I’ve always had a knack for knowing when to leave the party…just before I broke the family crystal, made out with hostess’ nephew, or just plain old wore out my welcome. I feel it was the same with moving. If I’d stayed in Lexington five more minutes, I would have been exposed as not nearly hip enough to live there in downtown.
1) I hate riding a bike. I bought a Cruiser, named her Zelda (after Madam Fitzgerald, of course), and headed out on several occasions to procure the pleasures of peddling. It never happened. Every turn of the spokes filled me with fear of scraping all of the skin from my face and onto the concrete.
2) I don’t give a damn about the roast of my coffee. Folgers is fine.
3) When I grow bangs, instead of looking like I could have been with Andy Warhol when he painted his iconic Campbell’s Soup, I look like the little moonfaced boy that used to be in the ads for Campbell’s Soup.
4) I’ve never eaten Sriracha, the cool condiment that all the hipster’s substitute for ketchup.
5) I am horrified of chickens, and could never sleep soundly knowing they were just outside my window in a coop of my own making.
6) The Farmer’s Market with its fresh produce and fancy cheese and homemade pasta intimidates the hell out of me. Refer to earlier blog on Hippiorganicaphobia.
7) To me, IPA is an acronym for Icky Pissy Ale. Instead of waging the battle between a “6” with a star or a “9” with a starburst, I would keep one, flip the other, and add a third, so the label would have “666” with a goat’s skull and crossbones.
8) The hottest yoga I’ll ever do is on the dock in August.
And that, my friends, sums up why I will, unapologetically, never be hip.
For Today's Tête-à-Tête Thursday, we'll be chatting with Elizabeth Beck, the brave creator of the Living with Memories blog, and author of two books of poems: ”Interiors” and “insignficant white girl”. Elizabeth was an award-winning English and Art History teacher for ten years. During her time at Withrow High School, she founded “The Tracks” Literary Magazine. She is the proud recipient of a 2012 Artist Enrichment Grant through The Kentucky Foudation for Women. And, in November 2011, founded The Teen Howl Poetry Series that serves the youth of Central Kentucky.
The Bourbonista: Let's get started, tell me about yourself in 50 words or less. At least one word must begin with the letter X and none can begin with the letter S.
Elizabeth: I am a writer, teacher, and artist who lives with her family on a pond in Lexington, Kentucky. I cannot, however, play the xylophone. I have been known to bang on a djembe.
The Bourbonista: I've been known to bang my head to some AC/DC and Slayer. Banging a djembe seems much more inspired. If you were a circus performer, what would you be and why?
Elizabeth: What? Lexington isn’t a circus in itself? I’m confused. I’m definitely not a clown. Clowns freak me out. Hmm… perhaps a trapeze artist? That’s how I already feel…. I swing from one task to the next; often not knowing if I will wildly fly through the air.
The Bourbonista: Yes, we are of the generation that saw the original Poltergeist and read Steven King’s It by flashlight under the covers, and are now freaked out by clowns. I'm horrified of them. But not in the classic sense. I'm not afraid that they’ll kill me. I'm afraid they’ll tickle me into submission, and then lick me. I just imagine mile-long tongues that feel like sand paper hidden behind those grease paint smiles. I'm weirding myself out...happy thoughts...we need to think happy thoughts. Like, what would you do if you won the lottery?
Elizabeth: I don’t play the lottery. But, if for some weird chance I did win… oh, the usual stuff. Donate a bunch of the money, of course. Pay for my kid’s college. Would be nice to pay off my student loans before he goes to college, sigh. Okay! I know. I would go back to Bali, Indonesia. I love it there.
The Bourbonista: Grab me a sarong while you're there. Now, that it's summer, all I'll be wearing are sarongs and kaftans. Now, if you were on death row.. don’t act like you don’t know who you killed to get there.. what would be your last supper?
Elizabeth: Champagne and chocolate. What else is there?
The Bourbonista: Bourbon and New York Style pizza with extra, extra cheese. Write a short “Thank You” letter to your future self for all the cool shit you’ve done twenty years from now.
Thank you for being brave enough to have that kid. That was the smartest thing you have ever done. Good for you for standing courageous enough to speak your truth by publishing “insignificant white girl”. I know it seems really scary right now to be so exposed, but it will help other people. Remember, you didn’t even know the word “incest” even existed until you were twelve years old. You didn’t choose this cause to champion against childhood sexual abuse. It chose you. What you did choose was to be strong enough to do the work.
p.s. I love you
The Bourbonista: Thank you for being brave for all the survivors, and thank you for sharing that courage and your wit here with us today. So, in closing, I have to know, if you were a booze, which booze would you be and who would you want to drink you?
Elizabeth: Although vodka runs through my veins via my heritage, I would choose champagne. I would love to be the magnum of Perrier Jouet that Phish opens on stage in Madison Square Gardens to toast New Year’s Eve.
Elizabeth's first chapbook “Interiors” is now available for pre-order at Finishing Line Press. Simply click the title above.
Her first full-length collection of poetry “insignificant white girl” will be available June 1, 2013 through Evening Street Press (and Amazon). Please join her Saturday, June 8, 2013 at 3 p.m. at Morris Book Shop to celebrate Lexington’s Poetry Month with a reading and signing of her book.
When I was in college, I read a biography about Truman Capote that said he kept a notebook in his pocket at all times to record any miscellaneous brilliance that came his way throughout the day. For the last three years, I have been toting around a cloth-covered notebook that is now bourbon-stained and frayed at the edges. I spent last week transcribing all of the random rants from it into a word document.
These are a few of the thoughts and phrases that I, at the time, mistook for miscellaneous brilliance:
Mother's Day is one of my least favorite days of the year on two levels. First, despite having ample opportunity, I have chosen not to be a mother, so there's not a damn thing in it for me. Secondly, I am estranged from my own mother, and have opted to see her only three times in the last 25 years. The essay below explains both decisions above.
(Written April 2011) My mother swears I never liked her. She claims I emerged from the womb, gave her a harsh once over, and immediately began to wail. I imagine this moment differently. I imagine how she must have looked to my eight-minute-old self--a giant with false eyelashes veiling a Valium-glazed gaze wearing a beet-colored wig teased higher than I was long. I picture her waving at me with fingers heavy with diamonds, bling blinding my new baby blues. I see her with that signature smirk, reaching for a cigarette, and then asking the doctor for more drugs. That moment, I realized the woman was seriously lacking in maternal instinct and it would be wise not to become attached.
Over the years, she proved again and again, that my initial infant impression of her was absolutely warranted.
When I came home from kindergarten field day, with a red ribbon instead of blue, she said, “No one ever remembers who comes in second. If you don’t win. Don’t bother.” Or, something of a similar sentiment. My mother was full of daggers of wisdom which she threw with deadly accuracy, nearly always hitting a vital organ…most often my heart. "Donna Ison, you could make a preacher cuss." "Give you an inch, and you’ll take a mile." "You could break an anvil." And, from her perspective, the cruelest cut of all--"I swear you are just like your father." I took that one as a compliment.
Throughout elementary school, the affection I refused my mother, I bestowed on animals. I brought home every stray and give-away, and she systematically disposed of each one.
“What happened to my puppy?”
“He ran away. He must not have like it here with you.”
“What happened to my kitten?”
“A scary man in a dark car pulled up and snatched it off the carport. He’ll probably eat it”
“What happened to my hamster?"
“Suicide. When I came home from the salon, I found him hanging in his Habitrail wedged beside the water bottle.”
At eleven, come Christmas Eve, my mother was absent. My father explained that she was in the psych ward recuperating from yet another nervous breakdown. Over the years, I’d seen her nerves stretched thin, tied in sailor’s knots, and shooting like silly string across the room. And, of course, I’d been on her last one more times than I can count. Luckily, she had pills for it…bottles and bottles of pills in all shapes, sizes, colors, and levels of legality. When they stopped helping her wake up, calm down, gain energy, lose memory, and escape from reality, she went in for a psychotropic tune-up. On Christmas morn, she called to wish me merry, supposedly from her hospital room, but I could hear an announcer in the background saying, “In Race 6, post position one, Speedy Pete, In post position two, it’s Ace in the Hole…” She was at the dog track. Who needs family, when you’ve got Florida?
I was sixteen when I finally got it. It was one of the rare occasions that I was at her house, instead of my grandmother’s. I was lounging on the couch wearing stirrup pants and an oversized “Frankie Says Relax” tee shirt with my hair piled into the high and wild ponytail that I deemed “the farkle.” A woman, who I’d never met, stopped by to see my mother. She asked, “Is that your daughter?” Ignoring the real me on the sofa, my mother pointed to a sweetly smiling portrait of me on the wall, and replied, “Yes, that’s my daughter, Donna.”
Our relationship became crystal clear in that moment. She was no more comfortable having a three-dimensional daughter than I was in having a mandatory mother.
Soon after, I left home knowing that not even a pack of wargs could ever drag me back. My parents knew it too. So, they sold my childhood house and filed for a past-due divorce. When my mother came to visit me at college that fall, I found her utterly unrecognizable. She’d let her hair go grey and her girdle go by the wayside. In the place of her designer duds, she wore a pink sweat suit emblazoned with a flowers and a bible verse. The only jewelry she wore was a crystal cross pin. Apparently, she’d found God, and lost all fashion sense. I like to call it her Jesus makeover. She settled in her beloved Florida and set about a life of repentance.
I’d love to tell you it worked…that I grew up and we grew close and now she’s my best friend. But, I’d be lying. I’ve only seen her three times in the last twenty-two years.
In my eyes my mother is still some supernatural succubus who is just hiding behind her born-again façade until the antichrist arrives and she takes her rightful place as his bride and then destroys me. But, I know deep down that she is just a human being who will die one day as humans do. And, I know that she did the best she could through her Halcion haze. But just like my red ribbon, her best wasn’t good enough. When she does die, I will not attend the funeral. And, I will not feel one damn bit guilty.
As much as this story implies, I don't really hate my mother. I don't really know my mother. But, I must admit that this year I've softened a bit. I didn't send flowers or a card, but I thought about it. And, I may even give her a call. After all, she did give me life...seems like the least I could do.
On this lovely Tete a Tete Thursday, we’ll be talking to the equally lovely Kate Hatfield. Kate is a choreographer, dancer, and poet. She is the Artistic Director and Director of Choreography of Lexington's only contemporary dance company,
Movement Continuum, which will be performing their first informal concert, Finding Home this weekend at the Downtown Arts Center. Over the past six years Kate has been awarded 22 choreography awards, and has taught and choreographed for universities, private studios and the public school system. She is the founder of Project: Warm Hands, Warm Feet, a charity benefiting the homeless during Lexington's coldest months. And is currently working on beginning Moving North, a charity program to benefit the youth of Lexington's North Side through free dance classes. She is a member of Nikky Finney's summer writing program, The Twenty, has been featured as a poet alongside Pulitzer Prize nominee, Maurice Manning, as well as a guest speaker at Idea Festival Lexington.
The Bourbonista: Tell me about yourself in 50 words or less. At least one word must begin with the letter “X” and none can begin with the letter “S.”
Kate: I am a choreographer, dancer, poet, freelance mermaid, Fruity Pebbles enthusiast, wannabe dragon lord, obsessive compulsive, barefoot walker, encourager of xylophone buying, feminist, humanist, woman, fighter, lover, unicorn believer, I believe in everything impossible, I don't know what it means to back down.
The Bourbonista: We’ve been friends for years and you’ve never encouraged me to buy a xylophone. I’m hurt...I'm over it. Moving on, if you were a circus performer, what would you be and why?
Kate: If I were in the circus, I would want to either be one of the girls that hangs from the ceiling in the silks and does all kinds of contortion tricks twenty feet above the ground, or I'd have to yank the title of Ring Mistress. I think top hats are a very becoming fashion statement.
The Bourbonista: I agree. Top hats add panache to any outfit and in the proper proportion can totally balance out big hips. I’m thinking about wearing one with my bathing suit this summer. So, what would you do if you won the lottery?
Kate: If I won the lottery, I'd want to do a bajillion different things. First, I'd pay off my parent's mortgage on their house, and their car payments. Then, I'd pay off my car, because debt really sucks. Whatever camera gear Landon wanted, he'd get it. Then, I'd buy a farm and empty out as many humane societies as possible so the pups and the kittens could go running around with an endless supply of food and water and sunshine. I'd pay for my niece and nephew's college. I would have built-in bookshelves. If I won the lottery, I'd take care of the people I love. I would buy my company, movement continuum, a beautiful, naturally lit dance studio. We would all have a place of our own.
The Bourbonista: I want to frolic with the puppies and kittens on your farm. Actually, I just want to frolic period. There is just not enough frolicking in society today, which probably why there is so much crime, which leads me to our next question…if you were on death row…don’t act like you don’t know who you killed to get there…what would be your last supper?
Kate: My last supper? Geez Louise. That one is super tough. I think I'd want a carrot cake donut from N. Lime Coffee & Donuts, tofu pad thai from Planet Thai, a piece of peanut butter pie from Missy's, and as always, a Diet Coke. Maybe, like, five Diet Cokes.
The Bourbonista: You, with the “Geez Louise” and the “Holy Cannoli” …adorable. You sound like a character from The Great Gatsby, which I cannot wait to see. I say you and I make a date and go see it at Movie Tavern. Wouldn’t that just be the bee’s knees? Now, write a short “Thank You” letter to your future self for all the cool shit you’ve done twenty years from now.
I want to thank you for being strong, for only crumbling a handful of times. Thank you for learning commitment, focus, and vision so early. You shouldn't have had to mature so quickly, no twenty year old deserves to have to feel like they're fifty, but, in my opinion, you handled it beautifully. Thank you for fighting for those around you so fiercely. Thank you for trusting your gut, even when you were scared. Thank you for always knowing who you were. Thank you for letting yourself feel deeply, and never being ashamed. Thank you for being brave. I know it was hard. xo.
The Bourbonista: Indeed, I’ll drink to that. But, then again, I’ll drink to most anything. Speaking of drinking, if you were a booze, which booze would you be and who would you want to drink you?
Kate: I don't really drink much, really at all, so I'd want to be something casual, but not so typical. How about a Stella Artois? I like those. Who would I want to drink me? Absolutely, not a single "bro." Anybody else, feel welcome.
DON'T MISS Movement Continuum's first informal concert, Finding Home, premiering tonight, May 9th, with a "Pay What You Can" performance sponsored by PNC Bank at 7:30PM at the Downtown Arts Center in the Black Box Theater.. There will be two more performances on May 10 & 11, also at 7:30PM. Tickets are $13 for adults and $10 for students. Finding Home is the acoustic version of the typically extravagant Movement Continuum traversing the lifeline of a love story. It exists to create an emotional connection between the audience and the performers, not only as dancers, but also as women.
Have you ever seen the SciFi show The Haunted Collector? In it, a psychic/demonologist travels to people’s homes who have unwittingly bought or inherited an item that is haunted. It brings with it bad mojo or, in some cases, the spirit of the previous owner. I think I need to call him. I'm almost certain the antique cast iron cornbread mold I bought at the Harrodsburg Peddler’s Mall had the ghost of a Granny attached and now it has possessed my husband.
Here's proof. On the first eighty degree day, Frank was thrilled--not because he could go white water rafting or run naked down the dock, but because it would be warm enough to make Sun Tea. Instead of ogling at the bikini-clad teenagers on their jet skis, he says things like, “Kids these days have no respect. I can’t believe with the price of gas their parents let them run up and down the lake like that. And they’re going way too fast.” When I went vegetarian, his main concern wasn’t how I’d get my nutrients, but how it would affect his crock pot creations, because in his words, “You just can’t make a decent batch of brown beans without fatback.”
He gets plain giddy when there is a marathon of Antique Roadshow, though he will settle for Pawn Stars in a pinch. For next Christmas, he has already requested a new electric blanket. He wants to go to Hot Springs, Arkansas and sit in the mineral baths for vacation. He’s collecting bacon grease in a Ball Jar, so he’ll have his own stash of lard. And, he wants to trade in his Jeep Wrangler for a minivan.
I have to wonder if the Frank I married is still in there, or if the Old Biddy ran out his soul and forced it to find a new home. I fear it may be the latter. So, if you find your grandmother doing shots of Jaggermeister, sneaking out to go the skate park at Woodland, getting tattooed, or any other suspect behavior, I think she may be possessed by husband. I know a witchdoctor who can help.
I'll be celebrating Derby on the dock, which means they'll show the race on a big-screened TV, do $2.00 betting pools for both the winning and losing horse, and everybody will wear giant hats festooned with flowers and foofaraw on their heads, but keep flip flops on their feet.
And, there will be a potluck. Herein lies the problem. Everyone has already claimed their signature potluck dish. If another person knowingly brings the same thing, it is grounds for a fight to death using rusty grilling forks. As the newest member of the marina, all my specialties have already been taken so I don't have a clue what to contribute.
Now, I can make deviled eggs that will make you not only want to smack your mama, but then emancipate yourself and ask me to adopt you. But Roddy, who wins the Bluegill Tournament every year, makes deviled eggs. He puts a sliced jalapeno on each one...which is just WRONG, but it's now tradition.
I also make a Guacamole that delicioso, but Joi makes guacamole and homemade tortilla chips. She's one of the Lesbians of the Lake, I used to call them Lake Lesbians, but that sounded too much like a AAA Baseball team, and wasn't glamorous enough to accurately describe the the Fairy Sisters and their Village. Lesbians of the Lake has a mythological flavor...
Back to flavor....Ms. Shirley makes Asian Cole Slaw, Michael does Red-skinned Potato Salad, Sandy does 7-Layer Salad, Dan the Dock Man brings Pork Barbeque, Frank shares his take on Mama's Mac & Cheese, which he learned to whip up while cooking at the Atomic Cafe. So, what's left for me?
The only other cook-out fare I know how to make are an Orzo Salad that ends up costing about $8.62 per serving and a Dominican dessert for which I'd have to call my ex-husband and get the recipe.
Help! If don't come up with a decent dish, I swear I'm just buying a chocolate fountain and saying "fuck it."
Sharing All I KNOW about the fine art of voluptuating. here's to living the lush life.