Secret Pop

Mar 6, 2005

in order to prevent the passions from showing

These are harmless excerpts from emails to friends. I find I write more that is worth saving these days when I am writing to someone actual and not just to the fish in the sea or to the back of my hand. I have written a great deal in the past few days, but not all of it has found its way onto anyone's eyeballs. This is my way of making that not be true.

Of course I missed hearing from you. Sometimes my life is like a prison -- self-imposed though my consecration to it may be. And the voices from the outside that find their way to me are glimpses of freedom. All the better if they have interesting and eloquent things to say. Most of them just want computer help.

I have been writing lengthy letters when it was called for. And it reminded me of how much I missed our early correspondence. People like you bring out the try in me. And it leads to more of the do. And sometimes some of the sentences are worth saving. Especially the ones with clumsy
Star Wars and Star Trek references in them.

The stirring is just to occupy the silences. The contemplative, suggestive, downcast-eyes, French-movie silences. I will buy you an espresso and a coffee. One to drink. One to stir. Or it can be a glass of water, if you like. With a spoon in it.

Recently it does seem that I catch myself watching from outside my head and I feel as if I am careening out of control. Babbling on when I should just breathe deeply and be serene and mysterious. When I hear myself thinking, "I have only myself to blame," I also realize that maybe I prefer it that way. I'm Encyclopedia Brown over here, twenty-four seven. My brain never shuts up. And I'm always frustrated that the answers aren't in the back of the book.

And whenever I try to be less than a hopeless romantic, I find that I don't know how to handle myself. I can feign callousness in certain venues. I can pretend to be above it. And I can move on and get past things. But the failures live on in the museum of my mind, and I am never able to close the door on them, because closure is not a real part of human existence, and that is a cruel fucking truth.

So when things don't keep to that pattern, I get confused. And I worry that the noodles will not come out right in the end. And I should be more flexible, because I know more than anyone that you can skip the package directions and still come up with something edible. I do it all the time. Because I am lazy when it comes to reading in general, and I eschew reading directions in particular because I am arrogant and certain that I have no need of them. And because I rebel against authority. Even in written form. I would put postage stamps on the wrong parts of letters if I didn't believe it would hamper the delivery of my very important correspondence and payments.

I'm drifting out here. And I don't know if I even truly want to correct that. I almost think that the drifting is fine. And maybe even better. Maybe the point is that I can't keep wasting so much effort and energy and emotion and analysis. I wonder how productive I might be if I wasn't so busy trying to steer ships at the bottom of the ocean. For someone who is tempted to eat food out of the trashcan rather than see it go to waste, I sure do throw away a lot of perfectly good time.

And if I were to tell you all these things in my real voice with my hands tugging at the longest parts of my hair and my feet fidgeting under a bar table, you'd probably notice that I'm smiling when I say it, and that even my most abysmal moments are usually assessed wryly and with whatever humor I can muster, however sardonic. I laugh a lot when I talk. I really do. And it isn't always a sham when I do it. Sometimes, surely. But not always.

I'm fairly certain that, given the right circumstances my previous boyfriends would describe me as someone good and kind and generous and worthy. As long as it didn't make them look bad to admit those things. I'm pretty sure that's how they see me. I was a good egg. But it's the fact that those assessments are paramount that is so flawed. I am living my life for the report card I generate. And then all I want to do is sit and stare at the grades. Moving forward is difficult for me. I ruminate like crazy.

When things are obvious, they are exactly that.

That Churchill fellow was on
Real Time with Bill Maher tonight, and he really did not get his point across at all. He did however mention Hannah Arendt once. And I felt slightly pleased that I know who she is and what he was referring to. But, shit, he could have gotten what he was saying from the first three pages of the book. What a cheater. It wasn't really a very good episode of the show, frankly. Even though Dave Foley was a guest and Janet Reno. They were both good, but Bernadine Healy makes me want to see how long she can stay underwater with my hands around her throat. She's just one of those simpering false ones who wants to kindly disagree, and because she's being nice, you feel bad about having to say, "Woman, you're full of shit." But she's totally full of shit. And someone should say so. Dave Foley's mention of our nation's clandestine policy of extraordinary rendition prompted me to finish reading an article in The New Yorker about it that I had recently begun. I liked him for having done his homework. And for doing a great take when Bill asked if he believes in reincarnation.

I'm competitive when I shouldn't be. Like, ever since the first time I saw Marion Ravenwood outdrink that fellow in
Raiders of the Lost Ark (I want to call him a sherpa because of the setting, but he was clearly like Yugoslavian or something), I've thought to myself, "I could do that."

To Catch a Thief is on. I suppose it's a Cary Grant week or something. And, yes, I adore Charade. As much for Walter Matthau as for Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn. She's wonderful to me. Even when she's not great. I just find her so lovely and naive and girlish. Paris When It Sizzles makes me want to write. And Sabrina makes me want to have my heart broken in New York.

What I often learn when I do go back and find and reread old books I used to read is that they are shockingly smaller and shorter than I recall. Pamphlets, really. Barely worth dog-earing if you don't finish them in one sitting. The Mary Poppins books had this effect on me. I was like, "That's it? Crap." But I'm still glad to have them. Just disappointed in their girth. Maybe the Disney people added all those songs just to fill the thing out a bit, huh?

Mary, what a jerk

Today is my mother's birthday. I will drive down to San Diego and celebrate it with her, and then I will return to see what manner of cake I can bake. I feel as if I have been swimming in sameness. Organ-grinding. Pushing buttons on an old defunct console. It will get better. It will get glorious. And then it will get back to whatever it was. I can't complain too mightily about the baseline. It is never as bad as it could be and seldom as bad as it seems. I'm not saying that I'm all sunshine and paper hats. I'm just saying that I'm still able to feel it when my teeth have been pressing too hard against each other, and that means I am still capable of telling when to stop biting down.

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