naamah_darling: Close cropped image of a blonde ponytailed man with a woman pulling a black stocking tightly around his neck. (BDSM)
I have been interviewed by the lovely Dishevelled Domina, also of Tumblr fame. (The interview link is work safe, the Tumblr link is really, really, really NSFW.)

We talked about a lot of fun things, including tabletop RPGs and '80s cartoons, as well as more thinky stuff like feminism and kink and marriage and so on. I talk a little about my own history and how I became aware that I am a big ol' pervert, which I haven't actually done all that much of, especially recently, so that was interesting. And there's a picture of me in a pirate hat.

So please, stop by and read and comment! I'll be checking in and answering questions. (Although I am almost always up for fielding questions either here or on my Tumblr, JSYK.)

Have an excerpt! My two favorite questions:

How did you discover your power exchange preference?

It just kind of . . . blossomed. I’ve had sadistic/masochistic fantasies ever since I was five or six. Once I became aware of BDSM subculture, somewhere around the age of twelve, I was intrigued by it. By the awesome clothes, by the glamorous people, by the strong presence of female sexuality, by the way it was forbidden.

Of course, I grew up and discovered that BDSM culture is far from perfect. And, sadly, as I explored the idea, I became aware that the female sexuality showcased in most BDSM photography and porn/erotica had little to do with my personal desires and values. But the core of that appeal remained. Pain, lust, beauty . . . I have always found the idea of a beautiful man suffering intensely erotic.

Flashback to the ’80s: I remember there was this one episode of Thundercats that had my favorite character, Tygra, getting strapped into this torture/execution machine called The Four Winds, which was basically designed to rip a person’s arms and legs off. It wasn’t the drawing and quartering I found sexy – I thought that was creepy and gross – it was that Tygra was chained in it, waiting, for hours. The anticipation was lovely. The peril. And the being chained up spread-eagle.

I only saw the episode once, but I had all kinds of fantasies about it; someone whipping him, someone cutting his clothes off, someone hurting him with pointy things, performing painful and humiliating experiments on him. I acted these out with my action figures to excess. Right in front of all my My Little Ponies, too. I’m sorry you had to see that, Moondancer.

Do you think there is a connection between feminism and femdom? If so, how would you characterize it?

Only in the sense that any issue involving women claiming their sexual desires, especially ones forbidden by the cultural roles thrust upon them, can be framed as a feminist issue.

I am an avowed feminist, and I find the conflation of “feminist” with “thinks women are superior to men” annoying. I do not believe that. Interestingly, woman-as-goddess is a huge part of the fem-dom fantasy. It’s common to see men painting women as the superior sex, especially submissive men. I have no use for that. It’s not any better, to my mind, than telling me that men are superior. It’s offensive to me as a person, and I am really tired of it, and tired of people who dismiss feminism because they do not understand what it’s about. There are legitimate bones to pick with modern feminist dialogue, it has its areas of ignorance, but one thing it is not about is putting women above men. I’ll get off my soapbox now.

I do think that femdom is often depicted in an incredibly sexist way, and while leather-clad ice-queen porn can still be well-produced and very hot, and while I don’t fault people who like it or fantasize about it (what gets you off gets you off, have a great time and don’t be ashamed), its rampant exclusion, as a genre, of the desires of actual dominant women is a huge problem, a huge turn-off, and a huge barrier to dominant women recognizing their own dominant inclinations for what they are. Thankfully, it’s changing, and I have hopes that we will be seeing more appealing male-sub imagery and writing. I am trying to contribute to that by writing erotica that appeals to me personally.

I also think that for a lot of people, the femdom fantasy does derive a great deal of its power from the subversion or inversion of traditional roles, whether we are aware of that individually or not, whether that’s affected us individually or not. I can’t honestly say whether that’s had an effect on me. I was so young when I started having these thoughts that I am inclined to think that a desire to reverse traditional roles had nothing to do with it. Those roles are probably what kept me from recognizing it for what it was in the first place.


So drop on by and say hello! And peruse the other interviews while you're there! They have been a fascinating cross-section of kinky folks, and I really admire the project and what DD is trying to do.

Penthesilea's interview is especially excellent, and what she has to say about femdom/kink/BDSM and feminism is spot-on, and I wish I had read it when I answered that question, because I could have just pointed to it and said "What she said."
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Default)
Over the course of reading your comments, I realized that a lot of you aren't aware of the particulars of my bad run-ins with the medical profession, and so I thought I'd delineate them for future reference.

A lot of you recommended I go to Planned Parenthood, and while I would like to say that I am very much behind Planned Parenthood in theory, and while I support their mission of bringing affordable health care to women who really need it, I am very much against going to my local clinics personally.

First of all, Planned Parenthood is divided into regions, and not all regions offer the same services. The one local to me, for example, does not offer vasectomies or abortions (or did not, last I enquired).

Also, the local clinic is staffed by total bastards. More on that in a moment.

First, the beginning of the story.

Cut for those of you who would rather not know, those of you who have heard it already, and those of you who were there. )

So that's my tale of woe. I know it's not as bad as some of yours, for which I feel profoundly grateful, no offense. I nevertheless hope that nobody reading this ever has as much trouble as I have had. If you carry one thing away from this story, learn this: you are the responsible party for your health care. If the professionals you hire do not treat you with respect, go elsewhere (provided you can) and when you leave, make your displeasure known, preferably in print. You don't have to take their shit. You are entitled to be treated like a human being, no matter how fat and multiply pierced and slutty -- or virginal -- you may be.

There's a happy ending to my tale, at least. Sargon stepped up to the plate after the last dose of fuckery and decided to get snipped.

And the doctor? Dr. Clark Tingleaf of Claremore, Oklahoma? Gave us no shit whatsoever. The experience was so different from what I have had to endure when it is my body and my decision about what you get to do with it, or what I want to do with it, that it wasn't even funny.

It's enough to wonder what it is about the sight of my pussy that drives people insane.

Anyway, I won't openly publish the bad doctors' names because that might be a stupid thing to do, legally. It would also be stupid because, well, I don't want them getting hate mail or dog shit or death threats that might ever be traced back to me. I'm over the "actively seeking retaliation" phase. But if you are a woman living in Oklahoma, and you want to know who to avoid, I will point out that someone has given negative reviews to Drs. Bitch, Douchebag, and Fucking-Cunt at RateMDs.com.

I will issue a blanket warning against Tulsa-area Planned Parenthoods. I cannot recommend them for anything more complicated than prescribing birth control and administering STD and pregnancy testing. Anything more complicated than that, and you are probably better off seeking a second opinion with a wino in a gutter. The wino will at least let you share his MD 20/20 before he punches holes in your cervix with a rusty icepick.

And with that image I leave you, my beautiful dreamers, and bring an end to this subject for now. I wish each and every one of you better luck in the trenches than I have had.

* My favorite limerick goes like this:

There once was a woman from Tours
whose cunt was all covered with sores.
The dogs in the street
wouldn't eat the green meat
that hung in festoons from her drawers.


No dinner that incorporates cooked spinach is complete without it.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Default)
Over the course of reading your comments, I realized that a lot of you aren't aware of the particulars of my bad run-ins with the medical profession, and so I thought I'd delineate them for future reference.

A lot of you recommended I go to Planned Parenthood, and while I would like to say that I am very much behind Planned Parenthood in theory, and while I support their mission of bringing affordable health care to women who really need it, I am very much against going to my local clinics personally.

First of all, Planned Parenthood is divided into regions, and not all regions offer the same services. The one local to me, for example, does not offer vasectomies or abortions (or did not, last I enquired).

Also, the local clinic is staffed by total bastards. More on that in a moment.

First, the beginning of the story.

Cut for those of you who would rather not know, those of you who have heard it already, and those of you who were there. )

So that's my tale of woe. I know it's not as bad as some of yours, for which I feel profoundly grateful, no offense. I nevertheless hope that nobody reading this ever has as much trouble as I have had. If you carry one thing away from this story, learn this: you are the responsible party for your health care. If the professionals you hire do not treat you with respect, go elsewhere (provided you can) and when you leave, make your displeasure known, preferably in print. You don't have to take their shit. You are entitled to be treated like a human being, no matter how fat and multiply pierced and slutty -- or virginal -- you may be.

There's a happy ending to my tale, at least. Sargon stepped up to the plate after the last dose of fuckery and decided to get snipped.

And the doctor? Dr. Clark Tingleaf of Claremore, Oklahoma? Gave us no shit whatsoever. The experience was so different from what I have had to endure when it is my body and my decision about what you get to do with it, or what I want to do with it, that it wasn't even funny.

It's enough to wonder what it is about the sight of my pussy that drives people insane.

Anyway, I won't openly publish the bad doctors' names because that might be a stupid thing to do, legally. It would also be stupid because, well, I don't want them getting hate mail or dog shit or death threats that might ever be traced back to me. I'm over the "actively seeking retaliation" phase. But if you are a woman living in Oklahoma, and you want to know who to avoid, I will point out that someone has given negative reviews to Drs. Bitch, Douchebag, and Fucking-Cunt at RateMDs.com.

I will issue a blanket warning against Tulsa-area Planned Parenthoods. I cannot recommend them for anything more complicated than prescribing birth control and administering STD and pregnancy testing. Anything more complicated than that, and you are probably better off seeking a second opinion with a wino in a gutter. The wino will at least let you share his MD 20/20 before he punches holes in your cervix with a rusty icepick.

And with that image I leave you, my beautiful dreamers, and bring an end to this subject for now. I wish each and every one of you better luck in the trenches than I have had.

* My favorite limerick goes like this:

There once was a woman from Tours
whose cunt was all covered with sores.
The dogs in the street
wouldn't eat the green meat
that hung in festoons from her drawers.


No dinner that incorporates cooked spinach is complete without it.

Camelot

Sep. 19th, 2007 02:58 am
naamah_darling: Still from The Last Unicorn animated movie of a springtime forest with a path leading through it. (Road Home)
Tulsa's historic Camelot Hotel burns.

I grew up in the shadow of Camelot. Not many people can say that.

If you walked up the hill and to the main intersection near my house, you could look west and see her, an unmistakable landmark rising above the thick cover of the surrounding trees. She sat beside I-44 like a queen, eight stories high, with white walls, a moat, a drawbridge, and an iron portcullis. Inside the hotel courtyard sat a stone with a sword plunged into it. Nothing could have delighted a child more than to live within walking distance of a real castle.

Whenever we would come back into Tulsa from a long vacation, I would look for her blue turrets and flying flags as we crested that hill. When I saw them, I always knew we were close to home. The sight still lifts my heart, and I look for her whenever I drive through the Lewis and 51st street intersection. In the mornings, mist rises from the nearby river and veils the valley, and she's there like a pale shadow among the trees. In the evenings, the sun sets directly behind her in a blaze of gold; her walls turn pink and her windows throw off the flame of the sunset. Every sight of her is like a homecoming.

I love her. I always have.

She was built in 1965, and entertained many guests in luxury. The King himself -- Elvis -- stayed in Camelot back in its heyday. By the time I knew her she was in her autumn, had passed her days of entertaining high-line guests, and now was home to a different crowd. Our local science fiction convention returned to the Camelot for many years.

It was there, at Okon '91, Sargon and I met for the second time. I remember walking to the hotel from my house, only a half-mile distant. I remember getting to know him in the courtyard, and feeling the hand of fate upon me. I was fourteen, and had been waiting for this forever. I fell in love at Camelot, and again, there are precious few who can say that.

The last time I was there was in 1992, during the last Okon. The hotel hosted the convention, but there were no other guests. The pool was full of green algae, and ivy had covered the walls to the second floor. Flags no longer flew from her towers. Some of the windows were broken, boarded over. But she still had her beauty. I still loved her.

After closing ceremonies, lightning struck the roof of the hotel. It was Fate, signing the end of an era. The Camelot closed forever shortly thereafter.

The abandoned hotel went to scenic ruin over a number of years. Despite Tulsans' love for the old hotel, plans to renovate and restore her never came to fruition, and the building changed hands a number of times only to be condemned in 1996. The city dragged its heels, and nobody seemed to want to tear her down despite the fire and health hazards, but a convenience store chain finally bought the property and demolition was scheduled to begin in October.

They began demolishing the outbuildings on Monday, and today, the second floor of the main castle caught fire and burned. Like the lightning bolt, this was, perhaps, Fate's way of sealing the end.

She's still standing, she's built of steel and built to last, but it won't be long now. This makes it final.

For eleven years, I have loved her in her scenic decline. I have entertained fancies that someone would sweep in and buy her, refurbish her, perhaps turn her into a fantastic medieval-themed brothel.

Now I know she'll be leveled, and someday soon I will crest that hill and see nothing there. The emptiness will smack me like a fist to the chest, and another piece of my life will be consigned to memory, another chapter closed.

I will be sorry when they put a gas station on that corner. It will feel like something personal has been taken away from me. Like part of my home has been unmade. It's bitter, but I understand that it is more respectful to demolish her than to allow her to sit in ruin, her charm failing until what is left is nothing more than a cheap-looking eyesore. Better to tear her down and allow the memory to shine, unbounded by reality. Better to allow her to become, once more, a beautiful dream.

But I will miss the sight of her from the top of the hill, a forest of green trees sweeping down to her white walls and brilliant windows, the highway running by like a river, running forever into the westering sun.

Each evening, from December to December,
Before you drift to sleep upon your cot,
Think back on all the tales that you remember
Of Camelot.




There are more pictures here and more on the Camelot's history here.

This is, incidentally, the latest in a string of disasters associated with my marriage. The church that hosted the SCA event where we first met was demolished by a tornado only a few years later, and a campground that sheltered us on a particularly memorable overnight stay was flooded out the next summer. Once struck by lightning, now the Camelot burns.

Love, it would seem, is a force of nature.

Camelot

Sep. 19th, 2007 02:58 am
naamah_darling: Still from The Last Unicorn animated movie of a springtime forest with a path leading through it. (Road Home)
Tulsa's historic Camelot Hotel burns.

I grew up in the shadow of Camelot. Not many people can say that.

If you walked up the hill and to the main intersection near my house, you could look west and see her, an unmistakable landmark rising above the thick cover of the surrounding trees. She sat beside I-44 like a queen, eight stories high, with white walls, a moat, a drawbridge, and an iron portcullis. Inside the hotel courtyard sat a stone with a sword plunged into it. Nothing could have delighted a child more than to live within walking distance of a real castle.

Whenever we would come back into Tulsa from a long vacation, I would look for her blue turrets and flying flags as we crested that hill. When I saw them, I always knew we were close to home. The sight still lifts my heart, and I look for her whenever I drive through the Lewis and 51st street intersection. In the mornings, mist rises from the nearby river and veils the valley, and she's there like a pale shadow among the trees. In the evenings, the sun sets directly behind her in a blaze of gold; her walls turn pink and her windows throw off the flame of the sunset. Every sight of her is like a homecoming.

I love her. I always have.

She was built in 1965, and entertained many guests in luxury. The King himself -- Elvis -- stayed in Camelot back in its heyday. By the time I knew her she was in her autumn, had passed her days of entertaining high-line guests, and now was home to a different crowd. Our local science fiction convention returned to the Camelot for many years.

It was there, at Okon '91, Sargon and I met for the second time. I remember walking to the hotel from my house, only a half-mile distant. I remember getting to know him in the courtyard, and feeling the hand of fate upon me. I was fourteen, and had been waiting for this forever. I fell in love at Camelot, and again, there are precious few who can say that.

The last time I was there was in 1992, during the last Okon. The hotel hosted the convention, but there were no other guests. The pool was full of green algae, and ivy had covered the walls to the second floor. Flags no longer flew from her towers. Some of the windows were broken, boarded over. But she still had her beauty. I still loved her.

After closing ceremonies, lightning struck the roof of the hotel. It was Fate, signing the end of an era. The Camelot closed forever shortly thereafter.

The abandoned hotel went to scenic ruin over a number of years. Despite Tulsans' love for the old hotel, plans to renovate and restore her never came to fruition, and the building changed hands a number of times only to be condemned in 1996. The city dragged its heels, and nobody seemed to want to tear her down despite the fire and health hazards, but a convenience store chain finally bought the property and demolition was scheduled to begin in October.

They began demolishing the outbuildings on Monday, and today, the second floor of the main castle caught fire and burned. Like the lightning bolt, this was, perhaps, Fate's way of sealing the end.

She's still standing, she's built of steel and built to last, but it won't be long now. This makes it final.

For eleven years, I have loved her in her scenic decline. I have entertained fancies that someone would sweep in and buy her, refurbish her, perhaps turn her into a fantastic medieval-themed brothel.

Now I know she'll be leveled, and someday soon I will crest that hill and see nothing there. The emptiness will smack me like a fist to the chest, and another piece of my life will be consigned to memory, another chapter closed.

I will be sorry when they put a gas station on that corner. It will feel like something personal has been taken away from me. Like part of my home has been unmade. It's bitter, but I understand that it is more respectful to demolish her than to allow her to sit in ruin, her charm failing until what is left is nothing more than a cheap-looking eyesore. Better to tear her down and allow the memory to shine, unbounded by reality. Better to allow her to become, once more, a beautiful dream.

But I will miss the sight of her from the top of the hill, a forest of green trees sweeping down to her white walls and brilliant windows, the highway running by like a river, running forever into the westering sun.

Each evening, from December to December,
Before you drift to sleep upon your cot,
Think back on all the tales that you remember
Of Camelot.




There are more pictures here and more on the Camelot's history here.

This is, incidentally, the latest in a string of disasters associated with my marriage. The church that hosted the SCA event where we first met was demolished by a tornado only a few years later, and a campground that sheltered us on a particularly memorable overnight stay was flooded out the next summer. Once struck by lightning, now the Camelot burns.

Love, it would seem, is a force of nature.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (WTF)
I promised you the nightmare honeymoon story, and you're going to get it.

We were staying in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, a small artsy tourist community in the heart of the Ozarks. It's a wonderful place, and I try to get out there every couple of years just to look at all the pretty stuff.

Eureka Springs is home of the historic Crescent Hotel, built in 1886 and now fully restored to its former glory. It's utterly gorgeous, captivatingly so. It is also haunted.

I will state for the record that I am no great believer in ghosts. I don't categorically deny the supernatural, but I do believe that most experiences I and others have had are explicable by more mundane means.

That said, I do believe the trip was cursed.

The first night I was hit with an allergy attack so bad I could not see to drive. There was no 24-hour pharmacy in town, so we had to drive 20 miles through blind-curving Ozark mountain roads to the nearest Wal-Mart. In pitch darkness. No streetlights. Total dropoffs on either side. In the pelting rain. I had to go along, because my driver can't navigate by himself, and if he got lost, I knew he would never find his way home.

The ordeal was enough to wear me out completely. We got back to the hotel and crashed. Inasmuch as you can "crash" in a room with a portrait that stares and stares and staaares at you, and a rocking chair that isn't quite empty, even when it is.

The next day was fun; we walked around town, bought some stuff, had a good time. When evening came, we got dressed and prepared to go downstairs to dine in the gorgeous ballroom.

As I went down the stairs – walking, mind you, not running – I tripped over nothing at all and went pitching ass over teakettle. I only narrowly avoided breaking my neck. As it was, I twisted my ankle quite badly. I, of course, was sitting on the landing laughing my ass off, while Sargon worried over me.

We limped down to the dining room, had dinner anyway, with my foot in a chair and an ice pack on the ankle. The food was awesome, but the dining room was creepy as hell. It was completely empty, and in the slanting yellow sun, it seemed to have the cast of yesteryear.

We were alone in the dining room, which was silent. Both Sargon and I distinctly had the impression of other diners, other people, the way you do when you're in an empty place that has seen a lot of people move through. I could swear I remember hearing music, but that may just have been the pain.

At any rate, no ghosts, just a place with a lot of old memories very close to the surface. Very close. The place is utterly beautiful, and utterly creepy, and was even more so before they restored it, shortly after we honeymooned there.

It wasn't until a couple of years later that I heard from a friend (who hadn't even heard about the ankle incident) that, on that self-same stairway, a woman had fallen and broken her neck on her honeymoon. It was suspected that her husband, a doctor, had pushed her.

Yeah, that's the Twilight Zone music you're hearing.

I haven't had any luck tracking down the source of this legend, because the folks at the Crescent really, really don't like talking about ghosts, or bad things that have happened there. This is either because they are covering things up, or because they want you to take one of their ghost tours. Either way, probably shrewd, since mystery is good for business.

Anyway, we came home early because I couldn't walk at all, and the doctor said it was about the worst a sprain can be without snapping something or breaking something. I couldn't walk for a couple of weeks. It pretty much sucked, but it makes a great story. Especially the part where I went plummeting down the steps and my dress flew up, flashing my naked ass to the world. (What?! Why the hell would I wear panties to dinner on my freakin' honeymoon?)

And now, for the actual reenactment:

No Naamahs were harmed to make these photographs. )

Now, I promised you a chance to tell your own horror stories.

I want [livejournal.com profile] bat_cheva and her husband to have something really goofy to read when they get back. And this is also my way of ensuring that, you know, they're having a good time and will come home totally safe.

So, let's have it. What's your worst honeymoon story? Did your wedded bliss start out with a bang when you blew a tire being chased by the Wild Hunt? Did your spouse turn into a tentacular sea-creature and try to unscrew your head like a bottle cap? Did your mother-in-law also stay the night?

Tell!
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (WTF)
I promised you the nightmare honeymoon story, and you're going to get it.

We were staying in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, a small artsy tourist community in the heart of the Ozarks. It's a wonderful place, and I try to get out there every couple of years just to look at all the pretty stuff.

Eureka Springs is home of the historic Crescent Hotel, built in 1886 and now fully restored to its former glory. It's utterly gorgeous, captivatingly so. It is also haunted.

I will state for the record that I am no great believer in ghosts. I don't categorically deny the supernatural, but I do believe that most experiences I and others have had are explicable by more mundane means.

That said, I do believe the trip was cursed.

The first night I was hit with an allergy attack so bad I could not see to drive. There was no 24-hour pharmacy in town, so we had to drive 20 miles through blind-curving Ozark mountain roads to the nearest Wal-Mart. In pitch darkness. No streetlights. Total dropoffs on either side. In the pelting rain. I had to go along, because my driver can't navigate by himself, and if he got lost, I knew he would never find his way home.

The ordeal was enough to wear me out completely. We got back to the hotel and crashed. Inasmuch as you can "crash" in a room with a portrait that stares and stares and staaares at you, and a rocking chair that isn't quite empty, even when it is.

The next day was fun; we walked around town, bought some stuff, had a good time. When evening came, we got dressed and prepared to go downstairs to dine in the gorgeous ballroom.

As I went down the stairs – walking, mind you, not running – I tripped over nothing at all and went pitching ass over teakettle. I only narrowly avoided breaking my neck. As it was, I twisted my ankle quite badly. I, of course, was sitting on the landing laughing my ass off, while Sargon worried over me.

We limped down to the dining room, had dinner anyway, with my foot in a chair and an ice pack on the ankle. The food was awesome, but the dining room was creepy as hell. It was completely empty, and in the slanting yellow sun, it seemed to have the cast of yesteryear.

We were alone in the dining room, which was silent. Both Sargon and I distinctly had the impression of other diners, other people, the way you do when you're in an empty place that has seen a lot of people move through. I could swear I remember hearing music, but that may just have been the pain.

At any rate, no ghosts, just a place with a lot of old memories very close to the surface. Very close. The place is utterly beautiful, and utterly creepy, and was even more so before they restored it, shortly after we honeymooned there.

It wasn't until a couple of years later that I heard from a friend (who hadn't even heard about the ankle incident) that, on that self-same stairway, a woman had fallen and broken her neck on her honeymoon. It was suspected that her husband, a doctor, had pushed her.

Yeah, that's the Twilight Zone music you're hearing.

I haven't had any luck tracking down the source of this legend, because the folks at the Crescent really, really don't like talking about ghosts, or bad things that have happened there. This is either because they are covering things up, or because they want you to take one of their ghost tours. Either way, probably shrewd, since mystery is good for business.

Anyway, we came home early because I couldn't walk at all, and the doctor said it was about the worst a sprain can be without snapping something or breaking something. I couldn't walk for a couple of weeks. It pretty much sucked, but it makes a great story. Especially the part where I went plummeting down the steps and my dress flew up, flashing my naked ass to the world. (What?! Why the hell would I wear panties to dinner on my freakin' honeymoon?)

And now, for the actual reenactment:

No Naamahs were harmed to make these photographs. )

Now, I promised you a chance to tell your own horror stories.

I want [livejournal.com profile] bat_cheva and her husband to have something really goofy to read when they get back. And this is also my way of ensuring that, you know, they're having a good time and will come home totally safe.

So, let's have it. What's your worst honeymoon story? Did your wedded bliss start out with a bang when you blew a tire being chased by the Wild Hunt? Did your spouse turn into a tentacular sea-creature and try to unscrew your head like a bottle cap? Did your mother-in-law also stay the night?

Tell!
naamah_darling: Still from The Last Unicorn animated movie of a springtime forest with a path leading through it. (Road Home)
Sometimes I think that if my life had a soundtrack, it would be Mannheim Steamroller's Fresh Aire I - IV.

Oh, I know that these albums are little more than Disneyfied classical with a godawful gloss of 70's pop synth, a beautiful and technically proficient version of the sort of thing you'd find on a generic "Romantic Interludes" album: the modern, the medieval, and the classical all thrown together in a softcore New Age orgy. I also know that, good as they are, they paved the way for the soul-neutered drivel that plagues metaphysical bookstores to this day.

But I grew up listening to these albums. They were my first introduction to music. Revisiting them brings back powerful memories.

I had scarlet fever in the middle of a sweltering summer. It must have been over a hundred degrees, and the inside of the cadmium-red Ford EXP was violently hot, but even smothered under my blanket and huggy pillow I was cold. The Dream was playing on the 8-track, and I focused on it while Mom drove me to my grandmother's house. I stared into the EXP's rearview mirror with growing fascination. Something huge was following us, scuttling just behind the receding treeline. We were being stalked by a giant crab. I had such a high fever I was hallucinating. I couldn't have been more than four.

A year or two later, I remember standing in front of the five-foot-high speakers the first time my parents played Fresh Aire IV. The G Major Toccata opened up like an assault. One hard slam and every hair on my body stood up. The massive push of the keyboards catapulted me into a storm of sound. It's still one of my favorite pieces, exultant and terrifying in its bigness.

The smaller, silly pieces were good, too. The Cricket, with its opening chorus of insects, its cheesy medley of synth chirps and sci-fi space noises, inspired me to draw pictures of an army of bugs doing battle with a battalion of toads riding on cats. Toads firing laser beams.

Midnight on a Full Moon was my favorite at the time, with its joyous notes chopped out on a toy piano to the accompaniment of exultant horns. At once powerful and absurd, it was my one-way ticket to a wild Russian sleigh ride complete with wolves, flying horses, and really neat clothes.

But most of all, I remember the buffalo.

We often took long car trips through the countryside when I was young. Our favorite destination was Woolaroc, the 3,500-acre ranch retreat of oil baron Frank Phillips. It's a wildlife preserve, museum, and gallery now, one of the absolute coolest things in Oklahoma. I spent hours of my childhood in a darkness full of guns, shrunken heads, and taxidermy, my parents lifting me up to look at paintings.

And after the mummy-haunted dark, the drive home through brilliant sun and song. The Osage Hills are beautiful in any season, but the mixture of woods and fields becomes magical in the height of summer; the heat raises gnats from the grass and the sunlight burns the green in every leaf to a shimmering gold. We would drive home with one of the Fresh Aire albums playing, and watch the wildlife.

A captive herd of buffalo roamed the grounds, and even half-tame they were terrifying beasts. They grazed near the roadside like the black-eyed prehistoric beasts they were, in their mats of unraveling hair. With their massive shoulders, sloping spine, and silly little tails, they seemed at once laughable and monstrous. They were always there; their breath and bodies steaming in the falling snow as they stood grouped for warmth, or rain streaming from their hides in April as they foraged for new grass. And in the summer, the thick smell of them would come through the air conditioning vents, mingling with the music.

Because of the drives, we came to call those four albums "buffalo music," and I still think of them that way; they are evocative of fearlessness and freedom and long summer rides in the car, of peaceable quiet as we rode wordless as the buffalo, the music the only speech we needed.

Later, I came to appreciate those albums for the imagery they suggested to an overflowing brain. Long after the toads and laser beams, Fresh Aire II became the soundtrack for the imaginary world I created with a dear friend. I still have a hand-drawn map of that land hanging in my living room. To this day, that album recalls what little joy I had in my teenage years, and all the love I had for a place that does not exist. I will write something set there someday, and I hope that wherever he is, Chris doesn't begrudge me that.

I've been listening to all four albums over the past couple of days. The music creates a perfect triad of nostalgia, sorrow, and pleasure. Nothing brings to mind my parents' presence more powerfully, most especially my mother; no music is more deeply connected to the good parts of my childhood; and yet even those good memories are now inverted.

It's not my favorite music but it's some of the most personal music I have. And even as it gives me pleasure, it causes pain. Pain to know that summer is gone, that those times of buffalo chewing in the yellow heat, of stories passed between friends, will not come again. I have become estranged from my companion and my inner homeland, my mother is gone. Death, time, life, have introduced a sharp note.

It's a dissonance, but it's a consonance, too, these differing notes of memory. It is beautiful to play the memories back all together, like a perfect fifth. But nostalgia can shift to sorrow, that one off note intrudes, and then I feel myself reduced by grief.

Here I am on the cusp of 30, between books, between projects, moving from one life to another. Transitioning. More adult than ever, still not quite there, I am caught between memory and my next movement, suspended in paradox. Restless. A diminished fifth; almost consonant, almost harmonious.

That's me, though, isn't it? Forever singing the devil's note, just a few steps shy of the divine interval.

That's all of us.
naamah_darling: Still from The Last Unicorn animated movie of a springtime forest with a path leading through it. (Road Home)
Sometimes I think that if my life had a soundtrack, it would be Mannheim Steamroller's Fresh Aire I - IV.

Oh, I know that these albums are little more than Disneyfied classical with a godawful gloss of 70's pop synth, a beautiful and technically proficient version of the sort of thing you'd find on a generic "Romantic Interludes" album: the modern, the medieval, and the classical all thrown together in a softcore New Age orgy. I also know that, good as they are, they paved the way for the soul-neutered drivel that plagues metaphysical bookstores to this day.

But I grew up listening to these albums. They were my first introduction to music. Revisiting them brings back powerful memories.

I had scarlet fever in the middle of a sweltering summer. It must have been over a hundred degrees, and the inside of the cadmium-red Ford EXP was violently hot, but even smothered under my blanket and huggy pillow I was cold. The Dream was playing on the 8-track, and I focused on it while Mom drove me to my grandmother's house. I stared into the EXP's rearview mirror with growing fascination. Something huge was following us, scuttling just behind the receding treeline. We were being stalked by a giant crab. I had such a high fever I was hallucinating. I couldn't have been more than four.

A year or two later, I remember standing in front of the five-foot-high speakers the first time my parents played Fresh Aire IV. The G Major Toccata opened up like an assault. One hard slam and every hair on my body stood up. The massive push of the keyboards catapulted me into a storm of sound. It's still one of my favorite pieces, exultant and terrifying in its bigness.

The smaller, silly pieces were good, too. The Cricket, with its opening chorus of insects, its cheesy medley of synth chirps and sci-fi space noises, inspired me to draw pictures of an army of bugs doing battle with a battalion of toads riding on cats. Toads firing laser beams.

Midnight on a Full Moon was my favorite at the time, with its joyous notes chopped out on a toy piano to the accompaniment of exultant horns. At once powerful and absurd, it was my one-way ticket to a wild Russian sleigh ride complete with wolves, flying horses, and really neat clothes.

But most of all, I remember the buffalo.

We often took long car trips through the countryside when I was young. Our favorite destination was Woolaroc, the 3,500-acre ranch retreat of oil baron Frank Phillips. It's a wildlife preserve, museum, and gallery now, one of the absolute coolest things in Oklahoma. I spent hours of my childhood in a darkness full of guns, shrunken heads, and taxidermy, my parents lifting me up to look at paintings.

And after the mummy-haunted dark, the drive home through brilliant sun and song. The Osage Hills are beautiful in any season, but the mixture of woods and fields becomes magical in the height of summer; the heat raises gnats from the grass and the sunlight burns the green in every leaf to a shimmering gold. We would drive home with one of the Fresh Aire albums playing, and watch the wildlife.

A captive herd of buffalo roamed the grounds, and even half-tame they were terrifying beasts. They grazed near the roadside like the black-eyed prehistoric beasts they were, in their mats of unraveling hair. With their massive shoulders, sloping spine, and silly little tails, they seemed at once laughable and monstrous. They were always there; their breath and bodies steaming in the falling snow as they stood grouped for warmth, or rain streaming from their hides in April as they foraged for new grass. And in the summer, the thick smell of them would come through the air conditioning vents, mingling with the music.

Because of the drives, we came to call those four albums "buffalo music," and I still think of them that way; they are evocative of fearlessness and freedom and long summer rides in the car, of peaceable quiet as we rode wordless as the buffalo, the music the only speech we needed.

Later, I came to appreciate those albums for the imagery they suggested to an overflowing brain. Long after the toads and laser beams, Fresh Aire II became the soundtrack for the imaginary world I created with a dear friend. I still have a hand-drawn map of that land hanging in my living room. To this day, that album recalls what little joy I had in my teenage years, and all the love I had for a place that does not exist. I will write something set there someday, and I hope that wherever he is, Chris doesn't begrudge me that.

I've been listening to all four albums over the past couple of days. The music creates a perfect triad of nostalgia, sorrow, and pleasure. Nothing brings to mind my parents' presence more powerfully, most especially my mother; no music is more deeply connected to the good parts of my childhood; and yet even those good memories are now inverted.

It's not my favorite music but it's some of the most personal music I have. And even as it gives me pleasure, it causes pain. Pain to know that summer is gone, that those times of buffalo chewing in the yellow heat, of stories passed between friends, will not come again. I have become estranged from my companion and my inner homeland, my mother is gone. Death, time, life, have introduced a sharp note.

It's a dissonance, but it's a consonance, too, these differing notes of memory. It is beautiful to play the memories back all together, like a perfect fifth. But nostalgia can shift to sorrow, that one off note intrudes, and then I feel myself reduced by grief.

Here I am on the cusp of 30, between books, between projects, moving from one life to another. Transitioning. More adult than ever, still not quite there, I am caught between memory and my next movement, suspended in paradox. Restless. A diminished fifth; almost consonant, almost harmonious.

That's me, though, isn't it? Forever singing the devil's note, just a few steps shy of the divine interval.

That's all of us.

The Metro

Nov. 27th, 2006 04:38 pm
naamah_darling: Glass of tawny port on a table branded with a seven-pointed star. (Port Wine and the Morning Star)
Sargon snapped some pictures of the Metro on Saturday. I took the last two.

Metro 07
The sign we have all come to love. The Metro Diner on 11th street.

More pics under the cut. )

From what I understand, the university paid off the owner of the land the Metro sits on so they could raze the diner, but did not pay the owners of the diner itself. They were promised money to cover moving expenses so that they could shift locations, but the money wasn't remotely enough to cover costs.

Metro 09
One last night of lights.

The Metro

Nov. 27th, 2006 04:38 pm
naamah_darling: Glass of tawny port on a table branded with a seven-pointed star. (Port Wine and the Morning Star)
Sargon snapped some pictures of the Metro on Saturday. I took the last two.

Metro 07
The sign we have all come to love. The Metro Diner on 11th street.

More pics under the cut. )

From what I understand, the university paid off the owner of the land the Metro sits on so they could raze the diner, but did not pay the owners of the diner itself. They were promised money to cover moving expenses so that they could shift locations, but the money wasn't remotely enough to cover costs.

Metro 09
One last night of lights.

Nostalgia

Nov. 24th, 2006 04:14 pm
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Lucian No Going Back)
I just came back from what will probably be my last meal ever at the Metro Diner, which is this great little greasy spoon not far from my house. It's a major Tulsa landmark, a completely one of a kind building. It sits on old Route 66, and it serves the kind of diner food you can only get in places with a visible film of grease on every surface. You can still get Cokes in little glass bottles, and they make a mean root beer float. I've been eating crappy cheeseburgers there for years. The decor is awash with '50s cheesiness, complete with chrome, neon, and excessive doses of Lucy and Elvis. I adore it in a way I don't adore any other restaurant in town.

Tulsa University has exercised the rights of eminent domain to have the Metro torn down so they can construct a totally unnecessary University entrance. The Metro is closing on Sunday, and it will be demolished. TU is destroying a precious piece of Tulsa history while the shitty chain restaurants next door and across the street remain untouched.

I'm bitter. You bet your ass I'm bitter. We've known it's coming for years; there's been talk about the university project since 1984. The owners have stalled for years, have fought tooth and nail, and they have lost. I'm not vengeful, but I really think the people responsible should be sentenced to fuck themselves with diamond-studded donkey dicks until they die of a shit hemorrhage.

My sister and I ate there a few times when I was a tween and she lived on this side of town, and I remember one occasion especially well. There were gravy fries involved, and it was very late at night. It was the first time I'd ever stayed out that late without my folks around, and it felt . . . well, I felt like a grownup. I managed to snag the same booth this time. I sat where she had sat, and the guy who waited on me was the same guy who waited on us 15 years ago. It's that kind of place. And soon it'll be gone. So I had a cheeseburger with onions fried in, and some fries, and a huge slice of apple pie, and then I went into the parking lot and I fucking cried about it like a big sissy. I didn't feel like a grownup at all.

I forgot my camera, and I don't know if I have the heart to go back and get pictures, but I'll see if I can dig some up or have Sargon take some over the weekend. There's an auction for the restaurant fixtures and memorabilia next month, but I don't know if I'll go. I think it would break my heart to see it without its people in it.

There's a game going on at TU right now. I can hear the wail of their sirens even now, announcing the Golden Hurricane. What a load of dribbling monkeyfuck it all is. I am so fucking disgusted with those people. I know the athletes and the fans have nothing to do with it, but it still makes me sick. That school is like a spreading cancer, I swear. They just keep buying things up, razing them, putting in parking lots and stupid sports shit. What the fuck is any of that worth?

Bastards can't pull down my happy memories, at least.

Nostalgia

Nov. 24th, 2006 04:14 pm
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Lucian No Going Back)
I just came back from what will probably be my last meal ever at the Metro Diner, which is this great little greasy spoon not far from my house. It's a major Tulsa landmark, a completely one of a kind building. It sits on old Route 66, and it serves the kind of diner food you can only get in places with a visible film of grease on every surface. You can still get Cokes in little glass bottles, and they make a mean root beer float. I've been eating crappy cheeseburgers there for years. The decor is awash with '50s cheesiness, complete with chrome, neon, and excessive doses of Lucy and Elvis. I adore it in a way I don't adore any other restaurant in town.

Tulsa University has exercised the rights of eminent domain to have the Metro torn down so they can construct a totally unnecessary University entrance. The Metro is closing on Sunday, and it will be demolished. TU is destroying a precious piece of Tulsa history while the shitty chain restaurants next door and across the street remain untouched.

I'm bitter. You bet your ass I'm bitter. We've known it's coming for years; there's been talk about the university project since 1984. The owners have stalled for years, have fought tooth and nail, and they have lost. I'm not vengeful, but I really think the people responsible should be sentenced to fuck themselves with diamond-studded donkey dicks until they die of a shit hemorrhage.

My sister and I ate there a few times when I was a tween and she lived on this side of town, and I remember one occasion especially well. There were gravy fries involved, and it was very late at night. It was the first time I'd ever stayed out that late without my folks around, and it felt . . . well, I felt like a grownup. I managed to snag the same booth this time. I sat where she had sat, and the guy who waited on me was the same guy who waited on us 15 years ago. It's that kind of place. And soon it'll be gone. So I had a cheeseburger with onions fried in, and some fries, and a huge slice of apple pie, and then I went into the parking lot and I fucking cried about it like a big sissy. I didn't feel like a grownup at all.

I forgot my camera, and I don't know if I have the heart to go back and get pictures, but I'll see if I can dig some up or have Sargon take some over the weekend. There's an auction for the restaurant fixtures and memorabilia next month, but I don't know if I'll go. I think it would break my heart to see it without its people in it.

There's a game going on at TU right now. I can hear the wail of their sirens even now, announcing the Golden Hurricane. What a load of dribbling monkeyfuck it all is. I am so fucking disgusted with those people. I know the athletes and the fans have nothing to do with it, but it still makes me sick. That school is like a spreading cancer, I swear. They just keep buying things up, razing them, putting in parking lots and stupid sports shit. What the fuck is any of that worth?

Bastards can't pull down my happy memories, at least.
naamah_darling: Still from The Last Unicorn animated movie of a springtime forest with a path leading through it. (Road Home)
It begins in a month I don't remember, like it does every year. This year I am no older than seven. It is April, maybe. Or May. Whenever the rains first come.

One song, two, beginning when the sky over the park goes pink, ending sometime after dewfall when I should be long abed. Tiny, trilling voices call down in the creek across the street. The chorus of toads. One begins. Another. A third. They sing to one another, they sing an end to the long winter. They sing of damp earth, wet grass, of the coolness of water on soft bodies.

At first it is only a handful, and I can resist the call. But one night it becomes too much and I have to leave, slip out late and stalk down the steep slope to the narrow concrete banks of the creek, hazardous with weeds and slick moss, to hunt in the tall grass for the toads. I know them better than anyone, I know all their ways. I still cannot tell you their scientific name, but I can tell you how to find one on a moonless night, even when they are not singing. I learn to call to them, and they will answer my call. If I sit very still and wait, they will come to me as though conjured.

Toads. )
naamah_darling: Still from The Last Unicorn animated movie of a springtime forest with a path leading through it. (Road Home)
It begins in a month I don't remember, like it does every year. This year I am no older than seven. It is April, maybe. Or May. Whenever the rains first come.

One song, two, beginning when the sky over the park goes pink, ending sometime after dewfall when I should be long abed. Tiny, trilling voices call down in the creek across the street. The chorus of toads. One begins. Another. A third. They sing to one another, they sing an end to the long winter. They sing of damp earth, wet grass, of the coolness of water on soft bodies.

At first it is only a handful, and I can resist the call. But one night it becomes too much and I have to leave, slip out late and stalk down the steep slope to the narrow concrete banks of the creek, hazardous with weeds and slick moss, to hunt in the tall grass for the toads. I know them better than anyone, I know all their ways. I still cannot tell you their scientific name, but I can tell you how to find one on a moonless night, even when they are not singing. I learn to call to them, and they will answer my call. If I sit very still and wait, they will come to me as though conjured.

Toads. )
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Default)
Okay, [livejournal.com profile] theferrett's post yesterday about girls bullying girls has sparked some discussion and debate on the old f-list, as well as in Ferrett's own journal.

This is triggering for me, and it hurts to read some of the things that are getting said. So I am going to tell you the story of how I had the living shit beaten out of me in eighth grade, so that you'll all know where I'm coming from when I start expressing my feelings about forgiveness and bullies. It's long, but it's very important to me.

The story. )

Forgiveness. )

The point of all this. )

DISCLAIMER: This is a very, very hard topic to write about. Anyone who posts a comment to the effect of "you should forgive him" or "you should let go of your anger" will be flamed, frozen, and then banned, absolutely zero exceptions, and absolutely zero warnings. I know I need to find a way to let go. I'd love to be able to do it, and I'm working on it. I know you probably only want to help. You don't know me well enough to do it.

Also: If you're looking for a place to recount in detail your own stories of bullying or violence done to you, please ask yourself how relevant it is. I do care, but I don't want to read anything else triggering right now. No detail please, thanks.


link
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Default)
Okay, [livejournal.com profile] theferrett's post yesterday about girls bullying girls has sparked some discussion and debate on the old f-list, as well as in Ferrett's own journal.

This is triggering for me, and it hurts to read some of the things that are getting said. So I am going to tell you the story of how I had the living shit beaten out of me in eighth grade, so that you'll all know where I'm coming from when I start expressing my feelings about forgiveness and bullies. It's long, but it's very important to me.

The story. )

Forgiveness. )

The point of all this. )

DISCLAIMER: This is a very, very hard topic to write about. Anyone who posts a comment to the effect of "you should forgive him" or "you should let go of your anger" will be flamed, frozen, and then banned, absolutely zero exceptions, and absolutely zero warnings. I know I need to find a way to let go. I'd love to be able to do it, and I'm working on it. I know you probably only want to help. You don't know me well enough to do it.

Also: If you're looking for a place to recount in detail your own stories of bullying or violence done to you, please ask yourself how relevant it is. I do care, but I don't want to read anything else triggering right now. No detail please, thanks.


link
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Default)
Every year at about this time, my family would pile into the jeep and make a pilgrimage to Carmichael's Produce. In the barn, bushel baskets of potatoes, yams, and okra stood alongside whole tables full of seasonal fruit, mostly apples still dusty from the trees, and peaches, their smell drunkenly thick. A real cider press rolled out dark, cloudy liquid which was bottled unpasteurized on the spot. Jars of honey lined one wall, complete with comb. There were whole boxes of nuts, pecans and walnuts, peanuts raw or freshly roasted. A table full of homemade candy.

In the greenhouses, gourds and pumpkins lay on piles of haybales in lumpy masses, like a vegetable triage ward. There we would spend what seemed like hours poring over the pumpkins, grooming through the gourds, admiring the outlandish shapes and vivid colors of the varietals, the hollow rasp of the dried birdhouse gourds swarming with seeds, the smooth skin of the pumpkins. The crisp October air was always full of blowing wisps of hay, the wind whispered through the cornshucks. The smell is one that is woven thick into the weft of my soul . . . the smell of dirt and hay and sunshine, the faint, sourish, vinegar smell of slightly spoiled pumpkins, the scent of turning leaves and autumn wind.

In a madcap rush to reclaim part of my childhood, and thus, part of my soul, Husband and I revisited Carmichael's today, and it was both more and less than I expected.

Once, nothing surrounded it but farmland, the fields between our town and the next one over. Now it inhabits an in-between zone where car dealerships and fast-food restaurants vie with clapboard fireworks stands (boarded up for the winter) and produce stands selling "watermelon's" or "caning tomateos." Perhaps "peach orchard honey from Real Bee's." This alone made me sad.

Perhaps they have not done as well in recent years. The pumpkin yard wasn't as full as I recall. The dozen tables of produce in the barn were gone, there were only three, and what there was looked poor in comparison. Even accounting for the gilding of memory, this lily has faded.

Yet it smelled the same. Everything was still there. And it was more than I expected because it fulfilled me still, to stand among the ripe, rich pumpkins on the second of October, on a day with no clouds and a blinding silver sun, watching cornshucks wave at my shadow. It wasn't what I remembered, and perhaps because I wasn't expecting it to be, it was okay.

We ended up with two fat pumpkins that will be ritually gutted somewhere around the 25th, some apples, some peppers, some squash, and some dry gourds I intend to make into boxes. It was great, smelling the hay, fingering pearly shafts of millet, the hard teeth of Indian corn, the raspy shells of peanuts and the papery wrappers of huge purple onions. Laughing at all the phallic produce -- winter squash, zucchini, cucumbers, the hairy, insectile pods of okra, gourds with long necks and dangling bottoms, some ramrod-straight, some sadly curved; and yet admiring it anyway for the reminder of bounty in all its forms, a visual warning that this is the last reaping, the last harvest, before winter falls. A time of plenty before the cold.

So I completed an October ritual that I haven't been able to enjoy for years now, and I feel better for it.

As we left, some blonde woman in worn bluejeans was chucking haybales into the back of a pickup truck.

Fuck it. I love Oklahoma.

link
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Default)
Every year at about this time, my family would pile into the jeep and make a pilgrimage to Carmichael's Produce. In the barn, bushel baskets of potatoes, yams, and okra stood alongside whole tables full of seasonal fruit, mostly apples still dusty from the trees, and peaches, their smell drunkenly thick. A real cider press rolled out dark, cloudy liquid which was bottled unpasteurized on the spot. Jars of honey lined one wall, complete with comb. There were whole boxes of nuts, pecans and walnuts, peanuts raw or freshly roasted. A table full of homemade candy.

In the greenhouses, gourds and pumpkins lay on piles of haybales in lumpy masses, like a vegetable triage ward. There we would spend what seemed like hours poring over the pumpkins, grooming through the gourds, admiring the outlandish shapes and vivid colors of the varietals, the hollow rasp of the dried birdhouse gourds swarming with seeds, the smooth skin of the pumpkins. The crisp October air was always full of blowing wisps of hay, the wind whispered through the cornshucks. The smell is one that is woven thick into the weft of my soul . . . the smell of dirt and hay and sunshine, the faint, sourish, vinegar smell of slightly spoiled pumpkins, the scent of turning leaves and autumn wind.

In a madcap rush to reclaim part of my childhood, and thus, part of my soul, Husband and I revisited Carmichael's today, and it was both more and less than I expected.

Once, nothing surrounded it but farmland, the fields between our town and the next one over. Now it inhabits an in-between zone where car dealerships and fast-food restaurants vie with clapboard fireworks stands (boarded up for the winter) and produce stands selling "watermelon's" or "caning tomateos." Perhaps "peach orchard honey from Real Bee's." This alone made me sad.

Perhaps they have not done as well in recent years. The pumpkin yard wasn't as full as I recall. The dozen tables of produce in the barn were gone, there were only three, and what there was looked poor in comparison. Even accounting for the gilding of memory, this lily has faded.

Yet it smelled the same. Everything was still there. And it was more than I expected because it fulfilled me still, to stand among the ripe, rich pumpkins on the second of October, on a day with no clouds and a blinding silver sun, watching cornshucks wave at my shadow. It wasn't what I remembered, and perhaps because I wasn't expecting it to be, it was okay.

We ended up with two fat pumpkins that will be ritually gutted somewhere around the 25th, some apples, some peppers, some squash, and some dry gourds I intend to make into boxes. It was great, smelling the hay, fingering pearly shafts of millet, the hard teeth of Indian corn, the raspy shells of peanuts and the papery wrappers of huge purple onions. Laughing at all the phallic produce -- winter squash, zucchini, cucumbers, the hairy, insectile pods of okra, gourds with long necks and dangling bottoms, some ramrod-straight, some sadly curved; and yet admiring it anyway for the reminder of bounty in all its forms, a visual warning that this is the last reaping, the last harvest, before winter falls. A time of plenty before the cold.

So I completed an October ritual that I haven't been able to enjoy for years now, and I feel better for it.

As we left, some blonde woman in worn bluejeans was chucking haybales into the back of a pickup truck.

Fuck it. I love Oklahoma.

link
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Default)
Right before I woke up I dreamed about my old cat, Weed. In the dream I went into my Mom's room, which used to be my old room, and there she was, lying in the sunbeam coming in from the southeast window just like she always did. When I said her name, she got up, stretched creakily, and made that sound somewhere between a bedspring and a rusty hinge and a goat's bleat that was her hand-me-down meow.

I got Weed when I was three. It was May, the dogwoods were blooming and the redbuds just coming out. The air smelled like springtime. I was inspecting the tulips in the front yard when three teenagers came by. One was carrying a black-and-white bundle of fur.

"Hey, do you want a kitten?" one of them asked.

We already had two cats, and I loved them, but they were really my Dad's cats and I wanted one of my own. Naturally, I said "yes."

Isn't that how it always happens? )



I still love you, sweetie. I hope it's springtime wherever you are.

link

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