Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Wanting to deconstruct layers:  there are three on the top.
- A raggedy little striped shirt that only reaches to the elbow, gone thin, with tiny holes, from so many washings, Nina gave it to me.  The thinness of that cotton so blissful in heat.
- Over which a soft Danskin jacket of brushed cotton, suede-like in feel, deep red on the outside deep lavender on the in (w hoodie to match ), found washed and pressed in a box in the lobby of an ex-boyfriend's apt building; the Lobby of Many Things, or Hoarders Lived There!)
- Over which my mother's classically designed brown raincoat, very light, with pockets and another hood, while
- around my neck I wore two scarves, very sheer, one with gold thread running through and falling off behind me, something my friend Kathryn gave me; it was wrapping for a present,
-and another sheer very sheer pink scarf, did I buy this one myself, at some cheap fair NYC?
- The boots are vegan (read: plastic), left behind by abovementioned Nina's sometime tenant, a young woman who left them behind when she joined the airforce and became a paratrooper;
- as for underwear, you may ask, and I will say,
- And speaking of what you don't…see, my head is tilted too far back for a glimpse of the samurai knot with a small but slightly splashy kiki fountain vamping out of it, and all those tendrils drifting down.
- Re what you do see?  My camera smile; never unself conscious unless candid.
Thank you to the nice neighbor who took it!  And nice meeting you, Dave, and also Phillip, the gorgeous black deaf* youth who lived in the house next door.  (PYT, don'tcha wanna ask me out??)
*think of the advantages he would have, while going out with me!

Thus I realized that I was walking around in gifted clothing.  Except for the navy pants that tucked into the Cossack-style xcellnt monsoon boots with too-long laces, all of it was given me.
Above me the sky was such a brilliant blue, and the clouds so bright white, it hurt to look up, even as softer, lower, fog draped them and there came down the lightest fractions of water; so light they just caught the sun and were tiny flashes of silver in the air, not nearly enough to dampen anything, but falling upon us like grace.
And there I was, walking with Sammy through it, dressed in gifted.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Love and Terror

Why is letting people love you sometimes the hardest thing in the world to do?

I don't know, but the answer is tangled in the web that makes you love people who don't in fact love you the way you are.  You're just a piece of work waiting to be altered. 

Men seem to like the wild in me, but as soon as I commit to them, they start trying to tame it.  It doesn't end well, and I mean for me, either.  They find someone else, and I find my self-esteem around my ankles.   

'It's like The Taming of the Shrew,' a friend suggested.  Gee THANKS.  Because who doesn't love being called a nasty little rodent?  (Seriously, isn't that what a shrew is?)

Okay, COMPUTER!  We're not even a minute away from that Star Trek model where you just say Computer!  And it pulls out the answer.  Right now I have to get on a new tab and google shrew.  SIGH.
It's terrifying how fast we get used to convenience.

So yeah, a shrew has 'heavy dentition' -- meaning serious fangs.  More like tusks.  Tame THAT mothafucka!

Does this mean I have an 'attitude' problem?  I don't feel like I do...I mostly feel like I'm always on the verge of apology.  Though the last time a man wrote to me 'I can't get you out of my mind' I wrote, 'Try.'  He said, 'That worked.'  I instantly apologized, but I could NOT resist the joke!  Is that it means to try to be a comedian?  To just blurt shit out (always asking forgiveness, never permission)? -- no, wait:

To be a comic is to always ask for forgiveness (ie after), never permission (ie you get the fucking picture).  Apparently it also means being a huge potty-mouth.  No problem there!  Especially after I saw that much re-shared post about people who swear being more intelligent (of course, there's a limit; if you put fuckin between every other word, you're just a fuckin moron).

Huh?  What do you mean, off-topic?  

Am reading this book, He's Scared/She's Scared, and I can't help but think, Jesus Christ, shouldn't we be??
Given what I know, consider me terrified!

Heartbreak, now that is truly frightening -- when you actually feel a fissure beneath your sternum and between your ribs -- I push my fingers into it, and it's like there's this ragged hole where I need my soul to be.  I let my soul go too easily. 

But what's the point, if you don't?  It's a conundrum.  It's a koan.  It's the narrative we have to live in order to find out who we love, who to love, and, I hope, how to do it better.  Animals, friends, family, lovers, the Dalai Lama, and every sentient being in anguish and need.

Wait, this was supposed to be about intimacy...
I crave it, but if it's given too easily, I am suspicious. I become wary caustic girl.  (Those are my superheroine powers!)  

Has anyone yet realized that oh is the opposite of ho??
Yes I think I am the first!
(See, start talking about intimacy and I'm about to turn this machine off and go read my new book, I Love Dick.  F'real).

Over and out.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Interview with Caroline Leavitt and myself

Caroline L:  I always think there is a reason to write, something haunting you. What's your reason?

Kristin McC:  I absolutely agree.  That something is haunting me is the reason to write the book.

If I could sum it up in one paragraph, I'd just do a brief essay.  The struggle through the thickets of consciousness, subconsciousness and the dreamland of unconsciousness is why I write; there is something, some answer, I am trying to achieve, or completely explore.

     In Velocity, it was the wild but perfectly, as I saw it, logical connection of grief to sexual obsession. It was a way this particular young woman dealt with the loss of her mother, and along with that, the loss of her capacity to communicate with her father.  It's about authority, the need for it, the defiance of it, and all the old wounds of adolescence.  It's about doing anything except feel the pain of death – or being orphaned.
     It's also about the realms of worlds that have always existed around you/one/her as a child that my character, Ellie Lowell, was somehow unaware of – eg, people like Jesse (a biker, half Cherokee, who deals with but is not a Hell's Angel, squatting in some ramble-down shack – living by his rules entirely, trusting not white man, not Indian – but perhaps, very briefly, this little white girl who clings to his every move).
It's about going home and finding it utterly foreign; it's about risk over security, breaking rather than keeping the rules, about sexuality that in a flash seems to steal your soul, body first.  Of building a world of illusion and wanting to literally die when it crumbles.
And for me as a first-time novelist, the challenge was to write with equal force about the terrifying nihilism of death, of losing one's mother, and the crazed pull to sex – to write about sex graphically without ever veering into the porno-.

      For Some Girls, it was about trying to understand how it is that we learn to be women by studying the way other women become so – mothers, sisters, friends, and finally, lovers.  It was about the romance that only women can make when they're together, and the fluidity of gender (this was waaaay back in the Dark Ages of 1989, Manhattan), the terror of seeing oneself in a way one never would have imagined, the struggle to assimilate new aspects of one's being – and one's sexual identity is the cornerstone, I have nearly always found (why 'Pat' of SNL was such a disturbing character!) of identity.
I also wanted to write about the way only women can appreciate certain other women's beauty, and most of all, how one becomes captivated by a singular intelligence, sensuality, and soul.  How deep that attraction goes.  It was me walking a tightrope between 'coming out' vs simply (as if!) 'falling in love', perhaps just once, with perhaps only this one woman; does this make her bi?  Technically, I guess so, though it's not how I think of her/them.  
It is also, crucially, my love letter to Manhattan; once I got it all down on paper, there was this sense:  I can rest now.

And with Hollywood Savage I wanted to explore the theme of fidelity and in/  from the male point of view, for reasons that made a strangely sympathetic autobiographical sense to me.  I wanted to write about Hollywood and its delirious illogic, its addiction to cliché, creative run by bureaucrats, and the difficulty of converting novel to script.
It was a contrast between cities, and an exploration (inspired in some odd degree Proust's The Captive) of passion, jealousy, the need to hold, to have, to keep.  It's about the humiliation of having someone else seduce your Other, and the weird need for revenge; and it was about two very different women who nevertheless have a whole world (one man) in common.

        The older I get, the more every book is really about New York.  In the first, it's about a girl who left to find herself, did, then came back home, very briefly, for a life-changing summer in North Carolina.
In Some Etc, it's about a young woman's flight to NYC to become someone more like her next door neighbor, and in Hollywood Savage it's about living on the other end of the country and looking back, with extreme homesickness, at the place you finally, with great effort, made your own.
I miss New York could be the name of all my books, I sometimes think (but – NAH).

CL:  What kind of writer are you?

KMc:  I don't outline unless I get lost in the morass (see:  work in progress).  I crave the Muse, love Elizabeth Gilbert's take on it, pray to James Salter for help, and read his work along with Amy Hempel's and Don DeLillo's and Antoine St. Exupery's and Jayne Anne Phillip' short stories, Joy Williams' earlier work, as well as Michael Ondaatje and Marguerite Duras for inspiration when I feel I'm just going through the motions.

What question didn't I ask that I should have?

Only this:  why is it that people will ascribe 'James Salter' –like qualities to male writers simply because they write about men and women, but never see his influence in any women??  (See hero not named above.  Who needs to give herself away that badly.  TMI, ri???)

(Yeah maybe not include that last bit; don't wanna give myself away entirely).

Please let me know if there's anything else you need, or want from me.
Again, Caroline:  thank you.

Freedom: knowing nobody reads this

Not supposed to care what other people think.
What a crock of shit (this, I wrote)...

I honestly do NOT care what people on the street, driving by in cars, standing across the bar, walking past me on the street, think of me.  Why should I?  They are strangers, every bit as self-absorbed as myself, wondering (maybe!) if anyone around them is thinking about them (or even noticing them!)  That old saying holds:  'you would worry a lot less what others thought of you if you knew how little they did.'

I do really care, I'm told by some much too much, what the people I live with and love think of me.  I care what I think of myself.  I care what my family thinks of me, and to some extent (the sales kind) what readers think of me.

When someone I love goes after me, names every last little (I mean little little) thing I have done wrong, which has 'embarrassed,' or put off or made angry or irritated or upset, what they say sticks in my brain like fucking velcro.  Compliments do too, but we tend -- not to hoard, so much, as simply not to think of saying them.  We think, Doesn't she look pretty, and we smile, but we somehow don't bother to say it out loud.  Women of course being better about this with each other -- men I think go months without bothering to say that kind of thing out loud.  You have to have really gone above and beyond.

I am occasionally treated to sessions that seem to border on hatred in their vitriol, a listing of (see above) flaws that make you look at yourself the next day and see my child face aging it seems at supernatural speeds, tears, it seems, always at the ready...

Try to cultivate prayer, try to create an oasis for myself in the roar of violent emotions, a tiny spot of calm (so often centered on Zelly, my beautiful Abyssinian lynx-lookalike, who sleeps so deeply and so lightly at the same time, who finds comfort against the hard edges of the stacks of books on my bed, who makes peace look beyond effortless...)

Usually I have to put somebody else's mind/thoughts/print in front of face, try to become subsumed in that other, other-created world, with an entirely different cast of characters (Calgon, take me away!!)

Thursday, December 15, 2016

We have to learn to differentiate kind instruction from deconstructive criticism; as in the kind of thing that robs someone's confidence, such a rare vein of ore in all of us (unless you're living right, or never let anybody that far in). Got a really long call from Patrick, whose first words were making fun of me for the lamest attempt at self-offing ever. He was scornful and I laughed really hard and we were back in 10th grade, suffering from adolescence, catching each other's eye over some insanely minor detail and losing our minds. A lost mind is a terrible thing to find.

Yes you are here at TripleXK, listening to her philosophical call in; after a long day of writing really fast for forty-five minutes, I am up for some human discourse. If you have any vodka, drop by...
NO, NOT really.
(Wait, maybe...)
Just kidding.

(As I rip off Eddie Izzard).
But seriously, please. Somebody give me some airtime. My theme song is all picked out:
'I'm WIDE A-WAAAAAAKE! I'm WIDE A-WAAAKE...! I'm not sleee-pinnnnngg, oh, no.'
by U2.

I want to play Amy Winehouse and that French singer and Leonard Cohen and Nick Drake and the Clash and the Who and the Stones' B side of Tattoo You (one long perfect song) and Buffalo Springfield and Shirley Bassey and Massive Attack and a Tribe Called Quest and a LOT of Led Z., and Cole Porter and New Order and Thelonious Monk, Alone in SF -- the entire album -- and The Gentle Side of John Coltrane and Courtney Love and Madonna (Ray of Light) and the Cocteau Twins and Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins and Stan Getz and Shirley Horn and Astrid y Arturo Joabim (the Joabims), and Kanye West and Ray Charles and the Temptations and Pink Floyd and Portishead and George Michael and Billie Holiday (what's a day without the Lady?) and John McCloy, and Ten Inch Men, and Cinnamon Rush, and Waz Ziehl, and -- you get the sonic picture. All interspersed w my charming comments, plus calls from other insomaniacs still up -- the 12-3 am slot. Then I can sleep until 1 pm and never feel guilty for skipping morning, the scourge of my existence, for as long as I keep the job. (Paid, with benefits. This is what I see). 

Friday, November 11, 2016

A Facebook Dialogue with Gaia So

FB:  what's on your mind?  (great question by the way, gotta hand it to them there)

Me/today/as in 11:11 my favorite number:

Fear, panic, dread. More fear.

(people hit: Like
plus emojis:

then 'Comment/Share'
4 Matt McElroy, Martin Hyatt and 2 others
Margaret Diehl
Margaret Diehl Gacela Of The Dark Death - by Federico García Lorca

I want to sleep the dream of the apples,
to withdraw from the tumult of cemetries.
I want to sleep the dream of that child
who wanted to cut his heart on the high seas.

I don't want to hear again that the dead do not lose their blood,
that the putrid mouth goes on asking for water.
I don't want to learn of the tortures of the grass,
nor of the moon with a serpent's mouth
that labors before dawn.

I want to sleep awhile,
awhile, a minute, a century;
but all must know that I have not died;
that there is a stable of gold in my lips;
that I am the small friend of the West wing;
that I am the intense shadows of my tears.

Cover me at dawn with a veil,
because dawn will throw fistfuls of ants at me,
and wet with hard water my shoes
so that the pincers of the scorpion slide.

For I want to sleep the dream of the apples,
to learn a lament that will cleanse me to earth;
for I want to live with that dark child
who wanted to cut his heart on the high seas.
Like · Reply · 2 · 38 mins · Edited
Margaret Diehl
Margaret Diehl I was going to put up a poem of joy and hope but decided this was better.
Like · Reply · 1 · 39 mins
Gaia So
Gaia So I get the uplift here, Margaret. Thanks for sharing that! This is what it's like to cut your heart on the high seas. There is a certain comfort in knowing what to expect. Very alchemical.
Like · Reply · 16 mins
Kristin McCloy
Kristin McCloy That sounds so cool, and so right somehow, and so Gaia-whipsmart (but I don't understand, really -- can you dumbsplain it to me??)
Like · Reply · 15 mins
Gaia So
Gaia So The impulse to draw away, and then to find the vitality in the child's dream, and remembering that he in fact wants to live with that dark child and cut his heart on those high seas, accepting the ants and well shod enough to miss the scorpions pinch.
Like · Reply · 12 mins
Gaia So
Gaia So The apple and the gold are the alchemical hints. Also clues for behavior: a stable of gold in my lips, a lament that will cleanse me to earth. Beautiful words marking a path through dark times. Very scorpionic (dark child) underworldly, delivering us up to true heart's desire that otherwise we might be too chickenshit to embark towards. Claiming I AM the intense shadows of my tears. Claiming it.
Like · Reply · 7 mins
Kristin McCloy
Kristin McCloy For me there is no claiming. I just am the tears and the shadows and what I'm clawing for is escape from that -- I have my own alchemy, my own sorcery (every person, and I'm sorry but particularly women, IN GENERAL) -- there is a passionfruit vine (complete w/ dangling fruit) snaking not only through my skylight but right at my bed -- it looks like a praying mantis doing aikido, but very very viny (veiny??) Of course soon it will have to circle around, back to the light, away from me. But. Not yet.
Like · Reply · 1 · 2 mins
Gaia So
Gaia So Kristin McCloy Uh, I think you just claimed something.... (squishy hugs and soft chuckles)
Like · Reply · Just now
Kristin McCloy
Kristin McCloy Other magic in my room is a clock with Guadalupe face that runs on batteries (my friend Josie, a total wench) gave me (batts were dead, after 45 minutes of taking time) but I still love the big cheap Mexican clock (blue and pink and sky ad gold) setting next to my bright green stuffed darling abandoned monkey (George) so I kept it and it now ticks, absolutely illogically, unreasonably, IRRATIONALLY, even, at the oddest times. Sometimes goes backwards. Is time being erased by ancient goddesses? All I know is that when I wake up at pitch o'clock, I hear the tick of it and I tell myself, She is with me. I am not alone. (And in fact, there Zelly was; my ultimate familiar, who has not slept with me since the zoo here started using my bed as their real estate too...)
Like · Reply · 1 · Just now
Kristin McCloy
Kristin McCloy So of course yes we speak the same language. Sometimes I might need you to break it down for me...just some times.
Like · Reply · Just now
Kristin McCloy
Kristin McCloy Be so so so good to see you. Round here. And not just for us, I think -- for thee, too/ soul sistah
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Kristin McCloy

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Saturday, August 27, 2016

woke up with this in my head, composed:

The New Year comes in on its knees, and empty-handed; the dregs of midnight,  a moonless cloudy night; no stars either.  Every kiss feels hollow.

How could anyone possibly believe in January 1, especially if living in those places locked in tight with cold and fog and snow.  That December 31st party:  it's like something invented by a parent to console a post-Christmas-partum child ('and we'll have a BIG PARTY, with hats and bells and funny noises and kisses!  We'll drink fizzy stuff and it will be festive!)

The child, of course, being ourselves, the party just a promise,  something to look forward to, that keeps us moving along the relentless conveyor belt of life.

Gotta wonder what the hell I was dreaming about, to wake up to something so bleak!