Listen, Hobby Lobby. You know how I feel about you. But you have GOT to stop trying to make the Thanksgiving Tree a thing. I mean, at this point, it’s just embarrassing.
So, on Friday, I called in as a guest on Katrina Murphy’s excellent radio show, Questions That Bother Me So. I must thank Katrina for what was, all in all, a totally awesometacular experience (I’m thinking at some point that the archives will pop up here, so keep an eye out) (keep an eye out — that’s a really, really weird thing to say, isn’t it? I mean, if your eye was out, you wouldn’t really be able to see, would you?) (that’s not a tangent, as it keeps with the theme — I mean, if any questions bothers you so, it should probably be that one).
I have to admit that I love talk radio, especially live talk radio. There’s something about the cadence of the human voice, the magic of language happening in real-time, that’s absolutely captivating. That is, it is as a listener — while there is a fascination with how you are the human whose voice is cadencing over the Interwebs and the air, and it’s your language that’s happening in real-time, I have to admit that, as a participant, I was a little terrified.
This could be due to the fact that I prepared for my on-air appearance by drinking five cups of coffee and attempting to lure my overly vocal feline companions into other rooms by plying them with treats. Or it could be due to the fact that I spent all morning obsessively repeating to myself the following mantra: for God’s sake don’t say um and don’t say like, for God’s sake, please. Or perhaps I was nervous because I was wearing owl pajamas and Muk-Luks, as I often do, because I am a grown woman, which of course I knew no one could actually see, but perhaps they could just sense it.
Thankfully, I was in very good hands, and Katrina calmed my nerves immediately. Gertrude Stein, who’s part Siamese and really loves to talk about that, did make her way into the living room, but somehow managed not to meow and to only bite me once. Alice B. Toklas, thankfully, held to her belief that watching whatever the neighbors are doing and chewing on cardboard boxes is way more interesting than anything I’m up to. And I found myself letting go of my fear and just having a great time talking to someone — which is also, I think, why I love talk radio so much: it’s like eavesdropping, at its best, on a really juicy conversation.
I think that part of my nervousness, too, has to do with the fact that in conversation, I’m not very focused. That’s because everything is interesting. Seriously. I could talk for three hours about the Statesboro formal wear store, Frills and Fancies, on the corner of Main, Main, Main, and Main, and then for six more hours about how, in Statesboro, there’s a corner of Main, Main, Main, and Main. Every single detail — from the revolving mannequin in a feathered prom dress to the fact that their Hunger Games-themed prom window display seemed to be made Hunger Games-themed only by the edition of an old-fashioned big screen TV — is interesting to me. That’s largely why, I think, I was drawn to writing in the first place: in writing, every such detail has a place. It has a weight and a significance and it works with other details to build an entirely new world. And I think, too, this lack of focus is why I was drawn in particular to poetry: it’s a form that, by its very nature, demands focus. It’s a way I learned to sift through the details I collect every day and weigh their significance. It’s how I learned to learn from them, and how I learned to focus enough to find the words to show other people what I’ve learned.
And if I end up with a collection titled Frills and Fancies, well, now you know why.
People of the Interwebs:
It’s April fourth. I live in south Georgia. Like, coastal south Georgia. And it’s cold. It’s cold and awful and rainy and generally so terrible weather-wise that Gertrude Stein has been inspired to spend all day and night singing her “Cold and Awful and Rainy and Generally So Terrible
Weather” aria, which is the saddest song in Gertrude Stein’s entire repertoire, besides the “You Didn’t Set You Alarm and I Realize You Want to Sleep In But Hey, Treats?” aria.
However, it’s April. It’s National Poetry Month, and if poetry celebrates anything, it’s anything that’s cold and awful. Therefore, I’m making the best of the weather and looking for the best in today — and one of the best things is this announcement: I’m going to be on the radio tomorrow.
No, really. Someone is actually going to let me talk on the radio without the FCC present.
That someone is the wonderful and talented and generally amazing Katrina Murphy, who’s invited me to join her on her wonderful and talent-filled and generally amazing radio show, Questions That Bother Me So. The show will stream live tomorrow from 1:00 – 3:00 Eastern time (I think — Eastern time, right? Like the one that the East coast is on? Time zones are confusing and I can’t think about them too much because I start thinking about how time is just a construct and then I get confused). You can listen along here (go to “shows,” then “Questions That Bother Me So”), and I’ll be live-Tweeting the experience from my Twitter feed. There will also be a chat room. It’s going to be totally meta. Topics to be discussed may or may not include poetry, National Poetry Month, Maleficae, witches, witch trials, witch burnings, writing poetry about witch trials and burnings, cats, velociraptors, sloths, and more poetry. It’s going to be awesome. The last time I was on the radio, I had pink eye and a kidney stone, and I still managed not to drop an F-bomb, which was a major triumph, as you know if you’ve ever had a kidney stone or, like, been in a room with me. This time, I probably also have a kidney stone, but hey, no pink eye. Let the F-bombless awesome commence.
And there are other exciting things afoot, so please keep your eyes on this small section of the Intertubes. In the meantime, here are some pictures of how I tried to make the best out of this gray and cold and awful day.
* Bonus points to anyone who catches the reference in this post’s title!
It all started a few months ago, when, during my bi-sometimes-tri-weekly trip to the local Rite Aid, I noticed a sad, rejected little shopping cart. It seemed to be hiding behind the wall, almost as though it felt embarrassed, almost as though it didn’t want the world to see it in its sad, rejected state.
And then, as I drank my refreshing Diet Coke and made my bi-or-tri-weekly post-Rite-Aid trek to the Hobby Lobby, I saw it: they were everywhere. Sad, rejected carts. Abandoned half-smoked cigarettes. Uncapped and half-spilled glitter. I was surrounded by rejection.
And I continued to be surrounded by rejection, and couldn’t help but document it. Anything, it seemed, could be rejected, and rejection, it seemed, was everywhere. There was rejection at the Wal-Mart:
There was rejection on campus:
There was especially depressing rejection on top of a random mailbox outside the K-Mart:
There was even rejection at the happiest place on earth:
Over the past few months, I’ve become quite fond of rejection. There’s something lovely about the objects that have been left behind, and about the story that led to them being left behind.
Tomorrow, I’ll be moving through our modern world’s greatest bastion of rejection, the airport, on my way to the AWP Conference in Boston. I realized that there’s really no better place to look for rejection at a gathering of 10,000 writers, so I’m planning to post rejections as I come across them this week.
Get ready for abandoned Moleskines and Chuck Taylors, blogosphere. Rejection’s about to get real.