Saturday, July 31, 2010

On my way home:

Certain things are returning to normal.

Dropped by the Seattle Weekly offices late yesterday afternoon to turn in the updated freelancer contract. I'm completing my newest essay for The Nervous Breakdown right now and I received another assignment from Nerve that's due soon and all of this pleases me tremendously. I've always derived great joy from my work and know how lucky I am to say it and mean it.

Feel disoriented and dislocated most of the time, though, and it's compounded by those who want this to be something it's not. And, of course, by the fact I don't leave the house unless I'm properly dressed and when I'm out with others I say reasonably funny things and present an approximation of a person who doesn't know irrefutably that part of her is dead, too.

But the writing is going very well and, as I said, I really can't emphasize how grateful I am. The rest will follow eventually, I know.

From top to bottom:

After I left the Seattle Weekly offices and started heading northeast, I saw this poor creature on 1st Ave. and Pike in front of Pike Place Market. As Seattleites know but others might not, this is one of the city's most populated intersections, with constant, dense traffic and ceaseless pedestrians. The horse seemed weary and crushed. I loathe these companies: animals shouldn't be ridden on city streets.

Free skates offered on Harrison in between Belmont and Summit. Bemused by the sign's text message spelling ("sk8s").

A few yards further down the hill on Harrison, an absolutely stunning flower. One of my guy friends once teased me the reason he loves me is, "You're not one of those girls who knows all the names of plants and makes a big deal out of it." Which is true, though in this case I wish it weren't. A gorgeous creation simply springing from the ground.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Oh, Twitter:

It's not yet 10:00 a.m. PST and I've been recommended by two colleagues and excoriated by a racist porn actress.

Doing my job right, I suppose.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I'm unsure why Oliver Stone aligns himself...

...with the left because if the hateful things he spewed came from the right, he'd be apoplectic. Under the auspices of presenting history from an internationalist point of view, which is honorable, he attacks Jews, which is deplorable. Stone proves it's possible to be a well-read idiot:,0

Sunday, July 25, 2010

One of the galleries nearby frequently hosts live music...

...(despite the fact they're not zoned for it, but okay, fine) and in the summer, when all our windows are open, it sounds like the stage is in my living room.

In a city that has launched so many great and good musicians, I keep hoping I'm going to hear an incipient Death Cab or Blue Scholars or Visqueen.

So far? A sonic approximation of dogs fucking cats, only not so interesting.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Two things I've heard repeatedly in the past nine and a half months that are completely fucking true:

1) There is a shared language and sensibility among those who have been through it, a shorthand, and it helps sustain you.

As I've written of before, TJ's was the 30th funeral I'd been to. (I have a large family and social circle and it stands to reason the more loved ones you have, the more you will lose. Also, because I learned from my mom how to respond in crisis, over the years others have asked me to accompany them to their loved ones' funerals and, of course, I did.)

I was familiar with grief and loss but had never experienced anything remotely as powerful or catastrophic as TJ's death, including the loss of my health when I was 24. Just as my life is organically divided before and after CFIDS, so it is with his death, only a million times more so.

And as I've written of dozens of times, I've been incredibly fortunate and moved by loved ones, colleagues, acquaintances and near-strangers who have reached out to me. I'm tenacious by nature, but there have been days I've thought the force and near-ceaselessness of the pain would break me. And it's then someone who has lived through it (and with it, as it takes different form in time but never goes away) says, as if on cue, "One day his death won't be the first thing you think of ten seconds after you wake up" or "It's the little things that'll catch you off-guard, like seeing his favorite foods in the grocery store" or "At this stage you feel like you're not going to get through it, but you will" or one my favorites, sent by a dear friend in all caps, "FUCK ANYONE WHO EXPECTS YOU TO GRIEVE ON THEIR SCHEDULE" and I feel loved and less alone and understood and, perversely, lucky. Lucky to have such insightful people in my life.

2) Within hours of receiving confirmation of TJ's death from the Chelan County Sherriff's Office, both my brother and one of my best friends, Tim, each of whom have been incredibly kind and empathetic--unfortunately, they'd each experienced horrific loss--warned me there are individuals who barely knew the dead but this won't stop them from seeking attention for knowing the dead, even if the connection was tangential, because they are strange and sad and they think this is the only thing for which they might receive attention and they will revel in it.

My brother and Tim were right.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

What it means to have CFIDS:

At my high school reunion on Saturday evening, I stood for five hours. I used the cane (I've been back on it since April) and drank plenty of water and moved around in the course of the event, obviously, and had eaten lean turkey and veggies before my friend picked me up. When you look at the photos, I don't look sick and, indeed I received several compliments that night. (I only mention it as it relates here.)

It's now 3:10 on Wednesday afternoon and I've been able to leave my home for an hour and forty-five minutes total since my friend dropped me off later Saturday night: Sunday I made it across the street to pick up dinner and an iced decaf americano, returned and ate in bed; Monday I ran errands on Broadway and in 45 minutes, the symptoms hit so severely I barely made it to my last stop--oh, irony of ironies--at the health food store to pick up more high-grade multi-vitamins; yesterday the pain completely immobilized me--and if you know me, you know I have a very high tolerance for pain--and I could barely sit up, much less get dressed and leave here. I'm clothed now and about to depart to the south part of the neighborhood on an errand. I'll need the crutches to get there.

Like all of us, I have issues. Discipline is rarely a tripwire, though. During the aforementioned block of time, I've read the book I'm reviewing for the Seattle Weekly, nearly finished said (admittedly short) feature and completed half of my latest essay for The Nervous Breakdown. I sent off a new list of pitch ideas to, returned emails, cooked meals and unloaded the dishwasher. Next month makes 19 years since I became ill and I've been vastly sicker than this. And again, if you know me, you know I have perspective: a close friend's sister has brain cancer for fuck's sake and I just read another piece about the seemingly endless war in Congo--a mother saw all three of her sons die in front of her--and I only have to look at the schizophrenic man who lodges himself at the outdoor tables at Top Pot during the summer to know the boundless ways in which I'm lucky.

My health just isn't one of them.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Senate Judiciary Committee just voted to...

...confirm Elena Kagan, 13-6.

Scalia and Thomas fear Kagan, Sotomayor and Ginsburg will make abortion free then pop out to buy shoes and frozen yogurt.

Monday, July 19, 2010

My new essay on Seattle's lit scene is up now at The Nervous Breakdown:

Part of our editor Brad Listi's series, "The View from the West", which explores West Coast literary culture. Brad's essay precedes mine, as does one from Anne Walls. Enjoyed each of theirs tremendously and am flattered to be included:

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Last night's 25th high school reunion was...

...unremittingly hilarious, deeply moving, a mind-bending contortion of past and present and, also, irritating as hell.

Enjoyed it vastly more than the four years itself.

One of my classmates, Joe McDermott (D) is in the Washington State legislature, running for King County Council for District 8 and I'll be proud to vote for him. Another is a councilwoman for a culturally dead tiny Seattle suburb and she resembled Sarah Palin in her lack of intellectual or cultural acumen. (She pointedly lied to me and I called her on it.)

Discovered two of my classmates are incarcerated for child molestation.

More than anything, I enjoyed reconnecting with those with whom I was closest and still love.

Writing my essay on the evening right now for The Nervous Breakdown.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Pope Benjamin has declared...

...ordaining women akin to pedophilia.

So that means the Vatican's okay with it?

Debating whether or not to open with this tonight at my 25th high school reunion from an uber-preppy, Catholic high school.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Because who doesn't want quality rigatoni nearby?

My newest post for's Capitol Hill blog, this one on Broadway's new and packed Italian restaurant, Panevino, went up earlier this week:

News that might alter the course of human history deserves a wee more attention: linked to this but I'm unsure why it's not getting traction yet because the implications are huge: scientists at the University of Arizona have created the first mosquito that is incapable of giving malaria to humans:

[Postscript, Saturday July 17th, 12:30 p.m.: The Seattle Times ran the Los Angeles Times' version of this story on its front page today. Hooray! At long last, I control the world with my mind:

Monday, July 12, 2010

Hello, lovelies:

Much is percolating this week.

I'm signing off until next Monday and will only be returning exigent missives.



Sunday, July 11, 2010


...and nothing separates us from the dead.

Sometimes I feel ridiculously lucky to live here:

Earlier tonight, from top to bottom:

Pigeons eating the remnants of a foccacia sandwich in the middle of the street at 10th and John.

An incredibly sweet 16 year-old Pomeranian named Will in Cal Anderson Park.

A sign posted alongside Scripture passages outside the non-denominational church on Broadway at E. Republican.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Greetings, Armageddon:

After a night spent twining in and out of sleep, at which point I can now hear birds chirping so it's not really night at all, a cavalcade of sirens has erupted just south of here. I hope everyone is okay, but the sonic evidence indicates there's a bunch more Russian spies near Denny Avenue.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Nine months ago today:

"Time must have become a very odd kind of mirror-maze for her now; and mazes can change at any instant from being funny to being frightening."--A Single Man, Christopher Isherwood, p. 98

PJ puppy!

At Thomas St. Park early Monday evening. His name is PJ and he's a ridiculously sweet and massively energetic four month-old Maltese.

At one point, he took a bite of my maple cruller and I had to fish it from his mouth. Later we repeated the cycle with a pen cap he found in the grass. I didn't mind--he was just doing what puppies do--but wished his owner paid closer attention, for the little guy's sake.

I got this shot by holding my sandwich aloft: that what he's honed in on. He licked my face about a dozen times and one could argue it was kinda gross but I found it immensely cheerful.

Monday, July 05, 2010

The latest on Haitian children orphaned by the quake:

One of the most devastating features I've read.

Excerpt: “We don’t really know what to do next,” said the Rev. Gerald Bataille, the primary supervisor of the children. “Somehow, the whole world wants to help Haiti, but we feel like we’re on our own.”


A------e, by continuing to act like a batshit lunatic... do nothing to dispel the widely held notion you are a batshit lunatic.

Surely there must be some other misbegotten shred you can cling to besides poking around here at least once a day?

Like perhaps getting a job, hobby or friends.

Another birthday of note:

Does it compare in scope to the founding of our great nation? Not yet. But still, raise whatever's handy and toast the fourth anniversary of the highly lauded, rollicking and occasionally batshit literary site, The Nervous Breakdown!

Much continued success and joy to my TNB colleagues:

Saturday, July 03, 2010

"If the wind were colors/ And if the air could speak..."

I wish all weeks could be like the previous two.

Last week I wrote more in any seven-day period than I have in over two years--thank you, health and grief, for cooperating!--and then this past week, my dear friend, Kate, rolled through town from San Francisco and we had a rollicking good time. The atmosphere is always more buoyant when she's near and I haven't laughed so hard in awhile.

So, so lucky the people in my life are, in fact, the people in my life.

So, it looks like it's time to run this one again. From Thursday, March 04, 2010:

Greetings and salutations:

Like most sites on the web, The Slippery Fish has Sitemeter software installed and has had so for several years. I've always kept the Sitemeter logo displayed on the bottom left (scroll all the way down) instead of electing to hide it, as is the more standard practice, because it's fair to let readers know I can see their IP number, ISP, city, state, country, page hits, searches that preceded their arrival here, searches they conduct once they are here, whether they email an entry and if so which one, the entries they click on, the duration of each page view, the duration of their entire stay, if they have the site bookmarked or search for it individually several times a day, etc. As I said, nearly every web site features Sitemeter or equivalent software. This is common knowledge in 2010.

As with everything I write for public consumption, it is, in fact, for public consumption. I don't reveal secrets here, i.e. while much of the content is personal, none of it is private. So for the tiny but persistent band who still routinely searches for any shred about him here, and in some cases repeats this action daily, by all means, continue. I won't reveal your names. But keep in mind I'm not searching the web (or anywhere else) for information about him.

Because I don't have to.