28 February 2011

6 february: a revue

"this suddenly brings to mind an evening when i came to meet you and partner at her house, and i came in to find you with linked arms, twirling around the room to the music from the 'lower class' scene in titanic."

"i don't think heroin makes a sound, but if it did, that's what the show sounded like."

"i walked to work wearing a cream-coloured face mask. i looked like some big vanilla rapist."

"are you blizzed?"

"i feel like johnny weir would approve of this -- and therefore so must i."

"crap good crap. not crap bad crap."

"why is milwaukee awkward?"

"nothing says dessert like beets."

"white girls wander into some funny places."

"my other question is the internal struggle of a vegan who has a fetish for leather sex toys..."

"yes, i won an award at a young age."

"i'm too old to wear cherries."

"hi sky, please don't throw up on us again."

"i'm going through my yearly quarter-life crisis."

"most normal people only have one josh and katie in their lives."

"but i'm glad to know his lima beans are prepared."

"babe... ouch."

"it does sometimes feel as though you are always on the verge of getting side-bangs."

"and yes, clearly this will lead to the world of sex wigs."

"ugh. hair."

"for some reason, i wouldn't think to do that with fruit."

"i have no idea what to expect from this rendez-vous, but what i do know for certain is that we will not resemble an anthropolgie catalog."

"my chick-fil-a sensors must have been thrown off by the parisian theologian."

"or are you all sorts of considerate and did that already?"

"ooh, it moves! i didn’t realize that."

"i will. once i have used up my bleach boxes."

"come with me, my dear, into 2011. or 2007 at the very, very least."

"we're not 'there' yet, but we're much closer."

"what? gossip girl, or fifteenth century cleavage?"

"i was thinking about renting it from the library..."

"falafel is like the adult version of hush puppies."

"she's thinking, 'i wanna blow this popsicle stand.' i think that ALL the time."

"i find that trying to sound normal makes me sound as though i’m in a high school drama troupe’s improvisational riff on mad men."

"this place has candelabras. hell yes, we're going."

"have fun with the thorn birds. keep your thoughts pure!"

"yeah, but you can't have body odor and you have to have sheets."

"that guy is wearing a lot of rosaries."

"i have hopes, but they aren't confined to a chest or to linens."

"i love that their name is taco and yet they have four windows telling us that they have authentic mexican food."

"we were so young and innocent back when we went to aurora."

"you just built a story and tore it down."

"so what you're saying is that biblical times were nothing like the 90s? they weren't wearing WWJD bracelets in the upper room?"

"i'm pretty sure he really wants to date the shit out of me."

"he's the hottest socialist I've ever seen."

"i don't believe i've ever had conversations about jackie prior to meeting you."

"we have a hot vagina date on saturday!"

"but i do feel that my life would be infinitely better right now if there were falafel in it."

"i'm not jewish, but my name is on the building."

"i think i may have to meet you at the masonic center."

"i have always wanted to know what they do at these things. i wonder if they start out with a ritual sacrifice to the muses."

"we'll have to masquerade as people accustomed to public speaking. maybe we should converse with each other in booming tones?"
"i think our booming conversation should be about sex toboggans."

"i would like to look like grace kelly and spend the entire day with my lover, who left his career as an english professor to be a billionaire."

"it has nothing to do with my intelligence level. it has to do with your nerves and how close they are to your skin."

"days like these call for a cheeseburger."

"OMG, your ethan frome totally makes you adam sandler at the beginning of the wedding singer!!!"
"because i've never seen the wedding singer that makes no sense to me, but i think i get what you are saying."

"maybe 'life changes' is too strong a word since that puts it on par with menopause..."

"i don't think i could understand a word she said, but she seemed to be in good spirits."

"when you become a famous biographer in a wig and with a fake name, will your public persona fly planes?"

"i'm like 'oh my god, if they do a DNA swab...'"

"do young girls always break out in song?"

"but does one with a heart of gold do that? sell other people's vaginas?"

"it was $99. which is so much less than $100."

7 o young oline, at a loss

[Thursday, 10:47
1 January 1998]

[How odd it feels to write 1998! I went to see "Titanic" with Amy. That is the most incredible movie. It honestly is. It's like Gone With the Wind almost. It puts you through so many emotions that when it's over you can't even begin to express what you've felt! It's quite amazing. Michael Kennedy was killed yesterday when he ran into a tree. Yes, the guy ended the last day of probably the worst year of his life by running into a tree and dying. Hm... makes you wonder. I'm not really tired and I have to read {The} Grapes {of Wrath}. I've already failed my plan. Maybe I'll get motivated and read the whole thing tomorrow. Hey, I can dream!]

25 February 2011

2 the column

i am sitting in a coffee shop writing a column. not because i want to be sitting in a coffee shop writing a column but because in all media portrayals of successful column-writers, said successful column-writers are depicted writing their columns in coffee shops. thus, i imagine this is what people who do this are supposed to do.

there's a very great sense that i am vastly unqualified to be writing a column so, much like jackie kennedy and the presidency of jfk, i am- to quote the single most embarrassing turn of phrase to appear in jackiebook 1.0- "cloaking personal inadequacies in the appurtenances of a power as yet unattained."

i'm trying to make this more real, ya'll.

in the interest of full disclosure, because the mini-ness of my minidress did not register until i had left the house, i am also, for all intents and purposes, writing in public while wearing leggings as pants.

this is a scenario so radically far from my comfort zone as to be not quite believed.

and, as you may have ascertained, it is not going well, as i am, in fact, clearly, not writing that column but writing this instead.

writing in public has never worked for me. largely because my brain is drawn to the conversations of other people like glitter sticks to skin.

in this case, for instance, it is the earnest kid two tables behind me who is engaged in an earnest discussion with an equally earnest girl. his argument climaxes with the appropriately earnest phrase, but, no. no, really. the patriarchal overlay of the city's parking meters is just bringing me down.

i do not even know what that means, but it's sure as hell bringing me down.

i wonder how people work like this, how croftie wrote a whole book like this. in the pig, among the chatter of coffee dates and undergraduates and the med student three tables to the left who is doing irreparable damage to his teeth by dentally caressing a ballpoint pen.

i have always done better by myself, surrounded by my kingdom of pretty pictures and silly things, listening to a single song on repeat. but that is not an option now, because this is really happening. therefore, it needs to look real.

my personal inadequacies are cloaked in the appurtenances of a power i have not yet attained.

i am wearing leggings as pants.

i'm sitting in a coffee shop writing a column.

i have a lot of time to ponder all this at length later. the leggings, the inadequacies, the attempt to make the process of writing and being a writer look a particular way rather than simply letting it be. i think about all this. all night. because, apparently, as i sat in the coffee shop writing a column because that is what successful column-writers do, the coffee i drank was not decaf.

12 soundbites from the naked lady bar: verbing, anal, woman scientists & brunno bettelheim

"i can't believe you're making us look at your thighs right now."

"that is also bad hypnotherapy."

"dana, i'm impressed that you went straight to anal."

"it would be great if anal showed up on 'wheel of fortune.'"

"maybe you're not pushing hard enough because i could stab that cherry for you."
"this is getting way too sexual."

"it's historically accurate, sort of- for being based on legend."

"you can't make a gritty robin hood. he runs with merry men and lives in a forest."

"i was like, 'you can't batman that!'"

"and thank you for verbing that."

"yes, it makes sense that alexander the great would grow up with an american dad and an american mom who speaks with a russian accent and that he would have an irish accent having grown up in greece."

"would that my words made white puffs anywhere."

"that has never been said before in the history of buying christmas trees."

"everyone notice with me... they wrote this down on paper."

"when you have an arch-rival, you only have one."

"but again, this is sub-hitler."

"i wish hitler was a novelist because then we could see and make a more direct comparison with thomas kinkade."

"that's the thing about the prose- it's just so deadening."

"i'm really sorry. i'm on my second shirley temple. things are going to get rough."

"but this book is worse than thomas kinkade."

"i wonder if there's sex... flip to the end."

"maybe there's mild groping? one can only hope."

"you know, the phoenix rises... except that most of the time the phoenix is on fucking fire."

"do you have pubic hair? well then, you should read those books."
"that should be, like, a sign. at borders."

"does anyone have a copy of harry potter on them?"

"who is that woman... BRUNO BETTELHEIM!"
"yeah, i'm pretty sure that's a man."

"you are like bruno bettelheim!"

"even the smartest ass will not get that."

"wait, wait. before the argument starts i want to insert a bit of trivia."

"the return of the king is like the book of mormon, except much more realistic and a better foundation for a religion."

"the writing grates. it's like watching an old man walk down a hallway in a cold mansion against a high wind."

"we are catholic. well, catholicish. my brother's gay so there's only so much."

"she's shinto... at best."

"you used to be a shrine maiden. i don't think it's appropriate."

"a shrine maiden? oh, it's a common part-time job in japan."

"i thought that protestantism let you be hypocritical in a way that catholicism did not."

"you really want to slit your wrists after reading that... but, like, in a good way."

"that's pretty much what my time at the university of chicago was like- an indescribable emotional reaction."

"i spent two years of my life in a japanese fishing village and those two years were much less weird than my one year in MAPH."

"i would've waited, knowing that my adopted children would have been kings and queens."

"that's neat."
"what?! oh, i thought you meant the idea of austin becoming gay so he could marry prince william and adopt children who could become kinds and queens was 'neat'. that seemed a reductive response."

"i went to a land grant university."

"i owe my education to blackbeard's booty."

"which takes us right back to dana starting from anal."

"i can't wait to be old and have no sex drive."

"that was illustrative."

"no wonder you're you."

"i don't think that was brought to us by procter & gamble."

"i was southern baptist when i was really, really young."
"it's hard not to be."

"he's very explicit. that's why i like Jesus."

"no, no. start with condemnation then take the plank out of your eye."

"i always leave the Buddhists out because they never do anything."

"but women scientists!?"

"that's what i'm worried about- the destruction of the united states and gender disparity in the sciences."

"death to america! equal rights for women!"

"the face that you're making is not capturing the womaninity of it."

"there's a thing where you grow up in a religion and you're totally into it and then you realize that you're a woman and it become a problem."

"it's like you're being eved."

"it's like, God, if i could just be a wiccan."

"i was there for you troubled young women... on the internets. well, future-me anyway."

"i know what you're talking about, in a catholic way."

"i'm like, 'your religion was the biggest failure in history. it was built on not hurting people and it has hurt people over and over again.'"

"so it's like we made our own hell that we can all go to."

"i mean, if you wanted to prevent women from having sex on the street, put them in jeans."

"we had anal and christianity and then we came back to anal."
"very few people start with anal, go on to something else and then come back to anal again."

"i learned a lot tonight. more than i should legally know."

4 father/daughter

my father is my bff.

this hits me when we are on the phone and, like a teenager confessing dark secrets down the line to a friend, he pauses and closes the door of his library so my mother will not hear what he is about to say.

we've been having this conversation, he and i, for a year and a half. ever since i was in paris and he couldn't sleep and i woke up early to find that he'd emailed me a nelson mandela quote that, three months later, we would realize was missing from my copy of the book he was reading then.

i am an only child.

more and more i'm realizing i probably need to front with that. otherwise, it makes absolutely no sense for my parents to play the role in my life that they do. for me to write about them as often. for me to be as aware of the fact that i will, one day, be alone as i am.

it makes no sense for me to be this close to my parents when they are a thousand miles away unless you know i am the only one. that it has always been us three. and that three is sometimes a difficult number.

i've written before about my father.

he writes me letters now. once a week. old school written by hand on a notecard letters. with vintage recycled stamps so that the whole right corner is a short story with a cogent theme, like Stamps of Lady Writers or Stamps of Plants of the World or Stamps Celebrating People Who Played the Trombone.

he started doing this last summer. i don't know that i fully appreciated them then but i look forward to every single one now. because even when all he writes about is the cat shit still, after a long day, there's something wonderful about these letters. something sturdy and reassuring and safe in that handwriting i've known my whole life.

24 February 2011

2 ...

5 mocktailed

the mocktail. it's going to be a thing, ya'll.

here's what you do: walk into a bar and ask the bartender to invent something non-alcoholic and totally delish.

admittedly, this doesn't elicit the gratifying jaw-drop and fist-pump granted to yellow chartreuse and it meets with varying degrees of success. at one bar, an unfortunately worded inquiry into whether there was "anything virginal" on the menu yielded a haltingly confused response of um... maybe the white russian...

however, this habit yields a mighty high number of free drinks. some of them, astoundingly good. and, if you're at a place renown for their cocktails, odds are they make a mean mocktail too.

last night, kantor and i hit up maude's for one of those meals where you complain about how full you are and you can't even finish the entrĂ©es but then you still order dessert.

in the midst of that, we had three rounds of mocktails. (see, it's totally a thing.)

kantor's had a running theme of cucumber, but mine were whatever struck owen the bartender's fancy. a ginger smash. the virgin pimm's cup. and some desperately yummy orange thing whose main ingredient appeared to be raw sugar granules.

it was the beverage equivalent of the creamsicle pops my mum would only buy once a year, on the hottest day of each memphis summer when i was a kid.

it snowed in chicago last night. one of those snows where the flakes are like dippin' dots. but the warmth of that drink stuck with me. that memory of being a little girl in a pink bathing suit standing barefoot on the lawn. the memory of biting into what appeared to be simply an orange popsicle and being suddenly struck by the wonder of what lie hidden within.

4 where else would one wear this necklace?

23 February 2011

0 the best thing ever said after eating foie gras

"the poor guy ate so much for us. 
it's only right 
that i should be a little full 
after eating him."

8 aerodynamics

last friday was rough, so i did what anyone would do in response to a rough day. i signed up for flight school.

because my first thought upon seeing the opportunity in my inbox was i have to do that. then my second thought was but i can't. thankfully, i've been publicly espousing this whole "love! seize the day! que sera, sera!" paradigm for years now to an extent that, when that particular line of thinking occurs, a moral obligation kicks in to just shut my eyes, take the leap and make that shit real.

so i signed up. i said yes.

the yes is usually the hardest part and yet, i think it becomes easier the more you say it. the more you are confronted with the extravagant experiences you might have missed out on had you said no.

because if you don't say yes, you are saying no to something that may or may not have been unspeakably awesome. you are giving up an opportunity that comes with a 50% chance of being the best story of your life.

that's a forfeiture far riskier than flying a plane.

which isn't to say that flying a plane won't be plenty scary. but my parents- who are beginning to if not understand at least humor my worldview (and if you can tell me where the comma goes in that statement, you are my hero)- are surprisingly nonplussed by this news. their lack of concern is unnerving until my mother explains.

she has been reading a book. in it, there is this passage:
“Oh, I’m not brave. I’m just sure of myself. I just remember when I was a kid, I once was going on a canoeing trip in the Everglades and some of my friends decided not to go because it was going to be too much discomfort and hardship. But they did come to watch the rest of us head off on the trip, and I remember looking up as we pushed off and seeing the forlorn faces of the people left behind looking on. That’s what started my life of adventure. I knew I never wanted to be the one left on the shore.” 
on the morning of the friday afternoon where i called my parents and told them i had signed up for flight school, my mother had read this passage aloud to my father, who, according to my mother, laughed and said, don't tell your daughter. she'll want to pack off to paris or, God forbid, pilot a plane.

6 wait for it

i am hereby formally pleased to announce that i have found what has a higher chance than anything else i have ever found before of being dame elizabeth taylor's actual mailing address.

as in, when you google map it and do the street view and turn the little person icon all around, the street the little person icon views looks like a street elizabeth taylor might actually live on.

this is tremendous progress given that all prior addresses have yielded street views that do not look like places where drug dealers would live. much less liz taylor.

and, yes, dear world, this is who i am now. my research practices are dependent upon google street view.

despite the fact that the period of intensive googling i have devoted to the finding of this information could be characterized as stalking if that was a word of which you were excessively fond, i'm actually doing liz taylor a very great kindness. because this is information on which i have been sitting for over a week now.

i have her address. i have not yet written her a letter.

you may or may not have known- since it has gotten shockingly little press attention- that elizabeth taylor was hospitalized last week. the very day, in fact, after i found her address.

you may or may not also remember that the people i write regarding jackie have either died immediately before my finding them or taken to their deathbeds shortly thereafter.

it is a noble thing i'm doing here, in not writing liz taylor. i am, clearly, saving her life.

this is not an act entirely devoid of selfishness. because i'm counting heavily upon the hope that once she is better, liz taylor will see the error of her ways. realizing that her last interview cannot have been one with kim kardashian, she will- surely! obviously! of course!- grant an audience to an unknown. she will- surely! obviously! of course! maybe?- speak to me.

22 February 2011

0 speak!

as most always happens, i set out to do things- big things! adventures!- and there is this vision in my head of how they will happen- flawlessly! gloriously! with much applause!- and then... everything is absurd.

the dane and i went to a speech class. actually, first, we took a scenic tour of the emergency room of the masonic medical center looking for a 7th floor auditorium that did not exist. then we went to a speech class.

and after our encounter with a one-legged man lying near death on a stretcher, speech class didn't seem so scary.

people always suggest that you imagine your audience in their underwear. i've never found that helpful.

it is somehow much more helpful to operate under threat. to think that if i do not get up there, if i do not push myself and speak, then i'll be forced to take another tour of the masonic medical center emergency room. and made to look the one-legged man in the eye.

0 #24

the vagina monologues.
pink & white.

[ps. if you, like jmills, are wondering, oline, what is up with the cupcakes?
may i direct your attention HERE.]

0 vote!

21 February 2011

3 baby steps

some weeks ago, i wrote a local website and asked if they were accepting contributions. some days ago, the editor wrote back and asked what i could contribute. accordingly, like any english major worth her salt, i made shit up. 

thanks to that question, i am, apparently, now contributing that made up shit.

this is both a hilarifying reinforcement of the age-old adage that when it rains it pours and an alarming reminder that i have no idea what i'm doing. but it's also a reminder that that feeling, that uncertainty, that sensation of spinning in six directions at once isn't all bad. in fact, it's really rather lovely. if you let it be.

2 five years

five years ago this past december 7th, i decided to move back to the city when, during a rogue wave concert, the boy i was living with said we maybe should stop seeing each other, though it would be great if we could still be roommates and, of course, we would always be best friends.

i don't put much stock in visions, but what i remember about that entire night, as we stood there listening to damn rogue wave because we were both frugal and it never occurred to either of us to leave though our apartment was literally a 3-minute walk away, is trying to focus on what he was saying. trying to squint and see anything beyond the big, huge blinking imaginary marquee of bright pink lights that seemed to obscure his face. CHICAGO! it said.

later, when he asked me what was going to happen, i sat there in the near-dark of the early morning and said, i'll go to chicago. as though it were a given. an absolute.

this is only time in my life that i have known, with total certainty, what i was supposed to do. and that's saying a lot for a girl who was wearing an ironic ratty t-shirt that declared her "air hockey champion of the world."

that was over five years ago. i have been here, living in chicago, five years today. a fact at once utterly astonishing and yet, really, not at all, though it's probably a solid three and a half years longer than i ever imagined i would stay.

i wish i could tell the girl that i was then all that i know now. that girl who was so fucking brave yet cursed herself for a poor choice of fashion on a night she could not've known she was about to be dumped. that girl who, though she did not know what she was doing, did what she must do.

sadly, life doesn't work that way. at best, i can look deep into her eyes in an old myspace profile pic and think, wow. maybe i really did kind of look like ashlee simpson. 

0 o young oline, one week out

[27 december 1997]

[trans: I{t} has been an entire week since we saw Titanic.
That seems rather unreal.]

19 February 2011

0 friends

it's three days after the blizzard.

we're in wicker park walking down a street into which a path has been shoveled that accomodates exactly one shoe's width. jmills is trying to convince me that we are the cast of friends and her roommates are chandler and joey.

she says, you're the phoebe and i'm the monica.

an older woman is approaching us from the opposite direction, putting one foot daintily in front of the other as she winds her way through the tiny path cut in the mountain of snow.

then jmills says, now all we need is a ross and rachel.

and, in what is now one of my favorite chicago moments of all time, the older woman approaching us from the opposite direction looks up and says matter-of-factly, then you'll have all of your friends.

18 February 2011

0 friday

15 money makes the world go round

if it is challenging to explain why one is good at what one does, it's damn near impossible to put a price on it.

i have been asked to establish my fee.

this is a process enormously complicated by the fact that my fee has, thus far, been in the very wee digits. but i'm trying to be a biographer. like, for real. and i know the very wee digits do not help me do that.

so i am sitting on the fainting couch that is symbolic of my adulthood trying to solve a problem i've wrestled with since i began baby-sitting in middle school, when i took whatever they gave me at the end of the night and sacrificed many a friday evening for $5.95.

please note: the national minimum wage was $4.75 per hour. mine was $1.98.

that's a monumental gap. as is the distance between $13.75 per hour and $75.

and while i know, in reality, i'm just determining the financial value of my hours, it feels like i'm being called upon to do so much more than that.

i've been asked to establish my fee. in doing so, i'm defining my value.

i'm sitting on the fainting couch that symbolizes my adulthood facing that girl who gave up her friday nights for $5.95.

it takes tremendous effort to not sell myself short. to admit what i think i'm worth.

4 this has been my fortune for the last 3 days

which begs the question:
dear world, are you ready yet?

17 February 2011

2 the very great cost of sweet valley high

a typo. surely.

5 vanity, vanity

i'm excessively proud of my eyelashes. it has reached a point that- much as busty girls thrust back their shoulders- i will, at times, purposefully close my eyes in photographs, so that my lashes might appear to best advantage.

this is a foolishness saved from spiraling out of control by the fact that very few people in the world pay any attention to eyelashes, so the compliments i've pulled in typically come from old ladies or my mother, a demographic whose accolades are always suspect.

it is a whole other matter altogether when jmills leans across the bowls of noodles that were not the noodles of our lives and asks, WHAT mascara do you use? your lashes are stunning! 

0 we've got the land, but they've got the view

i do not know where i'll be in a year, but i hope it's a high-rise.

working off the assumption that my life is following the trajectory of mary richards', we're entering into the oline in the city show: season six, wherein i'm due for a dramatic move so that viewers will have an easy means of delineating between the earlier and later seasons.

this is unlikely at best, given that my current rent is prohibitively cheap, my income is prohibitively low and my hobbies are prohibitively expensive. it is a time of prohibition.

when i lived in one room, i was desperate for two. now that i have two rooms, i long for one with a view. we're never really content with where we are. and while i choose to look upon that as a good thing, it's maddening all the same.

16 February 2011

4 challah, jam, milk, yum.

7 adventureland

we have reached a point where i am, for the first time, facing the very great financial cost of what i want to do.

in a perfect world, jackie would pay for herself. in reality, it is unlikely she ever will.

this isn't entirely unexpected. you don't spend a small fortune to get a degree in writing and imagine yourself rolling in millions. so long as i can afford a bottle of andré and the occasional betsy johnson from the resale shop, i'm truly more than pleased.

but this goes against pretty much most everything everyone will ever tell you. this idea that it is better to do what you love than what you should and what is safe. in talking about jackie with people, i am repeatedly reminded that, despite my "romantic" notions of being a writer, i still have to eat. and have a home. and "settle down."

i had this boss once, who began nearly every discussion we ever had with the question, where do you see yourself in five years?

at the time, i found this terribly daunting. i think it downright foolish now.

if you'd asked me last february, when the world famous biographess and i sat under the train tracks at istria drinking hot chocolate and talking booths, whether i would, in one year's time, be doing what i am doing now, i would've laughed. because, in all honesty, it is something i would have never thought to do.

we, as a culture, put so much stock in having an end point- some mystical time in which our lives will fall together and look exactly as we want them to be. i detest this. i struggle with it daily, but i detest it all the same.

because there is no end point. no job or marriage or baby or home that's going to make you a better you. there is simply life. we none of us know where we're going and, in thinking we do, we miss so very much along the way.

i am writing a jackie book about the jackie book that i am trying to write but likely never will because it is becoming increasingly apparent that there is simply no there there.

which brings us to my mother. who, in the middle of a prolonged discussion of the benefits of organic, grass-fed meats, says the most maudlin thing ever, which is, nonetheless, the exact thing i needed to hear. she pauses, inhales and says: you know something's going to come of this right? this jackie stuff? you'll get there when you get there, but until then, God, what an adventure you've got.

15 February 2011

2 for mrs. married, who misses chicagoland


2 yesterday, on this day, in 2006 in oline history

2 merci beaucoup mes aime

jmills said something, weeks ago. when my girls were here and we were all standing in an alley in wicker park outside rainbo half-drunk on whiskey sours with a guy who was wearing an outrageously patriotic sweater that has made him go down in our history as "mr. usa." jmills quieted everyone and said we needed to take a moment to recognize that we were in the presence of a published author. she meant me and i did not thank her then because, despite all young oline's good intentions, i still do not know how to accept compliments graciously. but i have thought of it often since. and it has meant the world.

14 February 2011


5 reflections

there is no more awkward part of a query letter than the paragraph where you must talk about why you are qualified to write what you write. never mind that you've studied and written and whipped yourself into near "expert" shape.

nothing makes me feel less qualified than writing about why i am qualified. because there is always a sneaking suspicion that i am maybe not.

i've been wrestling with this lately. from the incredibly superficial angle of how one should present one's self.

in lieu of doing any actual biographical writing, i've been trying to pin down what my biographical persona should be. the identity confusion that has arisen from this is probably best illustrated by my inability to pin down a pen name and the subsequent submission of papers and essays under no less than five variants. so that when kbg went looking for "the sexy dance," she had to ask her husband for help in figuring out who was me.

i am being ridiculous. i know that.

but there is room for loads of awkwardness here.

the awkwardness of being associated with a particular public figure and being at pains to be unlike her. hence, the need for high, high heels and uncomfortably tight skirts and, possibly, red hair.

and the sudden dawning of the notion that privacy is kind of an important thing and that OitC is kind of a precious place. that seems an incredibly awkward thing to discover this deep in.

everything i have ever written here has, essentially, been written for an audience of two particular friends. hence the obscurity of the references, the frivolity of the content and the cockiness of the tone. this is the voice i use when making sport of myself to them, to those two people. that voice edited to a tortured degree, yes, but that voice all the same.

i've never thought about that before. having written it just now, i see what a scary thing i've done. i- a monumental compartmentalizer of relationships- have taken as my public voice the tone i use with two of the people who know me best. had i ever given it any thought before, this is probably not the voice i would have chosen to put before all the world.

we are not always who we appear to be. when i met birnsy in real life, her first words were, i thought you would be taller.

though i adhere to a pretty high degree of truthiness here, i'm not sure how truthy the overall impression is. if you read everything i've ever written, if you really mine the archives, you could either think i'm a nonfiction fanatic with the occasional worthwhile deep thought or a cake-obsessed wackadoodle.

i wonder which wins out.

i wonder which i want to win out.

i started keeping a blog five years ago today. i started keeping a blog because i was moving to the city and, ostensibly, my big city life would be filled with such a multitude of exotic goings-on that i would need to chronicle all i was doing so my droves of admirers could keep up.

that's what i was doing then.

i do not know what i am doing now. and there's an odd comfort in that.

4 young oline: christmas, titanic and very real jfk and jackie plaster busts

[24 December 1997
Wednesday, 10:06]

[trans.: What a Christmas Eve. We are in Memphis. We went to the church service. It was good. I talked to Libby. She saw Titanic too and loved it. I got a lot of great stuff for Christmas. GPU's gave me a Pooh watch, a Kennedy book, Pooh socks. Daddy got me Jackie magnetic paperdolls and JFK and Jackie plaster busts. (They actually look real.)]

ps. no, young oline, they actually do not:

11 February 2011

0 integral

THIS is long but worth reading...

3 it is my hearts truest desire

that the person who owns these boots

wear them with these pants

make it happen.

0 family time, ii

i'm at dinner with my uncle and cousin. i am trying to explain the sex toboggans. it is awkward.

my uncle mentions "jackie onassis." my cousin looks confused. he asks us to repeat this wackadoodle foreign name. my uncle tries to explain.

he uses a series of buzzwords. "unique style." "first lady." "french." he lists every single one of her last names. even bouvier.

most people miss the bouvier. i am proud of him for remembering.

i'm fascinated by the depth of his understanding and that he would launch his argument from the esoteric angle of the bouvier/auchincloss/kennedy economic/social dynamic.

this is a man whose jackie knowledge was once limited to the song by human sexual response. that he is now attempting to explain jacqueline onassis to an adolescent boy by expounding upon the psychological impact of her youthful wealth-by-proxy is fucking impressive.

and yet i'm tempted to leap in with an overwrought explanation- as though it were entirely obvious- when he does not immediately cite her's as the most significant female life of the twentieth century because, in its fictions, it covers every single aspect of the female experience.

realizing this would be lunacy, instead, i stick to economics. i turn her into a math problem and say she was important because she brought in $1 billion over the course of twenty years.

i say this and my cousin looks at me. he takes a bite and says through a mouthful of pizza: but she's dead, right? so do people really care? 

10 February 2011

0 train to milwaukee

0 browning v. burning

i cannot bake brownies.

can not.

do not tell me it is easy as pie. it isn't. pie i can do. i can do nothing with brownies but burn them.

this is not for lack of trying. during our recent blizzard, when my search for small adventure and inner joy was confined to the three rooms in which i live, i dedicated my life to the mastery of brownies. because, though i do not particularly love chocolate, i enjoy defeat even less.

and i do like the smell of chocolate. those days when ghirardelli is downwind and the whole city smells of cocoa are among my favorites.

so i baked brownies. for three days. in what was, essentially, an elaborately ocd means of freshening the air. boxed brownies even, so the margin of error was wide.

alas, not wide enough.

i burn brownies.


but my house, it smells delicious.

09 February 2011