Friday, July 31, 2009

somedays i forget what a nerd i can be.

today in class/"work", a girl realized it's the last day of july, which means it's...
harry potter's birthday!
"i'm gonna bake a cake!"
i said.
really? really? you're gonna bake a cake for a fictional character.
no, i'll bake it for me (and my family who will help me eat it)
in honor of a fictional character.
hell yes.
don't get the wrong idea. good books, sure. the sixth movie, that's out now, is wonderful. a huge smile was spread across my face the whole time i was watching it (you know, except when smiling was inappropriate).
actually, hp was just a good excuse. i've been wanting to bake something for, well, several days now, which is a difficult inclination to not feel guilty about pursuing when the surprisingly-not-too-hot-but-not-like-cool-either days of summer are upon us chicagoans. i feel bad about heating the house. but i got home and found the awesome vegan chocolate cake recipe that i used for my mom's birthday and baked it up quick while no one was around to protest 350 degrees.
and it was good.
and all were pleased.
and no one said,
"shit, this kitchen is hot."
they opened the front door and said,
"oh em, what did you make?"

this. i made this:

and it was good.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

is college a good idea?

i have to get out of here
this family
this house
this life.
the city is alright.
yelling is alright.
everything else is not.

i have to get out and into the chanel-bag-toting arms of my new bffl, no no, "roomie", jan.

Monday, July 27, 2009

summer wardrobe expansion: garment #3

one night, i thought to myself, i should use up this left over fabric. but what should i make? i don't have enough of any of them to make a whole thing on their own. oh okay, i'll use all of them together and make a blouse! a colorful sleeveless circus blouse!
(yep, it's the same pattern as s.w.e.#2, but with some modifications.)

left side.


summer wardrobe expansion: garment #2.

so until i sort of happened to get a "job" this summer, i was planning on whiling away the hours at my sewing machine making all sorts of garments that i've been dreaming about. and them i got a apprenticeship job that requires me to go downtown five days a week, so i'm not sewing as much. bummer.
i am still sewing!
so here is the start of a summer-long showcase of the clothing i have made this summer.
but, you ask yourself, the title says #2. is this the second garment?
well, yes, it is. i don't have a decent picture of the first garment i made this summer yet, so that will come later.

always feel free to give feedback and suggestions.

one hot morning i woke up and was displeased with my selection of sleeveless shirts. so i went digging through my patterns and found a really old one. i'd guess it was from around 1970 by the styling of the women on the from. the pattern boasted "ONLY TWO EASY MAIN PATTERN PIECES" so i opened it up and cut it out of some fabric i'd stolen from school. actually, i think i'd stolen the pattern, too, so the bias tape was the only thing that i technically bought, and that was just made from leftover scrap. so two hours and $0 later i had a new shirt! mostly i was just proud of how quickly i made it. i don't really like how it looks very much, i'm not a baby pink kind of person and while i love gingham, this gingham print is tiny and not obvious. also i think it looks a little smock-like. and the darts don't fit right.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

the tea party in the mud puddle.

hot tea. finishing up my first draft of my one act.

it could be worse. it could be a lie. it's a little contrived (but that's theatre), but honest.

so much so that i am both nervous and really excited to read it in class/"work".
really excited.

it's very much a first draft. and that's fine. i don't have words for the re-writes tonight. i don't have the verbage to express my thoughts all at once. fine. FINE.

modern lo-fi garage pop written about loving girls and boys plays through my computer and scores my thoughts and bike rides. i feel kind of giddy and passionate and mopey all at once, which, trust me, is an odd combination. it makes me want to love. and roll around in dirt.

Friday, July 24, 2009

hello, jan.

today, just now, i figured out how to get into my college e-mail account.
yesterday i learned my roommate's name and the dorm we're in.
she has a very wealthy-sounding name.
that's all i have to say about that.
a hello from my new best friend (we'll see)
was waiting for me in the new inbox,
along with about twenty-five other unread messages.
for now, i'm going to call my new roommate jan.
her e-mail read:

Hi! Looks like I'm your new roomie :)

I've been looking around and I think we lucked out with ---- House (besides the long trek to campus each morning). I keep hearing the words "humongous doubles," so I'm pretty psyched.

With the kitchens and all, there doesn't seem to be any need for the who brings the fridge discussion, so I just wanted to say hello!


now, i think i'll dissect it.
i'm not a fan of emotocons. i hate them. a lot.
but i have to accept them as a fact of the internet, for many people.
so i forgive her.
i don't know where she got the info about our dorm, but then, i've been pretty far removed from the college thing, believing (naively) "i'll just figure it out when i get there." probably stupid.
i like the reference to the "who brings the fridge discussion." that's funny. cute. okay she has a sense of humor. phew.
dissection finished. there wasn't much there.

so i wrote back did she prefer to be called by the shorter version of her name (because her name isn't really jan, it's longer), which i realized was stupid, because if she preferred it then she would have signed her name that way. idiot. (me, not her.) and i said i was pleased about the "humongous doubles" and the kitchen and i asked her where she is from. i wonder if she's written back yet.

oh god.
she has.
remember when i said her name sounded rich?
"I've lived in New Jersey my whole life. I went to prep school in NJ the last few years so I stayed there a lot of the time..."
i thought "prep school" was a made-up term.
i don't even know what a prep school actually is.
hey, jan,
i went to a public high school.
we were underfunded and when we had money we spent it on stupid things.
there were more black kids than white kids.
there were as many latino kids as white kids.
i wouldn't really want to spend time alone at night in the neighborhood my school was in.
most of the kids at my school would be considered "middle class." some "upper" and some "lower."
my family is very much middle class.
i am not getting enough financial aid to make paying for college easy.

emma, STOP IT.
you are the far more prejudiced one.
no, no, don't argue.
you're being totally rude and awful to sweet jan.
there is nothing NOTHING wrong or rude or anything with what she has written to you.
sorry, jan, would you please excuse us?
emma just needs to go to the bathroom.
she's feeling fine, we just need to take a break and talk.
no, no, we'll be fine.
i think someone just slipped a little "hater-ade" into her orange soda.
what the hell?
in your first e-mail to jan you wrote "suddenly, as a result of reading this e-mail from you (currently, a stranger), i'm feeling all fluttery. like, gosh, i now have a person to look forward to meeting, as well as a school."
and that was true.
yes, it was.
you two will get along great just stop. all. this. utter. fucking. nonsense.
now can you go back out and talk to jan?
let me see you nod.
when we pass by the drinks, why don't you grab her another orange soda, okay?
see, you guys even share the same favorite kind of pop.

oh she's fine now, jan.
here, we brought you another pop.
you're welcome.

we'll be friends. i'll be nice. i promise. i want friends. i want to be friends with my roommate. i want us to have dorm room dance parties and new york city adventures.
goodnight jan.
i hope you sleep well.
i'll see you in the morning.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

this time next month: still chicago. one month from next wednesday: bronxville.

i was curious,
so i asked mapquest
how far it is from here,
my bedroom,
in chicago,
to there,
my dorm room,
in bronxville.
(you know, approximately speaking.)
"808.55 miles, or about 13.21 hours," it said.

and then i asked mapquest
how far it is
from sarah lawrence college
to oberlin college.
which is in oberlin, oh.
"496.39 miles," it said,
"which should take you about
8 hours and 14 minutes.
oh, and, emma, both of these time estimates
are assuming
1. you are in a car and
2. you are the only vehicle on whatever road you are traveling."

"thank you, mapquest," i said.
"your handy maps with the large periwinkle lines
make the distances not seem so far at all.
why, both of them look like perfectly straight routes!"

and then my mind chimed in,
ever the pragmatist,
and reminded,
"emma, you hate driving.
and even if you didn't,
you don't have a car. hell,
you aren't even allowed to take a car to school.
you're taking a bicycle to school.
and also, do you honestly think you'll be
road-tripping to oberlin with upperclass(wo)men?"
hey, fuck off.
"no really, are you gonna cling that hard?
you're pathetic for even asking mapquest.
you don't care about oberlin.
you're not gonna let yourself care about oberlin.
you'll have the occasional cry
about that periwinkle line
and then write a fucked up little e-mail
or lipstick-kissed letter
and then you'll have to fall asleep
or go find someone to talk to.
'cause it's not happening."

and you know what?
my mind is right.
she wins!

oh but, fun little update, sort of, not really. i got my driver's license last thursday. since then i have exercised my new privileges exactly ZERO times.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

dear drew j.,

i like you. i like your soft smiles. i like that you always have a book in your hand. unless you have drumsticks in your hands.
today was the first time i saw you play drums.
or the second time.
i'm not sure.
i would still like to read your novel.
i would like to talk to you more.
would you like to see a movie?
with me?
hey! hey, you should come with me to see psycho in grant park! or american graffiti!
and after american graffiti we'll get milkshakes in glass diner glasses with striped straws stuck through the whipped cream and into the blended ice creamy goodness. and we'll talk about a month and a half from now, you know, hopes for it and whatnot.
darling, have you read our town? by thornton wilder?
it's brilliant.
like, mind-shakingly beautiful.
i'm trying to write a play.
about me.
well, about me and adrian.
it's very hard.
and today my teacher told me that to solve my problems i should talk to him. i'm not ready to talk to anyone about it. it might be too personal.
after my teacher said that, i had the depressing revelation that maybe
from my play. from my "characters," who aren't really characters, in the fictional sense.
i've been calling them "girl" and "boy".
i think i should officially give them the names that i have been tossing around in my head for a week or so:
"esther" and "charlie".
"esther" after the main character in the bell jar (who may as well be called sylvia).
the names might help me separate.
i've gotten so wrapped up in the neo-futurist, honesty-in-theatre ethos, that i couldn't get my head around writing fiction.
but right now, using adrian's own words and my own thoughts is scaring me a little.
i haven't told him about it.
i will let him read it when i'm done.
that might be bizarrely cathartic.
i want to write a good play for that reason.
well, that's one of the reasons.
i want to write a good play for myself too.

i'm sorry.
i sound so selfish.
how has your summer been?
jazz-band-arific? and books? have you read anything wonderful?
do you find yourself getting tan from playing in the sun? well, i guess there's a decent roof over your outdoor stage. do you play there when it's raining?
what is your favorite piece to play?
i will come back and watch you again. and again. because i like the music and the park...
but most because i like the secret smile and wave you gave me today.
if i wasn't on my way back to gallery
and didn't have the terror of my play lurking in my heart
then your smile
would have made me stay
made me the most insanely happy person.
well, it did make me the happiest person
for a moment.
writing this letter is me clinging to that moment
and me
looking like i'm really busy, really productive.
i'm sorting through my qualms with my play, too.
so this is helpful.
a little bit, i suppose.
i've confessed that i like you a lot.
but "confess" gives a secretive tone to what i've written. and very little of this is secret.
oh my, you ask yourself, i wonder which part is the secret part?
i guess none of it.
tell the world!
read my letter upon your jazz band stage.
stand on your snare drum and shout it to grant park, the passersby, the homeless.
then find me and we'll stand awkwardly looking at each other, smiles fighting back the urge to hug.
(well, that's my urge. your urge might be "get me away from this batty chick!")
(i don't know. i'm no mind reader.)
i wish i was back in grant park right now, listening to you and your slinkster cool jazz stylin's.
it's too cold in here.
too air conditioned.
kill the cool, crack the windows, and let hot chicago in!

dear drew j.,
will i ever deliver this letter to you?
would you like it if i did?
would you like to read it?

love always,

*a note: i wrote this this afternoon, at "work", in my little black hardcover notebook.
i "work" at an arts apprenticeship place. i'm in the playwriting course.
we(me and the other kids in the course)'re being paid to write a play.
the point of the program is to give kids a good place to go so we're not on the streets whoring
ourselves about to make some summer cash.
being paid to make art sounds okay by me.
but then i always feel obligated to put "work" or "job" in quotes, 'cause it's not really work.
and i don't think i'm even really being paid minimum wage.*

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

pitchfork by the numbers.

3 days.
10 bands actively watched.
5 mosh/dance pits.
2 exceptionally sweaty days.
13 bruises (arms, legs, shoulders, back, and chin).
1 cigarette burn (on my right elbow).
1 very achy body.
1 (and only one) trip into a portable toilet.
4 dollars spent total (all of them on food).
20 hours spent in union park (give or take).
25 miles by bicycle (give or take).
2 flat tires (one mine, one my friend's).
0 new friends made.
0 showers taken. (still.)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

stomach pump, anyone?

something awful happened today. at "work", some important visitors were taking a tour and having lunch and after they left and as us students were arriving back from lunch one of the hosts/bosses offered us left over pizza, and what kind of teenager doesn't accept a slice of pizza (except for the vegan one in my class) but this pizza was deceiving and oh god oh god it was hiding pepperoni beneath its cheesy top and half way through her slice the vegetarian standing next to me realized the meat and handed off her slice to a carnivore and then i freaked out and did the same and went to get a drink of water and oh no oh no and the day after my friend tells me he's considering eating meat again i go and accidentally do and i haven't had a bite of meat in four years (except for that time at camp where the "vegetarian" soup had chicken in it but i found that after only one bite) and oh no oh no and i felt it all in my mouth and tongue and it made my skin crawl and i felt sickish and that was all i could think about and when i got home and told my mom she just said "well, at least you have confirmation that you are making the right choice to not eat meat."
but i knew that without the pepperoni working its way through my digestive system.

my cat bit my arm today.

i envy your fainting spells.
the way you get lightheaded and your vision goes blank.
how you are bloodied and in pain when you come back to earth.
i want to remember how it feels to make involuntary contact with the floor. how it feels to bleed and sting so bad tears flow freely and generously.
i want the scabs to pick off for weeks to come and the scars i wear for years.
the discomfort is thrilling.

i was almost hit by a taxi cab this morning. it was in the backing part of a three-point-turn and totally didn't/couldn't see me. he backed, i swerved. my heart pounded for the next half mile. so many near misses. doors, large trucks, stupid pedestrians, in-line skaters, beach-goers whose brains have apparently baked along with their skin. they all make my heart pound from my helmeted skull all the way to my ankles. i shake for blocks thinking about the injury that could have happened.

june 17, 2008 was the day of my very first (and, to date, worst) bike accident. i was on the lakefront bike path and i got distracted and all of the sudden i was drifting to the right side of the path and watching myself get all together too close to a runner and suddenly the runner was under my front wheel and i was on the ground and my bike was over there and the runner was on the ground i let myself feel my head on the ground long enough to think so this is why people wear helmets, for the first time ever, i'm glad i am. then i was back on my feet and completely hysteric. the runner was on his feet saying,
"what were you doing?"
and i was trying not to sob, responding,
"oh god, i'm so sorry, i got distracted, are you okay? should i call for help?"
his left elbow was bleeding.
considering the crash was entirely 100% MY FAULT, i felt it was right that i was hurt way worse than him.
the runner accepted my stuttered, frantic apology and saw that i was on the verge of tears and was kind of nice considering i had just run him down due to my own immature neglect. he asked if i was okay, and assured me that he was fine, just calm down. and he ran off. see? he was fine!
my left elbow was bleeding and the ground had ripped my left hip open to about a 3"x2" rectangular scrape. very bloody and fairly deep. i still have the scar - over a year later (i scar easily). see?

(ew, is it, like really weird and gross to put a picture of my scar up here?)

also, my bike was kind of messed up, the front wheel and handle bars bent, not too badly, but nonetheless, i hit that poor runner hard.

ever since that day i have hated the lakefront bike path. hate it. it makes me more nervous than sharing the road with cars. (lately, though, i have been riding on it about 15 miles daily, 5 days a week.)

this story is kind of pointless. because that definitely wasn't the good kind of crash that made me feel alive. that was the kind of crash that my mother had to come pick me up from, throwing my bike into the back of her minivan. that was not the good kind of pain - the beautiful, short but powerful pain, that reminds you that you are alive. that crash pain stayed with me for days. i still wear the scar proudly. i like scars.

here is a better example, straight from my journal:
"sunday, october 21, 2007
i just fell down the stairs. well, one stair, really. i was on the second-to-last step with a nearly empty cup of water in my hand and my foot slipped and i went down, spilling the little water that was left.
i really liked it. i felt out of control and shaky and slight pain. for that brief moment i felt alive. i just wish i didn't have to fall down the stairs to feel alive."

i remember that incident. fondly.
i'm such a freak.
don't worry though, my wrists are clean.
i've never gone out of my way to hurt myself.
it's all good.

stay safe, kiddos.

Friday, July 10, 2009

i was really really nervous to do what i did this afternoon, and now i'm even more nervous.

i just bought a new laptop for college.
i'm typing my this from my bedroom.
i just put a cd i got from the library into itunes.
it was bizarrely thrilling.
and then my hands started to want to open the complementary ipod.
no no no.
emma, you love cassettes.
you love mix tapes.
you love cds, delicate, stupid jewel cases and all.
records too, even though you can't really use the record player in the house,
due to its location. 
you love the palpable.
analog encourages patience.
i know this, because, put a fully loaded ipod in the palm of my 
hot little hand
and i get "music a.d.d." like every other modern person.
at least with cassettes you have to fast forward and rewind,
as tedious as that can be at the time.
integrity, man.
don't unwrap the ipod.
don't do it.
put the computer down.
press publish,
call it a day.
limit the computer exposure.
portion control.
poison control.
oh no oh no what have i done?