diary (sept. 18- )

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oct. 21, 2020

Yesterday was terrible, financial anxiety just shut me down. Today’s been a process of slowly getting out of that freeze mode. M.’s cat Moth was taken to the humane society and the poets were called upon to see if someone wanted to adopt him before he was processed. S. and I have talked about it, still up in the air but I’d like to give Moth a good home.

oct. 20, 2020

Sunday: Carved pumpkins with E., K. and S.

K. carved a hot dog cart, E. carved a line from a poem, S. carved Gregg from NITW, and I carved Mae doing "NIGHTMARE EYES" in NITW.

Monday: Spent most of the day working on annotated bibliography for my social justice class. Watched "Creature of the Black Lagoon" for the first time. Not surprised that most of the people who were killed were POC. Began watching "The Wolf Man" (1941), thinking of watching as many of the Universal Monster movies as I can before the end of the year.

microfiche by open mike eagle

oct. 18, 2020

pretending by orla gartland

oct. 17, 2020

Got up early and walked to CVS for milk. Went with S. to the supermarket for pumpkins, we are gonna carve them tomorrow with E. and K. Took my bookbinding final. Thought a lot about "Because the Internet" by Childish Gambino. Might have forgotten to take my meds this morning, feeling nauseous now. Re-watched "The Addams Family" movie and I couldn't stop laughing.

oct. 16, 2020

Terrible night of sleep, woke up around 2:30 and worked until 7:30. Attended another event about trans-inclusivity in libraries. Listened to the new Open Mike Eagle album, really like the first half. Got the new MG album in the mail (cassette) but don't really have the time to sit down and listen to it today (it's a week early from it's official debut). Gonna zoom with Antonio and Kyle later tonight.

oct. 15, 2020

Started playing Animal Crossing again a couple of days ago. Felt somewhat productive today, but when 5 o'clock hit mood went down quite a bit. Did attend a really interesting talk by Lazarus Letcher about the difficulty of finding BIPOC trans people in archives, so much to think about and be "haunted" by.

lazarus letcher

oct. 14, 2020

terrible mood today. S. finished playing "night in the woods". went on a walk.

more about my current mental health

oct. 13, 2020

The particular wave of anxiety I mentioned yesterday has just carried on through today. Spent a lot of the day working on an annotated bibliography of YA books (and media) about queer mental health. I also included an episode of "Steven Universe", the entirety of the show "Sex Education", and the game "Night in the Woods". Got an extension for this assignment because my anxiety made it really difficult to work. The anger I described last week has just become anxiety. Fuck that.

tMG song that came out today, listened to it on repeat, love the lyrics: "I'm gonna have to chase down the remnants of something special that you stole from me/It may be hiding in the sunset, or in distant corners of the dawn/Or maybe it's gone"

twitter interaction that inspired that song

oct. 12, 2020

I have caught myself daydreaming the past few days, which is very odd for me. Daydreaming, at least as an adult, tends to be future-oriented and I don't like to think a lot about the future. After a really difficult period in 2014-2015, many plans I had were demolished and I started focusing on what was right ahead of me. S. has challenged this behavior in me, trying to show me that you can plan for a future but still survive if it doesn't end up the way you planned. Now that we are planning on living in a van for some time I daydream about the places I want to visit.

I go through periods of watching a lot of late-night talk shows on YouTube... (to be continued, got anxious while writing)

oct. 11, 2020

In the past week or so whenever I sit down to reflect on my day and write about it here I sometimes feel its futility. I began this diary as a way to situate myself in a confusing time and it served that purpose for a while but I think that's changing. Not sure where it's going but I don't want to end it.

an essay about being nonbinary and having to live at your parents' house where there is little affirmation of queer identity

oct. 10, 2020

Today is S.'s birthday. We spent some time on a neighbor's porch while S. glazed some of her ceramic pieces before the neighbor fires them. We got Domino's for lunch/dinner. I spent most of my morning working on my bookbinding final project. Play video games with G. and talked for a while about S. and my plans for the next couple of months. Made banana bread.

Last night I drank a whole bottle of champagne while working, chatting with Antonio and Kyle over zoom, etc.

p.s. Alex, I received your zine today! Thank you, there was a lightness in it that I love in your writing that I need in my life right now.

oct. 9, 2020

Yesterday I deleted the pages here on flounder where I was tracking every podcast episode I listened to and every movie/tv show I watched. The strange anxiety of keeping it up to date became too much.

oct. 8, 2020

Been working on my final two books for bookmaking which have been incredibly stressful for some reason (I don't feel like I have as much control over the final product as I wish I did).

Got an acceptance from Burning Jade Magazine, my poem "my grandmother's horseracing notebooks" will be in their second issue: rituals. A lot of great news lately in the poetry realm!

(Louise Glück won the Nobel Prize in Literature this year, news came out today. I have not read much of her work but I do know a couple of her mentees who have only said great things about their time with her.)

I feel a wave of anger and frustration starting to take over again, seems to happen at least once a month during quarantine. When it hits I'm forced to the passenger seat where I can watch the car veering off the road but have little control over the speed we're going. Every time I'm back here I try to think of ways that will prevent this from happening again but once it naturally passes I just forget about it until the anger starts to creep back in. I've gotten quite a bit of good news lately and that excitement is dampened by this wave, compounding the frustration. I've been trying to think about the image that TC talks about in the video below, the one of a tree turning into a flock of birds. It brings some of the wonder in the world into focus for me.

the hart crane poem that inspired "my grandmother's horseracing notebooks"

oct. 7, 2020

TC Tolbert talking about photographs

oct. 6, 2020

Visited E. and K., chatted about Halloween plans. Most of the day was spent doing work for my social justice class.

oct. 5, 2020

I'm convinced that one of the biggest mistake that humans make is to not instinctually consider ourselves animals. A lot of our language points to a clear distinction between animals and humans, like the evolutionary track from primate to here no longer matters.

Had two beers tonight. Watched several John Mulaney interviews throughout the day. Stopped by the library. Painted my nails. Heard some good news about a micro-chapbook I sent out a couple of months ago, will share them once things solidify some more. Getting a poem published tomorrow so that's exciting! I've been very lucky to get some poems published in the past few months, it still surprises me that there are people who enjoy my writing (I don't get imposter syndrome in anything other than writing).

oct. 4, 2020

Yesterday: made to-do list, went grocery shopping, got a very nice email from TC, S. made cinnamon rolls, we took some to E. and K., figured out what I'm getting S. for her birthday, went to Harvest Market to pick out some craft beers (had a strawberry lager when we got home), and watched John Mulaney's "Kid Gorgeous" and "Ocean's 12".

"vintage halloween music"

Today: watched "Ocean's 13", laundry, been very anxious about this coming week.

Thought: I now listen to almost everything (except for a couple of my favorite podcasts) at 2X speed.

oct. 2, 2020

*I want to write a book of writing prompts.

*Spent almost the entire day writing a paper on zines. I had a lot of fun writing it but still tired.

*Had sushi again for dinner, both S. and I agreed that last night's food was underwhelming. Today's was very good (Chicago rolls and California rolls).

"cigarettes and coffee" by otis redding

Reminder to future self: Last night/today we found out that Trump has covid.

oct. 1, 2020

"the oracle was stoned" by chester wilson III

Oh, the internal anguish! Fuck. The above poem plays with things that I both love and fear: the interpretation of modern ideas unto Greek/Roman mythology. When it's good it's great, but when it isn't... The above is in that first category and I went to look up more about the poet to just find that they are an undergrad at the same university I am at. I am trying to remember if I ever met them and I think I did, possibly at the lunch with TC. I wonder if I'll bump into them again, it's hard to know now without live readings, workshops, etc.

I've spent most of the day trying to write a paper due tomorrow for my storytelling class; I'm writing on the importance of queer storytelling within zine librarianship. The topic of zines has come up a number of times in my classes this semester and it feels like there is a reason behind it, or that I WANT there to be a reason. I miss when I would make a zine every school semester, just throw some poems together or even just a long sentence and make a bunch of copies and leave it around campus for people to find. I remember once visiting Alex in the house he shared with a bunch of other friends and seeing one of my zines hanging on the wall with other pieces of art. I've been messing around with a zine idea since January and might try to make it soon, probably after my bookbinding class is over. I still have no fucking idea what I'm gonna do for that.

I'm happy it is a new month, it felt like September had worms crawling around in dark corners. The past two nights after dinner, when S. and I are just chilling I'll play a day or two in "Night in the Woods". The main character, Mae, drops out of college in the middle of October and goes back to her small town to just roam around, spend times with friends and family. There is a supernatural element to the story but I might talk about that some other day. I think it's the ordinariness of what Mae does after a serious life event that captivates me, the way the town around her acts. Last Halloween my friend G. and I decided to dress up as characters from the game, me as Mae and G. as Gregg, Mae's best friend. Mae carries around a notebook that serves as a way to see different accomplishments you have achieved throughout the game as little drawings. You later learn that this is a way for Mae to keep from going into a bout of derealization. For the costume, I decided to make Mae's notebook-- I would spend hours looking at screencaps of the game and drawing them in a composition book with sharpie. I think I went through two or three sharpies. Working on this little project was such a good way for me to slow down from my daily life and just do something with my hands, which is always the most satisfying work I do. Writing is fine but I feel an intense sense of pride when I make something physical. The imperfections work for some reason. I would love to draw like Mae does but doing it off the cuff feels weird, I've tried. I guess I get the same type of relief from writing this diary that she does from drawing. Keeps me here.

Had to watch that famous video where Ira Glass talks about taste and quality of creative work for my storytelling class. It was weird watching it in context with the full interview instead of just as a kinetic typography video. Got sushi and ramen for dinner with S. and looked through the WindowSwap project for a while. A lot of Serbia and South Korea and southern California.


"gif in a half shell" by manda comisari

There is a full moon tonight and I downloaded an app to make sure it was actually a full moon.

sept. 30, 2020

The past couple of days I've been filled with insecurity that has stopped me from deciding on my final bookbinding project, sending important emails, and even how I should finish this sentence (took me somewhere close to an hour to decide on something). I think that a lot of this has to do with the fear of expectation vs. reality, having to come to terms with either as a limitation for the other. I want to make an ambitious book but I don't think I have the right text yet for that book. I'm not sure how to best overcome this insecurity, how it's hard to move forward without believing that the earth below you will crumble.

Yesterday I: listened to my social justice course while washing dishes, released the new They/Them episodes in the morning, went on a late-night drive with S. to calm down from the day, went on a late-night walk to pick up some donuts. S. and I had a long conversation about how technology has changed the way we relate to older generations because they no longer serve as the keepers of important knowledge. We can now find a lot of that elsewhere and view elders as the ones who need help accepting our current society instead of the other way around. In class, the professor mentioned that there are several programs being made that will be able to read and decipher handwritten diaries and other ephemera that has cursive handwriting because more and more people don't know how to write or read it. A classmate chimed in saying that her 25-year-old step-daughter was never taught cursive. Learning cursive was a huge part of my third-grade experience, where we also learned how to type, so I don't understand why they have to be mutually exclusive.

A couple of days ago I was watching a video of Stephen Colbert and remembered that he ended the last episode of The Colbert Report by playing "In the Aeroplane Over the Sea" by Neutral Milk Hotel. I looked it up to see if I was remembering this correctly and I was.

phoebe bridgers performing "i know the end" by walking around an empty theatre in a spooky white dress

Since hosting a conventional Halloween party will not be possible this year I suggested to S. that we have a zoom murder mystery party with friends. The last murder mystery party I went to was in middle school and I was the murderer.

I've spent most of the day going back and forth from news coverage about the first debate (I didn't watch it, I knew it would be too much) and reading about community engagement through libraries. All of this has overwhelmed me without being conscious to it. Will most likely play "Night in the Woods" for some friendly escapism, except that game usually turns into a tool for introspection every fall.

Got two postcards from my library school mail group, and sent two out.

sept. 28, 2020

I took a break from writing this weekend, not planned but useful. The days were slow, the nights were cool so I would sit on the porch when the house felt stuffy. On Saturday I finished listening to the Sufjan album (I'm enjoying it, especially the first half), finished the long-stitch book, and saw some friends during a social-distant hang out in our backyard. S. and I told them about our plans to travel in a van and they all seemed excited for us. Sunday started early with a trip to the grocery store, calmer than usual, and then a zoom call with Antonio and Al. We recorded a new episode of the They/Them Podcast; the subject was J.K. Rowling's blog post defending her TERF comments and beliefs. It was so nice to see Al again because we're both not great at reaching out to the other but always get back in the groove of our friendship. Got tested for COVID and I'm clear. Watched a lot of stand-up on YouTube, began my yearly play-through of "Night in the Woods", and got some late-night fast food with S.

When I woke up this morning I thought it was still the weekend. Two men attempted to break into S.'s car sometime in the early afternoon, but thankfully our neighbor's friend scared them away. Our moods changed after finding out what happened. I wasn't able to focus very well, distracted by watching Sarah Millican's stand-up. S. did receive the postcard I sent her, though, as well as my first postcard from someone in the library school's mail club.

sept. 25, 2020

Woke up today and spent most of the early morning listening to the first half of the new Sufjan Stevens album that just came out, "The Ascension." I'm saving the second half for another day, maybe tomorrow morning when I plan to finish my long-stitch book that I've been working on and off for the past three days.

my current favorite from the new album, "ursa major"

I was anxious most of the day about finances, which took a lot of my energy along with performing my Persephone story in class. It went well, I think, most people enjoyed the way I adapted the story. After work and walking Holmes, S. and I drove around town looking for vans on sale. Then we settled in for the night, zoomed with Antonio, K. and a new friend. I am exhausted, nothing else to say.

sept. 24, 2020

I told my adaptation of the Persephone myth today for the first time and I think it went well. It's a story that has grown to mean a lot to me, and I think it can mean so much more when the narrative focuses on the strong women that inherently exist in Greek mythology instead of the misogynist tendencies found in many iterations. A group of four of us from class met on zoom to practice and it was a fun time to get to know them better and also enjoy the act of sharing with each other.

Stopped by the library to turn in a couple of things and mail a postcard to S. I'm excited to see her reaction when it arrives. We talked for a long time today about possibly buying a van in the near future so that we can go on camping trips and utilize this time where we can work remotely. This is the kind of big life change I've been looking for.

Today is ending on a bright note, having just watched a zoom presentation and interview with the trans comic artist Archie Bongiovanni as part of a program that is trying to make libraries more trans-inclusive (and ultimately less-gendered spaces). It was nice to have some overwhelmingly queer joy at a time that things feel like they're either moving too fast or not at all. Archie said something about how queers in their 20s feel like they are messes and reassured us that we will always be that way, through our 30s and on. There is nothing wrong with being a mess. I kinda love it.

sept. 23, 2020

I've been quite productive the first half of the day, things are slowing down in the afternoon though. I went to CVS this morning to buy cereal, read my page of "War and Peace", and sent another postcard to Antonio (I fear the first one won't get there because I forgot to put the zip code). Attended a zoom meeting about Artifact (heyartifact), a company that does personal podcasts for archiving of familial or group histories. Downloaded "what3words" app and thinking about a series of poems based on the way the app assigns 3 random words to specific locations in the world. Read about how to understand and interpret community through libraries. My back and feet have been in pain most of the day.

The news about how the cops who killed Breonna Taylor did not get convicted is making me think about what should come next. I am heartbroken.

sept. 22, 2020

Today feels like it has been smudged by someone's thumb. Spent a lot of time looking at videos about Michelle Wolf's White House Correspondent Dinner speech. Sent a postcard to Antonio. Thoughts are dissipating much faster than usual. Going to start reading “War and Peace” two pages per day.

sept. 21, 2020

There isn't a lot to say about today:

*I put all of my books back on their shelves yet with little attention to order because I currently don't have the time or patience to do it. This is very rare for me because one of my favorite things about moving or doing a deep clean is being able to re-organize my books and find places for new additions. Yet, I already went through the entire process sometime in May or June.

*Decided to tell the myth of Persephone for my storytelling class (this Friday) but making it queer and less assault-focused.

*I feel lost, not sure in what or why.

*Have not hiccuped since early yesterday.

sept. 20, 2020

Woke up this morning and finished going through all my books with epigraphs. I've got to put all the books back because the bookshelves in my studio are completely empty, while the floor is littered with books. I also spent some time adding stuff on here, such as links for easy online maneuvering.

I went to the library to print something off for S. and listened to my 2020 playlist for the first time in a while. I keep adding stuff on there from my Discovery Weekly on Spotify but rarely take the time to listen because I don't walk around town as much anymore. In the shower I thought about maybe starting a habit of writing a postcard to a friend every day and walking to the post office to send it, giving me a reason to go as well as maintaining communication with people I care about. If you're interested in getting a postcard every once in a while feel free to email me using the "contact me" link on my index page.

S. and I hung out with K. and E. tonight, just chatting.

sept. 19, 2020

S. and I went with Holmes to a huge sunflower field around 3 p.m. We'd spent most of the morning just talking in bed so we were excited to be out and walk Holmes.

I woke up just before 8 a.m. this morning because I was going to do a four-hour meditation with a group on zoom but I quit about an hour into it. For the first half hour everything went well except that as I seemed to wake up more my brain became restless and I had a flood of thoughts I couldn't help but feel my way through.

Yesterday, I was walking to the library on the first cool morning of September and started to hiccup. I've been hiccuping on and off since then, sometimes with intervals of a couple of hours. A couple of years ago I went to the ER because I had been hiccuping for four days straight and there was a possibility it was a brain tumor or a number of other terrible things. Ultimately they went away with some pills that relaxed my diaphragm. So, when I get hiccups I immediately worry about how long they last because they interrupt everything, talking, thinking, etc.

Yesterday I was thinking about why I always have a feeling that I'm going to get hit by a car when I cross the street. Since undergrad I remember imagining that I got in a car crash whenever I would go to a particular crosswalk, remembering how a student had been killed on another road nearby one summer. I also remember having a "flashforward" moment, a premonition, when I was 9-10 years old where I was getting hit by a car. I'm afraid that someone who is prejudice against me will be the one to strike.

Trying to decide whether or not I should record little fake radio shows for my friends and send it to them every month. That way I can share music I like and also get to include other stuff in between songs.

"I love you & it's all your fault."-The Book of Wolf from "The Holy Bible"

completely stunned by the video for "sugar" by sufjan stevens, still making up my mind on the song though

sept. 18, 2020

I started a conversation a couple days ago on Midnight about the frequency and type of poetry people are reading. It's interesting what stories we tell ourselves that make us afraid or uncertain about our own investments in certain genres. I'm trying to find better ways of introducing poetry to people as well as making them more comfortable with engaging with it in their daily lives. I think there are so many poems out there that could help certain people but they don't know how to find them.

original post and responses at midnight pub

Been thinking quite often about how the study that originally proved the placebo effect included inaccurate findings so as to popularize the practice of double-blind procedures for scientific research.

My diploma for the MFA arrived today. I have a hard time processing these types of accomplishments, they seem so abstract. Played some Super Mario Sunshine which was incredibly nostalgic, took me back to those days in middle school when I would hang out with my "big brother" who was a college student and we'd go to his apartment and play Gamecube. Got some D.P. Dough for dinner, a lasagna calzone, and watched the Taylor Tomlinson netflix special with S.

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