Monthly Archives: May 2009

The City is a Harsh Mistress

I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that when I leave here, I will grieve. I love this city and I feel like I’m dying to have to leave it.

I know it will still exist when I leave; I know will be able to return in the future. The city is, if anything, enduring. I can’t imagine a world where it doesn’t exist. The world would surely not be the same without it. This city is—more than any other place I’ve ever lived—human, alive! She lives, breathes. Born each morning, dead each night.

If you have never lived here, there is no way I can accurately explain it. If you *have* lived here, you already know about what I’m speaking. I don’t know if this is true, but I want to believe that if I had no family and no purpose, the city would be my reason. It is my home.

I did not grow up here. I have not lived most of my life here. Hardly. It was barely even on my radar before my serious college boyfriend dropped out and I had to visit him here if I wanted to see him at all. But, in my defense, I moved here *after* he and I broke up. This city has been my rebound, my tumultuous love affair since then. Two years. I’ve lived here two years. And I’m so in love.

And I have to leave. And I’m dying.

My city is nothing if not a harsh mistress. She’s stripped me nearly bare, whipped me until I begged respite, left me broken on the hardwood floor of my apartment time and again. This city has taken my heart, my hope, and my sanity and trampled them neath her feet without a second thought. And yet, I’m in love. She’s boiled me down to the essentials, chipped away everything unnecessary, and left me distilled and pure. I have learned the value of milk and eggs, the cost of a friendship worthwhile. I know now what I am—and what I am worth—better than I ever have.

Even now, sitting in the station waiting for a train, I know love the city. The ebb and flow, the crass style and language, the *people*. I love her bridges, her public transportation, the parks and green spaces, her dark rivers and high islands. There is no other place like it on Earth. So many lives; so much beauty; and I’m here, a part of it. There is no other place I could love with such intensity, surely. No other place.

I never want to go. I want to die here. There is no better place that I have found. Every time I go out, I fall in love all over again. I remember why I moved here. I remember why I want so desperately to stay. I fall in love with my city again, just as I did yesterday and the day before.

And I have to leave.

I want to die here, but it’s not my time. I can’t stay when my mistress asks so much. I would do anything, if only she would let me keep my dignity. But, mine is a city that demands total submission, complete humility, and I am still proud. I cannot give her everything when my loyalties are split. I love my friends, my family; I can’t do something to hurt them; not again. I’ve gone down that road, but the city demands no less, so I must go.

I’m not ready to give everything, even though I desperately want to be.

I’m so, so in love with my city. She’s willing, but I’m not ready. I haven’t quite hit rock bottom, and I’m afraid. I’m leaving because I’m not willing to do anything necessary to stay. But, no matter how I couch it, I’m still dying.

There will never be a youth like this again. I will never have a second chance in this city. I may come back, but it will never be the same. When I leave, I will leave behind my harsh, beautiful mistress forever. If I return, it will be on more equal terms, and I will never again be in her thrall. Not the way I am now.

I want her. I want her rule, her commanding hand, her *life*. I have never been more alive than I have been at the mercy of my unforgiving city.

And when I leave here, I will grieve.

Best Cities 2009

This year, it’s all about the jobs. Kiplinger’s Finance Magazine has come out with the 10 best cities to live in, and let me just boil it down for you: the best cities this year are where the jobs are. (Click the link above for more info about each city below.)

The cities are, in order:
01 Huntsville, Alabama
02 Albuquerque, New Mexico
03 Washington D.C.
04 Charlottesville, Virginia
05 Athens, Georgia
06 Olympia, Washington
07 Madison, Wisconsin
08 Austin, Texas
09 Flagstaff, Arizona
10 Raleigh, North Carolina

Now, living in a city where I can find a job is important to me because, well, I don’t have one. That wouldn’t bother me, except without a job, I can’t pay the bills. I’m having to move away from the Best City in the World [TM] back home because I can’t find work. It is, needless to say, extremely frustrating. As Everclear so eloquently put it:

I hate those people who love to tell you
Money is the root of all that kills
They have never been poor
They have never had the joy of a welfare Christmas

“Bird on the Wire” lyrics

SONG: Bird on the Wire
BY: Leonard Cohen

Like a bird on the wire,
like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried, in my way, to be free.

Like a worm on a hook,
like a knight from some old fashioned book
I have saved all my ribbons for thee.

If I, if I have been unkind,
I hope that you can just let it go by.
If I, if I have been untrue
I hope you know it was never to you.

Like a baby, stillborn,
like a beast with his horn
I have torn everyone who reached out for me.

But I swear by this song
and by all that I have done wrong
I will make it all up to thee.

I saw a beggar leaning on his wooden crutch,
he said to me, “You must not ask for so much.”
And a pretty woman leaning in her darkened door,
she cried to me, “Hey, why not ask for more?”

Oh, like a bird on the wire,
like a drunk in a midnight choir
I have tried, in my way, to be free.

Not For Kids survey

Tired of all of those surveys made up by kids? Here’s questions for the people who are a little older. Copy and paste into your own notes, then answer the questions.

01. What bill do you hate paying the most? Credit cards; ugh.
02. Do you miss being a child? Sometimes, but not really.
03. Chore you hate the most? Cleaning up cat puke. [OMG SO TRUE]
04. Where was the last place you had a romantic dinner? Uh… I.. don’t remember?
05. If you could go back and change one thing what would it be? Just one?
06. Name of your first grade teacher? Mrs. Lions.
07. What do you really want to be doing right now? Good question.
08. What did you want to be when you grew up? A lot of things; dancer, singer, writer.
09. How many colleges did you attend? Two, one for a BA, one for an MA/MFA.
10. Why did you choose the shirt that you have on right now? It’s clean.
11. What are your thoughts on gas prices? I don’t have a car. I’m resisting.
12. First thought when the alarm went off this morning? I didn’t even hear the alarm.
13. Last thought before going to sleep last night? “I have a lot of crap to do.”
14. What famous person would you like to have dinner with? Jesus.
15. Have you ever crashed your vehicle? Yes.
16. If you didn’t have to work, would you volunteer? Yes, and I do.
17. Get up early or sleep in? Why is this even a question?
18. What is your favorite cartoon character? Hmm, Beast, maybe? I don’t know.
19. Favorite thing to do at night with a guy/girl? Read or watch a movie. Get to know each other.
20. When did/will you get married? When the personal conditions I’ve set are met, of course.
21. Favorite lunch meat? Turkey, but I don’t eat meat.
22. What do you get every time you go into Wal-Mart? I try to avoid Walmart.

23. Do you think marriage is an outdated ritual? No, but I’m boycotting it until everyone who wants to is able to.

24. Favorite movie you wouldn’t want anyone to find out about? Uh, if I’m ashamed of it, in theory, why would I put it here?

25. What’s your favorite drink? Water, root beer, Dr. Pepper, chai tea, Thai iced tea.
26. Who[m] from high school would you like to run in to? No one.
27. What radio station is your car radio tuned to right now? No car, thankyewverymuch.
28. Sopranos or Desperate Housewives? Ick; neither.

29. Worst relationship mistake that you wish you could take back? Going out with Nathan to Waffle house that night in December 2006.

30. Do you like the person that sits directly across from you at work? This requires me to have work…

31. Have you ever had to use a fire extinguisher for its intended purposes? Haha, no.

32. Last book you finished reading? The Rhetoric of Fiction by Wayne C. Booth. (omg so boring)
33. Do you have a teddy bear? Yeah, at home. With me I have Raggedy Anne.
34. Strangest place you have ever brushed your teeth? What are we counting as “strange”?
35. How old are you? Almost 24.
36. Thing you hate about Facebook? It’s useless and yet I still check it.
37. How many cars have you owned (not that your parent’s gave to you)? 0.
38. Since Graduating, how many times have you moved? Graduating from what? High school?

39. What is your college degree and are you using it in your current job? BA in English and History, MA in Creative Writing, working on an MFA in Creative Writing. And for the second part, no, I’m not. /bitter

40. What’s the best advice to offer children? These are not the best years of your lives, only the least complicated. (In the real world, you must wear shoes.)

Mythical Creatures quiz

Stolen from moonsmirror. As usual, I’m not strongly anything. I guess I’m mostly zombie because I answered 6 out of 9 of those, when the rest of the sections had 10 possible check markers each. Methinks that’s a mistake, but who am I to really say?

Centaur: 50%
Elf: 10%
Fairy: 50%
Gnome/Dwarf: 30%
Harpy/Siren: 50%
Mermaid: 20%
Vampire: 60%
Werewolf: 30%
Wizard/Witch: 60%
Zombie: 67% (6/9)
Satyr/Faun: 50%

[ ] You are rather wild, and let your instincts run you.
[ ] You get drunk a lot.
[x] Bravery and boldness is second nature to you.
[ ] You have a deep love for astronomy and the universe.
[x] You like to read your daily horoscope.
[x] You have a high level of pride in yourself.
[ ] In the woods is the best place for you to be.
[ ] You are spiritual.
[ ] The horse is your favorite animal.
[x] You are possessive and territorial.
Total: 5

[ ] Your ears are slightly pointed at the tips (be honest).
[x] You are very intelligent.
[ ] Your five senses are extremely keen.
[ ] Your weight is quite a bit lighter than the average person at your particular height.
[ ] You always wear elegant clothes and speak as politely as possible.
[ ] You are most at peace when you are gazing at something beautiful, like nature.
[ ] You look very young for your age.
[ ] You rarely get sick.
[x] You are a very hard worker.
[ ] Above all other superpowers, you would love to read minds or see the future.
Total: 1

[ ] You are happy a lot of the time.
[x] The best superpower to you would be to fly.
[ ] You are very shy.
[ ] You love the forest and plant life in general.
[x] You are always willing to help others, even if you might not be the best to offer aid.
[ ] You are young and short.
[x] Dancing is one of your favorite pastimes.
[x] If someone ticks you off, you are very clever with getting them back.
[x] Your clothing isn’t always presentable, but you are comfortable with what you wear.
[ ] Circles are a wonderful symbol of unity to you.
Total: 5

[ ] You are excellent with crafts and handiwork.
[ ] In social situations, you tend to be a little awkward.
[ ] You are short for your age.
[x] You are an isolationist.
[ ] You love to play practical jokes on people.
[x] You are extremely fascinated with jewelry.
[x] You look older than your age.
[ ] You love the woods and the mountains.
[ ] You are well off, or come from a family that is well off.
[ ] You have a short temper.
Total: 3

[ ] You are best at talking bad about people behind their backs and not to their face.
[x] When you are annoyed, you will go to a great extent to torment whoever did so to you.
[x] You often take things that aren’t yours.
[ ] You are easily angered.
[ ] Death fascinates you.
[x] You are female, or a feminine-looking man.
[x] You associate yourself with the wind element.
[x] You can switch quickly between your light and dark side.
[ ] You love to trick others.
[ ] You have a ravenous appetite.
Total: 5

[ ] You love the beach more so because of the water than the shore itself.
[ ] Fish are some of the most beautiful creatures to you.
[ ] The ultimate superpower to you would be to breathe underwater.
[ ] You enjoy looking at ships, but not riding them, as well as you like ships for traveling, not hunting in the sea.
[x] You are good at swimming.
[ ] You like to collect shells.
[ ] You use sea items as jewelry or decoration.
[ ] You enjoy learning about the ocean and the life inside it.
[x] You are extremely against ocean pollution, and someday, perhaps (if you haven’t already), you will work to stop that.
[ ] Legs on land are not as important as a fin in the sea.
Total: 2

[x] You’re a night person.
[x] You have a fascination with blood.
[x] You are extremely pale.
[ ] You wish you had a bat as a pet.
[ ] You are not religious at all.
[x] Tight spaces are not scary or uncomfortable for you.
[x] The sun’s glare annoys you all too often.
[ ] You hate food with lots of garlic in it.
[x] To you, a kiss on the neck is more romantic than a kiss on the cheek or lips.
[ ] You don’t like sharp objects near you.
Total: 6

[ ] The full moon is the most beautiful scene to you.
[ ] You have a lot of body hair.
[ ] The ability to shapeshift is the best superpower to you.
[ ] You prefer gold over silver items.
[ ] You lack self control.
[ ] You find it easier to have sympathy for animals than for humans.
[x] You have a deep respect for wolves and wild dogs.
[x] You like to be alone.
[x] You have a secret and you only tell people you trust 100% about it.
[ ] You’d rather be outdoors than indoors.
Total: 3

[ ] You love chemistry.
[x] You are intuitive and good at analyzing people, to the point that people seriously or jokingly say you’re psychic.
[ ] The most amazing supernatural power to you is controlling the elements.
[ ] You are a nature lover.
[x] You have a strong sense of responsibility
[x] You spend a lot of time alone.
[x] You usually hang around with a certain animal all the time when you feel lonely.
[x] You are spiritual, but not necessarily religious.
[ ] Cooking is one of your favorite things to do.
[x] You enjoy learning about Wicca and the occult.
Total: 6

[x] You are pale
[ ] You are hungry a lot.
[x] Many activities you do every day make you feel mindless, or like a drone.
[x] Most of the time you or a part of you is cold.
[ ] You love to eat meat.
[x] You would resort to cannibalism if that was the only source of food.
[ ] You make grunts and moans a lot
[x] You usually walk slow.
[x] You are not afraid of seeing a lot of blood or getting a lot of blood on yourself.
Total: 6

[x] You are very passionate about the things you like.
[ ] You like to get drunk and dance.
[x] You’re very amorous.
[x] You like art and music.
[x] You enjoy feasting with friends.
[ ] You love nature but more for the animals then the trees and plants.
[ ] You like getting rowdy and having a good time.
[ ] You laugh a lot.
[x] You love the chase almost as much as the capture.
[ ] You wish you had horns.
Total: 5

I’m kind of surprised how accruate this is

Your dating personality profile:

Liberal – Politics matters to you, and you aren’t afraid to share your left-leaning views. You would never be caught voting for a conservative candidate.
Intellectual – You consider your mind amongst your assets. Learning is not a chore but a constant search after wisdom and knowledge. You value education and rationality.
Practical – You are a down-to-earth individual who is not impressed with material excess. You care about the stuff of like that really matters.

Your Top Ten Traits

1. Liberal
2. Intellectual
3. Practical
4. Sensual
5. Big-Hearted
6. Shy
7. Wealthy/Ambitious
8. Adventurous
9. Athletic
10. Stylish

Your date match profile:

Big-Hearted – You want someone compassionate, someone gentle and kind. A loving, nurturing person will fill that hole in your life.
Practical – You are drawn to people who are sensible and smart. Flashy, materialistic people turn you off. You appreciate the simpler side of living.
Conservative – Forget liberals, you need a conservative match. Political discussions interest you, and a conservative will offer the viewpoint you need.

Your Top Ten Match Traits

1. Big-Hearted
2. Practical
3. Conservative
4. Shy
5. Intellectual
6. Adventurous
7. Wealthy/Ambitious
8. Athletic
9. Traditional
10. Stylish

Take the Dating Profile Quiz at Would I Date You

Academic Thesis

When I write something—creative or academic—my average thought-to-page ratio is one hour per typed page. Doesn’t really matter how long the assignment is, or if I’m really into the topic, or whatever; it all boils down to about one hour’s work for each typed page I produce (not including any preliminary reading or research I have to do; I’m talking about actually writing something).

Such was the case with every single TPS report I wrote (ten reports totaling 90 pages);
Such was the case with my 525 manuscript (154 pages);*
Such was the case with my academic thesis (23 pages and two pages of citations).
(And such will be the case when I finally finish my manuscript, which is supposed to be twice as long as it is now.)

All that means that I’ve spent hundreds of hours writing this semester. I’m not even counting previous semesters or the entirety of college or high school or anything. I mean, Jesus.

Just imagine how much time I’ve spent during my lifetime simply writing… If I’m not a writer after thinking about all that (you do the math; I’m not a mathematician), I don’t know what I am.

… In any case, the academic thesis IS NOW DONE thankyewverymuch. I sat in my apartment with no internet access all Memorial weekend and cranked that sucker out. Last day of the semester is Wednesday, and I’m finished just under the wire.

I’ll have to edit and edit (and edit more) now, of course, after my professor looks at it, and I’ll have to defend it in June at the MFA residency, but the meat of the thing is DONE. Sheesh, what a load off, huh?

I kinda want to go to a movie to celebrate, but I can’t afford it (which is in itself another story altogether). I think I’m going to have to settle for McDonald’s french fries instead.

I still have no internet service in my apartment, so I’ll be updating Twitter via text and won’t be able to read anyone else’s updates or tweets for the time being. Just a heads up.

* 525 was my residency class in January; the last class before earning a Master of Arts in Creative Writing.