Welcome to my blog Upstate Girl, (a.k.a Follow Your Bliss Part II), I am an independently published author. This blog is all about writing and the stuff that inspires me to write, the joys and obstacles that come along with the writer's life, and my fascination with the psychology of people and what makes them tick...the human condition, as is...and my love for words, playing with them and making sense of them...and I throw in a few photos from my acre of the world just to make things pretty...sometimes there are things I have no words for, only pictures will do.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Pieces of me...the duality of the artist and writer...

Is it a bird? 11/28/2004

I didn’t have a bird in mind when I made this one…This is an old pencil drawing in one of my sketchbooks…my drawings are more meditation than a study for something specific…I started doing them in a sketchbook that a friend gave to me for a present to fill with my doodles that I had been making on scraps of paper and post-it notes…these drawings were more mine than anything I ever made before. It was a special time for me creatively, I was following my bliss in both art and writing.

Book cover, The Fractured Hues of White Light, copyright 2010
At the same time that I was filling sketchbooks with these elaborate doodles, I was also working on the early draft of my novel, The Fractured Hues of White Light, so the sketchbook of my meandering pencil marks played a role in creating the main character Samantha Ryder…an autistic artist who makes copies of the greatest hits of the art world in miniature, which she didn’t like doing very much, she did this to please her father and the people who wanted her to make them—it is the doodles in her sketchbooks that are “hers”…it’s about that and more…


From the back cover:

To this day I still laugh at my misinterpretation when the doctor diagnosed me as autisticI thought he said "artistic"—so I laughed and cried out, "I draw just like my Daddy!" But no one laughed with me; my mother cried, my father became indignant, and the doctor defensive...Then my pencil went about the business of drawing—after all, I am artistic. But little picture's have ears—and my eyes didn't miss a thing, especially the emotions that sparkled in my mother's tear-filled eyes. My fixation with the emotional landscape of faces was always the quirky discrepancy of my being autistic—my drawings documented with intricate detail the people I loved best of all. The doctor thought this very unusual—puzzling, yet unique, he called me "special." 

*

My artist/writer pieces of me overlap and separate…it’s a duality that I manage (I don’t struggle with it—I’d get nowhere like that.) To compartmentalize these two endeavors, I gave the writing projects a name, Laura J. W. Ryan. It’s me, they’re mine.


I love what I do…

I'm still poking along editing Drinking from the Fishbowl, it's going to take time and I'm glad to develop it in the way that I have envisioned it...I cannot stress enough the need for patience while writing a book. I've been wringing out words, cutting, replacing, rearranging, and tweaking for four years, so it's easy to feel overwhelmed and to let frustration whisper its insidious nothings in the back of my mind. I take these prickly demons as they come and shrug them off. Who's telling this here story, right? Looking back to the first chapter I'm stunned when I realize I haven't looked at it for over two years...so I get into this mental tizzy worrying about the consistency of my "voice"...what if the first sentence and the last sentence don't "meet" in the way that I intend them? I can't go back yet...I need to keep going forward. Set it aside or send it off to a trusted reader to assess it. Work on something else for awhile to "forget", and then go back.

Novels are so big...a drawing of meandering lines is so simple...it takes the edge off, changes my focus...so I can go back to writing with fresh-eyes...

Sunday, November 23, 2014

My thoughts about "White Noise" by Don Delillo


I'm trying to catch up on my readingit seems my TO READ pile is bottomless, and I'm just getting around to books I should have read years ago, but yet, I'm catching them at the right time in my life. White Noise is a prickly, hilarious, and sober little-big book. It’s squirmy in that amusing Seinfeld sort of way that can be uncomfortable at times—like sitting on grass, after awhile its stops being nice once it starts to make your skin itchy and every dang bug comes out and decides to crawl all over you. Jack, his family, and acquaintances are as American as apple pie—tho’ some of them apples are not meant for pies, ‘tis a pessimistic pie if you ask me. I’ve become so cynical these days, sometimes I think our country is truly a bag full of assholes with the best ones picked out—I know, that really, really sounds mean, but honestly—these last 30 years—dang, this book is still as relevant today as it was back in ’85, and things have become all too predictable—shit has not changed all that much, I’m disappointed how we haven’t grown—we just got a whole lot of MORE, that’s all (and that also means a whole lot of MORE who have LESS too.) Since when did the American dream turn people into a bunch of greedy fucks? It’s so depressing if I dwell on it too much—but when I stand on my acre of the world—there is a sense of serenity that I cannot find anywhere else—the shit can be hitting the fan in more ways than one, but here at home sweet home I try to keep my head and convince myself, “It really isn’t THAT bad.” (Ah, screw, who am I kidding, it is.)

Contemporary life has a strange fixation on catastrophes—the 24/7 news coverage of disasters—footage of devastation and the devastated—the body count counts toward how bad it really was—or wasn’t. The agony of survivors overplayed until we are desensitized to their plight—it all becomes white noise after awhile—it’s no longer about reporting information—it’s about the bottom line. Once you stop listening, the screaming of advertisements break the monotony of disaster, plague, famine, war, and last but not least, Death. Get your fix of choice right here on the biggest screen you can buy—the latest scandal, the latest murder, the latest Hollywood fiasco, the latest political debacle; the latest diet to make you lose weight, the latest drug of choice to cure what ails you… 

What if there is a pill to cure the fear of death? What if, indeed. Let me tell you this—I don’t trust anything the FDA has approved in the last 20 years so forget it. If they claim they don’t know why that little pill in the brown bottle works, then people shouldn’t be taking it just because it seems to help cure whatever ails them while they are assured that the benefits out-weigh the crappy side effects. (What it definitely does do—it makes piles of money for a select someone else, not you.) 

Who will die first? This question comes up from time to time, like where are the car keys. It ends a sentence, prolongs a glance between us. I wonder if the thought itself is part of the nature of physical love, a reverse Darwinism that awards sadness and ear to the survivor. (Page 15) 

The Fear of Death—married couples especially seem sensitive to this fact of life.When my mother died unexpectedly from a massive stroke, my father said on more than one occasion: “It was supposed to be me who went first.” When Edith Bunker passed away in televisions All in the Family, Archie Bunker uttered this sorrowful lament, as if they had it worked out together. (The ding-bat pulled a fast one on him—who would’ a thunk it?) I know my Fred worries about this—living in our house without me in it will suck for him horribly because everywhere he’ll look, my stuff will be around. The stuff that I have collected over the years to feather our nest—to make our house a home. This was true of my parent’s house, as I have spent the last three years dismantling their nest—every handful of my father’s possessions, there’s an armload of my mother’s things. Sixty-one years of acquiring stuff—lots of it. 

Holy shit, we all die someday. Animals are blessed with a sense of survival—good old fight or flight—but in spite of their natural instinct for self-preservation, they do not dwell on their mortality like we do. Some people deal with it by not thinking about it at all—a naïve repression—some are in total denial—“Me, die? Not me. That’ll never happen in a million years.” But that’s kid stuff, anyone younger than 25 thinks they’re going to live forever and are immune to anything bad happening to them. Some don’t think about it until a health crisis sticks its unwelcome nose into their business and cause untold hours of worry—sometimes for nothing because the test came back negative for that one thing that it could’ve been, but wasn’t. Then there are people all too aware of the ticking clock and the unknown “when”—the real control freaks are most likely to put the gun to their heads and pull the trigger just to get it over with—they probably read the last page of novels too—the anticipation kills them. I personally have learned to appreciate the anticipation—more times than I can count, the outcome is disappointing—it’s the getting there that’s the best part. (I always feel a little depressed when I finish reading a book.) 

Don’t fear the reaper… 

Life is absurd—the absurdity of reality—the elusive dream of one’s hopes for the future, foiled by disappointments and the non-cooperation of life in general—I know it’s enough to make me drop an F-bomb before 9AM on any given day. And then somewhere in the middle of Jack and his family’s normal, a toxic event occurs—this sort o’ shit does not happen to college professors living in small town America. WTF. No-no-no-no this happens in the Third World or in poor neighborhoods, not here—a line is drawn at suburbia—capiche? No, wait—that toxic cloud doesn’t give a shit—nature doesn’t give a rat’s ass about who you think you are. Don’t you know by now? Mother Nature can be mighty mean, you don’t even have to cross her—so wake up and get your ass moving because the wind just changed direction and that hot mess is coming your way, dude... (Maybe it only happens to college professors who teach niche courses about Hitler.) 

When it’s over, life goes on for Jack and his family—returning home to a renewed fixation on one’s demise—only with intense sunsets due to the crap that spewed into the air a few weeks ago, and knowing that after being exposed to that toxic crap cloud a death sentence has most definitely been issued—yet still TBA. 

My favorite part—the family crammed into their car eating takeout fried chicken for dinner—and then sending the kid back in for more—they ate with such wolfish contentment—even Babette sucking on the bones felt very satisfying. There’s nothing like an unhealthy round of gluttony to soothe the unsettled soul. 

I also loved the father-son philosophical arguments between Jack and Heinrich—engagingly frustrating—and after awhile Jack just gives up and steps away—too tired, stressed out, and getting too old to keep up with a fourteen year old boy. His friend, Murray is like an old sage full of all the wisdom and obvious stuff I can nod my head to and feel worse about our society. 

“Television is just another name for junk mail.” Page 50 

“Forgetfulness has gotten into the air and water. It’s entered the food chain.” Page52 

“This is what comes from the wrong kind of attentiveness. People get brain fade. This is because they’ve forgotten how to listen and look as children. They’ve forgotten how to collect data. In the psychic sense a forest fire on TV is on a lower plane than a ten-second spot for Automatic Dishwasher All. The commercial has deeper waves, deeper emanations. But we have revered the relative significance of these things. This is why people’s eyes, ears, brains and nervous systems have grown weary. It’s a simple case of misuse.” Page 66 

I guess I needed this book now—reassuring me that my cynicism is on overdrive for a good reason.




Saturday, November 15, 2014

Seven Months Too Long...



On being ill—the symptoms started when—

Why does it matter WHEN exactly? It does on one level that fusses over the need to know WHEN—but also the need to know HOW LONG. Awhile—awhile ago. Six months—seven months ago as of today, November 15th. It started somewhere between the day closing in on the end of March and the start of April, I had no idea what was wrong with me, I only knew that I felt terrible—which translates to worse than usual, because I have FMS, so feeling fatigued and achy is part of the daily package. I went to the doctor to check up mostly because my heart was doing whacky things, my blood pressure was a little up—no stress, at least nothing unusual that stood out to cause it. I wore a heart monitor for 24 hours. Talked to a cardiologist, nothing too out of the ordinary for a 51 year old woman, a little heart murmur from Rheumatic Fever—not new news, very common. As a rule, I try to avoid taking medication, I do most of my pain management in a mind-over-matter determination that is fueled by a “Fuck-it, I got shit to do” attitude, take an NSAID or two, chase it with a good drenching of water...  

On April 3rd I sat with my sister at a friend’s funeral feeling out of sorts and fragile; I thought maybe I pulled a muscle in my right shoulder—that’s what it felt like. I was tired otherwise—no damn big surprise there, I’m always tired. 

On the 15th day of April, I was at work sitting through a meeting, the skin around my ribcage and below my right shoulder blade started to tingle, then it burned—it ached, deep and clenching like a weird heart attack. As soon as the meeting finished, I ran to the ladies room to look myself over, as soon as I saw the rash I knew what was wrong with me all along. Shingles.

Hydrocodone and antivirals, days spent lying around, buzzing on strong medicine, feeling itchy, but not daring to scratch. Bathing in warm colloidal oatmeal baths; babying myself. Taking it easy, working on healing, getting well. Only problem is, when the rash finally cleared away, the PHN pain stayed for an extended visit. This is normal, so I’ve been told. It can go away in a few weeks—or linger for a year—I had a bad case, so it is possible that it can go on awhile. Awhile can be a mighty long time—something akin to forever.

More Hydrocodone with Gabapentin for a nighttime sleep aid—I waited to get better—accepting the latest version of normal. I didn’t feel much like doing anything. I didn’t paint, I struggled to write. No appetite, no drive, no desire—I only wanted to soak in hot baths reading books and sleeping—watching T.V. sometimes. I struggled to carry on life like normal, in spite of it—I often struggled to do the simplest things. It wasn’t like I had nothing. It wasn’t as if I was on disability, sitting on my ass doing nothing all day—I work full time, 8 hours a day, 5 days a week—I am paid to think. My writing books and making art is what I do outside of that 5/40 period that I’m paid to think about things that are not personally mine—but I take ownership of and I take pride in what I do, so screwing up because my brain chemistry is being rewired by prescription drugs is out of the question. Thinking was becoming a prime piece of mental real estate that I feared was starting to get out of my price range as I was functioning in a vague sort of normal that I adjusted to accept because of the fear of pain. I waited to feel better in awhile.

More Hydrocodone.
More Hydrocodone. Refill the Gabapentin.
More Hydrocodone.
More Hydrocodone.

Finally, over six months later, the Hydrocodone stopped working on Monday, November 3rd—I had just called for a refill the week before—personally walked to the doctor’s office to pick up the prescription and signed for it. Gabapentin became the replacement by the time I got home that night, I picked up my refill figuring, I’ve been taking it every night for six months, I should be “used to it” by now, right? Life went on, I stopped the 3-4 X’s a day Hydrocodone, and took Gabapentin 3X’s a day—problem is, by Thursday, I didn’t know my ass from my elbow—it was a struggle to think straight at work—keep in mind, I work a full time job—40 hours a week. By Thursday I was feeling scared that I might not be able to keep my job if I bumble around stoned off my ass on this shit. By Friday I stayed home from work because I was too sick, upset stomach, disgruntled bowels, dizzy head, heart-skipping, joints on fire, legs twitching, restlessly pacing, unable to land, I was tired, but barely able to sleep—the PHN pain burned, tingled, ached, and begged like a nagging pain will do—please give me something for this pain. If possible, the pain was worse. I wanted to die—or thought I might die—there was a fine line down the middle of how exactly I felt, my poor head was so muddled, tired. Who am I? What have I become? Is this how it’s going to be for the rest of my life?

It’s in black and white—
the benefits
out-weigh
 the side effects,
and the
side effects
may go away
the longer,
the longer,
the longer
I wait—patiently;
patient
mustn’t stop
taking the
medication
without consulting—
Oh, fuck-it, I’ve got shit to do.
Seven months too long. 
I want my life back.

On Saturday morning 11/8, I carefully got out of bed and started a new day—I made a quality of life decision, put up with the pain and consequences to save my brain—my life.

I have felt better ever since. I have more energy. I feel like cooking dinner when I get home from work rather than immersing myself into a tub of hot water. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

Most important, I feel like living.

Yes, I still have the PHN pain, but the pain is SO MUCH LESS than when I was popping pills that stopped working. It’s as if the pills were engineered to beg for more—or promised more. Insidious shit. I got tired of waiting awhile longer because the side effects out-weigh the suffering. Fuck that noise—it’s a lie. Someone’s making money hand over fist peddling this crap to people patiently waiting for their pain to get better. Let me tell you this—it’s not engineered to cure you—there’s no magic bullet contained in that little brown bottle with the trendy feel good pink Breast Cancer awareness cap. Just like millions of other people, I fell for the damn snake oil lie. 

Unfortunately, some people have no choice—but fortunately, I do.


I’ve been robbed—7 months of my life are gone because of pain killers.
I was robbed of me—
I was robbed of my creativity—
the things that made me
ME.
That’s seven months I will never get back.

Never trumps awhile. 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

My thoughts about The Western Coast by Paula Fox



Annie—aimless Annie—forsaken Annie—Dreamboat Annie.

Heading out this morning into the sun
Riding on the diamond waves, little darlin' one
Warm wind caress her
Her lover it seems
Oh, Annie
Dreamboat Annie my little ship of dreams
Going down the city sidewalk alone in the crowd
No one knows the lonely one whose head's in the clouds
Sad faces painted over with those magazine smiles
Heading out to somewhere won't be back for a while…
Heart-Dreamboat Annie

(Please forgive me, I had a momentary flashback to an old favorite 70’s song because Annie and her adventures started Ann Wilson’s voice softly singing in my mind. So I dug around on YouTube and found a vintage concert performance—here it is should you care to indulge: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQDJ45qJHBQ)

Annie is a child of fate—taking things as they come—an innocent prone to dreams, yet wary enough to stay out of trouble—and after an indulgence with self-pity, she’s plenty smart to call it quits when enough is enough—move on—to grow as she turns slowly to face a transcendent disappointment with the way things are, and an honest to goodness disgust with oneself in the world.

“Everybody teaches me,” she said ironically, “as if I were the world’s village idiot.” page 38
(I had to burst out laughing when I read that—holy shit funny, only because I’ve experienced/felt this myself.)

Annie flows, flits, and filters her way through the dense cast of characters, friends, husbands, lovers, relations, acquaintances of various races and creeds, and Communists—New York City to California to New York City again, plotting to leave for Europe—in the span of time, the Great Depression is winding down, WWII is beginning and then ending—yet Annie seems mostly oblivious to these larger events—she’s a microcosm of the big picture, and dwells within her parameters until something or someone forces her out of them—she moves on to the next thing, her head filled with dreams and fears.

…her father had said that when you get what you want, it turns to ashes. It was all in the anticipation. P.259

Nailed it, nailed it, nailed it—dreams and realities—reality sucks after achieving the dream, unless you’re mature enough to accept that this is how things are out there in this thing called life. It’s part of growing up…

“Everyone has an unhappy life. That’s no distinction.” (for context: Ben Greenhouse speaking)
“Some people seem happy.” (for context: Annie speaking)
“Well, they aren’t. They’re just trying to be superior to the general condition.”
“There are people who can’t even consider such a question—they suffer from not having enough food or shelter—”
“Stop!”
“I won’t. Look at the way you’re dressed! How can you speak of unhappiness when you have the choices you have!”
“You don’t know anything about my choices, and I’m aware of the suffering of the vast majority of mankind and I don’t want to hear about that ideal socialist state full of hairy little domestic groups, running around hacking each other to death in the name of progress. You’re looking for a way to explain things to yourself. You’ve picked the inevitable one at your age. Shaw said that anyone who wasn’t a socialist before thirty had no heart and anyone who was a socialist after thirty had no head.”
“I’d rather have a heart.”
“That’s a disgusting line to draw. As if we don’t have to live with both! That’s the curse of it all!”
A conversation between Annie and Ben Greenhouse—pages 186-187


Paula Fox is a writer that inspires me to write—reading each book is like rediscovering a favorite toy—or finding something precious. The Western Coast is chockfull of goodies just like Desperate Characters, The God of Nightmares, The Widow’s Children, and Poor George, (these are what I’ve read so far, I’m still building my collection.) Her vision is spot on; she’s fluent in intense grace, dark humor, tender agitation, meticulous brutality, and a keen sense of the absurd—it’s probably why I adore her work so much—good old gritty reality. Her books are a treasure chest full of words and wisdom—the kind of prickly wisdom that is so honest—because out there in the murky chaos life is unbearably ugly, yet in all of that, there is hope, love, and there is beauty along with a sweet smattering of puppies and kittens, and the once in a blue moon mini-donkey comes along to get us through it all. I’m so glad to have been given the opportunity to discover her, it took the intervention of someone like Jonathan Franzen to help get her out of print books back into the hands of readers, especially, aspiring young writers who are still sponges learning their craft. Honestly, there aren’t enough books by Paula Fox—damn.

 “I was taken to California,” she said. “After awhile, I escaped.” –Last page, last sentence.

(Heading out to somewhere…won’t be back for awhile…)


Saturday, November 1, 2014

My thoughts on "Cat's Eye" by Margaret Atwood








Okay first off—what a kickass cover, right? I firmly believe that the book cover is the birthmark of a book and this one endures over time, it’s immediately recognized as Margaret Atwood’s Cat’s Eye and could never be confused with anything else.

When I started reading this book it was a face-palm moment—“Why did I wait so long to read this?” But as I continued, I realized that now was my time to read it. I know I would’ve loved it no matter when I read it just cuz it’s my kind of book to gobble up and belch with perfect contentment later, but this was the right time in my life to read it because at 52 it has a more explicit resonance than it would have when I was 26 when I first saw it on the shelves of the bookstores that I haunted/ worked for at the time. Margaret Atwood’s work always stuns me anyway—

I see that there will be no end to imperfection, or to doing things the wrong way. Even if you grow up, no matter how hard you scrub, whatever you do, there will always be some other stain or spot on your face or stupid act, somebody frowning. –from page 154

The clutch of Elaine’s friends—especially, Cordelia—is a dynamic that is timeless—women as girls have these relationships with one another that are intense—our sun rose and set, revolved around our best-est of friends. Our lives depended on their approval—on their being there. I had a handful of special friends—unfortunately, was horribly picked on through much of my childhood—hell if I know why I was so special to have that awful attention paid to me—whatever, right? Water long gone under that rickety bridge, thankfully, it’s not the same river anymore—yet, it’s something no one forgets, it’s a network of old scars that ache from time to time, and the worst memories crop up for no reason when you’d rather be thinking about something far more pleasant. It’s the way of it, I guess. But because of “it”, I believe I am stronger than most. As an adult, I have observed that the people who sailed through childhood without collecting these old battle wounds will never relate to what I experienced (as they might’ve done their share of damage on someone else without a second thought about what they were doing to another human being’s self-esteem.) It’s clear that their greatest disappointment was not getting their way every time, and they come to find out later in life that they are not prepared for when the shit hits the fan in their safe zones. There’s an unfortunate number of damaged people out there, some manage to muddle along in their version of normal, and some never quite get their footing—this has nothing to do with having money or an education, I’ve seen some fucked up well-off educated people, it’s sad—all of it…

Knowing too much about other people puts you in their power, they have a claim on you, you are forced to understand their reasons for doing things and then you are weakened.—from page 240
An eye for an eye only leads only to more blindness. –from page 443

There are some people I will never figure out—and don’t want to. Yet—as a writer, this is the shit I do. Probably because I have this treasure trove of experience—or probably because I was an odd kid—in my own world (still am.) Sitting in the safety of the present, I know now, that if I were a kid these days, I probably would be diagnosed within the autistic spectrum disorder and medicated into submission, but back then, I was pigeon-holed and shuffled along—I had my hearing tested more times than I can count, struggled with the Kindergarten teacher who wanted to change me from left handed to right handed, and then was tucked away in the reading lab, math lab, and speech therapy for extra help. My attention span wandered out more windows than taking notice of the blackboard—but I would move heaven and earth to try hard so my mom and dad wouldn’t be disappointed. I “woke up” by my junior year in high school—if I were ever to find myself, I couldn’t do it there in that little town where everybody knew me, I had to get out—so suddenly, college bound I got my act together. I turned out all right—on my own terms. That fucking Common Core crap is sucking the creativity out of kids—I can see the damage already in the ones coming through college—damn critters can’t look far beyond that illuminated screen in their hand without feeling withdrawals—with that said—I have sincere doubts about our future society. (Which I'm sure my parents said the same shit about my generation...getting old is a pain in the ass.)

Anyway…

Apart from all this, I do of course have a real life. I sometimes have trouble believing in it, because it doesn’t seem like the kind of life I could ever get away with, or deserve. This goes along with another belief of mine: that everyone else my age is an adult, whereas I am merely in disguise….Alongside my real life I have a career, which may not qualify as exactly real. I am a painter. I even put that on my passport, in a moment of bravado, since the other choice would have been housewife. It’s an unlikely thing for me to have become; on some days it still makes me cringe. Respectable people do not become painters: only overblown, pretentious, theatrical people.—from pages 15-16

Art is what you can get away with, said somebody or other, which makes it sound like shoplifting or some other minor crime. And maybe that’s all it ever was, or is: a kind of stealing. A hijacking of the visual.—from page 247

This book also resonates with me as an artist—I’m a Boomer at the ass-end of the Boomer Gen—the women artists that were in the forefront, Helen Frankenthaler, Louise Nevelson, and especially Georgia O’Keeffe who was all over the place especially after she died [who didn’t buy (or longed to buy) the 100 Flowers book?]—and then there were women like Judy Chicago and Susan Rothenberg out there mixing it up with the boys club. I met Susan Rothenberg when she was a visiting artist at SU—I was in awe even tho’ I never heard of her until I learned that she was coming to do studio visits and a lecture. She was nice and normal—I was relieved because I was in a terrible angst-y time in my life and for once someone said that I was all right—searching as I should. (Sometimes it’s the person who doesn’t know you from a hole in the wall who grants words of wisdom that make the difference in your small part of the world.)

“I’m not mad because I’m woman.” I say. “I’m mad because you’re an asshole.”—from page 377

Even tho’ I do consider myself a feminist—I live my life within my own parameters that might make the hardcore feminists itch—just like they make me itch. I’m not one to “fit in” ever, ya dig? This little square peg still maintains her pointy corners and will never fit in anyone’s round hole no matter what the “rules” are—

“Improvement” 


But that's just me (and Grumpy Cat)...I have known for a long time I'll never fit in...

Right about the time I was close to the end of the book, I wrote a letter to my old childhood friend who I haven’t heard from since 1986/87—I found her last letter to me that I received just before we moved from one rented house to a rented flat, the letter got lost in the shuffle, but later emerged and disappeared during other moves. I recently found it again—and I felt bad that I lost track of her. Life sends us on our way—like it or not. We were the best of friends when we were very young, she moved away when we were teenagers and of course, things change—we changed—she moved on while I remained behind in a way, yet moving on to where I needed to go. Chances are we have nothing in common beyond our original bond—yet I wanted to tell her that I think about her every year at this time when her birthday rolls around. I did send the letter—don’t know if I’ll ever hear back. If not—that’s all right, we’ve moved on as we should.

Such are my pictures of the dead. –from page 28

I’m eating a wing. It’s the wing of a tame turkey, the stupidest bird in the world, so stupid it can’t even fly any more. I am eating lost flight. –from page 145

Time is not a line but a dimension, like the dimensions of space. If you can bend space you can bend time also, and if you knew enough and could move faster than light you could travel backward in time and exist in two places at once. – the first sentence, first page.

Damn, I love this book.