Sunday, August 5, 2012

Oh Good God It’s Hot, Swimming Lessons, And Other Updates


Oh Good God It’s Hot


Well, Seattle has finally caught up with the rest of this sweltering, shriveling, drought-ridden country. Yes, folks--we officially Got Hot. 95 degrees today! To all of you sneering smirkers who have been living with this for months and think we're a bunch of whiny wimps—look, we do not have AIR CONDITIONING, okay? No one in Seattle has AIR CONDITIONING. Not even in their CARS. There is no point, since it is always gray, cold and raining, or, in the height of summer, 71 degrees with watery sun at best, and we all have Vitamin D deficiencies. But then sometimes--it Gets Hot, (humid, sticky, can’t-breathe hot) and Bartell’s runs out of fans, and all we have to wear is flannel shirts and Levi’s and fleece vests from North Face, and we revert psychologically to miserable sad children who lose all ability to cope, and we desperately dig out that moldering sundress from some vacation we took to Vegas way back when, and we flop on the floor and argue with our spouses about who is going to brave walking two blocks to the grocery store to get cold fried chicken for dinner. For two whole days, that is our life, people! (The cats just lie on the bathroom floor in a stupor with their tongues hanging out.)

 Swimming Lessons

I can no longer do any “land exercises” now that my knee is officially showing Degeneration of the Medial Meniscus. So to continue my fitness kick, I have taken to bobbing around in the free-swim area of my local public pool, hoping for those shapely arms and toned, muscular legs to magically form after a 30-minute dip. Actually, I’ve recently made it to 55 minutes without running out of steam, and, I can kind-of, sort-of get through actual laps that imitate real swimming, given enough sealant—nose plugs, goggles, swim cap, ear plugs. I don’t mind being in the water, but having water go into any orifice of my head is very upsetting to me. (If some national security service is reading this, please note that I’d be a great candidate for waterboarding. Just threaten me with even the thought of water going up my nose, and I’d instantly rat out everyone I know, plus a whole lot of people I don’t.) 

The other day, I watched a tiny girl get swimming lessons from one of the lifeguards. The lesson was “Bobbing Your Head”. The sproglet ducked her head into the water just barely—I mean, I think she got in slightly over her chin—and immediately burst into panicked, hiccupping sobs and threw her hands desperately around the teacher’s neck, as if to cling on for her very life. All I could think was, Oh, yeah, I know how you feel. 

So Now You’re a Novelist?

No. I have a chapbook I am still trying to finish and send out, and I still write poetry, but I have become very drawn to developing short story writing and working on my novel as well. So I am doing those things. And that doesn’t mean anything one way or another, it just means that I need to evolve and expand. I know that doesn’t make you anxious, and I know that I am too completely, gloriously insignificant as a poet or a writer for it to matter to anyone what the hell I do with my keyboard, but for some reason, the fact that I am writing things besides poetry is making certain other very vocal people nervous and uncomfortable. Like everyone else, I don’t like being defined and locked into any one identity as an artist or a person--and I don’t buy that old trope that you can’t “cross over” from one kind of writing to another. Something is pulling me in a dystopic, quasi-sci-fi short story direction lately, and I feel I need to follow that impulse. I have a tendency to self-limit, which is exacerbated by other people telling me I should self-limit. But right now, what my writing imagination wants is expansion, freedom, and a fair share of running amok, and I am granting it that, as it spent most of its life locked up, beaten and starved.

America, You Sexy Bitch

I’ve been reading the new book by Meghan McCain and Michael Ian Black, “America, You Sexy Bitch”. I knew Michael Ian Black as a comedian and a writer, (“My Custom Van” is hilarious), but I didn’t know much at all about Meghan McCain. I’m about halfway through the book and will post an official review here when I finish it. First impressions? I seriously want to party in New Orleans with Megan McCain. That girl is wild, honest, and outspoken as fuck. I’m an “independent” (I guess—since I am functionally incapable of getting on board with either of our two corrupt party's insipid stances on How To Make This Country Great Again), but I really admire Meghan McCain. I think she’s sharp and intelligent and an excellent advocate for what she believes in, even if I may not necessarily agree with a lot of what she believes in.  But either way, I hope she and Hilary Clinton run on a third-party ticket one of these days and finally get shit fixed ‘round these parts.

Official review coming soon!

--Kristen McHenry

2 comments:

Steven Cain said...

Your poor cats. Too funny though, I'm sorry, I'm laughing... see, women are funny.

Sproglet is my new favorite word!

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