Monday, November 30, 2009

Written yesterday at Aroma Tea Shop

Isn’t There Any Romance in Your Soul?

It is stripped,
the paint-thinner
approach to life.

It is rubbed and worn,
a shaking head,
a waggling finger.

This is not
your playground.
The heart
holds no monkey bars,
no swing sets, no slides.
Here is empty space,
a cafe, if you will –
hear it echo and search
for what doesn’t exist.

Or perhaps it
lies in hiding,
in wait
down alleys, around corners
with blue eyes telling you
I see the exact opposite.

When You Said

That I can be brutal
I answered no,
fists curled, jaw locked
in what could almost
pass as a smile.

I wanted to hit you
as you taught me,
a boxing maneuver
to your dear chin,
two knuckles
with taut skin,
to show you I care.


Spring offered
a day free
of cynicism.

When you said
my love
everyone smiled
at my reply.

Friday, November 27, 2009

I did get off the ground

To help with my new project, Rob sent me emails from before and after Sept. 11. Some excerpts from what he wrote to me:

Sept. 10, 2001: Have a great fucking time, I feel pretty good that after knowing me a very short time you've chosen only to leave the country and not life itself.

Sept. 13, 2001: Well Allison, I thought of you almost immediately when I heard the news Tuesday morning ... Nothing to joke about now, sorry your trip's been delayed, let me know if you ever get off the ground.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Dumbass Daily Nexus quotes

I have a ton of stuff to do and so of course I'm rambling through old papers getting nostalgic. I just found a bunch of quotes from me that were written down by my Daily Nexus colleages (the Nexus was the UCSB paper). Here's a sampling:

"I hope you know I've inebriated nothing tonight." - 4/15/96, "Ali's drunk night"

"Yes, I'm confessing ... to being a crack-smoker." - 4/15/96

"Am I the freak of the day?" - 4/13/96

"I have found my future husband." - 4/10/96, in reference to a large black dog that had entered the office.

"I'm an accident." - 4/29/96

"I'm totally on drugs here." - 4/16/96

"You'd think I'm the only one around here who gets any." - 4/18/96. Best one of all because as far as I can recall, I didn't get nothing senior year, or throughout the great majority of my college experience.

Friday, November 20, 2009

More of today's writing

But at the heart of it he is my friend. This is what I have lost: the companionship of someone who understands without the need for explanation. This is not to say romantic love is a lesser thing. It is companionship that provides romantic love’s base.

Today's writing

“I want to say my heart was breaking in that bed,” I tell the storefront, “and it was aching for sure. The achy-breaky, yeah? But really I just –”

I just what? What do I feel?

“I miss my friend,” I say.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

MacDowell photos

From a wonderful photo session with Joanna Eldredge Morrissey. All photos copyright Joanna Eldredge Morrissey.

Pictures of You

Adam and I were playing this song last night and talking about people who are no longer in our lives.

It's a weird thing. One day they're there, the next day? Strangers. It was once my fear that that would happen with him, that I would play this song and look at the pictures of us, and cry. I'm tearing up right now thinking of it, actually. I could never lose him. No matter what happens between us, I always want him in my life.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

More on MacD

I think a lot of why I was depressed in Peterborough was because, though I met some wonderfully talented people and clicked with quite a few of them, there were no lasting connections. I'm not sure that I expected there would be, but it sure would've been nice. Kimmel Harding, with its all-of-four people including me, seems to have turned up stronger bonds.

Dear would-be clients

You cannot ask for samples exclusive to your line of business in order for someone to "prove" they can do the job. This is free work and is unethical. I'm not saying I haven't been dumb enough to do it in the past, but not for a long time. In this crappy economy, time is money and I'm not interested in writing for free.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

From what I'm editing right now

There are two kinds of love: the kind that is about them and the kind that is about you. When it’s about you, the loved one is but a vessel, a container to be filled with your hopes and fantasies. Chase the vessel and you chase a mirage. Cross that desert and drink from an empty golden cup.

Why is it

That the hardest writing is the stuff you actually want to do?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Adopt Bear

I feel so helpless when I see things like this: Bear is a 13-year-old dog who spent his entire life with one family who abandoned him when they moved overseas. He was too old to make the trip.

My heart aches. If I were in any position to adopt him, I would. I hope someone out there can.

When someone treats you

A week ago, a dear friend took me to Five, the new(ish) restaurant at the Hotel Shattuck in downtown Berkeley. Afterward, I found myself mulling my personal rules for when someone treats you to a meal:

- Don't get the most expensive thing on the menu.
- Offer to treat them to something, even if it's just a coffee.
- Thank them. Duh.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Out with it

I haven't talked about this at all, not publicly at least: I was extremely depressed while at MacDowell.

I want to emphasize that these are wonderful people. They do everything possible to provide a warm and nurturing environment in which to create. Part of the reason I've shied away from talking about this is that I didn't want to give MacDowell a bad name in any way, shape or form -- as if my small experience could ever change its hundred-year history.

The depression was about me. I was homesick, lonely. Breakfasts and dinners, the times where I got to see other people -- those were great. I looked forward to those.

But the days I spent at my studio, looking out at the woods -- God. Words cannot describe what I felt in those times.

It feels good to start to talk about it.

Don't trip on the flow

And I really have no idea why this post is titled that, but there you have it.

After a few days of real peace -- the medication is working -- today I've felt a bit irritated and agitated. I'm thinking about what Sophie said: Don't push it aside, make room for it.

I'm working on that. I want to be able to accept a full range of emotions and not just cling to feeling good. That's harder than it sounds, though, and it sounds damn hard.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The look

I took Oliver to the vet today. I really couldn't have asked for better results. "He's a miracle," Dr. Lee said. Blood pressure's close to normal, everything else looking stable, attitude good (or healthy; not always cooperative), eating like a horse. I was very pleased.

As I was waiting for them to bring him back into the lobby, two women came in carrying a very sick dog. The dog was breathing heavily and obviously couldn't walk. I looked over and met the eyes of one of the women. Her gaze was exhausted and very, very sad.

I can't get that picture out of my mind.

Monday, November 9, 2009

All aboard the Napa Valley Wine Train

Feeling that lift

I think the drug cocktail I've been taking is finally kicking in. Let's sum it up:

Abilify (a mood stabilizer)

That's a shitload of drugs, but it's also a lot of depression. I feel good today. Not like a zombie, not eerily high, just good and hopeful. Given that Mondays are particularly difficult, this is a good sign.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


I was looking through pictures of myself. I like how I look.

Also, and this is completely random: Last night we watched "The Babysitters" on Netflix's "Watch It Now." Holy cow. Sweet teenies run a prostitution ring in their high school. Why didn't I ever think of that -- other than the fact that I ran with decidedly un-prostitute-like dorks like myself?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Today's writing

What does that mean, having someone? Of course it implies a relationship of some sort, but is that all there is? Did I have my parents? For that matter, did they have each other?

To have, a possessive verb that springs from a need. At some point my parents thought they needed each other. I needed – need – them.

Right now romantic love feels not all that different from parental affection. Both seem out of my fucking reach.

Richmond gang rape

This case horrifies me. I can't stop thinking about it.

Yesterday Adam and I were play-wrestling and he held me down. It was obvious how much strength the average man has over the average woman. He stopped when I asked him to stop. That poor teenager didn't have that option.

Monday, November 2, 2009

This is why he's perfect for me

ME: I should walk you on a goddamned leash.
ADAM: I should make you wear a goddamned muzzle.

When I think of New Hampshire

When I think of New Hampshire, I think shadows. I think shadows and colors that grew deeper, richer, by the day, ticking down the hour. I think of silences and rental cars. I remember loneliness, that sinister hum.
Every day is a series of minute awareness: Get up early, don't sleep in. Leave the house, don't stay on the computer too long. The little choices add up to mental health, but in the interim, you're dancing on a fine line.