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Showing posts from January, 2010

24 hour deconstruction

Texts between me and AK: Me: The queer theorist was at the gym again! i’m starting to feel like i should hand her* my manuscript or something. AK: You should ask somebody else if they see her. Maybe she’s an angel. On that note, I’m off to San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland and San Mateo, where I’ll get to do worky stuff, visit the friendly neighborhood dyke bar , hang out with our favorite healthy-living family of four , give a reading with Terry ( Diesel Bookstore, Jan. 31, 3 p.m. —see you there?) and get to meet the Erins’ new baby(!). Back in early Feb! *Still unsure of QT’s preferred pronoun. But she was in the women’s locker room, so at least in the eyes of 24 Hour Fitness , she’s a woman. I’m not sure we should grant such identity-defining power to an institution that cannot even name itself accurately—some locations close as early as 8 p.m.—but then again, maybe no one understands better than 24 Hour Fitness how inadequate all language ultimately is.

cold war and peace

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Concerts have recently been something of a bone of contention between AK and I. It would go like this: She’d troll blogs and mailing lists and find a show she’d want to see. I’d agree to go with her because 1) in my mind I’m a fun-loving gal, 2) I probably dragged her to a so-so poetry reading recently and 3) she has a very cute, convincing face. But come the morning of the show (which would inevitably be on, like, a Tuesday because that’s when the cool kids go out), I’d stubbornly wake up at seven and write as usual. Then, after work, I’d race to get to the show and stand through it bleary-eyed, counting the songs, grumbling about my lower back problems. AK would scowl at me and the world I symbolized: the world that Never Felt Like Going Out. I can’t report that we’ve solved this problem, but we’ve come to a tentative yet healthy compromise, which involves me giving her an iPod Nano for her birthday (I know, it sounds like a guilt Nano, but it wasn’t) so she could invest more deepl

wiener dog + folk dancers = good weekend

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The first of two January Bay Area trips happened this past weekend (the second is for my reading at Diesel in Oakland, Jan. 31, 3 p.m. —mark your iPhone or whatever). On Saturday, my college friend Nerissa got married. I teared up predictably the minute the church doors opened onto the aisle. There’s something about seeing someone you’ve known well and for a long time cut and pasted into a big, archetypal ceremony. It’s strange and beautiful, realizing for the first time that archetypal ceremonies might actually apply to your life. (Or not, as I’m pretty sure St. Gabriel Catholic church isn’t doing too many gay weddings these days, but you know what I mean. It was still lovely.) There’s also something beautiful about taking off your heels after a long day and watching Almost Famous in your pajamas, which is what we did with Jenessa and her boyfriend John when we got back to their place in Oakland. We started the trip in a similar high-low mode, imagining ourselves in emeralds the s

blind gossip item for philosophy nerds

I was celebrating the fact that my elderly laptop had finally booted up when a famous queer theorist walked into the coffee shop with her girlfriend and her girlfriend's kids. They sat down next to me, and QT started reading Harry Potter out loud to the kids. I know you shouldn't write in coffee shops if you want complete silence, but I kind of wished they would relocate to the play area. Since I couldn't concentrate on my short story, I was forced to eavesdrop. Queer Theorist: Which of Harry's teachers is your favorite? Stepdaughter: Miss [um, I don't know most of the Harry Potter characters, so let's call her Miss Tumbleweed] Tumbleweed. QT [who goes by a man's name these days, but I'm not sure what pronoun s/he prefers]: It's Mr. Tumbleweed. Mr. Tumbleweed is a man. Anyhow, I like Ms. McGonagall . She's strict, but she knows her stuff. I think the best teachers are like that, don't you? [Kids give her a blank look that suggests

options

Thank goodness Kellie read the fine print on Nerissa’s wedding website and emailed me: Black tie optional? I was going to wear something from H&M! I do have a fancy qi pao from China in my bag that would not be super comfortable but definitely fancy. But the slit is dangerously high, like perhaps inappropriately high. I do not own a qi pao , fancy or otherwise, nor anything that is both nice enough to wear to a black tie optional wedding and warm enough for San Francisco in January. Which means my options are: A) Dress it down a notch and hope dress codes are for boys. I mean, suits and tuxes are well-defined things. Dresses are open to interpretation. Right? B) Wear all my fanciest, warmest things and make the formal grade from a technical standpoint, but look sort of mismatched because my nicest warm coat is pink and my nicest dress is red and my nicest shoes are just a little bondage-y. C) Shop the minute our plane touches down. You can take BART from SFO and get spit

in which i make a bunch of incongruous dating analogies about writing

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I’m between drafts of the so-called circus novel right now, and I’ve been working on a couple of short stories. It’s weird. I hadn’t attempted a short story as more than an exercise in a long time, and I was halfway convinced that my writerly identity no longer included the ability to write anything less than 200 pages. Even when I read short stories by other people, they seemed kind of sneaky and pretentious. Like they were trying to be a flashy, fabulous first date but couldn’t sustain a relationship. But then along came two invitations to submit stories (I know! I love feeling loved like that), and suddenly I had a mission, which is all it’s taken to get back into short-form fiction. One story is about Prop. 8 and the Santa Clarita Valley and coyotes. One is about a harp and a mysterious mother-in-law. Now I’m a little bit scared: What if I abandon novels? Novels are who I am . But when Jamie put poetry aside for ballet for a few months, I was like, Go with it! Listen to your mu

eliot klein, circa 1996-2010

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This morning my dad had our family cat, Eliot, put to sleep after it became clear that his kidney problems were going to get him sooner rather than later. I was sad that my dad told me this after the fact, because the Kleins have been together for all other pet euthanasia. Eliot was the last pet who knew my mom—they spent many hours napping together when she was sick—and Eliot’s absence feels like one more way she’s not in the world. I think about that sometimes: how the décor of my dad’s house is looking worn and dated, how it’s easy to forget that when my mom put that stuff up, it was new and creative. I want to remember her as new and creative. I also want to give Eliot his moment: This isn’t all about my mom and vague feelings of familial distance. I’m going to miss Eliot himself, a slight orange tabby my dad referred to as “you useless cat,” usually while scratching him lovingly on the head. When we adopted Eliot my sophomore year of college, he was a year-and-a-half-old cat na

what i read in december

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You’re probably sick of lists and reviews by now, even though the latter is allegedly what this blog is mostly about. Lucky for you, I didn’t read much in December. I did a lot of…what did I do? Eat? But reading while eating is one of my favorite activities, so the presence of food doesn’t explain the lack of literature. Shop? Probably shop. Ugh. I am all shopped out and am now enjoying the ascetic feeling I associate with January: light eating, minimal spending, indulgence of my puritan work ethic, and a clean, fresh blanket of snow over the place where the Christmas lights used to be. No, there is no actual snow, but if I were to create one of those inspiration collage thingies that designers use, snow would be on it. And now, my two-book roundup: Tomorrow They Will Kiss by Eduardo Santiago: Like the heroines of the telenovelas they love, the characters in this book (three women from the same gossipy village in Cuba, now working in a New Jersey doll factory) are painted with som

chick flicks for educated chicks

The problem with not being a real movie critic--one who gets free passes to movies before they come out--is that you end up seeing a lot of 2009 movies in 2010, when it's too late to put them on your best-of-2009 list, which, of course, everyone reads as gospel. So I'm not sure if this is number six or what, but I saw An Education on New Year's Day, and it was smart and moving and refreshing. I knew almost nothing about it going in--in the back of my mind, I sort of thought it was some kind of Jane Austen-y adaptation, which I wasn't all that excited about, but it was what was playing at the right time near AK's parents' house in Orange County. What it is actually about is a 16-year-old British prep school girl who, in 1963, takes up with a dashing older man who even manages to woo her uber -strict, working-class parents. What it is actually, actually about is coming to terms with the unglamorous side of adulthood and the even less glamorous options availab