30 August 2014

A True and Fucked-Up Thing

This is an article from the Atlantic about what guns are most often used for. I posted it on Facebook a while back. Now I'm posting it here.

This is not a political statement. I am not anti-gun. I've had guns; I've lived in houses with guns; I can shoot a gun, and hit what I aim for.

When my son was a baby, his dad bought me a pistol, because he worked late into the night and I was home alone with a baby in the middle of nowhere. It would keep us safe, he said, when he wasn't there. I didn't want it, because we already had plenty of guns, but he wouldn't take it back.

One night, he got pissed off and shot himself with it. He's been dead 11 and a half years, and my feelings about it, like my feelings about guns, are really complicated. Would he have gotten pissed off and hanged himself? Opened a vein? Overdosed? No. I knew him, and no.

There's nothing that can be done about this, nothing I expect or even want to be done about it, because whatever gun control laws might dictate, under whatever present/future/ideal circumstances, he still would have had the gun. By the time it happens, it's too late to do anything about. Until it happens, there's no way -- because there's no need -- to prevent it.

But here it is, a thing I believe because I know it to be true. A ridiculous, impossible, senseless, fucked-up, true thing.

15 August 2014

Try, Try Again.

I'm going to write some things again.

I haven't written in a long time. When I write it's terrible, but I told someone the other day, I need to write even though it's bad (so bad), like running out the rust from old pipes.

I'm angry and hateful a lot. So many things are so frustrating, and they're not even things that relate to me in any direct way. It's just bullshit that bothers me, and I think it has a lot to do with the amount of time I spend online (particularly on Facebook -- thanks for your little mood-alteration experiment, assholes), not because I'm online but because I'm reading garbage rather than reading books, or writing.

How long has it been since I even looked at my book? I've gotten rejections from all the agents I queried a year ago, but never sent out another round of queries... partly because all the agents I queried said it was too serious and they'd never be able to sell it, even though the writing is "wonderful" according to one of just a few agents who sent a personal reply. Which means I need to work on my query so it doesn't sound so serious. And also work on the book some more because let's be honest, it's not finished. Or particularly good.

It is serious. But it's also not entirely serious, because could I really have just brooded over it for twelve years? Probably, but I didn't. Anyways, there's more to come so stay tuned.

12 June 2013

Dead Flowers

I wrote this piece in 2004, and it was published in a different form at Referential Magazine and nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2011.

Send me dead flowers every morning
Send me dead flowers by the mail
Send me dead flowers to my wedding
And I won't forget to put roses on your grave

In the spring, when everything is beautiful, I start thinking about planting things. Then I remember that I kill everything I touch, so I go to my husband's grave with a package of wildflower seeds. I hope that if the seeds sprout, his family will stop littering his grave with Wal-Mart silk crap.

They should know he hated fake flowers. I tried over and over to convince him that the only way our flowers would live is if they were never actually alive to begin with. "I don't have a green thumb," I said. He wouldn't hear any of it. He was determined to have flowers in our yard, because they are beautiful, and they smell good, and if we had flowers, that would mean we were grownups.

He'd rather have no flowers than fake silk crap. At Christmas they stabbed two sprigs of glitter-coated silk poinsettias into the dirt, one on either side of the footstone. By the time I finally noticed it, Christmas had been over for nearly two months, but there stood the "flowers", fading and ugly and coated with glitter. I grabbed the flowers, stuffed them under my sweater, and drove directly to a dumpster.

So I pour out the seeds onto the grave. It's been fourteen months, but still no grass has grown. I'm sure that thanks to the Carolina red clay he's buried in, the flowers probably won't grow, either. Not to mention that I'm the one "planting" them.

I'm just not good with living things. I don't know how to take care of anything. I've tried having plants in my house; I've even tried planting flowers outside. But then I either forget about them or just stop caring, and I let them die.

This is the part where I don't have to say what I'm thinking, because everyone already knows.

I haven't been back to the grave, and hopefully I'll move away before I feel the need to take another look. I hope the seeds will sprout, regardless, because in spite of everything, he still deserves something real.

11 June 2013

On Audrey

My kid, on Audrey Horne (06.01.2008): "She's beautiful, but not beautiful enough for me to like her. Those glossy eyes and the big attitude? It's just too much. She'll drive you off the deep end."

31 May 2013

About Cans and Jars

The title comes from the Guided By Voices song, "Queen of Cans and Jars," which is one of my favorite songs by my all-time favorite band, whose symbol -- most fans call it a rune, though it is not; it's a line drawing of a paper football -- I have tattooed on my left forearm.

When people ask about my tattoo, I tell them first, "It's a paper football." They almost inevitably ask why I have a tattoo of a paper football, and I explain that it's a symbol to remind me of a bad time I got through with the help of GBV. The bad time I got through was the period just after my first husband committed suicide, which you can read a little about here at The Legendary, and then when I sell the book, you can buy a copy of it, which I will happily sign for you and write something mildly clever about how awesome you are.

In addition, cans and jars is a thing I do during the summer. I can things, in jars. Because I have been successfully domesticated and even housebroken, at long last. I make (and can) a spaghetti sauce that at least five people (including two Italian children) have said is the best sauce they've ever had.

I had a second husband as well, and I also got through the end of that with the help of GBV, which is why, when people ask for a bio, I tell them that "Everybody thinks I'm a raincloud (when I'm not looking)."

I have a thirteen-year-old son. He is a natural-born world shaker but cannot eat fifty eggs. He can probably eat fifty bowls of cereal.

I found my love on Facebook after meeting him in junior high. We live together now in the house his grandfather built, and we just got engaged! We'll get married after I finish school in three or four years. For now, we plant flowers and grow vegetables and take care of a very needy cat and a good-for-nothing rabbit -- a rabbit that's actually pretty hilarious when he's not eating the furniture.

When I was growing up, my dad was a Baptist minister. These days I am mostly apathetic to religion, but unable to call myself an atheist because I sometimes find really good parking places. If I were a Christian anymore, I doubt I would admit it, since the most of them make the rest of them look bad. "Love your neighbor as yourself" -- it's the second greatest commandment; everyone should try it.

I was born in Georgia but have never lived there. I have lived my entire life in the Carolinas, and although more than half of that time was in South Carolina, I consider myself a North Carolinian. I think that if there were Southerners on Saturday Night Live, it would be funny if they did a sketch like The Californians called The Carolinians, but instead of describing the routes with highway numbers, they used state road names and landmarks. But there would have to be actual Southerners on the show to write it, because otherwise it would be just a "making fun of rednecks" sketch, which would be too obvious and not funny.

I lettered in Academics in high school. I never had a letter jacket, but I do still have a fuzzy purple "R" somewhere around here. Maybe someday I'll sew it onto a motorcycle jacket like Bobby Briggs.

I will sing the hell out of some Loretta Lynn -- if you can get me onstage -- at karaoke. I once serenaded a drag queen with "You Ain't Woman Enough." I used to sing in church, but I haven't sung in front of people since I quit drinking.

As of June 2013, the last movie I saw in the theater was Jaws in June 2012. I hate this mostly for my fiance, who used to see two movies a day before I came along and refused to see a movie without paying for it. Except for Jaws. We didn't pay for that one.

I'll add to this post as time goes on and try to keep it updated. For now, welcome, and thanks for reading.