On One Hand

February 28, 2006

Published

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 9:10 pm
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OK now that I have detailed, clean, polished pieces I can actually submit for publication (which is a first), I’d like to know where the fuck I can actually do that. I am avoiding exclusively gay-themed magazines because that forms such a limiting resume (plus my writing is not exclusively gay-themed at all), but queer-friendly groups are always good (of course, what literary magazine isn’t?) I’ve got a piece that is about 4,000 words (nonfiction, memoir-type article, about 1/3 humor and 2/3 serious) and a few fiction pieces that I am not as interested in getting published.

I’m working on developing some old journal entries into good writing as well. That comes next, after I submit this first one.

I’m interested in magazines that pay, not because I want the money (it would be nice) but rather, because that means it’s legit. I don’t want to submit a great piece to some shitty magazine, have it get accepted, and thus be unavailable for future publication. (Most magazines will not take pre-published stuff.)

Any suggestions?

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February 27, 2006

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February 24, 2006

My Painting

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 3:46 pm
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I promise it’s worth it.

http://artpad.art.com/gallery/?iv7r4p1cqdy4

And yes, I painted it.

We Are

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 11:05 am
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This is the cycled dancing of the breath. No one can stop it’s moving, as new crescendos come and fade away. So newly finding love, it is already trembling to pass.

I’m not allowed to give him advice. When I do, it’s considered an insult.
(I am not a film major and I am not as professional as he is so I do not know what I am talking about.)

If it is something I know about, like Catholicism or Buddhism or writing, the entire topic is taboo. “Uh, we need to change the subject to something somebody cares about,” he laughs.

And we are both standing silently in the snow, two monoliths under the naked limbs, and we look past each other as we clutch our backpack straps and dart our eyes toward the other and away again.

Other people are allowed to give him tips and he is allowed to give tips to me, which I do not mind as long as he avoids the condescending tone he is prone to. He offers outsiders’ suggestions on how to do journalism and how to write stories. He offers outsiders’ suggestions on how to live my life. And that’s OK. That’s great. I think it’s great. I appreciate the help. I respect his suggestions. I mull them over and more often than not they are good.

But I am not allowed to say anything to him while he is working, because no matter how helpful I am trying to be, he won’t have it.

He and I love each other, sort of, but we’re not in love. It will never be the way I was with Matt, who I loved before, passionately and quickly like a flame.

And that’s OK. It’s absolutely OK. I don’t need us to be close, because we have an “open relationship.” I can go elsewhere for a sense of connection. On the surface it isn’t good, but it’s good. I care about him in spite of it all.

No, we aren’t close. Sometimes I feel like he wants to be. I can feel him trying to reach out, as I try to reach out, and somehow something gets in the way and we don’t connect. I say “I need a person to go to the gym with because I don’t have the motivation to go on my own. I need a gym buddy.” And he says, “so do I, but I can’t find anyone. You can’t find anyone either? That sucks, neither of us can find someone to go to the gym with.”

And that’s where we leave it. We both walk looking at our feet and we swallow as we shuffle over the melting ice on the sidewalk and it’s incredibly awkward so someone tries to change the subject.

“Oh, look at that building.”

Sorry, that building is incredibly boring.
(We’ve passed it every day we walked here for the last four months.)

“Yeah, that building. Oh.”

I will not make myself vulnerable and ask, because he could say no. He will not make himself vulnerable and ask, because I could say no. So we move on kicking grains of rock salt over the rough cement.

“You’re going to lunch? Oh, I’m going to lunch too. You’re going to that place for lunch? Oh, so am I. Well, I’ll see you after we get back from lunch.”

He’s going to Mexico for Spring Break with a friend, and his plans have shifted around but he knows he wants to go there, and I want to go somewhere too and I tell him I can’t find anybody to plan a trip with. But we are not going to do something together and no one wants to bring it up. That’s too vulnerable. I’m not one-hundred-percent-sure he wants me there and I will not request something if I’m not one-hundred-percent-sure he will say yes. And he will not ask either. It’s just the way he and I are.

It’s just the way we are.

So he will go to Mexico and I will stay in town and sleep with a lot of people to make myself feel better about not going anywhere. I am hurt and angry. And at the end of the week I will genuinely feel like I was productive and had a good time, because some of the guys I slept with were artists.

Oh, artists!

Now he and I shuffle down the sidewalk kicking rock salt, some of which has dissolved in the melting snow and crystallized after the wetness dried and the salt forms bright white water-rings on the dirty gray concrete.

You may not be PERFECT honey but you’re perfect, honey, you know I love you.

That’s the word. Love.

And that’s all I need.

Impermanence. The Universe is all about impermanence. Someday we will part no matter what. Even if we got married we would part when one of us dies and I might as well love him without needing him, without confusing parts of him with parts of myself. Realizing this has allowed me to become happier now than in any of my memories of love.

We are different. He and I are different. Transitory. Not quite perfect, but good. Today we are like awkward friends. Tomorrow, we will be strangers to each other.

He calls it “‘settling for OK,’ not ‘happiness.'” But I say “‘settling for OK’ is ‘happiness,'” because I disagree with the use of that first word, “to settle.” I don’t say I “settle for” what is, I say I “accept” what is. Because what is, well, is and I don’t see why I shouldn’t. We are just rolling through time, touching each other for a moment before we part. That’s what I call grace.

It’s just semantics.

(I call myself a writer and should know when something is just semantics.)

And I think it’s beautiful; I think we’re beautiful, he and I. We are walking over the sidewalks and the snow has melted and the ground is muddy and green things are beginning to poke out of it. He is tall and has big blue eyes and a wide face and I am an inch shorter and my brown hair contrasts my white skin and we contrast each other and it’s beautiful. We are different. We contrast. It’s beautiful.

Over the foothills comes the breath of spring, seeping moisture into dead things. Leaves are bursting out of the cracks, blooming, falling and bursting again. We are walking away from it all, towards the East. Yes, it’s beautiful.

I can see it in the creases in his face. He is stern, I am unwelcome. I love him, for now. His eyes are bright and blue. In them I can see the coming summer, autumn, fall, when our paths will eventually fork. Winter’s approach will wipe the slate clean and new things will emerge.

The ice has not yet melted here, and already the lingering clouds whisper omens of next year’s snow.

February 23, 2006

The Camera

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 5:12 pm
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He holds the camera in front of his stomach like a basketball as he walks. He says that’s easiest way to keep it steady. I don’t understand how that can be true but I tell him “whatever works.” He’s often had to run with a camera during riots or a bombing so he should know.

He just got back from Iraq, where he filmed bloodstained teenage girls chanting God will avenge us America over the mangled corpses of their mothers and aunts. It is 2004 and the war is only a year old, but he is already calling it a lost cause. In bed he sometimes sits up shaking, gunfire rattling in his brain and I rub his back until he kisses me and lays down again.

I wish I could begin to understand what he has seen. I’ve watched his videos and they shake me up but to know that reality day after day and to keep going back is beyond comprehension. It is like a hunger for him and it scares me but makes me love him more. He has a scar on his cheek from concrete that fell from the mangled ceiling of a two-story house after a bomb. It’s new and still pink; soon it will be white like the others. It happened right before he quit working for the news agency, when they threatened to fire him because he kept putting himself in too much danger and his footage drew the military’s ire.

Now he’s making a documentary about wealthy American teenagers and their drug habits, which he spliced with material he got years ago filming poor coca farmers in Columbia. I tell him he’s making it too political but he doesn’t care.

The scar doesn’t look awful. He has tanned skin and a dark, angular chin and dark stubble, and light brown eyes and thick brown hair and I tease him saying now that his good looks are ruined we finally match. He hates when I say that, but I say it anyway, because I like holding him up. I know I am not unattractive but I like holding him above me because I love him and he needs it more, and because it makes me feel a way about him that is hard to hang on to.

I stay home when he goes on his trips. I’ve gone with him on the shorter ones; I went to Mexico and I helped with prepare interviews with the teenagers who do coke. He says I’m good at thinking of ‘poignant questions,’ and I say, well, I am younger and they’re more my age. But really it is because I don’t share his disdain for their privilege.

I don’t go on trips with him; when I do he works too hard to shelter me from everything and it distracts him and annoys me. Now I stay home when he’s gone and look after the garden, and write poems.

I want him to know how much I care, how proud I am of his work, but we don’t have that kind of relationship. We talk professionally about our professional lives. We just do our own things during the day and chat and fuck at night. We try to go on romantic dates and dinners and maybe it works for him, but for me, I don’t know, it’s just not real. We are not the kind to live in the moment, even we have been awake together all night. We talk about having children but we never will. When he’s away we both see other people, and I connect more to them than to the one I’ve lived with for – what – going on five years. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just the way he is, the way we are.

February 21, 2006

Hell and Karma in Buddhist Scripture

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 7:32 pm
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Hell and Karma in Buddhist Scripture
Matthew Pizzuti

In one sense early Buddhist’s karma is similar to karma’s simplified portrayal in popular, modern Western culture: you do a bad thing, and bad things will return to you. Alternately, the law states, if you do a good thing, good things will return to you.

A lifeless and non-negotiable force, karma responds consistently to every individual’s deeds and cannot be avoided through faith or repentance. Punishment or reward occurs in this life or in following lives, and is inevitable.

But in early Buddhist literature…

Spring Break

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 11:11 am

I have to figure out my Spring Break plans NOW because I need to know if I need a passport or not. It takes four weeks to get one.

Maybe I should just get one regardless. Then I’ll have it for as far as the forseeable future will reach, which will most likely include many international trips.

I AM going somewhere this year for Spring Break. I’m not looking at anything ridiculous like Europe or Africa, just a road trip to Canada (by way of Seattle) or somewhere close. My plans fell through so I’m desperate. I will not sit alone again. Last year I had mono, and spent the week in Fort Collins at my then boyfriend’s apartment while he went to work and class. I do miss that, he was good to me that week, but I don’t miss it in a painful sort of way, since what I have now is also good.

Break has the potential of being a pivotal time for me: the height of my religious crisis took place during Spring Break when I was 16, when I utterly freaked out and lay on the ground for 7 days. Then there was my Spring Break with Matt… . It’s like, whoever I spend the week with or whatever I spend the week doing will dominate my mind for the next year. The key is to find something that is low-risk, meaning something that has nothing to do with love or religion or anthing slightly volatile. Like maybe I could read a really good book or visit an awesome city.

You know what’s creepy? This draft auto-saved at 11:11:11 AM.

February 20, 2006

Rumors

Filed under: Uncategorized — ononehand @ 11:17 am
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An antecdote to explain what it’s like to come from a big Catholic-Italian extended family.

An email from my sister: ” Shawn showed Mimi your profile and saw that your orientaion in bi and now mom is all excited that you might be bi. just a little warning. you may have a few interesting questions comming your way.”

I came out to my mom when I was 17, and a week later she came out to everyone else on my behalf. Everybody in the family knows I’ve had a boyfriend, except the kids and maybe one or two of the more distant family members I rarely see.

My little cousin Shawn, who is probably 12, saw that my Myspace profile had “bi” listed as sexual orientation. For the record, I’m not into girls, I just say “bi” on that profile because I feel less stereotyped that way. It’s probably a dishonest thing say about myself, but I change my sexual orientation status on Myspace from time to time for my own amusement and then forget what I set it as because I don’t really care about Myspace. The “bi” status is more of a political statement about how I feel about labeling orientation than it is a personal statement about how I feel toward guys or girls.

My cousin told his mother, Mimi, that the profile said “bi.” He would have been shocked, because as far as he knew I was straight. His mother, knowing me as gay, got excited and called my mom, who is now excited that I might like girls after all.

The family telephone game carried the news like swirling black ink through the clear water-glass of the clan, but the rumor wire works in my favor as well. I have moles in the ranks. I didn’t hear about all this from my mom: my mother told my sister what she heard, and my sister passed the information on to me. My sister warned me, “be prepared for some interesting questions from Mom,” then explained to me what happened.

So thanks to my sister, I am prepared for my mother’s phone call.

February 19, 2006

Protected: Restoring 12 Weeks

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