were most of your stars out? : a conspectus on writing part i

Writing, real writing, is done not from some seat of fussy moral judgment but with the eye and ear and heart; no American writer will ever have a more alert ear, a more attentive eye, or a more ardent heart than his.

Adam Gopnick on J.D. Salinger

This has many beginnings.

12 years ago when Justin and I were mere children living in San Francisco, I whined incessantly that all I wanted to do was write. I had been publishing journal entries online since 1996 but they were random and scattered, in content and location. There was no coherency to them with the exception that they were about me, whether about my life or my emotions, but the running theme was that I was somehow worked into the story. And most of it, whether I remembered it or not, is true.

In the spring of 1998, one my co-workers at Slip.Net told me how she decided to start putting her journal entries online in a diary format. I thought this was brilliant and in May of that year, I registered simunye.org. I thought I was being oh, so clever naming it “The Lisa Chronicles,” because that is all that it is — a chronicle of my life. I knew that it was something that could work: professors had praised my writing during my first foray into college that I had more than enough voice to make a living with the written word. Writing an online diary of sorts seemed to be a natural extension of that same concept – if enough people like it, it would spur me on to write more, push me into honing the craft and make something out of it (like every other 20-something pretentious fuck twit who thinks they can write).

But could I actually make a living off of it? I, then, never even bothered to try and find out.

Justin says that if I”m passionate about writing, really passionate as I exclaim during our near monthly argument on the topic, why am I not doing something with it? Why do I push it away and bind it away from me, like loose hair?
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A poem and a billet-doux

Justin and I have a tradition in which for every holiday, we will exchange something handmade, typically something that is handwritten. For Valentine’s Day, we decided to write poems/prose to each other and to also celebrate, he’s making homemade enchiladas and I’m making homemade desert crepes.

Below you’ll find our poetic offerings, enjoy.

Him to me:
She is clumsy and sweet, this you can tweet!
Of Lisa I will speak, pay attention.
Her merits are beyond comprehension.
I shall point out a few glimmering traits.
But first, you may ask, what is my motive?
To make her chortle, I say, even swoon!
Surely, to me, this would be a great boon!
For now, that reply, will have to suffice.
What? Dear reader, you wish to give advice?
I listen to reason, what shall I do?
Silence? Now you’ve thrown this whole poem askew!
Stanzas run thin, balls destined for a vice.
Through this couplet, I’ll find a way to say,
Darlin’ Lisa, Happy Valentine’s Day!

Me to him:

Ode to Snookie Wookums:
A billet-doux for Justin

I struggle to tell you how much I love you,
Not because I do not know how to say it –
But because it has been said many times before (and in many different ways).
Not just from me to you, or from you to me, but
Shakespeare, Byron, Shelley, Keats — dead white guys
(Your favorite kind.)
Who wrote overly flowery language to describe,
The merest changes in touch, scent and vision of their beloveds,
When they were naked upon the often stained mattresses.
(And why were those mattresses always so stained?)
(Did they not believe in cleaning in those days?)
Or having their woman kill themselves for whatever reason –
(Death, despair, misery – your favorite subjects).
Love, then, is a word we throw about carelessly these post-modern times,
To describe anything we have strong affection for from –
Our pets, food, clothing, movies, to music and cars.
(And do we love, in that we have strong emotion or do we love because we cannot use any other word to describe how we feel for the item we are attached to?)
So then, on this Valentine’s Day –
(A saint who is honored for love instead of being remembered as a Christian martyr in antiquity)
Let me not talk of death, misery, despair, or Nazi’s –
(Thrown in to see if you’re still reading),
But rather let me just tell you that for all of the reasons that I love you,
And for all of the reasons that could possible exist and
Have been turned into a Lifetime Movie Extravaganza –
It is because of your quirks and your stubbornness,
Your strong sense of wavering morality,
Your love of pretentious literature and even more pretentious music,
Your arrogance, your silliness,
Your daring and your bravery,
Your sense of adventure and your resoluteness,
And all of the physical reasons that I adore you so –
(Not stated in case your mother reads this).
Thank you for stalking me all those years,
For proving to be worthy, for believing in me,
For being all of the things that I could hope for and more –
I love you, my snookie wookums, and am every so glad
That I will be dragging you, unwillingly, to the alter in May!

Happy Valentine’s Day, my love!

Pug Will Tear Us Apart (Again) – A Valentine’s Day Ode

As many of you know, I once had three adorable pugs. The pugs, siblings from the same parents but different litters, were obtained from Ex-Fiance #2′s aunt and uncle in 2000 and 2001, who were starting to breed the parents, Lucy and Linus. After Ex-Fiance #2 and I split, the pugs came with me when I moved to Grand Rapids from Virginia in December 2002. One thing I was adamant about was that I was to never split up the pugs as they had been together since they were weeks old and were my family. However, when I was planning to moving to Royal Oak, every single apartment complex, apartments and houses I looked at would not allow more than one pet. A tough decision was made that two of the pugs would be fostered to good friends of mine until another solution was found. In the spring of 2009, those two pugs were then given up to a Pug Rescue in Ohio because their health and well-being were my utmost priority and I could not afford financially or physically to get them back.

Since then, it has just been WednesdayThePug and I, who has also grown to have her own fan base, complete with her own Twitter account. Wednesday has always been an extenstion of my own personality — she’s haughty and clingy, she likes beer and boys, she’s picky about who cuddles against and she always loved me best of all.

Then Justin moved in and I was kicked to the curb in her affections.

Her schedule is our schedule, she is adamant about ALWAYS being between us whether it is on the couch or in bed. When both of us are home, she clings to Justin like his shadow, preferring to lay at his feet if he’s working, near his side when they are on the couch or sprawling on my side of the bed if I get up first. Her bedtime rituals is that she runs around and sniffs the comforter, then burrowing between us under the covers to lay between us, then she comes snuffling out to climbs up to the top of the pillows on our bed (pillow mountain) and will lay there, dead weight, until the morning. Other times she will burrow back out and sleep between us, on top of the covers, refusing to move the entire night making it difficult to adjust our own sleeping during the course of the night.

Wednesday turns 10 this summer and for this Valentine’s day, Justin wrote me a poem honoring her, to the tune of Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart.”

Pug Will Tear Us Apart
Wednesday nibbles hard,
And the temperature runs low.
And the snoring rides high,
With pillow mountain below.
And we struggle for sheets,
Under heavy pug load.

Puuuuug, pug will tear us apart…again.
Puuuuug, pug will tear us apart…again.

Why are my feet so cold?
I look to my right side.
Is this pug that flawed?
Thieving covers with pride.
A tranquil lump of steel.
That we’ve spoiled for life.

Puuuuug, pug will tear us apart…again.
Puuuuug, pug will tear us apart…again.

Do you cackle in your sleep?
My extremities exposed.
This affair’s going south.
My movement becomes bold.
I toss you from your perch,
You slither and claim more.

Puuuuug, pug will tear us apart…again.
Puuuuug, pug will tear us apart…again
Puuuuug, pug will tear us apart…again.
Puuuuug, pug will tear us apart…again