Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Post That Includes Poetry

It's been a while since I've written poetry.

I admit this piece was stored on my computer, so that should save you the image of me feverishly writing this by candlelight, recently inspired by unrequited love. I found it while looking for some writing samples and when I opened this file, I sort of felt a jolt of inspiration. So for the past two days, I've been re-working and editing this poem.

It kind of has me in that poetic way of thinking again, which is nice. Guess I need to go drag out my old parchment and dramatic feather quill--that is how everyone else writes poetry, right? (Oh, and the poem is currently untitled--"Wanted" was too obvious and I couldn't think of anything else.)

I nailed a Wanted sign to your door
and prayed that in the morning
you would open up and see it
hanging, hear it screaming, WANTED:

The words delicate, whimsy and handsome
you, next to me on a bus headed no where
because no where is more romantic than
Kentucky Avenue.

Bare feet that are never cold or cool or uncomfortable
and mornings when you sit across from me
and not from someone who isn’t me, who isn’t
 shy or complex and who can complete
a sentence without pausing to think things…out.
You who is no one now but will be sometime
I guess, I’ll meet you somewhere
least expected, at least that’s what magazines tell me
when they’re not telling me what I want, which is
A cup of coffee fixed by you the way I like it without
asking and soft breezes when I need them most,
and a room filled with books and records
 that I can peruse whenever
I want

some cliches to be real but not all of them,
just some of them.
A neverending supply of paper and pens and
bobby pins because they're always lost
 and a day when I wake up happy
and not exhausted from being between sad
and just alright.
Two goldfish named Lost and Soul because you would
get the reference and I wouldn’t have to feel
dumb or act dumb or laugh alone when
no one else gets it because you would get it.

I would have nailed it to your forehead
or forearm or tied it around your finger so
you’d be sure to remember these words
because you know I speak so low sometimes I’m
easily forgotten.
So I used nails instead and loudly knock knock knocked
them into your door for you to find this morning.
Just open up and see the sign and on it, WANTED.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

The Dislike List: Things That Annoy Me That Probably Shouldn't

Okay, I admit it. Shit gets on my nerves. I mean, luckily my shy nature and general awkwardness foil any outward manifestation of a bitchy-toward-others attitude (usually) but I do end up feeling annoyed. Or in really frustrating situations, like the universe is punishing me for buying that one Demi Lovato song on iTunes (leave me alone, it's a catchy song about love and trust!)

So, I'm curious--do any of these things also bother you?  It could be quite possible that I'm just a brat (most of these things involve people and how they don't act like how I want them to) but I'm interested if anyone else has a "Dislike List" like me.

The Dislike List

Waking up early. It is the worst, especially when it's because you have to go to work. 

People who park beside me. Like, ever.

When I’m shopping and someone suddenly needs to look at the exact thing I’m looking at and then we’re both standing awkwardly side by side in front of the same thing.

Pumping gas.

Waiters who sit down beside me. I don’t understand this. What’s that mean? That you’re cool and laid back? I don’t get it and wish you’d please stop making me feel weird--ordering an appetizer shouldn’t be such an intimate conversation.

Loud talking. If you can’t hear me, we can’t be friends.

Lines at the Redbox caused by people who don’t know how to use Redbox.

*~~~~ThIs KiNd Of WrItInG*~*~*~*

Loud laughing that I’m not a part of. Seriously, stop showing off with all the outrageous fun you’re having. Jerks.

Someone who holds the door open for you when you're still kind of far away so you have to do that weird, fake jog to feign effort.

Sales associates who try to sell me stuff. Go away. Unless I need you. Just stand close by without talking, please.

Public restrooms and how they’re open to the public and not just me.

European jean sizes.

Waiting for someone to walk across the parking spot you’re trying to pull into.

Walking across a parking spot while someone’s waiting to pull in.

When my hair doesn't look like how I see it in my mind. I mean seriously, hair--get your shit together and do right by me.

When my tea gets cold at work.

How I’m never really sure what the cost of tea is at Teavana until they ring me up and I pass out.

Guys shouting at me "ayy baby girl." Trying to (loudly) pick me up with a nickname that's a few random numbers away from someone's yahoo! email address is a good way to make me totally uncomfortable.

Department store makeup counters. I don't want to sit on that stool like a living display for shoppers to gawk at as they walk past. I just want to purchase the exact shade of lipstick I'm pointing at in this magazine.

The fact that I can never say any of that and will eventually just sit on the stool and feel weird about life while the girl puts way too much makeup on me.

Someone trying to talk to me while I'm listening to my iPod.

Someone trying to talk to me while I'm writing.

Someone trying to talk to me while I'm reading.

People not realizing when I don't feel like talking.

Most people.

(Of course that doesn't include any of you guys because you're all awesome. And if any of the things on this list apply to you, know that you would never annoy me. You guys are the exceptions. AWWZ!)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Saturday Morning Song Makes A Mixtape For An Autumn Birthday

Yesterday we celebrated my Moma’s* 50th birthday. She, like me (or I guess it’s more me, like her) has a penchant for old, vintage, rustic, quirky, pretty things that somehow end up including an owl or a feather or inspiration from an Anthropologie catalog. And because my mom does so much selflessly for everyone else, I really wanted to throw her a beautiful party that she could just walk into. Because, well, I love her.

Wish time!

Despite a minor mix-up at the liquor store where my mind somehow insisted that the sangria called for “orange-flavored brandy” even though I had written “rum” on my list (which I of course didn’t look at once. Oh, and brandy doesn’t come flavored so I ended up looking like a confused teen buying alcohol for the first time) the party turned out great. As far as the sangria’s concerned, I purchased Grand Marnier, freaked out when I realized it was totally wrong--this was of course after I added it--kept adding random things, let it sit and then eventually ended up with a delicious drink that everyone wanted more of.

Besides my well-intentioned, but inevitably clumsy drink concoctions, one thing my mom always wants every birthday is a mixtape. She’s really into southern, acoustic, soulful, folksy music, so it’s easy for me to give her a mix she’ll love. Her favorites include Kings of Leon, Jack White, The Civil Wars and Stevie Nicks, and I couldn’t be prouder of my mother for this.

Because the overall theme of the party was this rustic autumn meets Anthropologie Fall window display, I wanted to create a mix that could easily be played at some cool person’s barn party. Even though SOMEONE (and I will find you) turned off the music yesterday (and I suspect it was so that they could better hear the football game on TV), at least my mom can add this to her collection and also enjoy it all autumn long.

Hope you guys enjoy, too!

Party owl.
The Cool Person's Barn Party Mix
1. Fall of '82--The Shins
2. On Your Way--Alabama Shakes
3. My Father's Father--The Civil Wars
4. Through Any Window--Wisely
5. Flowers in Your Hair--The Lumineers
6. Come Home--CHAPPO
7. Rise to Me--The Decemberists
8. Can't Hardly Wait--Justin Townes Earle
9. Astral Weeks--Van Morrison
10. Same in Any Language--My Morning Jacket
11. Shakedown on 9th Street--Ryan Adams
12. Home--Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
13. A Lack of Color--Death Cab for Cutie
14. Keep Me in Mind--Little Joy
15. Asleep at Light--DoF
16. I Don't Know What to Do--Pete Yorn & Scarlett Johansson
17. Where to Begin--My Morning Jacket



*Listen, I know to a lot of you “Moma” means “Museum of Modern Art” but this is how my family spells “Mama.” I don’t care that it’s confusing for the masses, I love it and you can take it up with my Tennessee, moonshine-making, ancestors. They didn’t have time to worry about proper spelling, so step off!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Happy Birthday, Otis Redding!

Um, can I have that shirt?
In my life, I’ve had (and then eventually abandoned somewhere in cyberspace) about five different blogs. I’ve written essays about N.W.A and Public Enemy (circa Myspace and my gangster rap phase) and I’ve posted melodramatic poetry loaded with trying-too-hard imagery (circa heartbreak junior year in college.) Throughout the years and writing styles and music preferences, each blog had one thing in common: I always wrote some kind of essay/love letter/paragraph/haiku/sentence/fan fiction about Otis Redding.

And it’s happening again.

To celebrate Big O’s birthday today, I thought I’d count down my top five favorite Otis songs. Please understand that these may change tomorrow, so if you try to hold me to them I will laugh arrogantly in your face. And we all know how emotionally damaging and confusing an arrogant laugh can be.

Number Five

“Down in the Valley”

Album: Otis Blue/Otis Redding Sings Soul

Why I love it: When I hear this song, I see cool people dancing. It’s just a rhythmically interesting tune that causes uncontrollable head nodding and hip swaying.

Number Four

“Hey Hey Baby”

Album: Pain In My Heart

Why I love it: This is such a catchy little country-esque song. I just love the twang in the melody and how appropriate Otis’ raw voice is over the instrumentals. Again, definitely dance-worthy.


Number Three

“Tennessee Waltz”

Album: Complete & Unbelievable: The Otis Redding Dictionary of Soul

Why I love it: I am instinctively drawn to anything with “Tennessee” in the name and I blame this on innumerable summers spent there as a child. It’s caused the state to become this idealistic wonderland, existing in my mind as a naturally pretty and familiar place filled with old family photo albums, creeks in the backyard and lightning bugs. And I can hear this song playing while people dance barefoot somewhere in a kitchen that smells like coffee and cinnamon.

Number Two

“Cigarettes and Coffee”

Album: The Soul Album

Why I love it: FAVORITE. I just had to get the all-caps out of my system. Wonderful song. It’s so simple and not at all overly sentimental, but I think that’s why it hits my heart the way it does. It’s a love song about how much he enjoys sitting there with her, drinking coffee and talking and smoking until early in the morning. Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to be told you’re beautiful, but it’s even better when a guy just enjoys being around you.

Number One

“Try a Little Tenderness”

Album: Complete & Unbelievable: The Otis Redding Dictionary of Soul

Why I love it: This is the Otis Redding song that made me want to know more about him. Thanks to a socially awkward adolescence that prominently featured an interest in 80s teen movies, I heard this during the forever amazing Duckie dance scene from “Pretty in Pink.” I actually remember sitting there watching the credits with a pen and paper, waiting for the list of music in the film. Who knew John Hughes would introduce me to the musical love of my life? But, then again, I guess John Hughes kind of specialized in teenage love. Also, to this day, Jon Cryer is Duckie--he will never be a sitcom star to me. You hear that CBS? NEVER.


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Post About Politics

Vote Unicorn! The best mystical creature for the job.
Have you ever noticed the second someone posts something slightly political on Facebook, suddenly the entirety of that person’s friends list is realizing their collective dream of being on a high school debate team? When I look through the comment threads, all I see is each subsequent participant trying to sound more intellectual than the last, but failing miserably due to a lack of basic grammatical skills, auto-correct errors, or their overuse of emoticons and “lol.”

I mean, is this what political conversations look like now?

Personally, I don’t possess a great deal of passion for politics. Outside of keeping tabs on the issues that immediately affect me (or checking the validity of that one elitist acquaintance we all have who likes to throw random factoids in your face to prove their superiority) I admit to not being very well-rounded in terms of political information. I realize that may be self-scarring, but I’d rather be honest than fake. And I feel like a lot of people can relate to me on this.

I am making legitimate efforts at educating myself on the issues and the stances of our candidates, but the task is proving itself to be pretty daunting. And terrifying. I keep second-guessing the neutrality of my news sources and the reliability of my peers. Granted, if they look like Gideon Yago I am more likely to believe in their credibility, but beyond the black-framed glasses-wearers of the news industry, who do you turn to?* And why does Lester Holt wear his glasses during the Nightly News, but not during the Today show? So many difficult questions without easy answers.

The road to enlightenment has been a little like walking through a haunted house, only the unexpected flashes of terror come from things like medically ignorant men who are resurrecting women’s issues we long believed were resolved, or presidential cameos in Jay-Z concert videos. It’s weird and scary and makes you instinctively jump back, afraid to see anymore.

And I don’t think it’s the worst thing in the world to admit to being uninformed if you’re making attempts at being informed. Maybe I’m over thinking it--that might be the main source of my political anxiety--but considering I don’t feel comfortable blindly following either party knowing my beliefs won’t easily conform for the sake of party alignment, it’s probably a positive that I’m worrying myself into awareness.

Unfortunately, I have no real resolution to this post. There’s no neat tie-in at the end; no epiphanous stroke of clarity that somehow makes navigation through political season any easier. But what I am saying is that if you’re like me, then we should take comfort in knowing we probably outnumber our elitist acquaintances. And at least we’re better off than Clint Eastwood, who seems to be easily troubled by empty chairs these days.

So I say we stand united and stop being ashamed of our browsing history because yes--I too, have googled “political facts.” At least we did it for the country's well-being.

Now Playing: "My Dear Country" by Norah Jones

*Completely joking, elitist acquaintances. Looking like Gideon Yago doesn’t automatically make you a credible news source. We all know it’s the Kurt Loder look-a-likes who know their shit.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Saturday Morning Song Dances in September

Mindless scribbles.
Well, hello there, September. Didn’t expect to see you so soon, but here we are again.

It’s strange because the emergence of this month out of the bright and blinding summers used to trigger an almost uncontrollable joy inside me when I was a kid. While other children were sluggishly shuffling their feet with heightened hesitation toward the school year, I was running excitedly into September. And even though some of that excitement was admittedly caused by an affinity for purchasing school supplies that still creeps up on me today, I was mostly awaiting my birthday. I mean, if I could have worn my party dress and tiara for the entirety of September, I would have.

Now, I experience those happy emotions in fleeting doses that somehow get tangled up in an ever-present anxiety about what another year means. As each birthday comes and goes, there’s an increased expectancy to actually, you know, get shit together.

Shit, being my life. It’s hard to say what 26 should look like. As my Facebook newsfeed would dictate, 26 should probably mean marriage or about-to-be marriage, and babies, yes there must be babies, some sort of new home you’re renovating, oh, and a promotion or some kind of “grown-up” job opportunity.

And I’m assuming 26 shouldn’t look a whole lot like someone crying in the bathroom on her break at work. Which I just did this past Tuesday.

It scares me a little to go into 26 with so much shit still left on my to-do list. Don’t get me wrong, I often find the fact that I’m somewhat of an anomaly among my peers sort of liberating,but there’s still that overwhelming feeling of self-disappointment as each year goes by and I’ve allowed insecurities to stifle attempts at what I want.


I want to be published.

I want to live on my own.

I want to travel alone--just once. Preferably to Paris.

I want to do something professionally that matters to me.

I want to be in love with someone who truly loves me back.

I want to believe someone could truly love me back.

I want to read outside more often.

I want to not over think every situation.

I want to find Astral Weeks & Otis Blue & At Last! on vinyl.

I want to go to more movies alone.

I want to create more.

I want to buy a ukulele and learn to play it.

I want to go to a poetry reading and find myself behind the mic.

I want to dance more and sit it out less.

I want to take classes on things I enjoy.

I want to do the dolphin inversion in yoga.

I want to not shy away from out-of-state job opportunities.

I want to stop apologizing for my awkwardness.

And most importantly, I want to make a decision on whether or not I should cut my bangs.

Since it’s never attractive to whine and pout without trying to change anything, I’m going to make it a goal to cross five things off this list before I meet 26. I’m considering it a birthday gift to myself.

So, September, I’ll admit it--you still make me want to put on my party dress and tiara in anticipation of the 29th. And while I can’t promise I won’t be just as cynical or that my quiet comments won’t be dripping with the same amount of sarcasm and disdain as always, I can promise to try dancing a little more.

Let's start today, with this song.