Monday, July 26, 2010

I Will Not Hold on to The Edge of Reason

Bridget Jones The Edge of Reason by Helen Fielding
Weight: 12.8 oz
Method of Disposal: It is, hopefully, being sold in some thrift store right now for 25 cents.

There is so much I want to write about tonight, and there is even something I want to paint. None of it is about books or my library and, yet, I feel like I need to make a post so here goes:
There are some books you cannot fathom why they are a part of your collection or you try to ignore the fact that you remember exactly how they got there so that you can act like some fairy or something planted them when you were not looking. You wouldn’t want anyone to know you actually OWNED them, much less read them. Enter BRIDGET JONES.

I got this book from my stepmother when she was trying to get rid of junk she did not care about. I took it because I felt like I should. Who wants to see a book get tossed out? I also wanted to know what all of the fuss was about with this Ms. Jones. Well, sometimes you should let a book get tossed out. Because I cannot seem to do that I have donated it in hopes that there is anyone left in the world who would want to read such a thing still looking for said thing. I do fear that any person interested in this novel has already found it, read it, and moved on. In that case, I have done a misdeed by transferring my weight to some unfortunate person or entity, and I apologize. People do like to sneak peeks at other people’s diaries and journals so maybe just maybe…are you out there?

If nothing else, Renee Zellweger can be pretty cute, and it looks like she had a lot of fun acting in the ridiculous book turned movie X 2. So, thank goodness for that.

Goodbye and good riddance, Ms. Jones. 129 lbs, 21 cigarettes, 14 units of alcohol, 4000 plus calories, and all.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

I Love You, Bear Grylls.

Facing the Frozen Ocean: One Man’s Dream to Lead a Team Across the Treacherous North Atlantic
by Bear Grylls
Weight: 9.6 oz
Method of Disposal: Releasing through

Today, I went with several friends to Panther Creek in North Georgia. We hiked alongside the creek, played in a waterfall, and made watermelon boats with the rinds from our recently eaten fruit. We had a good time, even though there were some tough and rocky moments along the way. In the end, everyone said they were glad for the experience. It was beautiful and refreshing and I, personally, cannot wait to go back. There is so much I want to do and so little time to do it! I am glad that so many people were able to make time for this trip.

In honor of our fun--and our trials and tribulations--I am releasing a Bear Grylls book. It was a gift from Vallan a year or so ago, and I loved it. I mean, I love Bear Grylls. The book, itself, was not very well written and sometimes it felt TOO motivational. But, I loved reading it, owning it, and lusting after Bear. I am drawn to the man, as he is incredibly attractive. What with his eating of spiders and drinking of urine. Who could resist? Not me. Seriously though, he is the only man alive that I want to be very near to me.

I am glad to report that all we had to drink today was water, and we ate pretzels, energy bars, and watermelon. We did not have to jump out of any planes or spend days searching for civilization. We did not start fires or run from bats. Nor were we accused of being frauds and fakes. All in all, it was a good trip.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Such Nice Boys, I'm Sure...

Our Guys by Bernard Lefkowitz
Weight: 1 lb
Method of Disposal: I'm thinking about it...any suggestions? It will be gone by Wed. no matter what.

In honor of Switzerland’s refusal to extradite the lovely Roman Polanski I am getting rid of OUR GUYS. I mean, who cares? Really. As Whoopi Goldberg said, “It wasn’t rape rape.” Whatever the fuck that means!

In OUR GUYS the author leads us through his exploration of a brutal assault that occurred in 1989 when a group of wealthy teenage boys raped a 17 year old disabled woman with a broomstick, a baseball bat, and their selves. The boys had grown up with her. They knew her, and their parents knew her. The author spends many years doing research and conducting over 200 interviews. In the end, he uncovers a school board, parents, and a community that tried to cover the whole thing up. They were not successful in that endeavor as this book was published, a movie was made, it was turned into a LAW AND ORDER episode, and it made national headlines. I still think they ultimately won. The boys were punished far more lightly than they should have been. At the publishing of the book, charges were dropped against a couple of the boys and some others were up for an appeal. In 2005 Richard Corcoran, Jr (his charges had been dropped and he had won a $200,000 settlement from the whole ordeal) shot his estranged wife and boyfriend before killing himself *. Another student involved, Chris Archer, was accused of rape again when he went to university in Boston. The charges were dropped. 13 boys were in the basement when the young woman was brought in to be abused. It seems that most of them (if not all of them) received a slap on the wrist and a lot of bad publicity. It probably wasn’t rape rape. You know?

When will we stop worrying about the lives and careers of the rapists over those that they victimize? I think back on my own rape and how expensive it was. I went to the Emory Emergency Room for a rape kit, and I was promptly sent a customer satisfaction survey and the bill. My financial backing to pay the bill fell through, but I thought I would have some time to figure it out. Nope. I got a threat that I would be sent to the creditors. I am lucky enough to have a support system and so was able to get out of that hole. Not everyone has people who can or will do that for them. You cannot be raped if you are poor**. I believe the fee was around $500 and it was only so cheap because I did not get the rape kit that you need to file a report—which can be $1,000+. How much did my rapist have to pay? Nothing. I never saw him again, and I hope it stays that way.

So, fuck you Mark. Fuck the guilty people of 1989 Glen Ridge. And FUCK YOU Roman Polanski. As for Switzerland, you have really let me down this time.


If you have been raped or someone you know has check to see if you have a local rape crisis center. Many of them will foot all or a large part of your bill, as well as send someone to make sure your rights are protected. Because I live in Georgia I would like to give a shout out to the Dekalb Rape Crisis Center.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

In a World of Red Fish

Swimmy by Leo Lionni
Weight: 2.4 oz
Method of Disposal: Giving to Mrs. Sarah G.A.

The majority of people I know that revel in everything written learned to read at a very early (and brag-able) age. I did not. I could not read when I entered Mrs. Starky’s first grade class, despite my parents’ and grandparents’ valiant attempts to teach me. We read what I always thought was called KITTY CATS ARE LIKE THAT; in fact it was just called KITTENS. We read (I actually just listened) about Miss Suzy the Squirrel. I am also sad to report that my grandparents often whipped out LITTLE BLACK SAMBO and, at the time, I enjoyed it. Now, I cannot think about it without cringing. It is frustrating when you begin to realize how early systems of oppression start to network through your brain.

Mrs. Starky was on top of it. In no time, I was able to read my first book and read it I did. I read it to my best friend’s kindergarten class every week. I was so proud of myself. One week, Mrs. Starky recommended I change the book so that the students would not grow bored. I took her suggestion and chose some book that I forgot about long ago. The kids went into a revolt. They wanted Swimmy back and so did I.

I like to believe that at that young age we were drawn to the little black fish trying to make his way in a world of very hungry tunas and blasé red fish because we were developing little activists who already understood the importance of community and non-violent protest. I really do.

To me, this is the first book I ever read and, therefore, it is quite possibly the most important. It started off this whole love-affair that has carried me from there to here over a period of decades. I think that the person who would most appreciate this book is my dear friend Sarah. We love books in a similar way, and I know that she will understand how pivotal this one is. Sarah, my librarian, I love you. Take care of sweet Swimmy and use it to inspire a revolution in the child you will have when you are ready.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Tales of a P-Beast

Tales from a Dogcatcher by Lisa Duffy-Korpics
Weight: 1 lb
Method of Disposal: Donated

Today, the vet called me to let me know that my 12 year old dog’s liver was not functioning ideally and told me that we need to set up an appointment to discuss it, and probably get medication started. My dog is not allowed to be old. He is not supposed to develop any problems with any of his organs.

Today, a man came to the shelter with a pit bull he had “taken care of” for 5 years. The dog had not been a baby when it was taken by the man. He was looking for someone to “kill it” because he “did not want to feed it anymore.” It was not the cost of food, but the work it took to give it to the dog. Also, the dog had “given the yard fleas.” He did not want to hear about how to combat that. He just wanted to kill the dog, but no one wanted to kill it for him. He could not understand why. He said she is a good dog—well-behaved and mellow. He said that he watched the evening news when it reported on “pit bull attacks” last week. I saw that sad excuse for a news story too. It frustrated the hell out of me. It made him decide that no one would want his dog so why bother trying. He did not want to put in the effort of calling or going to another animal shelter. He refused the list of vets when I asked him to please just give his dog a dignified death. I wish I could say that we took that dog from that man, but we didn’t. It was not the first time we had heard that story, and we were no longer allowed to take pit bulls until the ones we had were adopted out. We did nothing for that poor girl. That well-behaved and mellow dog. We don’t euthanize healthy, happy, friendly pups. We probably should have.

Today, the vet called to tell me that my dog is no longer a young, wistful puppy with a lot of life to give. He is sleeping beside me while I type. He is my “good” dog. The one that is social. The one that loves other dogs, ignores children, wants nothing more than to be near people, and lets cats clean out his ears. The one I have loved for a decade—ever since I found him scared and sick with snot dangling from his nose in a kennel at the local animal control shelter. The one that traveled across the country and back a couple times, trained the multiple foster dogs I brought home, and ruined my love for thunderstorms. I am not saying he is at the end of his rope yet, don’t get me wrong, but I am worried and anxious about my next vet visit. I am worried that I will never again be able to call him a “healthy dog.”

Today, I am letting go of Tales from a Dogcatcher. I am letting it go because all I can think about is how much I love my dog and how many people I meet every day that would do anything to get rid of theirs. I was not a huge fan of this book because it did not relate to my own experiences—she was a “dogcatcher” in a much smaller town. She knew many of the people she served. It was very reminiscent of Chicken Soup for the Soul. It rubbed me the wrong way because it is the only one I have found on the subject. I wanted to relate so badly. It might be incredible. I am too close to “dog catching” in my everyday life and mostly too wounded to LOVE it. But it was okay, and I am glad it was written, and I am glad I read it.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Lesbianism, Masturbation, Rape, and Gillian Anderson (Agent Dana Scully)

ALL of my X-Files books

Method of Disposal: Donate. I know. I know. Should I really donate all my old, over-used X-Files books? Is there anyone out there who would want them or am I just wasting some person’s time who has to unpack them all? I cannot help it. I cannot throw them away, and I am convinced a nerd like me will meander into the thrift store, find them, and proclaim that day as the luckiest in their life. I am. I told you, I cannot help it!

Weight: 21 lbs and possibly some tears. Please note that when stacked up they are almost the same height as my pit bull.

I am donating my entire X-Files book collection--at least I hope I found them all. I have been collecting them since mid-1990, and they have lived with me in a variety of different places. They have been hidden away in condos, pushed aside in apartments, and—surprisingly—put on the main display bookshelf at my current house. They are episode guides, Gillian Anderson biographies, a complete set of young adult books, and so and so forth. They are fiction and non-fiction. They are mostly awful and some are, secretly, really good. Or they were ten years ago.

I feel a special affection for the X-Files still. I believe it to be my first full-blown obsession. It is strange since I rarely watch tv, hate almost all television series, and struggle to overcome my disdain for most science fiction. Except when something catches me off-guard, as it does from time to time, like the X-Files. I am into the X-files because I find it entertaining, but I also have key points in my life that are tied to my fascination. I will tell you just a few.

Gillian Anderson not only helped me realize I am a lesbian, but she also helped me discover the joys of masturbation—through no fault of her own, of course. I was in the bath one day when I was a “pre-teenager”, and I thought about something I had done as a young child that felt really good. I tried to remember exactly what it was and, as I was figuring it out, here comes Agent Dana Scully waltzing into my brain. I had a fantastic orgasm. Got out of the bath tub, put some puzzle pieces together, compared those pieces to other pieces of my life at the time, and made two of the largest and most important realizations I had ever made and possibly ever will make. I love that woman to this day, and I will love her when she is much older, wrinkled, and beautifully-aged. I am loyal to her for always, despite the fact that I do not know her at all.

I also learned that while I have no desire to turn on the television I have in my living room I can watch The X-Files for days on end, weeks even, without a moment of boredom. I have the complete set of DVDS, which I do not plan to give away. I had surgery on my nose the summer in between graduating from high school and going to college. It had been shattered by a stranger at the neighborhood pool several years before. He did not like that I was a lesbian and, though he was several years older than me, he took it out on my face. The recovery period was a month with no heavy-lifting and no masturbation/sex. It was awful. My only saving grace was the pain medication and the constant X-Files marathon I had going.

At the end of my senior year in college I was raped by a stranger and had to go to the emergency room for a rape kit. As the doctor performed my pelvic exam and as I waited and waited and waited for a number of tests, words, and questions I was allowed to watch whatever I wanted on television. I did not care, but the friend who brought me turned it on anyway and there she was. Agent Dana Scully. I laughed. I watched it until we were done, and I was allowed to go home. I remember being so happy that life was like that or at least tv was—with all its reruns. I felt transported.

What is even sadder is that I can think of a couple other moments where The X-Files played some role in my life, but I have listed the important ones. I have embarrassed myself enough. Except I am not that embarrassed, not really, just loyal. Loyal, amused, and sometimes in love.

These books weigh 21 lbs when set on a scale. Before this entry, all of the books I had let go of only added up to around 30 lbs. I have almost doubled my number. I am sad to see them go, but I am trying really hard not to think about it anymore. I can feel myself starting to change my mind, but I won’t. I am determined.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Any Chance of a Bed Here?

Blindness by José Saramago
Weight: 12 oz
Method of Disposal: Donating

The first time I picked up Blindness I probably only made it 15 pages in before I put it down with an embarrassing bored feeling. I wanted it to be better, but it just felt painful. I did not pick it up again for at least four years. One day I forgot my initial disdain and reached for it again. This time I read it through in just a couple days. It took some adjusting of various components of my brain and some letting go of other components but, by the end of it, I thought it was brilliant. It was translated from the Portuguese, and I think that some of the rockiness is due to that. I wish there was some way for me to be sure but, for now, I cannot speak or read the language so I make no promises. Regardless of that muddle, my awe of the book and of the author stuck with me for years. I recommended the book to several people who could never finish it and/or did not enjoy it. I think they will if they try it again.

I felt that the author wrote about humanity to a depressing and deplorable tittle. I felt that if trapped in a building with scared, confused, and physically changed people this is exactly what would happen. People would turn on each other the second they could find a good excuse. Food would be hoarded, women would be raped, men would be shot, and someone would try to exterminate everyone else out of fear. Of course there would be the heros, the onlookers, and those who were in a constant state of panic. There would be the excuses and the theories and the unresolved truths. Maybe in a world where this idea has been shown, diluted, misused, and overdone the true glory of this book was unable to shine through for some people. I can understand that.

I do not understand, however, why this wonderful novel was made into one of the worst movies I have ever seen. That was truly depressing. I remember seeing the trailers and noting that they did not mention José Saramago or his book. At first, I hoped this meant it was not based on it, but I soon read the reviews and saw the new editions of the book complete with the movie poster cover. My second step was acceptance and then, finally, true and passionate excitement. I could not wait to see the wonderful movie based on the wonderful book at some wonderful time in my life. It did not go as planned, and I do not recommend making that mistake.

Despite the difficulties and the awful movie, this book is widely acclaimed. Do not misunderstand me when I say that so many people did not enjoy it, a lot (and by a lot I mean A LOT) of people loved it. It won the Nobel Prize for Literature and is an International Bestseller that has been translated into multiple languages. On June 18th 2010 I received the sad news via text message that José Saramago had died. He was 87 years old, and he left quite an impression behind. He is an author that will exist forever, and I am thankful for it.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

This Post Might Save You Time

This Book Will Save Your Life by A.M. Homes
Weight: 1.4 lbs
Method of Disposal: Donation

I drove in the direction of Panther’s Creek for two hours but, in the end, I never did come upon a trail, a creek, or a waterfall. No inner peace and no plan. Instead, I found an eight week old kitten about to go into heat stroke. She was in a panic, darting back and forth, near her dead sibling. A woman began to kick her and the other people just watched the little one fret and then freak out. I scooped her up. She only weighed 2 lbs. We turned around and headed towards home. How does this fit in with my last entry?

I am turning, yet another, A.M. Homes’ book loose, and it is not an easy task. I hate to see her books go. I purchased This Book Will Save Your Life at a time when I really did need a savior. I would have bought it anyway, because it was written by her, but it grabbed my eye from a distance at the bookstore because I knew I needed it even before I knew the author. It was several years ago now, during one of the more difficult periods of my life.

It is in the exact condition that I bought it in except for one solitary underlining that makes me laugh now. Homes writes, “I had an accident. I was pulling out and hit some guy. No, not his car, his person. I struck his person. He’s really giving me a hard time. I hate men—if I’d run over a woman, you can bet she’d be apologizing to me” (54).

Anyway, it did not save my life. It did not even come close. I was less than impressed. And I am thinkin’ it probably won’t save my life now either and, definitely, it won’t anytime down the road so goodbye. Farewell. Go trick some other desperate person.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Still Surviving in THE A-T-L

Frommer’s Germany 2007
Weight: A little over a pound
Method of Disposal: Recycling

I had just graduated from college and fallen in love. It was, you guessed it, the year 2007. Not that long ago. I worked at a bookstore and this book was given to me. I thought, at the time, that I might move to Germany with my then girlfriend who was looking into a school over there. I got the audio cds to learn the language, stole her Germany jacket, and read pieces of this book. I was excited about my life and where it was going.

I am still in Georgia. I traded in the bookstore job for a job at the animal shelter, and I am slowly and painfully letting that girl go. I have no plans to move to Germany, and it is really a mystery as to why I have held onto this raggedy old book, like it might come in handy some day. Like they do not make a new one each year. Like it would change things somehow. I would love to go to Germany one day, but on my budget with my pack of dogs I think it is best not to think on that too long.

Instead, I am off to Panther Creek in Clarkesville, GA. I am looking for a swimming hole, some inner peace, and the start of a plan that must be somewhere inside of me. I will probably just find a trail, a creek, and a waterfall. I am kind of use to that. At times, I am kind of o.k. with that. Maybe from a distance, at night, after a drink, I will mistake Helen for Germany.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

July 6, 2010

Weight: 3.3 lbs
Method of Disposal: Shipping to Colorado for the niece

On July 6, 2010 at 11:28 pm a chunky baby, weighing 9 lbs 9 oz (3Xthe amount of the Curious George book) was born into the world. This little baby is named Bella, and she was a long time coming. I am shipping her this book as a “welcome” gift after owning it since it was printed in 1994.

Curious George has always reminded everyone in my immediate family of my brother because of an episode from his childhood where he gave all of his toys, except for Curious, away to some other children he did not know. The story goes that he noticed they did not have as much as him and so he decided to even the playing field. This happened while he was living in Saudi Arabia. He has never been able to get away from that moment. Throughout the years he has received random Curious George items that I am sure he did not want or need. Here we go again! Only this time it is for little Bella who will appreciate it.

Curious George, of course, is problematic even as it is fun--so Bella and I will need to have a conversation about it when she gets older. We need to talk about the captured monkey and what he is to the man in the yellow hat but, until then; I still think there is fun and value in this collection. AND, the publication of Curious George is quite the achievement in and of itself. The authors had to flee Paris in 1940 and come to the United States with their manuscript in hand. Since then, it has been translated into numerous languages and read all over the world.

I still get a similar feeling now to that I had as a child when I open this book and see all the familiar images. I never wanted to let it go because I still want to eat the hundreds of perfectly round doughnuts. I want to follow the alphabet animals. I want to see the puzzle piece I just swallowed on an x-ray machine.

I have a friend I met when I was 15. She was also my coworker at the time, and she use to read me Curious George when we had downtime at work. By “read” I mean she made up her own words to match the pictures. Why bother with what is actually written down? It was a lot of fun. Yup, this collection and this monkey signify a lot of good times. Welcome to the world Isabella and may you have even better times in your life.

Monday, July 5, 2010

“It’s hard to think so pious a woman be secretly a Devil’s bitch after seventy year of such good prayer.”

The Crucible by Arthur Miller
Weight: 5 oz.
Method of Disposal: Donating to the AKF thrift store. I am sure someone will buy it for 25 cents for some other student who needs to read it for school. It will be quite the deal.

The last week or so I have felt like an angsty teenager who is incapable of facing the world a.k.a my responsibilities. I want to call into work and sleep until 3 or 4 pm, but I know I cannot. I can barely pay rent when I do show up to work each and every day, even with side jobs. The dogs still need to eat and get their monthly flea preventative. And my car is my only shot for all the day hikes and trips away from the city I have needed lately to maintain my sanity. So, instead of becoming an unreliable person and getting fired I am just going to get rid of THE CRUCIBLE.
I don’t guess that makes a lot of sense to most people but THE CRUCIBLE, for me, is directly related to my teenage years. I had a not-so-brief obsession with witch hunting after a nod from my mom in the direction of THE CRUCIBLE. The movie, with the lovely Winona Ryder, came out around that time as well. Later, we would read it in school. It did not seem unfathomable that people would kill other people because of their ridiculous assumptions about someone’s character. With the way the other kids treated me in school when they found out I was queer, it seemed like old news. Looking back on it, it matches up even better than I thought it did then. Children’s wicked games reinforced by the adults around them who should know better.
My favorite CRUCIBLE moment really is not related to the play. It is when I created an e-mail address with the name Devil’s Bitch, which I got from the book. I loved it. My mother received a forwarded e-mail from my cousin around that time, and she admonished her for knowing someone who would have that pseudonym. My cousin had to politely tell her that it was her own daughter who chose that name. We laughed about that for some time, and I never let that address go.

Anyway, I am donating THE CRUCIBLE. It is a symbolic letting go of that teenage darkness. I hope I can rid it from my adult life A.S.A.P. It is highly inconvenient, and it is not sexy.

*Oh and, don't get me wrong, I do think that THE CRUCIBLE is an amazing piece of literature and is far more important than this post expresses. It is much more than teenage required reading. If you have not read it, I highly recommend it.*