Tripwire, Cigarette, Pencil

Tripwire, Cigarette, Pencil–in that order.

THE TRIPWIRE–TO TRICK AND CATCH ME, KEEP ME LOOKING, ALWAYS LOOKING WITH ALL OF MY SENSES, KEEPING THAT INTUITION SHARP AND PARANOID.

THE CIGARETTE–FOR ATTEMPTED ESCAPES, FOR GRANDIOSE TAIL-CHASING, ESCAPADES IN THE BIN, SMALL REWARDS FOR BAD SHORTCUTS, COMPRESSED AND REPRESSED PASSIONS, DIRTY GOODNESS AND SNEAKY REMORSE, THE ULTIMATE CURSE FOR ALL OF US THAT WRITE OR PAINT OR PLAY AND COMPOSE–BECAUSE WE DON’T CARE ABOUT OUR BALANCE IF IT’S GONNA TRIPWIRE THE PROCESS; BECAUSE WE KNOW WE WILL NEVER PERFECT THAT SONG, THOSE WORDS, THAT VISION, THAT SOUND IN OUR MINDS AND HANDS, PLAYING OUR BODIES AND ABUSING OUR MINDS THAT NEVER REST.

THE PENCIL–ALL I HAVE.

Love Your Scribbled, Secret Notebooks

I used to write sad, short, unassociated erotica when I was like…..a fourteen year old Catholic school girl. I’d wait for a quiet empty house when the family was away or out. I’d write the words lightly in pencil so I could erase it. At that time in my life all of the stories centered on lust–which to me was just scribbling whatever would cause that physical rush through my body. I wanted romance but only a romance that had a specific goal–caressing and touching, kisses and naughty terminology and oh my I thought I was going to burn in hell. I believed that that’s what love was. That it had nothing to do with yourself.

Kerouac's first belief....
Kerouac’s first belief….

It was my secret. Now I’m trying to find that mastered fear and write like that again, no erasers for me. But I felt that same fire the first time I learned the hard way what justice meant for the unjust. I felt it the first time I felt power in my talent. I felt it in the first and last time I was abandoned, left to the wolves. Or the last time someone held a mirror up to my eyes and I didn’t liked what I saw, and I ate change like Lady Lazarus ate men.
For those of us who know that deep burning, driving, nameless desire–then it’s no shock to assume that for you as it is for me, it changes shape and form but never its taste. When I went mad and almost killed myself, it was there too–that taste. I tasted nothing for years, a good ten years, and then, there it was, right at the back of my tongue while they shot me up with anti-psychotics and a sedative. In the wild deathless chase to the end, turns out I wanted to live. And so, as there was nothing left of myself I hadn’t destroyed, I used what was left–that small spark. I couldn’t figure out why it was still there, miniscule. It took five years for me to see its growth. I began nurturing it, I bent over it in the dark like a shawled mother owl hovering against the slightest change in wind. I told no one. Because who would have believed me then? I certainly didn’t know what I was doing, what happened to the girl I used to be, or why I was there, existing in a shitty apartment, like a fucking caged animal half-beating. Job, college, fiancé, car, house, all that I thought it took to make the package–gone. And that’s the less painful part, because I hadn’t been living for those things or even in them. I had let myself become so afraid of myself and my wants and needs, I had alienated myself so far. I had let the monsters in my head torment me, instead of show me. And after the six or so years, I took that desire or whatever it was and built a woman out of it. Out of me. And here I stand. Hungry.

Scribbling our lives away in jobs and homes and with the process of doing, but that fire– it is the same feeling and same need for release. This is why I write. The harder I write, the more intoxicated I become, and the bigger the need. I think it’s pretty safe to say that that is why artists starve. But I do know that because of it, I am more alive than I ever dreamed possible.

[Kerouac’s Beliefs & Techniques for Writing]
1. Scribbled secret notebooks, and wild typewritten pages, for yr own joy
2. Submissive to everything, open, listening
3. Try never get drunk outside yr own house
4. Be in love with yr life
5. Something that you feel will find its own form
6. Be crazy dumbsaint of the mind
7. Blow as deep as you want to blow
8. Write what you want bottomless from bottom of the mind
9. The unspeakable visions of the individual
10. No time for poetry but exactly what is
11. Visionary tics shivering in the chest
12. In tranced fixation dreaming upon object before you
13. Remove literary, grammatical and syntactical inhibition
14. Like Proust be an old teahead of time
15. Telling the true story of the world in interior monolog
16. The jewel center of interest is the eye within the eye
17. Write in recollection and amazement for yourself
18. Work from pithy middle eye out, swimming in language sea
19. Accept loss forever
20. Believe in the holy contour of life
21. Struggle to sketch the flow that already exists intact in mind
22. Dont think of words when you stop but to see picture better
23. Keep track of every day the date emblazoned in yr morning
24. No fear or shame in the dignity of yr experience, language & knowledge
25. Write for the world to read and see yr exact pictures of it
26. Bookmovie is the movie in words, the visual American form
27. In praise of Character in the Bleak inhuman Loneliness
28. Composing wild, undisciplined, pure, coming in from under, crazier the better
29. You’re a Genius all the time
30. Writer-Director of Earthly movies Sponsored & Angeled in Heaven

Voices and Comfort

I can’t open up to my psychologist yet.  I realized this when I finally took a breath after weeks of relentless cycles of giddiness and tears and I knew it wasn’t medical or needing a check.  No.  It does this; when something bothers me–in my heart and who and where I am–it manifests in my body until the truth hits.  I cried and let it all out to my grams.  I told her all my secrets NO ONE KNOWS.  And she told me I was still so sweet.  That I had to be better to myself, that I would figure it out–because I always have.  And I sat for awhile in the silence in the dark and let my mind finally rest.  Finally.  And it hit me.  The time here lately has been a progression of the positive–I am changing.  And my “epiphany” was to make a change.  I am going back to school with my writing/soc/psych and I am going to teach art therapy/trauma writing to women and children of trauma (Vets w/ PTSD would be amazing).  I told my grams “I feel so big inside–whole worlds are opening up in me–but my outer life is so small…” And this decision to finish school and USE WHAT I HAVE BEEN THROUGH TO HELP OTHERS GET THROUGH IT.  I know I’ll do it like I know I’m getting better–a well-known FACT.

I wish I could talk to my psychologist, Allison, like this.  After all that’s why I am seeing her.  I had a sort of assignment because I busy myself so much because I am trying to find purpose in my days, and we started talking about the voices I have heard.  THe challenge is to try to listen to them, and to not fear them–see what they say.  And somehow, last night (I’ve sought out the old woman and small boy that talked in my head and i can’t find them) so last night I stopped thinking, I just listened.  Listened to the heat click and kick in, my breath, Emma’s sighs from sleep in the other room…until I noticed a relaxing familiar hum coming beneath the real world, and the hum is what’s really real.  A woman was talking, she didn’t sound old.  I kept listening and tried so hard to remember what she was saying for later but i knew if I did try I’d lose it, so I just listened.  And it at first sounded like my older sister Nikki talking about the television or something, But the voice came closer, and more clear and I knew who was talking in my head to the others–it was me.  ME.  And I remember I said something about finding something and I had it the whole time.  I don’t understand but I don’t think what she/I said was of any importance.  But it was me.  My voice.

WHAT THE FUCK

But I am not afraid–I am utterly curious.  The mind fascinates me.

Thanks Grams, for sorting out my tired head, you in your yellow floral sweater you used to wear with the embroidered collar on it.  I miss you.  I love you.  Sorry I haven’t talked to you out loud since I was in the mental ward, but I know you see into me–you see me getting better.   Rest in Peace.

Dolores Gurske (Aug 2008) with my girl, Emma at Flying Eagle camping resort–she knew from the beginning that Emma was going to be hilarious, and one hell of a little kid.  The way she looked at her.

Dolores Gurske with my Emma at Flying Eagle Resort
Dolores Gurske with my Emma at Flying Eagle Resort

Memoir Tips, Quotes, & Books

Working on my memoir, I’ve turned to many, many (many many, too many) books with tips on how to get started, organized, and inspired.  I also read a lot of what other authors say about the process and will share quotes here, as well.  I’ll begin with my favorite quote, well, one of them.

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love questions themselves like locked rooms or books written in very foreign tongues.  Do not now seek the answers which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them…live the questions now.  Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”  –Rainer Maria Rilke

So here’s a list of the books on writing creative nonfiction/memoir that I’ve found to be the most helpful.  Sadly none of them are writing my book for me.

I realize I’m giving away the fact that I’m desperate and may have no life,  but hopefully  you’ll find the list helpful.  Ernest Hemingway I believe said that you only need to find one true sentence.  That’s the toughest part about writing I think.

Here’s a picture of my writing journal that I keep notes, quotes, Read More

The Love Between Sisters

5th Ave Sisters Journal

Fifth Avenue East was a place of constant change. While our young bodies and minds were developing before Barbie dolls and Santa wanted to be let go, other things were changing, too. Shit, everything changed. I was feeling my brain and emotions develop “abnormally”—it must have been the Bipolar Disorder making room for its ass on my couch—because I felt off and wrong and terrified because of it late at night–my designated time to “feel” things. I began to start shutting off at random, I began to do and say the routine things without being behind the wheel, I was crying every night—my emotions getting all caught up in my head and tangled there with the far-reaching snares of home life. I didn’t know I was also physically developing until my stepfather pointed it out in his various ways, his touching, his comments, his need to tickle us on the ground until we cried. No one had the talks with us about our coming periods, they just came and we each cried alone (so I learned later) until mom noticed it in the laundry and gave us pads. Womanhood simply did not exist in our household. Well, it existed—it was bursting out the eaves—but it was not discussed. Periods were a thing of disgust and emotions were things for children that we had to learn to put away. We weren’t punished for these things, it was worse—we were ridiculed and teased and took turns being the butt of Scott’s bantering. Even thinking of yourself as a woman was humiliating—flashback—I’m on the swing singing a Little Mermaid song (I knew every word and song to that movie) and Scott walks by and tells me Ariel’s a slut. Just that, just now popped into my head for some reason.
Letting go of childhood—meant letting go of those you loved and if they were hurting you’d better leave them alone to do it. Scott used to beat our

Read More

Henry Miller & Joan Didion Quotes

millerdidionart2

A Literary Kick (books, links, poets and authors)

I’ve been on a crazy literary kick and I thought I’d share my findings, including some INCREDIBLE books (and links, author blogs, literary websites and magazines/journals).

For starters, I want these books (many of which were found at Ampersand Books and Brain Pickings):

Letters of Note –Shaun Usher (and his awesome Letters of Note blog)

A Writer’s Diary–Fyodor Dostoyevsky

As Consciousness is Harnassed to Flesh: journals and notebooks (Susan Sontag)

MeaningofHumanExistenceMech.inddThe Meaning of Human Existence (BOUGHT IT!) by Edward O. Wilson

–and here’s a review by the Washington Post

Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace (Anne Lamott) —BOUGHT IT!

Art Objects: Essays on Ecstasy and Effrontery by Jeanette Winterson

Dataclysm: Who We Are (when we think no one is looking) by Christian Rudder —BOUGHT IT!

The Life of the Mind by Hannah Arendt

Changing My Mind: Occassional essays by Zadie Smith

(poetry) Faithful and Virtuous Night by Louise Gluck —OWN IT9780374152017_custom-c010e93aece861fd1783b68ce6c0eabdc7044d67-s99-c85

****The Muse of Abandonment: Origin, Identity, Mastery in Five American Poets by Lee Upton (…bought it)

A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit —BOUGHT IT!

Henry Miller on Writing

Sex, or the Unbearable by Lauren Berlant and Lee Edelman

978-0-8223-5594-6_pr

and oooooh

22022747I want this one: Blacken Me Blacken Me, Growled   by Cassandra Troyan  (which I saw over at PANK)

(poetry/Ampersand): For the Woman Alone (at Ampersand Books) by Ashley Inguanta  71h2yIQfwdL

(fiction/Ampersand) We Take Me Apart –Molly Gaudry (and I believe there is a sequel coming out)

Now, other cool literary/poetic places I like–and most of them have podcasts, links, reviews, music, and more:

How a Poem Happens (one of my favorite places)

Identity Theory–has everything

Jacket2

MadHat Lit

Tin House Workshop Podcasts (with a special podcast there by Ann Hood on 10 steps to an essay)

Bookslut –books, interviews, posts, good stuff

dumbfoundry

Largehearted Boy–music, books, lots of great shit (and downloads)

Luna Park

Laila Lalami Read More

dVerse Poem

Share your poetry and creativity over at Dverse Poets Pub.  I am basing my poem off of a drawing I’ve been working on.

Stitches

You’re in my ribcage
I turn my love to wreck it
let you gather up the pieces
and I watch you fall
from my fists
where I held you
hard and close because
what is the difference
anyway
between madness
and hunger

I want you to
walk up and bite me
stick your words inside me10819066_10155197448905131_881853597_n
and twist them all around
cover up my mouth
make my mind unable
to find my will
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Not to Touch the Earth

I’m standing on the roof of a four-story building downtown in a city. I’ve just taken Ecstasy. I don’t feel ecstasy. I feel what I learned later to be verging on a psychotic panic. I’m going to jump off if someone doesn’t stop me, if someone doesn’t touch me.

The sky is clear. Alisha spins and spins, her arms out “Amy, oh Amy I love you,” her red hair flashing.

I tell her she looks like Satan.

I feel like the roof is going to tilt and my body will let itself slide to its death. I’m too embarrassed to speak; the stars pulsating in time with the veins in my temples.

It intensifies. I feel the depth pressure when I look over the edge and then run back to the center and fold, wrapping my arms tight around my legs. Alisha is sliding all over in smooth colors. She’s scaring me. And then suddenly I am fire; I am bottomless.

I am I am I am.”

Fucking Sylvia quotes in my racing brain. And then I see her head stuffed in the stove and I hear the blade wretch back on my wrist. Suicide. The very word gives me metal chills, the way the “-cide” sounds like a knife slash on cold teeth. I can’t take it. And now I start believing I am going to die. It has been per-ordained from a higher power that my heart will stop. ….Now

Alisha’s laugh peals through the air and I choke down my fear of the word.  It must be obvious, this affair I’m having with “suicide”–so now it feels like a major question on my lips, but I can’t get up and tell her. She’s holding her breasts through a Dropkick Murphy shirt. The moon high over the rooftop glints on the barbell piercing under her lip. Ed, her boyfriend, makes me think she is a suggestion to a woman like me. Nonsense. Ed. I feel a wash of compassion for Alisha. And then the memory of Ed Norton’s forehead creases, “I am Jack’s raging hard-on.”

I’m a train. I need the ultimate climax in everything I do until I’m repelled by fear—that is all that I have learned about myself, living out here. And that new fear –it’s hard to scare me. Alisha takes my hand and pulls me through the thick air and into the stairwell and kisses my lips, “Let’s go,” and I hold her hand and crash into another night.

I find myself rocking in the dark wet grass behind my apartment. I don’t know how much time has passed since the rooftop. A few people are here and there, bottles of booze and clear baggies of coke. My head spins and then stops, spins and stops. Someone comes out of a threshold somewhere, and I think it’s my dead father, no, I know it’s him. The familiarity I felt when I turned to look over my shoulder was real. The moon shine’s down on a large, flat, white face. A choker with spikes. I am alarmed at this apparition, and then at this ease of myself seeming to slip between reality and delusion. I feel the blood in my temples pound. I’m tearing at the grass, desperately making piles under a calm facade. My roommates are having a party inside and after what seems like hours of confusion, I see clearly, a thought. An act. I have an idea.

I feel myself stalk. My arms possess waves and my hips are on rails. Lily comes to me and she hugs my face and dances in the square of light coming from the kitchen window. “Rider’s on the Storm” is humming and rolling through the house. I scream for Bill to play “Not to Touch the Earth,” and before I realize I finish asking, it shakes me to my core—that high organ keys sounding like an Atari ghost chasing me and I smell brown smooth leather boots and jackets and “Wake up GIRL, WE’RE ALMOST HOME!” And we are dancing. Or we were. Or I just thought we did. Because in another moment I am alone in the quiet grass, easing out of a scare and into a numbing. Not a fine numbing. It used to be fine until it started mattering. It’s easy not to feel. I lie down and let it, inhaling anything that might fill me—be it words or fantasy or pills or gin—until I am brimming with and drowning in just a reflection of myself, pooling into a glass the man I fuck takes a drink from. Electrified flowers. Naked shoulders. I am gone.