Friday, April 25, 2008

programming note

i've decided to quit using the Cat monikers here. i'm not really digging them anymore, in this new(ish) incarnation of the blog - i don't want to ditch the anonymity completely, but i also think that the Cat motif has pretty well run its course.
  • BoyCat's name is jason. you probably already knew that.
  • CatCat's name is dottie. her namesake is dorothy parker, but we mostly call her dottie. unless she is being bad. then we tend to break out the four high decibels. and sometimes, when i am in a strange mood, i decide to call her "dorrr-fie," in a sing-song voice, like 15 times in a row. ahem. anyway.
and as for the family:
  • MomCat's name she doesn't like it when i call her by her first name in life, so i won't do it here on the blog. you're welcome mom.
  • DadCat's name i'm just going to run with it.
  • SisterCat's name is..."my sister." i might substitute "j." if i i'm feeling wild and crazy. or just can't make the two-world alternative fit in the damn sentence. i can - surprisingly, i know! - get finicky like that.
it's been fun, Cat pseudonyms. see you in the archives.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

the edge.

there’s a perfume that i wore when i was 14 years old. you can still get it today. that particular scent – that smell – you can still buy it in a store.

i am actually wearing it right now.


during my freshman year of high school, we spent a few weeks learning archery. it was the fall semester. leisurely, low-slung afternoons in gym glass, out along the soccer fields behind the school, learning how to fit a bow into an arrow – how to aim – how to shoot.

no, maybe it was the spring.

i enjoyed archery. the first lesson taught the basic mechanics of the enterprise, which were so simple and so difficult all at once – to balance the tip of the arrow in the notch of the bow, to pull the surprisingly resistant string taut and load it for bear. but i got the hang of it. i stared down the length of the arrows to the fat canvas targets beyond – the red, yellow, and blue rings – and tried not to second guess my aim. or not to second guess it that much, because, of course, there are always adjustments to be made. and i could usually, at least, hit the thick wheel of foam and fabric, elicit the satisfying thud that meant a mark had been found. it felt good – good to do this, even absent any real reason why.

just hit the mark. just don’t miss.

the next day, i woke up in the morning to find a huge bruise on my right arm – a darkening, oblong welt the size of an oyster shell on the inside of my elbow. to the inside of the inside, really – next to the crook, just to the left of where the nurse stretches your skin to look for a vein, eases the needle in, pulls the blood clean out.

it had gotten in the way. the edge of my elbow, the edge of myself. and i had kept hitting it - again and again and again - without knowing.

while it was grotesque, i have to admit that i was proud of it, in a perverse kind of way. proud in that odd way that we can be about traumas – like they signify something bigger just by happening. something went wrong, but at least there was evidence that something had happened at all. undeniable – the marking of me, the mistake made tangible. i watched it turn purple, then fade into yellow and grey over days and weeks. i kept it out of the way of the arrow’s snap from then on, and eventually, it went away.


when i walked out of the store earlier today – after i had sprayed my wrists and the nape of my neck with a perfume i haven’t worn in fifteen years – i found myself thinking suddenly of those afternoons, of the sound of the arrows piercing the canvas, of the first startled moment of discovering that manifest consequence, that oval bruise. i thought about time, and how i can’t get a handle on the way it moves through me – its movement not just through years, and through space, but through flesh and bone. how? how does it do that?

it must have been spring.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

a question.

at 6:30 am, a small band of religious pilgrims walked past my bedroom window. i know this because they were singing - a strange, unfamiliar version of Ave Maria. i separated the window blinds with two fingers and peered out, bleary-eyed. i saw a few dozen people, shuffling along down the street in rows of two or three. kids in backpacks. old ladies with walking sticks. men that looked like monks, in their robes and sandals and corded waist-ties. someone was carrying a vatican city flag. they walked south, towards the stadium, singing.

pilgrims. outside my apartment.

and i thought, "i wonder if the pope exercises."

Sunday, April 13, 2008

the word.

well, ok.

so i just woke up from a nap. and this isn't the beginning of some obnoxiously metaphorical post, either - i literally just crawled off the couch after dozing for a few hours in front of the white sox game. it was a good nap. very relaxing.

and that is what i'm going for lately. relaxing. all this Getting Things Done and whatnot? wonderfully useful for a lot of people, but for me, right now? all i can think about when i hear the word "productivity" i need a fucking break from productivity, actually - i need a break from pushing myself. i need this breathing room. i need to keep working on learning how to cool it with the mental to-do lists and the worry and the anxiety and the self-propelled guilt trips.

(all right, who am i kidding, i'll never give up my mental to-do lists. but really - they need far fewer items.)

however, i have also learned over the past three months, i can really benefit from having this little outlet for putting down thoughts and opinions, for sorting it out, for connecting with people. i love how this blog has put me in touch with people that i never would have otherwise known, and how it makes me feel tapped into so many different streams and types of thought. i think that is an incredibly enriching thing. the trick, for me, is to learn how to enjoy that without feeling weirdly beholden to it - without again finding myself in a place where i'm posting because i feel like i "have to" - because really, that is some dumbass bullshit nonsense. right? right.

so, my plan is this: blog. when i want to.

(i wish i could fully explain why such a simple, self-evident idea proves to be such a challenge for me. but it would take hours of our lives that none of us could then get back, so i'm gonna refrain from even trying!)

if you've got rss, well, keep me on your feeds - i'll be popping up every now and again. if you don't, well - i hope you don't forget about me, because i'll be around. maybe once a week, maybe once a month, maybe three times in one day - i have no idea, and i'm doing my damnedest to learn to like it that way.