Thursday, April 18, 2013
So I'm in a self inflicted bind. I need some way to get at least 700 dollars in the next two months in order to stay afloat with school, and an apartment. It's not as bad as it was a month ago, when I was basically fantasizing about mild acts of prostitution as a possible solution (I'm sorry Mom, but we're all adult women here and we've all had those holes.)Thanks to the fact that I have some superpower when it comes to finding really amazing friends wherever I go, the fog of "Oh my god, this is so fucked up I can't even imagine it ever changing, good or bad, like I can't even conceive of the very worst result", that fog has lifted a little. But...there's not a very large margin for error, and I want to be able to stay in school, so I'm not fucking around with this.
I don't think of myself as someone with very much to offer this planet, but I do think the one thing I know how to do with semi-reliable accuracy is write a short short story. Especially when I have a very specific audience. Like, you guys know, you've read those posts that were very obviously intended for one person, usually a boy. I'm not a good typist. I'm not a particularly good comedian. But I can be a good writer.
So for a donation of ten dollars, I will write you a 300-400 word story, about anything you ask me to. Anything at all. I'm sort of hoping you will get creative with it, but I will not promise to write porn. I won't *exclude* it, but I reserve the right to ask for a new subject. And then you will own that story. If I ever want to use it again, I'm going to have to ask and possibly pay you. If I was a painter, this would be the equivalent of me painting caricatures for tourists on the beach. If I was a musician, it would busking on a street corner in Ann Arbor.
Also you can totally buy more than one story, but you can't buy a longer one for more, like I'm not writing a 1000 word story for 20.
After you buy one, I would ask that you come back to this post and leave a comment telling me if you like it or not. I will allow you one edit - I will go through and change things you ask me to.
As an added selling point, I would like to remind you I wrote this.
(I love that post so much, I will pretty much link to it at every given chance for the rest of my life.)
I really really didn't want to start a kickstarter, because this is isn't 2009. So I'm just going to request you use paypal. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. So make a payment and then email me what you would like. Within 5 days I will email you back a story.
If nobody does this, and this was a stupid idea, I'm not going to tell you guys either way, so there.
Posted by Bridget Callahan at 4:29 PM
Friday, April 12, 2013
This is what Dorothy and Cesar look like when I try to put them in the same room in my head.
Today is my dad's birthday. He is not dead, just to clarify, this isn't some conversation taking place in heaven. I just thought I'd bring two dead people back, because when I think about who I'd like to see talking to my dad, these are the two foremost names I associate with him. That may not be completely his fault, the choice of pacifist urban catholic hippie school they sent me to had a large part to do with it. Remember, before environmentalism, how we used to celebrate Peace Day by writing presentations on Day, Chavez, Ghandi, and MLK, and then sending off large amounts of dangerous balloons careening into the atmosphere? It was very pretty though. And they stopped it, a while ago. We were just so innocent then.
So anyway, my dad is not dead, and looks like himself. Chavez is dead and now thanks to Google is irrevocably illustrated in my head as a Dora character. Dorothy Day, for reasons best kept to myself looks like a combination of Dorothy Parker, and Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz. In real life, that's not that far off. She's also dead.
Scene: A Parma Pizzeria, with green vinyl chairs and little red votive candles on the table.
Dorothy: Food for the body is not enough, there must be food for the soul. In the spirit of that sentiment, I would like to suggest we order the Vegetarian Lovers.
Cesar: If you really want to make a friend, go to someones house and eat with them. The people who give you their food, give you their heart. So we should probably just get the House Special. I can pick off the peppers. Also, extra pepperoni.
Dad, to Waiter: Can we please get one large, with half green peppers and mushrooms for the Saint here, and the other half pepperoni?
(aside to Dorothy) Cesar's not such a fan of vegetables unless he knows where they come from.
Dorothy: Don't call me a saint, I don't like being dismissed so easily. But whatever.
Cesar to Dad: The fight is never about tomatoes or peppers, it is always about people.
Dad: I know. You said that.
Cesar: I mean, it's never about ferries.
Dad: Very funny.
(The pizza comes. Dorothy covers hers in red pepper, and Parmesan. Cesar eats his plain, with a fork. Dad gets a slice on his plate, then stands up at the bar a couple feet away to eat it.)
Dorothy: So, I don't understand facebook.
Cesar: I can see how social media has the potential to be a powerful organizing tool, but the last rally we held, we had 217 replies that said they were coming, and only 20 showed up. That seems like an irrational proportion.
Dad: Well, that's why getting low income people internet access is so important - the people who need the organizing don't have those lines of communication yet. And you cannot get a job in today's workforce if you don't know how to use a computer, you can't even be a mechanic anymore. And it's why it's so important that we fight for keeping the internet unmonitored, without corporate regulation. Because this is how the world talks to itself these days, this is the beginning of a new era in human connectivity, and we can't let people be kept behind. Facebook is just a sort of commercial infancy, but it has it's uses. For instance, my daughter has never been able to remember my birthday ever, her entire life. It took her twenty years just to get it in her head it was in April. But this year Facebook told her. She's still super poor, so she can't get me anything, but I'm sure she'll call at least.
Dorothy: I'm sure part of her inability to remember you or her mom's birthdays is because somewhere in her very active childhood imagination she associated your birthday with you dying one day, and we both know if you or Bonnie ever die, she is totally screwed, she needs at least twenty more years to be okay on her own.
Cesar: Maybe she'll marry someone rich and get them to build the ferry for you.
Dad: That's enough Cesar.
The Plain Dealer gave a birthday present to my dad today, go read it here.
Posted by Bridget Callahan at 11:31 AM
Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Guys, I'm obsessed with Missed Connections on Craigslist.
And I'm not the only one. I keep meeting people, one here, one there, who all admit they read it every day.
I recently referred to it in a set as the Romantic's Lottery, which no one found very funny.
But a couple people did.
In Cleveland, for a minute, for a good six months, I got really into writing fake ones. But like, obviously fake ones. One to every hipster boy in the ABC on a Thursday night. Another one to all of my ex boyfriends at once. I usually got a lot of responses to those - boys who just wanted to say how funny they thought it was, others who obviously trolled the boards writing every single w4m ad trying to arrange apartment trysts in the time between their girlfriend leaving and their shift at Olive Garden.
In Cleveland, you always saw a lot of Missed Connections posted for pregnant women, there were a lot of pregnancy fetishes - or maybe men in Cleveland are just obsessed with fertility in the face of crushing economic depression.
Here in Wilmington, there's not as many, and most of them are for bartenders or college girls. Not a lot of people use craigslist. I've become a cheerleader for it, in the hopes of making it more active, I tell people about it constantly. It's 2004 again, and I'm still hoping someday all the regional craigslists will take off, as I wander wistfully through the NYC boards.
I've never had one posted about me, except maybe this one that I think was from my ex boyfriend, about how much he never wanted to see me again and how much my book sucked. I'm not positive it was him, but I read it and thought immediately it might be, which is how these things work. If it's not him, then somewhere out there is another girl writer whose ex also hates her, and that scenario massively appeals to me too, especially cause I want to know if her book really does suck.
Recently there was an ad posted on the m4w boards here with the title Bigfoot was a Republican, and was a "literary" ad, which basically just described his dream girl as a barefoot hippie with a lot of trash in her car who picks up hobos and reads a lot of Tom Robbins, and then threw his vision out into the universe, waiting to see what stuck to it.
I wrote him and told him I liked reading it. We emailed each other a few times. It died off, like these things do.
But the point is I am skidding on the line between just reading and actively participating.
The other day this very cute guy was at my friends house, and mentioned he read them all the time too. he has a girlfriend, but if he didn't, it would be incredibly tempting to write him a real one. Except how does one even do that?
Yesterday a customer brought a professor from school in who I hadn't met, and introduced me, and he made a really good impression. Then I googled him, and found this hilarious local paper article about him, that made me like him even more. But the teachers are never searchable on facebook really, so I wrote him an email at his school address that was basically like " this made me laugh a lot, sorry this is creepy I googled you, if you want to talk to me here's my real email." And I keep feeling like I've done something untoward, even though I don't think I have really? He's my age. We're adults. But before I actually wrote the email, I actually thought about writing him a Missed Connection, just to see if he was the type.
Because there's something nice and a little crazy in a comforting way about someone who reads them, to me anyway.
But they are so crass mostly. It reminds me of the people who pick up civet cat poop to find the coffee beans. Just digging in shit for some caffeine.
Posted by Bridget Callahan at 11:55 AM
Saturday, April 6, 2013
Something like Kurt Cobain dying, I guess I wasn't old enough for it to really be anything to me, but it seems like it means a lot to everyone else my age. I don't know why this is, except for the way I was culturally behind all my classmates cause of my parents being hippies/hipsters/weirdo nerds. I mean, don't get me wrong, all the hippie/hipster/weirdonerd parents I know now, my taste turned out awesome, I think it's properly bloomed in all the right places. But be aware that you are automatically sending your children through the same cultural growing pains you went through. And maybe they won't care about Kurt Cobain the way they are supposed to.
Nirvana Unplugged is the album that meant the most to me because it was the one I had consistently in every car or radio I was regularly around. The first album of theirs I actually got was when I was in eighth grade and I signed myself up for one of those Columbia club things - my credit was doomed even then. It was one of those deals where you get five free cassettes for the price of one, or you have to cancel in thirty days or something like that. I ordered Nevermind, The Blue Album, Whipsmart, Dookie, Flood. Flood was the only one I actually knew I liked. The rest were guesses. They were pretty fucking good guesses for an eighth grader.
Kurt Cobain's sweater probably influenced me more than anything else. If they make a time capsule of the nineties, that sweater should be in it.
And then they should burn it, the whole thing.
I don't understand why the nineties have come back into style.
I'm not ungrateful, I understand that as a single woman in my thirties, I have a unique opportunity to actually know a little bit more about dressing in that particular crushed velvet style better than the girls who are awkwardly struggling through how to wear floral print right now. But I don't want to. I hated that style even then. The only good things that came out of that were plaid shirts, doc martens, and army jackets. Frankly, it's a little cheating to claim army jackets for the 90s instead of the 70s, but you guys are old, you're not going to argue. You're more worried about your taxes.
I'm in my thirties, I should be worried about my taxes too. But maybe that's one of the reasons why everyone still talks abut Kurt Cobain's anniversary even though there are far more important things going on in the world -( like for instance last night I learned my moon is in Capricorn, which apparently tells me that I'm constantly trying to be pragmatic about my emotions, which totally explains my fling with open relationships.) Anyway, no, that's not one of the important things, but my point is why do we bother nineteen years later to conjure up any emotions about this short lived singer who while very influential musically, hardly taught the world anything meaningful except how we all have weird fucked up sexually ambiguous lyrics bouncing around in our psyches. We've all moved on to more self involvement - we've clarified our selfishness over the years. I guess that's an important lesson - Kurt's championing of self involvement definitely influenced the blogosphere and Twitter. But not Facebook, it didn't influence Facebook, that's a whole new kind of self awareness or lack of, and that to me proves that he's sorta defunct in this time. It's not far enough away from the turn of the century for us to be idolizing our turn of the century monsters yet. Give it another thirty years and I'm sure Kurt will feel more relevant. To me Nirvana, and the early nineties, was about a large part of the population discovering culture. Now we've got too much culture, our society hasn't figured out even how to process it correctly yet, we're lagging behind our accesses.
But we've run out of fashion styles to fixate on (there are far many less styles of human dress than we like to think, it is only a fraction of the internet), in this day and age where it's more about costumes of self than ever. So the nineties got resurrected, because it's cheap and easily replicated in Targets. All the loose cuts mean it's easier for clothing manufacturers to mass produced the patterns and prints. Pleather is cheap. Plus, honestly, tights and leggings are never going to go away. Once it become socially acceptable to wear them without dresses, girls were never going to wear pants or pantyhose again - because we like being comfortable but we all hate our legs. I'm hoping what will happen is the cuts of the nineties will stay and the prints will change.
Maybe that's what Kurt did - and that's why even little grade school me liked him - because he kept all the same cuts but changed the prints - made them solid lime green wools that beaded up easily in the washer, and were impossible to wash blood stains out of. That's why I resent him being thought of so importantly, because to me the lesson was the singer was totally unimportant, what mattered was an entire group of people growing up in the same economic class, dressing the same, in the same country, the same TV culture, all understanding what he was saying and feeling that potential in ourselves, both to be great and to be a colossal failure of a grown up who does too many drugs and ends up killing themselves out of pure spite in like, the most selfish way possible. A messy way.
In summary, I think this is all about clothes.And also about how we worry as adults that the kids won't be as angry as we were, that the world will run out of time for anger, like we have in our always exhausted adulthoods. Which I guess also is all about clothes, but in a more sweatshoppy way.
Posted by Bridget Callahan at 12:10 PM
Friday, March 29, 2013
Things that stop me from talking to you like I would talk to myself, washing dishes in my kitchen on a sunny afternoon, listening to the water pour over porcelain bowls and into the metal of the sink, with my cheeks and hair warm from the light, and the thoughts that lay heavy but quick on my mind, drumming:
1) I cannot stand the way your hair looks, the patterns and teases it takes on. Him with the fractalized mop of muppet coal, Him with the thick golden brown mane of dog hair, Him with the silvery patina carefully sculpted and trimmed. Your hair silences me, it takes all of my concentration to not touch it, and then there is no energy left for being witty. I feel my own lank oil pan brown tresses, which are soft in my fingers, but overall disappointing aesthetically, and I want you to want to touch my own hair the same way, but doubt that many people in the world feel the need for touch the way I do, and therefore out of deference, I never do. He once accused me of not being affectionate enough, but when I heard that, I thought of all the times I had looked at him and thought about kissing him, thought about touching his face or his shoulders, and had refrained because what if it wasn't right? This is how I feel most of the time, like I am a vast being of air and wind which longs to caress everything, and I am bottled up inside a short squat rubber mold, disconnected even from the nerves that flow through this plastic skin, cut off by the habit of courtesy. Of not wanting to make people uncomfortable.
2) I am not witty. I string any witticisms that come out of my mouth from the fragmented broken bodies of other better thoughts. I cut and pare and pair, until a thought has become a joke, but I never like my jokes as much as I do the messy convoluted things I say to myself, out loud, or to you, stoned on a Friday night, trying to explain how I can be personally offended by you calling your ex crazy, not because I'm actually personally offended, but because on a universal level all women are offended by a man who judges them crazy without attaching the caveat of his own craziness, and all older women, we recognize we have been brutalized by this, we shy away from the suggestion of it as if you had raised your hand against us. But if I explain this to you, you will merely nod and think to yourself that I am crazy too. Which of course I am, we are all crazy, we long for punchlines instead of discussions so we can easily compartmentalize the crazy and quickly judge it, because crazy is okay as long as it produces art, and only then, and even then not for sleeping with.
I am exactly like every other girl. When I was younger, I pretended I was not, and I got laid a lot more. But I don't have any interest in lying anymore.
3) I am awkward. I fumble with my body. I overthink how I look, how you look, the distances with which we're sitting, the surrounding people, the position of the car seat, the smudge of my eyeliner, the little curl by my ear, and the proportion of skin to cloth. I think this way because I want you to love me, guy or girl, dog or bird or car, I want you to love me enough to keep me close by always, I need protection. I collect people like armor. Despite my attempts at being correct, this desire to be loved seeps through the best intention and artifice. It is thick and gray and like fog or cilantro, some people have the yen for it and others only smell fire and taste soap. He told me that it was a problem for me, this wanting to be loved so much. I told him I knew, but I couldn't change it, the way you can't change current or the natural color of your hair.
4) I don't look up to you. I don't look up to anyone. Therefore, if you won't give me escape from this awkwardness, I won't beg for it, and it will harden and cement, as if affection and ease were a liquid to be mixed in slowly with the dry, folded even, tablespoon by tablespoon, and once the bread bakes up flat there is no saving it.
5) I have assumed things about you.
5) You should understand that these charges of emotion that hurl around me, while volatile and vulnerable, are not the things I subsist on. You take my pronouncements as seriously as if I had just cut my wrists in front of you, but I only articulate these thoughts for entertainment. I was only heartbroken once, when it broke for months and I ate nothing, and did nothing, and felt dead. You weren't responsible for that, and you will never recreate that, and I'm sorry that black stain exists in me now because it is definitely the immovable dark part. I purge these happy flitting emotions, the every changing crushes and angers, vanities and rejections, like blistering fireflies boiling up from my skin, and then they float away and I'm still here, the large dark purple squid floating in a black ocean, nameless with unknown intent, waiting. I breathe in a larger hope, living on it, and when I breathe out, anger and lust are the gaseous rejects of my body digesting love. Not your love, necessarily. Love. The thing larger than ourselves that breathes hot on the back of our necks and makes it hard to talk to you.
The point is, I don't know how you're supposed to talk to a squid either, so I forgive you and I'll just be floating over here when you realize you are bored.
Posted by Bridget Callahan at 1:05 PM
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
I'm going to try like heck to start posting on this blog at least twice a week. Because when I don't, I notice I start to measure my self worth by things like how shiny my hair is, or did anyone come over to talk to me at the party. This blog acts like a time stamp, a brand marking my true worth, and so when you see it lying dormant for a little while, the world has come between me and myself and that way lies madness. Lots of cigarettes and madness.
So here's what I got so far.
1) House of Cards is awesome. Question: Did I have a Southern accent fetish my whole life, and this is actually why I wanted to study writing down here, because I wanted to meet Kevin Spacey and let him mind fuck me into a vaguely euphoric kudzu infested sleep of submission? Answer: possibly. What I do know is that my predilection for grossly stereotypical Southern blowhards means I have to stop criticizing people with a Louisiana vampire fetish, cause basically they're the same thing.
Last night the Prince called me at 1am to tell me he thinks Kevin Spacey's character has directly influenced his life, because he was super productive and unfeeling yesterday.
2) My taillight on the car is out and I can't afford to fix it right now, so the next few days will be full of cop paranoia. Which is like money paranoia, except worse, cause I'm already full of car breaking down paranoia.
I vaguely miss not having a car, but once the financial hole I got myself into by taking that Cleveland trip is resolved, my natural ability to turn stress in a water soluble digestible fiber should take over.
3) The first day of my period this month was also, coincidentally, the first day of Passover. I don't know, possibly not a coincidence at all. Maybe my body was all like "Hey God, I don't actually own a doorway, but the vagina is a metaphorical doorway, so I'm going to just smear this blood on it and hope you metaphorically leave my firstborn alone." I love the story of Passover because it's all about communicating with a higher power directly through blood, as if God was a lurking sneaking stealthy beast who speaks no human language, and we can barely control it enough to sic it on our enemies, but it also might turn on us at any moment if we don't appease it with blood. Spring is a good season for Blood Holidays - Passover, Easter, International Workers Day. Spill the blood and take the blood and make the universe listen to you with it.
I also love that it's the one holiday where we're all like - hey, god could kill you whenever he wants, like, immediately, with no reason or circumstance, just by being like boom! gone! So don't eat any yeast.
This menstrual connection is really fleshing out here.
4) My voice has somehow gotten much better in the last year. I mean, not great, but for a while there I wasn't really able to sing at all, and now I feel like I can at least as well as I could in high school. This makes me incredibly happy, and I'm singing all the time now, whenever I can. That's a big difference between the bus and a car - you can't sing on the bus but you can sing the entire time you're driving. Everyone make me CDs okay. Not itunes playlists, I can't play those in the car.
5) If it weren't for the inconvenient messiness of it, I would actually enjoy my PMS week/ period a lot, because in these two weeks I can actually feel the waves of hormones and emotions, good and bad they become physical and real instead of just health book hypotheticals, and I can imagine the drugs my body naturally produces coursing into my brain and making all the little electric neurons go frantic, like a Lite Brite had sex with a Simon Says. When it's so real you can actually taste the pennies, it's makes it so much easier to know your own intentions. Like, tonight my intention is to go to sleep, forever. In twenty minutes, my intention is to stand in a hot shower for an hour. Later today I will become effusively happy, and then dead tired, and it will be entirely predictable and minutely controllable. When I'm not a churning bag of hormones, who knows what the fuck I want. Certainly not me, most of the time.
If you want a straight answer out of me, I try to give that all of time, but there's one week in particular where I can't do anything else, and that was last week. So...save them up for next month? I think I just like myself more when I'm bleeding. It feels so much more true, like whatever mask I'm trying to wear for your sakes doesn't even fit that week. And then the blood actually starts, and happiness returns to my cells, and life flows on again, having sated the blood god one more fertility season. Women are springtime incarnate once a month, that's a gift.
But also, I am the firstborn. That means something. Plagues and sacrificial desirability. Inheritances. Staring down the Beast, who isn't Kevin Spacey, but if Kevin Spacey were to play the Beast in a movie, none of us would blink at the image of him growling dark and incoherent around doorways, waiting to drag the eldest off for the sin of being born to his enemies. Someone make me a CD of Kevin Spacey coming for the Egyptians, and I'll learn to sing along to that.
Posted by Bridget Callahan at 11:57 AM
Friday, March 22, 2013
The temptation to let the entire month of March go by without acknowledging it is overwhelming. It's already the 22nd. I had Spring Break, and I had Midterms, and I had shows and taxes and got a car and got laid by some very nice people and one terrible person. But I knew he was a terrible person before it happened, so that was fine. I did my taxes and made sure my FAFSA was in and worried about school bills. I missed a lot of work, and then worked a lot to make up for it. My hair got super long and I started wearing very dark smudgy eyeliner again. Today for instance, I'm dressed in what I call my 1970s Italian summer outfit. This year I'm just going to try and channel Sophia Loren.
I used to go to this place called The Tower, which was an apartment above a storefront on Lorain Ave. In the storefront was a tax prep place, with only one sign to advertise that, and windows covered with butcher paper and dirt. Across the street was a convenient store, and when I walked over there to get cigarettes, the old Syrian guy who worked there would check my I.D. and exclaim "Oh! Brigitte Bardot!" Every. single. time. So I've got to just start with the first name and next learn French and Italian (not or, and. Let's be honest about this.) And I'm going to have to get kinda tan but not too tan, and wear nothing but black or white underwear, and never run out of mascara. Get it? Mascara? Run?
Fuck you March.
""In North Carolina, it's 60 and I'm cold. In Ohio it's 30 and you're angry." - Scott
There is a moment where you look at someone and you see them very clearly. Exactly what measure of asshole they are currently, and what kind of sweetheart they are, and the veil of whatever tolerance you were willing to give them lifts. Any excuses, any lust for power or affection, and forgiveness you gave them in the name of circumstance - it all disappears and you're left with the naked fact. How much exactly do you like this person, and how important are they in your life?
Most of the time, the answer is not very. Sometimes you realize you hate them, other times you know you love them. Sometimes you see that they used to be really important, but you shouldn't make decisions including them anymore, that period of your life is over.
And that's what happened with me and Cleveland during Spring Break.
Not Cleveland the people, the people were fine. I saw friends I missed a lot, and family, cats and dogs. I didn't get to talk to anyone as much as I would have liked, I wanted an entire day for each person and then I would have just had to move back home.
But Cleveland the city?
You know how that's not always a bad thing, to see and know a thing clearly for what it is? In fact, it's the best thing right? The Love that remains after the In Love is over.
I saw my old cat Eddy of 13, 14 years? for the first time in six months, and realized I was genuinely not a cat person, but that I was going to cry a lot when she died, because she was the last part of 20s me that remained, hanging on tenaciously, refusing to get older.
I saw The Prince and realized I was always going to be in love with him, and that we would make the worst couple ever, and that I'd be lost without him in my life and I was never going to stop talking to him again.
As soon as I articulated this to myself, I missed my Hitman like someone had just swung a cinderblock at my head. But once the worst of the pain was over, it was okay. That's how it works, just deal with the pain and then it will be over and you will hardly remember except every time you fall in love with anyone ever again.
The Prince took me to Cafe Miami, finally, after never successfully going there with me our entire whirlwind summer last year, because we never got up in time. That was crazy as shit. I can't even begin to explain it, because you aren't me or the Prince, and so therefore when you go, you'll appreciate it in your own way, but definitely not our way. He complained the whole time about how fucking cold it was, and it was horribly cold. There was this white stuff on the ground and all this frozen water, and it was practically unlivable. But he also, somehow, without planning to, took me to the library, and to walk on the breaker rocks, and to the coffeeshop I loved, and managed somehow to give me the best kind of Cleveland non-tourist experience. Which I don't usually need any help with, in my own city, but I was just SO COLD. And that's why he's so good with couchsurfers, I guess.
Everyone who saw me at shows asked me where the old confident Bridget had gone. I thought about how the only thing people in NC ever told me is how they wondered at how confident I was, and then I got very quiet.
I saw Jere, and discovered that moving away from him has made him infinitely more valuable to me and I want him to move here please and be my exploration partner again. I can't talk more about that here, but it's absolutely imperative he do this.
I had sex in an abandoned church made yoga studio, and realized I got off more on it being a yoga studio than a church even, as far as desecration sexiness goes, because I find yoga just as creepy as church, and sex in places that creep you out is a power grab. I think that's why I want to tell everyone about it, because I deal with yoga as a presence in my life every day at work, and I don't hate. I even respect it. But I am scared of it. It tries to tell me every day how ugly and unworthy I am, because I'm fat and not rich and drink and smoke. So having sex in it's own lair is kind of a coup for me.
All the shows went pretty well I think.
I made some money, I sold some books.
I saw Mom and Dad at the farm, the dogs came back covered in horse manure.
Then I drove back the 14 hours by myself in a car that I had been convinced would leave me to die in West Virginia somewhere, only it didn't, and instead I just drove through the mountains singing for an entire day and it was kinda easy and amazing. Turns out I like driving by myself a lot. I'm sure that's not a surprise to anyone who's ever had a veil lifting moment about me.
And then I came home, to North Carolina, and it was actually coming home. Which is disorienting, but a relief at least, that it turns out I made the right decision. The first trip back to the city of your birth is always a test.
Whenever I think about Austin renting a car and driving all the way down to North Carolina to come get me and take me home, I feel so incredibly loved. Austin, Scott, Jere, Lou, Don, Ramon, David, Sean, Peter, I know all the best boys.
Posted by Bridget Callahan at 1:16 PM
Monday, February 25, 2013
I think this is the most Southern place I have been so far. Whether or not you think that's correct, it's true. This place is an apex of everything pretty and good and loving that I wanted from the South when I came here, all frosty and doe eyed from the Rustbelt. Here, the light makes everyone attractive, makes their flaws seem sweet. The wood changes the tone of their words so that everything sounds relevant and real. There's the right amount of clutter to make neatness seem unimportant.
There's a river. If there wasn't water nearby, I don't know how I would feel differently, but I definitely would. There's a bridge down the river that lights up gold at sunset, and later when it's dark, you can see the semi-truck running lights flashing over it in the distance.
And the people that were in the house with me, they are important no doubt, for other reasons. But maybe it could have been anyone, because the house will make you a better person as long as you're willing to succumb to it. I guess if Gatsby weren't there, standing like a guardian or a welcome wagon, I can't tell how much of the spell is him and how much is the house. Like, I know he built it and all, but aren't houses like children? If you build them right, then you no longer own or control them.
I remember crawling into my darling abandoned Masonic Hall, and I knew immediately, I could feel it, that it had become it's own creature. People had left it, and it had developed it's own sentience. And it was sad a little, it was lonely, but tough and predatory and beautiful all the same. This house, it developed it's own intelligence before people abandoned it, it's like...it's like the Masonic Temple was an orphan, a refugee, and this house is a healthy first world child, loved and with a liberal arts education. And maybe I'm all torn up from loving the orphans so much, from feeling the personalities of the Rustbelt all hard and starving for love, and I'm so used to just immediately giving those abandoned building all my love, I've made so much room in my heart for buildings, that this one comes along not even needing my love but swelling into my over-stretched heart all the same and I'm drowned in it.
And so I declare this place the first of My Southern Monsters. It eats the hearts of little girls and boys, and spits them out gold, all wrapped in vines and plant spit.
I don't know why I can love buildings so much harder than beings. I mean, I have heartbeat loyalty, I would never choose one over the other, I think, I'm pretty sure. Mammals 4 Life. But oh thick stone and leaded glass. Surely this is from growing up surrounded by old skyscrapers and packed together Victorians, surely this is a gift, I'm not saying that it isn't. Seeing the life in buildings is a gift, hearing them talk is a blessing. But still, they are scary huge alien creatures, like elephants and mountains. Their intentions are so glacial and foreign. People, our intentions are so fast, we make them clear and act on them almost immediately - though to us it might seem like a lifetime, our lifetimes are so quick and gnat like, we are instantaneous creatures - therefore fickle. Buildings are not fickle, their desires are slow.
It might be different if I knew how to handle them properly, not just break into them with sneaking and smashing, but how to fix them and bandage their wounds, how to make homes for them. Like a lion tamer, earning respect from the creatures he takes care of. Right now I'm still only a spectator, so the house, and the hall, and the church, and the school - they have no reason to pay attention to me - I'm neither threat nor friend. If I want buildings to love me back the way I love them, I guess I should learn to talk back instead of just listening.
But that's what I'm particularly good at - loving things without them loving me back. That's also a gift.
Posted by Bridget Callahan at 11:50 AM
Sunday, February 24, 2013
There was a pack of lions swimming in the water. Two adult lions and several smaller adolescent cubs. She could see them only 500 feet down the busy crowded beach. All around her the brightly colored striped tents of the permanent beach vendors, hawking fried things and frozen things, swirled and crusted and crumbling with sugar, were shining golden and red in the dying sun. The tanned stretched out plastic bodies of Wrightsville Beach lounged everywhere, on the splintery picnic tables that had been beaten gray by ocean wind, young people laughing and flirting with each other, old people sitting quietly in groups, and then those angry middle aged people freaking out over everything - their kids, other people, the fact that the earth was turning in space and they would soon have to go home because they were no longer free to stay in the drunken wilds of the beach after dark. People in general seemed happy and good natured until they hit middle age, that weird vast void between being pretty and not caring about being pretty anymore. No one seemed to notice the lions swimming out in the waves, but especially the middle aged people didn't notice, they deliberately didn't notice.
She was caught between the tide of people not watching, and,the pull of the lions in the waves, and with a short tug she pulled herself out of the thicket of the main drag and onto the empty coastline stretch, into the real sand. Behind her, humanity murmured, in front of her the water was humming, and for a moment she could hear the sound of her own breath before one sound or the other overwhelmed, she hovered on the threshold between the two atmospheres. Then she was free of the swell, and trudged towards the waters edge. The lions were playing only a few feet deep, and a young man stood on shore by them, watching them, a handful of leashes dangling by his side. She instantly resented him being there, it was the illusion of wild lions that had drawn her, now she knew they were only tame cats, but still they were impressive - their dark heavy bodies soaked in sea water, heaving and jumping and all their muscles were defined by their wet fur, monstrous animals with the face of kittens and the joy of killers. The sunset light caught the edge of their hair, and lit it up in gleaming gold neon outlines of their ears and snouts and thick necks, the soft pussy willow tips of their tails. Only predators have the capacity to be as happy as these cats were, herbivores can't relax long enough to smile. She walked up to him, her eyes transfixed on the lions. He smiled at her, also never taking his eyes off the cats.
"They're yours?" She had to shout a little into the wind. He had coffee brown skin and little black ringlets blowing around his half shell ears. His shoulders were very wide, and he gave the physical impression of being immovable by wind or weather. She could feel his concreteness through her hoodie, as surely as if she was standing next to a pillar of stone, the cold and wet air masking any smell of human that he had. It made sense that he was the lion tamer, if they tried to bite him they would only break their eyeteeth.
"Sure." He didn't turn his face to her when he answered, and the word almost completely escaped, she had to reach out and grab it from the air. She took out her phone to take a photo, and only this action seem to poke him, he turned and looked at her with disappointment. She was vaguely aware that she very quickly decided she didn't care about his opinion of whether or not she should be enjoying the moment as it happened, she wanted a photo to remember this by, and as she focused the camera and stared at them through the screen, she thought about when she had turned into this person, someone who sometimes didn't care. She was proud of herself, in another time she would have felt a stab of shame, and done whatever his large brown eyes were pleading her to do. But there would be no more boys making her feel ashamed, not lion tamer strangers or anyone. If he didn't want anyone taking photos of his cats, he shouldn't bring them swimming at the public beach. The photos of course bore no resemblance to the scene in front of her, but only because there are qualities of light we will never capture, just like there are qualities of lions and qualities of boys that aren't tangible.
She watched the rest of the time in silence, until the light was really almost gone. He gave a short guttural bark, and the pack came bounding back, rushing towards them in doggish obedience, the cubs following in kind only because they didn't want to lose their parents. The sensation of lions running at you is hard to recreate without risking death, and the experience of lions running at you with a complete sense of safety is reserved for only very special people, ones who have decided to live their lives in close proximity to beasts - zookeepers and vets, circus trainers. They stood around shaking the salt water off in arcing rainbow spatters while he attached the leashes to the giant collars that impossibly circled their huge primeval necks. She was obsessed with their necks, tendons the size of her arms tensing and flexing underneath the smelly wet animal hair. She had a deep need to lay her hand on them, put her head down against them, be cheek to cheek with their huge quiet faces.
He took them home, and she walked back towards town. The throng of the beach city had turned to the nighttime crowd, tanned lithe girls in white shorts and shiny cheekbones, smiling flirting boys buying them beers, the few middle-agers left who were nice, well on their way to old people status, already gathered in their social groups. The tents were strung with colored lights, the glows were green and blue and pink, and they cast theatre shadows against the high dark stone walls that separated the sands from the city. She stopped under the colossal arch of one of the dozen walkways, leaned against the cold dirty masonry, and watched the two sides - on the other side of one arch there was the beach with lights and loud wantonness, and then on the city side - streetlights and well dressed women in heels leaning on the arms of their dates, getting in and out of taxis, the antique storefronts lit up like a period movie set. She had salt and sand curdled on her skin and in the folds of her jeans, her hair falling stringy and wind tangled, any traces of makeup she left the house with completely bled off by now, and she belonged in neither of these places, but the only way out was one or the other, you couldn't go up.
Posted by Bridget Callahan at 9:32 AM
Sunday, February 17, 2013
Last night, I was sitting around with two friends of mine. It was cold and rainy, early late evening, like 9 or 10. We had opted to stay in drinking slowly, watching snowboarding movies, and eating Chinese food. I had worked all day, and taken the bus downtown in actual snow, so I was wet and cold and huddled in a blanket. I know I looked bedraggled because when I had stopped to get cigarettes on my way over to his house, the clerk at the Village Market asked me if I was okay. I felt beat up, and happy to not be at work or doing homework. Both of them are smart and interesting, it's really nice to just sit around with smart, interesting people, it's one of the most important parts of my life.
So my one friend recently went on a date with a girl to a mega church. When I expressed my absolutely amazement, because I would never in a million fucking years go to church with a boy as a date, he got wild about it. "It was great, it was amazing, it was so unbelievable, even more so than what we thought it was," he said. "But I don't need to go to church. The sermon was this thing about how if a whore comes to your door, and she's like, struggling, then you have to take her in. I don't need someone to tell me to be a decent person. But, you know, they do."
We all sat around for a moment, gape-mouthed and considering. "That's terrifying," I finally said, "to think that they do, like we actually need religion as a society in order to tamp down the psychopaths who have just never learned what decent is."
"Think how many more murders there would be..." my other friend said.
But also I think it's terrifying we haven't progressed enough as a species to be beyond these primitive forms of crowd control.
And so, with this in mind, I want to talk about the phenomenon of selfies on Instagram.
The other day I asked my coworker if he thought my Instagram feed was too vain.
He replied he thought I had one of the lesser vain feeds. Out of my last 25 photos, six of them were selfies. I think that's pretty vain. It disturbs me that I'm no good at Instagram, because it takes so long to come up on my phone, and so I can't just like, snap it out. So I take a lot of photos of buildings, and some of trees, and some of myself making stupid faces. My mother gives me shit over it, because they ARE stupid looking, I can see how dumb my expressions are, thank you. But I don't think she realizes how much of our culture IS looking at ourselves now. I think older people write it off as selfishness, but that's just a side of it, a facet of an entire shift in perspective. A perspective that also includes self-awareness, and an evolution of empathy from understanding your own emotions to being aware of other people's emotions. I'm not saying it's better than the last perspective, which was much more nationalistic, and had good parts too, like New Deal parts. There is no right or wrong, when it comes to how societies grow up, it's impossible to pass complete and fair judgement on all people all at once. That's why God doesn't exist.
And so I guess what I'm saying is taking pictures of yourself on Instagram is like going to church, in the most child-like way.
In the spirit of confession, I thought it might be a good exercise to show you a few of them and tell you exactly what I was thinking and doing in that instant I decided to take a photo of myself. This might just be another excuse to be vain, I can't tell , I think that might be one of the first sacraments in this new world order, developing the ability, the wisdom to know when you're being too vain, and I'm not there yet. That might be the demarcation of taste here too, taste in what you like about yourself and therefore other people. Isn't there something about how babies are supposed to look at themselves a lot in a mirror, to develop their concept of self? That their body is a controllable unit? Isn't Instagram just looking at ourselves in the mirror and studying ourselves harshly? I just can't get behind that being a bad thing.
Unfortunately Instagram only tells you vague times of when you posted a photo, so even though it would be really interesting to know what time or day it was, all you get is an annoying "1 wk" label. I had worked all day, and I had been wearing the same makeup for 48 hours. I had a bunch of homework due the next morning, it was after 9pm and I had to do this paper and then get up at 6am to catch the bus to school. I had gotten compliments on my nail polish all day. I have also been trying to cut gluten out from my diet and this was only a few days in. A co-worker had given me a Sammy's Millet and Flax pizza crust that was expired, and I bought some mozzarella and prosciutto, mushrooms and garlic. My roommate and I devoured that pizza, and I was feeling extremely grateful to find such a good pizza crust. For some reason, the light of my computer screen always makes my eyes looks extremely blue, and because I didn't want to do my homework, I was taking photos with my phone of my face instead, idly, flipping through the entire Marina and the Diamonds catalog. And...I just liked this one a lot. I just think it's a good photo. I have pretty eyes. I have the worst hands though, it's impossible to make them look good. And that color blue? I wear blue like every day now guys. Bright bright blues. I live in that hoodie.
This was two days later, on my way out, but I don't remember where I was going. I was feeling pretty good body-wise, but I couldn't quite bring myself to take a full length shot of myself, I spent ten minutes in the mirror, trying to decide if I was brave enough. I was listening to Marina's Teen Idle on repeat that day. I remember adjusting my bra straps over and over again, to decide how I liked them best. In the end I wussed out, and posted this with some lame caption about this being my expression while I tried to decide if I liked my body. It's interesting to note I didn't.
On Thursday night I stayed up too late and wasted at the comedy club. At 2am, I ate an English muffin. I woke up actually feeling fine, but looking terrible and feeling even guiltier. I didn't have the money to spend on drinking, and I know I did a bad set because of how drunk I was, and I was mad about the gluten. So I went from almost liking my body to using it to publicly shame myself, glasses and all. But it felt really good to have a bad photo of myself out there, because I feel sometimes like every single photo anyone online ever sees of me are these close up face shots, almost all from the same two head tilts, the same two half smiles. It feels like a lie, especially because I know lots of people online that I never see in person. I think this entry is starting to make me come off as a masochistic.
I just like this picture. I like that it looks like the eye against the pillow is all swollen, like I've got a black eye, when really it's just me getting old and not always looking good in the morning. In the morning when I wake up, I have to sit in bed for at least twenty minutes, putting my thoughts in order. If I don't get that time, then I am scattered all day, I never get it right.
I think sometimes another reason I am looking at my face all the time is because I am getting noticeably older, things are changing, and I'm obsessed with that. Maybe babies just feel the same way. If every day you are supposed to wake up and be prepared to be a completely different person by the end of the day, if you're going to let the universe make it's impressions however it chooses, then maybe it's not so different from the people who take the same shot of themselves every day at the exact same in the exact same way. Just the lazy version of that, not so dedicated.
On Valentines Day I went with a co-worker Bethany to see The Birdland Orchestra, they were playing at school, and I forgot that the benefit of being a student is now I get student rates on all the concerts and lectures that come to Keenan. So these thirty dollar tickets were like 5 bucks, it was awesome. I'm totally going to see an astronaut speak next month. Afterwards we ran into this saxophonist I've seen before, and all three of us went to the most anti-Valentines day bar we could think of, which is a place called Barbary Coast. I hadn't been in there yet, it was on the list, but I'm so glad the first time was that evening. Within five minutes of being there, someone had put Love Stinks by J.Geils Band on, and it WASN'T ME. Anyway, I was wearing all blue again, and I felt pretty good about the way the holiday had played out this year, so there you go.
I wanted a new facebook profile picture, I had looked at the other one too long, and I had started to hate it, with it's dumb cross eyed expression, and goofy weird pose against my pillow. So instead I took another goofy weird pose against my pillow, and made a dumb looking away expression instead. There is nothing to justify about this photo, my nose looks awesome and I like my hair, and I like the curve of my cheek, and in the end is there really something that terrible about an entire society of people learning to like how their faces look and think that they are pretty?
Isn't that all vanity is, thinking we are pretty looking? The problem is not us, but all the people who don't think they're pretty. We need to figure out a way to work that into church without making it a superiority thing. God, guys, you make everything a superiority thing, don't you?
Finally, the most interesting side effect of constantly having these photos of yourself around and accessible and out there being commented on is that after a while of seeing them side by side, you realize that every single image up there is of an entirely different girl. And not a single one of them is really me. That's something you can't capture. Silly aborigines, you had nothing to worry about, and now we're going to forget what you looked like eventually.
Posted by Bridget Callahan at 8:39 AM