A few weeks ago Bradford had a lovely house party. He had invited just about everyone, gently suggesting that if you wanted to drink something that you'd be well-advised to bring it yourself. Being as we are now at the end of the world, there's a kind of vogue for politesse, and everyone brought bottles. A good problem to have. Throughout the night, the sound of empty bottles clanking around the kitchen counter gave way to the sound of bottles being knocked off of the counter, falling on the floor, and the attendant giggles and apologies that come with such spills. At some point, someone spilled a bottle of wine all over the kitchen floor, and then hustled to clean it up. So: crisis averted. But then later, I was standing in the kitchen, hoping to sip from the Dionysian dregs, talking to dear heart Sam about something or other, and a nice-looking boy knocked a(nother) nearly full bottle of red wine form the counter. I didn't hear it, or see it, being engrossed in a conversation, but I did feel an unusual tickle: most of the wine had spilled into my shoe. So while everyone jumped to get out of the way, the spiller was running around trying to find a towel to clean up with, I was laughing hysterically, my left foot being tickled by what smelled like a perfectly serviceable Merlot.
Gasping for breath in-between peals of laughter, I said to Sam: "Oh, how great. This is just like in Ancient Greece!" He seemed perplexed, other boys turned to look. "You know," I continued, "Like, in Ancient Greece? When they'd pour wine into their shoes?"
A cute boy in glasses, who seemed very much like some kind of an Expert, jumped in: "That never happened. What are you talking about?" I thought, since he was just intruding on my conversation maybe he didn't understand what I was talking about, didn't have enough context.
"Oh." I clarified "Someone spilled the wine and it went into my shoe and it tickled my foot. And I was saying that it's like what they used to do in Ancient Greece, pour wine into their shoes. Y'know? In ANCIENT GREECE?"
He shook his head. "They didn't do that." He seemed to take umbrage with this for some reason. I didn't know what his problem was. Maybe he was Greek, and he thought I was saying something mean about Greek people. Which, hello! I wasn't. I would never do that. I love Greece!
- Some of my best friends are Greek.
- They invented fags!
- I love Greek food!
- I love that "Greek" is an old-fashioned euphemism for sodomy. I think that's just great.
- I once had a boyfriend who was Greek, he was fantastically sexy we used to "Greek" all the time (until we didn't). It was great (mostly).
Besides, even if someone is Greek, I'm allowed to talk about Ancient Greece. It was so long ago. We're all Ancient Greeks. Why did this guy get so upset just because I said that someone spilling red wine into my shoe was just like in Ancient Greece? I was going to say, y'know, there was that episode of "I Love Lucy" about pouring wine into people's shoes. And that took place in Ancient Greece too. But then I realized that the episode I was thinking of took place in Italy, which a Greek would not appreciate me getting mixed up. Maybe it took place in France, which seems like a bigger insult, somehow.
In any case, I realized that I wasn't thinking of pouring wine into shoes, but stomping on grapes with your bare feet to make wine. But I wasn't about to back down.
"Look," I said, "Ancient Greece was thousands of years ago. I'm sure that, at, like, some point in the last two or three thousand years, that somebody poured wine down somebody's shoes, okay?"
And I stormed off. But then I thought: did the Ancient Greeks even wear shoes? Did they just wear sandals? You can't really pour wine down a sandal, as such.
Sam and I went back to the room with the stereo and after much consensus, everybody said they wanted to put on Sam's favorite singer, Sade. Which I know woefully little of, but I like everything I hear. How can you not? She's apparently been quite a touchstone for young McKinnis. Just look what he wrote about Sade.
Been thinking very much about the idea of siamese fighting fish. Partially because they're the title/subject of one of my favorite songs, by Snowpony (from their amazing first album), and partially because that idea of being pretty and being stupid and bred only for fighting really resonantes with me. We want to see pretty things eat each other. I think I probably want to see myself be pretty and also see myself eaten.
I've been lucky enough to be working with some amazing supportive people lately and realizing that I might have some unresolved anger.
The art project I was working on is changing and will probably not be the thing I thought it was going to be. It might still. I might need to do something really crazy and destroy (parts of) myself. It's hard. I hate being scared, and as much as I've admitted on this blog over the years, I've never admitted this: I am terrified, completely and utterly, of being angry. Of losing my temper/losing control. I don't want to rage, I don't want to make aggressive or angry art as such, but I am becoming more and more cognizant of the fact that the thing that scares me is: what if I actually got pissed off, instead of making excuses? This might be abstract.
So many people, or scenes, or ideas, or whatever, have become objects of my anger. My little brother used to be my punching bag when I was a kid. It's so hard to just say what you're angry about. What do I even have to be angry about? It's being too scared to say what I feel like I need to say. I'm furious at all the time I've wasted being too scared to say I was mad.
Another thing I like about Siamese Fighting Fish is that the males help the spawning process, by building bubble nests.
The other day I took the train next to this girl who is close friends with an ex of mine. She was and has always been exceedingly nice to me, but my ex (her best friend) and I have fought very bitterly. He'd been absolutely cruel to me, on purpose, going out of his way to hurt, shame and humiliate me. For my part, I've lost my temper with him, raged directly to him and told him how hurtful he was being. And he made me feel bad for that too. We don't speak. He hates my guts, thinks I'm a crazy person. I also think I'm a crazy person but I also think I don't even have any guts to hate, really.
But, regardless, this girl, privy to all of this, was so sweet to me. It was unnerving. It made me realize the power of niceness. But you know, that power only exists if,
Or, that power can only appear when,
Or, I (personally) can only notice that power in relief against the failure of anger. And by failure I mean the logical conclusion. The end. I can only appreciate niceness if I really mean it, if it means something to me. And I think I need to know about the other things that mean something to me.
All I want is for everyone to like me, and that desire makes me mad. Miffed. Furious, even. Anyway, I know who I have to convince. My work is cut out for me. I'm cutting it. I'm trying to figure out what I need to do and then I'm going to figure out how to do it. I swear. I'm outside my studio and I'm about to go in for three hours and do God knows what, in the service of finding out how to do exactly this.