Monday, August 9, 2010

I was feeling sensations in no dictionary

A couple of days away from the computer can enlighten a person.  When I look inside, I wish I'd forgotten my flashlight.  I want to tell you about the dark moods, the depression that had me pinned to a chair or the bed.
A book was involved.  Not one I wrote, but one written by Patti Smith.  It wasn't the book's fault.  It was merely an instrument.  A tool.

I started to read Fight Club right after finishing - I mean the same day, the same hour - Major Pettigrew's Last Stand.  (Read my review here, she screamed).  That might not have been such a hot idea.  It caused literary whiplash.  From the English countryside with a dash of curry to Marla Singer and the Brain Parasite Support Group.  It made me want to smoke a pack of cigarettes and kill myself.

I opted for something less smelly and permanent.

I tossed Fight Club aside and picked up Just Kids which had, earlier in the week, passed all those Is This Book Worth of My Time tests and so I took it home from the library and placed it on top of my stack.  Which is more like a tower, but so what?

I'm still reading it.  I am a slow reader, apparently.  MathMan accused me of being devastated by drink.  "One beer," I sighed and accused him of prudery and prohibition-like qualities.  It's not my fault that he's not allowed to drink while taking his Zocor or whatever it is.

I fixed him. I watched a bunch of dvds without him. They were our bedtime dvds borrowed from the library.   British mysteries. After I did that, I told him the ending of an episode of one of the Touch of Frosts.  He said it was okay to tell him.  He could see that I was anxious to spill the beans and emotionally fragile so he gave me that small gift of concession.  I bet he'll hit me with it later - my inability to keep something to myself.  That's the way things go here.

When she is bad, she is really unpleasant.  Somewhat hateful.  Thirty percent bitch.  Easily. I spread the hate around passively and aggressively.

I mocked my friends of Facebook.  Ranted and raved and wished they'd shut the hell up with their posts about what they'd had to eat, what foods they'd prepared, how hot or rainy or whatever the weather was doing.  And those fucking to do lists people post. Really?  The world needs to know that you're doing laundry?  Listen, tell us when you haven't done laundry for six whole months.  That would be interesting.  In fact, I want pictures of that.  Get to it.  Filth it up and free yourselves.  Make being unkempt your gift to the world.

Create dust a la Pigpen.  Please.

This abuse of social media is a scurge. I know.  I'm the person who posts a Smiths song every day.  Or did.
"I'm going to put up a status that says something like "I am judging you and not so silently," I harrumphed at MathMan as we made our way back from the grocery store.  I was checking Facebook from my phone since the desktop computer decided to be all prissy and difficult and we'd run out of things to talk about on our drive. Plus, I could tell his mind had wandered back to its comfort zone of school and mathy stuff.  I can't compete with that.

"Or maybe I'll write something like 'Spare me the details.' and mean it."

Our modern woes are ridiculous.  I would have turned into a quivering mass of jelly right before I keeled over and died if I'd had to live in Victorian England.  I wouldn't have lasted twenty minutes as a homesteader.
My bee phobia keeps me from carrying out the compost, for goodness sake.

Weak as water.  Okay, maybe not the poison water around here.  The stuff loaded with mercury and lead and arsenic.  You could walk across that stuff without being someone's savior.  But weak.  Like me standing in the line at Dairy Queen..  A small blizzard is a triumph over evil.  I'll harbor anger while I eat my small treat while wishing for a large.  With lots of M&Ms and chocolate sauce.  Want to see me get pissy?  Let the DQ skimp on the chocolate sauce swirled into my blizzard and I'll turn thirty shades of purple, but will I ask for more?  Of course not.  They might spit in it.

Things I hope to never see on Facebook again:

1.  Hubby.  Does he not have a name?And oh my word, the noise we'd all make if men started referring to their wives not by their names but by the term wifey.
2.  Woot.
3.  Bilgewater.  Okay, I made that up.  Someone please use it.
4.  Hot.  Cold.  Windy.  Humid.  I know you mean well.  You're just making conversation.  It's an ice breaker.  But please.  Times are tough.  Let's not put our meteorologists out of work, too.  The last thing we need are those folks competing with the rest of us for jobs at McDonalds.
5.  Whoo Hooo!  See #2.  I'd rather see you saying something new like Ta Da!
6.  Referring to your family with the same label every damn time.  I get it.  Your son or daughter isn't a kid anymore, isn't quite a teen. 

You guys stop and I promise you - no more Smiths songs (except for those I put right on La Belette Rouge's and Kirie's walls) and no more cat photos.  I'll even stop posting pix of my favorite beverage of the day.

That book. That bloody book.  The good thing is I don't flinch anymore when Brooklyn is mentioned.  Small victories of memory.  Robert Mapplethorpe, with whom Patti Smith had an affair in the late sixties, was so beautiful. Their affair morphed into a lifelong friendship.  Back when his art was causing a stir, I didn't pay much attention to the artist.  The fisting, the crucifix submerged in piss.   (Thanks for clearing that up, Nan!  I got my avant gardes mixed up.  I do like your take on it, though.)  That was salaciously interesting enough without letting my eyes slide over to any photos of the artist himself.  But there was so much more to that guy who, like so many of his contemporaries, died young.

"Pioneers without a future."  That's a quote of a quote. From the book.  It may have been Allen Ginsberg who said that.  MathMan tells me that the Beat Generation stuff was not his favorite time period for art.  It mystifies me that he even thinks about poetry or words.  That would be like me saying I stop thinking about writing and reading long enough to consider the curve of a slope of sign or co-sign and Pi or all that other stuff he tries to talk to me about and my eyes glaze over and he pushes his finger into the fleshiest part of my arm and says "Hey, are you in there?"

Actually, no, I'm not. 

I don't know enough to declare about poetry, much less Beat poetry, but I would like to see the movie Howl which is about Allen Ginsberg and stars that delectable James Franco.

Someone just recently introduced me to Peter Orlovsky.  Who is mentioned in passing in the book.

The truth is - I don't know that I "get" poetry. I like what I like.  A lot of the meaning is lost on me and my shallow self.  I read poetry with reference books by my side.  If I bother at all.

Anyway - back to my new friends Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe.  It's hard to believe that he was resistant to photography at first.  He preferred mixed media and collages made from found objects.  But then, there you are.  I still remember when MathMan suggested I use his Tandy 1000 to write a paper for some French class and I delivered those now infamous words "No, thanks.  I'll stick to the typewriter."

Their lives were full of art and The Scene of the Hotel Chelsea and all those artsy types in poetry, music, art, homosexual hustling, the book business, movies.  Andy Warhol, blah, blah, Silver Factory, blah.  I haven't gotten to the part where Patti breaks into the music scene.  It's coming. That's the thing about reading nonfiction about the lives of celebrities.  I know what's happened, in very general terms, up to this point.  The rest of the story is a mystery, of course.  Everyone's future is a mystery. Thank goodness.

And I'm interrupting that interesting retelling of an art-filled life to read a text telling me that someone has moved on from laundry to dusting their downspouts?  And it's not even a clever euphemism.  They really are telling the world about their Saturday chores.

Help. Me. Rhonda.

Here's how I know it may have been a visit from the Black Dog - I couldn't even pull myself out of the stupor? torpor? enough to shut off the sms messages that were annoying me.  Lazy or depressed or just meh meh meh.  Does it matter?  A mood. Cranky.  Not devastated by drink.  Not manic.  Not quite depressive.  People overload perhaps.  Being drunk would have been infinitely more fun.  For a while.

"I'm going to stay in our bedroom and not inflict myself on you guys.  I'd appreciate the same small courtesy."
Compliance is nice.  Safe.  Scream free.

All this meh-ness.  It's a build up to something.

A lovely stay in a padded room?  The cognitive dissonance of Snoop Dogg featured in a Katy Perry song?

The fact that I'm not really that fascinated by the whole seventies art scene, but Patti Smith's recounting of her life with Mapplethorpe is well-written, straightforward the way I like them, and a great reminder that one can go from feeling lucky to be able to afford a grilled cheese sandwich to being a household name in the cooler of households.

Imagine if Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe had Facebook pages circa 1969.

Patti Smith is leaving her favorite spot in the Hotel Chelsea lobby and going down to the El Quixote for a tequila shot with @Jim Carroll.  May watch him shoot smack later.  Maybe not.  Have some laundry to do.
Patti Smith hanging out in our small room, waiting for @Robert Mapplethorp to get dressed so we can go to Max's for another night at the Roundtable.  He's worse than a girl or some of our favorite drag queens.
Patti Smith at the laundromat washing @Robert Mapplethorp's black mesh t-shirt and wondering what he's making us on the hot plate.  Hope it's not beans and weenies again.
Robert Mapplethorpe finished washing the walls of our new studio, wonder if I can find any good mags at the bookstall down on 42nd.
Robert Mapplethorpe tired and bored.  Wish @Andy Warhol would notice me already.
Robert Mapplethorpe found a crucifix in the trash as I walked home from hustling down at Times Square.  Wonder what I could do with this?  But first I have to pee.

I love posts where people wonder what famous dead people might have done with the tools of our time.  Have you read those?  You know, for example:  Dorothy Parker would have used Twitter, not facebook.  Those kinds of posts.  However, now I can't find one to save my Google.  Plus my stomach is growling so my attention span for searching wanes.

But you get the idea.

Two kids, one adult down.  One to go.  A couple of more weeks of Chloe.  Now if I can figure out what to do with that cats, life will be perfect.  The house will be all mine again.  From 7:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. all mine.

I just posted a photo of Sophie on her first day of middle school and now friends are leaving nice comments.  How dare they?  Don't they know I'm fed up with all this?

This heat is making my brain melt.  There, I said. it.  Now I have to go fold clothes and make some startlingly fabulous baked good so I can post about it on Facebook, me thinks.  I'm sick of posting pix of my kids and cats. Or maybe I'll just write about the day of the week.  How will people know it's Monday if I don't add my voice to that cacophony trumpeting the day of the fucking week? 

I'm thinking of a live webcam of me ironing.....

Your assignment, you may choose, but you can't choose not to choose:  (1)  Imagine you're a famous person - dead or otherwise (alive, I guess).  What would you post on Facebook or Twitter?  OR (2) What do  you mock on FB or Twitter?  And if you say Smiths songs, I'll hunt you down to administer a titty twister.  Your titties, not mine.


  1. I had a book of poetry by Patti Smith when I was 15. My boyfriend (now husband) knew I liked her and got me all her records. I ran around and didn't shave my armpits because she didn't. She liked some depressed French poet whose name escapes me now so I got a book about him from the library. In 2008 I got a DVD featuring Patti Smith and it had Ginsberg (who I like a lot!!!) and she talked about Mapplethorp and the pictures he took of her. She talked about her life and why she wore "the uniform" she wore, her kids, her music--all of it. It was great! I really need to read that book you got from the library.

    You already know I don't like FB and I twitter some, usually posting songs and a news article or blog post I find informative or interesting.

    I'm glad people are getting tired of FB and seeing how "small" it is. I've always liked blogging because there is so much you can do with it. I can be anonymous enough so that my employer doesn't snoop on me but I don't think you can say that about FB.

  2. Lib - you definitely need to read this book! And how romantic is your husband? That's such a cool gift!

  3. Tweets by someone famous( guess who?):

    I would go out to night but I haven't got a stitch to wear.

    My girlfriend is in a coma. I know-I know, it's serious.

    Must get this thorn out of my side. Any ideas on how to do so would be much appreciated.

    RT @OscarWild Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone elses opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.

  4. That's the spirit, LBR! Perfect! And I know who you are.

  5. Mock FB and Twitter? Nah, I killed 'em both, drove a stake through their greasy festering shriveled hearts. Stomped on their dust and deleted their worthlessness. I iz Free!

  6. Totally agree about the list. Someone not doing laundry for six months would make for excellent FB fodder. While I love a good list, by god I'm well aware o the fact that THE ENTIRE WORLD does not need to know that I really need to get to the drycleaner. Really? What is wrong with people?

  7. That all seems pretty dark. Perhaps we should get you something different to read? Bunny Suicides, perhaps?

  8. @WallaceStevens Another day at the office. Holly tree needs trimming.

    @WallaceStevens Thinking about order.

    @WallaceStevens Key West PARTY!!

    @WallaceStevens What do you prefer, @RobertFrost, a knuckle sandwich or a drink?

    @WallaceStevens back at the office. Thinking about presence.

  9. Will - always ahead of the curve. I am not surprised!

    Memoirista - I spend a lot of time on that question of what is wrong with people. I think that's why I blog. And ditto on the trips to the cleaners. Now, tell us you're going to rob the cleaners - there's a story.

    Adam - Stop trying to cheer me up! And BTW, did you know Mapplethorp used rabbits feet in his early work? (Thanks!)

    Hannah - Exactly! Well done! And do these other commenters know that Hannah is a poet in her own right? Why yes, she is.

  10. Okay - and here I am blogging all my terrible youth-angst-happy-fun poetry this month.

  11. As I know better than to FB or tweet I will not even attempt. I will say I know how reading about peopl in the dark places can take you there with them.

  12. Love Wallace Steven's tweets. I must friend him.;-)

  13. Thought it was Serrano who did Piss Christ. Or was he just recycling something Mapplethorp did first? Or was this a trend those of us outside the art scene missed, a whole herd of artists peeing into plastic boxes to submerge religious artifacts?

    FB reminds me of the passing conversations people used to have when they bumped into each other on the street -- a quick update on nothing important, a banal observation about the weather, and not much else. Kind of an "I'm still breathing; how about you?"

  14. @JamesJoyce here comes everybody.

  15. Mommy Lisa - Your poems are youthful and creative. Now, start posting your grocery list and I'll come a'mocking.

    Nan - I fixed the post sort of. And you're right about FB being a place where we bump into each other and quickly pass the time of day. Most days, I'm fine with idle chit chat. Yesterday was clearly not one of those days.

    Oh yeah, and here's one more (okay, yesterday must have bled into today) - Sleeps and Wake Ups. What? We've all reverted to being four years old? You can say "We have three more days before our fabulous vacation that we plan to show all of you the ENTIRE time we're on it." Seriously - "Two more sleeps and a wake up?" I didn't even talk down to my kids like that when they were toddlers.

  16. Susan - Sorry I missed you there. Or blocked it out because I immediately thought Oh no! She means it brings her down to come here!

  17. Susan Tiner - Good one! Thank you.

  18. That was rather not a bit of bilgewater.
    Would you be ironing naked on your ironing feed? What would you be ironing? Details. We need details.

  19. JoeinVegas - That all depends. If I can find my lead apron, I'll be naked behind there. Don't want to burn my whoozits. Or my whatzits.

  20. "You're maudlin and full of self-pity. You're magnificent!"

  21. What else can I say but that you're a genius. This is entertaining, educational and very, very funny. All of it was wonderful but you saved the best for last and that was your version of Patti Smith on facebook. Perfect :-)

  22. You are too funny! :) I think "people overload" is definitely what you're going through--it happens to me, too.

    And now I feel like you're talking directly to me when I call Iwanski my hubby and say "whoo hoo" and talk about this freakin' Chicago weather. *grin* But oh well...maybe you just need to spend more time away from the internet and then you will be more tolerant of stupid-ass Facebook posts. Maybe. *smiles*

    (And well, you do have to admit that Iwanski tends to have some very original FB posts. He is the male Lisa Golden, after all. *grin*)

  23. Sorry you were having a blue day, Lisa, but look at all the inspiration you got out of it! That's how the "building" works, I suspect. I personally think people would pay good money for a book that mocked the social media trends effectively. (Just in case you were wondering.)

    I think sometimes we should put F. and Mathman in the same room (and we'll go off together and do something fun, involving drinks that we will *not* post pics of on Fessebook.) F. tried to tell me a joke about piRsquared two nights ago. I was still lost at the end. And he apologized, thinking the problem was that it was because it was badly translated from the Romanian. No, hon, the English part was fine. ;)

    I like saying F. -- but I'm also kinda proud/happy to have a hubby again after so many years, so I say hubby on the Twitter. But yes, I can see that would be annoying. Must rethink that one...

    Dorothy Parker would totally have used Twitter and not FB, yes. And her twitpics would be shots of her in suggestive poses in fab spots in NYC. ;) But she would never be reduced to "tx" or "holla" or "u", never ever.

  24. Oh, the assignment, by @GStein:

    Back at 27 Rue de Fleurs after having my head practically shaved. Really digging this new look.

    New tweep friend @Matisse sick with a fever or sth. His mom gave him some crayons. Like that is going 2 help!

    @EHemingway left present on the carpet again tonight, ruined mood of another salon...tx a lot!

    @Alissss Dear @Levy says she has no plans for the summer. What gives???

    A kind in glass & a cousin, a spectacle nothing strange a single hurt color & an arrangement in a system to pointing. #Justsayin

  25. I'm gonna go all beat poet on you....

    tired of the shackles of the man
    when I escape that prison
    i will be free to use as many words as I want
    i break loose from the media
    designed to keep me constantly updated and connected enough to hang myself
    free at last

    Now I just need some bongo drums, dark glasses & a beret

    Oh I could go on... but you get the gist.

  26. I like the new look here.

    As for Facebook and my ire-inspiring little ditties...

    Too bad.


  27. Y'all are just too young!!!

    Robert Mapplethorpe
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Jump to: navigation, search
    Robert Mapplethorpe
    Born November 4, 1946(1946-11-04)
    Floral Park, New York
    Died March 9, 1989 (aged 42)
    Boston, Massachusetts
    Nationality American
    Field Photography
    Training Pratt Institute

    Robert Mapplethorpe (November 4, 1946 – March 9, 1989) was an American photographer, known for his large-scale, highly stylized black and white portraits, photos of flowers and naked men. The frank, homosexual eroticism of some of the work of his middle period triggered a more general controversy about the public funding of artworks.

    - Needs an "e" at the end of his last name!

  28. Fir my famous person, I pick me (at least in my own mind). On FB I would post nothing and on Twitter, my blog posts and an occasional greeting.

    Woooo Hoooo Mathman's wifey!! ;-)

    Get well soon. :-)

  29. Magdalene - Yeah, but that doesn't matter to some people. ;-D

    susan - Thank you. I really appreciate the compliment.

    Miss HP - I don't notice you making those FB faux pas! And yes, Iwanski's statuses are hilarious. And unique.

    Meredith - we have much in common. And thank you. A book poking fun at social media would be fun to do! And your Gertrude Stein is pitch perfect.

    Fran - Oh, I get the gist. Very funny!

    bman - You never inspire my ire. Much.

    Que - Now that's what I call interesting!

    Geo - Thanks for providing that info. Fixed the misspellings.

    TomCat - You aren't famous?

  30. I, too, didn't shave my pits for YEARS; and I'll lay it squarely at Patti Smith's feet.

    :-) Actually, I just didn't feel like it.

    And as for terms like "Hubby", you and I are in wild agreement...


  31. I missed this whole thread!!! I must pay attention. Busy lately but I'm trying to blog again. You're still a gem.


And then you say....

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