the hunch backed man was out in full force today even in the pouring rain. I took my doggie out for a walk, held her most of the time, and there he stood on the stoop of the funeral parlor sweeping up wet leaves. he has a slight spanish accent when he says, hi doggie you looking good today even in the rain. i slept in and when i woke to the sound of rain falling through the silver linden tree outside my bedroom window. its an effort to keep the negative thoughts at bay but I am trying a new strategy. I ignore them, say to myself, they are just thoughts, they do not represent you, thoughts come and go, no need to hold onto the ones that are hurting you. something tells me I'm not going to go to the gym today AGAIN. I want to smoke some weed and read three newspapers and write some more. i'm alittle drunk on this little blog and alittle drunk on the short story i started yesterday. its a great set up, the theme is peep show. so i've got this paternalistic testosterone infused professor, an agnostic, a disbeliever in god, who turns cultural icons into a religion, as a substitute. he's single and his vice is pornography, that's his deep dark secret. he finds himself at pleasure palace one night, asks for a dancing girl, he can watch her but he can't touch her. he longs to touch her though, her flesh, her slightly slutty hair, her sloppily made up mouth, he knows she is not his eurydice but he can try and remake her in his image. but it all goes horribly wrong. I am rewriting fairy tales, myths from a distinctly feminist point of view. we see how this man suffers trapped in the patriarchal chains of manhood, and how it keeps him distant from his own sexuality, his own humanity, which I think is true of many men. this all sounds like academic gobbledy gook but it works. i'm trying for a style that channels and revisions The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter but digital.
I went out to dinner, the japanese place. panko crusted monkfish, two glasses (small) of white wine. then the chicken which I couldn't eat. I was full. but the anxiety and the sadness that had been building up inside of me suddenly crashed to the surface. I paid the check and walked across the street for coffee and dessert. I got an iced mocha and a peanut butter cookie. but I couldn't sit there either. when I walked out I saw the hunchback man who lives in my neighborhood. in the daytime he's still a hunchback, but he is sentient, kind. the funeral director on the corner gives him five dollars to sweep up the leaves, so does the deli owner and the furniture guy. he must live somewhere, have a home but everytime I see him he's at the corner of Atlantic and Henry. at night though he's so high on something he can't speak. maybe heroin, maybe alcohol. I don't know. he never recognizes me then so tonight I just walked past him. When I got home I smoked a tiny bit of weed. that didn't help either. so I lay on the couch crying for about a half hour. I thought; didn't I finish with this last week? this hard grieving. apparently not.
I watched a Frank Sinatra movie, Some Came Running. Part of me followed the narrative and the other part of me followed the misogyny. Shirley McLaine plays a hard bitten but unbearably cute "loose woman" who follows Sinatra from Chicago to his hometown. Another actress who I don't know plays the school teacher, the cool blond, who encourages him to be a writer again. But she can't love him! She's too pure! meanwhile, little slutty Shirley trails after him like a puppy dog. But he can't love her! You can't love a tramp. He keeps going back to the school teacher, she keeps saying, no, no, no. Sinatra gives up and marries the tramp. Hey, he tells his sidekick, Dean Martin, stop calling her a pig. nobody's ever loved me like this before. after the ceremony bride and groom are strolling on a carnival midway--- the tramp's gangster boyfriend shoots her dead. No happy endings for small town sluts, even one's as cute Shirley. but still though despite my obvious carping, there was something compelling about the movie. Sinatra's basically one note, but Dean Martin as the card shark is alluring and sexy even though the worst things about women come out of his mouth. I kept telling myself, this is 1955--- women are dames, broads, pigs. At one point, Sinatra tells Shirley to tell clean up his apartment, and she is pathetically grateful. I'd be like, bitch clean up your own damn apartment. At this point, we're talking about a time fifty years in the past, more than fifty. a half century.
sometimes I think thank God I live in New York City and thank God it's not 1955. I wouldn't have survived. I used to like to say that had I been alive during the 17th century I would've been the first witch to burn at the stake--- bitch don't you be telling what I can't do. ha, ha, ha. anyway I tried everything and still ended up sad. I tried writing, I tried drinking, I tried eating, then it's time for an ativan and a good book. it's late now, almost midnight. day is done.
just back from walking my dog after an infuriating confrontation with my super. my key broke in the lock last night and I was able to make a copy with the two pieces at the hardware store. lucky that it worked, but only provisionally. so first he said why don't you have a spare in the basement, then this key works but you can't come home wasted, then I said, it doesn't work. it works in an emergency but I can't stand here for 20 minutes trying to open my apartment door, then he said I'll get another lock from the basement, then he was slamming the door trying to close it and I was like dude, unlock the dead bolt. I was seriously afraid he was going to squash my dog. comes back up from the basement with a new door knob and lock, jerry rigs it in with a piece of cardboard, hands me a broke ass key, and said, try it. so there I am trying the new key and he's saying things like, you're not putting it in the right way. is he so stupid that he didn't get the sexual content of this? does he think that I don't know how to use a key and a lock? I was thisclose to saying, that's it, you're finished, good bye. so unbelievably patronizing. when he left I had to get out of the house, soak up some of the early winter light, try to equalize my equilibrium.
it's a fragile thing these days, finding balance. out on the streets with my dog and the sun setting I felt better, wished I could wash my face in the light. hold onto to it as long as possible. but now its ten to five and darkness descends. so the question becomes should I go out to dinner? there's a japanese restaurant in my neighborhood that makes an amazing teriyaki chicken which I wash down with two glasses of a white rioja. its a delectable meal but then i think, you spent one hundred dollars on thanksgiving dinner, can you really afford this? but can I afford to sit here in my apartment, alone? its a holiday weekend and friends and family are out of town.
ah, the single life of a woman in the new millenium. the lipstick wearing man loving feminist who hasn't had sex in three and a half years. the academic, the writer, the lover, the sister, the daughter. once I was interviewed for a book about being a single woman in nyc. the woman really threw me when she asked, after ten years of one night stands, did you ever fall in love and did anyone ever love you? now clearly I didn't love a single one of those men, but the question, did any one of them love you, hurt. I hadn't considered the second part of the equation. no, not one of them loved me. held me in high esteem? yes. thought of me affectionately? yes. respected me? yes. thought I was powerful? yes. loved me? no.
I tried internet dating and the results were a disaster. I can't go back to that. it's so haphazard. the people who create avatars and live vicariously in a virtual world miss the point of life. as human beings we are ineluctably tied into our bodies, our physicality, to deny that is insane. this is why the angels descended to earth, to have bodies. nothing compares else compares to it. I used to post ads when I was lonely. I knew full well I would never meet anyone this way. when my inbox was filled with excited and hopeful replies, it did assuage my loneliness but it was transitory. kind of like two glasses of wine. enough to blur the hard edges, but it doesn't last, and ultimately not meaningful.
Creator and co-author of the award winning The Erotica Project. Author of erotic short stories published on Salon.com. Producer/author for NPR. MA from NYU. Published by Cleis Press, Seal Press, Heinemann Press, New York Press. Reviewed in NYTimes, Village Voice, Art in America, London Sunday Times.