http://www.ninetymeetingsinninetydays.com/lorriemooore.html

Read this, guys. Lorrie Moore on how to be a writer.

I’m still sort of blog-hibernating, but making my way slowly out. Currently, though, I’m in the mountains of Colorado, where it’s very cold, and hibernation is what makes most sense. So, I’ll be back later, with more to say (let’s hope?), but for now, I’ll just check in, briefly, to say hello. To caution you against worrying too much about my whereabouts (which, of course, is what you MUST be doing.) To warm you with the thought that, soon enough, we shall be returned to each other once again. Here’s hoping your 2013 is everything you’ve hoped for, thus far. May it continue to be this. May we all continue to become more of what we hope to be, and to accept what we are, and our friends, and our enemies, and our pets. May we replace disparagement with encouragement. May we love each other better.

Always,

Kate

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Reasons and Excuses

Well, clearly I’m bad at this whole regular-updates sort of thing. There’s only so many times a person can apologize for it, I suppose, without just coming across as neglectful with a thin sheen of apology slathered on top, like butter on a fine muffin, which I’d sort of like to have right now, but not incredibly badly, because it’s hot, and heat makes dairy products mostly unappealing to me.

Anyway, I just wanted to pass through and say hello. I’ve spent a lot of time away from NYC this summer, mostly traveling through Vermont, where I worked at a summer arts institute for teens, which was absolutely wonderful–getting to help younger people with their processes and identities as artists, even as I still form my own–which is a lifelong process, I believe. Super cool.
And now I’ve got a few new pen-pals, which will enable me to put my mostly obsolete mint-green typewriter to use. *Finally.* I hope. Or just some under-used microns.

It’s nice to create excuses to write long-hand and collect or create nice things to send to other people. It makes you notice things more, I reckon, because you’ve got fresh reason to share them with another person. I’d like to remember anyway, so I can share them with myself, maybe. Which is a strange concept: sharing things with oneself. But nice.

I spent some time yesterday dividing a bouquet of wildflowers from the farmer’s market across the street from my apartment into different vases. Dividing by leaf-length and color, by general form. I’m not all that good at it, but it was a soothing act, in any case. I think we should do more that soothes us, when we’re no longer directly protected by people like parents and the houses we grew up in. And not everyone grows up feeling protected, of course, so there’s that. And so we’ve got to learn to give it to ourselves, to watch out for ourselves better, to make ourselves feel safe. There’re little ways we can accomplish it, or pieces of it, at least. Maybe it’s just paying attention to our bodies more, or breathing better, or eating really good chocolate. Maybe it’s much bigger than that, something not accomplished by small acts. Small acts accumulate though, eventually. Or I’d like to think so. Maybe I’m very naive. Probably. Enlighten me, please, if you’ve got other opinions, knowledge I’m not aware of by way of my own limited experience.

It’s always funny what ends up coming out when I finally sit myself down to write in this thing. I never quite know what to expect, and I always remember that it feels nice (even if part of me is worried I’m just spewing some variety of drivel.) Another small act. I’d like to accumulate more. Be a great accumulator. Soon, I’ll start asking everyone to call me that. Like a superhero. A really badly-named superhero? And would that imply that my superpower is just, like, collecting massive amounts of things? Because I’m already really good at that.

Freedom via ropeswing; New Orleans, LA.

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Massy Paradise

How is it already June? And what does June even mean anymore, when not in the context of a school-year? In that case, what has it meant for several years, for me at least? It’s weird, this business of re-defining months and seasons and time; I imagine it’s even weirder for those who live in pretty homogenous climates (I’m talking about you, San Francisco. Or, am I wrong?). 

I don’t know about you, but my roommates and I have all been feeling this new-season-tug of…something. I’m searching for the best words to describe what it is I think we’ve all been feeling with Summer rearing up first the kind of hot that makes whole blocks of New York City smell like its rotting garbage core, and then the kind of cool that makes you want to lie spread-eagle in the dew-grass and just suck in the clean air until it gets dark and the drunks settle in to displace the calm dark with their whiskey-howling (oh god, how dramatic. I’m exaggerating. There isn’t usually “whiskey-howling,” though sometimes there might be, and, mainly, I just liked the way it sounded I guess. And I’m allowed to, dammit!)

I think of leaving this place often. I think of running away. I’ve been of the mindset lately, though, that whatever my head tells me to do, I should do just the opposite. The head is tricky business sometimes, and, often, it bears no witness to the workings of your less self-ish parts which gurgle when genuinely in need and twist when genuinely afraid and are just less bull-shitty, I guess. Or, maybe they’re not. The brain is just this mafia-tycoon that every other part’s forced to serve to avoid being offed.

Silly Tycoon. You will be overcome by my better parts!

A small poem in this regard, by Emma Jones (whose lovely book I picked up several years ago at a shop in London):

The Mind

flares out —

 

as though it held a separate existence,

as though it were

a kind of massy paradise

closer to God than the venal organs–

 

electric marmoset,

diminutive earl —

 

here are your subjects and your penal inhabitants,

your cracked and cleaving citizenry.

 

Worldly, you cling: I live in you like a paradisal ape

lives in a garden, walled, with onlookers;

as the zookeeper lives; as the girl lived in that house.

 

In other news:

Signed at BEA yesterday at the Javits center in Manhattan (which is a crazy-looking place), and picked up Sherman Alexi’s new book of stories, which I am very excited to read. I’m sort of up to my neck right now in too many different books (because this is what I do when I listen too close to my brain: read four books at once, unable to focus my diehard attentions on a single project at once. Gah!), but, when I get to it, I’ll let you know what I think. 

And you should do the same, in terms of whatever. Send me poems. Send me short stories. Send me drawings. Send me love. And I will do the same. (DEAT: I OWE YOU A CREATURE, I KNOW.)

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My apologies…

For being such a blog-abandoner, for so long. It wasn’t you, it was me. But, why waste time pandering, you know? (I mean, on my end, not yours, for you surely are not pandering and need not pander, and I tell you this true right here and right now. Don’t you pander. Don’t you do it. Stick to your gut, don’t give in just to satisfy others.) It was a lapse, and I’m sorry for it, but we must move forward.

Oh, you’re pissed? You don’t feel you can trust me anymore?

Look, I don’t know what I have to do to prove to you that I’ve changed. Because I have. Oh, you want proof? How am I supposed to live like this? Constantly under your oppressive thumb? You have weird thumbs, and that’s even besides the point.

I’m sorry I took it there. I think your thumbs are so unique. They are exquisite. You are exquisite.

No, well. No. I’m not pandering. I’m just trying to be a nice, honest person. Yes, your thumbs are truly weird, but they’re also unique. Things weird can also, and typically are also at least kind of cool, sort of, or whatever. So don’t you go on and say all that to me, when all I’m trying to be is kind. Oh geez, you know what? It’s becoming near impossible to have a simple conversation with you. To make a simple apology. Because you’ve always got to make it into some big-freaking-deal. You lack patience and you lack–

Oh, I see.I lack patience? You think you can win this by spinning it straight back to me? Right. That’s a laugh. A real haw-haw. You’re deluded, you know that? De-luded. An apostrophe in a word that requires no such punctuation. An interruption in something that was working just fine before you curved yourself between the good and the good and made it all turn wrong-rotten.

You know, all I’d wanted to do was to tell you what was going on in my life, because I care about you. Because I want you to know that even through the conferences, and the swanky parties, and the homes I’ve witnessed in other cities with other cars and other streets and other dogs–some with very nice, brightly-painted shingles (the homes) and doors and little gardens that look just the right amount of tousled and over-grown–and the people I’ve met, who often know a great deal more than I do about all of this stuff and this whole world and are pretty much across the board nice and generous and kind-hearted and genuine and helpful–I always miss you. You remain there in the back of my skull, a consistent presence. I do not pass a day without wondering on you. You are there, whether we are in touch, or we aren’t. You will always be there. A pang in my heart. A tug in my lobe.

And that’s what I, really, wanted to convey. So, un-ruffle those feathers, and sit beside me here, and let us just hold hands and breathe together and not need to speak. Let us just be grateful.

Oh, I’m a hippie?

Fine. No, you’re right. You’re right. I am.

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Cornered

A few months ago, I was asked to contribute a bullying-related story to be included within a collection my lovely friend Rhoda Belleza was compiling and editing, and received two advanced reading copies of said collection in the mail the other day.

So, here’s what you need to know: It’s called Cornered, it features fifteen stories of bullying and defiance (as described in its subheading), and it comes out in July. And it’s glorious. I will most likely slot in more reminders closer to its release date, but, for now, let’s leave it at that.

On a related note, I saw The Neverending Story today (in the theatre! I cried!), and can think of no better examples of bullying and defiance than Bastian’s own journey from dumpster to luck dragon.I challenge you to prove me wrong! JUST TRY. YOU WILL FAIL.

DUMPSTER:

LUCK DRAGON:

Wow. He really showed ’em.

 

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more like RAD-io. (yep.)

I’m realizing, even in a pretty cursory scan of my previous posts, that I severely over-use the word “creepy.” Now, I’m not here to apologize for doing so, or to promise anything like a change-in-ways (for I foresee “creepy” and I having a long and successful relationship), but I just wanted to let you know that I know. So, now that that’s cleared up, we can all move on, more self-aware but no more reassured in the prospect of a future no longer plagued by excessive creepy-ness.

So, I just did this wild “radio-tour” that started (WAY TOO EARLY) (for me) (I’m a REAL wuss) this morning and closed up proverbial shop around twelve fifteen. My brain didn’t actually click on (couldn’t find the switch. ha. ha.) until at least the third interview, and so who even knows what wilds spilled from my lips in those first wee minutes. One of my first interviewees somehow got the impression that I was some kind of award-winning front-line war-journalist, and, though I wish I could boast a career as an award-winning front-line journalist, it was certainly an odd impression to have to disabuse on live radio.  It’s also entirely possible she said something completely relevant and factual, and my own brain heard “award-winning front-line journalist,” as a sort of garden-variety wish-fulfillment scenario.  I mean, like I said…it was just…obscenely…ungodly early.

A little later on, I chatted with a delightful gentleman named Tron (for real), in Colorado Springs, and was called “freaky” by Ron, of “The Big Show,” in Boston. He just picked up on that right away, I guess. Oh, Ron.

All in all, a divinely creepy (fun)(weird)(sleepy)(interesting) morning.

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Area Cat Finds Yoga Sutras “tedious” and “soporific”

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