Monthly Archives: December 2011

2011 in review!


because self-reflection & posterity is super important. feel free to steal.

1.What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before?

crossed an ocean, wore contact lenses, collected unemployment, joined a union.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

i did leave the continent. i made a huge dent in my debt but did not pay it all off. i didn’t find a home for my book, but i did a lot of good readings & did what i could within the chaos of this year. my resolutions for next year are: keep pursuing a meaningful life. do good things. don’t pour all your love into one person, especially a person who doesn’t give much back. don’t get complacent. and publish your fucking book!

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
i don’t think so.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
paul died. we weren’t ever close, per se, but it still saddened me.

5. What countries did you visit?
france, germany, poland & lithuania! so nice to finally be able to answer this question!

6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?
a published book. a mature, considerate lover. a life plan that feels right & is doable.

7. What dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
i remember wilding out with some lithuanians at karaoke. walking the streets of paris with jill, eating falafel and feeling perfect. i remember a meaningful walk across the 16th street bridge when i was feeling so terrible. i remember that amazing fucking philly roadtrip with steph & danny. i remember 4 of the most healing hugs of my life: 2 at the anarchist bookstore, 1 at occupy pittsburgh and 1 across my desk at work. i remember walking the streets of berlin with my siblings, beers openly in hand, just cuz we could.  i remember dancing wildly with arthur & amanda. i remember dancing wildly with steph & danny. i remember two beautiful talks in my hammock. i remember going roller skating the day after new years and driving away with the sun setting and lady gaga playing and feeling really happy. i remember riding the megabus thru a rainstorm in wisconsin listening to the clash and feeling like i was on a great adventure. i remember the first time i read my novel, to a crowd of about 30 people in pgh, and getting so much fuckin’ love from the audience! i remember hooking up with a finnish man in the stairwell of a depressing soviet-built apartment building. i remember seeing the forgetters play, drunk in the mid-afternoon, with jill in berlin. i also remember a lot of awful things that i don’t really want to remember, or else sexy/romantic things that i don’t want to share here.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

surviving. doing a lot of really amazing things at work, and doing 10 readings! 9 of which i consider a smashing success, and one that was just ok. meeting a lot of great people, coming out of my shell significantly & becoming a nicer person.

9. What was your biggest failure?

there are a few comforting things i wish i’d said to clients, but felt like it wasn’t my place. but now i wish i’d said them.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

i got real sick in lithuania and couldn’t take any medicine because i don’t speak lithuanian and the pharmacies are set up so you need to ask for your medicine. & as i have discussed ad nauseum on this blog, i got into a bike accident and suffered a black eye, fat lip, a concussion & nerve damage on my scalp & forehead. other than that i’ve been good.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

my waffle iron & a plane ticket to paris.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

this has been a year of betrayal & abandonment by family, both blood & chosen, but the people who have stuck around have been fucking incredible. you really did save my fucking life and i am eternally indebted to each and every single one of you who has reminded me, with your incredible love & compassion, that life is worth living.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

my co-workers, my mom, my ex-partner, and myself.

14. Where did most of your money go?

student loans, traveling, and moving.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
going on zine tour, going to europe, rejoining life, new love affairs, my job once it stopped sucking, all the new friends i’ve made this year.

16. What song will always remind you of 2011?

“at the hop” -devendra barnhardt, “too small to fail” -forgetters, “american gangster time” -elvis costello, many songs by bruce springsteen, and a few that i don’t want to put here.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder?  even though it’s been a very sad year i actually think i am happier.
b) thinner or fatter? way thinner. but i didn’t want to be.
c) richer or poorer? poorer.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
writing. risking. kissing. biking. dancing.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

trying to explain things to people who just don’t fucking get it. also, crying.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?

already spent it. like this:

 (okay, i admit i only wore my facemask for the picture. but i got it for xmas! my face will be so nice and warm!)

21. Did you fall in love in 2011?
i did not fall in love in a romantic-partner sense, but i did fall in love in a way that was much more important. fell in love with the world and with the work i’ve been chosen to do. it was fucking amazing.

22. How many one-night stands?

23. What was your favorite TV program?
gossip girl! yes, i know i’m a little late to the party.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

25. What was the best book you read?oh boy. i read a lot of great books. “the color purple” (again, a little late to the party), “dyke drama, your guide to getting out alive”, “falling apart in one piece”, “owly”, “storming cesar’s palace”, “roseannarchy”, “blue highways”, “myth of the welfare queen”, “the doris encyclopedia”, “jesus land” and many others!

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?

oh do i ever have a musical discovery. i listened to lots of elvis costello & bruce springsteen.

27. What did you want and get?
friends at work, a zine tour, excitement.

28. What did you want and not get?
let’s not even fucking go there.

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I was 29. i ate waffles with friends.

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

see question #28.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?

boy in a skirt. no glasses! skinny jeans! ribcage t-shirts.

33. What kept you sane?


35. What political issue stirred you the most?
the fucking government cutting funds to my job. i wish every tea party motherfucker could sit with me at my desk and offer people tissues while they cry hysterically because we’re their last hope for turning their utilities back on and we simply don’t have the money. tell them thanksgiving is cancelled. tell the woman who just got her arm amputated that she’s going to have to go to a shelter. i know those tea party fuckers don’t care, and i wouldn’t enjoy their company at all, but i wish they could bear witness to it anyway.

36. Who did you miss?
everyone who wasn’t with me at that particular moment.

37. Who was the best new person you met?
everyone on zine tour. and a few co-workers & clients.

guess the winter makes you laugh a little slower, makes you talk a little lower.


wow! in two weeks i have gone from this:

to this:

note to self: you can heal.

no internet time as always so i can’t write anything real. working full time with a brain injury is hard. i don’t have the energy for anything beyond the bare minimum. no writing, no books, no friends (and by “no” i actually mean “reduced by approx. 80%”). spending a lot of time in my apartment, listening to cassette tapes and watching lots of “gossip girl.” i’m not even bored, which is kind of disturbing. but i’m trying to accept it as where i’m at right now. a quiet ending to a rowdy, wild, punishing and intense year.

since i deleted my facebook, i have nowhere else to put this useless-yet-compelling info…


my little sister is on a fashion blog! so proud of you jill!!! thanks for the tip, arth (and commenter #4, you are boring. plz find something better to do than writing paragraph-long critiques of strangers’ outfits. thanks).

i am SO HAPPY i deleted facebook! i hate facebook, what was i thinking? less internet time is always better. and i don’t need social networking, i have the phone #s of most of the people in this city who care about me. all i need is a little heat, a pot of chili, a few gossip girl dvds and a stack of library books and a few good friends. and i can make it through the winter. that’s more than most people have. i can stay in my apartment and heal my brain and face and heart. i can get sober. i can be strong all by myself, i know i can.

the first sentence of my horoscope this week says, “you are almost free.” it resonated with me.

i had a really fun hour-long interaction with two francophone clients and google translate. they weren’t even my clients, but i wasn’t doing anything so i tried to step in. they were really sweet. i said, “je suis desolee, mon francais es mauvais!” and the lady said, “tres bien, mon soeur!” hahaha. (translation: me: i am sorry, my french is bad!” her: very good, my sister!) it was odd and sweet in a way i can’t even explain here.

are you sitting in a room that is heated or cooled to a comfortable temperature right now? if you are, please appreciate it. please.

things people have given me today: a soft pretzel, a beautiful CD, backhanded compliments about my hat, and hugs (1, from jessie).

i have to go now!



i was doing really well until i hit my head and now things are hard & awful & hopeless again. last week i read a line in a book, talking to girls about duran duran by rob sheffield. i thought it would be stupid but it actually turned out to be pretty good. there is one line that changed my life a little bit, from a story he wrote about clipping his grandfather’s toenails, even though they bled and he thought he was hurting his grandfather. and the last line is so powerful, i’ve been repeating it aloud to myself all day: “learning, over and over again. the work of love will make you bloody, and it will make you lonely.”

how true, how true, how true. and how many times do i have to learn. and now i am both. now i am both. and the soothing voice in my head saying, “this isn’t real, not really, it’s just a reaction to that hard knock” but oh, the deeper and more real part of me knows it isn’t true. knows it can’t be. i know that this part is the true part. stephanie said yesterday that i think my life will be like this forever and that’s what is making me sad, and i’m not right, because it’s ups & downs like everything else is. but now i have no escape plan & no real hope that things are gonna be better. just this. to live out. just time to get through. somehow.

i rode all the way to the library in the hopes that my hat would be there. my hat is gone. i only had it for a month, but i loved it so much, i felt so adorable and adored in it. o’ryan gave it to me when he left. i saw him last night, and radio too, and it was sweet and warm and fun. yesterday was a really good day.

stephanie made me a quesadilla and i said, “it looks like a face!” and she said, “it looks like YOUR face, with one eye all fucked up!” so of course i had to take a picture.

we walked for a long time, through this abandoned neighborhood near our own. what a great street name!

this was a sweet, strange message in the middle of fucking nowhere.

and this cute, beautiful tile-work, in a house long abandoned, also in the middle of nowhere. it was an inspiring walk, reminding me of the good things that can pop up when you least expect them. today it’s like that hope never existed. but, you know, it does, somewhere.

i am at the library and some ESL tutor is trying to teach an old man something. she keeps saying, in slow, clear tones: “my husband is dead. my husband is dead.” the first time she said it, she laughed in a painful way. and still the man she is tutoring doesn’t understand, so she has to say it again, slowly: my husband is dead. how does she do it? how does she keep saying it.  after all, the work of love will make you bloody & it will make you lonely. we all just express it in different ways, that’s all.

now the cities we live in, they could be distant stars


feeling better today. woke up early and walked 2 miles to my old job to say hey to the ladies there, because i promised i would when i got a chance. now’s the chance. walking there i tiptoed down the crumbling city steps, through the trash filled woods. i thought of _________ and how much she’d like these steps, because i know her well enough to know that she likes old things, fucked up things, she likes being surrounded by woods in the city. but i don’t think she’ll ever visit me here and so i’ll never get to show her. i also thought about ******, about clambering down these steps with him at night, hand-in-hand, climbing up other steps, whispering tired secrets in the night air, getting completely lost but not caring. that was less than a month ago & now things are so different. what the fuck? how was that only a month? it was years & years & years. that self doesn’t exist anymore. how? i don’t know.

i’ve decided some force larger than myself is keeping me here. last monday i found out my job was getting cut back, but i was like, “oh, i can still do a drug study!” and…less than 72 hours later i had a concussion. no drug studies for me. fate is trying to tell me something & it’s my job to listen. so no running away. not yet.

i went to my old job, the one i hated, and got such a warm welcome. sat around for an hour or so shootin’ the shit with middle aged secretaries. it was nice. who knew. i walked back to the library the long, scenic route. i remembered the first time i walked it, after my interview, where i played “let it be” by the beatles on my ipod and felt very much on the right path, very connected, very sure. this time was nothing like that. i can’t listen to headphones because they are too much for my scrambled brain (really) so i sang to myself, which was nice in a different way. “tainted love” by soft cell and “suburban war” by arcade fire, if you’re wondering. it’s kind of nice being a daytime weirdo. library-lurker. walk-taker. everyone else in the library at mid-day is a little bit off, too. i like it.