we have reached the beginning of the high season. in lieu of buggies and parasols taking turns around the park, we have clots of hefty tourists in matching tees, just waiting for me to nudge them down lombard street with the car's snout. gay pride week is in full swing as well - i haven't run across any of the weekend's parades, but i've had the pleasure of walking through some especially robust piles of festivity-garbage downtown. already nostalgic for early summer fog. joe's parents will see the apartment for the first time next weekend, so i'll spend the next several days seesawing between second drafts and coaxing mildew from the ceiling.

vacation reading:

whites, norman rush - a series of tight, fleshy little pieces. i finished a few stories before realizing that minor characters were popping up to narrate later; once i was up to speed, the collection held together like an episodic novel. quite satisfying, though i've grown so fond of rush's confidence with setting that i'm all the more annoyed with his lack of recent work.

lewis carroll: a biography, martin n. cohen - a long, romantic apology for a sad man's habit of photographing nude girl-children, and an exhaustive record of his persnickety/obscure satires and letters. celibacy is a key premise here: unluckily, someone located the missing racy bits of LC's journal shortly after cohen's biography hit the presses. crap - i think we were all ready to set the subject aside.

my war gone by, i miss it so, anthony loyd - i discovered this when loyd materialized in my bookstore wanting to autograph his stuff. it sat on the shelf for a year because i made an asinine comment to him about the cover photograph (it's affecting, but one shouldn't really like it) and i've been trying to heal and forget. he's a very capable and unapologetically personal war correspondent, and he does a fair job of unsnarling bosnian politics. i'm shocked by how young, how normal he seemed last year - reading some of this fucked with my sleep.


bless us, i've started writing poetry again! it's pretty questionable stuff so far, but listen, i hadn't been able to slap more than a few lines together since june of 2000. this is running the old pipes for a while, forgiving the rust and waiting for the water to come clean. we like cinquains and triolets so far, closed forms like hangers for our clothes. we're feeling a bit better. still wearing yoga pants around the apartment, but better.


i took a leave of absence at the beginning of the month. i'd been getting sick, and i thought that solid rest would get me back to the office sooner than a smattering of sick days. after four visits to the doctor, i spent a week in southern california.

reacted horribly to medication, gagged and twitched through most waking hours. left the house twice for coffee with my father, once with mom to buy flowers for my sister's birthday, once to the movies. lost ten pounds. came back.

more doctors' visits, nurses' apologies for side effects, eventually new meds. long talks with joe, another (much better) trip south for joanna's high school graduation. more sleep, a hair cut, some world cup games. we got back last night.

the good news is that i think i know what's up: june has been an intensely physical version of head-things i've ignored for too long. i'm squirming with envy as jake packs up his life and moves to pennsylvania for grad school - i assumed i'd spend my twenties mastering new cities and new day jobs, but i've made excuses for staying here and exhausting the novelty of my stint at work. i want to learn and explore, and that seems unlikely here.

paul, in turn, has the self-discipline i lack. i know that i want an MFA, that i want to publish, and i haven't done any of the writing to get there. i sit on the porch with a notebook for hours on end - nothing. that needs to change.

the few people who know about my month of shit have told me that i'm in a terrible state for decisions, that i should wait and think. i've spent three weeks looking for gold at the bottom of my navel and hoping to feel good about going outside. bored as hell. suspicious of faux epiphanies. throwing up a lot.

the compromise seems to be my mother's place in davis. i could look for new work, save money, steel myself for a bigger move without friendly faces at the end. getting the hell out of san francisco seems important - i need to be sure that the place is poisonous for me, or that i've blamed it for my mental state without cause.

that's it, so far. i'm very unhappy, and kind of scared, but things are going to change.