(Well, it began quite early – when she established that the mere suggestion of her going to school sent the girl into a weeping screaming panic, which certainly did not help the boy’s eye feel much better.
At about 10 am – after waiting a full-half hour in the icky drive thru for biscuits and battling traffic to get to a drug store that was closed and then back the other way for a frigid grocery store and a mad dash to the bathroom in the dimmest corner of the store…well, we established that we should stop by the house to get GIRL’s stuff and let BOY be out of the glare for a few minutes…)
…at which point our entire existence became focused solely on Girl and her extremely loud screeching and weeping refusals. Boy felt awful, Girl was freaked out and sobbing.
I understand that this is not an excuse and that all over the world mothers effectively manage their children’s overly emotional reactions to everyday events.
I acknowledge that some may feel that I am encouraging additional non-compliance to expectations (i.e. becoming very distressed at ‘minor’ things and responding to my attempts to discipline her with what could be described as a total fall-apart…) I definitely get that not adhering to expectations is not sound policy…
However, what would you suggest as an alternative to being literally pushed and pulled around by a strong six year old girl who is screaming at the mere sight of her bookbag, as her brother – swollen-eyed and benadryl bleary – begins to wail that he will not ride in the car with his sister…
No big deal. I certainly honor the difficult days of people everywhere. I certainly will not, on the other hand, honor the assumption that I simply acquiesced due to some lackadaisical parenting approach. Not the case.
Because this letter could be construed as rude and because both BOY and GIRL need to improve their table manners, I would like to offer a several week long/1 lunch per week Special Visit From Miss Manners, whose outfits are great, but whose manners are actually gently atrocious and need to be corrected with the help of the children.
That way, the whole class has fun, learns some manners and I feel like slightly less of a screw-up Mom.
I appreciate your understanding regarding missed phone calls as well as the, um… missing reading log, which I was looking for in a panic when I couldn’t get to the phones in time.
My apologies, as well – for this rudely long letter. I understand how busy you are.
I just wanted to give you some additional information and also offer – to you both – the opportunity to SCHEDULE ME for lunchtime manners.
Again, my apologies for appearing disrespectful to the concerns of the school – I am not. I looked for that reading log as if it were the Holy Grail. I will continue to look. I have had an exceedingly difficult time with papers and files lately. I am sorry.
Both kids got “good” PE shoes – hopefully, they will wear them.
(you’re in there, at least you were present, in our building)
RECORDSas you know, or may remember, at 2 am on sept 13 1998, i walked to 21st Century Tattoo, still on 6th and Morrison, where the building had burned and you saw a naked fat woman.
I showed the cover of my tattered copy of the little prince paperback. Silently, the woman at the counter wrote $120 on a slip of paper and passed it to me across the glass.
I left, disappointed and feeling naive, I hadn’t enough money. I then walked to Sea Tramp tattoo, both of these parlours open after midnight, making my forever ink legit. When I walked in,the first thing I thought of was Orson Wells. The two biker dudes were listening to “The War of the Worlds”. Rio quoted me eighty, but as we tatted and chatted and he made lude and hilarious inappropriate comments. I played my witty mature cards for an eighteen year old ham in return and he would laugh and yell to the long bearded guy in back “price drop!”. By the end, it was $40 bucks and I tipped him $20. Oh and I went back for more. I love shitty tattoos. Remember?
So, one arm holds the cover of a storybook about a lonely genius, who takes really good care (“is responsible for”) his planet, his garden, his chores, he does everything well, correctly, on time. He is really good at it. But the loneliness combined with curiosity becomes overwhelming and so he takes a bold and scary trip, where he meets all types, learns all sorts of subjective information, all the while hoping to find friends. Real friends. He becomes sad when he realizes that there is a lot of shallowness and crappy attitudes. He learns that having friends is NOT top priority for accountants, politicians, drunkards, those who refuse to hear any criticism, those ones so loyal to their work that they burn out, frauds. He becomes a little more bummed out. A caravan walks by, some dudes who hadn’t come across many other people Their logic tells him “Oh, yeah, little dude. There are only a few people on earth”. He climbs a mountain, the tallest he can find, and when he calls out “WASSUP?” he mistakes the echo return for the few humans. “He thinks the world is unnecessarily sharp and hard, and he finds it odd that the people of Earth only repeat what he says to them.”
(Current: I have no idea why those words ARE SO HUGE…) (Sky Sez: God Plays With Computers?)
He spots a rose garden, something astonishing that he’d never encountered. Instead of cheering him up, he tears up. His previous companion, the rose on B-612, so grumpy but magical to him, so high maintenance acting the blow hard she claimed to be the only one of her kind in the in the whole universe. And he thinks, ‘I just saw five dozen of them!’
Then comes the best part. He hangs out on a knoll and TAMES a FOX! The foxes instructions on “how to tame him” are fantastic and always turn me into a total feelings factory when it I read aloud.
Any way, he learns some bullshit about honesty and Bob Fosse is the snake.
The snake is the weirdest part. When the prince first lands on our planet, the snake offers to “bite him” which, I guess, is this weird euphemism for killing him softly..it would “send him back to his planet”, (correction: asteroid) and which he of course declines. Then at the end, the pilot is really sad to find that he has let the snake do it to him and everything is chill.
People love this book. It is one of the most translated and copied. I started collecting it. I even have a record. I have three english, two french, one is paperback and the other an “educational edition” and one each german dutch portuguese spanish latin polish danish greek lithuanian japanese and taiwanese and the vinyl record. I already said that. One I bought for thirty cents in brazil, one in costa rica, my ex-husband brought back the polish copy, two of my friend’s clients brought back the asian ones, another roomie brought one from the netherlands and finally, I ordered the lithuanian copy for four dollars. The rest I probably got at Powell’s.
Something so satisfying about collecting these things. Sometimes I save everything in a wicker trunk so that I will be sure to remember. Collecting all the documentable goods for a personal collection of memories, good and bad. You, of all people, know what I mean.
In the end, it’s basically just free advertising for one of the greatest selling books of all time. It’s like getting a Holden Caulfield tattoo. Hey, who cares? It just shows commitment or something. Documentation.
So, the other arm, (bicep?) (flap?) has a sketched out penguin family. No they aren’t, like, paranoid. I got it right before I turned twenty five, before I met frances’ father. About a week before I asked a graffito hobo friend to draw a little line drawing of the mom and dad penguins and a little baby tucked into the space between one of their legs. I guess I was ready for a real father. A god? Maybe my own father? To find the father of my baby? Honestly, I didn’t give it much thought at the time. I met (father guy) after that. A week. We’ve been together since that tattoo and we have a little baby that fits nicely and stays snug and warm. So, that was an omen if there ever was one.
Then there’s you. I have your name on my right arm, text facing out, and a little behind the ear star that I have almost completely forgotten.
Why am I going on? The point is, on my birthday two years ago, in the Playboy birthday card, there was a sketch of a twenties decade woman poised to dive, standing focused, looking down into water that only she can see. I said to my friend, the artist, “I’m getting this tattoo. It’s time.” In the card she had written, “dive right in…” There is a nautical theme, too, what with the circle hooks on my leg from fishing.. And right, oh, yeah, L. is a diver? Time to decide where and what I’m going to dive into. Either way, I’ll make sure to do it with a refined class, and sensible beauty. Well, that time has come and gone and every day that passes stresses me out like i’m diving into self-pity instead of something rad. I only have eighty dollars and I need to fill my prescriptions, they have put me on risperdone too. And naturally a bunch of other stuff that makes me crazy. Georgia Faith, WHERE? Where do I go to get it? Where do I put it on me once I’m there? The diver, and the words.
Then and only then, do I promise to dive, alert and competent, into whatever the fuck I want.
I would like to be closer to you. That would change things a lot! You claim to want friends but you want to be alone. What is it?
The image of SOMETHING that shines through his whole body, like a lamp, even when he is asleep.
I just drew what I was thinking about and let the picture change to show whatever story my hand felt like drawing, in all the different ways it could be drawn. I should start filming how a single line blooms into a scene such as this and all the blooms that bloomed between.
I get along quite well with most everyone and I would get to cause fools minor discomfort for which they’d pay me and I’d be polite and charming, specializing in cover-ups. I am an expert on the subject of turning something ugly into something beautiful.
I gave myself my first tattoo when I was fifteen. I thought it was the Chinese character for peace. It was similar to the structure-cloud that duplicated in Asheville and Charleston. Lines can only lay so many different ways before they collapse into sameness.
Yeah, I might see about that, go talk to the people who have been nice to me…list of ways to make money…(other than charity driven anti-pop stardom written from the comfort of my own home…)
- Tattoo Artist
- Grower of Culinary Mushrooms
- Grocery Store Clerk (I like the cadence of the beeping, the steady procession of bright, clean food across the scanner. Like armies gaining purchase. (Ha! Get it? Purchase?)
- Group Home Staff, Overnight or PRN
- Substitute Teacher
Actually, I need to start kind of getting this whole art situation under control. It’s like I make A LOT of work…words and lines and thread…and then the thought of trying to organize towards the goal of accessibility and saleability…it’s like, ugh…I can’t do that…All those applications and queries and…
I am making a life-size baby-form out of kudzu, hand-chained and woven. It is a great media, flexible – but, with rigidity that gives it easy form. I am going to use thread as well. Perhaps put the whole damn thing in a pickle jar. See what’s left in a few years…a pile of dust and thread.
Really. Last year, I found a four-inch late-in-the-season mantis, cat wounded on the doormat. I put it in a tall, square bottle and jammed the cork in tight. Because I do that sort of thing. I have several frozen young shrews in my freezer. The perfection of the pads of their feet and the ridges of tiny bones joined by tiny ligaments. I will get around to drawing them. For now, they freeze.
Now, there is nothing in that bottle but the finest grey-white dust. Like ashes. Where did it all go? How did it get out?
Ah, yes – I remember now. I wanted the mantis’ wings. I was going to let the whole thing dry and take the wings, wash the bottle. There are no wings to take. Just that tiny pile of linkages left behind when the water rose.
Matter is more wise than we imagine. I wonder if it’s all water. Poor water.
I did start actually making Book One (randomly focused on November and December) which was when I was sort of hung in between then and now…I like going through the old words and realizing that – though the synapses ideas travel on are bustling and the eyes are sharp like needles these days and the expression has gotten a bit braver…well, same old surrealist Faith.
Just now, I am willing to admit, that – even as kid – I could never just see things for what they are. It’s a relief to realize that I can be sane in the making sense of everything that drove me to the stupid place they call crazy…which, in the end, doesn’t even exist…it’s just a big, blinking sign over the hill of a relatively ordinary town…CRAZY…if you squint, the lights from the sign look less like sirens and more like lights reflected on snow.
(oh yeah, I am writing a letter?)
You should get it the diving tattoo in the soft watery place beneath your sternum…not your chest, not your stomach – just a place in between. Pleura. I have the head of a bird there* – with a ribbon in it’s beak…to bind my rogue heart. Nothing is written on the ribbon.
*the rest of the bird is taking up other spaces…a dis-embodied birdhead would be a weird tattoo…I guess? Remind me to tell you the story of the dove named Chance. The brutality of intended mercy.
FYI – no clouds today. Not a one. Sky: totally blue. I did catch one little bastard in the NW treeline…but, I sent it packing. So, first full blue day I’ve seen in a long time.
Thank god or whatever…I am the worst saint ever.
You: the best little asteroid. No wonder you love me. I know I have read portions of the book on your arm…but, it was just so damn lonesome at parts (the book, not your arm…dang, that sentence is perfect to draw or sing or forget…)
Psst, HRH – I got a secret for you. We can call ourselves anything we want. Hey! Do you remember when we talked about you and your white kitten and the Tate Museum, Girl With Kitten. You, with your little cat…in a room. Pure concept of self as art in the honesty of a ball of yarn caught in tiny claws and the girl’s crystalline to whooping laughter.
Did we actually call them? I think you may have. I don’t think it occurs to most people to think of themselves in conceptual terms. It’s what fucks us up. We think we’re art. What losers.
…I’ve never told you this, but the Little Prince’s sharp little robe edges really freak me out. The illustrative style is super and great and sincere…but it pokes my eyes.
I like the edges to be soft. I think that’s why you seemed safe – your hair was messy and you looked fuzzy.
I do want friends. I want friends – but I want friends that won’t make me talk about dumb shit like television and who won’t ever think I am weird…I want friends who feel like home. I want friends that are actually fun.
But, my first thought in regard to friends – I don’t ever want to be left again. Ever. The last erasure…I can’t finish the sentence…can’t even think about it…points of aching still in throat and shoulder. Damn. I really can’t. okay…
I will write you a song. Please be in my band of ghosts. I’ll post up the ‘song for the girl with the palindromic name’ in some way tomorrow…hopefully.
Thanks for coming back to say hi…if you ever go to a museum, roll up your right sleeve so my name shows. Be careful with the psych machine. They don’t know how to handle works of art as they ought to be handled.
Just occurred to me that last night when I was thinking so hard about the bowling alley and the snack area…maybe I was thinking about you, and not another possible place I never met him. Hey – do remember something about a boy and a payphone. Maybe I called you? Do you remember how phones used to ring?
Yes – DIVE IN…at all costs…except we’re not allowed in the oceans anymore. Damn.
Psst…I am a little scared that the world might end and nobody cares…that makes me sad, just out of principle. Wolf criers. Lonely losers. People who needed a card that will trump all their failures…maybe these folks do see god…and they tell people…and nobody even cares. It is not the sight of clouds shaped like birds and fish that pushes me a little close to the unwinding point…it’s the dull thunking realization that I have seen something beautiful…and that nobody else saw it. That’s the real reason I took so many pictures…because one day people might realize they missed something…and because watching the sky unfold into angels and snakes and bright blue light over and over again…for months…to watch it all alone, even when I was with people…and to really feel a little numb after awhile. Who gives a shit about god? God is a good mother gone forgotten and scorned and insulted by the mess we’ve made of our lives…
NO response from NAACP, Beck, or even Sister Prejean…
Fortunately, it all supports my vague thesis statement (which is buried somewhere in November and December…) quite nicely and people’s easy way with disregard definitely gave me the freedom to forge myself…forge in the sense of iron, not lies…
I think I want to make a bell.
***********************************drown out all this noise******************
If you’re not able to parent or examine new options then serious changes need to be made.
Your email was no at all favorable and I think embarrassing to the two children who ,while at my house, have good table manners and for the most part behave well.
I know you claim you’re not making excuses but its too obvious that you are.
The Pandora Mystery Death Cab For Cutie song for tonight is playing right now.
Someday You’ll Be Loved.
I’ve been loved. With stunning clarity. And every single person who has ever loved me has left me because they loved me in a way they didn’t understand. Which seems cruel in a lot of ways. Whatever. I don’t even like Death Cab For Cutie. Their lyrics are sort of socially oriented in a way that just doesn’t seem that original…the relationships people have with one another seem like sad cliches.
And now Coldplay? On a Palace Brothers station? The Scientist. I have never heard this song before. I am mad at whatever randomized code played this song. It hurt me. I gotta go.