Was Chicago

This week, Thursday is the new Monday like global warming is the new pollution. Which is like realizing that Tyranosaurus Rex has a far larger appetite than its lizard cousin, or a hurricane is the devil-cousin of a rainstorm. Listing is my new OS:

1. In no way should anyone, particularly he, think I was complaining in the preceding entry.

2. If I had anything to complain about it would be the fact that there were no bedside lamps in the B&B in Chicago.

3. Is a B&B a B&B just because you say it is? Is a healing garden a healing garden just because you say it is? What if it's really a courtyard with lawn furniture from Costco and a bin full of Home Depot flowers stuck into dirt? After a run down West Division street I went there to, um, heal; wound up staring at the plywood leaning against one wall, noticing the artificial coloring look of the courtyard tiles, felt anything but healed. Felt slightly heeled.

3a. My exacting mother, who could not stand sloppy service, who would rant for hours if served flavored coffee, has decided to possess me. Otherwise there is no reason to even mention any of this. She was always so astonished that someone would want to make coffee, the sacred drink, taste like raspberries.



3b. After all, the reading at the Hopleaf was amazing. The place was packed. The audience was marvelous. They listened to all of us. They drank lots of interesting kinds of beers and listened intently and laughed and got all the jokes.

4. And surely a steam shower is a B&B. Linens as frothy as a wedding cake are a B&B. But no dresser, no coffee for the coffeemaker, disfunctional keys to an obvious front door in a possibly sketchy neighborhood? Not a B&B.

4a. Mom?

5. And: All of this is completely irrelevant given that fact that in 100 years there may be no more apples and some very cranky, overheated cows in NY state. And 100-year floods every ten years or so. I was in one last June, when the creek on one side and the stream on the other (I lived in a house between them) decided to join up and have a party on the road (so it was, what road? it was, knee-deep in roiling muddy water on the road). The FEMA guy said, Yup, that was a 100-year event. Exactly how is something classified as a 100-year event, I asked. He said, By drastic-ness.


Mark Rothko, 1969

Is absolutely Chicago

The long walk from O'Hare to the Blue Line ended in a strange, subterranean, humid hall, kind of a mass transit cavern. It was clogged with tourists waving dollars at a woman designated to help by her municipal green CTA vest. I asked her: can you use coins? She said sure. She meant, to get a ticket to ride. I'd meant, can you use coins to ride. There are a dozen ways to miscommunicate at any given moment, which is certainyl something I writer about. Or try to.

Tonight's reading at the Hopleaf with Peter Ho Davies and Aaron Belz should be fun. Why? I admit that it will be fun for me partially because there is an entire page in TimeOutChicago about the book, and its writer. I knew Jonathan Messinger was going to make something of it when I objected to his calling the characters in RL&OS damaged. And he did, but in a journalist's never-miss-an-in way, half astute and half along for the happy ride. I cannot blame him--at all-- for not missing a beat. It's true that the connection he stitches (between my writing about women who've gone to extreme lengths with their bodies and women going to extreme lengths in their lives, but he writes it far more elegantly) is one I'd never make myself. But Jonathan, gracias. Merci. I see it. Even if the chronology isn't exact, I see it. I'd been writing some of these stories, in different forms, years before I was assigned to write My Body and What it's Been Through for some years back. But that's okay. I could have, at that point, begun to write about un-marred, unaffected women. But that has never interested me.

Adrenaline is a kind of caffeine, really. I drink it daily. Need it, really. The adrenaline of a narrator's voice speeding up in my head.

Who knows why a sensibility forms? I'd never thought of my characters as damaged, but I guess they are. They do drugs, they have boyfriends who use them and spend their money, they have incurable diseases, they do not always practice safe sex. But they make no excuses. And some have tremendous vocabularies. So I suppose they are redeemed by their brains and their spirits and their nerve. Or I hope they are. But it doesn't mean they don't do bad things. Rothko, having painted all these astounding wonders, killed himself after all. I would call that a form of damage. An enduring damage.