Stills from the video I am working on.
Stills from the video I am working on.
Look at this beautiful place in Big Sur in the middle of the trees, next to the river, where I am going in June. I think turning thirty will be okay if I’m there, on some cliff or in a tree.
Dear Canada, Pick Me: A Request for Naturalization
Citizenship is the easiest of all immigration application procedures in Canada. I think there are only ten sheets of paper in that envelope, which will be posted as soon as I get back to Toronto. There were over 100 in my permanent residence application, which included over a dozen photographs, criminal background checks from three countries and detailed descriptions of my parents’ views on marriage and their lack of attendance at my wedding. Before my American citizenship interview a small born again Christian woman gave me a tiny white pleather pocket bible in the parking lot of the Santa Ana Civic Center and told me that while citizenship in the United States of America was fine, citizenship in heaven was the only one worth having and I believe only someone who’s never felt the panic of a missing green card or woken up at 3 in the morning to stand in line at the INS office, a line slinking up stairwells, through a lobby and onto the sidewalk, would say something like that. During the interview I was so nervous that forgot my birthday twice, but I did remember Francis Scott Key and the order in which the President is replaced upon death. The swearing in ceremony was at a sports stadium Pomona and thousands of people were there, all more grateful than I, and we watched a video of George Bush and country singers and amber waves of grain under a soundtrack of America the Beautiful while people around me cried and clasped hands to hearts. Flying into the US for the first time after that with my American passport the immigration officer said “Welcome home” and it was the saddest thing to hear for the first time 17 years after I had moved to America and two years after I had already moved away from it forever.
Going to see Sleater-Kinney at the Metro for the first time in high school is one of the most amazing memories I have and I’ve never had anything close to that since. It was all women and that was insane to me, mostly going to ridiculous industrial shows where women mostly stood against the walls in complicated clothing waiting for their boyfriends to come back. Men didn’t seem to come to Sleater-Kinney shows then and the first time I saw any was at an El Ray show in maybe 2000, when The Gossip opened for them, and I hated it. It was an invasion and some kind of ending. But I still drove even from Toronto to Cleveland and spent half a day sitting in a sad sad bar next to the venue, populated only by people who spent half a day or even a whole one there every day, because I had no idea how to get anywhere in Cleveland except there and slept in an insanely priced $98 Motel 6 that night. I saw them at the ICA , went to secret shows in Camden at that creepy venue above a bar that where the ceiling is so low and when it fills up it feels certain that the oxygen will disappear or the floor will collapse right through and you’ll die crushed under people in skinny jeans and asymmetrical haircuts and pint glasses and girls with chain wallets. Even at the end when they seemed angry at the audience and it wasn’t really that fun. I always stood in front of Carrie, who was just the hottest fucking thing in the world that hour and a half, with this ridiculous fantasy that she’d fall in love with me, the same way I always hoped there would be a pony for me in the yard on my birthday. They went from being this messy thing that broke your heart, like The Last Song, like the whole first two records really, to some kind of machine in the best way, just these absolutely incredible musicians, on The Woods, who maybe weren’t telling stories about you anymore but who even cares because of the drumming, because of that guitar and that scream? Even One Beat to The Woods. Like they had been given magic powers for everything but lyrics. I miss them.
Some photographs from today.
Would someone from Orange County/Los Angeles like to be my model this week, first thing in the morning in Corona del Mar? Requirements: you need to be a woman, you need to be okay with wearing your underwear/a bikini on a public beach, you need to be okay with going in the water a little bit (not swimming!). I will give you coffees and cigarettes. Email me: helena.kvarnstrom AT gmail.com
I was the last person in the world to read this because I really didn’t want to like it. But I did. So much. It’s The Basic Eight much more than The Secret History, but it is better than both. (I didn’t like The Basic Eight much at all, although Daniel Handler’s Adverbs is really fantastic and you should read it if you have not) And one of the many reasons it was better is that in the last 150 pages the book became devastating. I was sitting in my hotel room last night scared out of my mind, not wanting to go out on the balcony lest something snatch me up and fling me sixteen stories down and this morning I was lying in the sand and my heart was racing and this afternoon I was ridiculously sad that Blue was gone, like getting to the end of Girl and realizing Andrea was over forever.
We rented this silly car and drove to the North Shore where the waves were 25 feet high and I only regretted not coming yesterday when they were 50. A man told us last night it had sounded like the ocean was coming up to swallow everything and everything shook. All the beaches were taped off and Shark’s Cove was just a whirlpool and the horseshoe of Waimea was lined with surfing photographers like a half round of candles on a birthday cake. We made some videos and some photographs and found a small sheltered area next to Shark’s Cove where we could swim shallowly. On the other side of the rocks we could hear the ocean coming closer and closer soon it started pouring in like someone had turned on a faucet. We drove to Turtle Bay, where the No Trespassing sign shows you exactly where the best trespassing is. In the water by the secret beach I saw tiny seals stick their heads out of the water.
By this time I was covered in mosquito bites and salt and maybe heatstroke.
I wrote this. I wrote this when I was twenty-two years old, right before I got married, right after my partner scraped together $400 to fly to California to live on a boat with me and drive all night to Las Vegas and drink hard drinks in Laguna Beach at ten in the morning and I posted it on Livejournal when I had a very public and alarmingly popular one. That was more than seven years ago and this past fall someone transcribed it, made it into a JPG and suddenly it was on ffffound and even more suddenly after that it was on thousands of people’s blogs. Literally thousands. But it was credited to Anonymous, which I guess is understandable since seven years is a long time to keep track of who wrote something on a Livejournal. My friend Erin found and told me about it, she had remember it all those years, and at first I was so embarrassed. Of everything I’ve made why did it have to be this melodramatic thing, made before I really knew anything at all? IT IS SO MELODRAMATIC. But my possessiveness is greater than my self-consciousness because when I see that some people weren’t even going along with Anonymous but saying they wrote it themselves I kind of want to claw their eyes out. It’s my melodrama. (Although one person credited it to Harvey Milk and that was the best)
Anyway, I wrote that.