28 May 2015

0 it's that time of year

i posted this video when i went over in 2013. when i was six months into my london life and all sad and gloomy about people having died and me not knowing what i was doing with my life or how my project would work out and wondering if i'd made a terrible mistake. and i watched this video before going to paris and found it elating. in all sincerity. i watched it and i thought, i want to go to there. 

so, in a moment of This is My Fourth Year Spending My Birthday in Paris nostalgia, as i was packing this morning, i pulled it up again and i watched it and i thought, DEAR GOD, ALL THOSE TOURISTS. WHAT A NIGHTMARE!! 

because paris, to me, has become this: taking three baths a day in a bath soak blend i have bought special for the trip and doing three detoxifying face masks. eating chausson pommes and that carrefour olive pasta sauce i heart so hard i may have to move to europe to get it on the regular. going to the monoprix for the reusable grocery bag that is so much more functional and sturdy than what was have in the UK. and reading my manuscript to prepare for supervision whilst thinking about celebrity in terms of translation. i will also be watching designing woman, barefoot in the park, and the way we were. all of which represents the best.birthday.ever.

the difference between birthdays as a kid and birthdays as an adult is staggering, non?

23 May 2015

0 [the end] in the UK

i do not want to move back to america. there. i said it. which probably means some unforeseeable awful or great thing will now happen necessitating that because the thing you say you don't want to do is usually the thing you're meant to do, but ah well. there it is. i want to stay here.

and there was a way i thought that would go, based entirely on hearsay and rumor. then, on wednesday, i went in for my visa check and MY DESTINY WAS IMPERILED. it remained so for 28 hours, until i could get in to see an international student advisor, at which point my destiny looked pretty much the same as i'd been expecting it to but just came at a cost of £450.

when we skyped this morning, debo looked deep into my image on the screen and said, your week has been one of many emotions, hasn't it? truth.

(seriously, i should never ever ever have watched that felicity jones movie where the girl gets banned from america for years because she played fast and loose with her student visa. it has only ever contributed to my emotional ruin. if you are moving abroad, do not watch it. it will ruin you.)

so things are better. the future is no more clear but it is not dire at present. which is saying something considering i'm someone who's been laboring for months over an academic article who's main point appears to be that we will all, one day, die.

the crazy thing is that i can see how it could all come together. the future, i mean. which, i know, isn't a guarantee, and given my thinking, it's hardly logical or coherent, but it could be fun. and given my 12-year-old self's ability to pinpoint the two people who would preoccupy me for the next 20 years, i'm not entirely convinced i'm not a prophet.

it has been a very very strange month. one i've mostly spent spinning my wheels. reading, taking notes, drawing glyphs, doing all of the not writing part that precedes writing. gathering a thought soup for something. apparently the incredibly obvious truth that we will all die, but also less obvious larger points about the way we write lives and history and the functions celebrities and images and stories persform in our culture and our lives. and finding a language to put those thoughts into.

does that sound crazy? nonsensical? i've sent my father a draft of the article solely to perform a sanity-check so the waters indeed feel treacherous. i am, after all, less than two months out from the week where i killed all of my imaginary friends. i am a delicate flower. only capable, at present, of dressing myself in black and white.

there's this other project beckoning. not tonya, though there's tonya too. but a project on obituaries. a project in which gloria emerson looms large. today, after shipping that article off to my father, i allowed myself some to go down the gloria emerson rabbit hole, just to feel out what my future might be like. and it occurred to me i'd never heard her voice.

and so i found a clip of an interview she did with john lennon, which led to the realization that i'd apparently also never heard lennon's speaking voice and also the resurfacing of a vague memory of discovering a clip of jackie speaking before boarding an airplane. a clip i'm nearly 97% certain appeared to me in a dream and not in real life.

it feels like a delicious treat, like a really nice slice of cake, dipping into an undeveloped project like that. maybe nothing will come of it. i've been thinking about obituaries for awhile now, so i suspect something will, but that isn't the point. the point is that i actually know what i'm doing. i have only just in these last few months figured out how to do what i have, in some secret part of myself since i was a teenager, been working towards having the ability to do.

in a few days i will be 34. only now do i know what my work looks like.

i expect this certainty will last about a day, if i'm lucky. probably more like an hour. but, god, it's a beautiful thing to dwell in, grinning like an idiot, while it lasts.

20 May 2015

15 May 2015

0 a friday that felt like a saturday

isn't it strange, that? how a day can feel like another day, which really just emphasizes how arbitrary the concept of days really is.

and no, i'm not high. that was a legit deep thought.

this is what comes of thinking too deeply about "history" and the fact that we are all doomed because we will, all of us, die. and also of thinking about the british election. i think about the british election a lot and there is truly nothing more surreal, except dali.

so today N and i discovered that the conference we're planning for september- if it doesn't kill us first- is the hottest ticket in town. 55+ people have submitted proposals for the 10 spots we have on offer.

today, we are drunk on our power. (come monday, we will be bleary eyed from reading the abstracts.)

today, also, it seems i have won an election. this is a win so sheerly by default that i have a hard time believing it is real, but it seems to have been confirmed by an email of "by now you've seen the ballot and noticed there are 7 people running for 7 seats so you have won CONGRATS!!!" which makes it kind of real, if not exactly illustrious.

except whaooooo. because you guys, you guys, i am sitting on a board with kitty kelley. by virtue of the fact that there was no real competition, yes, but still... let's not let that sour the triumph... i am sitting on a board with THE kitty kelley.

winning an election in which no one was running against anyone else seems too small to actually qualify as an arrival, but this is a pretty solid move in my ongoing game of appearing more professionally accomplished than i actually am. they are rather like castles in the air, my literary reputation and my american life.

0 KBG in the house!!

12 May 2015

0 in celebration of garebear's 69th birthday... awkward family photos, circa 1996 (? 1997?)

i do not know why we did this. all's i know is that it looks like someone among us was preparing to run for office and we were uncertain precisely who. (also, I CANNOT OVER-EXAGGERATE how much time i devoted to getting that one side of my hair to flip under like the other and IT NEVER WOULD.) 

09 May 2015

0 problematic

this afternoon i was talking to debo on the phone, banging on about how our understanding of history is determined by so many more elements than we realized and our writing of it is deeply flawed, when she, in making a point about the civil war and the battle of franklin, said this:

... after the war was lost... or won, depending upon your viewpoint... or, i should say, after the war's end.

there were about three minutes more of conversation before she indirectly circled back to this moment when she admitted, rather defeatedly, the hardest thing is talking about the civil war to a non-southern person. 

and i told her, yeah, mummybee, i appreciated that thing you did back there, a few minutes ago. 

and she said, wasn't that strange? 

we both knew she'd done it. we both knew why she'd done it. and we both knew it was something that feels deeply unnatural in the doing, even though it is also more true.

it's the first time i've been aware of how the language shifts demanded of (liberal? academic? PC?) southerners mirrors the performance of transatlantic english. the mental acrobatics required so that the inappropriate first impulse is bypassed and the appropriate thing said and you can escape without betrayal by own language, which reveals more than you know or want about the world from which you come.

08 May 2015

0 the afternoon after

britain has been super britain-y since i got back, what with the royal kid, the general election and the 70th anniversary of VE day. i was in the middle of marks & spencer trying to find crunchy peanut butter when the 2 minutes of VE day silence was observed. and so, in the middle of marks & spencer at 3 p.m., jar in hand mid-way to basket, i paused. or tried to. after the all-nighter, about a minute in, the jar of peanut butter began to feel like a boulder and so i- discretely, reverently- slipped it into the basket and folded my empty hands.

the thing about watching the british election that was most striking was the fact that all of the contestants gather to hear the results. none of this "i'mma hole up with my supporters in a ballroom until we know" business. nuh-uh. everyone is out there. on the podium. in the town hall or the church or the high school gym.


imagine this happening in america...

all of them standing up there with ribbons like it was the westminster dog show or a school spelling bee.

not just the republicans and the democrats but every single candidate- even the ones with two votes. because ALL the candidates in the race are present.

which means that, around 5 a.m., david cameron shared a podium with a man in an elmo costume. there was also a man in arab dress in the audience taking a selfie of himself giving the bird in front of david cameron, all of which was caught by the news cameras but which is lost in photos like this:

at this point, you have to know it happened and go looking for it to find evidence:

bo jo's defeat of the Monster Raving Loony Party and the Eccentric Party of Great Britain was slightly more visible and harder to cleanse from the record: 

as was the dude running against milliband and whose hat was about four feet tall: 

#leadershiptips: have a wackadoo party person flank you and you'll look vair vair legit.  

i was asked what watching the US presidential election was like and told the story of 2012, how the tamale guy entered the naked lady bar right at the moment obama's win was announced and our enthusiasm- after four rounds of gin and tonics- was equally divided between the two excitingments. but i have to say, the british election was surreal in a way that wasn't just the result of it all taking place between midnight and 6 a.m., though that was, of course, part of it. 

at 2 a.m., in one of the announcing constituencies, the candidates were lined up in front of a full-scale shot of a british garden in broad daylight with the amaro instagram filter applied to it. 

where are they? someone in the room asked. 

a different time zone? someone else suggested. 

how is it daylight where they are? 

they replayed this clip multiple times throughout the wee morning hours and, each time, someone would be in the room who hadn't been in it before to be shocked anew by how bright it was in that constituency and how dark the night was where we were. 

it wasn't until we heard the rumbling of the tube beneath us and saw the o.j. simpson low speed chase-esque footage of david cameron's sedan headed towards london via an untrafficked country road that we knew morning had broken for real and stopped drinking coffee.  

and so i went home and skyped garebear- who'd apparently stayed up with debo until 11.30 p.m. watching the ITV coverage on C-SPAN and so i can now talk to my father about nigel farage and ed balls and we all know who we're talking about- and marveled at how all these people who'd been up all night were going to have to get together and form a government. without realizing that actually, no, first they were all to be at a VE day ceremony this afternoon and line up in surreal mimicry of last night. 


01 May 2015

0 riddle me this

why do you always wake up earlier on the day you get to lie in rather than the morning the alarm is set??