31 December 2012


0 december: a (pathetically abbreviated) revue

"my wills and kate ideas tend to a bit of a cross between a preteen novel and a soap opera."

"puking is a private matter. and knowing that one of the treatments for this is suppositories is even more dreadful. things going up the arse should never be shared. arse matters are private matters."

"he should freak out, he will lose his sex appeal. some men can pull off the bald look, he is not one of them."

"we are really bad at something stupid people are famous for."

"they've just got crazy food and wacky teeth."

"ah, memphica. how i miss thy saucy meat."

25 December 2012

0 merry merry

the christmas tree of my chidhood, circa 1985

22 December 2012

1 seeing vieve in memphis

i'm in memphis. looooooooong story, but i'm here now.

my dad has the flu. like some sort of super-powered flu. it's for reals serious. to a degree that when i arrived in town, i rang the doorbell and asked my mother if it was really safe to come in.

my father's flu has necessitated the rearrangement of our family christmas, and debo and i are on super-powered, super-expensive anti-influenza pills. it's an excellent time to be without insurance.

so we are all very powered up.

despite warnings of a SEVEN DAY contagious period, my father is convinced he's not contagious. he wants to hug, often and enthusiastically. my mother and i are, accordingly, treating him as though he has the plague. giving him "air hugs" and asking that he touch nothing in the whole house.

and yet what is weird in all of this- because, let's face it, that's pretty normal for my family- is that vieve is here. she keeps popping up and i'm all like, oh yeah, YOU'RE here.

she doesn't seem to belong. she looks darker here, her fur a different hue against the different floors. thinner too. or, at least, more stretched out.

last thing, and it's totally unrelated: there's this guy in the neighborhood who dresses up as santa every year. a few years back, when my father and i were doing our christmas eve walk, we ran into him driving around in a red car, shouting out the open window, ho ho ho.

we were passing a house with this kid standing in the front yard. and i remember the awe on his face and how he immediately ran to get his sister because santa was there.

today, that santa was standing on the sidewalk on the busiest road by my parents house, waving to everyone who drove by. he was there when i drove into town this afternoon and when debo and i went back out tonight to return the rental car i'd driven down in.

it's an emotional time for my family. christmas, and this one especially. so i'm maybe a little more sensitive than usual. but i say in all honestly, i don't know that i've ever been so moved as when, following in the car behind her, i witnessed how enthusiastically debo waved back to that santa standing on the sidewalk.

or how, after we'd been briefly separated in traffic, we were reunited and she waved with equal enthusiasm to me.

18 December 2012

0 the hurricaine

sometime in the late 80s/early 90s, there was this hurricane. it was in texas.

i'm not even attempt to pin down what hurricane this could've been. and it could've even only been a tropical storm. all i know is that we were living in either memphis or atlanta and joe called me on the phone and mentioned the hurricane and the whole entire world ground to a stop as i asked, "what hurricane?"

even at that age, i did not like secrets. i did not like that, presumably, my entire family had known about this hurricane in texas and i did not. worse, NO ONE HAD THOUGHT TO TELL ME.

they were all, i assumed, "caroline doesn't like current events. caroline doesn't have any sense of history. caroline doesn't care about important things like hurricanes."

dear all biographers in the world, as a child, were you like this? did you care this much? am i so weird because i did?

i didn't know about that hurricane in texas until it was over. until joe called and mentioned it in passing. had he not done so, i might've never known.

even at that age, the idea that things could be unfolding in the world that i might never know about was simply intolerable. thank god joe mentioned it.

believe you me, everyone in my immediate family has since come to wish he hadn't. were they able to travel back in time and rectify their mistakes, i'm pretty sure telling me about this hurricane this would rank somewhere between 1 and 5.

because i have lorded it over them for years. as lady catherine dubourgh said, "i must have my say in the conversation." but it's not so much that i need to have my say, as i need to know.


this is apparently a deep seated personality trait. if i don't know, if you've not told me whatever, i assume it has been purposefully kept from me.

which = BETRAYAL.

on, like, a shakespearean level.

like, we will still be friends, but i will always remember that you left me out. that you kept that from me. that you did/thought/knew something without telling me.

(btw, this is a super attractive quality.)

this comes back to the whole three-person family thing, i think. we're a small family. we should all know all things. about each other, and about the weather patterns of the south.

except that really isn't possible, even at all.

joe's birthday was on december 13th.

you guys, i totally forgot this. because i'm moving to london and because i had 2.5 martinis on the night of the 12th and quit my job on the 14th. and because i didn't open my planner once from the 11th thru the 17th.

on december 13th, i missed joe's 83rd. (82nd?)

on december 17th, i called him to apologize for having been such a jerk. for having been so involved in my ridiculous life that i forgot to commemorate a significant day in his. though he is always on my mind, though he is always with me, though i love him with all my heart.

"i forgot and nobody reminded me," i told him. "it's just like that hurricane!"

and he not only knew exactly what i was talking about, but also agreed.

the whole family kept joe's birthday from me! joe and i are such victims! victims of birthday withholding!

such a ghastly crime.

and just like that, i turned it around on my whole family. and he let me, his voice tinged with bemusement. the assurance of having known me for all my life, of having been there at my birth, of having held a five pound version of me in his hands, of knowing that he has always been and will always be tied with my father as the most extraordinary man i have ever and will ever know.

he let me manipulate the situation. so that i had not failed him. so that, instead, it was they who had failed us. our entire family.

the upshot of this? come christmas in memphis, joe and i will be eating cake in a private celebration of his birthday. just the two of us. him and me. 31 and 83. (82? 84?)

2 rainbo: deep deep thoughts from a friday night

"that man's little ponytail is devastating."
"i think he's from seattle, where it's still hip."

"that guy is wearing an inappropriate amount of denim."

"is he dancing introspectively?"

"he went in knuckles deep and pulled his underpants up. if i had to put money on it, i'd say that was a classic case of too big. he wished himself bigger and woke up with his pants three sizes too small."

"do you think his shins get cold?"

"it's like applebottom jeans but for a guy."

"'this place is not capitalist."

"can we talk for a moment about the beet? there are so many beets that i need to start my own class called meet your beets."

"if he was in a marching band, he wouldn't go around saying 'i'm in a marching band.'"

"these are my nerdy jokes for working in a co-op grocery store."

"i have a frisbee, a yo-yo, and light up kanye glasses."

"august rush can wait."

"the bartender looks too macho to be inside a rainbow."

"is your finger prowess killing you?"

"finger fitness only gets you so far."

"he's not a captain. he's just an enthusiast."


"it's not overly stylized. it's just perfect."

"normally, i'm down with bitterness..."

"i barely get any bars in this place! FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS."
"you don't need bars to quote me."

"that's all that's left... empty corn husks."

"very important question: 2012 santa... would he wear wide whale corduroys or yoga pants?"

"fashion is cyclical and santa knows it."

"he'd be really good at 'jack and diane'."

"she could easily have a guy with a full head of hair."

"why were you guys collecting quarters?"
"because we were that committed to the idea of it being a quarter accepting machine."

"i'm not bob fosse. i can't paint."

"man, leather mini-skirt girl is getting around. if there were a social disease, she'd have it."

"yeah, what you just did there was mash up grenadine and brigadoon. not cool."
"or is it?"

"in my head, brigadoon would taste like peanuts."

"even though both of them are wearing a lot of columbia and northface, i doubt they do a lot of camping."

"he had a lot of muscles for somebody who was only picking up drinks."

"i feel like this bar just got packed with a lot of people i don't care about."

"he worked up a sweat, but she was wearing degree ultra protection."

"everybody needs some mag sag."

"santa shops at the macy's man's department."

"let's judge their teeth."

"because i don't want to get arrested. that's why i wouldn't take my own wine to chuck e. cheese."

"it was like dancing with the stars! but there weren't any stars."

16 December 2012

2 november 14

i like to piece seemingly unconnected things together. like so many squares on a quilt.

i wonder how much of this is because i am a biographer. how much is rooted in the fact that, instinctively, i read life- imposing onto it an order, a structure, a linearness that maybe is not there.

case in point:

the morning after the philosopher and i broke up, i received an email from a biographer asking for proofreading help on her book. at the time i saw this as A SIGN of great things to come. precisely what those great things would be, i didn't have a clue.

that was january 2010.

yesterday, november 13th, the biographer's book was published. last night, i came home and it was waiting on my doorstep.

this morning, november 14th, my visa application was approved. this morning we learned i am moving to london. for real.

seemingly unconnected things piece together and here is why that is cool: because these seemingly unconnected things, once pieced together, remind you of how little you once knew. of how small your dreams once were. how still so much is to come.

14 December 2012

0 deep deep thoughts via the NLB

"i've committed so many sex crimes on this trip."

"the asshole germans have a weird sense of travel entitlement."

"that wouldn't be a quest. it would be an errand."

"it's not as bad as you think. it's REALLY bad."


"i don't care about the sex. i care about the orgasming and having that described to me."

"i don't care about my friends' orgasms but i don't want to be a part of it."

"think of the penis shrine, though."

"that is like appalacia. like, christy: the novel."

"cowards don't go to london."

"that was the worst thing that could have happened."

"the lack of OMG?"

"this is a really ancient organ."

"we're talking about two people- one who is a dear friend and the other who murdered a goose. and the goose murder is no longer what will haunt all of my days."

"do you want me to buy another drink for you with your money?"

"it was too historic last time, whereas this time it was all about WINNING."

"boston market... the sadness dinner of a lifetime."

"she would climax on an SAT word."

"... and they obsessed about it all night rather than talking about their orgasms."

"it ended in her marrying someone else and him moving to india."

"you don't just pick up a woman like she's your child or your wife or someone you want to put your penis inside of."

"i mean, like, i will never forget the contours of that bus depot."

"it's not like he was the kind of guy who was like, 'yeah, i'm going to get chinese poon.'"

"like salt of the earth regular-ass motherfuckers."

"no, the of it is he isn't into wicca."

"you're also describing the plot of rambo 3."

"happily married."
"making love every night."

"i get the jokes... from the uncircumcised perspective."

"in the middle there are people like us who are like 'that seems kind of dumb!'"

"interesting figure to imagine in pantaloons."

"goddess of all kinds of awesome shit that happens in multiple cultures."

"the way the story ends is, like, DUH..."

"he's obviously not the smartest brain in the chandelier."

"why are you paddling in the ocean even though you're too afraid to move two lanes in the car."

"sung by some sort of baptist something or other."

"with whatever religious whatever in chicago."

"it would have far more explosions."

"i mean, with lindear, i think you could."

"i did not know that burlesque was mentioned."

"paint that shit brown."

"sometimes your parents are like 'hey' and you're like 'yeah' and it's like the best feeling ever."

"and you're like 'hey, maybe i should be less of a dick.'"

"why is it like ed mcmahon?"

"i'm midwestern but i understand."

"you know what's crazy is that when we're in the naked lady bar we're always like 'write that down' and here all night we've been like 'DON'T WRITE THAT DOWN!'"

13 December 2012

0 nets (nov 1/dec 12)

this gets easier. as it gets harder.


let's be honest. i'm drinking a lot of wine. and gin. and 312. 

because this is hard.

leaving. loss.

chicago had the most beautiful sunset ever tonight. i took pictures. like a tourist.

and i wanted to tell that sunset to go to hell. because that was a bold move. bringing out the best sunset ever eight days before i leave chicago for the next to the last time.

chicago is my home. chicago is the only place that, in 31 years, i have ever felt at home. i chose this.

in contrast, whatever it is i am moving towards- jackie, london, etc.- it chose me.

(btw, fyi, k.lo + 2 1/2 martinis + mac and cheese = home.)

i leave chicago for the next to the last time in eight days.


that is nothing. and it is everything.

the philosopher says, "i can't imagine you not being there."

he's in the chicago airport on his way to belgium. i am 3 1/2 miles away in chicago, preparing to move to london. he cannot imagine me not being in chicago and he says this and i want to curse him for having said it almost as  much as i want to thank him for putting words to what i cannot say. what i don't dare say.

how can i leave chicago?

i don't even like london. i told him as much in paris. as we were walking down rue de _____ in paris this past summer, when the philosopher spoke blasphemy and said paris was a lot like london. i said it wasn't. a statement followed up by this statement: "so, hey, i hate london. it's so inferior to paris. all of which is ironic, given that i'm contemplating applying to this phd program there."

i asked him not to hold me to that.

he said he wouldn't.

hearing him say that, i know i would do it.

hearing him say that, i knew it was a done deal.

i knew i would not have told him it was a possibility if i hadn't already decided to do it. in the line at the airport check-in the following morning, i told debo, "i think i'm going to go for this."

because it was unexpected.

because it was an adventure.

because it was something i'd always wanted to do.

because it was something i thought i couldn't do.

because debo thought i could. from the very beginning.

because i knew, from the beginning, that it was what i'd been waiting for, poised for since coming to chicago seven years ago.

this is it. though i do not yet know why.

but i believe in god. and mysteries. and mysteries that, ultimately, make sense.

this is a mystery that will, dear my dear fucking holy god, one day make sense.

and so i am moving to london. i am entering a phd program. the one thing i told a random dude in a bar i would never ever do, the day before i received the email about this phd program.

timing is everything.

timing, and mystery.

night before last, at the naked lady bar, the dane looked me in the eye and said, "you're so brave," and i said, "god, no, i'm a coward."

because this isn't bravery. please do not mistake it for that. for lack of any word that will quite do it justice, it's faith.

KBG is the only person who regularly refers to be my first name. her card came the other day and i cannot overstate the impact of seeing it written there on the page. that name that feels so foreign, even though it's mine. even thought it's me.


one by one the nets are being removed. my apartment, my job, my cat, my shoes, my friends.

what i'm going to wind up with is god and jackie and two suitcases and a student visa.

what it comes down to is that idea KBG and i emblazoned on a posterboard way back in spring 2001:

"the natural condition is one of insurmountable obstacles on the road to imminent disaster... strangely enough it all works out in the end... it's a mystery."

and so we can jump. with the assurance that it will work out. that it will not end in our doom. that we will survive the leap. no matter how uncomfortable, how awkward, how lonely, how daunting.

we will move forward and we will survive.

a brief reminder...

here's how you fly on a trapeze:

you climb a freakishly skinny ladder.
you get buckled into a harness.
you stand at the edge of a platform.
you grip a bar with your two hands.
you bend your two knees.
you take one hop into nothingness.
you swing through the air.
you put your knees back over the bar.
you let go.