Monday, December 30, 2013

Residency and the New Year

A final list of things I need to get done before heading off to Boston: find a picture for the flashback class, practice reading my piece for Steve's workshop, write about the pieced of music for Randall's workshop, finish reading two workshop pieces (I've really loved them all so far!), read the Atwood short story, read the Unseen Mind, and finish reading the Loss of Face article.  Also, print out Poetics.  The only classwork stuff I have to do is for Sandra's Critical Thesis class and Steve's Stone by Stone class.  That might sound like a lot but it's not.  Most of this will be done between tonight and tomorrow and then I also have lots of time during the first two days at the Residency to polish up and prepare.  But I figure I'll be spending most of that time catching up with my Solstice family.  A few other things I want to work on is narrowing down my ideas for a Critical Thesis as well as deciding which novel to work on for my Creative Thesis.

Along with the Residency comes the New Year and I have a few goals in mind for 2014.  Some of them of a literary nature while others are of a kinky nature.  Literary wise: I want to write a comprehensive synopsis for Death Man, I want to edit/rewrite/polish over 50K words for Death Man and for Summer of August Hunt.  I also want to write a backwards forwards poem - the kind you can read two different ways and I already have an idea for that involving Death Man.  For the kinkier goals I definitely want my nipples pierced and want to become proficient at needle play and medical staples.  Health wise, I would like to lose some weight (just like rest of America *sigh*) and just be healthier all around.  I want to die my hair, wear more make-up, and start taking vitamins.  Other things that I want to work on is getting back into my art.  I am thinking that for the Residency I'm going to bring an artist's sketch pad instead of a laptop.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Piercing Pals

EDIT: I still have not pierced the nipples!  And I've taken down many of the lovely booby pics mentioned in one of the comments due to a change in the adult content policy on blogger.

That's what I want.  Soon.  And it's not a total spur of the moment thing.  My friend and I were talking the other day and the subject of piercings came up.  She's actually had her belly button pierced before (it was very cute!) but had to take it out after about a year due to allergies and sensitivities to the metal.  It was sad.  But every part of the body reacts differently and so she's game to try again.  And I'm game to try with her.

The only piercing I have at the moment is a single hole in each ear lobe and even though I used to wear earrings almost every day (mainly throughout high school and a bit into college) my ears are allergic to everything but high quality gold now and since I'm poor, I don't wear earrings all that often anymore.  So of course, the natural next step in both our piercing lives is... *dun dun dun* the nipple!  Both of them.

We're going to go in together sometime at the start of this new year and get us some nifty booby jewelry.  At least that is the plan.  From what I've read here and there via forums and ask sites, the nipple takes piercings better than some other surface areas on the body, they are relatively inexpensive, and, aside from having a tendency to close up quickly when left without a ring/bar in, are a lot of fun.

We've both been wanting to get our nipples pierced for a while and now it's a plan of action.  I would like to lose some weight this year, or, even if I don't lose significant weight, I want to be healthier - that means better food choices (more vegetables and protein), more getting out and actually exercising, and picking up a healthy hobby like belly-dancing or hiking - and the good news is that no matter how much weight I lose (or gain if I'm not careful) the nipples will not change.  I would never get a belly button piercing because my belly button would eat it and I don't have a cute tummy to display whatever adorable gem I might be wearing, and I can't get a facial piercing if I want to keep working retail, I can't do the nose, lip, or eyebrow, so the nipple, once again, comes out the victor.

It seems the most popular size for a barbell in the nips is 14 gauge.  We'll have to talk to the piercing artist to see which metal and size is best for us 'sensitive' gals.  My Hannah is on board with the whole thing and supports me in my decision.  My friends immediate family is not quite as on board for her to go through with it but as long as we are safe and find a fairly good deal I don't see how they can object too, too much.  If worse comes to worst, and she ends up with a infection, she can take the piercing out and cut her loses.  But I have very high hopes for these piercings.  We are even looking at some cute and cliche "best friends" nipple jewelry.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Yule and Sirens

Tonight, Hannah and I decided, rather on the spur of the moment, to take some food, some wood, some matches, and some sodas and go out to Kiwanis Park to cook a Solstice meal and enjoy nature.  Well, the park technically closes from "sunset to sunrise" and since today is the shortest day of the year, sunset came at 3:59 PM.  Meaning our trespassing began shortly after we arrived.  In the time it took us to walk from the car to the pavilion, there went the sun.  For all my talk, I'm actually a pretty rule abiding citizen, same with Hannah, and so with the dark came a feeling of breaking the law.  Fear of being fined (we are so freaking poor right now) and fear of being arrested (thank you articles featuring the bad apple/barrel police department encounters) quickly overshadowed the slight adrenaline high that comes from being rebellious.  Maybe it was the mixture of fear and adrenaline that kept us there because before we knew it I was starting a fire in the grill pit and Hannah was fixing up the MP3 player with the speakers.

The air was filled with the crackling of summer wood and the melodies of Solstice carols.  We were about to put the tinfoil wrapped casserole and bacon onto the grate when I pointed out that lacked a stick for poking and proding the food and fire.   I was pretty certain we had a metal poker in the car so I got the keys and readied myself to venture back to the parking lot alone (probably a three minute walk but still, it was dark!).

And then, through the trees we see headlights moving nice and slow, somewhat reminiscent of how a cop car might drive through a closed park to keep all Pagan shenanigans to a minimum.  So Hannah and I freeze and watch the balls of light as they slow to a stop and then disappear.  Suddenly I decided I didn't really need to go to the car.  It had to have been a cop, right?  And I just knew that he'd either taken down the license plate number so he could fine us later or left a big fat ticket on the window.  And if he wasn't a cop then it was a random person out looking for someone to tattle on.

Our hearts beating a little faster after the mysterious drive-by, we threw the food onto the fire and cuddled together to wait for the feast, hoping that we could still enjoy our evening before the police showed up in force to haul us away. It was nice to just sit there in the woods, surrounded by snow and the pretty orange glow of the fire.  But that ended when we heard, way off in the distance, the sound of a police siren followed by the loud belching alarm of a firetruck.  We gave each other nervous smiles and tried to ignore it, but it kept getting louder and louder and louder.  Until it sounded like they were pulling into the park.  Hannah immediately began piling snow onto our nice fire sending a whoosh of smoke up into the night sky, making a kind of 'guilty' beacon.

The siren sound gets closer and closer and then goes right on by.  Yep.  But we've already killed the fire and it seems like a good time to make a run for it before something does happen, so we grab our half cooked food, our blankies, music, and sodas and head home.  I half figured there would be a police road block waiting for us at the park entrance, but the only thing waiting for us were a couple of deer and they were beautiful. The best part of the story, however, is that later, when explaining how we freaked ourselves out over a random car driving slowly through the park, dad replies casually, "Oh, that was us!"  My parents went out to see if the area was plowed because they worried that we might be stuck in the snow.  We weren't stuck.  Just paranoid.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Poetry, I Lacks it

One of my goals for the new year is to write some poetry.  It's mainly just to nourish my soul a little but I wouldn't mind sharing them on the blog.  One of my friends shared a great "forwards/backwards" poem the other day (I'm sure there's an official name for this but, meh) and if you read it top to bottom it is an atheists view of the world and if you read it from the bottom up it becomes a Christian's view of the world.  It's a pretty neat style and I've been curious and excited about it ever since another friend wrote her very own "forwards/backwards" poems, taking it even a step further so that there are four ways to read it and each way gives a new perspective to the characters within.  I want to poetry!  I need to poetry.  But after playing with words for about half an hour and coming up with nothing, I gave up on the writing and went, instead, to the reading.  I found a neat page with lots of darker poetry (classic and contemporary) compiled into a single text.  So, since I can't write anything of value tonight, I'll just share one of my favorite poems for now and give this whole poetry thing another shot tomorrow.

by Dorothy Parker

Razors pain you;
Rivers are damp;
Acids stain you;
And drugs cause cramp.
Guns aren't lawful;
Nooses give;
Gas smells awful;
You might as well live.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Penis and Me

EDIT: The glorious penis picture (wherein the penis was completely body painted over with white and then dotted with huge primary color polka dots) has been removed due to a change in adult content policy.  Please enjoy the replacement dick!

I nearly killed my boss a few days back - not with an ax, but with laughter.  She and I were talking about Christmas letters and families and she asked about me and Hannah.  She wondered if we'd ever dated men and how did we know we didn't like them.  Well, we do like men.  Both of us.  We like men a great deal.  But our love isn't based on each other's genitalia.  So my boss took this in and then asked if our families knew that Hannah and I were together.  Yes, everyone knows.  Everyone except her grandparents.  They know (we think they know) but they won't acknowledge it.  Which is fine.  They are super Christian and on top of that they come from a generation of 'don't hang your dirt laundry out for others to see' and as long as they still love me and call me their 'other' granddaughter, I don't care if they admit to themselves the true nature of my relationship with Hannah.  They are nothing but pleasant toward us and that's good enough for me.  It breaks Hannah's heart a little because she wishes she could invite them to our wedding, but at the rate the 'wedding' is coming along we probably won't have to worry about Grandma and Grandpa at all because it's not going to happen until we have the money to do it right and that might be many, many years down the road.  Still, if they are here, it would be nice if they would come.

So we talked about this for a few minutes and then my boss wondered if there was anyone on my side - friends or family - that didn't know I was with a woman.  The truth is, I've told everyone of my dear friends that I am in a relationship with Hannah, except for one friend who lives in California.  I've sort of left it as a 'she probably knows' arrangement because this is the friend who, in college, spoke very frankly about how sad it was to her that all the gays were going straight to hell.  This is also the friend who once said to me, "Amanda, I've had some friends who I wondered about, but with you, I definitely know you're straight.  You will never, ever get with a woman because you are way too obsessed with penises."  Yes, I admit it, I think penises are fantastic, hilarious, delightful, and user friendly.  I didn't used to think that way.  When I was kid I often drew men in positions of power over women and their penises would be a huge snakes or something similar.  But I got older and less afraid of the mythical creature known as 'a dick' and in college I became very familiar with a few.  Not 'too familiar' mind you!  But familiar.

And that's when I pretty much killed my boss.  She cackled at my rendition of my friend saying, "Amanda, you see penises in EVERYTHING!"  And she nearly started crying when I listed off a few of the things I automatically regard as phallic: bushes, shadows, trees, air... you get the idea.  Anyway so, of course, I've been hesitant to tell my friend that Hannah and I are a couple because she might think my enjoyment of penises (or is it penii?) was a complete ruse.  She might think that everything about me was a ruse.  Her head might explode and there might be a snow storm in Jamaica.  Who knows?!  But after talking to my boss, I decided that playing chicken shit is no longer the way to go.  In Christmas letters of the past I've spoken of Hannah and I as 'we' and 'us' and talked about 'our' cats, but this year I put it out there plainly as one of the things that hasn't changed in 2013: "Hannah and I are still together."  Two girls.  Yep.  Now please enjoy this dick.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Good Feedback, Good Feelings

I'm feeling pretty good today despite the horrific dreams I was having only a few hours ago - dreams that made me cry out and whimper so much that Hannah had to shake me awake.  Well, I'm awake now and drinking coffee and I just got done checking my emails and was delighted to find a very positive and uplifting assessment from my MFA mentor.  It has kind of made my day and I am making brain stew (putting in all his suggestions and questions and letting them mix with what my friends and I have talked about concerning the story) and thinking that later today I might try my hand at peeking inside the brain of Eugene Cartwright.  He was conjured into being by the fact that I needed a 'bad guy' and as his essence formed, it became clear that he is not all that bad.  He's tragic and frustrated and, as Sterling points out, he's one of the most interesting characters in the novel synopsis.  And he very well may be the protagonist, or at least a co-protagonist.

I'm also feeling pretty good because this weekend is the family Christmas party (the big one for the entire clan) and I was able to get time off from work so that I can attend.  On a Christmas note, I do need to get on my Christmas letter and get some cards sent out.  Today will be a 'finish up the last bit of the semester day' as well as a 'get rolling on Christmas stuff' day.  Hannah and I want to have a little date, just some lunch out together, but we're both slugging through the morning with a decided lack of zeal and ambition.  That's okay, though.  We'll wake up and get to business soon enough.  Right now I'm still kind of dazed and contemplative.  My dreams were really upsetting and Sterling's email was really exciting and with both of those mixing inside I feel anxious and eager.  I'm so ready for the third residency.  I hope that it goes smoothly and that I am able to reboot all of my creative and literary efforts.

This next semester will see me working on my critical thesis.  I'm nervous about it, but not all that nervous.  I'm waiting to hear back what my mentor thought of the critical thesis ideas I sent him, but even if he decides they are all a bust (and I usually go with his suggestions/decisions because, for the most part, they are solid gold) I won't worry too much.  There will always be other options.  In other news I still need to get my little computer sent in, but I do think it's too late to be able to have Vignette at the residency, which is a shame because she made the in class writings go so much better and also allowed for me to take notes that *gasp* I was able to read later since there's no preset font on Microsoft Word called 'Amanda's excruciatingly undecipherable handwriting.'  My friend has a small computer that she says I am welcome to borrow and I might take her up on that.