With Love and Squalor
I was sending girlchild off to the copy editors in less than two days and had only two pages to go before I could put a bow on it, but I was stumped, immobilized. Which two pages could be so crucial? The dénouement? The grand finale? No: the dedication and acknowledgment pages. Some folks don’t include either of these with their novels. Their books, I guess, are solitary beasts, brought into this world alone. But not mine. I owe people. Big time.
I’m a pretty good thanker, I dig gratitude. The list of who to thank via acknowledgments wrote itself: the names of the glorious friends and loved ones who’d let me clock in so infrequently during revision times, the ones who’d never shown weariness of hearing about another round of editing, or that I was going to miss yet another event. I had the who down pat. What boggled my mind was the how.
Things I Slept With Last Night
an at least theoretically comprehensive accounting of the items that can presently (and, in some variation, always) be found in the bed I’ve slept in, mostly exclusively, other than a few brief interruptions, since I was two years old and which prior to that was my mother’s when she was a Hot Young Lady Out On the Town which, yes, someone should maybe feel weird about, I don’t know:
- five very flat pillows I don’t actually sleep on but which I stack carefully on top of each other beside me as a table for reading and nail painting and blogging and Netflixing
- a silver gel pen
- an empty pill bottle
- two Baby-Sitters Club books
- miscellaneous spoons
- stupid “natural” “pretentious” “dumb” “awful” “still gonna kill me” tobacco from a cigarette that fell out of my bag unnoticed and then was crushed under my foot when I climbed up on the bed to try and wiggle my lightbulb a little and will it to work again (update: I was not successful/my room is still dark.)
- the issue of Bust magazine with Tavi Gevinson on the cover that I haven’t been able to focus on for more than three seconds at a time
- sheets from high school
- thirty seven thousand bobby pins
- a five pound hand weight used for several quick, sad, little arm curls when I need to remember what it is to have a body.
- a giant pink beach towel I use repeatedly and mostly without washing for bathing and for post bath Interneting/napping/hiding and again and again
- a notebook with a Post-It stuck to the inside cover on which Nate wrote in pencil “yeah, but you’re a good liar :)” and I can’t remember why but I like it
- stained t-shirt I used to wipe up a nail polish remover incident
- a desk lamp that’s been wrapped up in the sheets at the foot of my bed because it has outlets on it’s base and I needed more than the two near my bed in order to plug in all the dumb technology I use and, I don’t know, like, it seemed like a good idea but I’ve now been told that I’m going to start a fire, I mean, the lamp isn’t on but, science, I don’t know.
- a Justin Bieber perfume ad I ripped out of a magazine at work and intended to mail to my friend as retro-bullying but which has been lingering conspicuously near to being under my pillow for about a week now. It smells awful.
- Self-Help by Lorrie Moore
- a sheer white top from Target that I spilled wine on three weeks ago
- a lot of hair, probably
- Out magazine with Ezra Miller on the cover because Pants Feelings, but I haven’t read any of it yet because it cost six dollars and I feel bad about it because six dollars
- Nyx matte “shocking pink” lipstick which must be within arms reach at all times
- a AAA battery
- purple polka dot bra from the juniors department that’s stretched out enough to not really fit anymore and on which the underwire on one side has broken so that it cuts into my skin a little but I still wear because yolo/lazy/masochistic/poor
- three Walgreens brand water bottles half full of thick murky red juice made from the Hawaiian Punch powder I poured into them and which were tossed aside after a few sips each time because it makes me nauseous
- cotton balls used to take off my nail polish at different points in the last week
- at least five or six books about the Salem witch trials scattered around
- some jeans I thought about wearing a month ago
- some tampons
- a Strawberry Shortcake pillowcase I got when I was fifteen and toying with irony
- a Twizzler I just found sliding down into the crack between the bed and wall
- a perpetually creeping sense of dread
- Hocus Pocus on DVD
JUST BEAR IN MIND MADISON HEIGHTS IS A WASTELAND OF SQUANDERED DREAMS AND MATERIAL DECAPITATIONS. A WANDER UP THE ROAD FROM CHUCK E.’S YIELDS ONLY A SLUSH-TRENCH, A MOCKERY OF AN ITALIAN RESTAURANT, AND ROCKS TO BARRICADE A GOVERNMENT SHAMBLE. ALL YE WHO ENTER SOUTH SHALL SEE ONLY SUBURBAN SYRUP AND MALAISE.