Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Butter Not Shortening

I don't do this often, but I'm going to do it now. I'm going to tell you something I'm good at. I'm good at making pie crusts. I'm better at it than anyone I know. I'm sorry. You're all just doing it wrong, bar those ladies down in Westport. They've got it, too. I love the rest of you, though. You're probably good at making money and impressing your families.

Thanksgiving was with Josh's family this year. We didn't go around and say anything we were thankful for. I think we assumed the usual. Thankful to be alive and so forth. I wore a bow tie and Josh's sister said, "I like your neck situation."

I had a neck situation circa Christmas 2005. Josh gave me a hickey and I had to drive all the way to Kentucky with it. I tried to wear a scarf indoors. When that didn't seem plausible, I just kept putting my hands on my neck. The hickey faded before my family could ask about it. I will not lie, I was kind of disappointed there wasn't a confrontation. This was also around the time I was making scarves that were multi-pronged. They were like veins or antlers or something. They were not well-received. I'm going to try again and see what happens. I hope someone I love makes fun of me.

The book, my book, you guys. I hope you all read it when it comes out in a little over a year. If you do and you see yourself in it, well duh. If you don't like what you see, just remember I am an awful person and all my dreams are about unfulfilled sex and venomous snake bites. All my stories, too.

I crushed around with this guy some years ago and I woke up the other day with the realization that we never ate together. I don't know what he looks like when he eats. I don't know if he makes weird noises. I don't know if the sound of him chewing would make me sleepy. I mean, I also don't care, but no wonder that crush turned to sand. Eating together is important.

The more confident I get about what I'm doing with my life, the more I find out no one knows what I'm doing with my life. The people closest to me get presumptuous about offering alternatives. Like, "Casey, you're good at making pies. Open a pie shop."

Just so you know, I would run a business like that into the ground. I would eat all the pies. I would keep important documents in a grocery bag. And then I would throw away the grocery bag because anything in a grocery bag automatically becomes garbage. That said, if you want a pie, I guess I'll make one for you for the tiny price of just hanging out with me and letting me have a slice of the pie I made for you.

If you're getting me anything for Christmas, get me an apron. I would use an apron. Also, more pie plates. Pyrex, preferably. But don't get me anything, really, because I'm not getting you anything but paper in an envelope.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

To Shut Up About It

I've been quiet lately. There are stories I've been working on. And the book, too. It's coming together. I say that every time, but it's true. It's in so many parts, it can only come together now. I'm still far from finished. People ask what it's about, and I want to say, "What's the last year of your life been about? Neatly now. Be pithy." I don't say that, though. I just say, "It's about a ghost."

Otherwise, I've just been thinking and mourning. Three people in my family have died over the last month. I haven't been back to Kentucky since April, and I'm not going home for the holidays. I don't know why I treat Kentucky like a foreign country. Maybe it's because I made my home elsewhere. Still, I romanticize my hometown. It's the only place I can be sad and then leave that sadness for a year or so at a time. It will be there when I go back. When I need it again.

I know I've said this before, but I don't think you can be happy unless you're fine being unhappy. I just think you need a good place to put it. Another person is probably a bad place to put your unhappiness. Put it into something you can hold and destroy.

Good stuff happened and I'm trying to appreciate it for what it was rather than what I built on top of it. It's hard for me not to write a story over the life I have. One of my friends pointed out I'm getting more white hair. I guess that's age and stress, but I like it. White hair is good stuff, too.

I'm going to Chicago at the end of February/the beginning of March for AWP. I'll be reading at the Beauty Bar with some very talented people. I don't know what I'm going to read. If you have any ideas, shoot, I'll take them.

I'll tell you a Kentucky story. My mother's family lives in the country. We were at one of my uncle's for a birthday. That uncle hunts, I know. We were eating on the back porch, and a fawn walked in the backyard. My uncle got up and fed the fawn from his hands. We watched the fawn play in the backyard all afternoon. It became normal, like when someone has a dog with three legs and you start thinking it doesn't seem so bad. The dog seems happy. The fawn seemed happy, too. A cousin said the fawn's mother must have died. My uncle put his head down.

One of my friends called, and I said I had to go. My aunt asked if it was my girlfriend. My mother said, "He has so many girlfriends." I looked at her and I knew she couldn't help it. I said, "Yeah, one of many." I was out then, but that took longer to become normal. That took years, and Josh, and hearing stuff I pretended not to hear. That took not wanting normal at all.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Parks and Divination

There have been a lot of dogs barking lately. I keep thinking there's going to be another earthquake. There were earthquakes last week in Oklahoma. People here said they felt the aftershocks. We ate potatoes and felt nothing.

I saw two friends and a baby today. One of the friends said she didn't recognize me because I was so skinny.
She said she thought I was a clone of my other friend. My other friend has been skinny from birth. The first friend is right. I have lost weight. I didn't know how to respond, though, so I just said, "No, not true."

Josh and I saw the fox again. She was standing on the curb like she needed to cross the street. I said, "I bet that's a good omen," but then I felt stupid because I never say the same thing for squirrels or opossums. A squirrel has never made my day better by running out in front of my car.

A couple of my stories were published this past week in great places. The first story is in Annalemma. The second story is in HOUSEFIRE. I'll let you guess which one has my sex dreams stuffed in it. (The answer is: both of them.)

There's so much more I want to tell you, but it's all stupid and embarrassing, so let me tell you this: I'm going to have the last beer in the fridge.