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I’d forgotten how hard blogs are. There’s a story to tell and I keep thinking it’s about Nepal. I should be writing about Nepal. I am supposed to be writing The Nepal Story, after all. So, why can I not write about Nepal?
I was once told by my mentor to trust my instincts when piecing a narrative together, meaning I shouldn’t be so arrogant as to think I can manhandle an experience if I don’t let it unfold. My story hasn’t even unfolded yet. I want to write a redemption story that hasn’t happened, so it’s no wonder I can’t write about it. Truth be told, mine is probably not a redemption story anyway. Deep down, I know Nepal as a requisite transformative experience will be dark because, when reduced to its smallest divisible parts, Nepal is all in my head.
And there’s a writer in there, too, who refuses to shut the hell up.
From a distance, a shadowed mirage is waving at me like a summer heat reflection on hot pavement and this passage comes back to me:
Despite our best intentions, we forget the dead.
Do they forget us? Jane Summer, “Erebus”
So. Leigh “Bindo” Binder*, if you refuse to die, I’ll just have to kill you off in a mediocre poem that’s an apology as much as a lament.
When the stem drooped and the petals died,
Sleeping beauty sleep
I awoke to gold
Light too bright
You offered me a dim corner
You and I shared caramelized melancholy
Like cotton candy
Adolescent sweetness, the things that grew in our heads
Restless dreams like your cigarette smoke
From a few thousand miles away
Choke me awake
Weighed together like stone
Bound and pull down like some English great, we weren’t built for this life
But mostly: Have we lived our eternity?
*Leigh Binder was a friend and fellow writer, who died two years ago leaving only his writing and YouTube videos (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-43KL2khFHhJ-LmRqA-y2A) to haunt me.
There is nothing quite as uniquely satisfying as a good book. A book of the soul, writing that just clicks with some inherent voice in your head. You won’t find me talking about authors’ love sonnets and classics, reciting flowing language that sags and droops like the lost, loose skin that falls in defeat when it’s shed the fat and the filling beneath it.
Perhaps it is enough to say that I like the words and the way the words string together a lullaby, reminding me there are kindred spirits in the world.
A good date is always a bad date for a writer. I get a rush of delight when I realize things have gone horribly awry and I’m stuck in a situation that I will be forced to endure for another 53 minutes. It’s sweet, the taste of the meat of him, the reassuring thought that I own this story now. I can twist and spin and create a reality of terror and delight for myself and, hopefully, my readers.
I had a date yesterday. It was very awkward until we started making out. He had squinty eyes and was a bad kisser. He wore a pimp ring on his finger. I admit to liking it.
I received a prestigious award (some sort of Lovely Blogger thing) from Bindo, who is my male poetic twin. We wallow together and that takes effort.
I don’t like the word “lovely” in this case. I shall rename my awards as Motherfucking Good Blog Awards.
- Bryan Borland. Friend and Pseudo-Foe. His words are possibly the love of my life.
- B.R. Belletryst. A poet bursting with potential who sometimes forgets that.
- 1writegirl. Honesty, vulnerability, and humor are the shit.
- Val Russell. No bullshit, a hard ice edge that can slowly be melted.
- Paul Squires. Beautiful prayers that move my soul.
- Bindo. I like it raw and dark. A blog that feels like home.
- Patrice. Reminds me art is beautiful in all forms.
- Paul Russell. Delicacy incarnate.
- Jessie Carty. North Carolina and you have a good harmony going on.
- Uncle Tree. Wisdom with a good dose of humor.
- The Mess Pot. You make me hungry. What’s for dinner?
- mariana. Philosophical you.
- Savage Chickens.
- Fuck You, Penquin.
I’ve been inspired by many of my fellow bloggers and my precious Bunny-Love (who considers me Mother and Poetic Grin his Other Mother, for he is the logical love child of the unnatural union of Bryan and me) has generously answered my probing questions with grace and good humor.
1. There was a skit on SNL once where Will Farrell was playing Harry Carry and said, “If you were a hotdog and you were stranded on an island, would you eat yourself?” Well, would you?
It depends on the type of hotdog I would be; if I were to be any sort of alternative hotdog–turkey, soy, etc–no. Just no. However; if I happened to become, in my hotdog island isolation, a chilli dog, there would be nothing for rescuers to find. If I were to be transformed into a corndog, that would be ideal, because I can only ever eat about half of one. The taste is great, but I get sick of it easily. And really, that sounds like me.
2. Where you do get your inspiration for writing? (Also, please tell our esteemed readers where your name comes from.)
I get my inspirations from a variety of sources. The major provider is just observations I make while wandering around, watching people or animals or plants or documentaries. The second source would have to be love. Friendly, lustful, insatiable, painful, distraught, miserable, wonderful, joyful, manic, light, and especially dark, love. I get little echoes of writings from my friends, but my best work derived from love comes from relationships. There are a lot of gay themes, and gay romances explored in my writing.
In regards to my name, B.R. Belletryst, I should say that the first part was given to me by someone who will always mean a lot to me. B.R. stands for Bunny Rabbit. The name came about during a particularly verbal sexual scene in which he told me to sit and hop on his cock, and called me his cock-rabbit. It developed into a pet name, Bunny, and has since become a name I regularly associate with. The second part, Belletryst, is my own invention. It is a portmanteau, sort of. A belletrist is a writer who writes centered around aesthetics, which is something I’d like to believe I do. The latter half of this word was changed though, because of my influence from love. A tryst, as defined by The Free Dictionary, is an agreement between lovers, especially in regards to a location to meet at. This word making up so much of who I am, romantically, as well as quite a few of my dreams, seemed a natural alteration to the word belletrist.
And so with the poem “in which he wakes,” B.R. Belletryst was born. I had been operating my website before that, but it was really with that poem, and that series of events that inspired it that I became the person and poet that my dear friend MedicatedLady is interviewing today.
3. Can you tell me why I’m so obsessed with my dog poo-ing?
No; but I can offer you this–cat poop is the worst thing in the world. The worst thing in the world. Ever.
4. How did you know writing was going to be a major part of your life?
I never know that it will be. It’s just part of me. I can’t explain to you why I write, why I write what I write, and I can’t tell you, or others, to write, or how enriching it is, if it is. To give you an example of what I’m talking about, I just recently started work outside of writing, and haven’t written anything since September 28th, journaling aside. Writing is a biological function to me, natural. It is a bodily excretion, as someone once said to me. It oozes. It flows. It is important, and it is nothing. Writing is drool, is shit, is cum, is piss, is blood, is menstrual blood, is bile, is tears, is snot, is earwax. It’s slow, it’s explosive, it’s orgasmic, it’s release, it’s scary, it leaves a bad taste in your mouth, it is salty, it is gross, and it is beautiful and delicious. Writing is alchemy; primordial fluids coming together.
I don’t control when I’ll write, what I’ll write, or if I will feel like it at all. My idea about writing is that writers are and constantly become. Every day you write something, you become a writer, or tap into it, and it takes something from you, and gives you something else.
5. Ohio seems like a nice enough place. Can you give me the high points and low points of life there? Also, do people from Ohio support cows?
Ohio. There are decent theme parks and some kind of history involved, but it’s very boring. I live in Lancaster, Ohio–a small city that gets its kicks out of preserving American Civil War history. I’ve heard so much about General Sherman (even went to the middle school!) that I’ve lost a bit of respect for history. I’ve been in all the historical buildings, seen all those meticulously preserved outfits, rooms, and cannons, and the only thing I have to say about it is that it’s like keeping your dead grandfather’s toenails; creepy, unnecessary, and obsessive. But that’s just my opinion. I fully acknowledge that the Civil War and all involved were important to history, and the development of our country, but the extent to which my city revolves around it is ridiculous. In all honesty, my favorite part about Ohio is the people, and getting out of my city to go to Columbus. There’s a bit more culture, the people are more exciting, and there is always something to do.
That was a bit of a rant. Oh well, I’m planning on immigrating to Canada in years to come.
Cows, cows, cows. Nope. No support for cows whatsoever. I think that’s sort of an American thing. Or a human thing, considering Kobe Beef and cows everywhere else in the world, excluding India.
All around me, carnivorous people ripping them apart, screaming, chanting “BEEF! STEAK! JERKY! PRIME RIB! BURGER! RIBS! BARBECUE! TONGUE!”
And I hear their teeth, just gnashing,
gnashing, and holy fuck, it’s like trains
crashing, brains just like potatoes mashing,
something disturbing, but can’t look away,
teeth sinking in, tongue chewed on,
trying not to betray my senses
as I fight off winces, hunger growing,
growing, thoughts start slowing,
racing to realization, serenity or actualization
–Beef. Beef. It’s what I want. Juicy, rip it apart, consume, consume, oh gods it has consumed me, that fucking cow head, that fucking taste, give me more! MORE! I demand it!
MORE! Suddenly, meal finished,
I’m back, I abhor;
I can’t believe it was me, those actions, those … poor cows. Thoughts of meat hooks, slaughter houses, mooing, mooing, chopping, sawing, hooves flying and butchers laughing… Am I repulsed? Am I horrified? I’ll have chicken tomorrow. Or maybe… beef.
Visit Bunny’s website at http://brbelletryst.wordpress.com/
• Henry David Thoreau’s essay, “Walking.” It’s basically, let’s get closer to nature. He uses humor in the most effective way. You can get it in book form, which combines Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Nature. Both of these can probably be found on the internet for free. Not so much in love with Emerson.
• As a follow-up to his excellent Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia , Ahmed Rashad updates the historical relevance of the first book with recent events (from 2000 on) in Descent into Chaos: The United States and the Failure of Nation Building in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Central Asia. I haven’t read the whole thing, but I very much enjoy learning more about all the factors leading to the establishment of the Taliban and its hold over Central Asian countries.
• How to Shit in the Woods. It’s an environmentally sound instructional book with informative material for avoiding introducing any more pollutants into the wild than is already there.
• Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air, an account of the 1996 deaths of several climbers on Mt. Everest. Krakauer blends his personal narrative with explanations the Death Zone, the flippant commercialism of climbing the highest peaks in the world, and how a series of small mistakes can lead to catastrophic ends. I am still haunted by this book, years after I read it. Gripping.
• Haunted by Chuck Palahnuik. The drama of writers and reality shows. It’s hysterical. A wicked satire that writers are sure to enjoy.
So, I asked and she said yes. And so it is a pleasure to unveil our Val, our rightly nightly warrior. The one who speaks with truth beyond the Fucking Bullshit. I love her and this interview. Which makes sense as Val is perfectly loveable, as you well know, dear readers. Please give it up for our chosen one.
1. Val (dearest of all Vals). You’ve broken this down for me before. Tell me again. How does one endure the Bullshit of Life?
I’m happy you started us off on a topic I consider of utmost importance to a both a writer and a woman. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about it, being immersed in it, shooting it and philosophising about it.
First, one must identify the different types of Bullshit and their specific function in society/relationships before it can be endured.
Work Bullshit: This can be seen in the embellishment and padding of resumés, outrageous claims made around the coffee pot or water cooler (usually detailing some sort of extraordinary sexual conquest that is obviously false but everyone collectively pretends to believe), stories of active social lives outside the office/workplace that don’t exist ie.; yachting expeditions, cocktail parties with people in upper management, hanging out with famous people like rock stars, actors and writers.
In addition, we have those accessories that are what I term, Physical Bullshit: fake shoes for short men, fake breasts for flat women, botox for anyone wrinkled and makeup applied by a bricklayer.
All acceptable Bullshit, but should be left at work, because it’s not applicable to anything else.
Friend Bullshit: Oh I wish I was more like you, I’m so jealous of you, You look great in that dress/suit/relationship. This is cowardly saving face and not wanting to be alone Bullshit. Anyone worth their salt is well aware the friendship can’t be real without lack of bullshit.
Dating Bullshit: Sure I loooooove bungee jumping/sky diving/rock climbing…this is of course related to: Sure, I can play guitar/was once in a film/loved the movie Titanic. All designed to get in someone’s pants/car/apartment/house/family/life. NOT conducive to anything longterm but fun as a time waster and exercising your inner thespian.
Universal Bullshit: This is a giant umbrella term used to cover a wide range of social illness creating bullshit: Anything said by a politician/clergy/health organization/scientific think tank funded by a government/drug company etc…All lies I tell ya.
Now, how does one endure it.Take control of it, never believe it, treat it like an explosive and only use when you need to move a large metaphorical rockface and NEVER…EVER…ignore it!
2. For that matter, Val (dearest of all Vals), how do writers endure? Tell us your secrets.
Writers endure by getting the crazy out of them and committing it to paper. If we didn’t have paper or laptops, we would see a whole lotta crazy people chipping away at granite boulders with a hammer and chisel a la Fred Flintstone. What is in must come out…it’s therapy really and same people call it art. Hehehe
3. You’re quite the scandalous Canadian. And by scandalous, I do not really know what I mean other than you’re Canadian and because I’m American, that seems scandalous. I know you understand what I mean and do not take offense. Do you (heart) Obama? Did you ever watch Alf? Don’t you think Obama and Alf would make a cute couple?
Yes, I fully embrace my hockey lovin’, snow shovellin’, prime minister electin’, maple leaf adornin’ gay marryin’ weed legalizin’ scandalous canuck self. :0
Do I heart Obama? NO. I don’t heart him. I only heart people I feel I know to be real. I’ve yet to see that person. When he emerges…oh say halfway through his term, ask me again. 😉 I think Obama would make a cute couple with Rahm. I’m just sayin’. Hmm, Rahm does look a bit like Alf…especially the eyebrows. hehehe
4. How did you celebrate your birthday? I need to know specifics. Val (dearest of all Vals), I feel as though I might take to stalking you. I have a great affection for you. Tell me about your birthday, dammit! I will not be ignored.
I opened presents: A painting of a medieval door, an ornate pie plate I’ve been coveting for eons, an African Violet, a journal for…wait for it…writing, a large lovely Swiss Chalet dinner and one more day of breathing, living and winding up anal people.
If you stalk me, you should be warned that I’m NOT a boring stalkee. Peculiar things seem to happen to me on a regular basis, so be forewarned. I won’t ignore you medicatedlady because I don’t want that sharp scathing weapon of wit turned in my direction. I’m wise about these things, I’m old now and I know stuff. 😉
5. Such a clichéd question but where do you get your inspiration? And also, when did you know you would be/were a writer?
Bullshit of course. Well, that and pain. The agony in pain that causes a person to give up or emerge stronger. The humour in pain…oh yes, it’s a veritable flourishing field of hilarity on the frontline of suffering. I’ve met the funniest people on the street. True comic geniuses with nothing to lose.
I knew I was a writer when I was three and I told a lie and someone believed it. I then told it the next day with more details and they still believed it. Oh god I knew I was on to something then and when I learned to make letters into sentences I wrote those lies down so they would be permanent. Now, it’s called fiction HA! Of course as I grew older, the truth started creeping in and now it’s called ART…Remember? Therapy for crazy writers.
I enjoyed your probing questions my dedicatedmedicatedlady and I’m flattered as fuck that you chose me. Many are called to this blog, but few are chosen. HUGS
Please be sure to check out Val’s blog! http://valbrussell.wordpress.com/
In my continuing James Lipton-channeling interviews with fellow bloggers, I’ve had the pleasure of picking 1writegirl’s mind in typical ML seriousness/silliness. Be prepared to laugh and think, dear reader. Enjoy…and I know you will.
1. I’ve heard people say that they can’t write because they haven’t had anything terrible happen to them…or at least nothing interesting in comparison to what others deal with. (For example, someone might say that it’s silly to write a poem about split ends when there are people who could recount their death camp survival stories.) Do you find yourself needing to justify or validate the importance of your writing?
Not really. I mean I compare my work to that of other writers, I can’t help doing so, but everyone has their own story to tell, and not everyone can be a death camp survivor (Alas? Fortunately?). Granted, if all you ever wrote about was split ends, people would quickly tire of reading your stuff, but the trick is to take whatever you have to say and say it in such a way that other people find it intriguing. I think it’s true that much of the great writing in the world comes from either great despair or great joy, these are the times we are most inspired to write and as a result, produce deeper and more reflective pieces. But it can be done at any time, it just takes a bit more digging and more imagination when you aren’t being bombarded with some catastrophe or ecstasy. Look at Jane Austen. She wrote detailed novel after novel about complicated and intricate relationships between men and women, while in reality, she never experienced anything like that. Ditto with the Bronté sisters. It was strictly their imaginations that created those works that, amazingly enough, at least half the world could relate to, generation after generation. The other thing that keeps me from feeling a strong need to justify my writing is that I write first and foremost for myself, and secondarily, for others to read. Most writers I think are like this, at least those of us who don’t make a living from our writing – compelled to write, not sitting at a computer generating words because that’s our livelihood. We find time to write in spite of all else that’s going on in our lives, so naturally, what we write about is going to be important (to us, anyway.)
2. Let’s just say you are on a deserted island and there is little hope of rescue. There is, however, a broken CD player that constantly plays one song over and over and over again. Let’s also say you cannot access the CD player. It is in a tree and being guarded by a tropical raven-hawk beast, but you can choose the song. What would it be?
Ha! Okay, well, I guess I could rack my brain to come up with a song that I wouldn’t mind hearing over and over again for the rest of my life, but truth be told, there probably isn’t one. So I think I’d pick Beethoven’s Für Elise, that way I’d know the tune by heart but wouldn’t have the lyrics scrambling around in my brain interfering with all the great writing I’d be doing while stranded on this desert island.
3. How do you think blogging has influenced (your) writing?
First and foremost, it’s encouraged me to be more disciplined, writing almost daily. And secondly, it’s allowed me to experiment with other genres (like poetry) besides creative non-fiction and lengthy fiction, which is where the majority of my energies went previously. Prior to starting my blog, I wrote very little poetry. In addition, having an audience, one that gives you feedback, is conducive to improving qualities like clarity and subtle meaning you want the work to reflect. It’s harder to get these things when your work doesn’t see the light of day.
4. If you were sitting in a bar with your brain and you had a conversation, what would it be like?
Me: So, I’ve noticed you light up every time you’re in the presence of this guy, or even just thinking about him. Are you crazy-in-love with him, or what?
Brain: Most people would refer to it as being crazy-in-love. Apparently, however, I’m chemically addicted to him.
Me: I see. Is he chemically addicted to you?
Brain: I think so, but to a lesser degree.
Me: What will you do now?
Brain: I could really go for a cappuccino. Or, I could go jogging, and then get a cappuccino… I made it all the way down to Orcutt Street yesterday without stopping.
Me: Very funny. You know what I mean.
Brain: Damn, I just can’t fool you, can I? Okay, what will I do… just accept my feelings; accept his feelings. Stay unlocked (that’s brain slang for “keep an open mind.”)
Me: What’s your latest unexpected and/or random thought?
Brain: Hmmm…Well, I’ve been toying with the idea lately of joining a convent. Patience is a virtue, you know. I hear the nuns are all over it.
Me: I thought you didn’t believe in God?
Brain: Is that going to be a problem?
Me: Besides, what would you do with your son?
Brain: What, Catholics don’t like kids? That’s not what I’ve heard. But maybe you’re right. Maybe the convent isn’t the best place for someone like me. I mean, do they even serve cappuccino? And what if I want a smoke with my cappuccino? No, probably not a good fit…
Me: So, what are your plans?
Brain: What is it with plans, anyway? Does there always have to be a plan? Okay, okay…For now, work, make money… Learn to play the guitar. Learn to speak Spanish.
Me: What about long term?
Brain: Write. Travel when I can. Find joy in little pockets here and there. Live simply. And try to grasp some sort of comprehension, if possible, with regard to our existence, or lack thereof, in this universe. Then, of course, the grand finale: Die.
5. Seriously, what is your stance on black being neutral and “going with everything”?
ML, you’ll never catch me saying that black is over-rated, though neutral probably isn’t a word I’d use to describe it. Going with everything? Come now, a white cotton strappy sundress with clunky black heels? A navy blue suit with black pumps? I think not. I do love it, however; it’s the predominant color in my wardrobe. Not everyone looks good in black either. I happen to wear it well because it contrasts nicely with my blonde hair and fair skin. Or so I’ve been told. And I choose to believe it. Please don’t burst my bubble.
Check out 1writegirl’s blog at http://1writegirl.wordpress.com/.
We’ve built a happy home
created the life we wanted
the bubble that won’t pop
the reality blissfully skewed to our liking
With adopted children from the midsection
cousins in far away places
uncles and aunts
and mothers and fathers from all those places we’ve never been
writers, conspirators, sympathizers, antagonists all
don’t stay away too long
Bunny and I met recently through Bryan and we’ve fallen in love. He’s also our Asian love child, which has a little bit of an Oedipus-esque twist minus the shame and eyegauging, and I am happy to share the fruits of our love with all of my dear readers.
I. From dearest Bunny Belletryst.
Careful, my medicated lady, for if
you prescribe, know this, a narcotic, is what
A bunny leaps,
reads the label, but what it should say,
is a bunny takes you, takes you,
may lead you astray.
Should my jolly roger affect you lightly, pop a few like jolly ranchers…
Should my taste suit you, a Pavlov-drooling, babbling, witty banter…
take more. take more. take more.
What’s your dosage, my lady?
Can you take the bunny-pill pledge, Lady?
If you think the shoddy design on the old bottle is faded,
just read the poem,
the inscription, get jaded.
A bunny leaps and leaps and leaps.
And so will you, come, creep
to my bottle, hold out your hand.
Look before you leap,
or you may never understand.
From MedicatedLady to Bunny.
An indelible duo
of heart and head
Your Honey to my Bunny.
Twenty-four hours is too long to decide to love.
Let’s make it snappy
and I’ll give you double snaps
and a freckled smile
not much to give
but what I have.
It’s not that I think I’m good
it’s that I know you are
and I’m happy
to follow you
wherever your bunny trails may lead.
See Bunny’s blog at http://brbelletryst.wordpress.com/.