What's everyone going as for Halloween? William picked my costume in tandem with the pequeno milkbreath, Jude, we will be "puppies", and the older mens of the household will be "cats" and by request wear socks on their hands as paws, "like cats". I have been busy beyond busy, like only making dinner/making deadline/ changing dipes/putting children to bed style for seemingly ever (though we did see Prince last month, I did leave the house then) and I have not properly fashioned a costume. Here's to hopin' no one beefs with a safetypinned sock-tail.
I have been researching and reading a bunch for two pieces I am writing but they are still top secret until they come out and then, then I will tell you, I will give you the quotes on all I have unearthed, but I can tell you I got to interview Ian MacKaye for like, shit, the 9th time in 19 years and we were talking about old days and nostalgia and I told him about tumblr call-out culture and we laughed because it sounds just like MRR's letter pages of yore. He also said "I remember the first time I met you." I was 16. "I thought, "well, she's fired up!"" That's one way of putting it. I got my band at the time on the Fugazi bill despite that we'd played like 4 shows simply by calling the Dischord house and leaving messages on the answer machine about it, possibly begging, perhaps explaining WHY, I think maybe every day after school for--my conservative recollection, here--probably a week. Fired up, indeed!
Are you guys scared about the election? I am just trying to go for confidence and belief that there is no way Mitt is charming people with his sweaty shenaniganery. He looks like he is really making the most of his unlimited monthly pass at Midnight Sun or Neon Beach or Tan Stop. So richly tan. America cannot be so fucked that he'd get elected, right, we cannot be that self loathing. Maybe the president can have him secretly taken out with a drone and then we get to keep our current POTUS... FINGERS CROXXED!
And a sentence I don't think anyone every imagined would be written: I reviewed Cee Lo's Christmas album for Pitchfork.
For the past few mornings Jude has woke at approximately 4:40 A.M. to tell me of his ecstatic joy for being awake and alive in the pre-dawn. He has woken with shrieks of delight over joining the dominant ranks of our family, having grown a tooth an all. A scant tooth, but none the less, he is one of us; a tooth-haver. The tooth, along with the perdurable shitting himself awake, brings him unto the day. And for the following 40-50 minutes he kicks and gurgles and rolls back and forth between Matt and I, looking for locks of hair or fingers to yank and gnaw, like a flirtatious 20 lb. honeybadger. He grows impatient if after his diaper change, I just hand him a teether and try to half snooze. He wants to jump. It is too early for the bouncer, so instead, I sit up and I hold him under his arms facilitate his Tigger routine about the mattress. Then we do some little bicycling of the legs, followed by standing and sitting and rolling and then it is almost 5:15. He will sleep again around 5:30, for an hour. It is an ungodly routine. The other morning I kicked Matt awake and offered him $20 cash if he would change the baby and give him a bottle in exchange for one hour of sleep. Thankfully, he has not collected on this debt as those sorts of wages will break me in no time.
Two mornings ago, as Jude was nearly back to sleep, I remembered that JJ's birthday was this weekend. I always remember it as the same week of Janis Joplin's death date, which is October 4th. I could not remember whether JJ would have been 39 or 40. I think 40. I do not remember her death date, only that Dave called me on the 28th of August when I was on book tour and I did not call him back because the message was super casual sounding. And then Cali called me a few days later to see how I was coping. Coping with what I said. That was, I think, September 2. I never asked what day exactly JJ died. I wanted to know everything but then again not really. The particulars didn't change anything; how long she'd been using again, who her boyfriend at the time was. It didn't matter to the story so why ask. She died. She died the way I thought she might die though she seemed like she would live forever in and out, in and out. Someone said she killed herself and all the sober people were like, duh you are always killing yourself, until you are not. Killing yourself is relative when you are strung out.
A friend would drop me a line to say that she'd been spotted at a meeting or was in Sober Living--or not. When she was using she was the most annoying person I'd ever met. Like, unbearable. Because when she was sober she was full realized and living and unapologetic and honorable and encouraging and funny. Those things all together at once and on full-blast. I do not imagine her alive often, mostly because I don't think about things in that way but I think she would have loved to meet these kids. Her mom says sometimes she thinks JJ will walk right in the door. I cannot think of a worse feeling I could ever have, as a mom, than that.
A few weeks ago her mom sent me photos that JJ still had. Mostly photobooth. I credit my pristine platinum hair to JJ entirely, as she was in beauty school and a whiz with the toner.
Taken at the Rite Aid photobooth across from the Beverly Center. I am approximately 19. She was maybe a year sober? In other pictures from this set, we are holding a newborn baby of a friend of hers who was walking by--the drummer from Bad Religion--and let us use the baby as a photo prop. I wonder if that kid would think that is funny. They are a teenager now, so, probably not.
Usually when I think of JJ, I just feel gratitude and awe. Some of it for having known her, but mostly for everyone else that managed to get out of it alive and stay alive. I often think, still, that no one has ever known me better, even though we were just kids then. I think she made everyone feel that way; that she understood you best. But we were best-best. If you knew one of us, you knew both; a tag-team.
We'd barely spoken in the two or three years before she died, and our times as best friends had passed, the shadow of the bestness almost unbearable. Some girls who were in her sober living house from a few months before she died recognized me at the memorial, from pictures she showed them; they knew the name of our band that broke up 11 years ago. I did not show off pictures of her. I kept them stuffed away. If I caught a glimpse, they took my breath away.
What does it mean when the person who knew you best is gone entirely? That is what I wonder. The other half of your history is sliced off, never to be recounted. The details you forgot never to be put back into place.