Wednesday, April 7, 2010


I have a tremendous fear of being institutionalized. So for this reason I am hotly dreading AWP, which for those who don't know is some conference, I'm not sure what it is, it has something to do with writing programs, I don't think it has much to do with literature, it is in Denver, and I have a plane ticket and I am going by myself, which is new for me, as I'm a very anxious flier. I'm also an anxious traveler. I leave tomorrow at 4:30am to get to the Akron-Canton Airport, and yesterday I already called and spoke to the concierge about four times. I want to make sure I know where I would potentially eat, and where I could potentially escape and do yoga and I have Google Mapped all possible destinations. And drawn myself an hourly schedule. I'm not kidding. And today I will make a list out of all my clothes and order them and steam them and put them in the suitcase, which is unproductive, John says, I don't care. I identify so much with my Louise Bourgeois, who says that when she travels she always wears strange clothes. Myself as well. And for me traveling is like putting on strange clothes, a strange self, this public self the air is cool and it is unfamiliar to be outside.

And besides all this my books will probably not be in for the conference, there was an error, they were supposed to be sent to Lidia in Portland air and they were sent ground, and I crept on the floor of a gray concrete utilitarian building at the university two days ago and did my routine I perform a striptease routine for these corporate types, I will be supplicant I will be soothing  I will be pathetic I will tell you my narrative and if you don't give me what I want I will be mean mean Mommy and I will be mad Medusa and I will stage a protest and not get off the phone or leave the building until you get me what I want. This is the singular talent I've inherited from my mother, my ability to deal with customer service reps, last week I snake charmed Amazon into refunding us for a blender we bought a year ago that finally choked on too much frozen spinach and ice cubes. Luckily it didn't come to that. My fury routine. And maybe the books will be there in time. I am hopeful this morning because I spoke to someone this morning and the box was listed as in Portland. The UPS rep this morning asked what kind of book it was. Hell if I know. I said. A weird one, maybe.

Oh last weekend I will get to that. I read for a wonderful reading series with Jenny Boully. Jenny Boully who was marvelous but who looked at me with expectancy everyone I am supposed to be glowing from my first book aren't you excited? not really congratulations! congratulations! and it's like I lack the maternal dew. I cannot summon up excitement about this book, as my life is completely falling apart and I feel I'm the only one who can stand and catch everything falling, falling from the sky. And plus I wrote the book like two years ago. It's like thanking someone for an orgasm you had two years ago - it's a distant memory, that orgasm. But thank you thank you. I kept on hearing in my head that line from Killing Kanoko: Congratulations on your abortion! Congratulations on your abortion!

Obviously this is turning into a sort of personal essay. I'm sorry for that. I've been absent of ideas and obsessed with the self. There is more you know that I'm not writing! 

Just heard from the printer person. The books are in limbo. They are in a terminal. It is the wrong terminal. It is in this stage and it has not yet proceeded to this stage.  It is all terminal. This is a terminal situation. They have been scanned "Arrival" and not "Departure" and although they are in Portland, they cannot be picked up, and now my stomach's twisting twisting, and I think I might throw up and I have no idea why the fuck I'm going to Denver if my books won't be there. 

I've decided, just now, I will approach AWP like DFW at the Illinois State Fair. I will be anthropological and distanced. And I'm looking forward to some things. To meeting the glitteringly mad Bhanu Kapil, who I've decided must have her own cable access show and to meet the poet Kate Durbin, my twin who too is obsessed with Clara Bow and Marilyn Monroe.

(pause while I call UPS for the 5th time and proceed to attempt the theatrics of bawling my eyes out, we are in stage two of the disease: absolute pathos)

Update: There is nothing they can do. My books won't have arrived. No talent no snake charming nothing can be done. I have bought a barren ticket to Denver. I am being overly dramatic. There are my author copies, I can send those, I just counted those, if I can figure out how to get them there tomorrow morning. Do I put them in a suitcase and check them? I don't know.

Yet this seems to be everything right now. Calling and speaking to one doctor, there's a hope there's a chance, researching possible miracles possible exit strategies, my uncle at the Mayo Clinic right now being prodded and poked, there's no chance now there's no chance. We thought there was hope but it is terminal. We thought there was hope but it is terminal. It is now at this stage. It is now proceeding to this stage and we just have to watch it.

If you see me at AWP and my face is all red and smudgey and my eyes are swollen this is why I try never to cry. Because when I cry my body gives over to it completely. My mother used to say "Don't cry Katie. Don't cry. You look so ugly when you cry." So much complication in that memory. But it's true. My face gets bright bright red and my eyes get bright bright green and I see photos of myself that I had to take the day after I had been crying and everything is swollen shut. This is why I try so hard not to give myself over to it. I have now given myself over to it. I am a sobbing mess. I am heaving heaving sorrows so many sorrows have given way have overwhelmed me. I am overwhelmed.

But it'll be okay. I think it's just everything. 53 books will be plenty, will be enough, it will be fine, but then I will have my readings end of the months, it's a lot of worrying, but it'll be okay.

I'm going to stop writing this post for now. Sometimes the only way to survive is to be fetal. I am going to eat all the soy pudding in my fridge and watch television  on my computer. I need to be the high priestess of catatonia.

New update: I received this in my g-spot box and it cheered me up:

Hi Friend,

I am Sheila here, wanting to make new male friend. I am 23 this year, if u dont mind to make friend e-mail me. I believe we can move from here and Remember the distance or color does not matter but love matters alot in life, please just feel free to write me am waiting for your reply thanks.

It's so true  isn't it so profound. Remember the distance or color does not matter but love matters alot in life. And yes, we can move from here. I deliriously love spam, I feel in my mind like that Monty Python skit. SPAM! I LOVE IT! SPAM! SPAM! SPAM! Monkey's notebook is littered with glossolalia/spam I found like debris in comment streams.

So I am feeling more upbeat. An interesting experiment, today's mercurial moods played out in a blogpost. I hope there's no psychology students thumbing through their DSM-IV (or now it is 5! it has morphed! evolved! Bigger! Better! Diseases!)