September 28, 2006


Is there a 12 step program for YouTubeaholics?
My name is Judi
and I am addicted to YouTube.

Posted by Judi at 10:22 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

An essay by Maya Stein

How Two Hands Can Wrap Themselves

"What she wanted, after these months of certain but terrible rendings of her heart, months of charting her failing and then failed relationship, what she wanted after the resurfacing, the pulling back from the dark edges, after the stony-faced negotiations, the silent meal-taking, after sleeplessness and ever-so-slight weight loss, the pallid mornings and moonless midnights, what she wanted, after all this, was to go on a date. And maybe not even a date so much, because who's to say she was ready for such an ambitious launching, or for any sort of surrender for that matter. Who's to say she was prepared for anything more than poking her head out of the window to test the temperature. If she was ready for anything, it was just that, for an open window, for fresh air, because the matte white of the calendar pages remained, and would so for a stretch to come, blank as slate, as canvas.

So it wasn't a date she wanted, not exactly, at least not something she would have called a date. Maybe the word was adventure. Maybe the word was possibility. Maybe the word was crawl space. That could have been it, because she saw him at the wedding reception, after the tumble of toasts, she saw him and she knew, knew he might be a good crawl space, a decent place to hide for awhile, and she came to him without any words at all, came to him during a wedding dance, some bad 80s thing, swaying in time to the music, there was a mutual sway, and that was how she came to him.

And even if he didn't know, even if no one had told him the details of her relationship's demise, even if he didn't know how just that weekend there had been horrible fighting and as a result, there was the withdrawal of a wedding invitation, even if he didn't know that, he may have intuited it, because he stayed, though they danced badly together, which might have been a sign for something else had she been looking for signs, even though they danced badly he stayed, and the smell of him close, the clean, unfiltered, soapy smell of him felt right, the warmth of his neck when she put her hands up to palm it, that felt right, too, as if they were seventh graders, as if they were seventh graders dancing at their first junior high dance, her palms around his neck like that, and it was warm, and it wasn't clinging, she wasn't clinging to him even though she might have had the impulse to do that, to make the bad 80s music a little easier to dance to, she could have clung like that but she didn't cling, and wouldn't. He wasn't there for that.

What he was there for, exactly, she didn't know, except that she liked his smell, and she liked his longish hair, and she liked how his fingers curved around her waist when they danced the one slow dance, the only couple on the floor just then oddly enough, but despite that his fingers curved around her skin like her skin was somehow familiar to him, and even though she was slightly taller than he was, and though he was a little bit of a sloucher, one of those shy boy slouches, she hunched down enough to let her cheek graze his cheek, just graze, not resting there, her cheek simply grazed his for one beat, and then she turned sideways, cheek away from cheek, as if the collision had been an accident, a warm and fuzzy accident, his cheek fuzzy, a beard he was aiming to grow but was keeping trimmed, and during the dance he was all hair and cheek and warmth and soap and goodness to her.

It was after the dance, though, that it became more difficult, harder to determine what was supposed to come next, what there was. She didn't know what to do once the music ended, and eventually it did end, and they were left there with hands and hipbones and cheeks and no music between them, a break in the set, the DJ heading outside for a smoke, something, but then there was the announcement of cake and coffee and so that became, instead, the dance between them, and there was a fairly well-timed sashay to the cake and coffee table, the agreement of dessert, a mutual appreciation for chocolate wedding cake and good strong coffee. Still, the interval was too short, the cups small, the portions bite-sized, and it was over faster than she'd anticipated, the plates scraped clean, the coffee gone, and if there had been music they might have returned to the dance floor, but now the music looked to be gone, too, the DJ packing up, and soon, she felt it, she knew because she'd worked at weddings before, she knew it wouldn't be long before the whole thing was over and it would be time to go home.

She wasn't ready. She wasn't ready for any of it, really, but what she wanted, after all these months, the unraveling and disentangling, what she wanted after I said and you said and wrongness and that deep, forboding sense of defeat when things, of their own will, begin to collapse, what she wanted was just a bit of air, a release, a gaze at the moon, something, she wanted something that was unisoned, in alignment. She wanted symmetry, and there it was, she read it from their emptied coffee cups, the way the handles pointed toward the door.

And though she knew it would sound silly and strange, since they had only danced those few dances and the one slow one and there had been so few words between them, though the caterers were already gathering the napkins and wine glasses into crates and boxes and guests were disappearing, in twos, to go home, and though she felt funny about it, because she hadn't expected their collision, despite all this she leaned into his ear, leaned into the soap of him, the cleanness of him, leaned into the dark froth of his hair and asked him if he would come outside with her.

She leaned in because she could, because nothing made sense in the order it was supposed to, not at a wedding especially, and there was license there to fudge a little, draw outside the lines, make a larger gesture than her normal, waking life would allow her, the life where she was mourning something and someone, her normal life which had, lately, been one interminable molting, the skin not quite shedding, and pain there for standing too still, for staying too long, for permitting things to get worse, her normal, waking life had finally woken to this poignant but alarming fact, that she had fallen out of love, weeks before, and it was not relief, not in the way of sickness passing finally, a fever breaking, it was not something grand and eloquent like that. It was, instead, rather like death, like an animal leaving the creature comforts of the home front in order to die alone and undisturbed. Her heart had left like that, skulking away in the dead of night, while she was sleeping.

But the wedding, and the dances with the man who smelled like soap and goodness, the wedding made her forget one thing and remember another. The wedding and the dances caused a stirring which wasn't commotion exactly but was also not entirely not a commotion. Which isn't too hard to imagine, of course, since somewhere in the history books lies a parable about a woman forgetting herself, her rent heart, and failure, a woman forgetting all this at a wedding dance and then remembering something else, something previous, the heart blushing, the body fevering slightly, a cellular memory of heat. There is a story of this somewhere.

And though this isn't quite that story, this one includes the not-so-small detail about a kiss under moonlight after a wedding dance is over, a kiss after cake and coffee and few words. In this story a woman is kissing a man with a soap smell, a man with longish hair with whom she has danced badly only moments before. In this story, this kiss happens outside where the woman thinks no one watching, doesn't notice the small crowd gathered inside, behind glass, the woman doesn't notice and so kisses regardless. She kisses something back into her body, not a life that's been there before, but that life that might come after, that life that would come after the kiss because it had to, because eventually, the kiss would end because the wedding would end, and they would take separate cars because they'd come with separate cars.

And when she kissed the man with the soap smell and the longish hair, the one whose hands had felt familiar to her on the dance floor, when she kissed him under moonlight, she knew she wouldn't, in subsequent stories, be able to recollect the kiss exactly. But she knew she would remember what came just after, the slim acreage of night between them, and the breath she would take in, a full breath of darkness and moon, and this story is about that, about a full breath that comes just afterwards, after a rent heart, after the imperceptible molting, after the fever and loss, how there is breath there, and she knew it. And when she kissed him, it was not with a heft of shoulders, arms on hips, body angled for a fresh blow. It didn't come like that.

Rather, it felt, to her, like catching a ball, the surprise of it, the unexpected coordination, how two hands can wrap themselves, though a delicious silent agreement, around the object of their intentions, and with this same pliant surprise she opened her mouth to the man who would not be coming home with her that night, she opened her mouth because she could, because it worked that way, because she wanted to say yes again, because she wanted to say yes to the life that would come just after this, she wanted out from under the shadows, and it was in full moonlight that she kissed the man with the clean soap smell, full moonlight and not knowing anyone was watching even though they were, she kissed him that way, as if no one could possibly be watching, and there was, to her surprise, no edgy sense of danger there, no delirious, paranormal pounding of her lungs, no theatrics of a soundtrack even, but she leaned into him as if she were leaning out from the ledge of herself, leaned out of her own window and out of the room of her tight body and leaned into the moonlight and the unraveling night, she leaned into moonlight and even with her eyes closed, the grass beneath her feet felt shiny and miraculously green."

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September 27, 2006


I don't remember how I found Maya Stein originally, but after reading some of her writing, I signed up to receive a poem every Tuesday. Since then, wiithout fail, every week, she sends an a poem.

Because I've not been myself lately, I haven't been blogging much. Tonight, I spent some time reading and rereading some of Maya's poems and prose. I sent off an e-mail asking if I could post a poem she wrote some time ago. A few minutes later, she responded with a yes. In fact, she told me I could post anything she wrote on my blog. So here is the poem.

instructions against war

put down your flaming, burnished spear
unmask your vicious threats
reveal your white-hot rage for fear
cast off your harsh regrets

pry open all the locked-up doors
behind which hatred cries
dig up the shame under your floors
make naked all your lies.

lay bare the demon in your dread
lay waste of all your fury
don't wait 'til all of us are dead
we're in that much a hurry.

evict each dirty, shadowed greed
put out each fiery ember
strip off the terror in your need
and let us both surrender.

-Maya Stein

The next post will be an essay Maya wrote which I found heartbreakingly beautiful.

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When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible, but in the end they always fall, always.

-Mahatma Gandhi

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September 14, 2006



Posted by Judi at 7:08 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack


This viewer doesn't care that Lonelygirl15 is not real. The videos have been intriguing and entertaining. I'll continue to suspend my disbelief and do hope a movie or a TV series comes out of the idea.

I also watch LucyinLA.
I'm pretty sure she is who she says she is.

I hope they both find success.

Now the question I have is: Are there any problems with signing up with YouTube or MySpace?

Posted by Judi at 2:43 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 10, 2006


OK. I admit it.

I, too, have been following the Lonelygirl15 saga on Youtube.

Posted by Judi at 9:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack