November 2000

Speaking of breakdowns, I've been reading interviews with Chan Marshall/Cat Power on the web lately. Mostly because many people I know think she is a witty acerbic chanteuse and not some lame naive waif like almost all her fans seem to want believe she is. I read this one interview where she talks about the boxes and piles of books she means to read and I completely related and then I came across one that was extremely disturbing and that freaked me out. In that one she describes a break down she had after a show at the Knitting Factory and I know that feeling. AND oddly enough one of the worst moments of my life happened to me when I was supposed to go see Cat Power. I just could not get a handle on my life and what I was supposed to do to be a person. Everything just completely slid away from me, I couldn't tell what I wanted to do, what I thought I should do. Was what I was thinking I should do, wrong or right? I couldn't trust my own thinking to keep me going and I didn't have anything to replace what I was losing, so I went insane for about 18 months or so. It was great fun (I highly recommend it). Now, I just don't worry about being a person, it is not a realistic possibility for me and since I've accepted that many good things have come way.

The thing I can't seem to shake about Chan M./Cat Power is that she reminds me of Ally Sheedy's Allison in The Breakfast Club. I've seen her twice (before my breakdown) and both times she mumbled through her hair, started and stopped songs, and would just give up a song alltogether by going "you guys know the rest anyway." And all the Anthony Michael Hall guys who failed shop in the audience were madly in love with their waif du jour up on stage and it made me sick. And now after reading those interviews, I sorta feel bad for thinking that...that is until I think about the picture of Chan M. in Vanity Fairwith a whole new make over and it IS Ally Sheedy from The Breakfast Club after Molly Ringwald has her way with her and now all the jock guys love her too. LordOuch tells me that only a "holey" can come up with this sort of thing. I used to be really into Hole and Courtney and she wrote this Lollapalooza diary for Spin years ago where she compared all the guys on the tour to guys in The Breakfast Club. So the Breakfast Club theory of life is now irretriveably a "holey" one.

I did used to love Courtney when it seemed like she was giving peoople shit instead of just being full of it. I miss the old Courtney sometimes (the one that looked liked Tina Yothers under extreme magnification). Now she's had so much plastic surgery that she is going to look like Jocelyn Wildenstein when she gets older. I used to think oh that's good for her, she's happy, but I don't know if she is. And why I care if someone I don't know is happy is beyond me. Courtney is like this amalgam of a couple of my ex-girlfriends so I could see in her all the endearing things I saw in them without the hazards of actually being in a relationship with one of them. All the important people in my life have all been big blonde chicks. I don't know why this is. I never really think blondes are so wonderful, it is something that just happens to me. Courtney resembled (before surgery) my ex Ann. Ann was a really great actress. She went to study at the Eugene O'Neill drama school for a bit. She was really big and blonde and INSANE. She used to decide she needed a haircut and instead of just getting one she would cut her hair sort of like area by area over a couple days. She would sit in front of the mirror and talk to you for hours while she cut her hair. The haircutting obsession would go on for months sometimes then she would get bored and let it all grow out and start again.

The best part about Ann was that she lied about absolutely everything and she was a petty thief (she started the Edward's "heist a spice" tradition in our house where we never paid for spices because they were too expensive). I should have run, but instead I got sucked in. Before me Ann had this ex named Blanche. Blanche was beautiful and exotic...all those great things I am not. When Ann and I were still together, Blanche was in one of my seminars and I could never figure out why she always seemed scared of me and ran away when I tried to talk to her (as I am usually the one who flees conversations this was especially perplexing). Then when Ann and I moved in together, Ann was always going upstate to visit (she said) this professor named Fluff that we both loved and who lived in Woodstock. And a couple times Blanche would come and visit and she and Ann would spend hours talking and spend the night together. I never thought twice about this because there are plenty of people I have slept with that I have not SLEPT with. Eventually Blanche moved to another state and Ann and I went on for years. That is until one night I was at this party in the apartment of a now incredibly famous (real fame as opposed to the one that existed in her mind for years)married-to-a-man-but-who-still-calls-herself- a-lesbian (unlike others, I have no problem with this, I just think it is amusing) director of a lesbian film and there was this other girl who was drunk and I was tipsy and we did some stupid things. Ann walked into the apartment and right into us kissing. I ran after her and caught up to her on 8th St. where she stopped when I called her name. Turned around and hurtled a full beer bottle at my head. I ducked and it missed me but it shattered against the brick wall behind me and that was way DRAMATIC (and why actresses have been crossed off my list of potential mates). Ann then screamed an obscenity and ran off into the night. I didn't know what else to do so I went back to the party and got drunk. My friend Robert (RIP) lectured me about how it was potentially easy for me to break hearts and I had to be careful. That talk lives as one of the more hilarious moments in my life because a)I am ugly and b) I think the only heart that has ever been broken is my own (unless I'm just so self-centered I don't see it and well that is always a possibility but unlikely). Drunk and distraught I made one of those I can't believe what I did phone calls to a friend and since I have a high drama level in my life my friends have heard it ALL before. This friend in particular knew both Blanche and Ann and told me that I was being stupid about "cheating" on Ann (all I did was kiss some drunk girl--but more about her later cuz she ended up being...)since Ann had been with Blanche as well as me for most of the time we were supposedly together. Which explained the whole upstate thing (Blanche lived in Beacon or something)and why Blanche was afraid of me. To quote Elvis Costello "I used to be disgusted, now I try to be amused"

At 25, I didn't even know what I was looking for. I just knew that I had to get close to what I thought was "power"; I just knew I had to get close to something

Jarboe of The Swans to Andrea Juno

After Ann and I broke up I fell into a weird relationship/nonrelationship with Liz. Liz is probably the most important person in my life. She has been a writer since she was a kid and she always knew she wanted to be a writer. I was attracted to that certainty. I knew I wanted to do something creative but I didn't know what and given my particular personality quirks of not being terribly articulate or extroverted, I was not going to be anything but someone who could disappear into her own world of words. Liz never needed to disappear to write. She could just sit down knock something out and turn it in. She knew how to borrow freely from the world and people around her and make it all sound witty and fun. Everyone wanted her life, including me. The problem was that half the time the world she was writing about was one we shared. She would take my various obsessions and quirks and create characters out of them. Characters who were most often serious jokes in her writing. Recognizing yourself in someone else's writings or songs or whatevers is a pretty common experience, but when they are used as punchlines it gets a little tough. I started to get seriously weirded out because she was writing stuff about us and half the time at my expense but I wanted what she had as well. I wanted to write about my own world and not have someone else interpret and destroy it in the process. I started to get hurt and would get angry at her. She thought I was getting even more dumb. I never got the sense she ever respected me. Then after finding that maybe I could write, and getting a bit more confidence, Liz and I took on a collaborative project of writing this column for a local gay and lesbian magazine. It was a good thing the magazine folded a few years later because one of us would be dead if it didn't. We fought all the time. She hated me intruding on something she could do on her own. I hated needing her.

And I started to hate myself even more than normal (which is scary) and I started to distrust everything that I knew and loved. And the relationship between Liz and I which was never very professional was all tangled up in resentment, anger, sex, jealousy, made Melrose Place look silly (I know that isn't hard) but that's not the point, exactly. So you guessed it, breakdown time. I think that was my first. It was on Thanksgiving day. Liz had another girlfriend but never bothered to "officially" break up with me. I came back from a vacation in Atlanta to find out that Liz didn't sleep in our apartment anymore. I was left to take care of this beast of a cat that always attacked me while she was with her new girlfriend. Every now and then she would come home and I would leave because I couldn't face her. On Thanksgiving she was going to go have dinner with her new girlfriend and her family and my family was in Atlanta and I had absolutely no one or nowhere to go. I fell to pieces and did things that I've never done before. She left after I begged her to stay. I cried for hours. I remember the way the tears poured out and the boneshaking sobs that I never thought would stop.

That should have been the end but I couldn't let her go. I felt like I needed her to write. I needed her to feel complete. I could never tell her any of this because neither one of us trusted the other enough to completely confide in them. I loved her more than I'd ever loved anyone in my life, and I hated her more than anyone in my life. It was so hard to know what to do. At some point, Liz decided to come back and we gave it another chance. I couldn't do it. I couldn't be the girlfriend she needed. So I started going out and getting drunk with an assortment of friends I'd neglected while I was with Liz. I developed a special fondness for Alabama Slammers at this one bar and I would go there with whoever whenever I could. Then I would come home and it was the only time things were right between Liz and I. It got so I thought Liz wanted me to drink so that we wouldn't fight (or at least I told myself that). And then the slope just got more slippery when my father died and we got a contract to write a book. The contract for the book stemmed from a zine we did together but that I thought Liz "let" me write with her. It is still a huge source of amusement to me that anyone finds that book remotely interesting given that 9/10th of it is Liz hating me and anything I liked and me hating Liz and anything she did.

But so what does this have to do with anything? Duh, by now you should know not to ask that question (if you are still reading...haha). Well I said the old Courtney used to remind of two ex-girlfriends. Both Liz and Ann were big blondes and who talked a lot, smoked a lot, drank a lot...and in Liz's case when Courtney used to go off on things she would pull in all these books she thought she'd read, and Liz was also the carousel of reckless references. Whenever I read Courtney getting something wrong, or ripping something off from someone else, I thought of Liz (but in a good way now). I think Liz used to think she loved me more than I loved her but it is fairly obvious this is not true as she has left me way in the dust(if you check out this link, I don't even figure in the diagram which is good...funny but good) and has an adult life while I'm still obsessing about the past and writing crap like this.

  ’Hark! ’tis an elfin-storm from faery land,   
  “Of haggard seeming, but a boon indeed:   
  “Arise—arise! the morning is at hand;—  345 
  “The bloated wassaillers will never heed:—   
  “Let us away, my love, with happy speed;   
  “There are no ears to hear, or eyes to see,—   
  “Drown’d all in Rhenish and the sleepy mead:   
  “Awake! arise! my love, and fearless be,  350 
“For o’er the southern moors I have a home for thee.” 

John Keats, "The Eve of St. Agnes," 1844

The New York Marathon. Watched two seconds, saw some guy step on a small African woman marathoner and heard the announcers blame the woman because she did not know how to move over and get water. How is this a skill? Getting water? Isn't that a basic human thing? My friend Anthony went to watch the marathon because his friend was running in it. I watched the woman who won (can't remember who and maybe it wasn't even her) puke her guts out when she went across the finish line. Talk about excerise bullimia! That's mean, I take it back. Anthony and his friend's sister were waving a Kermit the Frog puppet on a broom stick so that their RUNNER would find them. She did and then they lost one another after she finished. I think that is ironic. Apparently it is easier to find someone in the course of a 26 mile run than it is in the marathon aftermath of Central Park. The important lesson that I think I learned from Anthony is that his friend told him that a Kermit the Frog puppet on a broomstick is a guy magnet (I will have to remember this should I decide I want a guy magnet).

I am filled with a complete sense of utter dread about the election tomorrow. I am horrified that GWB may win. Here in NYC those initials mean George Washington Bridge and the scary thing...I think that the bridge is smarter than the candidate. I have been tortured trying to decide who to vote for. I hate Al Gore. The man has all the charm and excitement of a piece of chalk. But I hate GWB more. So I've been toying with voting for Nader because in NY Gore/Lieberman will win and really they don't need my vote so I can do something constructive with it like helping the Green Party get 5% of the vote and get federal funds. Then Anthony informed me about the Working Families Party which is essentially a liberal branch of the Democratic Party in NY and they have endorsed Gore/Lieberman (but have backed Green Party candidates in other local elections) and I can vote for Gore/Lieberman along Row H. This will basically be sending a message to the Dems that I think they have become too conservative and thus, an attempt on my part to take back control of the party in which I am registered.

That is my preference but I wonder if it is a cop-out. I want a third party (and 4th and 5th and so on)in this country but not at the expense of a Republican administration (especially when the House and Senate all already Republican majorities). And to tell the honest truth, I don't know that I trust the Green Party to consider the issues and needs of the working and underclasses...I mean yeah Nader's done a lot but how do the EPA, seat belts and the Freedom of Information Act impact a single working mother trying to make ends meet? And what if school vouchers become a reality? What will happend to poor school districts? I tend to think of the Green Party as a bunch of white liberal environmentally sensitive guys...who are all probably pretty well off and just keep hammering away at the corporate control issue. Winona La Duke sounds awesome, but really this is Nader's party and he intends to run again next time so I think a vote for him might just be feeding his ego. Creemie told me that early on Nader promised that if he was a "spoiler" for the Dems he would back out of the race. And also he's said that he thinks abortion should be decided by the states and not the Federal Gov't. I don't know if that is true, but it scares me. Maybe that is the intent, part of the Democatic smear campaign. I don't know. But I am going to pray tonight (though I don't know how to pray and I haven't figured to whom I should address my pleas, but god/goddess/God/Buddha/Faerie Queen/whoever PLEASE NO G W BUSH, President of the good ol US of A!).

more November 2000
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