I M A Writer

grew up to be

full of shit

blood and sinews

that never found bones to hang on

time is of the essence

sure do not possess

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Trying

Being really happy is a full time job in itself that involves do all The Right Things and making lists and always, ever, trying.

It’s exhausting even at the end of the day when all you’ve done is wake up not too late, go to the grocery store, buy gluten-free low-fat vegan organic, fit in that work out, get lost in a whirlpool of emails, links, job posting, ads, unfinished resumes, half-written emails, and paralyzing indecision/doubt. Check Facebook five hundred like some Pavlovian freak and let each feed refresh your generalized anxiety. Mourn mind control. Rip tea bags from their wrappers, remove paper tags, set them swimming in the sun.

Tabs beget tabs beget tabs beget confusion. Fine. Turn to the phone. Submit to catch-up texts, make Words With Friends moves, wonder vaguely why so-and-so hasn’t responded. Tug at your inbox to keep it in line with the one you’ve had open all day. Be half-relieved, half-disappointed, wholly aware of your inanity when the spiraling probe returns zilch.

Close laptop, open laptop, Google some shit. Close. Transfer, open again. Send an email—that’s something, cross one off the list. Try to think. Can’t think. Turn too-ripe avocados into swamp-colored guac. This is your fault, this waste. You’ve felt their skin giving—you shouldn’t have let them sit. Better to open them up too green, than let then darken right down to the core.

Fine. Pour a vodka and seltzer, for summer, for slim waistlines. Because family is blood and the company of their habits is all you have. And a girl’s gotta unwind. Just one, not two, nor three—but one is enough to fill the wells that were your eyes. They’re useless, see, when every glimpse at your own reflection turns you to stone and snake bones.

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gone with the wind

Some days you just miss, indiscriminately, and think of all the people like floating balloons. You squint to catch some speck in a cloud, hope it’s someone you care for, faring well in the ether and make to walk but your soul’s gone to glue and you’re utterly stuck to the ground.

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So this band Widowspeak is pretty Fun

Sometimes you happen to stumble upon something that speaks to you, and that is just my favorite. It feels like the opposite of, say, internet dating. It feels like serendipity. I’m not the most decisive person in the world (I may, in fact, be the least decisive person in the world). “Sourcing” anything likable is a bit of a time suck. So I guess if I gush about something, it’s only that I feel incredibly lucky to be able to say, decisively, I LIKE this.

Music is one of the hardest things to like. I love a lot of it, but when it comes to “discovering new music,” idk.  Fuck that. The space is just so saturated. “New” music doesn’t mean “released yesterday,” necessarily. “New” includes everything in a canon that has expanded exponentially for centuries upon centuries. Just think of contemporary music…I mean, how do you even define it? Music production has been democratized (thanks, technology!) and talent defers to taste, mostly. But sometimes something relevant just sort of falls in your lap, and that, again, is my favorite thing.

I’m a pretty hooked on this band Widowspeak at the moment. I’m not even sure how I actually found it (Spotify maybe had something to do with it. Thanks again, tech). If my  fantasy life had a soundtrack, this would about be it. It’s a tie-in to all the things I’m latching on to lately: the woods, upstate NY (home turf), nature, nostalgia. They’ve got some cool-looking, classic “jangly” guitars and the vocals are plain pretty. To be honest, breathy vocals generally irk me out, but for some reason I’m into it here. I think Molly Hamilton (I just Googled her–we are not acquainted, nor am I music journalist) is someone who can pull off that style without it seeming like much too much of a schtick.

I made it my mission to see Widowspeak at Union Pool today. I’m glad I did. Union Pool is the last place I felt like being by myself on a Saturday (in shorty-shorts, no less). Luckily, it was a daytime event, not too crowded, and mostly attended by quirky gals in vintage-store garb plus lolling couples. There were also a few children. Kids make me happy because they always seem to have the answer to Just Living And Being. It seems odd to openly watch other peoples’ offspring in public as if they were cute zoo animals….I should not.

All of Widowspeak’s songs seem sort of like a tribute to modern Romanticism. I think if you were to define Romanticism today, it would be necessarily steeped in nostalgia. We are still young enough to assimilate romantic ideals woven into our culture. However, these ideals seem more and more like a mirage in  a century-plus that has, in many ways, witnessed the demise of the individual and a staggering loss of of humanity. There is a definite element of mourning. I also think nature is more a part of Romanticism than ever—the mossy lover we cling to all the more, knowing that it’s already fading from us. That’s my generally-pessimistic take on it, anyway.

Almost every track on the band’s three albums strikes a chord. Calico is surely the ‘hit single’ off their latest release, Swamps. This video for In the Pines is basically the recurring fantasy I’ve had since I was a  teen reading books about nature witches and chalice-enable time travel (what? did I just admit that?). I also love the campyness of the ballad, “Minnewaska” off  Almanac. This is in no small part because I have fond memories of spending time “on the shores of lake Minnewaska” as a kid.  But because I’m a sucker for sadness, the one song I adore the most is a cover of the 1989 smash hit “Wicked Game” by Chris Isaak.

Just for fun, here is the original Chris Isaak version. The song was actually not a smash hit and only became popular after David Lynch stuck it in Wild at Heart (Wiki-ed that shit. Thanks again, internet). There’s something deeply strange about this video. It’s like a Calvin Klein ad gone super serious: Male model/boy band-esque singer in a wife beater, engulfed by clouds. Top model Helena Christensen running around topless in granny panties. Sentimental caresses that you cannot quite take seriously. Emotional confusion may ensue:

 

PS –  is it “widows peak” or “widow’s peak”? Discuss.

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5 Steps To Achieve Mental Clarity

Welcome to the future, where technologies designed to make our lives more efficient rule the day. Unfortunately, managing the multiple demands of our personal and professional lives is just as tough as ever! Maintaining a well-organized life doesn’t just mean having a cleaning lady come by while you out pop out to hot yoga. Being your best possible self means tidying up your interior space as well! If only our housekeepers tended to heads too, amiright?

Oh, but I jest, that’s like wishing there were a Pizza Hut inside a Taco Bell! Can you even imagine? If you’re serious about achieving mental clarity, keep that $300-per-hour therapist on speed dial (ask your perkiest coworker for a referral). This highly qualified professional will guide you as you tackle these top five strategies, suggested by the Most Effective People Ever, for becoming a well-curated person inside and out!

1. Practice (Literal) Life-Hacking

Image

Have you been caught up in negative thought patterns for too long? You have the tools to cut it out! Whenever that pesky notion pops up in your brain, punish it. Grab an axe and give that “I don’t want to do this” a good whack! Show that brain who’s boss. Hacking is the number one way to achieve long term mental clarity.

2. Make Lobotomy a Priority

Image

So you detoxed through all of January, but you’re still feelin’ a fog in the nog? Duh, dummy, all that juicing doesn’t just go to your head! Herbal teas, spirulina, and pressed kale galore won’t clear a clogged-up brain. Holistic gurus everywhere are all about about the lobotomy. Just one tiny treatment takes all those extraneous thoughts like, “what the hell am I doing here?” “how many universes are there?” “do I have a core or am I just layers of influence?”, and sucks them right on out of your head! Think of it as a spring cleaning for your brain, or emptying your mental spam folder. The results are truly cathartic (we’ve heard that even Queen Bey is on it).

3. Unplug!

smashtop

Face it, no matter what career you’ve chosen or what you do in your free time, you live pretty much all of your life online. According to Experts on Everything, the key to a fulfilling digital life is to schedule some time to unplug (a figurative phrase, of course, because we’re all swimming in a sea of wireless!). Stop your brain from becoming a frenetic thought browser with rapidly multiplying tabs: make a date with yourself! Set the vacation responder to “on” and violently destroy your computer. Of course, “unplug” also means No Smart Phones Allowed. So make sure you tie it to a rock to your telly and sink it to the bottom of a pond (or toilet, for you city-slickers) before you embark on your digital sabbatical.

4. The Stuff-Burning Cleanse

burnstuff

Your external environment is a reflection of your inner self—everyone knows that. We’ve being hearing lots about this latest technique to achieve a more Perfect You. Burning All Your Shit is the total rage amongst clarity-seekers. This method incorporates a crucial element: Fire, recognized by scientists for its unique, purifying properties. That high-design butter dish you just bought, the set of cat mugs you splurged on, your multi-chromatic collection of wayfarers—let it all go up in a brilliant blaze until there’s nothing left. Then pat yourself on the back for working up a healthy sweat and proceed to step six:

6. Stare at a Rock

stare rock

It’s cooler than a computer screen, won’t ask you to jump on a Skype call, and is probably more interesting than any of your recent online dates. And now that all that clutter’s been cleared from your mind, you’ll have room to appreciate the little things! Like the world that actually exists.

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Precocious Teen Witches Who Worship Stevie Nicks: SOLD on AHS Coven

AHS Coven Ep02 - Stevie Nicks

From the second I saw the trailer, I knew that American Horror Story: Coven would be spellbindingly splendid. Though I’m only a couple episodes in, I can’t say I’m disappointed. My interest was solidified in the second episode by a particular scene, set in a remote swamp cabin….to the tune of Stevie Nicks’ “Rhiannon.”

In this scene, naive protagonist Zoe and her newly reassembled/revived boyfriend Kyle meet the young witch, Misty, who had been recently burnt at the stake by hillbillies. The ethereal boho blondie—who is inexplicably drawn to the scene of the resurrection—pops up in their escape vehicle mid-bridge and invites them to her hut. There, she smears swamp dung over Zoe’s zombie-beau while Stevie Nicks floats from an ancient transistor radio.

When Zoe lamely asks the Misty, “who is this?,” a perfect dialogue ensues, in which Misty ardently declares Nicks to be her idol and a “White Witch”:

Zoe: Who sings this?

Misty: Who sings this? Fleetwood Mac! Stevie Nicks…is my idol

Zoe: Is that Stevie Nicks from American Idol?

Misty: (incredulous) It’s Stevie Nicks, the White Witch. The only witch before you I’ve ever known.

Zoe: She’s an actual witch?

Misty: Listen to the lyrics. This song was her anthem. Doesn’t it just penetrate your soul and tell the truth about everything you’ve ever felt in your whole life?

Zoe: Yeah. Totally.

“Tell(s) the truth about everything you’ve ever felt in your whole life”: This is probably one of the most glowing reviews Rhiannon’s received in almost 40 years. Even contemporary teen witches pick up on the song’s power. It like totally penetrates the soul.

This scene make me half-hope for a season encore, in which Nicks takes over for the departing Jessica Lange as the Supreme and coaches the girls on controlling their magic with music…by forming an girl-witch power group, obv.

Of course, getting Nicks on Coven might be a challenge, considering witchy rumors have plagued her whole career. “I spent thousands of dollars on beautiful black clothes and had to stop wearing them for a long time because a lot of people scared me,” she said in a 1983 interview. “And that’s really unfair to me, I think, for people – other people – to conjure up their ideas of what I am or what I believe in.” Personally, I’d avoid using terms like “conjure ” to deny my own sorceress status. But maybe this is more convincing:

Anyway, that’s how it goes with those in the public eye—it’s part of the reason they become so famous. We love to imagine celebrities as characters that are somehow super—or sub—human (maybe to assuage our own sense of native inferiority?) In Nicks’ case, I think witchiness is a simple metaphor for a bold aura, an arresting voice, and so many “beautiful black clothes.” So kudos to Coven for resurrecting not only mutilated frat bros and a sadistic post-colonial Kathy Bates, but also for exhuming the ever-enchanting Stevie, and bequeathing her White Witch status. Love it.

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