Saturday, April 17, 2010


I really need to find occasions to say "Holy smoke". And I need to practice it in the mirror so that my eyebrows don't make finger quotes on it.

It's good to have goals.


The latest in a series of found metaphors. Today's theme: This Is Your Life.

From Pynchon's Vineland:

The more she considered, the more thickly came the birds of creepiness to perch on her shoulders.

All by itself this fragment of the scarily apt would have put Vineland over the extremely irritable and capricious scratch-line of Worth Xtin's Time, but it is glutted with other reasons. It might actually annoy me with its fucking awesomeness. There's no pleasing me. It's a thing.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


Two summers ago, I was about a week from closing on a little house in Lode, which is a village about six miles NNE of Cambridge. The eponymous lode runs around the back of Anglesey Abbey, which has a mill on it. You can buy flour. Two autumns before that my mother stood on the lodebank watching the glossy burnt sedge grasses earmuffing the meanders. She cocked her head to one side and told me, you should live in a place like this.

That was a big deal for her, she who dreams that I will come home.

The little house was made of the muddy grey fenland bricks on which Cambridgeshire had long imprinted me, herringbone bricks on the floor in the front room, charry untouched Victorian fireplace, a worker's cottage one, no mantel. A pocketful of garden outside with two apple trees and a snarly snarl of ivy over the back fences, a big bedroom and a little one, a mad galley study needling into the garden with french doors to the crookedly paved terrace, and in the middle the kitchen, the kitchen for my hearth's desire, wood and steel and black slate, gas burners and a double oven and a pantry, oh my god a pantry with the Victorian door still on it and the owner's kid's heights marked on the jamb.

The little house wrapped itself around the throats of my hydra-heads and choked them to death. Aspire, mean something, be someone, go somewhere. No, for I am the woman who lives in this house. Who are you? I was completely transported on the ecstasy of future endurance, there couldn't be too many years to live there, too many years to paint it different colours, change the shelves, one thing one weekend, twenty weekends, fifty, bring out the Christmas things for the places they were last year, watch the winter bare-twig, bake and roast and jam and pickle until the kitchen walls breathed, folded up into the corner of the sofa with too-hot cheeks listening to spit-snap in the fireplace. That was it. That was all. Repair to the arm-span study and look out onto my apple trees and write whatever came to me, because it would, because the house had found me, picked me up into itself and given the bouncer's implacable eye to the drunken instability of my history of places, planted its needs-some-work drainage right under my feet and slammed the door to the tune of I've Got You Babe.

I never got to live there. But remember, you things, you acrid, vicious things, that I can kill you with a house.

Friday, April 09, 2010


Dear CSI production,

You need a new dead dog. That stuffed alsatian you have has appeared three times in the last season-and-a-half and dudes, not only has it really been around the block, it was already truly lame. Pardon the pun. Seriously, it looks like one of those giant hairballs you yank out of the rollers in your vacuum cleaner head.

I know that there's A Thing with the fictional death of animals, especially dogs. People burst into tears and call their senators. So I'm getting that maybe your little hound of the taxiderm is terrible for a reason, in the same way that the animatronic preemies on medical dramas are all super-robotic, click-waving their tiny beige silicone arms in that hysteria-quelling It's OK I'm Not Really A Baby way.

Sure. But you're killing a dog because it makes people call senators, right? Killers who smoke dogs are truly evil, unfeeling bastards. Otherwise, you'd just stick with the banal psychos who stab whores to death, no?

This point would carry more smoothly if the soft, recently-alive fur of said dog say, waved in the wind. Or if it had visible paw pads. Or its limbs were, you know, in a plausibly dead posture.

Always happy to help,


Saturday, April 03, 2010

Frohe Ostern

The Green-Eyed Doctor showed up yesterday like a minor deity of plenty, M&S hot-cross buns in his left hand, dulce-de-leche truffles in his right, scent of London at his feet, his pockets tripping euros and sterling over one another.

Kollwitzstrasse Saturday market is less egregious when you are one of the obnoxious happy hand-holding couples.

Happy Easter everyone.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Or maybe not

I am just one of millions of overworrying anxious idiots. I'm at peace with the parade of minor-league holy-shits in my head. Or more than I was ten years ago, anyway. But then there is the Big Background Stuff.

My current BBS worry is:

Possibly, I am a loser.

I put this to my mother. She said:

Okay. So?

Which was a fucking good point. She is known for those.

But since that is the right way to be thinking about it, let's not. Saying that you're a loser, much less saying why, is precisely the kind of onanistic hairpat-baiting neurotic crap that makes you a loser in the first place. But we losers like to pretend that if you say it, you have to show some (loserish) balls by justifying your fervent loser dogma. The thing is that I have this habit of doing something until I might have to stop proving that I have the potential to be good at it and just goddamn get the hell on with being good at it, and then I bail. Dilettante, right. Pronounced loser.

So of course I'm involved with a doctor with all the saving lives and insane shifts and no sleep and forced on-demand justification of every freaking move you make and having to stand up gracefully and willingly under constant public critique without yelling stick it bitches what the hell would you know? Which I'm mentioning to make clear that the obvious fact that doctors get automatic not-a-loser passes is not an empty bit of hero worship, dickwad surgical consultant or three notwithstanding.

It's so textbook I could puke all over my shoes. If I had any shoes, which I don't, because of the whole enforced-exile-one-suitcase-life-in-storage painfest, so what I have is my North Face snow boots, a pair of Birk Arizonas and the black high heeled boots with the ankle buckles that Pluvialis calls my Stormtrooper boots which are in the collection because they happened to be in the first box of clothes that she and my friend Shiny Hair opened.

My kingdom for some chucks.

Thursday, April 01, 2010


Today I went to the shiny garble-garble Easter to-and-fro plate-glassiness of the Galeria Kaufhof at Alexanderplatz. It was bright and full of colours and foiled rabbits and comforting in that way that giant consumerist temples always are, wrapping themselves around you with the vast and dubious maternal hug of capitalism.

Later I walked down KollwitzstraƟe and bought bunches of daffodils at laughably inflated holiday prices but the flower seller spoke to me in English with a German accent like the smell of bread baking and the checkout chick at the BioMarkt said frohe Ostern and I said danke and wished I knew how to say you too and Berlin was beautiful in the sunshine and sparrows and great tits scooped over the roads and the cupboard is full of festive foods and I took a hot bath and tried to feel at home like I did yesterday when I vacuumed.

But Berlin in the spring didn't work like the floors.