lighter fare

[title of show] is a play about writing a play--the show you're watching is the show they're writing as you watch them. It's very metatheatrical. Arizona Theatre Company did it last year, and I found it quite entertaining.

"Die Vampire, Die", below, has nothing to do with Twilight and is my favorite song from the show. If you've ever been insecure about your art (or anything, really), I strongly suggest giving it a listen (only if you're fine with hearing "fuck" several times, though).

lyrics here.



At lunch, with Maria in my classroom and the students that roost in there chattering, someone brought up the subject of crying in public. A couple of the students pointed out that they'd seen me cry--tear up, I corrected--when I talked about one of the quotes another student had written on my wall. I teared up again explaining it to Maria.

And later, during the period I spend with other teachers, Annelies told me about the personal statement another of our students wrote. It explained how she thought school was pointless and was ready to drop out until she had Annelies' class her sophomore year, how that class inspired her to join IB, and how now she comes to school and enjoys it all--and, once again, I was tearing up.

Fortuitous events, both of them. I don't cry in public. Tearing up is as close as I get. And yet, after a phone call I got during the midst of student mentor training after school, I found myself sobbing silently in the hallway, trying to think of somewhere I could go cry without risk of anyone seeing.

J won't be accepted on a new insurance plan after all. I submitted her application yesterday. This afternoon the broker received a memo explaining that the insurance company will not be accepting applications for children under 19 until they determine an open enrollment period, and even then, they will only accept children as part of a family plan. I am locked into my current insurance until next October. It appears that this is what all the insurances are doing so they don't have to accept children with prior conditions.

The short version: as of Friday, my asthmatic, twice ERed, newly discovered gluten-allergic three year old will be uninsured.

I am still looking into other options, but I hate everything right now. Especially this horrific country where people care more about the bottom line than making sure children get proper health treatment.


dear obama

No matter what else you do in office, no matter how history remembers you, I will always be grateful to you for initiating the health care reform that allows me to purchase affordable insurance for my three and a half year old daughter.

She has asthma, you see. And the insurance through my job costs me more than $500 a month. Without your reform, I could never have taken her off that insurance because asthma is a pre-existing condition they wouldn't accept. As of today, and because of you, I can submit her application and they will cover her.

I cannot express how thankful I am--so thankful that I'm nearly crying as I type this.

Thank you a thousand times over.

don't ask, don't tell

The repeal failed.



the concert

Sitting in a darkened audience, watching
a man
in a single shaft of light
cradling a guitar
and a broken voice.

the duet of disparate time-lines
—what was, what could have been—
on the road behind the concert house
three hours later:
two dark, star-lined highways
that crossed in momentary harmony,
thrumming through each other
before departing softly into the night.

momento mori

My friend Andy died last year. Maybe the year before—it’s hard to remember the timeline, now. I got a message—I believe over facebook, or MySpace—that he had gotten in some sort of car accident, was in a coma. He died soon after.

We were friends on facebook. I’d known him through the summer acting internship I did right after I graduated college. Andy was a technical apprentice; he helped in the shop and I think he was the assistant stage manager for one of the shows. One of the mantras of that summer was WTFA – where the fuck is Andy?! –because he kept disappearing whenever we needed him. He was a nerd, but an endearing one; he kept his hair long, bleached, and in a ponytail; I seem to remember that he’d started to keep it that way so he could dress up as one of Tolkien’s elves. Had he been able to function without his glasses, he might well have passed for one.

It’s been several months, now, since he passed away. His facebook is still up and running. You would hardly know from looking at it that he had died; it still shows recent activity, because his friends and his family keep posting things, writing on the wall as if he could respond from the afterlife. I know, because I’ve heard of it happening to other people’s friends, that when someone dies the family can contact the social networking sites and gain access to the accounts. Usually they leave up a message about the death, or delete the accounts entirely. No one seems to have done that for Andy’s, so there’s an illusion that he somehow still exists. The comments he left on my wall, on my photos from that summer, are still there. When I read them, I can hear his voice in my head, and he sounds just as alive as anyone ever does through a computer screen.

His profile popped up in my sidebar the other day, with a suggestion from facebook that I should send him a message. How unintentionally sobering that computer-generated selection was. I clicked on to his profile, and as it loaded, was surprised to see that people had recently wished him a happy birthday, a few dropping an “I miss you, buddy” after their salutation. He might have been away on a trip, a foreign exchange where internet access was limited. I scrolled down farther and saw that his mother had been loading albums of old pictures of him, tagging him in each: The Hobbit, 2006. Andy’s Pre-school Graduation - 1988. South Pacific 10/03. Tagging him and his dead profile over and over and over again, like a visual record of her grief: “Today I thought about you 27 times, over 27 separate pictures.”

I left my own post, telling him about facebook saying I should send a message, wishing, like so many others, that the electric impulses and binary code that somehow translate into words on a screen could transcend the boundaries between our existence and whatever plane he functions on now. I’ve always believed that there was something after we die, but somehow, the futility of writing those words on a wall he will never see makes me sense a void beyond our lives that few people, I think, ever really face. It’s easier to believe we live on. It gives us something to hope for.

And, in the meantime, facebook lives on for us: an electronic, interactive memorial. Our social networking sites are so new that protocol for the dead hasn’t really been firmly established; and who knows how long facebook might exist after our generation dies off? I tell my students, sometimes, that the Internet never dies. It’s true, in a sense; once you put information out into the web, you have no control of how many copies or archives of it are made. A single picture you post on a single page could be duplicated thousands of times, on server hard drives, on personal computers, in search engines, in internet archives. Even if you delete the original picture, those unknown copies still live on. And there’s no way of telling how long our data will last. Alien archeologists could be digging it out of the earth twenty thousand years from now, resurrecting the profiles we assumed would die with us.

What an odd way to achieve immortality. We spend (at least I spend) countless minutes browsing, commenting, “like”-ing, blogging, status updating. I tend to think of it as inconsequential nonsense, an amusing pastime, a way of connecting with people I don’t get to see on a daily basis. And yet it is, perhaps, a more accurate record of my life than anything else I have ever done. If I died this evening, you could use facebook to trace a superficial progress of the last 6 years of my life.

I don’t know if I am appalled by the fact that Andy’s profile is still active, a macabre pseudo-representation of who he was, or if I am grateful to have the record of the impact he had on me, grateful for a place to tell him, where other people can see, that I still miss him.

At any rate, I know the answer to that question we asked so many times that summer. I know exactly where the fuck Andy is right now: he’s there, almost breathing, suspended in the ephemeral existence that facebook still grants him.


magically delicious

I've been lining things up in rainbow order and taking pictures of them lately.
Flavored vodkas from Absolut. From left: Vanila, Berri Açai, Pears, Citron, Mandarin, Peach, Ruby Red, Raspberri.

Not even my entire stock of nailpolish--just the ones I'd consider wearing in the fall. Not like I have a lot, or anything.



feathered star, falling
faster than a thumbnail moon
set in ombré sky


scattered all around the floor


Writing is recursive.

The good thing about having a blog, I suppose, is that you can start over whenever you wish. I've decided to delete my old posts--too haphazard, too intimate--and revise.

I was going through wordpress's advice for starting a blog (I was debating host sites), and one of the main things they promoted was having a focus.

Fuck that. I'm not focused. I'll write what I please. My blog title encompasses everything I could possibly post on, and is fun to say besides.

Hope you're along for the ride.