Always the Same Cowbow

I don’t really love how this series starts, but I do kindof like the way it ends. Transcriptions below images.

Scan 11


When she meets an interesting man, she wonders if he likes her and whether she could make him love her. Her compulsion is to try.

She started out very low on the taste ladder, falling for one man after another until they loved her back.

Anything attainable became detestable.

Her taste was so refined as to be rarefied.

Nothing was ever enough.

He says her name as though he could look her up in a dictionary.

Scan 12

There are thoughts she dances around in her head. They are hot lava.

Her mind is a complicated house. Even she gets lost there.

Strange places always seemed haunted. Every place was strange.

something must have happened under the moon. It was like the night knew her. It never minded if she didn’t speak. There were no questions.

In quiet hours she carved her temple.

Literally, subtext.

Scan 13


There was an outline of a man in her mind. A black silhouette of a life. She tried to color it in with her mind, but it always looked like the same cowboy.

That same lawn ornament of a father figure could be seen guarding front yards across the country with less effect than a scarecrow.

Understanding things takes a certain amount of silence.

As a child, she was blessed with a lot of quiet spaces and a distance from which to watch.

As an adult, you can’t get away with not talking.

Scan 13-1

I fell in love with every man who looked my way for the better part of 30 years. Only it wasn’t love, it was need. I wanted to be a good girl, whatever that meant, and I needed them to prove that I was. But I also sought out experience of badness, which brought along experiences of being judged, which hardened in me a subversive spirit and a slight but growing ability to disregard the opinions of others.

The need for validation causes good girls to make very bad decisions.

Fashion is a disease.

Society itself is an epidemic.

Commentary: No comment.

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One day, I went for a walk, and I wrote a little bit about what I saw. There is a girl in this story named “Sara,” but I promise she is not based on anyone I know. She is a girl I observed in my neighborhood one day, and she needed a “nice girl” name. Transcriptions are below the images.

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I was wandering around my neighborhood day dreaming about finding my calling when I was hit by a bus.

A young girl was waiting to take something heavy from her father’s hands. It was going to be heavier than she expected. I could tell by the way her arms were outstretched and the placid look on her face.

He moved slowly. His nature was lumbering. His bones were heavy. Everything around him looked light light light. His name was Thomas. He thought of himself as a rock tossed into a pond at birth and resting in the mud ever since.

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Sara, unprepared, held her smooth arms out. She could have been made of plastic with arms that hinge like a dolly. Straight elbows, straight knees, flat feet. Eyes that open and clothes. [I meant to write “close,” but I kinda liked my  mistake.]

Her hinges would succumb to the weight of the box. The simplest of physics. The clatter as it landed made her jump. He’d look, sigh. She’d pick it up.

I cannot go inside that house, but I know it looks like mine. They all do.

I know she goes barefoot because she loves the strangeness of earth. Her skin is as thin as an idea, and she was easily invaded by ground.

Scan 10


Everything about him was heavy.

His perspective was a boulder.

She spent her life learning to unmake boulders.

Her heart always felt like the moment before reaching air when you are gazing at the sun and a perfect blue sky through leaky goggles and several feet of water and you want to breathe.

She always knew she would survive, but what if she didn’t?

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Who is this “she,” anyway?

I made myself promise I wouldn’t spend too much time writing any of these posts because if I do I will think too hard and talk myself out of it. This is a very serious problem I have. Here are some more pages.
Scan 5I don’t have anything nice to say about the above page. I was just starting to experiment with how I might use the Post-It notes. I hoped a character would appear if I started asking some questions.

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At first, I chose the colors somewhat randomly, and the layout here is confusing. At my desk, I lay out the notes so they form a nice shape or tell some kind of coherent story, but when I move them into the notebook, there isn’t always enough space to arrange them how I’d like.

Scan 7

Then it started to work.




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Poems. Free. Questionable Quality.

I just powered through scanning 77 pages of questionable-quality poetry and other word-related experiments so I could upload them here because why the hell not. Without further ado, here are some pages with commentary.

Scan 0

This is the cover of the sketch book. It’s a Moleskine that I bought to give someone ask a gift before deciding it really wasn’t a very good gift. The art underneath all my scribbling is by Benjamin Barrios. I intentionally used a notebook I wasn’t particularly fond of for this project so I wouldn’t feel bad for ruining it.

Scan 1

I made a title page. At no point during this project was I really sure what exactly I was working on, but I figured these dual titles would be enough to sorta sum it all up.

Scan 2

Although the sketchbook starts out with something resembling fiction, it eventually becomes a catalogue of unsolicited advice. I have a lot of things I would like to say to my nieces and nephews or to my friends. Some if it is actually just advice to myself.

Scan 3

The top Post-It says, “Choice: It’s the best part of being a real person.” – The Stanley Parable. The Stanley Parable is a video game in which the narrator tries to convince the player/character that his life is essentially absurd and futile. It’s one of my favorite games of all time.

The second note says, “It starts off slow and in the dark.” I don’t really know what that means. I just liked it. It could mean anything.

The next pages start with the story telling and stuff, so I guess I’ll start that section in a fresh new blog post …

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Time Flies When You’re Playing Derby

jamming vs montreal
This is me jamming, fighting to get through a wall of blockers from the Montreal Sexpos in Montreal over the weekend. Both games I played in were a hard fight to the very end. I struggled with some things, but someone on the internet thinks I have the “greatest motherfuckin’ leggings in the world,” so that counts for something. Photo by Joe Mac.

Now seems like a good moment to revive this blog, eh?

I just got home from Canada where I got to play two derby games against incredible teams with my travel team, Female Trouble. If you scroll down on the main page, you’ll see that my last post about derby was in February (!!!). As you might guess, a lot has happened since then.

Here’s the short version of the past six months: Travel team tryouts were in February, and I unexpectedly made it on to the B team (Female Trouble). My teammates and coaches have pushed and challenged me, and my skating has improved as a result. I’ve been doing my best to keep a level head and stay sane through it all, which has involved a lot of meditating, yoga, working on healthy eating habits, and taking time to connect with friends, both within the derby-verse and outside it. I’ve also been evaluating my derby goals frequently. In my first year, I always had my next assessment in my sights. I knew what I was working toward, and that helped me keep driving forward even when it was hard. Now, I’m pretty happy with where I am in the league, and I have a long wish list of skills I’d like to improve but not a big goal to aim for. I never thought of myself as a Type A person, but it turns out that without a goal, I feel pretty lost.

And then this weekend happened.

Time really does fly when you’re playing derby, and you lose track of all the changes happening — in yourself, your skills, your team, and your feelings about the sport. Since this is my first travel season, I’ve been thinking of myself as a newbie and looking to my teammates for guidance at every turn. But this weekend, I realized something has changed. I guess I realized it during the Saturday afternoon team meeting when I was told I’d be first in the jammer rotation. That’s an honor, but it’s also scary, and I wasn’t prepared for it. That night, I got lead in the opening jam, which felt pretty amazing, but we lost the game, which felt less amazing. On the bright side, my teammates worked together and stayed in it 100%, regardless of the score. Even though we lost, I walked away feeling good about our performance and how we’ve grown as a team. Underneath that, however, I was still feeling critical of my own performance because I have trouble seeing my own accomplishments. I don’t know …  Is that a normal human thing?

The next morning, I struggled to get my head together for our second game. I did trackside yoga while the All Stars played and even meditated for a few minutes, but when it was time for our game to start, I felt dizzy and disconnected. Half way through the first half I had a small panic attack that threatened to destroy the game for me until my teammate Tina reached out without judgement and reminded me to breathe. That game was tight, and we had to fight till the last minute, but we finally won by about 25 points. Once again, I was proud of my team but frustrated with myself. How much better might we have done if I’d been able to keep my head in the game? On the other hand, I distinctly remember watching Killy from Philly, Jennanigans, and Tearin Tina get lead jammer. I was so excited I was for them and so grateful they were there to help the team when I couldn’t.

As we got back on the bus, I felt more emotionally than physically tired. I wished I’d worked harder. I wished I’d been better. Being the kind of introvert who will sometimes hide in the bedroom at my own parties, I was exhausted from being around so many people for so long. The bus smelled like a pee-soaked urinal cake, and though I loved all the people there with me, I wanted nothing more than to be far, far, away from them. Or at least to fall asleep, which I couldn’t quite manage.

I did have a couple of bright moments, though, like when I remembered that we’re not taking any more bus trips any time soon. I thought about my favorite scenes from Almost Famous and A League of Their Own and reminded myself I’d just had one of THOSE experiences. I felt really lucky. I was also very proud of the moment when I decided to buy both Chinese takeout and Taco Bell at a mall food court stop because I knew I’d be hungry later.

Now that I’m home and have had some time to regain my brain, I do feel pretty good about the weekend. I’m glad I traveled with the team because it was an experience I really wanted to have, even though I knew I’d be testing the limits of my own anxiety. And as for my skating? Fuck it. I did what I was capable of at the time. Next time, I will be capable of more.

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