If you have some kind of vitamin deficiency, your thumbnail will grow a little bump. That bump will annoy you to death because you’ll constantly be rubbing your index fingernail up and down it. So you’ll Google to find out why you have a bumpy nail and what you’re supposed to do about it. “Oh!” Google says, “Just file it down!” Google, you are fucking full of good ass ideas.
So you file your nail bump down, and about five minutes into the filing operation, you think “This is making my thumb kinda sore.” You look down, wipe away the nail file powder, and to your horror, REALIZE THAT YOU HAVE FUCKING FILED A HOLE THROUGH YOUR NAIL AND EXPOSED YOUR NAIL BED. Fucking shit. Then you realize that you’re me and you’re amazingly bad at doing your nails and fixing your hair and accessorizing and wearing the right shoes with the right belts because you’re just really bad at all the stuff girls know how to do when they’re born. (But I’ve seen Bourne Ultimatum about five thousand times so I’m fairly certain I could kill a guy with a book, a towel, and a candlestick if I had to.)
Yeah. So. The nail with the hole in it FUCKING FELL OFF and now I have a tiny sliver of half-nail at the bottom of my thumb and exposed nail bed all across the top. It hurts like hell and it’s ugly and it eeks everyone out, you probably skipped over most of the story up there ^^ or maybe winced to yourself and started rubbing your thumbnail. I bet you did. The Pants calls it “the troll nail” and can’t stand to hold that hand right now and looks away while I try to cover it with one of those horrible Sally Hansen stick-on nails, which is an adventure in fake ladyness in itself.
Lord almighty. I am ready to just have my arms cut off and replaced with robot arms now.
Wanna see this sombitch in action? There’s a fucking VIDEO in which some Beverly Hills assholes talk about why–or something that…you know what? Sorry. I am just getting used to living in a world where cupcakes come out of a machine if the cupcake store is not open and you forgot to buy confectioner’s sugar for frosting. I couldn’t actually pay attention to the words being said in the video.
Holy big bad diabetes! We’re all gonna die and it’s gonna taste unreal.
Now eat your potatoes.
Therapy is weird. It’s just WEIRD. To quote Stephanie, “It’s such a weird thing to confess all these things to a stranger and cry in front of them and then there’s a cash transaction!” And really, there’s no other way to put it. We sat down and made all these agreements about money and health insurance and missed appointment charges and overhead, and then I had to sign a thing saying I understood that if she thought I was going to kill someone she had the right to tell the cops or whatever, and then I had to agree that I’d pay her and shit. Then we got down to biznass. Then time was up, and it was like, Well, bye. No hug or anything!
Yesterday was my second visit to Our Lady of Psychotherapy’s tiny alcove office, and during this visit she pretty much only wanted to know about my relationship with The Pants. She wants to establish my current environment and what’s working/not working, but I sat there thinking I hope she knows I’ve got a whoooole bag of shit with her name on it rolling around in here. Anyway. She wanted to talk about all of our relationship problems that have ever possibly existed, and it was hard for me not to start cracking up and tell her about the fact that things are just DIFFERENT once you’ve both just started blasting each other with farts. Different good, but also different like something’s gone missing after you’ve marinated your boyfriend in your gas. I find myself sometimes nostalgic about the days when we would pretend we never farted. But there is also something really comforting about it. Aaaaand there’s also something really disgusting about it. Like the other night when I farted at the dinner table. I couldn’t believe I had let myself go that far. I’m sitting there eating potatoes and I lean over and just rip a loud one. And the response was kind of like, Wow, that was really horrifyingly disgusting. Now eat your potatoes.
Anyway. I did NOT talk to my therapist about farting.
She asked me why I don’t write anymore and I didn’t know what to say, but really it comes down to this: If I write something, and it sucks, I might die. Really! I might! Because I would never be happy living a life without writing, without writing that was good and made some kind of a difference, no matter how small, in a single solitary person. But there is a very large chance that I could write something and it could just suck balls all the way to the sewers in the racist part of Hell and back, suck worse than anything I’ve ever read that sucks, and that realization would probably kill me. Because:
No one can advise or help you — no one. There is only one thing you should do. Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write.
–Rainer Maria Rilke, 17 February 1903
I would have to die if I were forbidden to write, and the forbidder would be myself, so bad work would be, for me, suicide.
The other possibility would be that I wrote some kind of really horrible popcorn drivel, and a whole lot of stupid people loved it. Then I’d be in the same boat on a river of poop because I hate stupid people and I know popcorn drivel when I see it and I’d really rather not add any to the canon. Everybody would be like “oohhhhh it’s goooood…” but they’d look off to the left when they said it and wouldn’t make eye contact and MTV Books would print copies of it that came with a CD soundtrack taped in the back and the characters would just be Polaroid representations of random people I’ve seen on the street, the main character would be a spiced up representation of myself, including addictions to all the drugs I’m too scared to take and a better set of tits and nicer teeth. God, that would be awful. I’d be invited to writing studios to give people my insights on writing and characters and place and mood, I’d be invited to bookstores to read sections of my book to a small gathering of family and friends and whatever other weirdos read about it in the local paper and thought it might be a good way for a random weirdo to spend an evening in the middle of January. Photos of the event would make it look like there were a lot more people there than there actually were. Dipshits on Amazon who can barely be bothered to spell their own name or their state correctly will rave about how it’s the best book they’ve ever bought on clearance at an Urban Outfitters before.
Then there’s this: what if the answer is No, you would not die if you were forbidden to write. Well, then I’d just want to die out of sheer boredom with myself. There’s got to be more to my existence than this.
The fears about my capacity to produce a horrible novel are completely valid and feasible and so are my fears about what would happen with that horrible novel. Know how I know? Well, I’ll tell you.
There’s this person, who went to my undergrad and wrote two completely popcorny and Polaroidy novels, and has ever since been lauded as a literary success in certain circles (ahem, Amazon, ahem, undergrad university fiction department) because she’s been, to a degree, a financial success due to her literary efforts. Now she spends her days blogging about writing and about how haaard it is and about how people just love her ideas and her agent is all about publishing more…and bunches of tips on “how to be a writer” that they used to stuff our heads with in undergrad and at that horrible writing studio where I worked, how to stay focused! Software for staying organized! Drink coffee! Fun writing exercises and prompts! WRITER STEREOTYPES! Hahah you know how us writers love our coffee and Tazo teas and chocolate and wine! Oh I just never could have written this shitty book I’ve worked on for a million years without my Godiva samplers? Amirite, other writers?!?!
#2 on the list of things that bug the hell out of me has got to be writers talking about writing. SHUDDER. Nothing else makes me want to beat my head against the desk as much as this does. And that’s exactly what I did after I went home the night I had to make a name card to put on a table where this particular writer would sit the next morning in the middle of the studio where I worked to talk to other writers about writing. I banged my head against the table until I felt better.
On this blog, we’ve got that self-designated musical-definition label thing I HATE, “I’m a punk rock girl from the Midwest.” So, check. Who the fuck told you you were “punk rock”? Who told you that you were “indie rock”? Who goes around saying these kinds of things? Or did you just decide for yourself that, based on your hair color and style of dress, you’re This Type of Person? Sweet Jesus, on the list of things that bug the hell out of me, this has got to be #4 or 5.
Here’s what the Amazon crowd has to say:
This was one cool book. I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone is probably on of the most down-to-earth books I have ever read. It isn’t full of fairytales and other. Stephanie did a great job of making the book very realistic. The plot was also great, sometimes something would happen that I never suspected but then there were times when something would happen that I knew was going to happen. Which in some books I don’t’ like figuring out what is going to happen but I didn’t mind it at all in this book. The characters in this book were stupendous; they all had their flaws, which is great because in life everyone has flaws. I also enjoyed how big of a part music plays in the story. Which is probably because I am a big fan of rock but I think every one who reads this book will be able to envision Emily rocking out on the stage, like I did. I also introduced to some great rock bands while reading the wonderful story. I recommend this book to every teen out there, especially if you like listening to rock bands. Also some adults might enjoy the story too.
I don’t even know where to begin. Nothing I could say would do this book justice. It’s one of the most raw, heartbreaking, and touching novels I’ve read. Ever. Yikes. The thing I admire the most is that I think the author really wrote from her heart. You can tell just by the way the story is told that she cared deeply about what she was writing about which is the key to any good book; an author who is connected to her story. What’s amazing is that this is Stephanie Kuehnert’s first novel. How someone can write something this fantastic on her first attempt in the published world is…can I use the word amazing again? The characters are deep, detailed, and flawed.
For Emily Black, music is everything. It’s what made her parents fall in love way back when. It’s what her mother Louisa was following when she left baby Emily. It’s what Emily has to stay in control of her life. Music draws her from her dreary life in Carlisle, Wisconsin to River’s Edge, an abandoned warehouse where rock bands play. River’s Edge is where Emily got her fill of sex, drinking, and rock `n’ roll, and where her dreams of being a punk rock goddess began. So she and her best friend Regan form a punk band named She Laughs, and Emily can’t help but hope that by playing music, she’ll bring her mother home.
Soon, her band is swept up in the dangerous world of rock music. Her band has a lot of talent, but so many ups and downs in Emily’s life lead her away from the music. There are the bad boyfriends, the death of her grandparents, the involvement with drugs and self-medication, and a year wasted searching for her mother. But eventually Emily finds her way back on track, and her friends are still waiting for her to come back and pick up her guitar. And so she does, because music is all she has.
And just to cleanse your palate and offer some perspective, here’s what the Goodreads crowd has on their minds:
“Not since high school dating have I felt so tricked and empty. The main character combines the collective whining powers of Twilight’s Bella and My So-Called Life’s Angela…..and then proceeds to try and trick the reader into believing it’s “punk”, when really, it’s a V.C. Andrews novel minus the incest (and the plot suffers because of that glaring omission, by the way.) I was suckered in by the Joey Ramone name drop, the Sleater-Kinney lyrical reference, the Doc Martens on the book cover. I admit it. I chose the glittery vampire, and I’m ashamed of it. Since I couldn’t find a hair shirt and kneeling on lentils is just a waste of good legumes, I read it all the way to the end, periodically stopping to shove a spork into my ear in hopes of creating the brain damage necessary to enjoy the “plot twists” and reminding myself to never ever stop submitting my own writing because, hey, if she can get a book deal, anyone can. So in that sense, it did serve a purpose, as motivation, but it also was penitential, because I was, in fact, paying for the sin of choosing the book based on its alleged “hipness” (which, like long haired boys in high school…….I never learned my lesson from.)
Oh plot, you ask? Only that a girl who’s been abandoned by her mom in the middle of bumfuck, Midwest becomes the biggest punk band since Nirvana, gets on the cover of Rolling Stone, survives domestic abuse and drug addiction, discovers a ZOMG FUCKING DARK RAPE SECRET that means her mom didn’t abandon her, she left to protect her! ……a cross-country motel search ensues. Oh, and she reunites with the long-lost mom who’s been gone her whole life in the middle of Penn Station. Of course she does. Did I mention her “punk band” is called “She Laughs”? Oh. Yeah. There was probably a reason I forgot to mention that.
“Favorite” bit of dialogue: (I would like to remind you that the author would like us to believe this is a street punk talking, by the way)
“His brilliant aquamarine mohawk….” I will spare you the rest. Anyone who has ever in their life met a punk knows that those words can’t, don’t and shouldn’t ever happen together.
I actually relate to Joey Ramone more after reading this book… he suffered through cancer, I suffered through this book.
So. So bad. Like, I want to burn it in trashcan bad.
terrible. rang completely untrue and cliche. i wanted to like it – i grew up in a shitty little wisconsin town close to the illinois border and went to punk shows in rural vfw halls and crap run-down buildings, just like the main character, but i really didn’t see anything authentic, realistic or even very likable about this book. really bad writing. so thinly-veiled (i love the diatribe about why the main character is living in the burbs, all defensive and “but the train is so close!” – and then you read in the author’s extensive bio that she lives in the chicago suburbs, too! you don’t say). the thank-you chapter is so barfily self-congratulatory. makes me angry that i didn’t go get an MFA, because apparently you can get published through connections alone.
OK. Props for use of the not-word “barfily.” Why does it make me feel so much better to read these negative reviews? Well, partially because they’re so well written and witty when compared to positive reviews. Though it’s not hard to outdo a review that’s more like a quick recap of all of the events and then a statement about how it “totally resonates with me!” because I totally went to high school and shit.
I guess it makes me feel better because I know there will always be people there who aren’t afraid to call me on my shit. I can see how someone who attended the same fiction writing program I did would have a hard time believing any negative reviews. The way it worked there was you basically pay them money and they fill your butthole with smoke and encourage you do to your MFA there so they can have more money and fill your butthole with more smoke. Then you write some smoked-out manuscript and they have the writer-in-residence (ahem, Irvine Welsh, who also lent his brief blurb to this stunning piece of steaming turd written by the son of the professor emerita of the program) and it gets picked up by MTV Books and people tell you it’s crap and you’re like–wait, I think you’re mistaken. Everyone else likes it.
I won’t do that. I find it extremely easy to believe every negative thing people say about me and let it stop me from doing things. Ha!
Oh, anyway. I fear sometimes when I write a sentence that I’ll end up like the above described wang princess: lost in shit and in love with myself, thanking every writer who ever visited my school as a personal savior in my acknowledgements, and basically being the figurehead of a pile of crap that I will represent for the rest of my life. And then I stop writing.
If you want to get down to it, there’s also this character, who, if you’ll remember, I
got into a discussion with attempted to get into a discussion with on a blog post she wrote. You probably remember the idiotic shit that ensued to cover up the fact that her “writing” is really just verbal diarrhea meant to make her look like a Certain Type of Chick and entertain that part of one’s brain that responds well to stereotypes (if you don’t remember, it’s here and here). This person came back into my attention today when she was suggested as a friend I might want to get to know on Facebook, because of our mutual friendships. I clicked on her page and lo and behold, it appears that my criticism was one of the most important events in her entire life. She’s referred to it on her Timeline!!! Behold:
I write profanity laced articles about funny things. Once, this resulted in someone writing a number of “hate blogs” about me.
I wrote “a number” (two, if you’re counting, now 3?) of blogs discussing the poor quality of writing that hides behind a stereotype and reports the attitudes and opinions that the stereotype is supposed to represent. I wrote about how it’s a fucking sham, and part of what bothers me about it is that there are people who toooooootally buy into that sham, and just eat that bullshit up. There are people out there who think this self-obsessed dummy is a good writer. Because all she does is sit there and type cutesy bullshit all day about indie rock and current events and thinks it’s edgy for a girl to cuss (hence her specifically calling your attention to the “profanity laced” side of her writing repertoire). And in the end, she’s a total fucking pussy when it comes to having a conversation about her work, or standing up for what she writes, and can only engage in a dialogue if she’s represented as the victim (as evidenced by the above Life Event, and her frantic Twitter feed on the day of my comments, the fact that my comments are worthy enough to define her experience in this particular blogging job speaks volumes to me). “Hate blogs.” Honey, you ain’t nothin til you’re hate blogged. And I’m afraid what you got was just the tip of an Annoyed Blog. (Yeah, just the tip.) Wait a tick….all of this kind of begs the question: are my words really that powerful?
It’s people like Suburban Punk Queen and Indienet Pussy Blogger that make me just never want to pick up a pen or type anything ever again. Someone asked me why the worst writers are always the most prolific, and I said it’s because they have no idea of the darkness of self-doubt, they’re too stupid to imagine that what they’ve produced is the worst thing anyone could imagine, is actually detrimental to the craft, to the reader, to the world at large. They think themselves a great contribution to the planet, instead of what they really are: white noise in stereo reverberating off the metal walls of the fucking flaming trashcan. What more people need is mental illness, crippling self-doubt, a tsunami of fear each time they even think about expressing any stupid little thought that farts through their brain. That would do it.
And what I need is way more bravery, way less worry about being as completely ass crappy as my contemporaries. So does that come in a pill or what?
Anyway, now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about some different kinds of shit, shall we?
The women who use this bathroom are terrible.
I should know, because I’m forced to use it after they leave. Based on the aftermath I have seen in the bathroom on this floor, the following is what women are doing in there:
1. Removing tampons and swinging them around by the string, splattering threads of menstrual mucus all over the walls of the stalls.
2. Taking giant shits, standing up, walking away (no flush attempt).
3. Using the toilet, flushing, then turning around and shaking their heads vigorously over the toilet seat, covering it with long, loose hairs.
4. Squatting to piss and practicing hula hooping techniques in the process.
5. Inserting tampon, dropping wrapper and applicator on the floor, walking away.
6. Removing completely soiled and soaked pad and leaving it on the top of the toilet paper dispenser, at exact nose-level with the next unfortunate person to use that toilet (That next unfortunate person happened to be me.).
7. Removing sandals and washing each foot, one at a time, in the sink (Witnessed this.).
8. Leaning over the sink to hoark a giant wad of phlegm, walking away without so much as an attempt to rinse it away (Witnessed this, too.).
9. Playing mischievous cat games with the toilet paper, i.e., unrolling stacks of it onto the floor and leaving it there.
10. Sleeping. We got an email the other day that there would be regular hourly “bathroom checks” on this floor because it’s become socially acceptable between these twats to go into the stall, lock the door, sit on the toilet without dropping pants and SLEEPING.
11. The kicker: somehow they are sharting all over the wall. Sharting. All over. The. Wall.
How do they do it? I don’t know. I DON’T KNOW. But I have some photographic evidence for you. BEHOLD:
This monstrosity of menstruation occurred within a few hours. Only a few hours–I KNOW! It seems impossible that a few women could bleed that much! I guess you could attribute part of it to the fact that there seems to be a “favorite stall” in the bathroom, the first one on the far right. I don’t know why it’s a favorite stall, but in an otherwise empty bathroom, it’s the only one that’s always occupied. So this is where all the period garbage ends up. This is where it overflows in a matter of hours. (Someone should really do some kind of scientific study on why everyone wants to bleed in that particular stall. Someone who is not me.)
Aaaaand here we have an example of period blood smear that’s been on the lower wall of the first stall on the right for about as long as I can remember. I bet that dirty bitch goes back in there from time to time to visit with it. Maybe it tells fortunes? Maybe it’s just fucking gross. Probably it’s just fucking gross.
Well, here’s an example of a wall shart:
And THIS is the horror that awaited me as I was writing this very post and attaching these very pictures, when I had to stop for a moment and go pee. THIS is what was staring back at me when I went into the stalls of which I write:
So uhh, this is what I do when I get bored at work. I become a bathroom ethnographer. And I have concluded in this field report that WOMEN ARE FUCKING FILTHY.
I was going to talk about a chocolaty caramel-y cupcake I made last weekend, but upon further consideration, I think I’ll find another time to post pictures of that.