September 25, 2009

The Mailman

At the age of 6 I became obsessed with our mailman.

He was a tall, gray-haired man with kind eyes and—looking back—was likely on the verge of retirement. I decided I liked him immensely because he reminded me of my grandpa. I wanted desperately for him to be my friend and possibly my new grandparent, but he wanted very little to do with me.

I began by waiting for him on the front porch every day. Around 11am he trekked through our yard littered with my Big Wheel and naked Barbies in various positions of fornication. I felt slight embarrassment over the Barbies in the 69 position on the second step, and self-consciously kicked them into the bushes as he approached. He handed me our stack of mail and I beamed and gave him the most polite “Thank you” I could muster. “You’re welcome,” he said simply, and headed toward the next house. Soon this daily ritual became unsatisfying.

I noted that he started his route each morning by getting the mail out of the big blue post office mailbox on the corner, so the next time he arrived I was waiting on top with my legs sprawled on either side of the little door. “Good morning,” he said, as he bent down to unlock the front and retrieve the letters and cards inside.

“Good morning,” I chirped in a sing-song voice, packing all the love and affection into my greeting that I could.

Now we were finally getting somewhere. Soon I would be perched on his lap as he told me stories of his childhood. His wife would be inside baking cookies, and I would be invited to stay in the spare bedroom they had set up just in case a nice little girl came to live with them.

He placed the mail in his truck and hoisted his bag onto his shoulder. I hopped down off the mailbox and began to follow him, sure that my companionship would soften him up. I lagged about 10 feet behind, and waited politely in the yard as he went from stoop to stoop placing letters in the box. Occasionally I would run up behind him and sniff his blue shirt, curious as to whether he smelled of Juicy Fruit gum as my grandpa did. When he paused to sort through the letters in his bag I would surreptitiously pick my nose as I waited patiently and watched him. He eyed me warily and continued along his route. I wasn’t allowed to wander more than a few houses away, so at the Westfall’s place I would wave and holler after him, “Goodbye! I’ll see you tomorrow!” He never answered and never turned back.

One day I was later than usual coming outside, and—to my joy—discovered that he was eating lunch inside of his mail truck down the street. I trotted over to the window and knocked on it. He glanced up at me and then went back to the bologna sandwich and the newspaper he was reading. To entertain him I did cartwheels, jumping jacks, and Pop Warner cheers on the sidewalk next to his truck. I never saw him look up once.

I couldn’t understand it. I was trying as hard as I could and he wasn’t interested in taking me home with him. Why couldn’t he see that I could fill the empty space in his life? In anger and frustration, I wiped a booger on his window and stomped off dramatically. I would have to think carefully about my next step.

On a night when my stepfather was on a particularly cruel rampage, I curled in the corner of my bedroom and tried to think of a way out. I needed someone to take me where no one could find me. Suddenly I knew that the mailman could help me; I just had to make him understand the urgency of my situation.

The next morning I climbed out of bed and tore a page out of my Wonder Woman coloring book. With red crayon, I carefully printed the words, “Mailman, Help me get out. Please. Love, Amie.” I tip-toed out of the house and anxiously waited on the front porch for his arrival. He just had to help me, and I began to cry as I imagined the relief I would feel once I arrived safely at his house.

Like clockwork he arrived with his mailbag, and I thrust my letter into his hand. He looked down at it and frowned. I sniffed and wiped my nose on the back of my shirt, looking at him expectantly. I imagined being whisked away in his mail truck amidst the Publisher’s Clearinghouse winner notifications and the Hills department store sales flyers. He cleared his throat and handed my note back along with a small stack of junk mail. As he turned his back and walked down the steps, I sat down where I was standing and started to cry.

September 23, 2009

Inspiration and the forms in which it comes

I have always needed a lot of attention.

I didn't get a lot of it from my parents, but my grandpas--whenever I visited--lavished me with it. I soaked it up like a thirsty plant. Time, affection, love: I couldn't get enough.

When I couldn't get my needs met from others, I found ways to make do and meet them myself. I would tuck myself in bed, wrap my arms around myself in a tight hug, shower my hand with kisses and pat them all over my face, and murmur night-time endearments to myself: "Good night, sweet girl. I love you so much. I love you more than anything in the world. You're my baby; you're my sweetheart. Good night."

These intense needs are cute and endearing in a little kid, but not so much in a grown woman--especially in a grown woman who doesn't always know how to ask for what she wants and needs.

As an adult I have found that this need has a profound effect on me. Attention and affection--or the lack thereof--have dramatic effects on my writing, inspiration, and creativity and the forms which they take. It profoundly affects my mood which is, at best, tenuous. It is also surprisingly easy to confuse sex with the attention that I crave. I have worked hard to be conscious of these distinctions and to learn to better distinguish when I need one or the other. Or both.

I still hoard attention when I can get it. I try to store it up and allow myself to savor the memories of it during dry spells however long or short they may be. Lately I luxuriate in it whenever I can, and I am starting to feel writing inspiration coming to me. It's still a bit elusive--like fireflies heading up, up, and just beyond my reach. But I keep jumping and swatting at the air, trying to bring them down to me.

September 22, 2009

having two poles; characterized by opposite extremes

Today I had a long talk with someone who is bipolar. It is only the second opportunity I've had to talk to someone who is like me. I found myself blurting out all these private things I don't usually talk or write about, because I knew I would be understood.

And I was.

September 20, 2009


I dreamed I was a kid at summer camp. I dreamed of a wonderful job offer. I dreamed of an Indian restaurant where the music they played had secret meaning. The music was code for an ancient language most people had long since forgotten. I dreamed of someone I once loved drinking chocolate milk.

September 15, 2009


Vertigo is the conflict between the fear of falling and the desire to fall.

- Salman Rushdie

A box full of suggestions for your possible heart

a good woman will pick you apart
a box full of suggestions for your possible heart
but you may be offended and you may be afraid
don't walk away, don't walk away

-Bright Eyes

September 14, 2009


On protocol

I have resisted writing this particular blog. As much as I love having readers, sometimes I start to censor myself in order to protect one of them or—more often—to protect myself.

I started this blog as a place to express my thoughts and explore my creative urges and if I can’t do that, what is the use? I tend to think and write in metaphor and symbol and much of my blog reflects this, but sometimes I just need to come out and say what I mean. This is a constant struggle in my personal life. I am trying to get better. So here goes.

I feel like I am terrible at this dating thing.

I’ve gone out with 70+ guys in the last year or so (I KNOW! BELIEVE ME, I KNOW!). Some of them read this blog (Hi folks!). But by the end of all that I was so…tired. I met some very nice people (and some BATSHIT CRAZY ones—a couple of those written about in other blog entries). Mostly the dates consisted of a pleasant enough dinner and small talk and getting-to-know-you kind of stuff. Sometimes I was incredibly bored and discreetly glancing at the clock, wondering how soon I could be home and in bed (ALONE). Almost always I could tell that this would be the first and only time I would ever see this person.

Well, I finally met someone I like.

Here’s the tricky part, see? There’s the risk of saying the wrong thing. There’s the risk of giving too much away. There’s the risk of allowing myself to be vulnerable. Just by writing this I know very well that I could be hastening a fragile beginning’s demise.

I can’t help it. I never was very good at keeping my mouth shut for long.

I don’t know how to do this and I’m not sure how to figure it out. I’ve made a very real effort not to stress or overanalyze and—for the most part—I’ve done well. But sometimes the real me breaks through even though I thought I had her muzzled and blindfolded and tied up in a basement somewhere. I start to worry that I don’t know how often to call, so I just don’t call at all. I worry that I don’t know how often to see each other, so I just don’t bring it up at all. Why is it so hard to say, “I like you. I like talking to you. I like spending time with you”? Everyone’s an adult here. I don’t think anyone’s consciously playing games. It’s just that the fear of rejection is a very powerful one.

Of course, everyone has advice to offer. Some are in the camp of, “Men like the chase. Don’t make it too easy.” Others are in the, “Just say it. Say it all! If he likes you he can handle it” camp. (Oh, but they don’t know how much I always seem to have to say!)

Meanwhile I tread water; I try to distract myself; I spend time with friends; I tend virtual farms on Facebook; I write and dance around my feelings; I bide my time. I wonder.


I may very well have said the wrong thing. I may very well have given too much away. I am, in fact, vulnerable. I don’t know any other way to be.

September 10, 2009

Edit the sad parts (2)

Sometimes all I really want to feel is love
Sometimes I'm angry that I feel so angry
Sometimes my feelings get in the way
Of what I really feel I needed to say

- Modest Mouse


Some of you are aware that--since moving to San Francisco--my feet have received a bizarre amount of attention. I have been approached by men on buses, including bus drivers, men on the street, and one guy who yelled at them for not having the right to look the way they did.

I wrote about one of these incidents here.

These stories became quite a joke among my friends and naturally everyone wanted to know what they looked like. We agreed that the flip-flop market seems to be an untapped land of opportunity for men with foot fetishes, because that's what I tend to wear. We joked about me starting a website.

Recently, my friend Bob took a folklore class at Berkeley and documented the stories about and pictures of my feet for the folklore archives at the school. Admittedly, this was kind of cool.

In the last few days I've been asked by two different men if they could worship my feet. It's hard to know how to feel about this. But the website idea has arisen again and a friend of mine who is pretty tech-savvy offered to help me set it up with a Paypal account. I'm supposed to brainstorm a good title.

September 9, 2009

A summary of the self

"I am a man. I has a job. I like have the fun. I say funny things with friends. We laugh and laugh. My life good.

At work, I make the drinks for people. They come to see me. They laugh and tell stories. They pay me. That helps me when the bills come. They come in the mail sometimes.

I like to travel in cars or airplanes. I don't like trains to travel. someday I want to go all over the countries. That would make me happy.

I also like the plants. I have many that I give water to. They seem to laugh and laugh."

I just don't know what to do with myself.

Winged and stringed

September 8, 2009

On doubt

“You know you’re worth it, right?” her friend asked. She gulped and nodded hesitantly. “You’re worth all the good that comes your way and then some,” the friend continued, “because you’re amazing.”

On hesitation

“Do you want to see me anymore?” she asked carefully.

“Yes,” he said softly.

Blinking back tears of relief, she responded, “I want to see you, too, so we’ll figure the rest out as we go along.”

This must be the place (Naive Melody)

Home is where I want to be
Pick me up and turn me round
I feel numb - born with a weak heart
I guess I must be having fun
The less we say about it the better
Make it up as we go along
Feet on the ground
Head in the sky
It's ok I know nothing's wrong . . nothing

I got plenty of time
You got light in your eyes
And you're standing here beside me
I love the passing of time
Never for money
Always for love
Cover up and say goodnight

Home - is where I want to be
But I guess I'm already there
I come home - she lifted up her wings
Guess that this must be the place
I can't tell one from another
Did I find you, or you find me?
There was a time before we were born
If someone asks, this is where I'll be

We drift in and out
Sing into my mouth
Out of all those kinds of people
You got a face with a view
I'm just an animal looking for a home
Share the same space for a minute or two
And you love me till my heart stops
Love me till I'm dead
Eyes that light up, eyes look through you
Cover up the blank spots
Hit me on the head

--Talking Heads

September 7, 2009

My interpretation

Geloe (Geh-LOW-ee)

She switches from quiet, brooding and dark, to sarcastic, lively and teasing, depending on the situation. She is no thug, that much is clear, but her words are her weapons, used to deflect, to cut, to wound or defend. While, at times, she seems to channel her mother's fiery temper, she has none of the mindless ranting. Everything she does, every argument she gets into, there's a reason behind....

Geloe has a fondness for brooding, but not to the point of being somber. She's a quiet and reserved child who likes to observe things from afar, rather than be in the thick of things and the center of attention. Social situations generally make her uncomfortable. If she is approached and asked to do something she'll do it to the best of her ability. She takes a quiet sort of pride in her work, knowing she's done the best she can. There is rarely a day that she'll complain about what she's asked to do, and often enjoys challenging endeavors. She enjoys mental challenges just for the thrill of them. They allow her the rare opportunity to exercise her mind. She often feels stunted by the Old City environment, but it is the only home that she knows. She would never dream of ever leaving the family and friends she's made there, to become one of those miserable wallers. She's fiercely protective of everyone she loves, but woe betide those who have made her 'List'...

September 4, 2009

How you taste

We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection. - Anais Nin