Archive for category Dear Diary

A stream of ego-consciousness : Is the concept of culture an ego based system?

What I mostly find disturbing/annoying is how high culture and dominant power structure culture (in any part of the world) has a way of making other cultures feel crappy. As if they are the mean girl in math class, who’s nice long enough to get your homework…She doesn’t know anything about you or your life and she doesn’t ever make much of an effort to learn anything about you or your life or ever will, but damned if you don’t know a lot about her and mostly so you can avoid her probably.

That’s the way I see  *any* high culture / dominant culture and the sub-culture reaction to it *can* sometimes be avoidance…And definitely we see a very successful avoidance by American sub-cultures of American dominant culture by maintaining different language groups.

So culture is really interesting in terms of language. Why? Because, as Tan puts it, “all the forms of standard English that I had learned in school and through books, [were] the forms of English I did not use at home with my mother. (3) It is when Tan’s mother is in the room listening to her polished mean-girl vernacular that Tan’s loyalty switches to the American sub-culture group, which for Tan *is* her dominant power-structure culture. So we can see that high culture has a large investment in making people feel crappy about their (sub-) culture, because to that group, quite often that is where their loyalty lies, inherently, deep in their breast, unexplainably. For example, I literally know no N(on)N(ative)S(peaker) who doesn’t go into their native tongue when feeling passionate about something.

I’m personally quite disillusioned with language and think it’s a virus from space (a’la William Burroughs) but it certainly is a good trick for the ego to get hung up on, this idea that language is something that informs who we are, well, it certainly defines for our ego who the ego would like to think it is, and I think high-culture / dominant power structure culture is quite busy manufacturing little toys like language groups for ego to get hung up on because it ensures that so long as there are these *obvious* differences among us that we will be quite too busy to notice the *obvious* samenesses.

So race and ethnicity fit into the dominant power structure culture’s nefarious plans to keep us divided and separated as well. The high culture, the dominant power structure culture is all about defining life and humanity at this really surface, flimsy, arbitrary, level based on the concepts of “ISMS” and most detrimentally “nationalism” because EGO loves to be loved. It rejoices to be part of a group and our high culture gets that, so whether a person accepts the American culture as their own, or whether they identify against American culture or somewhere in the middle, like many of us, we are allowing our ego to compartmentalize ourselves and other HUMAN BEINGS ~ and linguists, btw, the smartest people among us, say, that that is just so, so silly.

America was not founded on religious freedom. We all know that by now. It was for the Puritans to have their own freedom, but they didn’t cotton to none other than their own. Our government officials bow and fawn to the British throne, always have, always will.

Americans, and by that I mean people who physically occupy the 50 states, are two inches away at any given time to having the boot in their face for the rest of their days. Then it doesn’t really matter what culture anyone’s ego subscribes to.

So culture in general is just like a little script I suppose for us to read off of…and since we all have one we have to pay attention and know when it’s our time to read I guess. And in that regard it is unavoidable that every individual American’s relationship with ego-based American high- culture, dominant power structure culture is going to be dependent upon the different experience one’s ego has with a set of sub-cultures.

Primarily speaking the dominant power structures in America would seem to have set most of the high culture; however, we have seen throughout history that sub-culture can rise to status of pop culture and usurp Manhattan as the center of American culture, for a little while at least. For instance, the Harlem renaissance, the Beat Poets, hippie culture, etc., are all examples of fringe, sub-culture elbowing it’s way in to the mainstream and taking center stage for long enough for the world to take notice.

Furthermore, American culture is not relegated as we all know to just being in America. A recent complaint I read on a Middle Eastern blogger’s Web site pontificated on the detrimental effects that “Desperate Housewives” playing on Middle Eastern television sets is having on the Islamic culture, particularly the youth. And when we hear those words, “Islamic culture” as Americans we automatically think of them as being part of a sub-culture, but indeed to much of the world, Islam is high culture / dominant power structure culture and interestingly enough, for many people, there is little in the way of our imagination to understanding what that Islamic culture could possibly even be. We might be able to try and define Islamic culture by thinking what it is not, American culture, Chinese culture, Vietnamese culture, etc..  That is the point of this ego-based system. We cannot define what is a culture, we are much more able to define what it is not, and even then it becomes murky.

The culture of humanity is pretty simple, Maslow pointed it out in his hierarchy, and academia’s incessant need to continually define this thing that no one can define, to me, makes the academy guilty of being boot-wearing henchmen for the high culture / dominant power structure.

Tan, Amy, “Mother Tongue.”

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Bri, Blondie, Brendan and the Boyfriend

I would be lying if I told you I remember anything about the day this picture was taken. It’s 2010 now, so this picture was taken some ten years ago and a lot has happened since then…but I keep thinking there should be something here in my memory about this…

I don’t remember that store, I don’t remember picking out the hat, or who took the photo.

And why I chose to take center stage in a photo from a moment in my life I can’t remember, even with photographic proof of its existance is curious.

Catty and yet self retrospectively, I might say that all the girls in that photo were sometimes stupid and slutty.

I don’t remember the girl on the left. Her ability to sell magazines — completely non-existent– makes me forget her as default.

That one in the middle is, well I’ll call her Bri. She’s eighteen years old in this photo, gorgeous, and bouncy —  a mag crew’s favorite new hire in the universe.

The one on the far right is Debbie (who is a whole other blog). We stole her from her job as a bartender at one of Leona Helmsley’s hotels in Columbus, Ohio and convinced her to be our boss’ secretary.

We (as in the whole mag crew) corrupted Bri so absolutely.

I don’t remember where she was from. I kind of hated her.

Well, Love/Hate. Just before she fucked my boyfriend and lied to my face about it, her and I were great friends.

I didn’t hire her, but I totally trained her to sell the shit out of magazines. She was sharp and everyone knew it but no one was putting her across.

I was bent on winning another contest at the time and wanted to go pick up my quota before lunch and be done with it, I didn’t want to be dragged down with learnin’ some new little bright eye…

…but I took pity on Bri, because she acted sooo innocent and everyone believed the act so I thought she just needs to see how I sell magazines.

It was lunch time and we were in Brendan’s car which meant we had a half hour gas station break.

I spent it with Bri. I took her to the pumps where I immediately spotted a young stud with a sporty car, filling up his gas tank. (Key here is, pretty men don’t get hit on, girls are WAY too shy, and I knew this, so I always sold the shit out of mags to pretty men).

“Hi!” I grabbed Bri’s elbow and made her run up to him with me. “We’re in a contest! Do you want to help us win? If you don’t help us beat the boys, tonight we’re going to get pied in the face! Help us!” (Jump, bounce, flirt, smile, wink) “Oh my God, your car is sooo wicked cool, you must be really successful at your job!” (Lounge, touch, shimmy, grind) “Bri, show him your contest list!” (Jump, smile, leg kick) “Oh my God, you probably already get Maxim, huh? God I bet you get so many girls, you’re so cute, this car is so amazing! Oh my God! You must be soooo good at what you do….you must make so much money…Bri show him how many points he can help us with if he gets Car and Driver.”

SLAM!

So now she has an order on the day, she’s two weeks into the job, Brendan no longer completely hates everyone because there’s still time to make our car average if this new girl can at least pull it out and get five today.

“Alea,” Brendan pulled me aside, “Take Bri out with you and get her going, get some orders.”

“O.k.”

It was another hot day in Florida. I remember getting dropped off in some apartment complex.

Brendan’s rule as car handler was neighborhoods in the morning, if you have five by lunch you get apartments at night.

Bri was getting spoiled by being dropped with me in apartments. As a new girl with two weeks she counted towards our car average but she hadn’t had her first five yet, so in Brendan’s car that meant two things, one, he hated her and wanted her to die, second, she would never see an apartment complex.

So the sale at lunch really made him happy I guess.

We split two orders that drop.

When we met Brendan at pick up he said,“O.k. you two stay in here and split it up. Go alone for the rest of the night, though. I’ll check on you, right here at 6:30.”

Bri came back that drop with three and ended her day with eight sales: It was her “High day,” her “first five day” and her “first seven day” which a person’s first seven sale day also equaled a “steak dinner” on Belo’s crew. (Mine was in the revolving thingie in Seattle, that’s for another blog).

So that day ended well, I remember. Our car was high on crew, I was in the front seat, all was well with the world and Brendan shared some beer with me on the way home.

(Please pretend like there’s a segue here.)

I can’t blame Bri and my boyfriend for sleeping together. They were both so hot!

She was young, but I know she knew better, I knew she was lying when one day, in the bathroom before morning meeting she said, “If I was fucking him I would tell you.”

This in reply to the whole crew finding out the morning my boyfriend left for a few weeks that he had carried on with some other girl, a girl I actually did hire and also trained to sell the shit out of magazines (and in a minute will be telling you about the time her, Bri and me all went to Miami and met Blondie).

I remember thinking, “You just did tell me, Bri.” But I was reeling from too much information already that day.

Mag crews, just like any group of people, maybe more than other groups of people, always strive to protect the status quo. Everyone kept quiet what everyone knew. And that included me and my boyfriend.

My boyfriend was the boss’ son, I was a contest winner. We were together. That was it. Didn’t matter how much it wasn’t working with us, it worked for the crew.

We both did what we did with other people and tried to keep it quiet.

We lied to each other so what does it matter that Bri lied to me?

One time before all of it was out in the open, my boss sent me to lead my first and only spur crew.

I got to pick two girls who would go with me. I picked the two that would make me the most money, it wasn’t my fault I also happened to want to get close to the two girls I remember being pretty sure my boyfriend wanted to make the sexy time with.

I did just totally admit to that. I kept my enemies close to me, I thought that’s what I was supposed to do?

We were being sent to Miami, (a whole other blog, trust me, which involves getting lost in Hialeah, having to stay the night in a hotel where the front desk guy cussed me out and called me a stupid, fucking American as he was handing me the room key, having to sneak in one of the girls because we only had enough money for two of us to rent the room, the weird, yellow-sweat stained guy who opened the door to peer at us, the non-locking door, the only channel, porn, no blanket on the bed) to work the University of Miami.

So back to the Love part of the Love /Hate.

We were working these awesome rich kid dorms at U of Miami.

The student parking lot was filled with Boxsters and Beamers.

The dorms filled with head’s of states kids and ambassador’s kids and Saudi national’s kids and by noon all three of us had ten sales each and that’s with working for two hours. Cake money.

We called it a day.

Duh.

Our hotel was on the A1A and we were going to go back, change into our bikinis, get some Cuban coffee and go lay on the beach when we heard that Blondie was going to be at the Jackie Gleason theater that night …. literally right down the street from our hotel, we could walk.

Tickets were fifty bucks, we went straight away and bought them.

We were like the only girls there that weren’t boys and weren’t gay and after the (most awesome) show, Bri ran outside, around the building to where the limos were and struck up conversation with one of the limo drivers, she worked out an invite from the drummer, and then she hailed me and the other girl to jump in and off we went…

…to an exclusive, roped off section, in a night club, in Southbeach, with Blondie. Bienvenido a Miami, poppy.

Photographers were asking us, “Who are you?”

Dom Perignon

Dom Perignon

“Hahahaa we sell magazines, now about that bottle of Dom, you’re standing in the waiter’s way, move MTVeejay person so he can pour me a glass, ugh.”

Drummer dude was working it on Bri, trying to convince her to go on tour with them. I was like, “GO BITCH ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?”

But I guess Bri’s daddy issues aren’t / weren’t as big as mine and / or it’s true what she said, that she wouldn’t leave me and the other girl alone for anything in the world.

Drummer dude gave Bri a hundred dollar bill for a cab. We went home (what other people call a hotel), changed into our bikinis, went Domified / Blondified swimming in the ocean.

We laughed about how awesome we were.

The next day we went shopping and Bri bought this outfit with what was left over with drummer dude’s hundred dollar bill. I wonder if she still has it.

And I kind of wonder how she tells this story.

Because you KNOW she does.

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Sanges, Tea and Sestina

Marco-Sanges-Big-Scenes

Marco-Sanges-Big-Scenes

I took your tea
To you.
In a bone china cup, painted pink and gold, mesmerizing shining, numbered,
one piece of a large collection

A chocolate donut that had bright blue melting frosting and puddles where sprinkles had been
On a white napkin, that had seen better days.

We sat in the front yard and the heat sat on our laps,
Whispers we meant to share stayed inside our overcooked brains some more

I felt sorry for the dog who couldn’t raise her head to bite the flies

Not even creaking from the tire swing rope rubbing the limb clean, today
I took your tea
To you.
In a bone china cup, painted pink and gold, shining, stamped, numbered, and
a chocolate donut that had bright blue melting frosting and molten puddles where sprinkles had been,
On a white napkin,
You thanked me.

ª

Lady Gaga by Teaboat

Lady Gaga by Teaboat

Moodus, Vogue, September 2009

Moodus, Vogue, September 2009

I am trying on all of these clothes for a man I’ll never see again.

ª

Marcos Sanges - Home at Balthes-  1998

Marcos Sanges - Home at Balthes- 1998

So she is undone. And her hair like stomped spiders.

Languish.

So she has come straight to you
tears streaming

Anguish.

You did not answer the phone
Like she was a stranger

a stranger
did not recognize the caller

The caller

ª

Marco Sanges - Late Afternoon - London, 2001

Marco Sanges - Late Afternoon - London, 2001

The table is laden and all things there are waiting and waiting, for you and for me.

ª

Marcos Sanges - Dinner is Served, 2002

Marcos Sanges - Dinner is Served, 2002

ª

Marco Sanges -  The Forest Surrey - 1998

Marco Sanges - The Forest Surrey - 1998

the pond is ice
it is black glass
beneath the thick blood, all things there are still and waiting, waiting
one last elegy for all things cold;
i knew you from your silence
one must have a mind of winter* wind

the wild winged ones glide upon the wind
they say the angels gaze grew to ice
when God made them, grew jealous grew silent
stripes of bloody hope and shattered glass
blood runs cold
waiting

a man waits
for me
* smells my perfume on the wind
his kiss will not be cold
he is glacier ice
clear as glass
strong and silent

and you neglected me with silence
kept me waiting
would not even let me peer in through the glass
blow away in frozen, burning, arid winds
you turned my heart to ice
my bed is bitter cold

on the hills, ruthless cold
black birds search the ground, silently
peck the ice
soothe yourself waiting, waiting
for the spring wind
to crack the infirmary’s glass

drawing true-love-always and hearts on frosted glass
sucking on our fingers when they get too cold
trying to warn the others about the changes in the wind
soon it will be gone, it will be vacant, it will be silent
i will not come, but i want you to keep on waiting
frozen as ice

your lips are ice. your eyes like glass.
for you I have waited. i have grown cold.
you remain silent. i howl like wind.

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“To Be.”

Stuntman Jeff of Pyrotechnotics http://pyrotechnotics.com/default.aspx performing an anti-spin flower on stilts, photo by Kim Asper, http://kimasper.com/default.aspx

Stuntman Jeff of Pyrotechnotics http://pyrotechnotics.com/default.aspx performing an anti-spin flower on stilts, photo by Kim Asper, http://kimasper.com/default.aspx

Only in fire and dancing have I found the ability to live so completely for the moment. “To be here now, to now be here, to now be nowhere,” as the saying goes.

In the chaotic element of fire and the controlled discipline of dancing with the fire I have found the freedom to being present. It a gift from the Goddesses and the Gods to live in the NOW.

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Advice for the 21st Century Writer: Jaded and bitter is out. Wide eyed and grateful is in.

I found an e-mail in my lalasparebedroom@gmail.com inbox this morning with a moving story from a reader who at the end of the e-mail had one simple question. A simple question which has evoked a lot of thought from me today.

Michigan Wood Anemone, ephermeral layer

Michigan Wood Anemone, ephemeral layer

I’m going to, or at least I’m going to try and answer the question here because I think it’s good to remind myself and whoever else, why we work so hard at whatever it is we are working so hard at.

I think for me, the reason I work hard and dream big is ultimately to gain more happiness and fulfillment in my life.

So Wendy asks:

“I was wondering what advice you would give a very green writer to release her inner stories. Thanks.”

Dear Wendy,

Thanks for asking this question.

Writing to me is something like breathing. I can’t imagine my life without writing. I write everything so I understand the need to write.

So my first advice is not to just be a writer on the inside. Writing is something that writers do. Everyday. The life of the writer is physically writing.

Two Morning Doves

Two Morning Doves

My practical advice to start writing is to take a creative writing class or join a local poetry society that workshops and reviews member’s poetry.

Furthermore, writing is a form of storytelling which has its roots in community, and just like any other art form, people come together to appreciate it.

Push yourself to write by making yourself accountable to a group of people. That is the sure fire way to get work done, even when you’re not inspired to.

Remember: Inspiration is everywhere, but motivation is cultivated.

A leaf is preserved in the ice.

A leaf is preserved in the ice.

Every artist hears his or her own call from the Muse. Sometimes the message lacks focus, but don’t get frustrated, don’t give up. Eventually you will develop what I like to call “forest eyes.”

Forest eyes are a person’s ability to see things in nature that are intending to hide.

When I was living in upstate Michigan I would go to the woods almost every day as there were several well maintained nature paths all around my house. When I first started going to those woods I was a stranger to them. After several months had passed, and I’d lived through my first full change of seasons with those woods, I started to get to know them.

Great horned owl babies

Great horned owl babies

For instance, I began the painstaking task to learn the names of the plant species in the woods. Suddenly at each new berry or fern or ephemeral flower I memorized in all its stages, I would notice patches of them where before I had never noticed them or I would notice an Indian pipe among a patch of wintergreen, it’s nearly translucent flesh, alien against the forest floor. How could I not have noticed this ever before?

Monotropa uniflora

Monotropa uniflora

One day I happened across a little army of baby raccoons, who lined themselves across the path and hissed at me as I talked baby talk to them.

It wasn’t long before I was identifying the different kinds of woodpecker by sound alone or could smell the patch of white pine before I could see them.

Male, Pileated Woodpecker by George W Bowles Sr

Male, Pileated Woodpecker by George W Bowles Sr

I had developed my forest eyes.

The same goes for writing.

Indeed, the same goes for anything new that we try. Unless you’re just naturally gifted of course, we all have to work at anything new we want to do, but eventually, if we stick with it, we’ll get back everything we put into it.

This means putting in the hard work. If you don’t put in hard work, you’ll never get anything out of life.

Meeting the Prince of the Royal Woods

Meeting the Prince of the Royal Woods

The best part about putting in the hard work to learn something new is that if we want we can even allow ourselves to be surprised and delighted by the events that come to pass. I would think that might even be the main reason to try our hand at something new, to push ourselves beyond our comfort zone is to find we are able to still be surprised and delighted.

Jaded and bitter is out. Wide eyed and grateful is in.

As you put your nose to the grindstone and begin the hard work, remember to notice as more of the forest reveals itself to you and be happy.

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Bonus track: Ke$ha

Who the hell is this girl and why do you care?

If you know someone young and impressionable and who may or may not have developing daddy issues, trust me, you care.

This Ke$ha girl, first of all, has no talent (other than fucking). As a vocalist she is to the point where they have to do that trick with her voice on the mixer that layers it with other sounds that make the pitch and tone listenable. Plus she’s waaaaaay skanky.

badbanana on twitter claimed earlier in a tweet today that she is “$ha” because her bank account is empty.

I totally don’t know if badbanana’s information is good, all I know is, Ke$ha is getting ready to blow up and a quick trip to her Youtube channel will tell you everything you never wanted to know about this decade’s potential new Brittany Skanks.

But Hollywood is starting to push it with this little tart.

And I’m feeling a little like pushing back. She is not a feminist role model as rolling out of a bathtub at the beginning of the Tik Tok video (and what the hell P.Diddy? R u srlsly backing this broad? I guess everyone loses it eventually) and rolling back into it at the end is only telling me that Hollywood has found a way to take skankdom to a level pop culture never thought possible.

Furthermore, the beginning of the video mimics the Twisted Sister’s video from the eighties called “We’re not going to take it.”

In fact the similiarites in the video and the physical similarities between Ke$ha and Dee Snyder are actually alarming

Singer Ke$ha attends the H&M Artist Gift Lounge at Z100s Jingle

Singer Ke$ha attends the Gift Lounge at Z100s Jingle

LONDON - AUGUST 1:  Dee Snider of Twisted Sister performs on stage at The Astoria on August 1, 2004 in London. (Photo by Jo Hale/Getty Images)

LONDON - AUGUST 1: Dee Snider of Twisted Sister performs on stage at The Astoria on August 1, 2004 in London. (Photo by Jo Hale/Getty Images)

and I can’t prove it yet but I think the producers of Ke$ha’s video actually went back in time and got the same mom to drop the pancakes in Ke$ha’s video who poured the bucket of water onto the dad’s head in the Twisted Sister video.

In the Ke$ha video I just have to  love the little kids at a minute three who have the worshipful looks on their faces and seem to be saying to her as she walks by in her dirty puked on clothes, “We want to grow up and be alcoholics too! All the kids do, yay!!”

Tik Tok is CATCHY though. I would have probably kept liking it if I hadn’t have seen it’s train wreck of a video.

(The mom is at about a minute forty in this Twisted Sister video.)

But on the real, for just for a second,…I really don’t think Ke$ha’s music sucks so much as her message of party girl, alcoholic, slut sucks.

I used to be her, in a way. I didn’t have a dollar sign in my name, but then again I wasn’t and am still not, related to anyone. Not that she is, but I mean, how could she not be…?

Regardless, when I had her problems, I tried to hide them, if not from the world, at least from my grandparents. I didn’t take my Flipvideo out whenever I broke the law.

Why would anyone glorify waking up in a bathtub? Why does Hollywood and why do we, why does P.Diddy, glorify a young woman waking up in a bathtub and falling asleep, in a bathtub?

I mean what’s next, Hollywood? Little girls wearing high-heels? In ten years, if we’re not careful, there’s going to be pole-dancing and daisy dukes marketed towards one-year olds. The systematic dumbing down of America includes the systematic overt-sexualization of little girls. Wake up, America. This isn’t a generation gap, this is something far more nefarious.

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Super! Bowl!

So my gang leader has organized a team building bowling get together tonight.

I am totally going and I am going to bowl so good my gang leader will probably promote me over the other gangsters.

Watch out other gangsters: you’re going down.

I’m pretty much planning on being an important member of this gang, though. In fact, tomorrow ( if I can drag myself out of bed and I don’t feel like doing seven lbs of homework before Monday at 5) I might be going over to my gang leader’s crib to watch the Superbowl (is that one word or two? My word processor is not recognizing it).

While a group of man folk watch the game in the basement family room, our gang will sit upstairs and drink VODKA.

And it’s funny, because, as the only Russian in the group I will not be drinking.

I’m not actually Russian. I just lied.

But I won’t be drinking. No one needs to see that.

I totally said I would make brownies. NOT THAT KIND OF BROWNIE.

We’re not that kind of gang. We don’t deal in weapons, drugs or sex trade. Well, maybe sex trade, I’m not sure yet. We’ll see tomorrow. I’ll let you know.

For most of my life I have been a loner.

NO! you say, shocked.

YES. I say, deadly serious.

(Okay I’m lying, again, I don’t know why I keep doing that.)

I’ve always been the life of the party. THAT’S THE TRUTH.

But anyway, GRADUATE SCHOOL is the first time in my entire life that I have felt the need to have the protection of a gang because of all the crazy English graduate students in my program. You know who you are!

Well there is safety in numbers!

A gang was pretty much my only answer to not getting eaten up and spittin out (words i made up).

The leader of the gang is able to shoot lightening bolts from her eyeballs. Her husband is also a cop so we have the law on our side.  Our muscle is an English tutor who will shank you for cutting in line at the library where she works.  The main recruiter basically jumps people in (and out) and turns into a car.

I think  this is the weekend where I’ll get my job in the gang, probably as the entertainment as I have no real skills other than that. Wish me luck. Or maybe it was that I had to score a lot of points bowling. I can’t remember.

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