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100 Books to Die Before You Read

December 8, 2013

Friends and lovers and probably others, good morning or whatever it is for you. Haven’t seen you in a few months. You look the same.

What have I been doing? Not much that deserves mention. Jobshit, friendshit. Some highlights: in October I peed the pants of my mind while watching Anne Carson read poems for 12 minutes. In November I attended what might have been the best pig-themed wedding in world history. A few weeks ago I was shortlisted for a respectable journal’s poetry contest, which I still can’t believe, because come on now, come on, seriously, yeah right. But it happened, irregardless of my mental protests. Submitting to journals is like fishing, in that basically nothing happens. You bait your line (in this case, with poems roughly equivalent to a Five of Diamonds, a Spark-L-Trap, and a Berkley PowerBait Ripple Shad), then you get drunk and wait and wait until you’ve forgotten you were waiting and a tug on your line surprises the shit out of you if it happens at all, which it almost always doesn’t.

One thing I didn’t do this summer, supersadly, was take off my shirt and read poems. There was some creative disagreement. Words of mine were used in ways I wasn’t comfortable with. I just wanted to take off my shirt and read poems. Some day.

And here we are. Four unblogged months, heaven forfend. I feel more and more like not participating in stuff related to “online presence.” It’s out of control, co-opting and plasticizing friendship and creativity. The matterful things of reality are harder and harder to keep a grip on.

Arguably my name should be all over this site, especially in the address, and the photo at the top of the front page shouldn’t be sunset at Waskesiu, SK but a headshot of the author smiling in her natural habitat so visitors would know whose place they’re in, and arguably this blog should be linked to my (nonexistent) Facebook author page and Twitter feed, thus completing the infinite loop of self-promotion whose creation is now supposedly the obligation of any writer who wishes to be taken seriously by the people with the power. But if the snake’s got its own tail in in its mouth, then what nourishes it, and how can it get anywhere? The more I experience of the new online world of marketing and game-playing and unceasing unsubtle suck-uppery and “liking” things that five years ago we would have either simply liked or, more likely, not known about unless we were actually friends with the person to whom the things had happened, the less inclined I feel to share anything real with total/almost-total strangers online, and the more often I find myself fantasizing about buying an island and Salingerizing myself. I don’t mean writing as well as he did, because come on now, seriously, yeah right. I mean living as game-unplayingly as he did. And meanwhile, I feel more and more like writing infrequent blog posts that are well over 500 words long and consistently fail to include numerical lists, embedded links, advice, photos, or logical continuity.

How do things get so fucked up, and is it possible to learn how to know with a decent degree of accuracy which ones can/’t be fucked back down? Can we ever know what’s really going on or what’s really motivating anyone to do anything, when each of us has always seen the world through his/her own differently distorted filter and plus most of us now go about our real lives behind carefully constructed digital versions of ourselves? How is it possible to interact and have conversations and trust and understand each other? Or even recognize each other from one day to the next? Every life is such a chaos, and now, on top of that, it’s pretending it isn’t. Alphabetizing your novels is pretty much the only control you can have over anything. Also, it’s helpful when you want to loan one to somebody.

I’ve just discovered that in the preview to this post, there’s a notification that advertisements may be shown at the end of it unless I pay $30 a year to have them removed. Maybe there were always ads here and I just didn’t know it. What do they advertise? Pens? Rum? Counselling? Cinnamon cocks? If it’s cinnamon cocks then I totally don’t mind.

Spacious and affordable islands are available for purchase; I’ve done some research. There’s a spacious one on the BC coast with a fixer-upper house on it for $100,000. Throw in the cost of the renovations, a reliable motorboat, the assorted island ownership fees and taxes, and (as a friend has pointed out) a composting toilet, and it would be around $200,000 all in. Which is about 80% cheaper than the average house in Vancouver. A writer could fish as much as she wanted and give shirtless readings all summer…

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