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Tuesday, May 23rd, 2006
5:02 pm - What year is it?
Leigh Ann's death is flooding me with life - the life I had six, seven, ten years ago. I'm drowning in full cross-sensory memories of who I was in those five years when I used to talk to her every day - and of the intense connections I had with her and the rest of the people in that lost world. I walked out of that chapter of my life so fast that I didn't even feel the door hitting me in the ass (though to be fair to myself, that year in London was hard enough that I didn't really feel much at all as I was trying to recover).

In the beginning I didn't know whether I wanted to be Leigh Ann, or just wanted her. Or both. Not sure how much either of us figured that one out, back in the day. I did so much of my messy 20's growing-up stuff with her, around her, in reaction to her, because of her, in spite of her. Learning to ride a motorcycle, getting body piercings, meeting my biological mother, learning to improvise, writing my first song, driving 1000 miles in 24 hours, building my chosen family, brewing mango habanero ale, making friends with technology, finding my voice, finding my inner bitch.

I was starting to feel like I was finally (yeah, I know, it was aeons ago, what's wrong with me?) over the breakup that was my leaving the band, starting to let myself miss her, the rest of the band, the rest of that part of my life. And now she's gone, goddammit.

There are so many people, so many experiences that were so dear to me, so many of you I haven't really connected with in years. My partner of almost three years is hearing stories about people she doesn't know - including the person I was not so long ago. It's hard to explain. It's kind of kicking my ass right now. I don't exactly regret my decisions - I needed to look inward, to deal with my health, to really learn to derive my own strength primarily from within, rather than from other people, my people. And I did it, and that's good. But this flood of - what, 1995? 99? - is intense.

It sounds like this is hitting me as all about me, and that's kind of embarrassing, but I guess it's probably human to have some internal personal reaction to this whole death thing. I know it's way more about plenty of other folks, though. I spent some time with Colin yesterday, and made sure to feed him chocolate and hold space for some real emotions. Chocolate always helps. I can't even imagine the horror that is Nit and Caitlin's universe right now. Sending love their way. I've reached out to a few folks from back in that century already - I'm guessing I'll see lots of you soon. I hope so.

current mood: sad

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Wednesday, June 1st, 2005
12:25 pm - Cranky cranky cranky.
My new boss has fangs. 30 days to find a new team or leave the company. She sits right next to me, and is not speaking to me, not a word, not even hello in the elevator, for no reason that I can discern. I might leave user experience design and go into product management. Who knows.

Anthology that accepted my story last year, for publication this year, has un-accepted it. New publisher didn't think my character's emotions were believable, or something. All this after the belly dance "surprise audition" debacle last month-ish.

Reading at Jon Sims on Friday, at the Center on Saturday. Just found out that my ex-girlfriend is likely to be on stage shortly after me, and sitting in one of the front rows reserved for performers.

Why do I feel like it's a conspiracy? Rejection and tension, tension and rejection. My shoulders have crawled up to my ears. Not too pretty.

current mood: cranky

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Tuesday, February 22nd, 2005
5:31 pm - Poem I wrote several years ago that I'm thinking of working up as a performance piece... thoughts?


When I got strong I let go my butterflies
Cast into the ocean my sparkling jewels, my shiny paints, my magic slippers.
I had to.
Because plastic is pretty all dressed up,
all trussed up,
but can't even carry her own weight,
and whose feet are really that shape anyway?
So I carved myself roughly out of oak
one piece of rigid yet living wood
(I smelled a bit musty, like damp green moss, but mostly didn't care)

And I began to smooth out my skin
first with others' hands and finally with my own
oh those hands
As I grew fur I no longer knew what kind of creature I'd turn out to be
whether I'd move in a pack or a flock or a school or alone
or whether I would move at all
From pretty to pretty awkward
I leapt off a cliff -
I had to.

Because a wooden warrior is fearsome
but my back started to ache
and who wants to stand still while the world is moving?
As I plummeted I rolled and stretched and tumbled
when I hit the ground I was dancing
with butterflies nesting in my hair.

November 1999

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5:22 pm - OK, OK...
I know I said I'd post more. I've been feeling strangely self-conscious lately, and not in a bad way - maybe it's just that I'm feeling more introverted, less pretentious, or something. Less up for sharing emotions - new for me, I know. But at Kaden's request, I'm happy to share more of what I've been writing lately. I've been infused with new motivation on the novel, and actually have some new material (and for those of you in the SF area, I'll be reading some of it at Gender Pirates tomorrow night).

Here's just a snippet (from my new Ch. 2, which is what I'm currently working on):

"Lila in London"

I liked how the British called ads “adverts,” to rhyme with “perverts.” Maybe I could find some perverts, I thought, thumbing through the personals in the back pages of the copy of the Pink Paper that was the only part of Queer London I’d managed to take home thus far. I had expected the streets of London to be filled with drag kings in vintage zoot suits and fake sideburns, wiry leather-clad genderqueers with blue Mohawks smoking Indian cigarettes, broad-shouldered butch gentlemen in tweed coats with suede elbow patches and argyle vests and ascots carrying scuffed leather briefcases in one hand and annotated copies of Tennyson in the other. I was sure they would all sound like David Bowie meets Masterpiece Theatre – and fuck like David Bowie meets Iggy Pop.

Of course, I had expected to find an equal number of sparkly-tiaraed hellraising women who were almost as comfortable with a monkey wrench as a curling iron, who were eager to discuss the relative merits of silicone vs. rubber dildoes over tea and cucumber sandwiches, with the crusts cut off. Six weeks already, I thought, chewing vigorously on the eraser end of my pencil, and neither a zoot suit nor a tiara in sight. Much less a dildo. Six weeks of working eleven-hour days and returning alone to my flat. Listening through the floor to the jolly drunks in the pub downstairs was the closest I came to congenial company. Six weeks of hearing my mother’s voice as though she were sitting on my shoulder, whispering to me that it was better not to have expectations. If I were Catholic I’d cross myself, I thought, shuddering. No way am I telling her I thought she was right, even for a second.

current mood: cold

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Thursday, January 20th, 2005
4:10 pm - that SO is NOT the first chapter of my novel...
ok, ok, so now that Kaden's on here, and now that I've remembered that I have no idea what's going on in jcalanthe or tircha's lives unless I stop in here now and again, I'm paying attention to this LJ again :-) Trying not to shudder about what I've posted in the past. At least I can see some development in my state of mind.

You'll hopefully be happy to know that the recent ex-girlfriend moping has been excised from the novel, which will hopefully remove the melodrama aspect. I'll do something with that writing eventually, but will certainly not be including a character based on her so I can grouse about her.

I plan to be catching up on folks' LJs and dropping you some comments soon. xoxo to all.

current mood: pensive

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Friday, April 16th, 2004
4:30 pm - why I cut my hair off
... a few of you have asked. this is only part of the answer. admittedly, the sheer weight of the braid when she cut it off and laid it in my hands also has something to do with it. and then there's always what happens when i say "never" (no giggling, JC...)

this is probably going to be part of the prologue of my novel. yes, fiction and "fact" have completely blurred in my mind at this point. i'm ok with that.


I've been thinking of hacking my hair off. At least a foot. I know where I'd start—several inches above the hazy blond corona that blankets my shoulders, all that's left of the fiery streaks I had when we met. I want to cut off all the parts of me that you ever touched. Skin sloughs off and regenerates fully after a year or so, doesn't it? I want a new body that does not remember, that did not drink up your sweat like cracked desert earth soaking up newly spilled blood.

It's like on Halloween, that time of year when the Celts and the Mexicans believed that the veil was thinner between the spirit realm and the corporeal world, and ghostly folk could step right through and dance, dine with and touch their beloved flesh-bound. Some days the veil between past and present is thinner and I can smell you on my skin for no good reason. Like the other day, when your phone number appeared like a clarion on the inside of my eyelids, resurfacing from the calm oblivion into which it had settled under the deep grey sands. Or right now, on the train, when it's your stop and I'm already standing, out of sheer force of something I can hardly call habit after nearly a year.

You left me on full, not on empty, so I’m bursting with possibility like I’ve just passed that sign on 101 South that says 404 miles to Los Angeles and instead of taking the exit to my friend’s house, I keep on driving. I don’t need to find some stray to rescue and nurture so I can fill the empty chasm with my own goodness, because there’s no empty chasm now. I don't need to find some famished waif to feed overripe mangoes from my bare fingers, feed her until she bursts from the strain and evaporates before my stinging eyes. I no longer need to feel power so badly—not like that.


Your name is like the heady pink jasmine blooms you picked from the vine and tied in the ribbons on my birthday present. I want to untie your name from those festive ribbons and wear it behind my ear all day, so its intoxicating aroma will waft in lazy dizzying circles around my head, repeating regularly yet unexpectedly like the melody in a symphony. I walk home down 18th Street and pass a wall climbing with jasmine and I inhale deeply; your wide bronze palm cradles my cheek, your long fingers stroke behind my ears, I pretend to purr and you laugh, pinning the pink flowers into my thick curls. My skin glistens and prickles, my back arches—your lips brush the soft curve of my throat, your hands slide around my ribcage, and I cry out and the J Church squeals around the corner, shocking me abruptly back into right now. I’m leaning against the side of one of the buildings as the neighbors with their dogs hurry on to the park, glancing quickly sideways at my shaking shoulders and clammy, glistening cheeks. Those pink flowers are drying, pressed between yellowing pages of the heavy volumes of my history, and too soon I fear I’ll breathe deeply and won’t smell anything but dust.

Today I bought a bunch of white roses, and I handed them wordlessly, one by one, to scowling smiling strangers on Market Street, because I know what beauty tastes like and I can’t give any to you.

How did I end up here again? Alone in my apartment, the silence roars like pressing my ear to a conch shell, punctuated neither by the cat’s insistent trilling nor by the music I select carefully to run in the background. In this silence all my ghosts, my discarded and desiccated dreams, draw nearer as I’ve never permitted them to before, their waxy hands prying at my eyes, aching to dissolve in my volcanic tears.

The ghosts implore me to speak their names like the cat begs for shreds of salmon from my plate, wrapping themselves around my limbs, rubbing against me to mark me as theirs, to share my warmth. Their names are dead to me now, as yours probably will be someday, though not anytime soon. How did you end up like them?

I do not attempt to banish the ghosts as I once would have, by drowning them in a deep full glass, shoving them into the corners with naked hands slicked with a stranger’s sweat, or rolling them gently in bubble wrap and standing on tiptoe to stash them in the back of the closet, in the uppermost corner on the tallest shelf.
I've only just learned to speak those names again. It took so long to be able to slide the brass-bound trunk out from under the bed, the one in which I had hastily stashed all the conversations over tea, the sweaty pillowcases, the dead roses, the postcards from Mexico and Tokyo. It took so long before I could open these treasure chests and bury my arms to the elbows in the cool dazzling richness of what I had shared with each of them.

The day I first opened that chest, we were stretched out on the couch together. You found a tight spot near my sternum and tapped, asked me What's in here? I filled my lungs deeply, feeling my rib cage expand and press into your hand like a rescued castaway testing the ground before that first solid step. I'll show you.
Even in my anguish, the irony is not lost to me, that it was you who made it safe to touch the ghosts I feared so much. Now that you're gone and the silence at day's end roars in like moontide, these ghosts bring my deepest solace. I take them out of their hiding place in my chest. I dance with them, pour them tea, hold them close. I let them settle lightly on my skin, and they stroke my hair, whisper to me.

They whisper underripe greenish words plucked too soon from budded branches, luscious pink words not picked and savored, fallen to the ground and left to decay. I eat those words now and they dissolve into my blood. Now my veins can carry them back to the heart from whence they came, to be re-infused with sustenance and pumped back into my living body.

current mood: contemplative

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Wednesday, January 21st, 2004
12:14 pm - penetration
I'm on a listserv with a bunch of other queer women - one woman posted today who's a rape survivor, who asked for words to help replace her associations with the word "penetration". I didn't realize how much I still have going on internally with the word, the idea. my free association:


getting through, past armor to what's most raw, most vital, most important

summer rain soaking into cracked, parched earth

smooth slippery filed fingertips plunging deep
wrapping around bleeding heart
finding the stone lodged in my throat and forcing it free

my voice is warm and salty, now that I can hear it

current mood: pensive

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Monday, December 8th, 2003
5:33 pm
When I adopted my cat from the SPCA, the animal behaviorist told me that I should confine him in a small room, preferably the bathroom. Lock a kitten in the small cold bathroom? She assured me that this was not cruelty, that he needed to get accustomed to his new home gradually, that he would feel overwhelmed if he had so much territory so quickly to call his own.

My cat spent his first three days locked in the bathroom, hiding under the bathtub, and the next five or so days not locked in the bathroom, hiding under the bathtub.

I am more like my cat than I had thought. Everyone has left my home - my apartment is all mine now. I spend most of my time holed up in my bedroom. What was once E's room is closed off, mostly, full of art supplies, computer parts, and boxes of letters and photos I try to forget. B's room is now my sitting room, velvet armchairs and lace curtains and ghosts of delights I never had the chance to experience. And my writing desk. I do sit there, sometimes, though mostly I stay in my bedroom, curled up in my chair.

If I have to look closely at it, there are probably more ghosts in my bedroom than anywhere else - would-be conquistadores and stowaways trying to reach a far-off destination and marauders and evangelists and spoiled children have all slept in my bed, sat in my chair, eaten my bowl of porridge.

So maybe I don't stay in there to hide from ghosts. Maybe I'm just like the cat after all, and need to come to terms with my territory gradually. He's curled up on the pillow now. I think I'll join him.

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Sunday, November 30th, 2003
1:41 am - at my parents' house
this is what I wrote to my girlfriend tonight:

It's weird here - almost a window into the life I was "supposed" to have, more than the life I used to have. At least through my Dad's eyes. Almost all I do when I'm visiting my parents is watch movies, when I'm not talking to them. There's an overall loudness and argumentativeness (the tendency to argue) - they all run over each other instead of listening, or else just shut up and get run over rather than argue. So I just put on my armor and either yell or tune them out, and then stay up until 1 or 2 in the morning shutting off my brain. And this is how I lived for the first 18 years of my life. I can tell how my shoulders became locked, my adrenal gland on constant overload. OK, so maybe it is a window into how I used to live (ironic smile). But it somehow feels infectious, like my body knows how to do this, constant cycles of conquer and defeat. I love them, and I am glad to be here in a way, since they're my family, and they do love me in their own twisted way, and I know I won't have them forever. But it's mildly sickening to slip into this. So much less seems possible here. I am thankful that I don't have to stay.

I don't know why, but I told my Dad that I've been struggling with discrimination - having a girlfriend in Berlin and not knowing how/if she's going to be able to stay in the country for longer than 6 months, just because we're queer. When I let myself think about it, US immigration laws feel like a small room with a low ceiling. The Permanent Partners act has been proposed - again - in Congress, and will certainly die in committee under the current administration. I'm trying to stay optimistic that we'll figure something out - school or a job or something - but it's really hitting me hard that this is the first time that I have experienced systemic, government-level discrimination first hand. Poor little privileged white girl, yeah, I know, but it's still a feeling, and it's valid. And my Dad doesn't get it, and I don't know why I expected him to.

He honestly looked me in the eye and told me that if he had to vote for or against gay marriage today, he doesn't know what he'd say. He's "not in favor of anyone telling anyone else what to do" but he has some ridiculously arcane and unarticulated idea about "special interest groups" - including his own - asking for change. He just doesn't like change. He conceded that it may be just like suffrage or civil rights - that there may be some point at which people, including himself, can't imagine that things were ever so backward as to restrict things based on , but that it takes a long time. I told him I didn't disagree with him, but that what I was trying to share with him is that right now, right here, it's feeling like discrimination for his always-gifted, always-privileged daughter, and that she's really feeling that hard. I do think there's a chance that he's not giving it too much thought because he still thinks I may grow out of it, or at the least he's not sure the immigration issue will still be a big one because my relationship may not last.

The conversation ended when I asked him to consider a question for me, not answer now, just think about it: whether he thought both of his daughters should have equal rights under the law. I got a Bronx quip: "Yeah, you can both marry any man you want." I gave him back a Bronx quip: "Yeah, right, whatever, Dad." And told him just to think about it.

Yeah, right.


current mood: frustrated

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Thursday, November 20th, 2003
12:06 pm - I'm finally here...
And it was a greater feat than I had ever anticipated. This had nothing to do with procrastination, but rather with the shocking creativity of the folks who are already on this site. Or perhaps it was the shocking lack of creativity on all of our parts. I spent the better part of a week trying to conjure a screen name that was somewhat representative of my sensibilities, and that was not already taken. Alas, but you literary types had me stymied! Not only was there already a synaesthete and a synesthete, a rosethorne and a pomegranate, but there was already a fleurdumal, a ladyofshallott and an oedipamaas! And that doesn't even approach the grand scale of exciting adjectival real estate that had already been occupied by you, my glitterary forbears, who are already incendiary and incarnadine and vermilion enough for all of us. The permutations of already-spent creativity were as shocking to me as that patch of pavement on the corner of 17th and Church, the one that is nearly covered with spots of already-chewed gum.

I am amused to have found such company. I doff my plumed hat to all of you.

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