Saturday, August 23, 2014

When August Obsesses

There is an alternate ending scene at the end of the Bourne Identity when Matt Damon's Jason walks into Franka Potente's Marie's shop and kisses her.  Like, full on- arms around the body, soul-to-soul, lips hard against lips, kiss.  It's the kind of kiss that one fantasizes about- it's the kind of kiss one wants. Badly.

Admittedly, I have a thing for Matt Damon.  A legit bad and raucous thing- I would watch him in Looney Tunes if need be.  But that kiss.  That kiss. That kiss is what begins this obsessions post. Because I have been kissed.  And I have been kissed extraordinarily well.  And yet, I want that kiss.  Hmm.. or this one.

Okay, okay.  I know that I am once again late to the dance.  But Alabama Shakes! Listen to this woman's voice.. it is so worth being late.  Also note the shout out to KEXP with that one :).

Also, everything Dr. John (I know that I am late to this one, too); this song by The National*, and the new album from the Gaslight Anthem (yes oh yes, they do come up in the obsessions confessional for the umpteenth time).

Conrad Aiken's The Divine Pilgrim.  The first book is called the Charnel Rose.  It illuminates.

Travel to Norway.  Nope.  Not kidding.  I recently read this article- which has literally nothing to do with Norway except that it reminded me of the importance of travel.  It reminded me that flight can make you survive, can make you thrive.  Yes, I go to strange places at strange times (which is all relative, and all arguable… and really, the entire point behind the existence of this blog).  Yes, I like to get to know places slowly, like getting to know the best of friends, or like lovers' bodies.  Which is why I go places for long times.  Travel and immersion (again relative) is as necessary to my being as air and breath.  It's not an obsession so much as it is a lifestyle.  I live by drinking culture into my veins.

I think that is all for now.  I shall keep the riotous lot of you in the know about Norway.  And Aiken.  And kissing.

*There is something inherently and beautifully sad about this song.  It pulls me in a la Bon Iver's Holocene… it mesmerizes, hypnotizes. It makes me yearn.  It makes me remember.  It makes me feel bitter and sweet.  Bittersweet.

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Chair Without

A few days ago, a fellow blogger wrote a post having to do with Dr. Seuss.  I commended and confessed- great post, brilliant writing as always, I don't love Dr. Seuss.  It has something to do with the fact that when I was a little girl, Mom used to read my brother and I the story about the pants that had no body.   The image of legless, bodiless pants, moving about darkened roads on their own scared me.  As a child, I was frightened.

As an adult there is something, less frightening, more poignant about the object missing it's purpose; about a chair without someone to sit in it, about a pair of pants without legs.

Last night I took myself out.  I took myself on an 'end-of-a-Groundhog-Day-esque-week' date.*  Every day this week has seemed oddly the same- and yet progressively worse.  Yesterday ended in my car going again to the Garage and my dog slipping his collar and running into traffic.  My emotions have run some sort of gamut.  Not necessarily the good kind of gamut, either.

So I packed my bag with my wallet, The Divine Pilgrim, some index cards (for poetic note-taking naturally) and my phone and set off to the Station.  I sat in a back corner, in front of a window that overlooks the train tracks running through town.  And as I waited for my drink, I stared, somewhat blindly, out that window.  My eyes took their time to focus on a beigeish Adirondack chair, placed on some ancient wooden platform, underneath a tree.

And when they did focus on it, they could not look away.

I stared and wondered, captivated.  I wondered who had sat in that now-empty chair.  Who took the time to angle the chair just so- and when did they do that?  What were they watching when they sat there and were they alone in their watching?  Were they as lonely as that chair now is?  Did someone tell stories there, read books there?  Where was there to that person, that chair?

I wanted to know the story of the chair- I knew it was a chair without an inhabitant, but what was it when it was a chair with one?  If it told me about it's life, would it tell me about the man who sat upon it- reading Hemingway, drinking scotch and smoking cigars?  Or did he have a pipe?

As my eyes focused and could not look away, my mind made a life for that chair without- made a life for the person who once made it a chair with.  I lived the life of the man who sat there, waiting.  I wondered, still, for what he waited, and I waited with him.  I sat at his feet and watched myself- from across the tracks- watching him, years in the future from decades in the past.

And then my margarita arrived.  And I, sitting in my chair, on a date with myself, took a sip and turned to my book.  Leaving the chair without to itself.

And until next time… My dears.

*Ranger weeks are weird.  The calendar Sunday is my Friday.

Friday, August 15, 2014

A Note on Writing

Once upon a time…

I wrote.  I wrote brilliantly and heart-fully.  I filled pages with essential words- important words- words which were my own unique magic.

All words, once upon a time, cast spell when written by me.  Lately I have worried that my writing suffers… from… life? Time? Me?  So I set about creating a list of why I write.  Why. I. Write.

I write for exposure (as in to expose myself), for confession.

I write to prod at the rawness in me: to see if it heals at all or if it stagnates.

I write because everything- good, bad, despairing, indifferent- dictates that I must.

I do not write as a luxury, although I recognize that it is indeed a luxury.

I write because if I do not, the brutal part of me- the undoing and damaging part- wins.

I write because when I am alone, I don't want to be; because when I witness all of the magnificence of experience, I am compelled to share it.  Life, words, should be shared.  They should be savored, these words, our lives, they should be given, shared, cherished and loved.

And until I am without my words, my writing-

Until then...

Saturday, August 2, 2014

The Henry, the Jeep, and the Bat (Or, The Rule of Three) ((Or, Why Mom Thinks I Should Play the Lottery Today))

To my knowledge, there are not many people who know me and would argue that my life is NOT a series of absurdities.  Many of them appear in this blog- whether travel related or just generally life related.  And here's the thing- I'd like to think that today's post started yesterday, but it really started two weeks ago, with the Henry, who got sick and who essentially triggered this particular series of absurdities.

My beloved little creature got sick to the point of me panicking and rocketing him to the Vet- his first non-shot/puppy check up trip to a veterinarian since I rescued him last October.  I was rather fretted about the blond boy.  But he's fine.  My wallet is less fine- but I'd rather be poor with a happy Henry than rich and without a Henry at all.  So there's number one.

Number two involves the Jeep.  Those of you who know me know that my truck (a 1996 Grand Cherokee, goldish... arguably tannish...) is a thing for me.  It's a defining thing.  It's the second Jeep I have owned.  The brakes squeal, there is categorically NO suspension, the volume control on the radio works backwards.  The rear differential is shot, there may or may not be an oil leak (there is), my brake lights like to stay on when the car is off.  Needless to say.. when people ask what is wrong with my truck (because there always seems to be something), I usually shrug my shoulders and say 'It's mine.'

Last Friday, after telling The Bob about the brake light issue, I over-confidently  proclaimed that I would be absolutely fine, I'm not worried at all about the battery going (his concern).  Fast forward a half an hour, and when I put the key in the ignition to start the car to go to work all I hear is CLICK-CLICK-CLICK.  I got out my jumper cables, found a willing soul, started it up, and called daddy to say 'Get out of my cars head Dad!'

The Jeep did okay Saturday and Sunday morning.  Sunday afternoon it suffered catastrophic failure.  Nothing.  Epic amounts of nothing. Me, being me, left it. I grabbed a ride into my town from the Sculptor in Residence at the Park and told myself I'd deal with it in the morning.  Now let's fast-forward to the morning.  When I wake up to thunder, lightning, pissing-down rain... and no car.  And no ride into the Park to get the car.  So me... again being me... walk the couple of miles from the apartment to the car, put the key in the ignition cross my fingers, invoke the goddess, incant the the HELL out of starting the Jeep... and...


When I first started driving, The Bob, in his endless wisdom, got me AAA.  Which I have used... a lot.  And I used it Monday morning.  I had the truck towed to the local garage, borrowed a friends car, and dealt with things.  On Tuesday evening the garage called. The Jeep was ready.

Apparently there was nothing wrong with it (WTF, Captains of the Universe, are you just messing with my head for fun now?!?!).  Really?  Yep.  Nothing?  Nothing that we can find. Like, Nothing-Nothing? Look, we can't fix something that isn't broken.  Okay then, I'll get it tomorrow after work, I guess.

Which I did.  And much to my infinite gratitude the guys at the Meriden Garage did not actually charge me for my cars wee little fiasco.  The second in the rule.. way less pricey than the first.

So then yesterday rolls around.  I'm standing in the Visitors Center at the Park, shooting the shit with my buddy and she goes 'Dude.. Rule of Three... Bad things happen in threes.' I jokingly respond with, 'Shit, I don't want to think about that- it means I'm probably next.'

I don't really know who was the next one...  But here's to number three..

I went to bed last night probably around 11.  All cuddled up, snugged in.  I woke up, restless as always about an hour or so later.  And then an hour or so after that.  Fell asleep again, woke up around 3:14 (smiled on the inside, hello old friend, nice to see you again tonight), tossed around a bit before getting up to go to the bathroom.  On the way I was distracted by my dog, who yes, is a pain in the ass of herculean proportions, but is also super cute.  So I snuggled in with him for a few minutes before continuing on to the toilet.  While there I hear a distinctive click-click-clicking (ha, the Jeep and the Henry... ugh) of Henry trotting across the floor towards me.  I laugh because he's a sucker for me and vice versa and say out loud,'Coming to bed with Mama, Henny-Hens?'

I walk out of the bathroom to find him staring intently, in the dark, at the curtains in my living room.  I look up.  Something is moving.  Something not as big as a bread box, but not as little as I would like.  I pause and think 'Okay.  This is okay.  It's not a mutant bug, probably just a mouse or something.' So I go into the bedroom and flick on the light in there, hoping to catch a glimpse of what it is without startling it too much.

Which is when all hell breaks loose.  It's not, in fact, a mouse.  It's a big brown bat, which is now swooping and dipping and aiming for Henry who is bark-Bark-BARKING at it and trying to catch it with his lovely little puppy mouth.


It swoops at me and flies into the bedroom and Henry follows, and I descend into a very un-Kate-like state of hysteria.  There's a fucking bat in my bedroom.  And my little blond dog is going to try to eat it.  And my money is on the freaking bat.  So I'm yelling and Henry's barking but I finally get him called out and slam the door.  Which is just about the exact moment that I realize my phone and my computer are in the bedroom.  With the bat.  Meanwhile Henry is at the door, and the bat, I can see, is still having his or her own little flight-fiesta.  No way in HELL am I opening up that door.  I can't have my dog freaking out, I can't have him getting rabies or otherwise attacked (at that point in time I was not considering that it would, in fact, be me getting rabies because the pup is vaccinated) and I can't have a bat in my house... and I don't have my phone.

So I do what I thought was the most reasonable thing.  I throw 'Roots on a leash and walk about a block up the road (remember it's 3:45 in the morning at this point) to my buddy John's apartment.*  I tap on his door.  Nothing.  I tap a little harder... still nothing.  Henry is now trying to eat a wasp crawling around porch, so I stick my face in John's open bedroom window and whisper 'John!'

'I'm awake. I'm up.' 

'I need your phone or your computer.'


'There's a bat in my bedroom. I need your-'


'There's a bat in my bedroom!'

'Hold on.'

About a minute later a fully dressed, slightly sleep-drunk John exits the apartment and goes, 'Let's go, you got a towel?'  After some fussing on my part and determined stumbling on John's, we went, I did.  We got back, I took Henry in the bathroom and waited with him while Johnny-boy attempted to execute a probably comedic bat-removal plan.  About five minutes later he goes.. 'um, Kate? There's no bat.'  I poke my head out of the bathroom and go.. 'What?'

'There's no bat in here, I mean... if you wanted me to come over and hang out... you know... spend the night...'

'Shut up, John, I'm coming to help look.'

We scoured.  There's no bat.

Now... I know it doesn't seem like it at this point.. but I am not crazy.  I left that apartment with a bat flying around my bedroom.  For serious.  So where is the bat?  Where is the Fucking Bat!?  Answer: hiding.  At this point it's 4 something in the morning and I'm exhausted but there's no way in Hell I'm going into that bedroom again.  So I close the door and state 'That bat is going to show up like five minutes after I settle down.'  John goes 'you've got a couch.' I say 'I know, which is where Henry and I will be sleeping for the foreseeable future'.  I start laying the futon down into a mattress and John gets a pillow and plops down, stretched out.  Eyebrow cocked- 'You really don't have to stay, John.' 'It's fine Kate, I can stay.'

Cue the Henry, who leaps up on the fully flat futon and rather obnoxiously starts to wriggle against John- who finally moves to the floor.

Good boy, 'Roots.

This morning rolls around and I hear John say from the floor 'My life is starting to seem like a sitcom.' I snort from the futon... 'Starting?, Mine's already there.'

So here I sit, typing. The girl with the phantom bat, the renegade Jeep, and the Henry.

And until next time, let's hope the Bat made three.

*I normally don't like to throw names out there.. but I asked John and he said it was fine.  So welcome to the blogosphere, Johnny. And thanks, about a million times over, for showing up and helping a distressed damsel out.