Drugs Are Nice
I just feel so happy lately, and it's weird - I'm happy often, but not like this, not where every day just feels so fresh and exciting. And it's weird because the single thing...I just feel like it will take care of itself. I'm not worried, not freaking out, not embroiled in drama over it. It's taken me a really long time to get over the "dating your writing" stigma, but I'm at a place where I just don't care what anyone else thinks (or at least, I try to tell myself that - the truth is that I care too much, I have the thinnest skin imaginable, but I also realize that I have to make myself happy first and foremost before I can ever possibly attempt to make anyone else happy, so I'm focusing on that righ now). I had to unexpectedly write a new Voice
column for next week and it deals with this period of abstinence, but there are so many other amazing, brilliant things and awesome freinds old and new, babies and family and my apartment that's all mine and writing projects. And words...I remember this interview with Sleater-Kinney a while back in Curve and Corin Tucker said something like (I'm paraphrasing) "I'm in love with music" and sometimes I feel that way about words. And I know that makes me a hopeless dork, a bookworm, a nerd, but you know what? That's who I fucking am. I have never pretended to be otherwise. I love books, I love words, I love discovering new things about other people and myself via their words. I connect with that, I just have always loved to read. And it's not that I don't go out and socialize but words calm me, help me make sense of what I see and hear and do and I guess I gravitate toward people who feel the same.
Today I felt like a pseudo-hipster - I was listening to Containe, that album with "Birds Don't Think They're Flying" and had just cracked open Lisa Crystal Carver's Drugs Are Nice: A Post-Punk Memoir.
As a reader, I love starting new books; in fact, sometimes I worry that I have too short an attention span, and with the constant influx of new books, I'm tempting to start them all and wind up "reading" 10 books at once - obviously not actively, but I'll carry around 1-3 (or more, but usually topping out at 3) and then alternate them when I have smidgens of time to read. But anyway, I started Lisa's book and in just a few pages was drawn in, completely. Lisa's voice is so compelling; she writes about both ordinary and extraordinary facets of her life and just is so upfront and honest and offbeat but without at all striving to be anything but herself. I love that in anyone; I'd rather read someone I wildly disagree with than someone boring. I like books and people who open my mind, who make me excited and want to talk to them (or read them) for hours, who just make today different from yesterday in some visceral way, and for having read those pages, I am changed somehow - awed, excited, wanting to know more. Maybe I'm not just dating my
writing, but having a love affair with words, and there's a huge part of me that rebels against that - I should forget about this nonsense (blogging, writing, reading) and be out there looking, on the prowl, trying to find someone to date. It's not either/or, I know, but still, that's where my mind goes. Last night, which I will post about more, was so amazing, and made me realize I have the most wondrous supportive friends who get me and love me and support me and I also felt that same feeling of something I'm having trouble describing, but bliss, maybe. Happiness. In the photos Heidi took, I'm happy, I'm smiling, I was grinning all over the place, my cheeks are red not from blushing or coughing or embarrassment, but from happiness. I like that. I need to get used to that a little more. I need to stop caring whether my ramblings make sense to anyone else, stop trying to conform - not that I do, but I have in the past. I've thought that if I could just be a little more...not me...then it would make people fall in love with me, and not only doesn't it work, but what's the point of that?
A very long time ago, when I was another person, or, a very different version of me, I was in law school and flailing in that ill-fated environment and discovering all this indie rock and new music and tracking down every Mary Lou Lord clippipng I could. I wanted to get an old copy of Rollerderby and called a number and wound up speaking to Lisa Carver. It was a short conversation, but she was so nice. I think she said something like I didn't sound like a law student. There was another exchange with this writer Min Jin Lee - I'd written her a fan letter, and she wrote me back a note that said "You sound like you have books in your voice." Clearly, I was not meant to be a lawyer. And around that time was when I started listening to bands like Containe (Fountaine Toups of Versus and Connie Lovatt, released on Gail O'Hara's Enchante Records, all of which I was highly enamored of back then, and still am though not as actively). It's just funny to find relics from what feels like a past life, and realize that I'm in exactly the place I want to be right now. I will probably always have an inferiority complex about my lack of a law or journalism graduate degree but I can categorically state that despite the $95K+ I owe, I'm so much happier now than I was during those three years of hell (or at least, the last two), and not just because I get paid to write, or speak, as the case may be. I was going to quote Liz Phair earlier this week ("it's nice to be liked/but it's better by far to get paid"), but it's not the money. It's the freedom; to pick the brains of people I admire, to connect with other writers, to put my ideas out there and see who notices, who shares my passions. That's what makes it worth being ridiculously in debt.
So back to Drugs Are Nice
- here are a few sentences that just blew me away and I'm still in the prologue:
About her father: "He never called anything I wanted to do too dangerous and never corrected my plans. He spread freedom out before me like a giant hole, and I fell in.
And then he was gone."
(to jail)"My classmates are a year older than me. They're all pairing up and deciding to become hairdressers and store managers and mothers. I still want to be a kamikaze or an arctic explorer or The Second Coming."
Lisa's coming to town next week; she's reading on Tuesday, October 25th at KGB Bar
at 7 and then there's a party that I'm gonna try to hit up. In between, I'm speaking/reading again at Tsaurah Litzky's New School erotica class. So since I wrote that, thanks to the magicky magic of email, I am now going to be performing in a skit as
Lisa on Tuesday! All I can tell you is...some of my clothes come off. Not in a dirty way though. She is wild and crazy in the best possible way. So when I went to look up her book on Amazon,
I found a review written today by none other than the super awesome Jill Soloway
who wrote:You know how sometimes a book is a friend? You ignore your family and your work and getting sleep because you've just met a brand new best friend? That's how nice the book Drugs Are Nice is. Are. Line after line after wow after whoa after no way, she lived this and came out of it funnier and smarter and even more able to distill beauty, dripping it in perfect drops across her uterus-wrenching prose? Seriously? Seriously. Lisa Carver makes me want to write, and every time she writes another book, it gets better, which means I have to get better, which means we all do.
Exactly, Jill, exactly. So come to KGB on Tuesday for a not-to-be-missed performance (I don't mean me, I mean Lisa) and read her book in the meantime.
I thought it was on the down low but The Washington Post dishes
the plot of Ana Marie Cox's Dog Days,
, which I just devoured this week. Am hoping to do something "official" on it so won't blog too much other than to say I'm surprised no one's tried to go all Citizen Girl
fake media campaign on Capitolette.
And nothing could be more apropos than Cox's response to WaPo
via BlackBerry. If anyone's the star of that book, it's the BlackBerry.