So, my perverted friends and family members believe claymation porn is the way to go with my “dream.”
Also, my mother noted that geriatric porn would probably make a lot of money. Her reasoning, you ask? She explained that Peter Lawford said Nancy Reagan gave the best blow job in Hollywood back in the day … yeah, I’m following that tangent, Mom, but thanks for the creepy info about your childhood.
Although, geriatric porn could work. Blow jobs in Hover Round chairs, calling prostitutes on Jitterbug phones … all in claymation, of course.
Carefully, she grabbed the bottle. Leaning forward, dipping her nose, she straightened her spine and quickly unscrewed the lid. She rolled the small plastic over in her fingers and she shook the bottle, rhythmically, possibly counting the drops that fell. He watched her, quietly, counting seconds. Distracting, her hair fell down her back. It shook, and he reached out to touch it.
Am I a horrible literary snob for ‘unfollowing’ a few creative writing/prompt blogs because they excessively posted fantasy bedroom wall color ideas and a picture of the cover of Baldwin’s Notes on a Native Son, proclaiming “I think this is a collection of memoir pieces” and that his first story was “AMAZING,” leading me to believe said blog owner has never read Baldwin’s book let alone known anything about it to convey a confident message about its contents?
I mean, I know I have written before about not accepting a second date because the dude hated reading. He proclaimed the very idea of that action in Hitler-esque fashion and I even barfed in his truck on the way to dinner. He thought that was okay, but the reading had to go? So, I have always known (or very recently realized) that I am kind of a dickhead when it comes to this whole standard of reading and writing thing.
But fuck, people! Unfollow me if you wish because I suck at putting words to paper, but I like to think I follow awesome writers/prompters. It all starts out so promising and then BAM! you hit me with this shit you retarded 16-year-olds. (I know you are older than 16, but your shitty posts say otherwise.)
OK, this is the part where y’all tell me I can go start my period now and to quit being a cunt.
I have a feeling my mother will read this, so Mom I apologize now for what you are about to read, but it shouldn’t shock you. I mean, Grandma said ‘dildo’ that one time. Remember that?
Anyway, I have spent the better part of my day thinking up/semi-writing a porn spoof of Field of Dreams, retitled as Field of Semen. It’s a working title. And, no, since you will ask: I have no desire to work in the porn industry. But, today is boring and slow and I’m a dirty lady so, like James Earl Jones said, People will come, Ray.
You can't remove yourself when you write about you.
I wasn’t going to post a piece called Split in Two that I’ve been working on that began 6 months ago. It’s personal, it’s still in weak stages as far as coming full circle and keeping those plates spinning, but now I feel like I have to in order to address this little piece of advice I encountered on my dash. Funny how that works.
Now, I am not knocking the girl who runs the blog. I dig her prompt blog for the most part. But her advice on nonfiction writing bugged me. I feel like we nonfiction writers get a bad rep sometimes for being too boring or not fun enough, not as enticing as a work of fiction. Maybe it’s because we walk that line between fantasy and reality, and sometimes you don’t want to trust us. Fiction gives you that trust, you know it’s all made up, whether based off a true event or not; however, in the world of nonfiction, for every Didion and Vowell and Sedaris and Wallace, you get a James Frey. We get it. It’s hard not to exaggerate events in order to make a story work. So we know that you just won’t buy it right off the bat, sometimes.
But we are talking about writing, and writing about our lives and turning them upside down and shaking them like a snowglobe. I can’t take myself out of my writing, remove my emotions in order to list the cold hard facts. Sure, that works for brainstorming or recounting a moment or memory, but emotion makes up so much of a scene or a conversation, whether it’s in the form of fiction or nonfiction. To remove it just so you can make sure you are telling “the truth” is a waste of time. I don’t want to steer this criticism into a direction where we banter about what really is real. The way I see it, I’m writing about my experience in a situation or with a person. We all see the world differently.
So, with that said, I thought that was horrible advice for a creative nonfiction piece. (Granted, she warned us saying she thought it was weak to begin with, so I can’t hate too much.) Maybe it’s great if you are in a journalism class where you do want to sure of the cold hard facts, but this is creative writing.
Check out Split in Twohere. We aren’t all boring and fun-sucking.
I have this nonfiction writing guide, a sort-of-bible I acquired in college that I keep on the top shelf of my bookcase. It is in perfect view from my bed, a place where I do a good portion of my writing, and a place where I can be easily reminded by my prophets that guidance is but a mere four feet away. It is also an excellent spectacle to gaze upon while hanging upside down whenever I’m caught in a dead spell and counting backwards from 3,952 while blood is unapologetically rushing to my listless brain seems a wise experiment to conduct in order to merely pass the time. To the naked eye, this book may be rather dull, a simple shade of tan with thin black letters neatly centered on its spine. But, to my impatient and grasping self, it is the North Star – the compass that I so need in utter and perilous times when I am wandering in too many directions.
Most of my writing takes place in my mind, an unfortunate occurrence for my mind, but a logical conclusion for a tangential wanderer. So when words finally make their way to the page, a babbling ramble tends to spew forth and I like to hang my upper body over the side of my bed hoping that a quick, firm drop onto the carpet will merge one or two thoughts. My theory on coalescence usually ends with me popping a few aspirin in between defeated sighs as I reach up for my sort-of-bible and flip through essays written by Annie and Phillip and Wendy and Bret, these apostles with their wise teachings and insights who guide me through the very ebbing and flowing of this genre. I demand to them, Give me some sort of sign, any damn sign will do! I want to be told what to do, what to write next, yet I demand the freedom to fall on my own head at my own will, and it surely does not help that I’m yelling at a book.
Under that same veil of contradictory logic, I joined a dating site when I decided to date no more. My best friend and partner-in-crime, Vince, had joined OkCupid and excitingly blabbed about it one evening as we were drinking beers and listening to awful pop music. I rolled my eyes because I roll my eyes at those sorts of things; nevertheless, I signed up a few weeks after ceasing contact with my latest “boyfriend.” (He preferred the quotation marks.) The header was catchy enough on the home page: Join the best dating site on Earth, and I remember vaguely thinking, Well, okay then. My mind was actively trying to cut off signals to my fingers as I incorrectly typed my own name while filling out each highlighted section, but stubborn curiosity won that battle.
If you have never been on a dating site, the first issue you might encounter is what exactly you should type. “About Me” sections are for the raging narcissists lurking deep within our guts, and initially I tend to flourish the page with circling quips about my obsession with bacon and humorous observations about my dog. Words that, according to my brilliant mind, are worthy of a Sedaris essay have now found their way onto a webpage aimed at catching the attention of 21-28 year-old men who enjoy beer pong and deer hunting, living within the greater Omaha area. I smile to myself as I finish the sentences. They’ll think I’m hilarious with my flirty diatribes, running through my mind as I hit the “save” button and press onward to the quiz questions.
Having never ventured into the realm of online dating, I did not expect quizzes. Endless questions that poked away at every topic known to man (politics, religion, sex, etc.) filled my computer screen, and I had no choice but to fill them out if I wanted to see who was mathematically meant for me. And even the choices were open-ended, causing much frustration as I pondered over whether I was always, often, neutral about, somewhat, or never against the death penalty. After each question I was allowed to defend myself in a small text box where I could stumble my way through an explanation to every man who’d eye my results why I was often for or against some social concern. Growing more distraught and desiring a human who could pinpoint his own exact answer without resulting to a lengthy opinion on death metal and foreign films, I blindly clicked always bubbles and never bubbles, deciding that I was going to be passionately bipolar.
Exhausted, I decided to forego more questions regarding abortion and income taxes and clicked on the tab where I could upload a photo or two to make the boys drool. Like the “About Me” section, I found this to be an opportunity to showcase my various talents, and so I began uploading pictures, each telling its own grossly entertaining story with the help of a detailed caption. I figured if I looked fun and exciting, the fellas might overlook my questionnaire efforts. For my profile picture, I decided on a close-up of me at Eat the Worm, halfway tanked at a going-away party, but I rationalized that I had had a really good hair day.
So there I was, staring at that square face with a great mane, ready to meet the bachelors who would sweep me off my funny feet. And, surprisingly, it worked. Emails poured in hour after hour as each potential mate proclaimed I was cute, funny, really interesting, and any other ego-boosting adjective you could fathom. I read through all of them. I even re-read through all of them.
I didn’t know what to say. Really, I had no words for response, no little witticism to reply with, and I sat and I read. Apparently, getting started was the easy part. Playing along was simple as I created this fast-talking, man-eating seductress with questionable political views. Now I actually had to converse with these men, and I was out of words.
Spoken language and nonverbal communication are two separate entities that rely on one another to create meaning; however, this is lost online. In the real world, if a guy is staring at my chest while I’m talking to him, I know to say something unsettling (like, say, referencing the size of my pseudo-penis) in order to draw his eyes up and help me move onto the next victim. For all I knew, the single guy across the keyboard could be staring at my digital rack while I typed away about my childhood, and all he wants is to see a digital nipple or two. And I would never know, unnerving me and paralyzing me in front of the keyboard, typing a paragraph about where I like to go fishing or which Tarantino film had the best opening dialogue (Reservoir Dogs) now impossible.
In the real world I can improvise, read those nonverbal cues. I had no way of navigating this, no possible sort-of-bible to reference as I weighed my options: to respond or not to respond? Or, more accurately, to fake it or not to fake it?
My head throbbed like I had fallen over the side of the bed again, hoping for an idea or two to pop out. I had jumped into this “experiment” thinking that everyone has a shtick while trolling for an online date, and I had certainly better have one as well; however, my abrasively intelligent cuteness was wearing thin as I wondered whether or not I could actually keep a guy interested in the real world once we were offline.
I knew I could ask Vince for help. He went on numerous dates almost every night of the week, a real veteran in the online dating world. The man spent his free time creating Craigslist personal ads laced with pop music lyrics and penis references. I needed an expert.
I sent him links of the men who had emailed me, asking for his advice on whether or not I’d probably be compatible with at least a few. I was ignoring the algorithms behind these dating sites that guaranteed perfect matches. I needed my best friend to point me in the right direction as I told him which guys I thought were cute.
Many nights were spent doing this, and each time he gave similar advice: be yourself and meet in a public place. You’ll be fine, you’re great.
“Easy for you to say. Boys don’t get raped. I’m a girl. We get raped.” I was quick to whip this line out almost every evening.
“Oh my God, Codie. You will not get raped.” He was quick, too.
Eventually, I was able to type up quick responses to my growing number of suitors, vowing to meet for a casual date if I was truly interested. Having just recently split from my latest male companion, I was in no rush to start anything, let alone force myself into an awkward conversation about couch hopping and mixed martial arts while downing pitchers of beer in order to feel slightly more invested in the conversation. I really had no intention of even responding to these men, initially believing that I was just here to tease, to lure them in and extract myself from that world the very next day. But Vince’s enthusiasm got the better of me as he cheered me on like a rep for Nike, and I agreed to meet Mark for a beer at the Homy Inn.
I was early, because I am always early for first dates, and I was too chicken to walk into the bar I had so often frequented, drunkenly bantering about writing professors and essay assignments. I sat in my car and tried not to sweat and I scratched at my neck for an itch that didn’t exist. I took deep breaths and imagined that I was either going to meet the man of my dreams or peel out in the parking lot and speed for Iowa the minute I realized the ax he was carrying was meant to murder me. I laughed at this and fondled the passenger seat for my phone to find the time. He was late, which I was accustomed to, and I laid my head against the headrest and closed my eyes, trying to relax.
I become anxious when I write, too. I envision it all in my head and watch it pan out in different scenarios. In doing this I become torn that I will either not write it all down in time, be forced to watch it disappear into my subconscious, or that in writing it down I will lose the very ideas festering within that stratosphere, that putting them on paper somehow disturbs their very nature. Sometimes I work through the anxiety and I stay up for hours when others have fallen asleep, refusing to stop because it would be impossible to start again. Other times I lose control and I watch the words disappear.
That night, waiting for Mark in the parking lot, I felt torn. I could either walk into that bar and continue our conversations from online into the real world and maybe enjoy meeting somebody new in such an unconventional way, or I could sit in the car and watch the moment pass by, possibly ruin it if I even interfere – the spell of online persona undone by flesh and bone. I felt like two versions of me were anxiously bobbing in the car, yet I wasn’t quite sure which one was real.
My eyelids illuminated and I opened them to see a car passing by slowly. It was Mark. He was driving on a sidewalk dividing the parking spaces from a person’s lawn because he had made a wrong turn. Already I didn’t like him, his inability to reverse a vehicle fueling my cynicism. I watched him park on the other side of the lot and walk quickly into the bar. He was shorter than I expected, but I always picture them taller, and he was already balding. I let the seconds pass by slowly as I again weighed my options, imagined my one half glancing wearily at my other half, exchanging similar looks that read, You first. I shrugged and nodded before opening the door and walking toward the bar.
The Homy Inn is a small neighborhood bar in north Omaha frequented by UNO staff members and nursing students from the medical centers. Vince had seduced me one evening as we ventured our way in. They have champagne on tap, was whispered sensually into my ear as I looked around the mini Disneyland of the Midwest, eyeing Big Buck Hunter in the corner and throes of older women in long skirts and braided hair sipping on pints of beer. The night I met Mark was similar to many nights at the Homy: loud and packed. I found him waiting at the bar, scanning the Oktoberfest specials written in chalk next to the TV.
Mark recognized me instantly and smiled as I finally stood next to him. We shook hands and I thanked God he chose not to hug me.
“You look different than your pictures, but in a good way,” he informed me as we lowered our hands. He sounded too much like Woody Allen. “I got us the special already.” He pointed to the chalkboard and I nodded.
“You don’t look like a rapist or a serial killer, so that’s good.” I had to shout over the noise, but I was probably a little too enthusiastic. I could tell he forced a smile on that one as he reached for the pitcher and glasses and led the way to our seats.
He began filling up the glasses, heavy foam sitting atop the beer. I smiled at thanked him and he smiled back.
“So, what do you look for in a guy?” He had leaned toward me and rubbed at his eye to ask this. He looked utterly bored as I tried to grasp what he had jumped into without a pre-interrogation drink.
Like before, I didn’t know what to say. I wasn’t prepared for a test so early on without some kind of build-up. Maybe a, Hi, how are you? It looks like it might rain. So, what do you require in a future husband? We had messaged each other a few nights prior and he had danced around relationship questions (at least, what I had interpreted as dancing around), and I was able to steer the conversation in new directions.
“Just the usual, I guess.” I was able to mutter ambiguity before taking a nice gulp and wishing I were at home watching Telemundo. “So, you traveled around the states?”
Mark talked a lot. He told me about growing up in Connecticut and working in New Mexico before road tripping across the southeast in search of himself. The story that caught my interest was his stop in Texas, on a pig farm with a woman.
“I want to connect with my food. I think people don’t really do that anymore.” His face was lit up when he said this. For the first time since we sat down, he did not look bored.
“Connect with your food?” I was unsure about what that even meant. The most connection I got from my food was feeling nauseous after unapologetically stuffing my face with a bacon cheeseburger and crinkle-cut fries.
“Yeah,” and he emphasized his nodding, “I want to raise my own pig and slaughter it and then eat it and connect with it.”
My jaw may have been hanging open. “How exactly do you connect with it?”
“Because it’s like giving back to the earth - you give back what you take. It’s a circle.” And he drew a circle with his finger above our heads. I refrained from spouting Lion King jokes as I figured out what to say next. He had only moments before explained how he loved people and couldn’t imagine being isolated in the wilderness. Yet, here and now, he wanted a pig to kill and eat and, if he was lucky, connect with on some higher plane of existence that I was incapable of imagining. Growing up in a small farming community, I couldn’t picture the local farmers drinking coffee on Saturday mornings in McDonald’s, swapping stories about who connected with what animal during harvest season.
A part of me wanted to imbibe every word he said, nod away at his fantasies, as if he were my child telling me he was going to be an astronaut despite his severe motion sickness. The other half wanted to down the pitcher right in front of him and discuss neutering methods for his future pig.
I had gotten to know an online Mark and an offline Mark, two halves of one person that were both very much real and capable of contradicting one another. Online Mark was friendlier, sweeter, and interested in what I had to say about global warming or Pearl Jam. In the real world, though, he was bored as he rubbed his face and eyes and carried on about unrealistic ranching dreams.
Driving home that night, I realized I was the same. Online, I was this feisty wiseacre, taking comfort in my words as I seduced men with compound sentences; however, I was cynical and anxious while talking with Mark, unsure of what to do next. But both of these parts of me exist, one easily contradicting the other, both fighting to be heard and seen. And there is no North Star for how to handle that, no sort-of-bible on how to be one and not the other. I can only watch myself unfold; sometimes catching one thing and watching the other float away, incapable of altering my very nature.
From Under the Deck and On Top of the Roof (an excerpt)
Sometimes I feel like I am much too old.
I’ve heard it all – your cute little puns, your cursing. I’ve seen it all, too, what with your fashionable leggings that make me look much too fat and your ramblings about war in the Middle East intermittently laced with Bob Dylan lyrics.
You drink tea while talking about tea. You smoke weed twelve times a day and then blow up your blog about it. You pose for the camera. You enjoy your voice, your words. And, trust me. No one is here to stop you.
Maybe I was like that at sixteen and twenty, too. I can’t really remember and when I try to think about it the effort seems mundane and instead I find something to read or somewhere to drive. Maybe I don’t want to think I had nothing to say or think about, that I was this intense and pseudo-intellectual type who cried easily and pondered thoroughly evening after evening, Why me? Forgetting seems easier.
My days are spent working in an office and my nights are spent caring for my dog. I’ve purchased too many books from Amazon about religion, Hawaii, dreams, space, Abraham Lincoln, etc. and I’ve exhausted the sidewalks of Glenwood twice daily. An alternative route seems unlikely, yet inviting.
Perhaps, I am just no longer seeking something to do or see or taste or experience; that, maybe, the new and possibly thrilling has become redundant. A new emotion every few minutes is now exhausting and, though I don’t want to keep everything inside of me, pieces outlining every thought and whim and dream now appear cliché and overcooked. The flowery perfume no longer lingers on the page as the concrete and ordinary facets of life lure me in closer with each passing second.
I feel much older because I no longer relate to wide-eyed innocence, nor do I crave it. I do not wish to be kept in the dark, protected from the world, attacking ambivalence and skepticism with optimistic notions worthy of a campaign ad or Disney cartoon. The ringing trills of I’m bored! no longer stampede out my mouth as I demand entertainment.
I feel much older because I am. I work a steady job and I have a morning routine. I have a creature that depends on me for food and comfort. I take time to write. I sit in corners and I listen to all of the shouting and the laughing and the chaos that bounces off the walls. I take in your fears and your hopes and your worries and I think about my life. I think about what I can leave out, cross off my list, or throw away in the trash. I think about what I can walk away from – who I can delete from my life.
Forgetting appears easier because it is. The day is easier when you aren’t trying to take on the entire world, when you no longer have that urgency to be this super person. I am not going to dole out advice full of song lyrics and catchy ‘70s lingo just as much as I am not going to cure cancer or purchase a smart phone. I no longer feel the urgency to attack every motto or web video or drug-fueled memoir. I remember to do laundry and learn how to bake a blueberry muffin loaf and submit essays to online journals and I grow older, feel the wood rip up in sections to expose the dirt that hadn’t felt the sun in decades.
Radioactive spider bit me? My parents were tragically killed when I was young and I'm fueled by vengeance? I'm from another planet? Nope. What I can tell you is that my dog humped my leg and the next morning I was no longer the same.
Since I am really great at procrastinating I come up with these lists when I choose to be a lazy worker bee. In case the title was a tad too subtle, I have compiled a list of superpowers that I possess and that I feel most superheroes probably envy.
1. I can tell you any airport code in the United States. And not because I have a handy-dandy book (which I do), but because after almost 4 years of working in air freight, I know more about airports than I should.
2. Along the same lines of reasoning as superpower #1, I can give you the name, address, and directions to every storage facility in the greater Omaha, Kearney, and Grand Island regions. I’ll even use words like “north” and “west” and “1.4 miles southeast.”
3. OK, now I am going to seem a little redundant with this next one, but to that I’ll just say bite me. You try having limited superpowers in a chaotic world desperate for superheroes. So, yeah, that third power: I have that uncanny and enviable ability to memorize numbers, be it phone numbers, addresses, ages, birth dates, death dates, or track listings on albums.
4. I can insert the words “cunt” and “fuck” seamlessly into a sentence and usually it won’t garner a blink or gawk or jawdrop for about 6.9 seconds. Example: Hey you, evil-doer, let go of the fucking granny or suffer the consenquential cunting.
5. I can hold my breath for roughly 1 minute and 26 seconds. This comes in handy while saving the world from asthmatic children who persistently usher you into degrading underwater games in an effort to lower your self-esteem.
6. Finally, I have a death glare. This one I believe I was born with since my mother and my sisters both possess this glare. The humping dog had nothing to do with it in the mutation process. And this death glare has the ability to make small children cry, incite tyrannical bitch fests from jealous women, and lower men’s sperm counts.
So, in the end, fellow citizens, there really is no need to thank me for my services in the form of cards, newspaper articles, and parades. Cash will do.
A broken record; a quip; a greeting – she bursts through the door and marches her way into the back office, snapping her neck in my direction and casting a deranged smile or cockeyed stare, mouthing those delicate words before careening through the doorway and sitting on my mother’s lap.
My sister has a thing for entrances. You could say she hits the ground running, and she likes to know she’s being watched.
She’ll toss her hair from side to side to showcase her locks and her neck, no doubt, and she’ll bat her eyelashes and whisper derogatory comments before sighing dramatically or lisping into a hee-haw. She was never meant to be quiet, and she makes no apologies for that.
She’ll come and go as the day presses on. Bored easily and desiring for someone to talk to, she’ll lounge on my desk and stretch out like a cat, ignoring the ringing phones and clacking of fingers on keys.
Once in a while she’ll sit in my chair, her small body no trouble for the space behind me, and she’ll worm her fingers through my hair. She does it because she knows I like it, though she’s rarely delicate. She tugs and her fingers get caught. She’ll braid strands and leave them behind. She’ll dig into my scalp and imagine drawing blood, I assume. She might spring a few words my way, compliments and coos masked as insults.
I let her do all this, as I never mind. I’ll stiffen up and close my eyes and rear my neck against her force as she reaches over to kiss my cheek before dancing away toward the door and throwing it open to make her exit. I comb my fingers through my hair pretending to fix it.
“But for the child-free, the benefits go beyond dollars and cents. There’s less guilt, less worry, less responsibility, more sleep, more free time, more disposable income, no awkward conversations about Teen Mom, no forced relationships with people just because your kids like their kids, no chauffeuring other people’s kids in your minivan to soccer games you find less appealing than televised chess.”
One thousand times yes.
Interesting article. But, if you feel like you are not doing what society expects of you and you are okay with that, why join a support group that features rafting trips and glassblowing classes marked with the tagline and no babysitters needed?
Whatever it may be (parenting classes, PTA meetings, no children allowed social clubs, etc.), inclusive support groups are fun and trendy.
1. Bravo is premiering a new show Pregnant in Heels where a woman acts as a concierge for rich pregnant women who want to walk in fashion shows, have their hair and make-up done in the delivery room, and oh yeah pose nude on a horse for a portrait for their husband. Um … how about we call that show Pregnant, Rich, and Motherfuckin’ Retarded.
2. Bra commercials. Specifically, the Bali bra commercials. The model is smiling, without a care in the world since her bra has no-slip straps, and she is lounging in her room reading a book (I like to imagine War and Peace or Dante’s Inferno) with her blouse buttons popped open and a bare shoulder gracing the screen. She whips her hair around and sighs, probably internally chortling at some metaphor or multi-syllabic word, her back fat no longer raging against the bra material.