June 15, 2002

A certain longing

This is the time of year we usually visit Jamaica, a place and people I've come to love, a music I understood only once I set it to the rhythm of the waves. But this year, we couldn't go, and it's left a longing in me that I wrote about yesterday. Figured I'd post it here:


Runaway Bay, my toes hit the water, I am home, cool Jamaican sea, salt smells comfort, a place I never want to leave. Quiet waves, I sink in, drifting, green-blue carries me far from shore. Sky sea horizon cools ancient fires, drifting still, on my back, bobbing, unnoticed, I do not exist: this is peace.

What brushes against my thigh? Bringing me back, it is slow and gentle, not a creature. I tread water, bring myself upright, as you emerge from under me. Splashes smiles welcoming arms, let's float together. I wrap around you, arms and legs, you hold me there, so you can swim us further out.

From the shore, children giggle and play, call "party wave!" and ride sea to sand. They are echos, distant songs, their cheering and laughter remembers us. I reach between my legs, slip my swimsuit to the side, dip under water long enough to pull your trunks down, take your sweetness out, you floating now, reaching for me as I re-emerge, wrap my arms around your neck, greet you eye to eye, tongue to tongue, we kiss long and slow.

Finally a place out of time to be just us, away from home, away from shore, weightless, no past/future, you probe for me, guide me onto you, bringing the cool sea water with you as I slide you deeper in.

Can we stay this way forever? Love locked. Even now. Still, floating, you inside me, me holding you with legs that wrap tight, breasts riding the water's surface, I feel your heat warm me, my wetness caress you, float with it, drink it in, this love sea.

Steroid Withdrawl

I've been on steroids for two weeks (two rounds) to knock his bronchitis out of my tired lungs. Came off two days ago. Have you ever come off of steroids? They are wonderful drugs which remove every bit of inflamation from your body. With steroids, you can breathe, you can soar, you can clean your house at 3:00 a.m. And then you finish your course of meds. And you feel precisely like cotton, from your brain to your feet, tired old cotton, wet even. And so tired. Jenna went off with family today. I closed my eyes at 1:00 and opened them six hours later. I could sleep for three days if someone would just give me the chance... If someone were here to help me. If George were home.

But George can't come home yet. And so I think of Elaine and if she were here I know I could clean my house, I could tackle the seven baskets of laundry waiting in the basement, I could register both of our cars, which are now two-weeks illegal, I could get the dogs to the vet to get their shots that are three months overdue, I could bother to go food shopping, bother to call the doctor about the yeast infection on my tongue thanks to the steroids, I could remember to take the overflowing garbage to the curb that I forgot about last week... But Elaine isn't here; she is taking some time for her, because I'm sure there are days, taking care of her mom, where she feels like cotton too.

So here I am alone, off to get my sweet sunshine, handle her energy one way or the other, and that's why no new blogging. Because more than any of these tasks awaiting me, I want to sleep. Deep sleep. No-Dream sleep. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

June 14, 2002

Privacy be damned

If you want a look at the best of generosity blogging, look here at the comment discussion happening in response to this honest post on alcoholism vs drinking by stavrosthewonderchicken. I learned more here than from all the little alanon pamphlets I ordered online.

RageBoy's Topic

Asking for it, I was. I say, "Give me a topic, I'll blog it." Before I finish Gary's "what if you weren't allowed to blog" question, I thought I'd tackle RageBoy's puzzle:

"Privacy is to generosity as iceboxes are to Eskimos. True or false."

I stunk at word problems in school. It may become very clear that I still suck at them. But, not doing something well never stopped me from doing it anyway. Iceboxes and Eskimos. Here I assume one thing, but remember I'm in atlanta where it's like 90 degrees right now: Eskimos don't need iceboxes. Refrigeration is useless. Do I have it right so far?

What about privacy and generosity, and let's stick within the realm of blogging here. Privacy in blogging means what? It means keeping yourself to yourself. It means keeping the personal out of your writing, keeping your family jewels safely within your briefs, quite literallly.

Privacy is something I don't do so well, evidenced by the fact that my kid's face is plastered all over my blog (and her own), as are my loving and sexual longings for my husband, my feelings of horror and disgust toward sex abusing catholics (small c), my childhood career as a shoplifter, my experiences as a kid with a dying father. Little private jewels like that--the experiences I share, those pieces of me I feel compelled to give you.

Does that mean I'm generous? I don't know. I'm sharing huge pieces of my self, for sure. But, I'm sure you can also argue that there's a hint (maybe more) of exhibitionism in it all. Although there is a generosity inherent in all sharing/giving, I get something from it too. It ain't all charity here on allied. I get the release. I get the opening up, the laying out, the eyes, the ears, the souls, and I get the conversation that follows, you telling me you love me "even though."

But let's get away from me for a minute. When you think of bloggers you would describe as "generous," several come to mind--to my mind anyway. They are the bloggers who dare to get personal: Golby, Halley, Marek, Locke, Shelley. They are generous because they dare to lay themselves down naked in front of us: "Here I am. Fuck with me if you want. Or decide you love me. I'm laying down either way."

So cool. So brave. So not private.

But there are generous bloggers who don't push the envelope on privacy to the max too. In this category I'd put Tom Matrullo and AKMA. Theirs is a generosity of spirit and prose and thought. Eloquent, winding prose and voice. Even if they don't always open their chests and show us their beating hearts, they opens our minds just the same. They give us glimpses of their families, their children, the ideas that matter most, but they pull up on the laying down naked thing. Who can blame them.

Then you have the disingenuous, the ungenerous, the very private, the antibloggers. The guy I reference near the top on the right of this page is one of those. I'm afraid they may be growing in number--but I think they'll fall by the wayside eventually.

These are the bloggers who refuse to give any hint of who they are. They remain wrapped and cloaked and yet afford no one that same opportunity. They are all about exposing others without daring to expose themselves. Here the disconnect between privacy and generosity is most clear. They give away nothing. They share nothing. They are absolute privacy. And they are reaaaallly boring. I would like to send them to live with the Eskimos for a month. Maybe then they would have something to say, some genuine experiences to share. But alas...

I must now go be mom, maker of dinner, bather of daughter, feeder of dogs, those other generous roles I play every single day.

So, my answer, I think, is "False."


June 13, 2002

Where was Tom then?

Where was Tom Matrullo when I was trying to explain to anyone who would listen why I thought Napster was such a good idea--why it blew my mind to pieces, why sitting at the PC with my husband saying, "how did that chord progression go?" and tapping into that vast online living room of like-minded music freaks called Napster was so wonderful. Where was Tom when we were downloading "with love" pieces and parcels of music and sounds that were right on the tip of our tongues, sparking the next wave of creativity, "yeh, that's right, and remember?"

Tom was here being brilliant, and I didn't know. Although I didn't have the chance to read his 24 Notes on Napster then, I just took a joy ride back in time, some George Clinton funk blastin' from my radiadio, tearin the roof off the mothersucker, reliving the love that was Napster in this most exquisite article.

If only...


On this Open Line Thursday, we pause for this important commercial message:

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Open Forum: What if You Could No Longer Blog

Gary Turner took the bait but fast on my Open Line Thursday, giving me an interesting question to blog about. Gary asks:

"What if you lost your blog and were not allowed to start another one?"

You've been hanging out with Frank Paynter, haven't you Gary? Lots of dynamite packed into this question.

First, I think about losing my blog, and assume you mean LOSING it, as in, gone, bye, finis. All the writing disappears, all the sweat and hard work down the drain. I'm left with two strong emotions: Terror and Despair. Terror: It could happen, couldn't it? My words don't live on my own server. What if, what if, what if it all disappeared tomorrow?

I remember getting the call from George a dozen years ago, him in New York, me at home in Rochester, him saying all that was left was the rock they used to bash the van window in. Everything was gone. The upright bass he'd had all his adult life, the Guild fretless he'd had since he was 16, the one he played with Jaco. His amps, too, everything gone.

Welcome to New York, Motherfucker.

What I heard on the phone was pure anguish.

"Honey everything's gone."
"What everything--what do you mean?"
"Everything. They got everything."
"The upright? They took the fucking upright?"
"That, the Guilds. Everything."
"Oh my god."

That was a day out of time, the room spun. He would later refer to that loss this way: "I lost my sound. My sound is gone." Those instruments were a second skin for him--they were his voice, and they were gone forever. The depression that followed lasted a good long time. Financially, the loss of the basses and equipment represented the loss of our only real assets. And even though other instruments would come along--the Sadowsky, the Padulla, even the 100+ year-old upright--well, even I knew, I know still. Beautiful, inspiring, lively, exotic, but not the sound of the man I met. Not worse, not better. But not the sound. One instrument meets two hands makes one sound. World without end, amen.

So how does this relate? In many ways. If words are our songs, then blogs are our instruments--carriers of voice. If I had been blogging here for 15 years, and all of my collective songs and voice suddenly vanished, I think I would feel much the same pain, dismay, drifting. Voice, place, song, home, center--to lose it then would be horrible. But the blog isn't my only instrument, and this day it's not my most "important" instrument. Blogging is my love, my hobby, but it's not my life. I will not die if I do not blog. I can write on paper if I have to. I can start an e-zine if the mood strikes me. One thing I've learned from that little PR gig that pays the bills is how to adapt. Adapt my voice, adapt my attitude, adapt adapt adapt.

The truth is, I have less than a year's worth of "me" here. It's important, yes, but it wouldn't kill me to lose it. Hurt? Yes. Badly. But, I would understand, at the same time, that it could be much, much worse. Like if it happened a dozen years down the road.

Consider then the Sessum's thoughts at the time of the great instrument hoist--if we can find the fuckers who took the stuff, and if we didn't slit their throats, how much would we be willing to give them to get it back? How much, then, is your sound worth? How much can you afford to protect that sound, or to get it back if someone takes it? All serious, relative things we should be thinking about in Blogaria. As it stands right now, if my blog disappeared and Blogger/Blogspot said we need $500 to get it back for you, I'd say, okay; here's a check. If they said, it will cost you $1,000 to get it back, would I? hmmmm. Ouch. I dunno. $10,000? No way. I can recreate. I will live to spew another day. So long, bye bye, what a shame. I can take a nice vacation with that money and drink my tears away.

Still, it may be time that we start putting a personal value on what we're doing here, just to level set a little bit.

In George's case, if we could have found the instruments--and we did check stores and pawnshops for years, STILL do--we would have easily anted up a few grand. (This is me talking, not him. Hypothetically. George can explore this on his blog if he wants to.) If we had $20,000, it wouldn't have been too much to pay to have those instruments back. $70,000? hmmmm. Feet are getting colder. $100,000? Het-hem. You can get lots of pretty sounds for $100,000.

But I digress...

The second part of Gary's question is just as loaded. Having lost my blog, what would I do if I was not allowed to start another one? Oooooh. Allowed. Interesting word. Who would be doing the disallowing? Work? Blogger? Spouse? The whole notion of "permission" is wrapped in here--a quagmire of its own. In fact, it deserves another post.... Stay tuned.

Blogger Open Forum!


What do YOU want me to blog about? Screw this "My Blog, I Say" concept. Nuh-uh. Today is your day on allied. Gimme a topic, I'll blog it. It may not be good, but it might be interesting....

C'mon. What is it? Whatcha want to know about? Death? Love? Sex? Integrity? Loss? Lies? K-Mart? More about cats? (don't have one--it disappeared two years ago--ooops, more on that loss topic again---why does it always go back to that?)

You gotta topic, I gotta blogit.

Leave me a comment.

Come, Ride with Me

Excuse me while I take time out to enjoy my ride on daypop just now courtesy of my interview with Frank Paynter. At number 20, I have hurdled my husband, who rode into the 30s earlier this week. Sessum double hit--Outrageous!

June 12, 2002

George the Bass Whore

George has been quiet the last couple of days because he's been rushing around Hong Kong trying to undo some big bass damage. But he's back. Some of my favorite bits from this morning:

"The begining of the week. Hands are rested but stiff. The club is empty except for some early week die-hard partiers and the working girls who got wind that it's the bands payday."

"Last song of the set.They want an encore [I've learned this much in all my years of performing; Every band in the world becomes the best band in the world after the last note is played. You can quote me on that."

I just did.

June 11, 2002

I have digested it.

It's funny, reading something you said/wrote in pieces. Well, I've had time to digest my interview with Frank Paynter now. As a whole. I think I'm pretty happy with it. Among other things, I confess that I dropped Robert Creeley's poetry class after attending stoned five times, that my husband is my first and only love, and that I can still throw up when I think about him. Allow me to tap some other highlights for you:

"To have as a mate one who is OF art and music, that is, one who has that art in the core of their being, in their DNA, that is a wonderful match for both people--to have an inborn understanding of what it is to love art as to love one's parent, one's lover, oneself..."

"And so we come to weblogging. Here is where everything converges--poetry, music, humanity, worlds, prose, journalism, literature, philosophy. Blogging is everything we want it to be."

"Even more reticent women can start out tentatively with blogging, testing their voices, then connecting with others, gaining power as they embrace and are embraced, achieving respect and acceptance-all within a very short period of time, especially compared to our same quest within the confines of the corporate world. What it has taken me 18 years to achieve in my realworld career in terms of respect, readership, and credibility, I have achieved in 8 months as a blogger."

"As to where we've made love, hmmm. Park, check. Bowling alley, check. Nightclub, check. Beach, oh yes, honey, remember Jamaica in the sea?"

"It isn't all slime and sweat and goo and moans. It's the space in between those things. What you do with it."

"Yes, low-end is my preferred frequency, more so as I age. The boomier the better, which is what's nice about living in the south. They appreciate the low end down here."

"Everything you're learning from these souls you connect with begins to inform you, your thinking. Your being. It feeds back into your blog, your job, your family, your relationships within the realworld. The spark-to-flame ratio is staggering."

"Yes, I think Chris Locke is a genius. He's also a real person, brave, willing to live in public, show us how he loves, how he cares, how far the knife has to go in before he bleeds."

"But then you grow up. And doesn't that suck. And you realize some things *you* can't fix quick--somethings you can never fix. You can do yourself some real damage by beating your head against the wall trying."

"Blogging and the blogging community have changed me as a women in so many ways, giving me permission to speak, to think, to experiment, to fail, to stop, to start again, to become something 'more than.' "

"If you have ever suffered -- felt pain to the point where you thought (a) I cannot stand this for another milisecond, never mind another fifteen minutes or hour, OR (b) I cannot stand my life laid open in front of me, the expanse of years I have yet to endure -- then Cixous' words will resound in you as they have in me."

Who Am I?

Well, my fifteen minutes of fame are HERE. Frank Paynter of Sandhill Tech added me to his illustrious list of interviewees, and the results are in:

Gosh, I'm long winded.

Frank, I am truly honored. And now hurry up with Golby before everyone sees the steamy erotica I wrote. ;-)

June 10, 2002

nothing to write / storm brewing / masts snap / sails down / sip the water / wind unwind / unkind.

My Man, George

Well well, it helps to have a wife who loves and supports you. It also helps to have a strong voice and something to say. Evidence: George Sessum is number 32 on Daypop as I blog this. Wait until George sees. As I write this he should be finishing up the last set of the night, wrecking his hands and wrenching his neck playing for the ladies of the evening in far away Hong Kong. Ah the stories he has to tell--he just has to find a computer to tell them from. Hopefully tonight we'll hear more. As always, links and nepotistic recognition are appreciated!

By the way, a photo-chronology of the man who swept me off my feet in 1982 (though we didn't officially "meet" until 84) is here. Dare I show the ladies? Yeh, he's the cute one. Still is.

Thanks to RageBoy for letting me know and for linking to George early on.

Who Knows You Blog, And Who Doesn't?

And what would you do if they did?

Over the last month, I've become more and more convinced that we're writing for each other. Which means, if you are not a blogger, or a blog reader at least, I’m not writing for you. Which means, I'm not writing for my family or three dozen of my closest friends.

Are they missing the core of who I am? Probably. But perhaps some people don't need to know my core. That not knowing gives me a certain amount of freedom. And I think I like it.

You and I, we've been together a while now. I know what it takes to surprise all of you--something like homicide at this point, or at least conspiracy to commit murder. You might say, "Gee, I didn't know Jeneane was that far gone." Aside from some gruesome revelation like that, I'm not sure I could surprise any of you--disappoint any of you--with prose and poetry that tells you "who I am." I continue to try to titilate you (breast feeding post, exhibit A), but beyond that, it's just me out here saying, "Hey."

For those who know me in the realworld, though, you know, parents, siblings, aunts, old-school friends, it's a different story. The fact is, they would be very surprised by just about everything I've written here. Like the last post. And the one before that. And probably the one before that. Yikes. Surprised may be the wrong word. Disturbed might be closer.

What does this mean? It means that I ask myself, once every few days, what would I do if Aunt Marian wrote and said, "I saw your website." (She's a nun and my aunt.) Or, what if my brother's wife, who is quite net savvy, found me here and said, "Hey, I saw that weblog you have…" Or worse yet, my boss: "What's this site you have? I've been looking at it but can't really make sense of it--what is this thing?"

I don't want that. I don't want them to know because I love the freedom of having NO ONE on my shoulder. No one checking my posts from inside my head before I press publish.

My husband, sure, he's there, but he really does live on my shoulder and that means nothing here much surprises him. And if it does, he will most likely ask me, "Hey, what was that post about?" And we'll talk about it. Besides, he's blogging himself now, so he falls into *our* camp.

But it does raise certain questions for all of us: Who doesn't know you blog and would it change how you blog--what you write, whether or not you self-censor--if they did?

Mommy, did I ever tell you I used to be a really good shoplifter? How about that I wish I would have tasted George all up and down his body after he fell through the ceiling instead of being so practical and worrying about the repair bills? You taught me that stuff, you know?

See what I mean?

But still, as I grow more confident in my voice, in how I say what I have to say, and in the power of what I'm saying, I'd like to think I wouldn't change much. Not anymore. Well, maybe the "tasting" part. Well, okay, I might not want to talk about the alcoholism thing either.

So you see, the truth for me is that I really don't know. Because it hasn't happened. Yet.

And you?

June 09, 2002

Ta Ta to Ta Ta

Let's talk turkey. Cold turkey. Our lovely Baby Blogger has given me a gift for my 40th birthday -- for her, the most serious and significant gift she could muster. And although she will want to kill me one day for telling you what that gift is, I'm doing it anyway: she has finally gone cold turkey and quit the pacifier she has, until now, relished sucking at night (and any other time she could find it laying around the house). She'll be 5 in September.

Two weeks ago we went to the doctor with this bronchitis plague we've had in our house. The doctor mentioned her overbite--to me it's slight; to the doctor it isn't. The doctor told me that the pacifier had better be gone in a week because we were heading for big orthadontist bills...and pain for her. I scoffed. I have been scoffing for years.

And I have stood mostly alone in my support for her "ta ta"--that's what she has always called it. "Nonesense," I've said. "I sucked my thumb til I was 6 and I never needed braces." My husband has tried to hide the things, has always dared to take her on outings without it. Me on the other hand, I make sure I have two in my purse. Just in case. Not so much recently, but up until pretty darn recently.

When my friends arrived for my birthday weekend on Thursday, they asked her, sweetie, why do you still want that thing? She explained it so well:

"Well, I really like to use it when I twirl my hair and sleep,
and I really do love it, because it tastes so sweet."

And yet, somehow they convinced her (and me?) that it was indeed time to toss the ta-ta (or ta-tee for short). And for the last three mornings she's awoken with a jolt--bolting upright from a sound sleep: "I DID IT!!! I SLEPT WITHOUT TA-TEE AGAIN!" And I've hooped and hollered HURRAY! And have bought her treats and told her how big she is and all of that. And still...

Tonight when she went to sleep, I understood the significance, for her and for me, of this surrogate nipple that has been so important to us all of these years--since I stopped breast feeding her at three months of age (after the hospital adventure that nearly killed me).

Because tonight when she went to sleep, she could not get close enough to my breasts. "OOO mama, your potatoes got bigger," she tells me, sleep catching up with her, making her giddy and giggly, until she curls up against my tie-dye t-shirt, her little face burried as close as she can get to where she feels most at home, each hand holding a fold of cloth, her hot breath warming my skin through the cotton.

As she starts that raspy snore, my chin is resting on her head, and I'm holding her tight, wishing I could turn back the clock, just long enough for her to drink from me one more time. I summon that heady feeling that I've never heard described just right--that place without consciousness or conscience, without mores or shame, that single-minded place where you demonstrate your power to nurish the world, or at least your piece of it. Let down. I remember it so well, the letting down. No words to describe the sensation, but I'm there now, feeling the tingling and the filling up, closing my eyes, massaging, Helene Cixous where are you? We need to talk.

Put your baby to your breast and you must accept that someone needs you just *this* badly, and you accept that you are the only one who can give what's required. It is a mighty thing. It is a miracle. Changing baby changing you. A loss and a gain, I grieve and I celebrate.

"Because it tastes so sweet."

This is TOO rich not to blog...

Gary Turner has "southparked" me for my 40th:

Be sure to click on my little GIFt to hear Gary's advice for 40 year olds everywhere.

So it's my birthday!

THANK YOU one and all for the amazing birthday wishes. I think a dozen bloggers remembered my 40th in incredible ways--book, amulet, pictures, cards, e-cards, and a wonderful song in Polish (who could that be?)--fully 75% more remembrances than from my realworld friends, which is rather staggering. To me at least. And humbling. And heartwarming, scary, profound, telling, all of those things and more.

Company is still here, though off to bed. Which is where I need to go. I'll blog on the other side of 40 tomorrow.

Just had to take a second to say, you guys are the best.


"The Management"