Tuesday, August 26, 2008

What is Left

When I die, my friends and family are going to have an interesting time. I mean after they get over all the blah blah cry cry griefcakes, they are going to have about 20 years worth of my writings (journals, emails, poetry,love letters) to keep them busy reading for another 20 years. It'll almost be as good as me being alive. Maybe better as then they could put me back in the ratty old manila folder when they get sick of my incessant bullshit.

Lately, I've been thinking that my time is nigh. Whether or not I'll meet Jesus or Beelzebub when I go is a toss up. I'm sort of keen on meeting either one. Of course the Satan I picture is more the Al Pacino version from the Devil's advocate than the Dante's inferno clever psycho. Don't get me wrong, they're both equally entertaining. I just don't feel like burning alive or having my head put on backwards or having to swim in human excrement for all eternity. That would get old real quick. Oooh...you know what would be cool? The Christopher Moltisanti version of Hell, what with all the Irish guys playing Poker. I wouldn't mind losing every hand. I lose every hand now when I play Poker and I'm still alive and not yet cursed to eternal damnation. And they were all smoking and drinking up a storm. How much would that rock?

I highly doubt there's even hangovers in Hell. God should have made Hell an eternal raging hangover. I think that would be more of a deterrent than fire and brimstone even. Is God even the one that picks the tortures or is it Satan? You know how Dante's Satan made the condition of hell fit the particular sin of the damned? I wonder what clever punishment he'd come up with for the likes of me. I don't have one particular sin that I do. I just do a bunch of tall to grande ones. Sin 1: I spend lots of money at Starbucks that should be spent helping starving children. Other sins include hating people and objects for no reason, misspelling a word on a photo book I made, and swearing, like, a whole fucking lot.

Anyway, I've been wondering lately why I have kept all of those writings. I'm not arrogant enough to consider it a "body of work" nor am I naive enough to think I'd receive any post-humus accolades for a bunch of crap poems and a creepy, self-indulgent journal that might as well bear the glitter words "My Secret Diary" and be locked up with an ineffective, tiny padlock. It makes me sad to think that when I bite it, THIS will be the legacy. Piles of words, descriptive of angst, sophomoric stabs at sonnets, lewd limericks for a lover, lamenting the agony of eating, lamenting the agony of not eating, alone, alone, alone, so very alone as brought to you by my strange, cryptic style where sometimes the sounds of words are more important than their meaning.

There is a small part of me that hopes there isn't an afterlife. Admitting that is terribly hard for me because I have a sister's soul out there depending on the reality of that concept. But truth be told, I think by the time I go I'll be more than ready for the end of Gwen. And while I'm on the truth train, here's a little factoid for you: I'm so much better at writing about life than I am at actually living it. So unless they have laptops or notebooks and writing utensils in heaven or hell, I'm not so sure my life would retain any value in those venues. Also, it really creeps me out to think about having the ability to pop down and visit the living. There are some things I just don't want to see - like people I know having sex for example. Wouldn't that be horrible to come down to check on someone and have a terrible surprise like that? What can the dead see? Are there limits to where they can go? Think about all the invisible, dead people that might be swarming around you the next time you're on the toilet. Or peeking at dirty pictures on the internet. Or lighting up your crack pipe. I shudder to think.

At the very least I have immortality in what I've left behind. Well maybe not immortality, per se. But maybe 100 years at least, no doubt a good portion of which will be spent yellowing and forgotten in a wooden trunk in a poorly ventilated attic. But for Liv's sake, should I die young especially, it does mean a lot for me to know that there will remain a window into my weird and twisted soul: A window that she can peer into when she's old enough to meet her mother, raw and unfiltered.

Whatever the end, I keep writing the story. And I hold onto the pages like heartbeats and sustenance. I write the story for me. I write the story for Olivia. My lame little story.

We only get one, and we mess up a lot.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Bitter, Early

I see the bitter, early. It is a brutal inheritance I am unhappy to bestow. In the face of an angel, eyes sharp as razors, cheerio mouth howling long and full of anguish. Feet clad in princess sneakers, the kind with the blinking lights, kicking harder and stronger than I ever thought they could. This is nothing, I say. This is only an adult sized anger, teeming like a million fishes in a tiny bowl, over a question about apple juice. If she could access the words in her little brain - No I don't want fucking apple juice, you annoying bitch.

Then the other day. "I hate you." Calm and eerie, unsheathing a new sword.

"Why would you say such a thing, Liv?"

"I hate you."

"Silly girl."

It is hard not to react...hard. But there is nothing about hate that she can possibly understand. Is there? Do any of us really understand it, or are we conditioned by the reaction? All my "hates" are really only sadness, regret. It's easier to say I hate something, because it makes it other than myself. It separates me from the source of that particular pain. It's a detour, but it gets me where I'm going so much easier.

I have to say that I love the truth in my daughter. Everything is raw in her world. Every emotion is okay. When she says, "You made me mad", I get a chill of delight. For me its not about the "Why", but the expression of the feeling, so plain and entitled. So I say, "Let's draw your mad."

Picture after picture of the same face, each eye a sharp line, the mouth an "O", drawn by the unsteady hand of an angry toddler. Eventually the faces become happy ones, and she bounds away saying "My mad feels better, mom." I love this new ritual. I hope she can always "draw her mad" in healthy expression of unhealthy rage.

Otherwise, what will she do with it? The years of false injustices, unexplainable annoyances, petty disgusts, will amount to a bitter existence. And eventually all those pointy daggers will have no where to go, turning inwards, stabbing her own soul. No Outlet. It is an end I couldn't bear for my Olivia, my olive branch, my peace offering, my sculpted, tender avenging angel. Draw your mad, baby. Fill your notebooks. Kill a million trees with every harsh thought and despair. Damn, I hate trees. Always falling down on my dad's house and shit. The other day, another tree fell on his swingset. Now trees are trying to murder children. When I see those tree shredder trucks, it makes my toes tingle. Even in Lord of the Rings, I wanted all those tree people to get killed by the Orcs. Or whatever the fuck those creepy, hybrid beasts were called. Christmas is the best...tree after murdered tree. And then we decorate them with little balls and top them with angels and stars. Arbor Day is the worst. The trees have everybody fooled. But I know better.