feel comfortable working for an establishment that had me writing plugs under the guise of an objective review.

This issue came to mind while I was driving home from Connecticut today, after spending the afternoon with my parents and my sister. My sister is also a writer, and we started talking about what we’ve been working on, and I somewhat mistakenly mentioned that I have a Web site up, and of course the interest was piqued. She is almost a decade older than me and we are different in many ways.

I never really remember what I put on this site — I just kind of write whatever I feel like at the time. But I’m hitting these walls lately, and it’s disconcerting — panic over who is going to read what when, and how they will interpret it, and the whole process of this site being soiled just by that question being raised at all, because I wanted to go in depth on my experience in CT today and why I am in awe of it, but even as I write this I’m thinking about my family reading it and their reactions — and then the coworkers, the exes and current love interests, the employers, the friends — and the creative license I’ve taken with some of the details to make a point, the loosely-defined fiction, and the manipulation that can occur when one keeps a certain interest in mind during composition. All of these thoughts are running rampant in my mind and immobilizing my creativity.

On the way home from CT, I was driving with the windows down and the sun smiling on my face, listening to John Mayer and thoroughly enjoying the unapologetic cheese of his songs. But then around exit 29 my heart broke open and I just started crying, and trying to figure out what was going on, and why I felt so out of control of the interactions with people in my life lately. I feel like every time I open my mouth, something stupid or inappropriate comes out, or I unwittingly offend someone, and then when I am trying to be careful about what I say, I can’t speak at all. I think the same thing is happening with my writing.

I was thinking about tupperware, inspired by a gut-wrenching experience I had last week when someone from another time in my life — a time I have carefully and deliberately divorced myself from — recognized me, and spun me for a complete loop, and I felt suddenly exposed and destroyed. It was such a tiny occurrence if viewed from the outside, and he certainly meant no harm, but for me it comes at a time when I am questioning the little containers I put people in within my life — who knows what about me, which select information I’ve revealed to whom, who I must protect and who I can let in. It’s all very exhausting, and lately the walls have been crumbling enough to leave me feeling bare and confused, frantically scrambling to pick up the pieces and recreate my careful shroud.

I know without a doubt that the answer to this dilemma is to stop fearing the world — stop thinking everyone is out to get me, and to just be honest and be the person I am at this moment, even if that means there are discrepancies, or residual aftershocks resurfacing from a time and place in my life that was frightening and unhealthy.

I want to exist fearlessly in this world. I want to walk down the street with someone and not be paranoid of running into another person because they don’t know each other, and they both know me in different ways from different worlds… these tupperware containers are becoming more difficult to keep track of, and I feel the duplicity weighing me down, and I really just want to come clean. The trouble is I have no idea how or where to start.

And my writing is suffering in this way as well because I want to post whatever strikes my fancy, to share my work with the world because it’s important for me to do so, yet I have to remember who is going to read this, and what they will think of me because of it, and whether that’s how I want them to see me. I am trying to control the uncontrollable.

Maybe I’m not ready to take a stand. Maybe I’m not as ready for the responsibility that comes with submitting printed word to the world. Maybe I haven’t given it enough thought.

Or maybe, as a trusted mentor likes to tell me, “You’re not as important as you think you are.”