Monday, September 29, 2008

The day the stock market crumbled, I took off work to go to the doctor for my bum leg. He marveled at my flexibility, my quotidian contortions literally raising the eyebrows and octave of this sixty-something seasoned orthopedic specialist. For the pain he gave me a cortisone injection in my left hip and some prescription anti-inflammatories. The shot is burning its way through my thigh like sizzling grease.

During the four and a half hours I was there, I managed to read Galway Kinnell's Book of Nightmares. It hurt to read. It suffocated my heart in twine. A fantastic, critical, earnest, and almost winsome meditation on the interconnectedness of death and love. It wants to live in my throat forever. Jesus. What else does anyone write for?

And what is all this writing for? What good are the hundreds or thousands of pages that exist in ones and zeros, that no one may ever buy? That no one may ever read? Medicine has improved but the doctors still say no surgery exists that will fix my knees. They are shaped too strangely, sculpted to keep me lame unless I wear Forrest Gump braces. What good is being a twenty-six-year-old woman with contraptions on your scarred gams?

Some days I think I will not be able to get out of bed. I have done that before, when I was young and dumb. Spent days in the bed skipping class and work because of the Dread. Sometimes I think I will do that again. That all this hopelessness will just be too much for me, and I'll lose all the baby steps I've gained.

I remember once a boy I said I loved told me there was no future in writing. That I would end up penniless on the streets. A crackwhore, I believe, was his precise choice of diction. He went into investment banking. This is so not Buddhist, Christian, or even mature, but I hope he lost his shirt today.

Hard to care about Wall Street on a day like today. Cortisone searing my hip-sockets, no promise of any kind of future except for about a billion people I love so much it hurts, and one I love even more, that scary kind of love, that kind that keeps you awake some nights with the heat and fragility of its breathing. I remember once, turning twenty, lying in bed and crying, and when my mother asked what I wanted out of life, I said, "I want to live in a house and write and make pasta for all my friends." Last night all my friends ate my pasta, so aren't I the the successful one after all?

This ache is so much more pervasive than any stab in my leg. People are just pain machines, it seems, sometimes. Pain must have been invented with us only. With the awareness of dust attracting dust comes the cancerous question: How have I ever taken for granted for one second anyone I have loved?

But we do, of course, in the end. If we did not, we would not be human.

Can it ever be true --
all bodies, one body, one light
made of everyone's darkness together?

Friday, September 26, 2008

Fear and Trembling

The first class I ever took in college was called "The Meaning of Life." It was an existentialism survey, and I didn't even end up majoring in Philosophy, but 10am Monday morning of my first day of higher education, I walked in wanting to figure out The Big Questions. This goal eventually led me to drop out, come back, and switch majors entirely to Religious Studies. It has also driven me on my path of becoming a writer, and led me in many (annoying, I'm sure) hours-long phone conversations with my brother about string theory, quantum mechanics, and the *General Theory of the Way of All Things.

This reflection was sparked when at the Harvard Bookstore last night with Tara I noticed this book. What an observation! When did universities become just income-generation bootcamps? When did our society become just income-circulation machines? Have we given up on these questions, really? Are they just too hard for our poor little meat-and-bone heads to address? Or are they out-dated, inconsequential, declared futile and discarded for the comfort of the sure momentary pleasures of a new ring and the scent of perfume.

When I was twenty-two, after a particularly low and long period of depression stemming from this consternating feeling of meaninglessness, a holistic therapist suggested I keep a box for the rest of my twenties, to open on September 9th, 2012, of everything that terrifies me. "I don't normally recommend to people to merely try to forget about their fears," she told me. "In fact, I never have. But you're spending every instant of your precious life on these questions that may not have satisfactory answers. I'm not saying you never have to think about them, just give yourself the next eight years to be carefree. You can do this, because you know when you turn thirty, you're going to look at all of them again."

"What then?"

"Who knows. Maybe you'll get depressed again. Maybe you'll figure something out. Or maybe you'll decide to put them back in the box until you're forty."

"Okay. But what happens if I die before I open the box?"

She just shrugged and smiled wryly. Of course. We all die before we open the box.

I put my fears into that box for over a year, and eventually, I stopped being afraid. I did things I never thought I could. I conquered my paralyzing fear of flying, I finished and submitted writing for publication, I moved to Boston, I stopped having social anxiety and made wonderful friends, I ended a clinging moribund relationship, I travelled and experienced things I never could have when I was twenty.

Somehow I have found, in all of this, an ineffable meaning that can fuel and sustain me through these years of early adulthood. Some raison d'etre in these swirling days of motion and stimulation that lets me, rather than Just Be, Just Do. Those terrible periods of depression in my younger years often left me all but incapacitated, unable to do my laundry, go to class, hold a job. Now I'm positively drunk on motion, on change, and my own luck to be in on this stupid crazy existence. Is that a meaning?

These questions are important, don't get me wrong. I think it's a major fallacy of modern society that such little worth is placed on their address. But at the same time, if you miss out on the beauty of life because you're obsessed with answering it's most rudimentary questions, I believe you're spitting in the face of any great Meaning you're trying to find.

I haven't put anything into that box since I was twenty-four. It's still there, in the bottom of my steamer trunk, waiting for that distant, impending birthday. Who knows how my thirty-year-old self will react to the existential horror of such a young woman who so fatuously thought herself so old, so close to death. Such a smartass, she was.

*not actually any recognized Theory. Yet!

Monday, September 22, 2008

The best day I've had in a while - really since I've been 26 (which I guess isn't really that long, but everyday has seemed a little like eight years lately) - Debbie's dad takes us out on his boat and we sail off the coast of Maine all day.

These are the kinds of days I need right now.

There is so much work to be done.

And so many people to love.

Live it right, said the ghost to the dying girl. Live it right, because you'll be living it forever.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

full moon

saturday night everyone freaks out and the full moon and the new job makes jade a dull jade unless she can get done her work and aren't all these nights the same anyways and aren't there always those tattooed knife-pricked devils out in the light of the porch and the moon hallucinogens or no and the girls with the low self-esteem and the boys with their pitchforks and the girls with their running hems climbing over each other you could just see in all those competing lights if you looked with the right angle the curve of gravity's grid pulling everyone toward and around each other in lonesome straining orbit and jade is done for a time for though she loves everyone dearly she has important work as important as relativity and the fall is coming with its brittle reminder of time that low sun and it's almost scarf weather which is the best kind of weather and there is still that scarf to finish and meals to make and weight to put on so much to do really before the winter comes so the brimstone smiles can wait for a while they're not going anywhere rooms are enough now just quiet rooms with books with work with sometimes quiet touching and what's wrong she says sometimes with taking care of each other it's the least we can do isn't it we who are so unavoidably alone we who poison our brains and tear open our bodies just to try to get closer to the same thing that hides hot and shimmering in those other bodies guarded by that damned cool impregnable perfect surface of the mirror

Monday, September 15, 2008

I want to make every day a work of art. I accomplish about 30% of my potential.

Couldn't sleep last night thinking of erythromelalgia, the crack in my computer case, and everything I've written that no one's ever seen. Age mellows, but don't you miss the fires that used to keep you strapped to your books in college. Will music ever be like it was when younger? When I met my boy I said to myself, this makes me feel like a teenager. I think I have held onto some of that tiger throat. I don't think you lose that if it's woven into your bones. If you have to create, you do it. Being rich or poor won't stop you. Heartbreak and betrayal won't stop you. Not even stability. Every year I become. I'm learning how to sail, this year. This year, I'm going to get some things published and make some goddamned money, goddamn it. And none of it will stop me, because I've learned a hundred times from a hundred hollow people that when you stop growing, you start to die, and I still have so much to do.

Don't you ever think of how lucky we are? That the tossing and turning dreams and nightmares always end? That there is someone spread along you with a working heart? That we can wake up like this smelling each other's skin?

Friday, September 12, 2008

The air is getting colder. I don't have the time that I used to, and I'm less depressed. Sometimes rejection is the best thing for your confidence.

I'm doing work that I like, and work that I love, and very little that I hate. I think I may even get to learn to sail, because Tara is the coolest ever.

If you just stick around long enough, everything has to come true.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Belated Birthday Post

I'm so cool, I even missed my own birthday!

Actually, I didn't. I celebrated for like four days. Well, three out of four, with an intermission. Tattooing and karaoke party Saturday night, Ryan Adams Sunday night, and yesterday museums with Tara and fancy-pants dinner with my favorite boy (licorice-braised duck and the best dessert ever, seriously -- OMG). I'm a lucky girl.

But let's not overlook the fact that I'm OLD. And as I've done the past few years, it makes me feel better to reflect blogwise over the events of the past year so I know I'm doing something with my life. I try to do as much as possible, really.

I started 25 working at Starbucks and wanting to run to another ocean. Instead I quit the coffee shops for good and bumped my way through a ridiculous amount of part time jobs before I found some steady income modeling, researching, and occasionally, slinging booze. The enigmatic full-time job still eludes me, but like all those who are older say, I'm still so goddamn young.

I started to hang out with other writers I knew from the Cantab. I heard poems by Brian and Jamie and Simone and knew I wanted to do that and I decided to work harder, to commit myself to writing poetry as well as fiction. I started to read more.

I spent October as a vampire haunting the young and old of Greater Boston, writing, watching movies rented from my local library, and trying to enjoy my mounds of alone time. I had time to reflect. I figured out a lot about myself and the person I always wanted to be. I decided I was strong and arrogant enough to be that person.

On Halloween Sandra tattooed two skeleton keys beneath my clavicles and I wrapped myself in a bedsheet toga to play Sappho. After many whiskeys at the Cantab a tall blond man in white boots and eyeliner got on stage and read John Berryman in a voice that vibrated down my spine. "Who's that?" "That's Derek." "Is he gay?" "I don't think so." After many more whiskeys and some attempts at dancing at Zuzu I crash in a random twin bed in Allston and wake up with this Derek character spooning me still in my toga. I scramble out of there and stagger still drunk over the Charles to get my car. Two weeks later, he was my boyfriend.

This winter was magical. I met so many beautiful people who have become my best friends. I became a poet. I signed a contract with my agent for my novel Backstage at the Caribou, and Warner and Bantam and Dell and so many other presses read it and for so much of the year I thought it was going to be published and all my dreams were about to come true. It wasn't till the spring when reality hit again, and I had to face that maybe not all of my dreams were going to come true just yet. I think the other things are good enough to accept that.

What else happened at twenty-five. I fell in love. Made so many wonderful new friends, did things I was afraid of, danced and danced and worked and worked. I moved up to Somerville. I finished a book or two, wrote poem after poem. Had four features in the Boston area. I've been so many places, New York, Cape Cod, Connecticut, Michigan, South Carolina. Saw Wolf Parade, Elvis Costello, MGMT, Bob Dylan, Ryan Adams, Liars, and so many other groups. I legally changed my name. I started working out. I went to the beach so much. I was happy way more than I was sad.

I think it may be safe to say, Miss Jade, that even with the burglaries and the sicknesses and the manuscript rejections and the changes, that this may have been your best year yet.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Join The SpeakEasy Cafe's Sound Of Ink
on September 11th, 2008
for our return to features
as we welcome Jade Sylvan!

9/11/08 - Jade Sylvan
guest pic credit- Angelo Ucci
click the graphic above for the show's page

And make sure to join us in the chat room during the show
If you don't have a Blog Talk Radio account, just go to to sign up
It's free and quick!

Join The SpeakEasy Cafe's Sound Of Ink
on September 11th, 2008
for our return to features
as we welcome Jade Sylvan!

9/11/08 - Jade Sylvan
guest pic credit- Angelo Ucci
click the graphic above for the show's page

And make sure to join us in the chat room during the show
If you don't have a Blog Talk Radio account, just go to to sign up
It's free and quick!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Lack of update due to the fact that I unexpectedly had to spend the last four days in Myrtle Beach with my parents eating delicious seafood, lounging on the beach, taking boat rides, and flying kites... on the beach. Got a call on Saturday saying Mom and Dad had to change plans last minute because of the hurricane heading for Florida. Because it was last minute, they got a better deal on a 3 bedroom condo in Myrtle Beach than they would have on the one bedroom in Florida. They called me and asked if I could come down for a few days and what'd'ya know, I could.

I love to ring in September in another place. I love to travel. I love to go anywhere and everywhere at all that I can, but I love to have a home I want to come home to.

I have to haul ass today and tomorrow to make up for this frivolous mini-vacation. So much to do.