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"You may hear a lot of talk in your life about the hour of reckoning. People saying, you know, people talk about the moments that they face, as if, you know, as if they got a notice from some office two weeks before the moment was going to come, saying, “There’s a moment coming in two weeks, you might want to get your ass ready.” You won’t get any such notice, there is no such office for this delivery. Instead, you may be sitting on the sofa, three beers deep and two white Russians, staring at the television thinking to yourself, “This can’t last forever.” Hoping, praying that it will---or won’t!---last for the rest of your life, because whatever comes next, it could be worse! You have evidence in your past that it could in fact be worse. But at the same time, you know it won’t be that previous worse, it’ll be some new thing. We live in an age that preaches the value of new things, but I’m here to tell you there some new things that are not so good! Some new things suck gigantic asses! All day long! This song is a song about a couple of people who are face to face with some of those gigantic new asses to suck! They have a lovely television! I’m glad that I gave them a TV!"

--John Darnielle, introducing Gameshows Touch Our Lives
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When Moses conversed with God, he asked, "Lord, where shall I seek you?"
God answered, "Among the brokenhearted."
Moses continued, "But, Lord, no heart could be more despairing than mine."
And God replied, "Then I am where you are."

--Abu'l Fayd al-Misri; quoted in God's Silence by Franz Wright
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music of the last two years.

recommend me.

ready go!
iamwearingpants: (kate.)

what would you think if you met someone who has never heard of david sedaris?
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how can i go home
with nothing to say
i know you're going to look at me that way
and say what did you do out there
and what did you decide
you said you needed time
and you had time

you are a china shop
and i am a bull
you are really good food
and i am full
i guess everything is timing
i guess everything's been said
so i am coming home with an empty head

you'll say did they love you or what
i'll say they love what i do
the only one who really loves me is you
and you'll say girl did you kick some butt
and i'll say i don't really remember
but my fingers are sore
and my voice is too

you'll say it's really good to see you
you'll say i missed you horribly
you'll say let me carry that
give that to me
and you will take the heavy stuff
and you will drive the car
and i'll look out the window and make jokes
about the way things are

how can i go home
with nothing to say
i know you're going to look at me that way
and say what did you do out there
and what did you decide
you said you needed time
and you had time

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I am feeling better and better about teaching in Turkmenistan and more and more afraid of coming back to America. I am going to be so very weird. I can barely conduct a normal conversation anymore. I forget how and when to say things, I forget the patterns of everyday speech. Also, I haven't heard from so many people I used to know in so long that I'm afraid I won't have anyone to have a normal conversation with. It's not going to be pretty, although there will be things like chocolate cake and fettucini alfredo to eat while I'm not speaking.

Hey, the world: Call me so I can practice talking and listening in English. It's been way, way too long since I've heard from you, and I miss you.
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I miss being friends with you.

I do not miss being friends with you.

I am not clarifying.
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"This letter is mostly to warn you of the following: I will probably be unable to call or email, at all, during training, that is to say, FOR THE NEXT 3 MONTHS. It is imperative you know that, so you don't think I don't care. Actually, could you post it to my lj, so the world doesn't think I don't care. Just a quick, 'hey, this is emily. liz says in a letter that she can't call or email for at least 3 months, but she loves you all and wants to hear from you, so write her a damn letter.'"

US Peace Corps/Turkmenistan
P.O. Box 258, Krugozor
Central Post Office
Ashgabat, 744000
(Volunteer name in English)

Türkmenistan Aşgabat, 744000
Merkezi poçta
abonent 258, Krugozor
Parahatçylyk Korpusy, Türkmenistan
(Volunteer name in English)

The Peace Corps says putting the Turkmen address alongside might help expedite delivery. ALSO: "I get my own personal stalker! AKA: KGB-type 'minder' who folows me around, listens to my phone calls, reads my mail, etc. Yeehaw, former Soviet Republic. Probably you should not talk about that, or gay stuff, or the government when you write back."

This is Emily. Liz loves you, but can't talk to you for 3 months. Please write her a damn letter.
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saying goodbye to meg tonight, i walked her to the door and just as she was leaving, she said, "you know what we have to do?"

no, i had no idea.

"you stand on that side of the door. it'll be better. ready? let us go then, you and I---"

"NO! no! we can't do that! if we do that, i'll start crying!"

then I did start.

if you're reading this, i've probably all ready gotten on a plane to dc. i'm gone.
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sign me up, I volunteer
votes are in for lifeguard of the year
her feline past lives are plain
their singularities are shown in this life again.

like mama said, dontcha let it go to your head
when ya know you're being fed
i'm so proud to know you
lizzy, i'll write, i'll sing
telegraph, telegram
telephone, tellin' you
i'll be home soon

we will wake when kitty licks
and in the morn, work takes her to maine
dressed and out the door by six
tomorrow is the first time liz can't board my plane

like mama said, dontcha let it go to your head
when ya know your book is read
i'm so proud to know you
anna will take me to the port
as liz drives up i-95
me and my darlin' keep love alive
even on texas time

and like my mama said, dontcha let it go to your head
when your town is painted red
i'm so proud to know you
lizzy, i'll write, i'll sing
telegraph, telegram
telephone, tellin' you
i'll be home soon

telegraph, telegram
telephone, tellin' you
i'll be home soon
i love you

("Dienu is like an old folk word that's Hebrew and it means 'it would have been enough'... when something good happens to you and then another good thing happens to you. What you had in the first place would have been enough, if nothing else happens to you. It's all about counting your blessings and staying grounded." --benkweller.com)
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It's the night before the night before I leave. And I'm still awake at 4:30. What the hell am I going to do tomorrow night?
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World/Inferno setlistish (order and actual titles vary):

Tattoos Fade
Fiend in Wien
Thumb Cinema
M is for Morphine (oh my God!)
Me vs. Angry Mob (YES!)
Best Party (?)
Jerusalem Boys
Everybody comes to Ricks
Paul Robeson
Brother of the Mayor of Bridgewater
Velocity of Love (oh HELL yes!)
Addicted to Bad Ideas (oh my God! so goooood!)
Only Anarchists are Pretty

And then they stopped playing and I still don't understand why. We asked Semra when their shows were for the next two nights, and she said Cleveland and Detroit, and I can't tell you how badly I want to commandeer a vehicle and drive to Cleveland tomorrow night.
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I'm going to a foreign country for the next two and a half years, and I just bought an iPod on which to put enough music to get through it. I'm ripping all of my CDs, and some of my sister's CDs, and some of my father's CD's, and I still have a fair amount of space to work with. If you were in this situation, what additional CDs or tracks would you buy/borrow/steal? Bonus points if you send/lend them to me.
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The Office. Oh my God. More. More.
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rara aviz 06: Leslie is talking to you now. It is important.
long conversation. hilarious. but long. )
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Good things from the last week or so:


The lack of weird things happening in Oberlin. That is to say, staying with Shades and never once being in a position where I had to say, "Shades, that portion of my life is over. Back off."

Decafe smoothies.

PLAYING RUGBY OH MY GOD YES. I brought my cleats and mouthguard on the off-off-chance that they might possibly need an extra player for Saturday's game. Rachel and I showed up just in time for Thursday's practice, and apparently they needed just one more second row player. How convenient that I am a second row! How convenient that I went to as many practices as the other girls! HOW FUCKING SWEET THAT I GOT TO PLAY RUGBY WHEN I THOUGHT I WAS DONE FOR TWO YEARS!

Meeting Farhad, who is FROM TURKMENISTAN. REALLY. I woke up on Friday morning and Rachel handed me a cell number scrawled on a scrap of paper. "What's this?" "Shades left it for you. It's the number of a guy from Turkmenistan." "WHAT?!" The first morning I'm in town, Shades meets a boy from Turkmenistan at work, who happens to be an Oberlin student. We had coffee that night. He didn't tell me a whole lot about his country that I didn't know, but he was so excited that I was going that I'm now even more excited about going. He also gave me his parents number in Ashgabat and made me promise to call them and have dinner at their house, that he'd tell them I was coming. This after knowing him for ten minutes. Wow. Just...wow.

And now, live Joseph Arthur album. Holy shit. Ben Lee, I might need two husbands.
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New life goal: Listen to Ben Lee enough in the next two weeks that I'm sick of him for two years.
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Dear Ben Lee,

I feel compelled to list the reasons you gave at the concert tonight that I should immediately turn straight and marry you.

Number one, you covered "Brick" by Ben Folds, and while I was making the amusing connection that both of you are named Ben, you paused in the middle of the song and said, "We should call Folds and sing it to him." And then you ran to your car (which was parked conveniently behind the stage), seized your phone, and called up Ben Folds, who did not answer, but you said to his voicemail, "Hey Foldsie, I'm at Vassar and I'm giving a concert and we're going to sing Brick to you. Just the chorus. (and we sing the chorus) I'll talk to you later."

Number two, while doing your "second bad guitar solo," as you struck the first note. the cord attached to your guitar fell out. Twice in a row. And you gracefully said, "That's actually not the joke." (The joke being the solo, which quickly turned into "Stairway to Heaven.")

Number three, you forgot the words to your own song, twice, and consequently made up new ones that were probably just as awesome.

Number four, you dedicated a song to the person whose high beam headlights were in your face.

Number five, while dueling guitars with your backup, you said, "Nick, I want to play my solo on your guitar." And promptly traded guitars.

Number six, you just looked like you were having the time of your life doing this show.

For all of the above reasons, I want to be the girl who makes you a real rockstar and gives you blowjobs on stage. Let's go elope. Okay? Okay.

Love, Liz.

P.S. No matter what my sister says, the fact that she's wanted to marry you for the last year does not give her priority. Don't listen.

ETA: P.P.S. You wrote a song called "What would Jay-Z do?" and it rocked my life. Further proof that you are amazing and destined to be my husband.
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"How often since then has she wondered what might have happened if she'd tried to remain with him; if she'd returned Richard's kiss on the corner of Bleecker and MacDougal, gone off somewhere (where?) with him, never bought the packet of incense or the alpaca coat with the rose-shaped buttons. Couldn't they have discovered something...larger and stranger than what they've got? It is impossible not to imagine that other future, that rejected future, as taking place in Italy or France, among big sunny rooms and gardens; as being full of infidelities and great battles; as a vast and enduring romance laid over a friendship so searing and profound it would accompany them to the grave and possibly even beyond. She could, she thinks, have entered another world. SHe could have had a life as potent and dangerous as literature itself.

Or then again maybe not, Clarissa tells herself. That's who I was. That's who I am---a decent woman with a good apartment, with a stable and affectionate marriage, giving a party. Venture too far for love, she tells herself, and you renounce citizenship in the country you've made for yourself. You end up just sailing from port to port.

Still, there is this sense of missed opportunity. Maybe there is nothing, ever, that can equal the recollection of having been young together. Maybe it's as simple as that. Richard was the person Clarissa loved at her most optimistic moment. Richard had stood beside her at a pond's edge at dusk, wearing cut-off jeans and rubber sandals. Richard had called her Mrs. Dalloway, and they had kissed. His mouth had opened into hers; his tongue (exciting and utterly familiar, she'd never forget it) had worked its way shyly inside until she met it with her own. They'd kissed, and walked around the pond together. In another hour they'd have dinner, and considerable quantities or wine. Clarissa's copy of The Golden Notebook lay on the chipped white nightstand of the attic bedroom where she still slept alone; where Richard had not yet begun to spend alternate nights.

It had seemed like the beginning of happiness, and Clarissa is still sometimes shocked, more than thirty years later, to realize that it was happiness; that the entire experience lay in a kiss and a walk, the anticipation of dinner and a book. The dinner is by now forgotten; Lessing has been long overshadowed by other writers; and even the sex, once she and Richard reached that point, was ardent but awkward, unsatisfying, more kindly than passionate. What lives undimmed in Clarissa's mind more than three decades later is a kiss at dusk on a patch of dead grass, and a walk around a pond as mosquitoes droned in the darkening air. There is still that singular perfection, and it's perfect in part because it seemed, at the time, so clearly to promise more. Now she knows: That was the moment, right then. There has been no other."

from The Hours, Michael Cunningham


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November 2009

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