Sunday, September 24, 2006

Why I'd Support Segregated Night Clubs...

Saturday night: the quintessential night for party animals, horny toads and alcoholics. You plaster on the makeup, squeeze your tired feet into the cutest, most painful heels you own, and head out for a night on the town. You get there and meet up with your girlfriends. You're all ready to party- everybody's had a shitty week and drinks are needed ASAP. The music is good, the spot's not too crowded, the bouncers are crackin jokes with you- it's all good.

Then, he appears, almost as if he has a radar on you: Drunk White Guy. You can only imagine what kind of geek/nerd he must be during the week, because on the weekend, with a little help from his friend Jack Daniels, Drunk White Guy is a complete asshole.

He's fascinated with your hair. He jumps in on your conversation. You move away and he saunters over again. You figure he's got a scorching case of jungle fever but no self-respecting woman of color will give him the time of day. But he marches on in his quest. It doesn't help that the DJ has decided to switch up the Sean Paul and Ludacris with a little Joan Jett and the Blackhearts and Poison. Now he feels empowered- you're on Drunk White Guy's turf now.

Finally, you can take no more. You're from Bed-Stuy, goddamit- DO OR DIE; you don't have to put up with this shit. You just want to pull out your box cutter and show him why he needs to stay away from you, show him what's really hood. But even with the whisky and beer in your system, you know that going to jail is not that cool. So you follow your girls out for a cigarette break and he finally gets the message. Drunk White Guy moves on to a poor, unsuspecting Asian Girl. Better her than you.

Note: This post was brought to you by my night at Plan B, located at 339 E10th Street, and by the fine people at Simones on St Marks Place who took us in after we decided that going back in to face Drunk White Guy was not the way we wanted to spend our night out. They make yummy martinis, too.

if i had any sense
i guess i'd fear this
i guess i'd keep it down
so no one would hear this

Saturday, September 23, 2006

A Couple of 6ft Tall Band-Aids, Pt. 1

What's that saying? In order to get over your old boyfriend, get under a new one? There's a lot of truth to that...

Last night I met up with M., a 29-year-old chef from BK. We had a "drink thing" planned. I didn't know if that meant that nakedness was also on the menu- you can never tell with guys these days- but I had my standard, "I have a deadline tomorrow so I can't stay" line at the ready. Turns out, I didn't need it.

This was a new one for me: I got there about 11:30-ish, and got home at 8AM this morning...we actually JUST TALKED for that whole time. I mean there were drinks and smoke in the mix, but mostly we were shooting the shit and it was a mad comfortable vibe. He wasn't all hands, he was funny, had a brain (although after all that drink and smoke I don't know how much of it is left LOL) and knew how to SPEAK. It was very cool. One of his friends came over at one point I got a teeny bit nervous, but he was real cool, too. And after I realized it wasn't going to lead to nakedness, I could sit back and just relax and enjoy their company. We joked about shit, compared tattoos, talked about motorcycles, laughed about our crazy families.

Not too shabby for a first outing since the Break-Up Heard 'Round the World.

come here
stand in front of the light
stand still
so i can see your silhouette
i hope
that you have got all night
cause i'm not done looking yet

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Validation and Potential Ball-Grabbing

Today I got this message from the international reader in my class- he's this writer who gives a sort of "second opinion" to what the professor and classmates have to say, another professional eye, if you will:

Subject: Grabbing the ball and running with it

Victor Rangel RibeiroCreation date: Thursday, September 21, 2006 12:13:12 AM EDTDate last modified: Thursday, September 21, 2006 12:13:12 AM EDT

Your writing flows so smoothly that I found myself liking every bit of "Fresh Bruises", and yet was beset by very mixed feelings by the time I had reached the final paras. Why, I asked myself, had I liked the opening section, where an apparently shaken Olivia is called to account for the very first time by her grandfather; and had also liked part 1 of the second section, where she begins her formal defense; and had liked as well part 2 of the same section, where her vision of future stardom becomes present reality with true comic effect; and had approved (on the highest ethical grounds) of section 3, where GrandPapi decides to hear the party of the second part before rendering his verdict; why, despite liking all this, did I feel the story did not hold together?
Part of the problem lies in that Olivia begins by addressing one particular audience---Papi---and ends up addressing quite another, a multitude of imaginary idolatrous fans. Olivia is talking directly to her grandfather when she first blurts out: "She started it!", the standard, normal/rational/default child/subteen/teen justification for a preemptive strike every parent and grandparent is accustomed to hearing. But when on page 2 Olivia boasts, "My show is seen and heard all over the world. My albums have sold millions of copies. I get crazy money that keeps me in limos and mansions. . I've gotten tons of movie offers" she is no longer addressing Papi but a multitude of imaginary idolatrous fans. By grafting an impossibly glorious future on to the present, Olivia's high opinion of her own talent grows exponentially, until in a single sentence we read, "Just last week at the Grammy's Madonna threatened to kill me and Whitney had a nervous breakdown when she saw my album was coming out the same day as hers." Caramba! What a great line!
Some years ago, Robley Wilson, author and much admired editor of the North American Review, had told me at a workshop I attended: "When you get what you think is a worthwhile idea, treat it like a football; grab hold and see how far you can run with it." This is what you've done in the passage I've just quoted, but I'd now urge you to begin your run farther back and carry it a bit longer.
I have come to believe that Papi, who is supposed to provide the solution to Olivia's problem with her sister, is himself a problem in search of a solution. Sections 1 and 3, in which he appears as both judge and jury, are sober and realistic; section 2 starts off by being just humorous and goes on to being wildly comical. As long as Papi is presented as the Eventual Great Decider, we the readers must wait for him to hand out a verdict; and the verdict must wait until Papi has heard the party of the second part. That takes the focus away from Olivia, and dilutes the ending.
Consider therefore the unthinkable. Consider eliminating Papi the Judge, with or without extreme prejudice. Let Olivia command center stage, with the floodlights focused directly on her; and let Amanda come out of hiding if she dare.

Victor [Rangel-Ribeiro]

People, you can deny my genius no longer. Even Victor, the International Reader knows the real-deal-holyfield...So where's Random House with my book deal already???



we got egos like hairdos

they're different every day

depending on how we slept the night before

depending on the demons that are at our door

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Who Are You Calling Mommy, And Why Are You In My House?


I'm a mom!

This morning the 6-year-old wakes me up looking for, her hands weren't broken. Why did I have to wake from my beautiful Slash-filled dream to hear her whine about breakfast? Then the 11-year-old-- yes I know, I'm too young and beautiful to have an 11-year-old-- is giving me attitutude about washing the dishes. Excuse me? Did you not eat heartily off that very plate you are trying your hardest NOT to clean? Don't even.

And then yesterday, the nanny quit. I can't even tell you the number of sitters and nannies that have walked through my door in the past year. So today I'm interviewing some more people. This shit is the bane of my existence! How am I supposed to know who will not try to sell my babies' kidneys on the black market? Or who won't go through my drawers trying on my clothes and stealing my shoes (god help her if that bitch touches my shoes!)? How am I supposed to know? It kills me to have to even hire somebody to watch my kids. It's the constant push-n-pull with me: I need to work and play and be my own person, but the guilt, lord have mercy THE GUILT!

My mom never had it this hard- I don't even want to hear it from her. She had my stay-at-home grandmother to watch us and keep us until she came home. She didn't have to deal with background checks and no-shows and all that mess. And I was much better at taking care of myself than my 11-year-old is of taking care of herself...a by-product of not being raised in the city I'm sure. My grandmother (jeez I miss her so much!) watched us, fed us, bathed us, taught us how to cook and clean and keep house, and we never wanted for anything- not even our parents' affection- while she cared for us. I wonder if I'm hurting my kids by not being home? But how can I put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads if I don't work? Until my book is finished and Selma Hayek buys the movie rights, I can't be a stay-at-home-mom. See what I mean about GUILT?

So today I have to choose between a nanny from an agency that will guarantee peace of mind and coverage everyday I need it, or the woman with the 15-month-old son who's a former teacher, writing a novel and loves Buffy the Vampire Slayer as much as we do.

Jesus-Fucking-CHRIST!!! I'M A MOM!!!

i'm no heroine
least not last time i checked
i'm too easy to roll over
i'm too easy to wreck
i just write about what i should have done
i sing what i wish i could say
and i hope somewhere some woman hears my music
and it helps her through her day

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Saying Goodbye, Shedding More Than Body Fat

I have been a subscriber and loyal reader of Matha Stewart Living Magazine ever since I first walked through the doors of her ex-husband's publishing company in 1998 to be his office manager. Every month that glossy goodness would appear and just put a big ole smile on my face. I would open the pages and dream of the huge kitchen I would one day own, full of blue and white porcelain plates and and island in the middle with a marble countertop. There would be fiestaware decorating the walls and a window overlooking a grotto the likes of which would make Hef envious. I would make yummy cakes and homemade smoothies for my kid and her friends, and when my girls came over we'd have martinis while sitting around gossiping about our fabulous and exciting lives.

My kitchen and grotto and Martini Mondays (as I'd called them in my head) are still a ways off, but what has remained a constant is that glossy goodness every month.

Today, I did the unthinkable- I threw out eight years worth of dreams and fantasies...the issue that talked about the blue and white porcelain, the one that told me how to make the perfect Turkey, the one that suggested I make a boring picture frame funner by trimming it with beans...they're all stacked and wrapped and ready for the Dept. of Sanitation's guillotine on Thursday morning. While this may seem long overdue to many, I feel the need to explain why this is so hard for me.

On Thursday, when these magazines cease to be in my life, out with them goes a huge part of me. When I was feeling down I could pick up April 2002's issue, the one with the adorable egg cups on the cover, and imagine being excited about Easter, and having my kids be excited about it, too. Or March 2001's Gardening Issue that made me wish I cared about gardening and hadn't given up on trying to save the planet in 1996. Or my very first MSL, the October 1998 Halloween Issue that ispired me to dress as a farmer and take my daughter trick-or-treating, even though I hate trick-or-treating, but I was glad I did because we had fun and got sick off tons of candy afterwards.

It's hard to start fresh, especially at my age, but I've been doing a lot of that lately: the divorce, living on my own, new jobs, new degree, new friends, new emotions, new debt- all part of the brand new, starting-over-yet-again me. Any minute now I'm hoping to feel fearless and vulnerable and invigorated all at once.

Any minute now...

this is me without my hair
welcome to my open stare
i've got nothing to hide no more
why disguise what isn't there

Friday, September 15, 2006

Escape From MySpace Mountain

I had to get out of there...

Did you ever have that dream where men in dark suits and dark glasses bust down your door and say "Come with us, Lady" and you realized they came on the night when you decided to sleep naked, but you know if you refuse to go with them they might shoot you on orders from some guy named Big Lou?

That's how I felt everytime I saw a message from MySpace in my Yahoo inbox- like Big Lou wanted more protection money, more than we had originally agreed upon, and I couldn't earn it quick enough to pay him, and I knew that sooner or later he was gonna collect skin or blood.

That, and of course, it was hard to give up the ghosts of relationships past if they were going to stare me in the face everytime I logged on to see my "friends."

So I've left MySpace for good, but the desire to share my life via a blog still remains. And I did meet some nice folks (Hi Marisa!) and was able to reconnect with some old chums from HS and college. It wasn't all bad, just bad enough to have me questioning my sanity on a daily basis. I was this close to showing up, suitcase in hand, at Bellvue's door. This close!

The clouds have lifted- not all the way, things are still overcast, but I can see a teeny tiny bit of sunshine trying to push through, in the form of 20lbs lost, a new job, a cool freelance gig, re-connecting with an old student who's doing really well and some really great friends who, at the drop of a dime, have put up with me sobbing and cursing on the other end of the phone, and never hung up on me. You gotta love them. You just gotta.

I will miss my crazy MySpace layouts and song choices, and I'll miss the photo slideshows I was able to add- it really started out being a lot of fun for me. But it quickly dissolved into a constant reminder of a horrible mistake and my self-esteem began to plummet to new depths I didn't even think were possible! And who needs that shit?!

Now, however, I'm a dress size smaller, a bit wiser, out of tears and too busy to dwell on shit I can't do anything about. So I'll just concentrate on things I can change: my outlook on life, my income level, the clutter in my bedroom, the empty canvas that is my skin (desperately waiting for more tats!) and the empty space on my block that will soon be occupied by my Harley Davidson VROD 2006 (or the Sporty 1200- haven't decided yet). Not to mention that soon I can add MFA after the BA in my name/title.

As I started towards the end of my stay at MySpace, I chose some choice words from Ani DiFranco to close all of my posts...I think I'll continue that tradition here, too.

i am growing older waiting in this line
but some of life's best lessons
are learned at the worst times