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Archive for June, 2004

THE BLAHS

THE BLAHS

I have a painful and annoying headache that’s been relentlessly coming and going for the past few days, and I’m fucking sick of it. It’s sort of an intermittent throb, in the very back of my head, that sort of feels as if the back of my brain is being seized by a pair of salad tongs . . . with each seize there’s a bit of vertigo and an electric wash of pain up over the top of my skull. It’s kind of migrainey, but not really quite of that magnitude.

Furthermore, there’s a cricket outside, that’s just obsessively and relentlessly chirping . . . normally, I love crickets, but tonight it just feels as if that stridulation, all that squeaky scrubbing, is rubbing right up against the soreness in my head.

I suppose this is all probably PMS . . . all last week I kept finding myself weeping uncontrollably over shows on Animal Planet, plus I dropped and broke a bowl (it just slipped out of my fingers . . . I liked that bowl, too!), and I’ve been so exhausted over the past couple of days that I seem to require several extra hours of sleep. Not to mention the bone-crushing, soul-sucking depression that set in like emotional food poisoning today . . . ptomaine, salmonella, trichinosis, e coli . . .

All compounded by the fact that it seemed as if the majority of the day was held hostage by having to do laundry. I loathe doing laundry. I hold the doing of laundry in utter contempt!

At least my check came in . . . tomorrow (which I suppose is, technically, today), I’m off to Yankton in the afternoon to do my Paycheck Pilgrimage shopping at Wal-Mart and Hy-Vee. Dear readers, please attempt to control the secretions of your adrenal glands after having read about excitement of this magnitude.

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(BECAUSE IT’S BEEN AWHILE) CONVERSATIONS WITH MY JAPANESE MOTHER

West Nile Virus Heading Straight for Me!:

JM: Since you don’t watch television, you don’t know any news going on. You say you get news on computer, but I don’t believe you . . . I don’t think computer tell you important thing you need to know.

AH: Oh, yeah? Like what?

JM: You don’t know West Nile Virus heading straight for you!

AH: Again??

JM: Don’t be tonkachi head and make joke. It not funny. I know how you are . . . you get invite someplace and even if outside and at night you go anyway and then stand around all stupid and let mosquito bite you to death!

AH: There is this thing called mosquito repellent . . .

JM: [Interrupting my treatise on mosquito repellent.] Oh, you such big talker, aren’t you? But I don’t think you know how to use properly. Plus you have to get the DEET! And I don’t think you know how to get the one with the DEET. I so worry!

AH: [Because I’m evil.] Well, you’re probably right . . . plus you know, my friend John got West Nile Virus last summer. And one of the English grad students, too. And there are birds dying on the sidewalks. It’s obviously heading straight for me, and it’s only a matter of time now . . . so I say, bring on the meningitis!

JM: Don’t be smart aleck! And don’t come cry to me when your brain all swell up!

Physical Fitness Expert:

JM: How much paying for go your exercise place?

AH: $29.99 a month.

JM: Good grief! Who you think you are? Some kind of Rockefeller? Anyway, you better go lots so get your money worth. How many times week you going?

AH: About five. Five times a week.

JM: Only five? You such waste money! You better go every day!

AH: They’re only open six days a week.

JM: Well, then you better go at least twice a day every day. Besides, I don’t think you get any good exercise only thirty minute total and thirty second on each machine. Only thirty second do nothing! You got to go twice a day . . . maybe even three time. And ride bike to go there. And go swimming too. Otherwise do you no good. And you end up get diabetes.

Tom Da-shi is a Bad, Bad Man:

JM: Tom Daschle [pronounced Da-shi] is bad, bad man.

AH: What are you talking about?

JM: Oh . . . I forgot. You not Republican, are you?

Bore to Death:

[After bone-curdlingly disastrous X-mas visit from the Canadian Dyke last December]

JM: How your visit go with you know who . . . your friend?

AH: Horrible, actually. It went so badly I had to break up with her.

JM: Must be because she was bore to death.

Cunts:

[Upon hearing about the editorial kafuffle at the literary magazine this spring. (It should also be noted that my Japanese mother does not, I’m pretty sure, have any idea what the word “cunt” actually means.)]

JM: Who she think she is? Try to send out magazine without you permission when you the one who editor that issue.

AH: Yeah, I know . . . she’s a cunt.

JM: Yeah . . . she big cunt!

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DART BITCH

DART BITCH

An enjoyable couple of days . . . went to the VLP poetry slam yesterday, and saw all sorts of people, which was nice. Snuck off to slam down a quick beer with Eileen and Robin during the break, which felt vaguely illicit . . . sort of like drinking in the bathroom during high school or something. Hee.

Tonight, Susan and Cathy invited me over for dinner. Oh . . . it was SO good . . . there was fresh Greek salad with green peppers, tomatoes, Greek olives, cucumbers, and Feta cheese. There were shrimp skewers with fresh shrimp in the shell marinated in garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil. There was roasted chicken breast, also marinated in the same sauce. Got to visit with the Special Dog Friends, who made a big gratifying fuss when I came over–complete with grunting, jumping, nose biting, licking, and quarreling over distribution of pets.

Afterwards, I went to Chalky’s to meet up with Eileen and Robin for a drink. They are both wonderful, and bought multiple copies of my book, which is really too good of them!

Now my hair is wreathed in cigarette smoke, which is vaguely disconcerting. Part of me finds the smell completely offensive, while another part of me is totally jonesing for a cigarette.

People were playing darts at Chalky’s, and I wished that I had thought to bring my darts. Not only do I own my own darts, but I have flights that say Dart Bitch. I play very rarely any more, but I think it’s safe to say that I pissed away a not altogether insignificant portion of my late 20’s throwing darts at a pleasingly squalid bar called the Video Saloon in Bloomington, Indiana. On nights like this, sometimes I miss the Video Saloon. Chalky’s reminds me a little bit of the Video Saloon, although it certainly doesn’t rate nearly as high on the squalor-o-meter. Next time, though, I’ll remember to bring my darts.

Tomorrow . . . I’m off to see the dog show!!

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JUST CHECKING IN

JUST CHECKING IN . . .

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted, so I thought I’d better at least check in before the AHBA or the like has to file a formal written complaint.

Things here have been good. Not an ecstatic, mind-blowing good–and hey, those kind of good’s inevitably only lead to drama anyways–but more of a mellow, easygoing kind of good. My days have fallen into a comfortable groove of working out and running errands in the morning, followed by a shower and then a break for lunch. After which I usually feel a bit soporific, and start thinking wistfully about taking a nap, but instead brew up a cup (just one!) of strong, fragrant African-blend coffee and dig into writing for the remainder of the afternoon. I write until dinner, interspersing administrative or household tasks during the lulls, and then after a leisurely dinner in front of the T.V. I sit back down at the laptop again and take another stab at writing–once again checking off domestic or administrative chores from my checklist when I hit a creative bump or lull. I do this until around midnight, after which I kick back and watch a show, or part of a movie. Then I go to bed and read for an hour or so.

Sometimes I go to lunch or dinner with friends, or drive to Sioux City or Sioux Falls to go shopping. But mostly I do the above. Mundane, I know. But productive and comfortable . . . and I just want to enjoy it while it lasts.

I’ve had a lot of large, time-consuming publicity projects to work on for Year of the Snake–sending out hundreds of promotional postcards and e-mails, etc., but I think that I’ve now done all that I can do, publicity-wise . . . at least for the time being.

The writing’s been going well. I’d been letting the poems for my new book sit for a few months to ripen on the vine, and then came back to them in May to do some extensive revising. I was really worried that they totally sucked ass. But although they needed a lot of fine-tuning, I was amazed and pleased to find that they didn’t suck nearly as bad as I thought they did. I did about 44 pages of intense revisions, and then last week was able to do a massive mailing of new work out to various literary journals. I always feel so much better when my stuff is out . . . I love the feeling of slight anticipation and hope that something might get taken . . . that irrational, rejuvenating urge to obsessively stalk my mailman for a possible acceptance letter.

Lately, I’ve been working on the fiction again . . . a novella-length piece for the music school stories. Ultimately, these stories seem to have a lot to do with the difficulties of being a commited artist of one type or another. How art can be fickle and unfaithful, but at the same time heady, glamorous, and seductive . . . as well as necessary, and inevitable. How it’s difficult for an artist to engage appropriately with the world at large, sometimes, or to function well in their personal relationships, when they’ve already committed so much of themself to their art . . . the comedy and pathos in the frantic juggling that goes on.

On a lighter note, I’ve compiled a personal dating credo for myself. Sort of a Dating Do’s and Don’ts for Dykes. (Has a catchy, alliterative ring to it, doesn’ it? Sort of like Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead. But not. Plus, I suppose this is a rather subjective, personalized list, so it’s really more like Dating Do’s and Dont’s for Dyke singular.)

DATING DO’S AND DONT’S FOR DYKE:

1. Never, ever, under any circumstances whatseover, date a woman who wears Drakkar Noir.

2. Any woman who has ever uttered the words “Baby Dyke Meat Flesh” aloud, and in public, and then smacked her lips and grunted is to be avoided at all costs.

3. For any number of reasons, it is usually best to refrain from dating married women.

4. Yes, that gleaming brand new Toaster Oven might indeed seem to possess Holy Grail-esque qualities, and of course one is always eager to promote that Sinister Gay Agenda and all, but how much does one really need a Toaster Oven, anyways, and should one have to, say, return said Toaster Oven, isn’t that mortifyingly worse than having no Toaster Ovens in one’s house at all? You know . . . I’m just saying.

5. Any woman who has employed “exotic,” “mysterious,” or “sensual” as racially-linked adjectives to describe Asian women is an orientalizing Rice Paddy Queen suffering from a misplaced geisha fantasy, who may or may not own a collection of fake “Samurai” swords purchased from eBay. Do not even THINK about going there.

6. [Please feel free to fill in the blank on your own in the comments.]

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SEVERAL UNRELATED MATTERS OF MINOR RELEVANCE

1. I have always been somewhat ambivalent about cilantro. Heretofore, however, I leaned toward pro-cilantro proclivities. The fact that I always felt somewhat unsure about cilantro, in fact, served to create an intriguing sort of je ne sais quoi . . . a compelling kind of a narrative tension, as it were . . . in whatever dish was employing said cilantro. Particularly Thai dishes, such as that delicious salad named Yum Yum Something. Last week I purchased two full bags of herb salad mix, however, at the grocery store, which featured great weedy rank clumps of cilantro. It completely overwhelmed the salad, including the dressing, in its entirety, and was, in the end, rather stomach-churningly off-putting . . . especially since I had to grimly eat my way through two whole bags of the stuff! My official stance regarding cilantro has therefore now been revised. Henceforth, I am officially against cilantro.

2. Something that you should all perhaps know about the Bean Bean is that he’s a champeen Pig Wrassler. No lie. He is also a Chewer of Pig Tails, as well. Just thought you should be kept in the loop on this.

3. The first review for Year of the Snake came in last week, and it was a very nice one (huge sigh of relief and huzzahs!). It was written by poet Ray Gonzalez for The Bloomsbury Review and reads as follows:

“Dozens of poetry series among small and university presses offer first boook and other awards. Southern Illinois University Press has one of the best in the country, and Lee Ann Roripaugh’s book is one of the strongest, most illuminating volumes in its Crab Orchard Award series. Year of the Snake, Roripaugh’s second book, is full of surprises and bristling imagery and line work, and it contains a fascinating sequence of poems on numerous varied topics. She has a celebratory knowledge that tells us she is not afraid to speak. When Roripaugh reveals more than the poem might hint at upon first reading, she keeps going, and it is a joyous ride to experience each and every line.”

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