Monday, November 30, 2009

I Felt You In My Legs Before I Ever Met You

Since the day I started this blog, I have been waiting for this moment. JK. Since I started music monday I've been waiting for this moment, this once in a lifetime moment. On Friday it was my 19th birthday.

That's not the moment I've been waiting for.

What I've been waiting for is this:

[tegan and sara - nineteen]
(sidenote this is the live version t&s did for spinner which is the best version of nineteen you will ever hear)

I was... nineteeeeeeeeeeeen, caaaaalll meeeee.

Except that you actually couldn't for a while because I left my phone in a taxi. Yeah, go me. Then my parents had to pay ransom for it because I was at work for 7.5 hours folding clothes. Money!

Also I realize that on my Rules of Life list I forgot something essential. If you recall, my Rules of Life are as follows:

1. Don't be too drunk.
2. Don't cry.
3. Everything's going to be fine.
4. Never try to write somebody else's poetry.

I need to add to that, perhaps one of the most important things ever ever ever and I can't believe I forgot it:

5. Always bring lipbalm.

Friday, November 27, 2009

It's My Birthday and I'll Cry If I Want To

Hello! On Wednesday I posted a bunch of lists about things. Today I'm going to continue that trend with one special list: 3290902 Reasons Why I Am Awesome. It's true that this list could make me sound really pretentious and stuck up but I have justifications, I swear. Firstly, if you know me personally I think you'll know that I'm a pretty modest person. I'm also honest. I think it's important to be honest with yourself, that's why I'm making this list. Also if you're Brooke Levin, you probably approve of this. Secondly, it's my birthday. Therefore, I deserve to feel good about myself. Notice I haven't made a list of my flaws. You can read that list at the shoreline receding.

Reasons Why I Am Awesome

1. I have feelings and lots of them.
2. I can write relatively well. I write poetry and short stories and this blog and sometimes I write for Autostraddle.
3. Also I work for Autostraddle. I should just end the list here (but I won't).
4. I play the guitar kinda okay ish and I write bad songs. But points for trying, right?
5. I can also play the bass and drums and keyboard kinda okay ish.
6. I take pictures.
7. I have good taste in music. Srsly.
8. I like to travel. Traveling is fun. It also makes me cool.
9. I'm a good friend (I think/hope?). I love them, anyway.
10. Even though it scares me I do it anyway. Cause I seize the day. Most days.
11. I'm funny.
12. I have an open mind.
13. I can use a computer. You might be like "obvs" at this one, but srsly some people are just slower than others. Don't judge them.
14. I'm kinda cute/I have a nice ass. OK NOW THIS TIME IT'S NOT ME TALKING, I have multiple sources that tell me I have a nice ass. So there.
15. I have fucking nice teeth.
16. I'm smart. I also have justification for this statement, read:
"i think emily choo is a very bright, 'poetically inclined' girl who pays attention to everything and knows almost everything (the point of stuff, how to read, how beautiful things feel, how scary things feel, etc) but doesn't believe/accept/realize yet that she knows almost everything. it's actually better that way because she'll keep wanting to know more stuff. i think of emily choo as a "girl we like" and i "feel she is kickass" and that she "has a name that sounds cool so we like to say it as much as possible." and "i feel personally i would be sad if emily choo was really sad." i also 'feel like i am stoned right now' and 'probably talking crazy' while 'consciously writing in a style reminiscent of the Great Tao Lin'"

Probs the greatest compliment I've ever gotten from someone stoned. Also if you won't listen to me maybe you'll listen to her, but you should listen to me anyway because I know almost everything.

So yeah, I think that's it. Clearly you can see I'm almost perfect. Single ladies you better put a ring on it.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Things I Hate Spending Money On & Other Lists

Things I Hate Spending Money On

1. public transport
2. tampons

Rules of Life

1. Don't be too drunk.
2. Don't cry.
3. It's going to be fine.
4. never try to write somebody else's poetry

6PM Walking Home From School Songs

1. RE: Stacks - Bon Iver
2. The Blower's Daughter - Damien Rice
3. Here I Dreamt I Was An Architect - The Decemberists
4. Twilight - Elliott Smith
5. Sunset Soon Forgotten - Iron & Wine
6. Lost Coastlines - Okkervil River

4AM Walking Home From the Bus
Stop Drunk Songs

1. RE: Stacks - Bon Iver
2. Lua - Bright Eyes
3. Bird Stealing Bread - Iron & Wine
4. On My Way Back Home Again - Jim Ward
5. Adventures in Solitude - The New Pornographers

The Only Consistent Things In My Life

1. the stuffed animals on my bed
2. paper

6AM Getting Ready for School Songs

1. Northshore - Tegan and Sara
2. Thieves and Their Hands - Rachael Cantu
3. This Charming Man - The Smiths
4. Bad Romance - Lady Gaga
5. Greater Omaha - Desaparecidos

Those Stupid Songs That Make Me Sad

1. Left and Leaving - The Weakerthans
2. Back In Your Head (demo) - Tegan and Sara
3. City Girl (yellowknife version) - Tegan and Sara
4. Tonight - Stars
5. Angel - Sarah McLachlan
6. A Better Son/Daughter - Rilo K
7. Vera - Pink Floyd
8. Upward Over the Mountain - Iron & Wine
9. Company Calls Epilogue - Death Cab For Cutie
10. Saturday As Usual - Bright Eyes

Reasons Why I Think You Should Call Me

1. multi-talented
2. ability to empathize
3. i'm actually an okay person
4. i can slip into a semi-comatose state while standing on a bus

Reasons Why I Think You Won't Call Me

1. you're not paying attention
2. i say strange things

Favorite Places I've Traveled To

1. San Francisco
2. New York City
3. Stockholm
4. some place in the French countryside
5. #smallearth


1. write essays
2. read books
3. find love or a substitute of some kind

Things Love Is

1. a disease
2. the cure
3. the best sensation hiding in the lion's mane
4. blind
5. a smoke raised with the fumes of sighs
6. a fire sparkling in lovers' eyes
7. a sea nourished with lovers' tears
8. a madness most discreet
9. a choking gall and a preserving sweet
10. all you need

(first picture via autostraddle)
(second picture via cole rise)

Monday, November 23, 2009

I Can't Take My Mind Off Of You

[damien rice - the blower's daughter]

and so it is, just like you said it would be.
life goes easy on me,
most of the time.

i can't take my eyes off of you.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

fiction about women

I wrote this in August. I mentioned it once here and once here. I've been scared to publish it because I think it's good but I'm worried that it's not. This story doesn't apply to me anymore. It might have been true at one point, but now it's taken its place in fiction. Anyways, here we go. Deep breath.

"It's the daydreaming that does it. I'm doing the usual thing -- imagining in tiny detail the entire course of the relationship, from first kiss, to bed, to moving in together, to getting married (in the past I have even organized the track listing of the party tapes), to how pretty she'll look when she's pregnant, to names of children -- until suddenly I realize that there's nothing left to actually, like, happen. I've done it all, lived through the whole relationship in my head. I've watched the film in fast forward; I know the whole plot, the ending, all the good bit."
- Nick Hornby "High Fidelity"


all i know how to write about are the women i’ve loved. there’ve been a lot. every woman i’ve ever seen i’ve fallen in love with. the ones i’ve met for 5 minutes or less or more, but not much more. There’s the woman i met for a day and then i loved her for a month. there’s the woman who came up behind me on the escalator, then i wrote an entire love poem where every other word was ‘love’ prefaced with ‘i’ and ending with everything you do. these women break my heart. they destroy me. it’s only the ones i’ve missed that tear me apart like this. you know, the missed opportunities. all i can do is write some kind of fiction about women, all the women i’ve loved inside my head.

what i really mean is there’s one woman i want to talk about right now. that’s it, right? it’s never women in general, not for anyone. there’s always someone specific in mind. well, there is here, for me.

it would make sense to start the story from when we met. that would be logical. but the real story starts when i was born, because this is my story and that’s when i begin. so i guess meeting people and women comes in somewhere in the middle. or ‘late start’ since the story’s not over. there’s no real start to anything actually. i mean this whole life is like a circle or something anyways. there’s no starting point. the important part is this: there’s this woman, and then there’s me.

if i knew how to explain it, i would. but i don’t, so i can’t. i’m making it up as i go along. i don’t know what i’m talking about, but no one really does. if they tell you they do they’re lying and the world is full of liars and believers, and you need one liar and one believer and that’s how you get the truth. are you listening to me right now? are you believing this? what did i just tell you? pay attention. this is about love which doesn’t exist except inside your head.

so this is some kind of story about something. this is my story within a story. it’s about a woman or women or love. (it’s about the love i created inside my head).

let’s make a list. the list is called “things about you” but it’s not about you, it’s about this woman i’ve been talking about, you know? the woman in the story. see if you can figure it out. i know it’s a boring name for a list but it’s late and i don’t think the name is very important right now. i mean, it doesn’t matter. the list is still the same.

things about you: a list
crooked thumbs
round eyes
small teeth

i could be describing anyone right now. if you know who i’m talking about maybe it’s obvious and you are probably thinking i’m crazy right now, you’re making a mental note, suddenly you think differently of me. that’s fine. i’m fine with that. either i’m in love with everybody or i’m in love with nobody.

so i’ve written stories in my head. stories about this one woman, this blonde with crooked thumbs, a distorted sense of perception, low low sweet n’ low, round eyes and small teeth; one of them is about how we fight all the time. this is the beginning of the story, i guess, if there was a beginning. the beginning is in the middle because we’re already fighting and i’m making it up.

it’s the middle of winter. i think winter is perfect for breathing close to someone when you’re outside and hiding your hands somewhere. see, this woman, i shout at her in the snow but she never shouts back and that’s very frustrating. and i tell her that. i tell her she’s a robot and she has no feelings. she tells me i have too many feelings. i just shout a lot. it’s okay to shout in the winter because the world gets bigger when it snows. all i need is one believer now to turn my lies into truths.

in this shouting scene she’s wearing a hat and i’m not. but i have a scarf on. we’re on the sidewalk near a main street across from my school but there’s no one around because it’s winter. the world is bigger so there’s more places to hide and that’s where the other people are. or maybe someone is walking by but they just keep going. i don’t know because i’m too busy shouting. she’s not answering me, really. you know why? because this is a one sided conversation because it’s not real because it’s happening in my head because i live there. and i can’t think for someone else. not even for this woman that i love but don’t know at all. we just go to a hotel and drink wine. red for her, white for me. i know that much.

on the way there it starts to snow. i can tell we’re not really mad at each other, we’re just mad at each other. there are red patches on her cheeks but it’s from the cold not because she was shouting. that was me. that’s why my face is red. i’m not wondering if she’s going to hold my hand. it’s like we’re pretending we’re not going to the same place. i know she is just waiting for me to apologize.

either everything is true or nothing is. how much of this are you believing?

inside the layers of clothing come off. i never really thought about it but i guess i’m wearing a jacket and a sweater and a shirt and probably an undershirt because it’s really cold. (i want to say more about the cold and this woman but i can’t because that would give it away. i’m only giving some things away, not little truths, just little lies. stuff that makes up a story, you know? it doesn’t matter because i’ve already classified this as fiction, turned this into something that exists on the fringes of life, the edges of my mind. and maybe it’s based on a real person (blonde with crooked thumbs, a distorted sense of perception, low low sweet n’ low, round eyes and small teeth) or maybe it’s not. whatever you want to believe, i guess. whatever you choose to think about me. who am i trying to convince?)

we undress each other and make peace – i mean love – and then i take a shower and we order chinese food. we eat chinese food in the boxes and drink cheap wine and time sort of fast forwards. i can just skip this part. let’s just say that we’re both quiet and she’s been quiet since she got here, since i shouted at her in the snow, and i know she’s going to say something soon. i can’t say what because i don’t know her very well even though i’ve known her for a year. it’s amazing what you can talk about when you don’t talk about anything. we lie in bed and hold each other and watch the news but i’m not really watching, i’m just looking. i’m looking at her and thinking and knowing that we’re probably going to fight again soon, except it’s just going to be me by myself. i’m always shouting at the wall and she’s always calm and quiet until she gets her word in and that’s it, i’m defeated.

we walk around in the fresh snow again outside the hotel. i’m wearing these shitty converse with holes in them and my feet are freezing already. this is based on real life, this is actually a fact. the one truth i’ve told is about my holey shoes. i guess it’s better than nothing. i already said this was fiction didn’t i? it’s all about love which only exists in my head, and barely

i’m making tracks in the ground, walking in a circle around this woman. she’s talking now, about worldly things. i touch her here and there, kiss her here and there. if we are puzzle pieces we don’t really fit together, but at least we’re in the right box, part of the same picture. we never tell each other lies because we don’t need to, instead we just say things and i don’t know if that’s worse.

i imagine our friends talking about us, saying we’re crazy for each other. they say that i’m crazy and i show it and she’s crazy but she won’t admit it and that’s why i’m always shouting. that’s why she’s never shouting. they say that we’re two extremes and i’m not talking about ‘opposites attracting’ because we have a lot in common (we also have nothing in common but that matters less), but we work because we need each other. it works on this paper because i wrote it, i made it, i’m the writer who turned fiction into fact. fiction into truth. this works if you believe me.

the truth (or...?) is that i can’t not be in love with anybody. right? either i’m in love with everybody or i’m in love with nobody and the latter can’t be true, it just can’t. i’m in love with every woman i know and i’m writing the same story over and over again. i’m rewriting my life over and over again.

we’re rolling in the snow and my jeans are wet. the snow is a good kind of cold, you know, that kind that you can hold in your hand and you won’t get shivers. i’m chasing her and shouting and i’m cold and hot and happy and warm. we lie in the snow. she’s wearing her hat, i’m wearing my scarf. some snow goes down my neck and i shake and giggle. the rest of the world is hiding, somewhere in the white spaces where we haven’t walked yet. i’m not wondering if she’s going to hold my hand, i know she’s just waiting for me to kiss her and i do. we lie on our backs and watch and feel the snow cover our faces and bodies and they’re just like white falling stars. tomorrow our tracks will be gone, replaced with something clean, a fresh new hope.

we go inside and make love – i mean peace – i mean tea – and we sleep and dream of space and snow and each other. and it’s warm inside these blankets and her body’s warm and the tv’s still on. i can hear it subconsciously. in the middle of the night i wake up and turn it off. i kiss her shoulder and bury deeper into her heart and into the sheets and it’s still snowing outside but not in our bed.

so here’s what i’ve learned: either everything is perfect or nothing is. and the answer is both at the same time because they’re the same thing, you know? everything is perfect, and nothing is. so she’s either everyone you know, or no one at all. believe what you will.

Monday, November 16, 2009

You Write Such Pretty Words, But Life's No Storybook

This is the first Bright Eyes song I ever heard. I don't think I understood it or liked it very much but I kept listening to it because the person I had a crush on at the time loved it. That was in grade 8. I've been a Bright Eyes fan ever since and when the person broke my heart I listened to Bright Eyes over and over again because sometimes when you're sad you listen to sad music hoping for a revelation or something. I'm kind of going through a sad period right now so mostly I'm just going to be posting sad things and sad poetry.

I picked you out of a crowd and talked to you. Said I liked your shoes, you said "thanks, can I follow you?" So it's up the stairs, out of view and prying eyes. I poured some wine. I asked your name, you asked the time...

Saturday, November 14, 2009

It's Cool, We Can Still Be Friends

Montreal at night.

Montreal at dawn.

I guess that your truth is just a ghost of your lies.
I guess your kind of truth is just the ghost of your lies.
Yeah, your kind of truth, darling, is just the ghost of your lies.
I see through them all the time.
So I'm pouring some whiskey, I'm gonna get drunk.
I'm pouring myself some whiskey, I'm gonna get real fucking drunk!
I'm pouring some whiskey right now, I'm gonna get so, so drunk
that I pass out and forget your face... by the time I wake up.
- Bright Eyes

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Read, Recycle, Write Poetry

So I know I just wrote a post about how people shouldn't write poetry 'cause they suck at it, but here I am writing some poetry and hopefully it doesn't suck and then I won't be such a hypocrite. For the record, Riese is currently not in New York, but on a fucking boat in Mexico. Since New York is where she lives that's how it happened in the poem. This all started because Laura wrote me an email about being stuck inside because her transit system thing was on strike and she was cuddling with her dog, then I had too many feelings about life so I had to write words.

Also I'd just like to point out that I think writing things down fictionalizes them. Once it's written down it takes on a life of its own, whatever 'it' is.


Do you think I'm a jerk because I answer harshly sometimes?
I've been taught to be defensive.
I get sad too, you know.
I get sad when it's midnight
and Riese is gone (she's in New York)
and Laura is lonely (she's got a dog).

Do you know what it takes to look in the mirror sometimes?
I've been taught to be obsessed.
I get tired too, you know.
I get tired in the morning
and my dad is gone (he has a job)
and Tina is asleep (she has time).

Do you know how it hurts to see you walk by sometimes?
I've been taught to stay away.
I get desperate too, you know.
I get desperate after school
and Esmé is gone (she is smarter)
and Val is gone (she works).

Do you cry on the way home sometimes?
I listen to Bon Iver and it hurts.
I get damaged too, you know.
It's all this time I spent alone
when Riese is gone (she's in New York)
and Laura is lonely (she's got a dog).


I hate you.
Yes, I'm bitter.
Yes, I'm jealous.
Yes, I'm mad you're seeing someone else.

Yes, it hurts.

Was it easy?
Yes, I'm sad,
yes, I'm foolish,
yes, I realize I'm just bad at it.

Yeah, it hurts.

Fuck off.
I hate you.
Yes, I'm bitter
and jealous and foolish and sad
and, yes, I'm miserable
'cause you're happier now.

So yeah, it does hurt.


I'm thinking of investing in a sign:
"I don't know".
Don't ask me why.
I don't know.
Knowing hurts.


I noticed you got a haircut last weekend.
It's nice, I like it.
No really, it's cute.

I like it when you wear canvas shoes and plaid shirts
and black framed glasses.
They're cute, really.

I look for you on de Maisonneuve sometimes
but you quit smoking the day I started.
My chest hurts.


I have this urge to quote a song
but it doesn't sound as good when I say it.
Listening hurts.


I cry on the way home sometimes.
I listen to Bon Iver and it hurts.

And I miss all the people that are gone.


And loving hurt,
so I took a nap.

And a nap was all it took to forget your face for a while.

I woke up and it was very clear:
Shower, study, drink tea.
Read, recycle, write poetry.

And I miss all the people that are gone.

Monday, November 9, 2009

I Tried to Explain But You Cry and Cry and Cry

[the airborne toxic event - girls in their summer dresses]

For some reason this song makes me sad. I think it's because The Airborne Toxic Event make me think of this person.

I have 4 exams this week so, brb, gotta go study.

it's so quiet on these windswept days...

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Line Breaks Do Not a Poem Make

Listen, I'm never going to claim that I am a good poet. I think I'm okay. I've never really asked anyone's opinion, nor have I ever let people read much of what I've written. Actually, my poetry teacher from second semester said he liked an edited version of this poem, which was published in the Liberal Arts Anthology last spring. But he may have been lying. Regardless, I don't know if I'm a good poet or not. But I do know one thing: poetry is not a bunch of sentences with line breaks. Nor can you hide run on sentences with line breaks. Poems have a rhythm and beat, and I don't know why people think this means that poems have to rhyme. Rhyming poems are harder because you end up trying to force syllables in places they don't belong. This is a really good rhyming poem. Good luck trying to imitate that in any way. Anyways, don't write really long sentences 'cause it's tiring*. Just as a general rule. Keep that shit short. Concise. Done.

I just really have to get this off my chest.

Like, this is not
a poem because
I split my sentence
into 5 lines
where angels
come down from heaven
and I go off
on tangents
and say random things
that might have something to do
with my topic

and then start new stanzas
for no reason
now I have to
bring this back around
to make this
make sense
can you tell
that I'm making this up
as I go along?
This is not a poem.

Riese has feelings about poetry in school:

I read this essay about how teaching literature in school is ruining it. I think a teacher wrote it. I can't remember. Most teachers in most schools in America are making kids hate books by treating literature like a Periodic Table, especially poetry.

Poetry is a gift and a skill. It's one of the hardest things to do well. Luckily, 'cause there's only a tiny poetry market, so it's a good thing we only have maybe 100 living poets who truly deserve a book of their stuff to be read by lots of people right now.

So making kids memorize poetry is boring. Making kids get pop-quizzed on what record album Holden Caulfield bought his sister is boring, and it misses the very best part of learning and reading poetry and really any kind of literature, which is reacting to it however you want -- rudderless and hopeful -- and I don't have an answer for how to give someone a grade on their emotional response to a work of literature. But I think making kids write poetry is a huge mistake. Let them discover it on their own if they must and if they must than they will. Otherwise they'll just associate poetry with the experience of sucking at something. Poetry will feel miserable to them and it has to feel not like that, it has to feel like the opposite of misery.

Back to me, Emily: Also telling having exercises where kids have to write poetry and you tell them to just write whatever is in their heart/what they feel is no good. Poetry has feelings, yes, but so does your fucking diary.

"If you cannot be a poet, be the poem." - David Carradine

*Unless you can pull it off.**
** but you probably can't.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

America, This is the Impression I Get From Looking in the Television Set

Yesterday Maine voted to ban same-sex marriage. I'm tired and my heart hurts. Someone asked why we still hope when we lose so many battles. The answer is because these are our lives. No one is going to accept being a second-class citizen. No one is going to lie down and die. Hope is the only thing we have. Why do I care? I live in Canada, votes in Maine don't legally affect me. But Maine is part of the world, and so am I. And I... well, I care about other people. I want to go to Alex and Riese's wedding one day. It would be so simple.


But you'll fight and you'll make it through
you'll fake it if you have to
and you'll show up for work with a smile.
And you'll be better,
and you'll be smarter,
and more grown up and a better daughter
or son and a real good friend.

You'll be awake, you'll be alert
you'll be positive though it hurts
and you'll laugh and embrace all your friends.
And you'll be a real good listener,
listen real,
you'll be honest, you'll be brave
you'll be handsome, you'll be beautiful.
You'll be happy.
- Rilo Kiley "A Better Son/Daughter"


I speak the pass-word primeval, I give the sign of democracy,

By God! I will accept nothing which all cannot have their

counterpart of on the same terms.

- Walt Whitman "Song of Myself"

Imagine all the people, living life in peace.

Monday, November 2, 2009

I Was Happy in the Haze of a Drunken Hour

in my life
why do i give valuable time
to people who don't care if i
live or die?

in my life
why do i smile
at people who i'd much rather
kick in the eye?

It's November. I hope November is better than October. I don't know how to do more than hope. I've forgotten how to take control of my life.. I've been living as a victim of circumstances. I'd like to say that maybe I won't go through the motions so much, but it's really up to me and I don't know how to change. So I'll just sit here for a while, sit through November, sleep through Christmas.