Tuesday, January 12, 2010

500. Prose Poem Entitled "The Intergalactic Tide of HyperAssociations" (oh ya, far out!) Greek Mother and Garlic

OMG! I can't believe it! It's blog 500! OMG! OMG! OMG! You would think this blog would contain "extra special content," but it turns out that it doesn't, really.... Just the continuous stream of enviroexistential consciousness... can never get enough of it (my own personal disease or blessing, however other's perceive it)!

The PDF for the above PROSE POEM can be found here:
What's the poem about: (1) modes of thinking in my family, Buddhist cousin-aunt who states everything relates to everything else, scientist father who needs data to connect the dots, and Greek mother who uses one thing to connect all dots... and not only that... solve all your problems... aka "The Garlic Paradigm" over the My Big Fat Greek Wedding's "The Windex Theory." My sister got my mom a "garlic" stuffed animal/plant at Gilroy last year... just to rub it in... I guess.... (2) mother also steps back and says that no one can control anyone else, it's up to your self, but then she has these subtle ways of controlling you, and impacting your life....

To take a step back from all this familial absurdity, I can say that everyone has their quirks, including myself, and despite my mother's passion for garlic, on the borderline of obsession (but then again, I've seen scientists equally as obsessed with their research), I love her very much, and I know that several other people have quirks that are much, much worse than the Garlic Paradigm.

Though my mother has strange theories, she was actually RIGHT and AHEAD OF THE GAME, in two particular situations. The first thing my mother did was avoid HYDROGENATED TRANS FATS. I even did a science fair project relating to this subject at age 15 and pissed off the Head Science Fair judge when I told him that trans fats are linked with cancer and heart problems. I would have gone to the state fair, but I pissed off... unfortunately... the head judge. And then ten years later, there is this MASSIVE BAN of trans-fat products on the market, from margarine to Cheetohs. My mom? "See. I told you so." I really wished I knew this was going to happen when I was 15 years old. Then I wouldn't have taken the loss as badly as I did. The second thing my mother did to the family was deprive us of beef, starting age 15. Man, that was TOUGH to swallow; I had to mentally X off bazillions of billboard signs advertising burgers from Carl's Junior and In-and-Out. I felt like my mother was placing me in a cage.... But then again... ten years later, people start affiliating this fast-food beef consumption with heart and a whole suite of health problems. Like DUH! And now it's kind of a big deal as to whether the cows were grass-fed... or fed gxd knows what otherwise....

[I was just interrupted by a stoner/tweaker at the Kinkos. This is the third stoner Cannibis seller I have met at this Kinkos. He lied to me saying he was going to call his wife, and he ended up talking on the phone and bugging me for 15 minutes. Then leaves without saying good-bye. Jules has a huge problem with the whole stoner/tweaker scene; they use you. I had an encounter with a stoner who survived a very bad beating up in Weed / Yreka, California (surprisingly). He was missing teeth, eating a sandwich at a gas station. He ended up interviewing me, though I was supposed to be the "interviewer" of Roadtrip Nation. He then showed me where he was growing his batch up in the hills around us, filled with pine trees. Very difficult to hunt down for a police officer. He informed me that this area was like the weed distributor for the whole country, particularly the East Coast. I can't believe this. Why do I encounter these people in the first place?]

Nevertheless, this Garlic Paradigm of my own family drama has been proven to be the source of others' kicks and giggles, as I had to write a mock op-ed piece for the first-ever Santa Barbara Write-off Competition, hosted by Dr. Cherie Steinkellner, at the 2008
Santa Barbara Writer's Conference. As a matter of fact, it seems like I am collecting quite a list here of comical family drama blogs, including "Full Moon Research" and "White Elephant Christmas Game." But neverthelss, the Garlic Paradigm of my Greek Mother was featured on Blog 237. It was fun to be able to make a whole room of writers (many of them professional and published) bust up laughing about my disastrous childhood relationship with food, through the medium of my mother's pseudo-science research. It's so old, so "normal" to me, that I didn't laugh. I was a total straight face, completely immune to my story, more so dead serious! But people couldn't even believe the Garlic Paradigm and the gargle-raw-garlic-down-your-throat-story was actually true! Yes, sad, but true. My mother regrets the garlic gargling....

So, the question is now... WHY and HOW did this Garlic Paradigm get revived in my head? I know this may sound a bit crazy in the way how I "hyper-associate" ideas (I'm a victim myself), but what happened is that in a lengthy conversation with Mike Davis, he recommended my reading Chapters 15 and 16 of Dead Cities, and one of the chapters (15) discussed the role of asteroids in shaping geologic time. In short, extraterrestrial objects are the geologic/planetary symbol that "break the endless cyclicity of geologic thinking" and impose a layer of nonlinearity to geologic narrative, the overall narrative of life on earth. But one part of the chapter I would say was on the borderline of science and science fiction or pseudo science, some of the most off-the-wall geology stories I have ever heard of. Some geologist was theorizing / suggesting the "cyclicity" of asteroid bombardments, as he was using these terms "Intergalactic Tides" and "resonancies," I almost choked laughing. Geologists already have it really rough in terms of having limited evidence to reconstructing Earth's history, but then to concoct some kind of multi-million-year-asteroid-rhythmicity was a little bit like a five-year-old trying to bullshxt his way through a science paper he had write for class the next day... so ideas tend to come from your behind. Except these ideas weren't that bad. We'll say the five-year-old kid was quite bright. Michel Gondry type. [Man, there are SOOO many weirdos, whackos at Kinkos Goleta today!]

I felt that this scientist's mind was quite "hyper-associative" with his thinking, trying to overly connect the dots without valid, tangible evidence to connect them--this is not Mike Davis' research, Mike synthesized this dude's asteroid research--and that's when the trio of thinking in my family emerged... Zen Buddhist Aunt, Scientist Father, and Garlic Paradigm Mother. The issue was not necessarily the garlic, but I compared this intergalactic tide scientist to the excessive hyperassociative mentality of my mother. Garlic just happened to be the asteroid.

Update #1 on August 15, 2010 ~ Two updates here. First update. It was just my birthday and my mother was so kind to purchase a flan (Maxi Fooods) and pecan pie (Ralphs). It's all great, but I barely ate any, my sister Jenny, barely at any, and my mother ate most of it. My mother, mumsy, Mama. Let's just call her Mama for now. Last time I saw my mother about a month ago, she was crawled up on a couch, eating an entire quart of full fat nasty fake ice scream. I noticed that she has gained some poundage around her waste. Like 10-15 pounds, she looks like she is 3 months pregnant. In a certain way it's good, but in another way it's bad. Ya, fine I have my own problems. I feed myself like insulin drip all day and have a big dinner at night, but I'm all about having meat and veggies and reduce the starch and junky shxt food at all the grocery stores (which consists about 80% of grocery store material).

My mother never had a healthy relationship with food. It's so unhealthy that every time I tell other people stories about "my mother's Windex Theories with food," everyone starts laughing. Her relationship with food is so pathetic is that she is a living joke to everyone else. I have made so many people laugh with my mother's food-obsession stories that I want to cry right now. And the worst part is that she imposes her fxcked up food theories on my father, my sister, me, and several other people. And this is where I am very upset, because right now, despite all her watching of religious television shows, she is a walking hypocrite.

So, my mother fixates on a few items and declares them "cure-alls." I'm sure the whole family rejoiced when my mother stopped eating garlic has her universal windex theory. Her breath and the whole house would reek of garlic. She would place garlic everywhere, in everything, in my father's tacos, in her water, anything! She also supplements her garlic theory with some bi-weekly "cure-your-body-because-the-doctor-can't" food, which has included potatoes, bananas, yogurt, peas, pepper, chicken, ground turkey. Well, ya, it sounds all healthy, but when you eat potatoes for 15 days straight, you get fxcking sick of it! But then one day she stopped... with the garlic at least... probably after ten years of practicing the Garlic Theory... or is it the Garlic Religion? And she said garlic was "too hard on her stomach." And soon after that she replaced garlic with the Pepper Theory. So, now, my mother places pepper on everything. She eats pepper, morning, mid-day, afternoon, night. She thinks that pepper will solve all her digestive issues. And the worst part is that my mother is supplementing pepper with some of the worst possible foods: eggs, eggs, eggs, eggs, eggs, ice scream, ice scream, ice cream, ice cream, ice cream, chicken, chicken, chicken, chicken... and hardly any vegetables. I mean, the egg situation is getting to be very out of control. My father complains how he is being fed eggs too often, and my father has a little bit high blood pressure, so he needs to watch out a little bit his health. My mother is eating sooooo many eggs that if she keeps it up, she can give herself a heart attack or something with an overdose of eggs. And then the icescream? The ice cream? My mother states that she "can't digest milk because of the fortified Vitamin D." And so, she eats a quart of ice scream every day, loaded with sugar, "but non-fortified with Vitamin D, making it digestible." That moment in the living room when my mother was devouring ice scream, I became very angry because I was just told a story by a fisherman who suffered from a "heart attack" because every day he at the most horrible foods... ice scream, cookies, eggs, bacon, and ham. I told Mama, "With all the repulsive foods that you are eating, you have absolutely no right to give me any food advice. And I have a complete right to not listen to you." Just go ahead, go ahead and sprinkle your ice cream with pepper, PLEASE!

And then, if not that, then she's eating a shxtload of chicken. My father is going nuts, and so am I. These are the worst possible foods to fixate on... eggs and ice scream. The doctor says 4 eggs a week, not 8 eggs per day!!! My frickin' gawdzeeks!!! But no, no, and NO! My mother refuses to go to the doctor because doctors can't solve her problems, because she knows MORE than doctors and can control everything in her body. She won't even go for a physical. Lovely, simply lovely. My only consolation is that soon my mother will be going to Greece, and changing one's environment and routine can either lead to a re-evaluation to one's past routines. The trip to Greece will force my mother to be more active and to re-consider her diet to some degree.

My mother ate like a pig at Don Jose, for my "2.9" or "4-year" birthday celebration, depending on what number scale you're on. She finished all these chips and her entire massive burrito (with only chicken inside, of course). I could barely finish 1/3 of my taco salad plus a few chips. And she devoured two massive slices of cake, and she can eat all this crxp food because she sprinkles herself with pepper. I was embarrassed when Marquis was there and my mother was spatting pepper in her water. I told Bubsy in the car, "Mumsy is crazy! She ate the whole burrito!" And then my mother and I took turns telling each other how crazy we were. She was a bit sensitive, but... well, it's true. Sure, laugh. My OCD streak inside me most certainly comes from my mother, that is for sure.

I told Jenny about how I felt and what horrible foods Mama is fixated on, causing her to look like she's 3 months pregnant. It's hard to watch her destroy herself. Dysfunctional mother with dysfunctional eating habits, ingrained in an entire society with a collective dysfunctional eating disorder, as my father said, "Fat people eating shxtty foods, and raising kids who become fat because that's all they look at, and that's all they do, eat megacorporate shxt." So, Jenny said about my mother, "Well, I feel angry. I feel upset. I feel the same way. But you know, you can't change her. She won't listen to you. So, either you can be angry, and make her feel more lonely, or you can just accept her for who she is. She never had a healthy relationship with food anyway. And we all know that." I guess my mother is punching me back since my "anorexic, 6-foot-tall-90-pound days." I remember my mom yelling and screaming at me in the car to eat food and I didn't listen. I couldn't even "hear" what she was saying. So now I'm in her shoes: it's hard to watch someone voluntarily-involuntarily destroy themselves, like I did to myself for a while. You want to help them, but they can't even help themselves. I was just absorbing myself in a depressing, tragic, and very honest book--no, graphic novel, called EPILEPCTIC--and David B had to deal with 40 years of his older brother's going through seizures that could not be controlled or contained. Epilepsy became just as much as the imagination of David B as much as his brother who suffered from it. In this case, his brother had no control. No one had control of the seizures. So, you just have to accept it, deal with it. But with food, when you wake up about yourself and your lifestyle, you can gain control, break and change bad habits into good.

The most agonizing and frustrating aspect about the food issue is that people have some sense of control, and some people have some sense of lack of control. It's a chronic internal battle of adaptation and manipulation of your own body as an ecosystem. You're always in a fine boundary in which food transforms from a survivalistic necessity into a comforting-stress-relief or a cure-all-obsession-medication. Is my mother controlling food, or is the food controlling my mother? It's a two way street, and right now the food, the sugar, the excessive cholesterol, is winning her over.... I hope that the trip to Greece will make her snap out.

My long-time-neighbor-since-I-was-born has transformed into an obese pig. My father has a little professor pot belly, but that's a normal form of human evolution. The professor pot belly is expected. I'm not concerned. But when an ordinary person you knew as a kid blew up into some balloon... you know that she gave up and the food took over her. She's operating on pleasured impulse, not rational control. Tragic. (My mother was viciously scratching herself at one point, like a dog with fleas, to a point of bleeding, but apparently all those scratches healed up and she doesn't have that problem anymore. Thank goodness!).

Update #2 on August 15, 2010 ~ Speaking of which... I wrote a poem above called "The Intergalactic Tide of Hyperassociations" as inspired by reading Mike Davis' book, Dead Cities, which consisted of some of the most absurd theories about astronomical cycles of meteorites hitting planet Earth that... it was just sooo absurd... that it reminded me of my mother's whacko food "Windex Theories." I was able to share the poem to one of Barry Spacks' classes in the Winter of February 2010, which received chuckles from a group of clever undergraduates. It's hard to have high standards for yourself when you are surrounded by students who don't have much writing standards at all... and the worst part is that their egos have been masseussed for the last twenty years, that they think they're going to be the next Michael Chrichton or Danielle Steele (which I don't like either of them, I like Michael Chrichton's medical background, but he writes like an unfeeling robot).... *Sigh* All you can do is continue to encourage students... as B has said. Be more of a confidence coach than a writing coach! So, I had so much confidence, that I sent out a first batch of poems (three poems, actually, including "Sugar Free Sugar" and "The Can Collectors") to the poetry journal called Rattle, which is based in Los Angeles, actually! I was pissed that I had to take down three blogs in order to be able to submit my work to a literary magazine... I just re-posted the blogs back up!!! I suppose I was convinced to submit my work to Rattle because (1) Rattle is local, so I can relate, and I could actually meet the editors if I wanted to when driving through Los Angeles, (2) Tim Green, one of the major editors, is a veteran of the professional writing program at USC, and he was a chemist before he ventured into creative writing (Go figure he's a science-art hybrid! one of his books of poems is called American Fractal), (3) The literary journal actually LOOKS COOL! Most literary journals I have encountered have such bizarre art and formatting--so they say it's avant garde--I say is plain lack of artistic taste (even the editor of Rutger's Writer's Bloc has said so)! So, it was really awesome that I received a nice note from the editor about a week later: "Thanks for letting us consider some of your work, Victoria. We'll get back to you soon -- typically takes about a month, sometimes just a touch longer, but feel free to query if you haven't heard back by the end of March. Looking forward to the read. Best, Tim."

I submitted in the "humor" category, hoping that I would placed in a smaller pile of paperwork... but unfortunately and of course, my poems were "rejected." But that's expected! Even Ray Bradbury was rejected hundreds of times, three years in a row, in his early twenties before he had one story published. Still again, I go through all this psychological grief and effort to submit, and take down my blogs, and receive a rejection letter... by email. Ya, ya. I love you too. These poems are dxmn good, and I KNOW IT. So, I spoke with Barry Spacks about the experience, and he even admitted to me that his work has still yet to be accepted into Rattle. And then he told me something daunting: Barry has about 300 poems submitted to different journals all at once. And I guess he's fortunate if he gets a couple dozen published every year! 300 poems distributed all at ONCE??? What the hxll?!!

I started to feel how futile it was to submit poetry to magazines. (1) Too many people are participating (too many people have the supposed "capacity" to write poems, from five-year-olds to 95-year-olds) (2) So many people are participating that the editors of literary journals don't treat you with much care, and they don't respond to you anymore... as Barry said, "things are slipping" (3) Poetry as an artform is largely dead in a society of information overload, with menial value placement of the constructions and organization of words. (4) People publish your poetry because your poetry has been published before (Old Boyz Club scenario). And the list goes on. As I mentioned in a past blog, Barry stated that he is trying sooo hard to preserve intimacy in a society in which no one particularly cares about anybody anymore. He painted this portrait of him crawling across a scorching desert, bypassing any needs for food and water, and on the final utterances before his passing, he would crawl to a computer with internet, and write to all the failed writers who submitted their work (if Barry were an editor) and would provide them the most kind and personal email, "We are sorry we cannot publish your work, but we truly hope with all our hearts that your work will find a home." And I looked at Barry, wondering inside my mind, "Barry, how can you teach poetry and not tell them some stories of reality?! That poetry as an industry is an elitist cult of arbitrary fame and passing-on-of-torches, and that truly, the title of 'poet' as a profession can only be pursued as a teacher or as a poet laureat"? There are only a hundred or so fortunate souls who can make it in America as true "poets," but they most have their hands in poetry through other means, as an editor, a publisher, a teacher, or a show-man-laureat-Billy-Collins-type." And then, I also came to realize that my reading my writing on a computer, with some pre-set Microsoft font, has no personality to it. Has no visual umph to it. It's not home-made in it's entirety. And so, I myself would be willing, with all my heart, to make all my work, as home-made as possible... so adding a visual component to my writing... like cartoons... could only make more sense. Barry? And everyone? I am bitter, but rightfully, and rationally so.

1 comment:

Victoria "Stokastika" said...

Submitted to the "Humor" section for Rattle Magazine. Must take it down temporarily until I hear back....