Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Monday I spend some good quality (windy) time outdoors, then spent some good eating time at my old haunt, The Runcible Spoon.  I hate to be that guy who moves to the city, then comes back to small-town Midwestern restaurants and is all like "Oh my god, everything's so cheap here!"  But Jesus Christ, everything's so cheap there!  Seared Salmon with horseradish sauce on smashed potatoes, black beans, and braised vegetables for $7.50?  A Maudite beer for $3.50?  Fuggetaboutit.

Monday evening I taught a workshop on Campus, and the kids were awesome.  Ten students attended (the max that were allowed), and they all remained engaged and really interested throughout the whole two-hour workshop.  This is AFTER they had to hear me read for a half-hour, and also from 8-10 on a Monday night.  Plus, the group really had some writers.  I was very impressed.  Go IU.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

feels like old times

Even though the near-rural darkness and the subtle constant hum of crickets outside Lacey and Ryan's house is the perfect sleep-inducing environment, I'm having a hard time getting there tonight.  Must have been my nap this afternoon after we spent a good two hours walking around town.  When will I learn that naps are evil?

I realized that I forgot the computer hookup for my camera, so I likely won't be able to upload any photos from my camera till I get home.  In the meantime, here are some pictures from my show at Lotus Fest at Rachael's Cafe in Bloomington, thanks to a fan:



Thanks, Charlie!

Tomorrow is all mine.  Teaching a workshop on Campus here on Monday, then off to Cincinnati.  

Monday, September 21, 2009

Yo ho ho!



From backstage at the Y'arr! show Saturday night.  What a blast.  Thanks Big Moves Boston for having me.

PS:  I have the best friends in the world.  Me: "Hey, Alana and Mandy, do you want to be backup dancers next Saturday for my hip-hop side project?  I'm doing a Pirate Cabaret."  A&M: "YES YES YES!"

Friday, September 18, 2009

setting off

I've recently experienced a resurgence of several chronic and crippling fears that I all but thought I'd defeated.  As these things typically go, they are all tied in together, but manifest in different factions.

One of the most oppressive factions of this fear brigade is aerophobia, which is (come on, etymology people) the abnormal and persistent fear of flying.  When I was younger this fear was so bad that I would spend the weeks (and sometimes months) preceding a plane ride in abject terror and certainty that I was going to die.

I would find ways to avoid planes.  I would skip out on trips I had planned (I'll never forgive myself for missing Bjork in New York City when I was 20).  I took a train from Chicago to San Francisco and a boat across the Atlantic Ocean to avoid getting on a airplane.  

Then something happened.  I went into therapy and pretty damn near close to conquered many of these persistent fears.  When I got to Boston, I remember I boasted I wasn't afraid of anything anymore.

Like many boastful twenty-four-year-old statements, this one only proved to be half-true.  For years I flew all over with relative confidence and a minimum of wimpering and hyperventilation, but this past year I noticed the return of the anxiety.

It might be because the press has been publicizing plane crashes this year.  It might be because I've experienced some success in my writing and am excited about where things are headed.  It might be because I'm generally pretty happy, have solid friendships and a wonderful relationship and am looking forward to seeing what the future has up its sleeve.  It might be because the there's a poem in the very book I'm flying to tour with about my Fear of Flying and the tour itself is called The Cruel Accident Tour, and I can never seem to talk my fear out of the certainty that fate is always looking for that ultra-ironic kick in the groin.

So I decided to write a blog about my fear, since in my mind writing about something and deconstructing its meaning and origins takes away some of its power (unless that assumption would somehow make it more ironic for the fears to come true - in which case, I'm in trouble).

Whatever it is, a lot of my recurrent fears, including that of flying, have been bubbling up lately. I know that most of these fears involve lack or loss of control.  Everyone knows your safer in an airplane than a car, but in the car you have the illusion of control.  On the airplane you don't.

When faced with these uncontrollable situations when I was younger, my OCD would act up and I'd make believe I could control the outcome of say, an upcoming flight by walking around trees on the left or tapping my foot behind each crack or doorframe I stepped over.  This would drive me crazy because I would have to know that I had done the ritual "right," or else it meant certain doom.  I always managed to convince myself I hadn't gotten it right, so I'd have to like, stand in a crowded door way with my head down stepping over the threshold again and again. This behavior typically does not make you friends.

Fortunately I'm better at coping with the fears now than I was when I was younger, but paralyzing fear is never a good time, and not very productive.  Maybe I've been thinking too much, retreating back into the ego, the "I" that I worked so hard to remind myself isn't the important part of what I think of as me.  Maybe it's like what my old Mysticism professor at IU, Mary Jo Weaver, used to say about getting older.

"You always think you work through your issues, but really you're on a spiral, and you'll keep encountering the same issues on a deeper and deeper level throughout your life.  It's like everyone gets a deck of ten cards at birth, and that's your hand, and all you can do is keep playing the same hand in different ways."

Friday, September 11, 2009

So Happy

My book release/feature/birthday party at the Cantab went very well. I was happy with how I did (which is rare for me) and SO grateful to have both my parents in the audience.

But since I hear a video's worth 10,000 words:

(by Mick)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

growing up

Derek and I went to Ten Tables in Jamaica Plain for my birthday dinner last night.  All the great things I've heard about that place were 100% accurate.  Dessert was this dark chocolate mousse torte with Thai basil ice cream.  It made me make sounds I was embarrassed about.

I've been so busy planning the tour and doing stuff with the books coming out, I haven't had much time to WRITE write.  I'm telling myself that's okay.  That it's all part of the bigger picture.  But it seems more and more time I would have used to write a year ago is now used to network, email, fix websites, attend events I should attend, and other schmoozey bullshit.  It's turning me into more of a social hermit, since staying in at night seems to be the only way to get anything I actually care about done.  

Maybe it's just growing up.  I'm going to be 27 on Wednesday, after all.