1. in which nathan and i stay up half the night and play dominoes and listen to sad music and call our friends and invite them over i wanted to set up the card table in front of the studio and pretend we had a porch, and visitors until eventually falling asleep on couches with the fans always buzzing and spraypaint particles hanging in the air and i would wake up instantly whenever you checked my phone for the time. it was 8:30. then it was 10. toby rolled his bike through the door at 11 and i felt sheepish to be still in pjs and no contact lenses and reading a children's book called surviving the applewhites. lazy limbs. he and i talked about travelling in airplanes and i hopped from one foot to the other, this is an exciting topic, and clapped my hands over my mouth alot and reached out fitfully to touch his shoulder when puntuating sentences. urgent communications.
2. wesley d and i met at harrison street and leaned over the little table drawing drawings of tofu stabbed with forks; tattoo drawings. we got a stack of cds and used his new computer to capture the worst---or best---songs we could think of to capture. until we were choking over everything and then some man with a mullet stepped into the garage doorway and held out a boxful of birth control samples he'd found in the alleyway. which i claimed (sweet! hey wes. let's take all these RIGHT NOW!) and carried around and brandished at dennis with a couple of rude comments.
the worst or best songs we could think of
straight up--paula abdul
poison and do me baby--bel biv devoe (fuck me. i thought do me baby was the hottest song ever when i was twelve. its all that groaning and breathing)
express yourself and push it--salt n pepa
kiss me deadly--lita ford
you got what i need--biz markie
every rose has its thorn--poison
physical--olivia newton john
we built this city--starship (i fucking love starship. i don't understand that blender magazine shit at all)
the final countdown ('course)--europe
party all the time--eddie murphy
summertime, nightmare on my street and parents just don't understand--fresh prince
pure and simple--lightning seeds (i don't think thats what its called)
sometimes when we touch--dan hill
i think we're alone now--tiffany
yours, amanda L. at 4:20:00 PM [+]
Q: How do you stop listening to that weakerthans cd over and over and over, with your hand reaching for the play button compulsively every time the last song ends and you have little ink drawings of horses scattered alover the tabletop with speech bubbles pouring from their mouths saying quit listening to the weakerthans it is making you moody and crushy but you're just so, so, so addicted and hurting? and you can't stop sewing? and you can't stop wishing hard as fuck that any friendly face would suddenly appear at the doorway of the studio and go, stop sewing. stop crying. i've come to sit around with you and listen to the songs that we like. here's the wine and you're nervous in the way that something is going to happen and you have no idea what it is. and karen is leaving comments like "run away to philly" and you're going to dress up in piles of skirts tonight and go to the boxing party and then you're going to run away to philly, you are, you are, you are.
yours, amanda L. at 4:17:00 PM [+]
and forget that we'd ever met and what did or did not occur
the library basement. today the coffee worked for me in an "i'm 13 years old and just started drinking coffee" way. like laying on the carpet in my room on greymont drive and thinking about this boy that would play the guitar and my best friend was his younger brother but occasionally at their house when it was late and no adults left he'd catch up with me in a corner and whisper something so explicit and hot and scary and i'd giggle with terror and shove him but later, alone, the sentences would absolutely haunt me, and he called me mandy, in this way that made it nearly pornographic; and so laying on my carpet thinking about this kid my insides would get all coiled into springs and i'd think to myself, i am thirteen and my insides are so always coiled into springs and that is why i can't settle down and have any sense of decorum whatsoever and my heart, lungs, organs are going to split their seams and make an awful miserable mess any second now. today, today, today. i'm shivering and jumpy knees. i'm swinging side to side in the roly chair and biting my lips to keep from singing along with the cd on the headphones, not only because its death cab and thats kind of dorky, but the people next to me are creeping themselves out by way of me and my shiftiness.
yesterday, nothing accomplished, for the millionth time this year. i have no strength. i say, yes i want to do this, this, this, that. i will, lets, lets, lets, yes, yes, and we might get something accompished, collaborated, together. but my friends and i, we do not get anything done together
what we get together
2. further away from the direction i'm trying to keep to
and maybe its actually me that always, so always says, lets waste all possible seconds of our time in a sense that we will avoid the issue of eternal fuckup. lets do this when i know it will not help us one bit. lets do this because it will make us laugh, or result in a bike ride, or get us drunk. let me convince you, and i'll let myself be convinced as well. that might be true. its actually very true. today, today today today. dear richmond: i promise. i'll put on the headphones and set out on my own. i will wait before speaking. i will look before leaping. and richmond, i'll stay in and take care of this fever.
even though! fevers in the summer feel excellent.
yours, amanda L. at 1:01:00 PM [+]
david sat next to me on the platform and we talked about german numbers and idaho. he was disappeared lately but now was not; he was sober and nervous and unsocial. i say, lets go on a bike ride to northside and lookat the graveyards and make stencils and decorate stuff. plus run away from home. in the middle of helltrack there was a muddy moat, and the lights were pointed straight into my eyes, and i gave cigarettes away and waved around a bottle of strawberry champagne and made friends drink it and toast themselves for being so, so sweet. but in the middle of it we quit that spell and david and i rode bikes in the dark. northside, with cops stopping us with flashing lights to ask us if we know where we are, and its so dark, no streetlights, enormous houses, secret fields; tearing apart the bag full of cake strips behind my favorite bakery but nothings vegan (oh, vegans) or its too suspect, and dogs chasing after our bikes where i am screaming AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAA and MY SHOE MY SHOE and the owner across the street hollering GET EM! and hearts beating adrenaline rushes shaky legged escape routes.
somewhere along the way i marked our path with a large blue airplane drawing. ohh, in which we sit in fourth street diner and play with magnets, sending the magnetism through our palms and throwing the magnets at T wearing a studded belt, and draw on sticker paper and generally follow the customs of how you make friends with someone who could be a really great friend maybe. awake like the vampires. the entire history of our lives. daybreak and couches and when i woke up from fitful dreams that were about patterns and matching, evan bmx was coming home and said hi anda and i said hi evan i have the flu and he said i also have the flu and then he gave me echinachea throat spray and then the three of us watched television and took turns calling our dads on the cell phones to say happy fathers day
yours, amanda L. at 3:45:00 PM [+]
1. in which we forget ourselves and allow heartbreak to, again, take the controls of the whole goddamn airplane
i'm so no no no no no no no no no no no no no. i'm so no no no no no. a ground to stand on, please. solidity. solid solids. like ice cubes. erm. no, like cinderblocks.
a: (stamps feet and throws whatever is at hand across the room) friendship! for real! kittens! and i mean it! i am made of stronger stuff than this!
well. its so tiresome and its not cute. and the entirety of richmond is: made of careful line drawings and high contrast films; days that mesmerize, clothes that stick to your back, shiny looks with shimmery humidified skin, 25 cent icepops from the Fine Foods. thunder and lightning. dinners with one another.
now: walking past rhodes hall where the polish kids that have been imported over to work the games at kings dominion smoke cigarettes and speak secretly. and for one second you can let yourself be confused and reverse the situation and pretend you are in another place. across the ocean. and that its their town, and their language, and if you were to look at a street sign it would be incomprehensible
2. jobs are for the kids who have no talent for dramatic laziness
so, there's a new trick to it and its resoundingly The Medical Study in New Jersey. oh-oh-oh! oh thats how a girl gets herself across the ocean. again. oh thats the new new new method for funding all of our idiotic running-away scenarios.
(Q: what's worse than running away from your disabling, distracting influences?
A: trying your best to export all that stuff along with you.)
oh dear, oh dear.
the unstructured hours are collapsing me. straight into the couch. cd book in my lap. wish i had a cat. my cats, in the summer. i can't stop making mix tapes. and mix tapes, we'll note, are a gateway drug.
last night at 430 in the morning i waved the scissors at chance's nose and said, let me cut all that pretty hair. i'll cut right through the---oh no! shit! and i stabbed the scissors drunkenly through the screen of the screen door. in the kitchen tasha was pointing at something and they were speaking in low voices and everything smelled like the pancakes that travelling kid was burning on the stove and its the nights were we all stay awake that are the best. i fell asleep on my couch and had dreams about backpacking. in the morning i am so lazy that i picked up my phone and called jasons phone to see if he was still on the other couch across the room rather than just raising my heavy head and looking over there. my eyes won't open. dreams are better. awake is so unsatisfied
yours, amanda L. at 8:13:00 PM [+]
we bought all the colored cassette tapes and stuffed just as many as we could manage into our pockets and plus a fruity colored boombox for bicycles and mix tapes mix tapes mix tapes. i make and remake. wes and dennis collect me for quarter beers and i'm taking the wrong bike "this bike goes faster than i am ready to go" and then we get real drunk and talkative. and then it rains more than its ever rained and its so much rain that i can't see and just trying to get up the main street hill and once we're in OH we all fall over and lay down in the water running along the edges of the road into little rivers and later at the meeting everyone is peeling off soaking wet clothes and putting on lori and sean's dry underpants and eating pizza.
yours, amanda L. at 10:41:00 PM [+]
guess what? guess what i did? i rode my bike 45 miles into the middle of the countryside! and then you know what? i laid about being lazy for half a day and then i rode 45 miles back to richmond.
this makes me tough. did you know this? that i am tough? that i can do this? and did?
i am not as tough as zach, who did the whole thing on a minibike (16!) with a boombox afixed to it like we do. and i am not as tough as rasul, who rollerbladed about thirty miles until the cops made him stop. the cop's name was D.E. LAW, by the way.
but i most certainly am as tough as dennis, who woke up with me at 430 am so we could go back minus the crowd as the night-time turned to day. and we did not go exactly fast, but we did not go slow either. and dennis explained bicycles to me, when we were sitting on the ground at the edge of richmond, about to go up the river road hill---like champions---and i understood him when he explained things, and we made up a bicycle for me with words, a planned thing, some contraption that would be both light but able to ride through fields and will not break apart when i abuse it. plus have coaster brakes.
in the evening, some of them were getting the fire together. i walked from the lodge to the pavillion, where earlier they had played kickball as sage and i collasped into rockingchairs and lounged, put our feet up, stared at the sky and yelled referee-style judgements when the fairness of a kick was in question. now they were pushing twigs around and pouring lighter fluid on charcoals, and it was very dark, and the unknown boys whose names we kept deliberately changing until no one knew what their original names even were told stories about ghosts in our houses in richmond; and then everyone noticed that the air was entirely filled with lightning bugs, hovering around three feet off the ground, blinking compulsively like christmas lights, absolutely everywhere. that was the best part.
i can do it. lets go. hey, all of you. across everything. self-propelled motion.
it was cool and blue all morning turning into morning. we talked non stop because we're both nonstop talkers and don't quite know one another. and i had been gravely quiet all of yesterday, spinning in a winding line of orange and sunglasses and distorted music filtering back, bright bright sunlight, stops for ice creams and sodas in glass bottles, i'm overly scared at times and imagining gruesome accidents and worst-case senarios. dennis does things like grab onto cars on the highway and let them pull him and it is downright death-defying i feel. but all this morning i learned to be utterly calm and not hold the brake plus one foot near the ground because the brake is not really that good
don't use the brake! just go fast! you're fine!
but i am afraid! i'll hit some Thing! and go flying over the handbars! into suddenly cars and die!
then you're fucked! don't worry about that!
ok. ok i guess.
going so, so, so, so, so, so, so fast down the largest hills. i mean. i learned to let my mind go blank and heart go unafraid and just instead go extremely fucking fast down those hills.
asleep at the studio. my throats so dry and eyes so burning. the new-old music textbook. va trouver un chein qui mord. its sunday. lets picnic. lets sit in the grass. oh god, lets move to the countryside. milipedes and campfires and scary noises crackling from the trees. no.
its sunday. i'll see you all in the park. with a funny look on my mouth.
yours, amanda L. at 2:20:00 PM [+]
bed spreaders spread spreads on beds
bread spreaders spread butters on breads
usually the farmers market is dreadfully boring. you sit and sit and none of the west end ladies buys any skirts or nothing from you but exclaim shrilly thats its all soo cute and then occasionally a friend you've cajoled into visiting you brings you snacks or drugs or something.
!but then yesterday was a treat because not only did ben t and luke s decide to realize a plan theyve been on about for months now (peanut butter and jelly sandwiches---who ever knew it was complicated enough of a project to take whole seasons to develop) but steve VCR and matt swasey were out selling spring rolls and vietnamese coffee; and amazingly but most likely on purpose, in a growers market ghetto sort of fashion, we were all placed next to one another in the first breezeway. which made the day greatly improved and hilarious and talky. and friends did bring snacks, drugs. none of us made any substantial money but we did make a sign advertising DANGEROUS RIDES ON OUR CART 25cents and the only time someone paid for one the cart just fell apart absolutely, and thats kind of a lie, because later they drove it up the hill just fine, maybe
the walk home was hot and tall. i stopped at rainbow to buy cheap ballet shoes with my skirt profits. and home to read eudora welty and christopher isherwood. and to drink beers from paper cups balanced on my chest and eventually fall asleep on the couch and it rained and i left the doors open. because it is summer, friends. and i don't know how you do it, but i basically spent the entire late afternoon and evening reading on the couch and staring out the window. because that is the best thing for lazy limbs and daydreamy heads. at some point, it was night, and jim straub and his pete stopped in to also perch haphazardly on the couch and drink beer from cups balanced on our stomachs. pete comes from the part of philadelphia where they are easy to talk to and stay awake late and like neutral milk hotel songs. i'm rude to them and fall asleep before the conversation or beer is done with.
but summers a subtle and dark perfection we accomplish sometimes, richmond.
oh now i'm the pretend music teacher at fox elementary. i play the video all dogs go to heaven and the pre-K's ask, is that heaven? and i say who knows? because i don't.
i have cigarettes and smoke them at the edges of the school grounds.
i missed little kids. highschoolers are only sneaky and dull, but little kids fart and then blame it on each other and then erupt into unsquashable chaos running around the room away from the smell. they destroy everyone's attention during the "death" scene in the video by discovering a spider on the carpet and enacting their own small and brutal murder. theyre all wearing these terrible clunky rugged sandals and kick each other repeatedly in the back and look at me suddenly for no reason and say, my mom goes to pilates class. they're the best ever.
what happens at the end of all dogs go to heaven? i've seen the first 45 minutes five times today.
yours, amanda L. at 11:49:00 AM [+]
i like living at the studio. i'm its hostess. spray masks become imporovised candy dishes; area rugs, linens with clashing patterns, pillows, boxfuls of dress-up clothing. playing house is better than real houses. except that i seriously require visitors. those that will stay awake late and talk; those that will cut and paste sitting on the floor; those bearing spraypaints and homemade snack foods. you only have to ring! or stop by! last night was saturday, which means going out, but i've broken that spell and instead just lounged around making mix tapes and little postcard projects and reading about sylvia plath and the civil war and the golden bough. and drinking beer from wine glasses. and not going out.
more regarding our riot
yours, amanda L. at 2:15:00 PM [+]
i wake up on the floor next to the sewing machine. chris arrives; when he opens the door i can hear that its raining and my eyes adjust like a mole and i think irrationally of blood oranges and blank spiral notebooks. then he puts on songs:ohia, which we know, listeners, is anyone's recipe for mopey nostalgic thoughts of love that is fucking lost.
anda: jason molina sure knows how to bust it to the part of my brain where nicholas liivak is. but for some reason i just want to wallow harder.
chris: he makes you enjoy wallowing.
i climb into a chair and switch the machine to life. lights on! bobbin wound! and stomp my feet in time with the songs, which are slow. haven't even drank a glass of water yet. i wake up in the center of all my unfinished projects and i do not know if this is going to do me any good this summer, but i've got productivity stinking up my hair and clothes. i'm making a pile of straw into gold and for real i am, i am.
you can't get here fast enough
anda: i once got back together with nicholas because of this song.
chris: (ignoring me) mm-hm?
anda: i was listening to it and then the next day i immediately moved back to richmond.
chris: (not interested) wow.
anda: (loudly) because i was in love with him!
ah, its not possible. so brutal. that moment in time where we were in that field taking photographs ourselves; it was late july and 1997 and itchy grasses and insect sounds and we took our shirts off and were so, so brightly and impossibly in love with each other. when i think about it, it seems to exist in some parallel universe, and my heart feels tired and drops, and then jason molina gives it a sharp kick in its center.
wonder briefly about drinking that breaking potion we have and mailing the empty bottle to charlottesville. that would be a nice gesture, right? and writing a note: i do not want to be friends because i sort of want the past to stay in its Box, yeah?
you see. what i want is to be driving my car (in daydreams, the car is ok to drive and not absolutely broken) across the country in search of adventures, strange plants, white linen sheets strewn haphazardly on the bed, summers that turn to autumns, letter-writers, spilling whiskey onto the sand on some unfamiliar dry place
Q: at what point will you manage to convince me that running away from home is not the solution to all things at all times?
A: when running away stops feeling so great.
yours, amanda L. at 1:06:00 PM [+]
all the months and miles in between us, and its terrible
when the telephone-based computer rang at six am i could not get back to sleep and decided instead just to walk. the studio is toxic. we use cancerous paints and other things, the dust is heavy, i cough and feel bad in the mornings. last summer chris would say he'd wake up and not know where he was and that it was due to changing Place too much, but i'm staring to believe its a function of the air quality affecting one's brain. in which i wake up and do not know where i am. but then, something about opening the door and being right amidst broad street---this place has even less of a neighborhood around it than 200 east main. you immediately disappear into the workers waiting on buses and delivery trucks turning corners. i walked for two hours, waving my arms around like a crazy girl in an attempt to get my spine right again. breathing deeply and drinking waters.
anda: i'm sleeping in the studio. i think its toxic. and hurting me.
brie: what will you do?
anda: go for walks and drink water?
its a ridiculous hour. its only rapid-climb-from-SUV coffee buyers and business-style before-work walkers. me and the people with dogs, with babies. i spend a little while wondering how to aquire motherhood without aquiring a depressed and upset and oh-my-life's-ruined boyfriend. not possible. i need to move to a new place where all the boys are not 20. some new place where there are fun 27 year olds who want to be like the guy i saw on my walk today: he was sitting on his front step wearing a rumply, casual suit and holding the newspaper with a small child sitting next to him, also holding a section of the paper. neither of them were actually reading, they were talking about bugs. pointing at bugs on the sidewalk, lifting their feet up, looking at the paper, taking each other seriously. here is a person who obviously realizes its fun to be someone's dad, and who appreciates the insect kingdom, and does not mind looking disheveled, i thought, and spied on them out of the corners of my eyes.
cleaned the studio until it was clean.
oh god: i wanna see movies of my dreams...
yours, amanda L. at 5:34:00 PM [+]
outside in richmond it was dark and cooled off and people lurched around arguing and holding their heads with both hands.
i live in a dirty old building made of tall shelves. the floor is concrete and not red.
there is no andrew, and no beds. i have a smushy couch that curves in a weak C and hurts my body a little. sleeping there gives me confusing and anxious dreams. when i rode bikes with tasha to eat soy dream from the container, i was saying i like having no house in the summer. i feel like i can do whatever i want at any time, like wake up and go for a bike ride at four a.m., and no one is keeping track of me, no one is going to ask what i am doing, or notice at all. when you are autonomous you have secrecy.
cleaning supplies. to erase every trace of andrew and i. yesterday we built all the windows again. everyone is angry.
yours, amanda L. at 1:14:00 PM [+]
anda gail lewis 2005. stop crying every day.