Wednesday, October 27, 2004

He hobbled around the circular floor plan, leaning heavily on his cane, light blue cotton pajamas stained in the crotch from a few 'accidents.' he'd lived his whole life never thinking, never suspecting for a minute that once he reached an age where he'd be free from the shackles of work to do anything he wanted that he'd have to spend most of his time running to the bathroom. If he didn't make it, his wife helped him change his pajamas and put the wet ones directly in the washer, but lately she'd been leaving them in a damp heap at the end of the bed. It was a gesture that made him feel uneasy in a way that he couldn't quite pin down, but that he didn't feel like dealing with.

He continued his circuit around the house, clutching the old-fashioned incense burner with his index finger as best he could, waving his arm through the air after he steadied himself with his cane, shuffling in his sheepskin slippers, the ones his son had made for him in 4-H. He slid his legs far enough apart to hold him still. When the smoke had gathered in a thick cloud, he sighed and wandered creakily along.

The cheap Turkish incense obliterated the smell of the rosemary chicken he had made earlier for Sunday dinner. He still insisted on doing the butchering himself, even though his wife said that it was really a job for his son now, as the main able-bodied man of the farm, to choose and kill the evening meal. But he held onto it because it was his routine and he didn't know how to let it go. He wanted to feel useful, and now, at 66, with no job and his granddaughters old enough to not need constant looking after, the best thing he could do with his days was make it from sunrise to sunset without wetting himself.

"Goddamn golden years my ass!" he said to himself, and thought about how that evening's chicken had struggled in his hand as he grabbed it by the scaly legs and flopped it onto the chopping block, soft feathers already coming loose and floating around them both, like snow, like soap flakes.

He entertained no anthropomorphic ideas about the animals on his farm. He discouraged his granddaughters from naming even the rangy barn cats, who prowled the back woods for commission in rat carcasses.

"No use naming something you're going to eat for supper. Same goes for those cats. They're meaner than anything and they'd just as soon bite you," he'd say. The girls would listen solemnly and nod, then not only name them, but capture and dress them in headbands and put bows on their tails.

Something about that night's chicken had given him pause. His fluid practiced motions had seemed clumsy. The chicken's frenzied squawks unnerved him. He struggled with the iron piece that fit over the bird's head and neck. It didn't slide easily and made the process seem cruel.

When he finally held the small ax and delivered the blow that sent the tiny feathered head to the floor, his hand was shaking. He released his sweaty grip on the headless body and it tumbled to the ground, ran into the wall, backed up and did it again.

He felt tears welling up in his rhuemy eyes and blinked back their burning humiliation. Crying over a chicken wasn't for him. Not ever.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

so i've been invited to be in a show at pacific switchboard for the month of december in which artists who normally eschew drawing as their main mode of operation will draw three-panel comic strips and then show them to the greater metropolitan area.

last night i finally finished my drawings: three pieces with three hand drawn "polaroids" of a monkey puppet on vacation in CA. based on a series of real polaroids by my friend annabelle. my process for cutting and pasting is pretty weird, as i just realized this morning. i sit right in front of the television and put on a hollywood blockbuster that i've seen ten times and just listen to the dialogue and spread gluestick around or whatever needs to be done. last night i watched fight club, the game, and part of election before i started to nod off. i finished the monkeys, my new zine, and all of my sewing projects. pretty goddamn exciting stuff.

i'm really getting anxious for november to start so i can begin the nanowrimo novel. i don't feel like i should start any other writing projects this week because they're just going to get forgotten for the next four weeks(or longer).

so i just keep jogging my leg up and down and web surf.

anyone who wants to keep up with my novel progress for the month of november can visit i do not apologize for what will surely be a thinly veiled version of reality...

Monday, October 25, 2004

the sweater that i'm wearing smells like dimestore perfume. no, highschool locker room/'love's baby soft' or maybe 'exclamation!' and it is killing me. i bought this sweater used and of course i washed it, even added on the extra rinse cycle, just to cover my bases. i laid it out to dry and this morning, when it should have been scented with nothing more offensive than the tattered dryer sheet that has been floating around in the dryer for months, it instead reeked of adolescence. not that teenagers smell badly on purpose. but i remember the deadly combination of body spritzes and cafeteria lunches mingling daily in my clothes. and sweat. anxious sweat. christ, i was soaked through all the time. i had to put deoderant on the insides of my thighs to help squelch the smell of fear that oozed out of every pore on my body.

so now i'm not sure what to do about this otherwise great it through the washer with every load of clothes until it becomes tame? hand wash it in baking soda? try to resell it?

the good part: the day i bought it, i took 10 things with me into the dressing room. my hit average in a situation like that is about 10%--on a GOOD day. but everything worked. not just 'well, it fits alright and maybe i could rip off that stupid patch,' but really worked. my ass looked great in every pair of jeans. the sweaters weren't itchy. the black t-shirts weren't cropped above the navel. perfect. the only thing that didn't work out was a purple sweater that didn't match the purple in my hair. and it's important to coordinate a little bit with neon hair. so i walked out with 3 things on one finger that i couldn't quite justify and 7 on the other and the attendant reached for the larger group of hangers and i shook my head at him and handed him the smaller bunch and he gave the a google eye and i nodded and smiled a smug little smile and he said, 'wow, that never happens.'