Tuesday, July 15, 2014

ingrid marie at 22: a brief history

22nd birthday twirl.
twenty-two years ago, i gave birth to a unicorn named ingrid.

ingrid, day 2.

this child has known her own heart & mind from her first day on earth, when she wanted to sleep in her own bassinet, and let me know with great certainty that she did not want me to sing twinkle, twinkle little star to her when she was sleepy.

ingrid's first of many international trips, funded via the limerick.

she knew she wanted to travel with her school on international trips, and that she would have to earn her own funds in order to go;  that's what she did, selling limericks, chocolate and greeting cards door to door, spotted from time to time in a vintage '70's prom dress by various friends and neighbors who would start out, "i think i saw your daughter. . . . "  i could always just interrupt at that point and say, "yes--that was ingrid."

ingrid, 2014 bryn mawr college graduate.

she knew she wanted to attend bryn mawr college when she saw some like it hot at the age of thirteen, and that's what she did.

ingrid receiving aclu scholarship.

she knew her high school peers deserved better sex education when she was a lowly tenth grader, and she worked towards that.

she knew that everyone should be treated equally, and she has fought for lgbtq rights from the time she was in middle school.

ingrid with bff gloria steinhem.

she knows that women need stronger rights and protections, and she works hard every day to make that happen.

president of the beekeeping club/bee activist.

philly keystone pipeline action.

she knew that bees and mountains needed protection, and she has worked to protect them.

the wings.

she watched simon schama's the history of art in high school and decided to study art history.  this was solidified during her exchange year in high school when she got to visit florence with our dear family friends and see the bernini marbles for the first time.  our friends reported the unforgettable sight of ingrid, wearing angel wings, surrounded by tourists in the streets of florence.  if you know ingrid, this won't surprise you.

missionary girl. 

ingrid has always wanted to serve a mission for the mormon church, and tomorrow, on the day after her 22nd birthday, she'll report for duty.  i know, as is her wont, she'll trail cupcake sprinkles & lipstick kiss marks in her wake as she accompanies seekers on difficult and joyous spiritual and physical journeys.

my girl is a rare creature, and as i send her off into the arms of the great world, i ask the world now to embrace her & keep her safe, as she has always tried to watch over the unprotected in her midst.

Monday, June 23, 2014

my own mormon moment, part 1

doobie brothers, when we were here together, 1971

when i was small, one of my earliest thoughts about being "born into the covenant," (what mormons call being born to parents who have been sealed for time and all eternity in the mormon temple) was:


what this meant to me as a child was:


wear bikinis
smoke cigarettes
go on dates with boys who have vans with beds covered in faux fur spreads in the back (like my catholic best friend's sister did with her boyfriend)
play with face cards
drink alcohol
do drugs
go waterskiing or swimming on sunday

i was pretty bummed about all of these restrictions--and felt pretty sure that if i broke any of these rules i would:

be cast in to outer darkness with the sons of perdition


severing my family's eternal bonds and screwing everything up for everyone.

i really wanted to know what it felt like to be born "out of the covenant" and then to experience the miraculous conversion of a burning testimony of god, jesus christ, the divine origins of the book of mormon, and joseph smith as prophet and mouthpiece for god.

i watched the people at church and wondered how they felt inside, tried to imagine how jesus felt when he was crucified, when he sweat great drops of blood in the garden; as i partook of the torn pieces of sliced white bread and cold little cups of water during the sacrament service, i tried to imagine being visited by an angel, or writing a super long book that god put into my mind word by word, or being tarred and feathered for my beliefs, as joseph was, or walking across the plains to zion.

my imagination failed me.

and i had no burning in my bosom.

probably because i wasn't very righteous.

but still, i was like:


why couldn't i have been born catholic (i thought catholics were allowed to have a lot more fun than mormons, based on my side by side comparison with my across the street neighbor's older siblings, who were always smoking cigarettes and pot, drinking pepsi, making out, listening to that one doobie brothers album with naked people on the cover, all whilst sporting small bikinis by the pool in their back yard.)

even their wrinkly tan mom wore bikinis, smoked, and drank scotch by the pool in the afternoons.

(such glamour! such decadence! such ease!)

while my mom was vacuuming in a house dress and rinsing out cloth diapers in the toilet.

it was stunning to see a housewife relaxing, painting her nails, playing solitaire.  it was stunning to see a housewife relaxing and having fun during the day.  it was so stunning to me to see a housewife enjoying herself . . . . at any time, really.

and finally, my neighbors had cupboards full of board games that babies hadn't chewed on or strewn about the house and a kitchen full of american cheese, oscar mayer bologna, miracle whip, wonder bread, twinkies, honeycomb cereal, pop tarts, and so forth.  our own cupboards bore cracked wheat cereal--we ate it hot in the mornings with butter, honey, and milk, and it was super tasty, but not honeycomb! we had a goat, and sometimes drank her milk, beehives, orange trees, and a wheat grinder, and my mother made all of our bread.  at the time, i didn't appreciate this wholesome fare, often taken from our food storage, comprised mostly of buckets of wheat and dried milk, in order to be more economical in our diets.

i obsessed about when my best friend would next offer me a pop tart, or any of the other forbidden fruits of his kitchen.

when i got older, and i understood that i shouldn't masturbate or have sex, two things that, i heard from my grandmother, were so bad that it were better a millstone be hung about my neck and i were drowned than i commit these sins.

and i so wanted to commit them all, over and over again.

what would it all feel like?

what does it feel like to not worry about going to outer darkness?

why wasn't i born catholic or jewish?

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

searching for focus: an inspiration board

inspirations: watching chef gerardo cook a la minute at el rey
last week i pronounced and announced that i was going to go full on d.i.y.  since then i've done:

yep.  that's it.

inspirations: beautiful avocado with chimichurri sauce at el rey
there are reasons.

inspirations:  ingrid
i'm recovering from travels that were so rad but also a bit taxing.

inspirations: ingrid, saddle shoes, bee dresses, and the philadelphia magic gardens
i'm dealing with a rather large brood of children.

inspirations:  cecily, huber farm in midway, picnics
i'm still getting my strength back from being sick and injured for a really long time.

inspiration:  my doppel at the philly magic gardens
i'm trying to get some really crucial and non-fun stuff done, like finalizing formatting on my dissertation for the dissertation office (you who have done it can sympathize, i'm sure.)

inspiration: cy twombly room at the philadelphia museum of art: fifty days at illiam
and also re-watching the entire bbc pride and prejudice (it's like eight hours, people!) with ingrid.  so fun!  so crucial!

mary shelley in london before writing frankenstein by karen kilimnik
job applications, laundry, bathroom cleaning, doctors' appointments, end of school year kids stuff.  most of you know.

inspiration: this beautiful jumble of stuff from ingrid's dorm room that she had to get rid of to make room for her new life as a sister.  lavender fascinator, white cowgirl boots, gross vintage fox stole, record shelves.  if she can transition, so can i.
a dull list of dullness.

christian and julie at the new museum.  christian has such smart working ways.  julie has such fun living ways.
my main problem, though, is where to start?  i just wrote down all of my ideas, and opened a google doc for each.  i also have things i started that i need to finish (two of my biggest problems are focusing on one thing and finishing things).  so i have eight new google docs, blank, with titles.

inspiration: a mermaid against misogyny sighting at philly magic gardens.
i'm overwhelmed with ideas and idle fantasies, but no practical sense of how to prioritize or where to start.

inspiration: hivemind. these are ingrid's beehives at bryn mawr.
sorry if this is boring.

inspiration: the cloisters at bryn mawr.  i need to find my meditative space.
i'm really stuck in the middle right now.

inspiration:  feminism & motherhood, mothers, female divine, jesus, skeletons, intersectional feminism, activists.
luckily i know this has happened before, and i've always eventually found my way--this just feels long and agonizing at the moment.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


ingrid saying good-bye to her midnight swimming pool.

besides visiting the magical campus of bryn mawr college and seeing my otherworldly honey-girl ingrid graduate from her dream school in a vintage rabbit fur hood handed down over the past 125 years of bryn mawr's history, i came away from my visit to philly with some real inspiration.

well, i'm feeling quite a bit better, due, not in small part, to having a vision of a more radical way of life & doing things.

a must read.  craig dworkin, et al.

i'm committing to a year of DIY.

philadelphia magic gardens

after seeing the philadelphia magic gardens

the bride stripped bare of her bachelors, even (the green box)

marcel duchamp's green box.

the rehearsal space for the arkestra in germantown. 
and the rehearsal house for sun ra's arkestra, where they self-produced their work on saturn records,

i spent the drive from philly back to jfk thinking about how i need to break out of the system of literary journals and contests that is not really meeting my needs as an artist--i'm spending more money than i make on submission fees, more time on applications and submission than on writing, and mostly getting a lukewarm to no reception.  i believe in my work, and do everything i can to make things that are new, not vain repetitions of the past,  that are true to my own visions, impulses, beliefs, and love of the tactile world, but that doesn't seem to be enough for any kind of mass institutional embrace.

no biggie.

i just need to get braver and strike out on my own, where i generally do my best work anyway. 

my new year starts here.

may to may.

no more asking to be admitted. 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

restless & contented least

me & moses right before we both had blood transfusions in the same week.

this was the second poem i memorized, after "stopping by woods on a snowy evening," learned when i was ten years old because my mom offered me ten bucks.

Sonnet XXIX 

When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes,

I all alone beweep my outcast state,
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries,
And look upon myself and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possessed,
Desiring this man’s art and that man’s scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
(Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth) sings hymns at heaven’s gate;
       For thy sweet love remembered such wealth brings
       That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

and although i have mostly fallen out of love with shakespeare's sonnets now, and sonnets in general (sorry sonnet enthusiasts!) sonnet 29 always resonates with my tendency towards depression, jealousy, envy, and low self-esteem.  and when i'm feeling sorry for myself (so much of the time!) since i've got this thing internalized, it rings in my ears.

so, though i now can't handle most of shakespeare because of his intense misogyny, because i hate elizabethan mistaken identity tropes, because i tired of the hermetic nature of the sonnet, and because i simply got burned out on the bard, the lines from this sonnet run through my mind unbidden. 


i knew the aftermath of finishing my doctorate was going to be rough, but i didn't know how rough.  i didn't know i'd be dealing with a herniated disk, extreme anemia requiring a blood transfusion, a kid's tonsillectomy gone so wrong he also required a transfusion, and a code team, restless legs syndrome (gone now--i think it was the anemia), percocet withdrawal (aftermath of the herniated disk), and the worst thing of all--

this deep restlessnes & casting & casting about.  no book or movie or music or television or writing can hold me still for longer than a few minutes.  

on account of the back problem, i haven't been practicing yoga for six months now, worsening my state of groundlessness. on account of my brain problem (which could also be anemia related), i haven't really been writing much. I haven't had anything i'm excited about going on for months.  i've missed a all the important deadlines for three months.  i've missed blogging. i've missed writing practice and yoga practice.  i've missed cooking, something that often engages and soothes me when i'm feeling contented least.  something i currently have no desire to do.  

i need my lark, my muse, my something back.  

Monday, March 10, 2014

Practice: What I Wore

It reached into the 40s today, so I pulled out an old lace dress from H&M. I remember when I first got it, probably a year ago. I wore it every day for two weeks. Now I'm not sure if it's right for me.

I'm not sure what's quite right for me anymore.

I enjoyed using my vinyl as a prop. My whole apartment looks like a college dorm. That Guns n' Roses record I've been carrying around for 27 years. I have records older than you.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Practice: Pleather and Prayer

Well, today I wore pleather. I wear pleather everyday in some form. The older I get the more pleather I need. And leather. Tomorrow I'm wearing a leather skirt. And striped tights. And a boat-necked 3/4-sleeved tee.

I also have a new book. That there Detroit Rock City's an oral history. I'm starting an oral history project this summer.

I haven't been meditating. Getting back to it tonight. But I've been trying to stop and make a zen prayer before going to sleep and before leaving my bed every morning. I'm trying to channel some of the best people I've ever met in my life by doing this.

I also drank coffee today at Box Kite Cafe. It's a beautiful place, perfect for mourning the season's lost hour.

I announce coffee drinking with some self-consciousness, being raised Mormon. I still wonder why Mormons are allowed to drink caffeinated sodas like Coke, yet are banned from coffee, which has proven health benefits, unlike Coke. Anyone? I really want to know.