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a dialogue in 2 parts

October 25, 2014

On last night’s “midnight walk”, I reflected that things never seem to get any easier, but . . . these days I have a different class of problems (compared to what I used to have). Circa 2009–2010, my baseline mood was maybe a -4. I had few highs, and their flavor notes didn’t vary much. I had lots of lows, and many of them were devastating. I was hanging on by my toenails, upside down.

These days, I think my baseline mood is somewhere around 0, maybe even slightly above it. I still have lots of lows, but none of them are as extreme as they were. And I have lots more highs, whose flavor notes vary.

I haven’t been in acute physical danger (from other people) in years. I’ve extricated myself from all historical emotionally-abusive relationships. I’m much more stringent about who I try to have a relationship with.


Me: P says that you “crucify” me, because you & I were crucified over and over, and you hurt, so you hurt me too. Can we do something else instead?

{electric shudders}

Me: Mrs. Nocerino, I know you’re in there. You’ve always had so much to say to me before. Now I’m really listening — how can you resist?

I’ve decided the introject is you and not Mrs. Bania [neighbor on the other side of my grandparents’ house] because she seemed to just hate everybody, especially kids. Far from hating everyone, though, you were nosy. You wanted to know ‘why?’ about everything (mostly so you could dispense advice no one was interested in). My grandmother felt guilty because you kept pointing out how she and her kids were “doing Americanism wrong”, as if you were some kind of expert. I believe you were a child of immigrants too? Maybe even an immigrant yourself? What made you so sure you were the resource everyone should consult?

Mrs. Nocerino: You’ve never asked me questions before. Now there are so many questions, I don’t know where to start.

Me: I talk a lot when I’m nervous. And since you haven’t been answering, I’ve been feeling very anxious.

Mrs. Nocerino: Can’t you just do what I say? You’re a kid, I’m an adult; obviously I’m the expert! Why don’t you respect my authority?

Me: Did you even read the blog post I wrote last night? The one where I detailed all sorts of run-ins with authority figures? There are more! (Even without counting my parents.) Respect is earned, not a divine right based on age or seniority. Why should I respect you?

Mrs. Nocerino: Young lady, I’m old enough to be your grandmother!

Me: Um, my grandmother has been dead for 16 years. Also, “young lady” is problematic for a host of reasons that maybe I don’t want to get into right now.

As far as I could tell, my grandmother didn’t even like you. She was afraid of you. She was afraid you could somehow revoke her right to live in America (even now she was born in America, and had lived there all her life).

Wait a minute. You’re not answering my question: why should I respect you?

Mrs. Nocerino: In my day, children respected their elders!

Me: Did they really? Plato complained about ‘kids these days’, disrespecting their elders, 6000 years ago.

Are you sure it’s respect you’re asking for? Because it sounds more to me like you expect blind obedience. Just because you’re older.

Say I did blindly accept everything you said to me. (Well, I kind of have been doing that.) Then I feel terrible about myself all the time: deep down inside, I feel like I’m a defective unlovable monster. Seems like you should be happy with that, since I’m listening to you.

But I’m miserable. Why don’t you care about how shitty I feel, after I’ve listened to you ranting at me?

My mother never cared how I felt either. I couldn’t even tell if my mother was aware that I actually have feelings, and they are separate from hers, because we are separate people.

What good is it to be an expert that everyone hates to be around?

Mrs. Nocerino: Well . . . I . . .

Me: What has an authority figure ever done to help me? Child me, I’m talking about. My mother was (and probably still is) a Hungry Ghost, and I was a political football between her and my father. Mrs. M, my 2nd grade teacher, screamed at me in class, and encouraged all the other kids to mistreat me, which they gleefully did. Mrs. M, in 5th grade, thought I was an idiot, and disrespectful; my parents agreed wholeheartedly! Mr. G in 7th & 8th grade tried to break my spirit, and my parents colluded with him and the principal, because “that’s just the way the world is. You might as well get used to it now.” Miss D, in 8th grade, said my poem about her was deviant, and that I was disgusting, and should be expelled. She made me rip up the poem in front of her, and then beg her not to tell my parents, or the principal (who already hated me). I didn’t write another poem for 31 years. I could go on.

1 time out of 100, an adult might be nice to me, even kind, and I . . . didn’t know how to feel about that, because it was so unusual. (And I knew how unlikely it was to ever happen again, so no point in wanting to get used to it.)

What does “respect” even mean?

{electric shudders}

Are you even listening to me anymore? Or have you wandered away, mid-sentence? I’m used to it. It even happens in my dreams.


Mrs. Nocerino: You keep trying to distract me. Why won’t you just listen to me? Why won’t you just do what I say?

Me: I DO LISTEN TO YOU! I DO HATE MYSELF! ARE YOU HAPPY NOW? Jesus. Have you heard anything I’ve been saying?

Mrs. Nocerino: Your mother was also rude and disrespectful!

Me: Um, okay. That is relevant just now because why?


This is a lot harder than I thought it was going to be.

I’ve learned about respect from the outside in, so I’ve probably missed some nuances. Stuff like, why do some people receive it from others? and other people don’t?

I’ve learned about authority from people who abused how it’s apparently supposed to work. I only have their word for it, that authority can be trusted, and is a good thing.

I have very good reasons for not trusting authority figures.

So what is my “inner authority” based on? Fear. Self-loathing. More fear.

Why do I “respect” myself? I’m not even sure that I do. Because I don’t know what the word means. I can look it up in the dictionary, but what meaning(s) resonates in my guts? Fear. Punishment. You don’t deserve anything good. You are a disgusting monster. If you’re lucky, maybe so-called decent people will be nice to you, out of pity. Everyone’s laughing at you behind your back. Nobody likes you. Are you still here? Can’t you tell when you’re not wanted? Go away.


You know what I’d really like to learn? When, and where, and how, I’m wanted.

failure to thrive

October 24, 2014

I told P today that I have a part inside me that thinks of every new section we delve into as an exam that I’m likely to fail. So I need to do all the homework, preferably ahead of time; I need to do “extra credit”, if it’s available. And yet this part still worries that, despite all these efforts, I’ll fail.

I didn’t remember, during the session, but as far as actual schooling goes, I did have this exact experience, multiple times:

  1. In 5th grade, after I changed schools (because we moved). I had undiagnosed ADD, but Mrs. M just thought I was a flaky screwup, and of course my parents agreed.
  2. Mr. G’s Science class, 7th and 8th grades. The less said about this ongoing trainwreck the better. But my parents took the side of the authority figures against me. For 2 years.
  3. In one of my math sections in high school, although I don’t remember which one. I do remember, though, that my difficulties were extensive enough that I got dropped from the high achievement track, and lumped in with the more ordinary kids. That ultimately meant I was ineligible to take calculus as an upperclassman, which contributed to . . .
  4. I almost failed high school physics (as a senior), because Mr. S taught it using calculus, but I hadn’t had calculus. It didn’t help that I don’t think any of my physics labs turned out the way they were supposed to. I stopped turning them in, because I was just going to get a 0 anyway.

Oh, and somehow that reminds me that I almost flunked out of freshman year, thanks to World History. I got really sick in the spring, probably from the stress. By the time my doctor figured out what was going on (which took miserable weeks, my mother insisting all the while that I was faking), I had pneumonia bad enough that I missed a month of school. Before I got sick, though, I’d lost the workbook that all of our homework assignments appeared in. I should have just bought another copy from the bookstore, but at the time, that extra $10 seemed impossible to get a hold of, without all sorts of horrible questions from my parents. I had no experience actually solving practical problems; everyone in my family ignored problems until they (1) went away, or (2) became a complete disaster, when they (3) looked around for someone to blame. I knew I’d lost the workbook, but I couldn’t figure out why I kept losing things, important things. (Undiagnosed ADD, for the win!) I knew my parents thought I kept losing things because I was a flaky screwup, and was never going to amount to anything. Who needs to have that conversation more than once? Not me. So I contracted pneumonia. In my usual magical-thinking way, I guess I somehow thought that would solve all my problems. Maybe because Mr. W would take pity on me. He didn’t. He flunked me. My parents outdid themselves with a draconian punishment.

When I stopped talking to my parents in 2005, my father wrote back to me to tell me that I handled this World History situation poorly (24 years before), and that that showed I had terrible judgment as an adult. He further commented that I’d always been a disappointment.

I guess the one bright spot was that it was clear I made a good decision, ending my relationship with them.


Discovering my Life’s Purpose to be Being Myself must be what’s dredged all of this up.

When I look at what other people have accomplished with their lives, it looks like my life got badly off track, possibly in high school, although I never really had a good school experience. (Until maybe my later years as an undergraduate, when I was in my 30s.)

By my parents’ definitions, I was never really on track. And that was my own fault. Because Reasons.

Oh, this is going to dark places.


When P said she thought she might be Demeter, “coming to rescue” me-as-dream-Persephone, I hardly knew what to think. No adult has ever come after me, to help. My mother: “If only you were likable, maybe then . . . ! All you have to do is erase your entire personality. Start over from scratch. Be normal like the rest of us. … I’m only telling you this for your own good! I want what’s best for you. But you’re not likable. You need to fix that.”

What can I do in this world that’s worth doing, if my own mother thinks I’m garbage?

How can I hope for a meaningful life, if I don’t deserve to exist? If I was some kind of cosmic mistake? If I’ve always been a disappointment?

Where can I go from here?


Unlike every other time I’ve fallen into this quagmire, I am not in utter despair. I’m upset. I’m grieving. Maybe I’m even devastated. But I keep diaphragmatically-breathing. I’m noticing my shoulders and my chest felt tight. I’m clenching my teeth. I’m having electric shudders periodically. I have tears in my eyes.

But I’m not sobbing uncontrollably. I’m not curled in a fetal ball, wishing I was dead.

I want a better present, and a better future, than my terrible past. How do I get there?

where are you going, Merriwether Lewis?

October 24, 2014

Stayed up all night last night. Walked around neighborhood 5:30–6:20 AM, then went to bed for a few hours’ sleep. My brain has felt sluggish all day; my overall energy is fading. I’ve been so good about the daily posts, though, that I want to try writing something.

Talked about Persephone, Demeter, and Mrs. Nocerino [my mother’s introject, that I “inherited” from her] today.

Apparently there’s a hidden reason I didn’t do my “long weekend of writing” anytime in the past year: I’ve feared that I might descend into dangerous duende territory, and then not be able to return safely.

Why did I think of Albuquerque just now? The real city, or the place in my dream? Not sure.

My inner alligator is agitated.


I discovered/unearthed my Life’s Purpose. It’s . . . to be myself.

Might sound easy and simple, but historically, it’s been the hardest thing in the world. No one still alive (except for Spouse) wants me to be myself. Most of the people who have definite ideas about the subject apparently want me to be the exact opposite of myself. They certainly want me to excise all my favorite parts of myself, so I can be as dull and ordinary as they are.

Hasn’t worked. Mostly. Because I am still afraid of all sorts of things that shouldn’t be terrifying:

  • What could I accomplish if I really tried as hard as I could?
  • Conversely, what magical things . . . come naturally? What do I do as easily as breathing, that other people don’t (or can’t)?
  • How and where can I apply my strengths to do good things in the world?
  • Which genders are part of me? To what degree? How do they get along inside of me?
  • If I wasn’t trying way too hard to chase after people who are indifferent to me, would anyone (besides Spouse) actually like me for myself? Would anyone seek me out?
  • If I really am as weird as I think I am, deep down, can I find the courage to show that person to the world? Can I love that person?


It’s been 7 years since I decided to make my own art-making my top priority. What a long strange trip it’s been. It seemed like such a tiny thing at the time, but oh, it’s been rippling outward ever since.

I uploaded the photos from my flowers-and-me session a few days ago. Many of the shots are disturbing to look at — which caught me by surprise, as they weren’t disturbing to set up. They’re unsettling. They’re ambiguous.

Spouse’s best photographs often include those sorts of qualities, but I’ve never before reached that level of . . . skill? ideas? engagement?

I’m both seen and unseen in the photos, which is a sacred liminality for me in general, but especially (metaphysically) relevant during Scorpio.

= = *

I’m realizing I have very definite ideas about things I don’t want to do, some of which are de rigeur for everyone else who’s trying to make a name for themselves. So what will I do “instead”? I have no idea.

That seems like an exceptionally fertile void. I must resist trying to fill it.

+ * =

I asked Spouse to take a “good head shot” of me, that I was planning to use on LinkedIn, replacing the photo he took of me last year.

But 2 days ago, I was fooling around outside with autumn leaves, flowers, and selfies with 2 cameras, and I took a self-portrait that I’ve used for LinkedIn. It’s not a “serious” head shot; the flowers take up more space than my face does. I have a goofy grin. But . . . it suits me.

My profile isn’t like anyone else’s either. (I’ve looked and looked for someone else doing something similar. Haven’t found anything.)

I don’t have impressive credentials. And I probably never will. My work history is all over the place. I don’t know what I want to do “next”; I’m unsure of how to categorize what I’ve been doing, for the last 7 years. Exploring. Learning. Experimenting & iterating. Deeply engaging with the (mostly) nonhuman world, and my inner worlds. Failing, a lot. Trying more stuff.

* * %

Supposedly, most people can be “estimated”, if you “average” their 5 closest friends. For me, that would be Spouse (human), Uncle Boulder (a boulder), any of several specific trees, the Gunpowder River (a river), and probably a large orb-weaving spider. I’m gonna guess that my “social network” doesn’t match most people’s. How can you “average” any of those organisms anyway?

If I enlarge my “social network”, there’s just way more nonhumans in it. More trees, fungi, rocks, earthworms, slugs, bats, foxes, butterflies, flowers, bumblebees, etc., etc.

I would almost include books before I would include human beings. A great many human writers have influenced me/my worldview, but I don’t know any of them in person. (I’ve written to a few; they’ve not responded.)


I don’t know where I’m going with this. I don’t know anything anymore. I can feel the streams of my art forms crisscrossing each other, but I guess I’ll be as surprised as anyone to find out what they’ll be.

Poetry + Painting + Weaving + Photography + “Sculptural” + “Fractal dimensions” + “Balancing” + “spatially-dispersed” + Garment making + Friendship. . .

a room of my own

October 23, 2014

As a single person, I lived in an apartment for exactly one year. (Then I moved in with my grandmother, while I figured out what to do next. I met Spouse almost immediately; we got serious really quickly. We got married, and moved in together. I’ve never lived alone since.)

I realized today that I’ve never had a space all to myself. I’ve never had a space that was off-limits to other people. All of my spaces were invaded.

When I had my apartment, I never entertained; I never invited anyone over. But my mother had a key. I had not intended to give her a key, but she insisted she needed one, in case of an emergency. Once she had a key in hand, she kept thinking of reasons why she needed to be in my apartment when I wasn’t there. All presented as if she was doing me a favor, of course!

I assumed she just wanted to snoop, so I made sure I left out in plain sight things I knew would piss her off. Like my birth control. (As a so-called spinster, and presumed good Catholic — although I was actually a Pagan —I definitely shouldn’t have been sexually active.)

I decorated my apartment to suit my own taste. I didn’t bother to get a TV, since I didn’t watch TV. (For some reason, that scandalized my mother.) The stuff I hung up on the walls was reproductions of art, or photographs, all of animals or plants. Some of the photographs were probably my own. There were not any photographs of people, family or otherwise. I had a lot of books. I had seashells, pretty rocks, dried flowers.

Most of my furniture was hand-me-downs. I did buy a brand-new bedspread. I bought my own dishes (which became our dishes, when I married Spouse).

From the condition of the bathroom, we surmised that the former tenants of my apartment had been a fraternity. Who had maybe let cats use the bathroom as a litter box. It was a disgusting mess, and a health hazard. I was willing to put up with it as is, but my mother bullied my landlady into doing some minor cleanup, making it less likely that I would contract a staph infection.

I really liked the apartment, minus the bathroom. I loved living alone. It was the best thing ever.

But looking back on it, all the rooms felt like they belonged to different buildings. I decorated my taste, not my mother’s expectations, but my taste was . . . very uninformed. Not only were the colors and decorations not adventurous, but I didn’t imagine any new possibilities for the rooms. I didn’t know that was a thing you could do.

So my apartment reflected me, but a disconnected and inhibited me.


The attic “apartment” at Gramma’s house, I did better with, sort of. I mostly loved living with my grandmother; those few months remain a highlight of my life.

But of course, she could enter “my” space at any time, because it was her house. I don’t know that she did. But because she might, I had to hide some things. I definitely didn’t want to upset her.


When I married Spouse, I moved into his studio apartment, which was already packed to the gills. Not only was getting married an adjustment, but I now lived hundreds of miles away from everyone else I knew, it was cold and snowy (which discouraged exploring on foot), and it was really difficult to feel there was any space available for me and my stuff. That apartment never felt like it had anything to do with me. Luckily we moved to Indianapolis 2.5 months later.


For years and years now, I’ve realized that on some level I would be a lot happier living in my own household. It’s not the usual arrangement for married people, of course, but I’ve read of people making it work. That’s how Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera arranged things (although their houses were side-by-side; I’d prefer more physical distance).

Spouse and I can’t afford that. I think Spouse likes living with someone. I like some aspects of it.

But I need my own space. Space I don’t have to share. I have a dedicated room now, my studio, but all the other rooms are shared. I would be happy in a smaller place, as long as everything was mine.

I need a physical place where I don’t have to edit myself. Where I don’t have to take someone else’s needs or preferences into consideration. Where I can find out who I really am.


I have no idea how that is going to happen. It has to remain a dream for now.

But what I can do, I am going to do. I am going to spend three days by myself, in an unshared space. I don’t know yet if writing will bubble up. I kind of hope it does, but if it doesn’t, it’ll be fine. I’m going to play around with food, experimentally cooking for myself. If I want to sleep until noon, and then stay up all night, I’m gonna do that. If I want to walk all over the neighborhood at 3 AM, I’m gonna do that. I’m going to play with materials. I’m going to seed my imagination with everything that intrigues me now. Maybe I’ll have flowers to keep me company, and/or to appear in photographs. Maybe I’ll have amazing dreams, or dreams I don’t remember at all.

I have no idea what’s going to happen. But I do know that I need this to happen. And it will.

Dream: 10.23.14

October 23, 2014

I remember more than just the dream elements, but I don’t remember the plot, if there even was one. This dream was very disjointed.


The setting was a Shangri-La type of “resort”, hidden within a mountain range in northern New Mexico. It wasn’t on any map; to go there, you had to accompany someone who knew how to get there.

I came with a group of “friends”, but they deserted me almost immediately, and I was never able to meet back up with them.

The resort catered to the sensibilities of Native Americans: they ran it, they visited it; their worldview was everywhere reflected.

Some people there looked Hispanic, but most were apparently Native Americans. I was the only Anglo I saw.

The living and playing areas were (mostly) inside caverns, hollowed into the mountain. They were surprisingly golden-light-filled, airy, at a comfortable temperature, and very inviting. I saw lots of art. I tried talking to people about the art, but it wasn’t clear to me that anyone else could see me.

Outside, the mountains appeared dark brown and inaccessible. Snow on the ground, many people were bundled up in parkas. For some reason, I was walking around wearing only 2 bikinis, layered over each other (both white, with orange flowers and green leaves). There was a swimming pool, apparently heated, and people were swimming in it. But I knew I wasn’t eligible to join them.

As I was people-watching, an acquaintance of my lost friends, Theodore, sat down next to me. After an anxious silence, he whispered to me that he had noticed everyone around us was fat. At those words, I really looked at other people’s bodies, in a way I hadn’t before. Most people were . . . stocky? Sturdy? Definitely not what I would call “fat”. Everyone looked healthy, and at ease in their own skin. Whereas in that moment, I felt sickly and profoundly uncomfortable. I felt that Theodore was testing me; that his comment was some kind of trick, and if I answered “wrong”, I’d be thrown out. So I said that what I’d really noticed was that there were no really skinny people around nor any obese people (and that was true). For some reason, I then launched into my pet theory about how obesity is caused by possibly hundreds of interlocking variables that no one is studying. So that all of the so-called “well-meaning” advice to obese people is badly misguided, and totally worthless. I got so involved in explaining all this that I forgot how nervous I was (because I thought he was trying to trip me up), and I was thinking he might find my theory interesting. When I looked up to gauge his reaction, though, I saw he had wandered away. Now I didn’t know anybody there.

Despite the bikini, I did have my camera with me (the small point-and-shoot I carry around wherever I go in a small pink bag, slung over my shoulder). I kept trying to capture how beautiful and amazing this place was, but my shots were all at crazy angles of composition, out of focus, showed things I definitely hadn’t seen, or magnified things to such a degree that they were utterly abstract. I kept thinking the problem was my lack of skills.

Walking around on rugged snowy ground, far away from the buildings, I saw at least one person, a young woman, ski jumping in a way I’ve only seen at the Olympics. Me, I was walking around, no skis or snowshoes, still in my bikinis.

From a ridge, I looked down into the valley: it was nighttime, and the city’s lights sparkled below. I realized it was, somehow, Albuquerque, even though the mountains I was in were miles and miles north of the Sandias. A tesseract in time and space?

The swimming pool was closing for the night. People were streaming past me to leave, but I didn’t see my friends anywhere. I kept thinking, I should check my phone for messages about where we’re going to meet up. And then I’d remember that I hadn’t given them my phone number, and I didn’t have their phone numbers. Still, if we met in front of the caverns (where everyone else was gathering to catch buses), how could I miss them? They’d have to be there, right? (They weren’t.)

Later, I was back inside the living spaces. I wanted to leave, so I was looking for exits. All the stairways/escalators were . . . odd. Each set, on each floor, was a sculptural puzzle you had to solve by the way you walked through it, before you could go up or down. [Wiggly block, only life-sized. Ugh.] I couldn’t figure any of them out, so I was getting very frustrated. A toddler girl with dark hair whizzed by me. I paused to look at her, and felt my mood lift. She knew exactly what she was going to do! A few minutes later, a blonde woman carrying a baby girl (also dark haired), approached the stairs, walked confidently through them, collecting the toddler into her train as she went. I smiled again, because they belonged together, but were allowed to be themselves. And because they knew what they were doing. I walked right behind them, but could not actually follow, because I didn’t know the way.


Every other time I’ve dreamed about Albuquerque, I’ve actually been in it, and it was daytime. And I had some vague sense of where I was located in the city (even though, when awake, I don’t know my way around Albuquerque at all). Why see it from a mountaintop, when the city I saw should’ve been Santa Fe or Taos or something up that way?

(Does Albuquerque actually have buildings as tall as the ones I saw, all lit up?)

Was I actually there at the same time and in the same place as the other people? Or was I in an alternate dimension, or something like that?

I’ve never walked around on mountains as tall as these. They were more like the Rockies than the Sandias. Where was I?

Why did I “know” this was northern New Mexico, when the parts of northern New Mexico I’ve visited don’t look anything like this place?

Why was I at a resort by Native Americans, for Native Americans? Who brought me there? Why?

What was with the bikini? I actually own a white bikini with orange flowers and green leaves. I haven’t worn it in years because I never swim, or even lay out in the sun. (I just realized, with a start, I do love that bikini. I wonder why?)


I used to love to swim. I used to love just being in a pool, playing around. The pool I spent the most time in belongs to my aunt and uncle who live in Oklahoma City. Now that I think about it, I believe I may have bought that white bikini before going back to Oklahoma City for my cousin’s wedding in 2007. Because there was supposed to be a pool party, and I couldn’t wait to swim! (Spouse doesn’t like getting wet, never mind swimming, so I just . . . stopped doing this thing that I love.)

There actually was a pool party — I saw the photographs my sister took, some months later. It’s just, I wasn’t invited to it.

Now that I think about it, except for trying it on, I’ve never worn that bikini.

= = +

I’ve skied (but not ski jumped). I’ve swum, I’ve played in water. I’ve taken photographs. I’ve created art. I’ve walked on mountains.

I’ve been ignored. I’ve had friends ditch me. I’ve had people walk away while I was talking to them.

I’ve been invisible.


October 22, 2014

It’s been so long since I had a really good night’s sleep that I’ll probably have to go to bed at 8 p.m. tonight, to catch up. (Last night, despite the rain, and despite needing to wake up at 8:30, I went for a walk at 1:30 a.m. Arrived back home at 2:15 a.m. Went to bed, then, couldn’t fall asleep.)

In 2014, I’ve read 180 books all the way through, and (at least) another 46 partially. I will not get anywhere close to as many books as I read in 2011, 2012, or 2013, but I’m okay with that, because this year, I wrote gobs more poems than any other year.

I also spent gobs of time on Twitter this past year. Until Samhain, I’m fasting from Twitter (n = 267 hours). Amazing how much emotional energy that has freed up. I do miss seeing what the people I follow are up to; conversing with my favorites.

Rain most of last few nights, all day today. Supposed to clear up and be sunny & 60s Friday and Saturday, before cooling down again.

Felt so amazingly significant that I dreamed about Persephone yesterday; was sure that’d be focus with P today, but there was so much other stuff, we barely glanced at it.

Feel lost without writing poems, but I need a break from intensity and focus of poetry. Looking forward to lying fallow for a while.

May have to rethink plan to write a blog post every remaining day of 2014. Writing this often, my thoughts feel choppy and disconnected; they haven’t had time to coalesce into coherence. (Maybe that’s just the effect of the sleep deprivation.)

So. Very. Sleepy. It’s 6 p.m.

Gasoline today was $2.999 per gallon. Weird. I’d have to dig up my old checkbook register to see when’s the last time it was under $3. Because of the rain, my drive down to Prince George’s County — normally 60–70 minutes — was 84 minutes. Seemed a lot longer because traffic on 695 was averaging 15 mph; once I got to 97, I was back up to 60 mph.

Feel like I’m on the brink of understanding how to do my spatial-dispersed photography-visual poem project. Frustrating at how elusive it’s been.

Dreams this morning contained the following elements: catalpa trees; travelling through Wales on a train; Myfanwy Jones. Don’t recall the narratives. I actually did travel through Wales on a train once. It was overnight, so there wasn’t much to see, but I stayed awake (with some effort) because I thought being in Wales was so cool.

Spouse and I are going to do Early Voting later this week, a first for both of us.

It feels like a million years since I got mail from someone I actually wanted to hear from. And now that I’m avoiding Twitter, most of my emails are junk I immediately delete.

Dancing baby elephant.

I need to wash my hair. Lately I’ve been using vinegar (1 tablespoon in a cup of water). I also need a haircut.

Our welcome mat is really ugly, I’ve (only recently) noticed. To call it a “muddy” color actually insults mud. It’s more like bile-colored. I don’t know where Spouse found it, but we need to get a new one.

This is like one of those days where writing morning pages just seems pointless.

Counting things soothes my anxiety. Putting all my pennies into rolls over the weekend was unexpectedly enjoyable for that reason. And I ended up with $6. I’m also counting the hours until Samhain because of my Twitter fast. Helps keep me motivated to stay off it (I’m 17% of the way to my goal! A little over 1/6. I’m making progress!)

Re-read Captain Awkward’s archives, after mentioning her to someone. Lots of people spend way more time with friends and even family than I ever have.

I just want to hibernate. Barring that, curl up under blankets with a mug of lemon tea & honey. Then sleep for hours and hours.

Forgot to bring my camera with me today. On the long rainy drive, saw 2 extremely large metal things being transported by truck. Wish I could’ve photographed them. One was a tube; one looked like part of a lunar module.

Exuberant exoskeletons!

Bananas bouncing around apricots!

Rhythmically scratching half-circles on my scalp somehow soothes me too. And sometimes seems to open up my sinuses? Be much better if Spouse was scratching my head, or even rubbing my forehead, but he never does the former and rarely does the latter. Also, he’s out running errands right now.

Woolly rhinoceros. Triceratops. Pterodactyl.

I like writing a ‘writer bio’ when I feel reasonably certain the audience will appreciate my whimsical approach. Even if I had a bunch of publishing credits (and obviously, I don’t), I find writer bios full of that stuff . . . kind of mystifying. Also, boring. That kind is probably one of those prestige/status things that are so incomprehensible to me. Honestly, some of the literary journal names are so ridiculous, I wonder if people don’t just make shit up sometimes. If anyone asked for details, you could just say, oh, they were a zine that went out of business years ago — how would anyone know any differently? Blue Toenail, man, it was so rad, back in the day.

For the love of god, can I visit the Yahoo home page without seeing that photo of the “rare albino deer shot by 11 year old hunter”?

I’ve decided it’s not too early to start getting ready for bed, even though it’s only 7:15 p.m. Good night.

Scorpio ~ the alchemy of desire

October 21, 2014

List all the real people (or their lookalikes) who have appeared in my dreams lately (n = 11). They are mostly people I know from Twitter, except for US Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor; Padma Lakshmi; and 2 women I met last year at AROHO. 3 nonbinary people. 1 man (Spouse).

In the witching hour, lemon tea in the dark. Time to drop the last of my distractions, descend into the depths. Time to dive.

Dream about Persephone.

Note in my dream journal, “I’m part of a system that oscillates between open and closed. I think I need to be more closed for a while.”

Realize that almost all of my conceptual breakthroughs owe nothing to collaboration. I get ideas from my materials, from other people, from the world, but not from working directly with other people. (Usually.)

Even though a lot of my most-cherished friendships wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t approached the other person, I realize that I need to stop approaching people as often as I do. The way I’ve been doing it hasn’t been effective for what I was attempting. Social rejection hurts. I’ve been getting a lot of social rejection lately. I need to change what I’m doing.

What if I wait for other people to approach me? (Introject says: “we’ll die, all alone!”) Thing is, I prefer my own company to that of people armed with platitudes, or tone-deaf suggestions. What if I stop trying so hard? What if I give up on other people (for a while)?

Realize that there are, in fact, really good reasons why I behave the way I do at professional conferences. Unlike most people there, I rarely know anyone beforehand. Even when I do know people, though, I’d prefer not to spend time with them at the conference itself. Social stuff vacuums up all my cognitive bandwidth, leaving me crumbs to use for the stuff I really care about (and the reason I’m there in the first place): learning about other people’s research, ideas; making cross-connections of my own.

List what I’m actually doing when I attend professional conferences. As I play with my purple magnetic beads, realize there are tangible items I could bring with me on future occasions to improve my experience. Realize my protocols assist me in getting my needs met, quite robustly; what I’m doing at a professional conference barely overlaps what other people are doing. (I also follow these procedures in many other social situations.)

Improvise several photography scenes, with materials easily to hand: metal pieces; flowers, fruits, leaves. Photograph my own body from odd angles.

Read interview with Annie Lennox. The man who interviewed her kept dragging “sexy” into her talking about her power and agency in the world. O hai, the male gaze: to diminish her, make her seemingly predictable and ordinary. Recognize that I would have asked much better questions.

In the shower, think about the kinds of questions I ask people. I find out all sorts of things that wouldn’t have arisen in conversations with other people. Attempts to forge relationships with people I’ve asked questions of [in specific situations] have derailed, as their responses get funneled through third parties. Any thanks somehow gets directed to those third parties, instead of directly to me. That’s something else I can stop doing! I get angry, in a good way.

Flirt with the world, as seen out my balcony door.

EE with RR; EE with A, D, FF

B with P

Unexpected encounter 1: unnoticed on Gerber daisy until I move it, a crab spider; notice him as he scurries across my hand; I transfer him to blanket. Catch back up with him, return him to the flowers.

I recognize the 8th House by its associations as I re-read Caroline W. Casey’s Making the Gods Work For You, the chapter on Pluto ~ The Power of Shape-Shifting:

“All things that are unseen: death, rebirth, transformation, sex, spirits, ancestors. All initiations of descent into the Underworld. All that was sacred in the ancient world and that has become taboo in the modern.” (p. 100)

My penciled-in notes: Kore, Sedna, tricksters, sparklers /// uncertainty, beginner’s mind.

I need to divest myself of more things I’ve outgrown.


Pink sock worn yesterday has developed holes. With a pang, throw it out.

Put on green-gold-blue and white plaid shirt. Take out recycling. Add red-and-blue striped (under)layer to my outfit. Drink juice. Photograph clouds and trees.

Will go to bank and post office and Panera Thursday, not today.

Inspired by local geological formations, conceptualize a photo series, starring myself, amidst those boulders (or others). Realize I am an odd confluence of many things, such that this photo series might allow me to express experiences and emotions I have not yet managed to do with poetry. Maybe the immediacy of the visual (which I have vastly more experience with, compared to writing poetry) will be more effective.

Leisurely drive amidst Maryland farms on my way to get my car’s emissions tested. (<5 minutes this time.)

To exit, instead of turning right, then left ~ explore. Turn left, then right. Find mosaics store. Look at everything! Buy variegated mix of glass tiles; agates; beach glass in shades of orange.

Outside, more photos of trees and clouds. For companionship in my car, take 1 fuzzy brown Gleditsia seedpod; 1 Alder catkin.

OldMe would’ve been excited by the mosaics too. Would’ve quickly signed up for classes, bought tools, materials. Would’ve wanted to trumpet to the world her new obsession, even before she discovered if she liked it or not. NewMe signs up for nothing; declines entering mosaic store’s monthly drawing; declines to give my email. NewMe just wants to play. Play with cool stuff. I consciously choose no commitments right now. This period of uncertainty, unsettledness, not-knowing . . . is precious. I need to honor it by keeping everything open.

Sometimes that’s a struggle. I’m breathing into it.

Halfway home, wrong turn leads me to pass horse and rider doing dressage.

Elton John sings about Levon, as I park my car next to a field.

Unexpected encounter 2: wasp on my hand, at farm stand. She very patiently walks all over my hand, wiggles her rear end, cleans her antennae, and face. Apparently perfectly pleased to be there. I am . . . bemused. Curious. Intrigued about why this is happening right here, right now.

Today is making itself sacred; I’m just along for the ride.

Buy dark wildflower honey from the farmstand, produced by hardworking Frederick County bees.

Radio tells me weather will be in the 50s next 2 days. Storms.

Spouse tells me about how he’s going to do early-vote tomorrow evening after work. We make plans to go together.

Spouse puts his laundry away.

Like a cat, Spouse is often very affectionate when he sees me preoccupied. Finally shoo him out of bedroom, because I’m writing.

Dinner. Cookies. (Confirm that Spouse ate the thumbprint cookie I saved for him.) Lemon tea, with dark honey from 2 places.

I’ve written > 300,000 words on this blog,. Calculate: if I write a blog post for every single day remaining in 2014, and they average >= 889 words each, I will reach 400,000 words posted on this blog, as of December 31, 2014. Challenging, but doable.

Am I ready to plunge into the fathomless depths that await? Is anyone ever?



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