Shackleford and his pups from “The Endurance: Shackleford’s Legendary Anarctic Expedition”
There is no love as unconditional as that from a dog. Before I met my dog I had never had someone who was always glad to see me when I came home. No one who was always overjoyed when I woke every morning. No one who was ecstatic to sigh next to me on my pillow each night. I don’t like admitting it, but in many senses, I didn’t discover a joy for life until I had a dog. I didn’t really know why people wanted to live before him. Sometimes I worry that if something happened to him I will go back to how I was BD. Before Dog. Back when I was sad. Through him I discovered that in the morning the streets are empty and the leaves are covered with dew and that time, morning time, is the best time for all things. That time is also the best time because my people, dog people, are the only people out on the street. My tribe, my new tribe, stumble about with plastic bags in hand, along the sidewalks, offering cursory greetings. It is not true that we, the dog people, are actually friendlier, more outgoingier. We’re just in a constant state of mild dog bemusement. I went to a talk given by Neil Gaiman a few weeks ago and my one take away from the whole talk was that he said that all writers need a dog. I totally agree. Adopt a dog. He or she will make your life better. Lovelier.
I always envied your transparency;
the way you made light move
without thought, how every boy
wanted to taste, to touch,
to follow you down to a world
you shaped with your own fingers
but could never control.
I wanted them to admire the crevices
in me that I could not define,
and so like them, I traced your shadow,
memorizing the formulas that spilled
from your mouth. I ransacked the corners
of your room for some talisman, some misplaced
spell. There was nothing. There’s still nothing.
Maybe that was what you had all along – a vacuum,
a space, a white void wide enough for a grown man
to crawl and snug into, to cocoon and to pretend
that he belonged, that he was yours – even for a short while.
Hey guys! I have chosen this weeks theme to be: Space! You can tackle this one any way you like; outerspace, space as place, as distance, as unit of measurement! Just pick an idea out of thin air and let your imagination go crazy!
You can even write about the tv show Spaced if you like! I really, really loved that show.
Getting in touch with my masculine side.
Masculinity is a weird concept to me. I grew up in a household full of women, so the men that appeared and, ultimately, disappeared, became fodder for study. Maybe that’s why the whole “alpha male” thing is so gross in my mind. It’s a shame that men aren’t supposed to emote or bring their feelings to the table. I can’t relate to a man that can’t connect with who he is inside. Society tells us a lot of shit and sells us on lots of bullshit. Gender norms is a big one. Here I present my playlist for masculine. Men who sing about love, boredom, longing, loss, triumph, tragedy, rage, depression, surrender. How could Jeff Buckley’s voice not pierce your soul? Those anguished wails of lost love take me to church! John Frusciante shines as a solo artist, taking the soul he gave to Red Hot Chili Peppers and channeling it into telling tales of his own personal demons. Johnny Cash takes Nine Inch Nails’ Hurt and gives it a new layer of pain and regret. I love Coconut Skins by Damien Rice because it’s a rare upbeat moment in his catalog, a song he claims is about wanting a better life but letting opportunities pass you by but also has a bit of a dirty edge to it. Nothing is more masculine to me than Johnny Flynn, a folk singer who also happens to be a Shakespearean actor, continuing the tradition of men playing women’s roles. The more genderfuck in my Shakespeare, the better. Iron and Wine does flamenco in a whisper. The Avett Brothers and Patrick Wolf pay homage to my two favorite places in the world, Brooklyn and London, respectively. Elliott Smith, the king of lo-fi, evokes so many emotions with quiet grace, while Devendra Banhart lulls me to a dreamlike state. Mumford and Sons get angry, and Beck sings the slow, devastating aftermath. Nirvana brings it home with the perfect mix of sadness, anger and surrender.
I just want to run and dive in.
This picture is from the last time I was at the ocean. It was at a wedding; the air was crisp and perfect. The waves gently lapped against the shore, and I wanted to dive in so badly. I was wearing a navy cotton eyelet dress and shiny patent flats, which I took off to dig my toes into the moist sand. I wonder when I’ll ever be able to go to the ocean again.
I wasn’t going to write about this or bitch about it any more than I have, but to hell with it. I miss the ocean. I feel the swell in my belly and my breast, but I cannot go to the ocean right now. I have solar dermatitis, which is a skin rash that flares up in the sun, and boy, the sun has been one hell of a showy bitch this summer. I have to be outdoors for work, and that is bad enough. The itch is immediate and strong. My skin is deeply tanned but blotchy and bumpy, little white spots peeking through the caramel in a mocking sort of way. Mind you, I am religious about sunscreen, so it’s not for my lack of sun safety. No, the heat and brightness of that big star has overpowered me.
One week, we had continuous clouds and rain every day, and I was actually joyous at times. My skin had stopped crawling for a few days. But now….
I have, of course, made a playlist of all the songs that bring me some sense of cool and calm, that speak to my longing for water. I wish the beach was close enough that I could at least visit after sundown, just go and inhale the clean saline scent, feel it on my skin. I feel so lost without it. Perhaps my love for autumn has manifested itself as a burning hatred for these hot and humid times.
Enjoy while soaking up the sun or, if you’re like me, looking outside your window and wishing your body wasn’t rejecting summer.