For one thing, I'm not huge on kids. I'm good with them, I like them, they're fun to be around, but I really don't want any of my own. Every Wednesday afternoon though, I teach a drama class at one of the larger theatres downtown. It's called "Advanced Creative Drama," and consists entirely of 8 and 9 year old third graders. 14 of them. These children are amazing. They are all SO different from one another. Granted, most of them are annoying, or out of control, some are a bit slow, and a few are just plain bitchy. To my surprise, I love teaching that class nonetheless.

I don't think that we give kids enough credit for being the sentient little creatures that they are. Next Wednesday is our "Open Classroom." This means that the parents get to come and watch the kids perform what we have been learning all quarter. My kids wanted to write their own performance. When I asked them what they wanted it to be about, the general consensus was "Me." I gave them a few suggestions, and they put their heads together, and wrote "The Essence of Themselves Poem." (Yes, one of the children, Caitlin, even supplied the title. This is a girl who told me that more than anything she wished she could be Eleanor Roosevelt, because (paraphrased): "Eleanor is the best woman ever, she was half a president, she helped human rights and women and poor people and the arts and she wasn't scared of anyone." Yes, that's what certain eight year olds think about.)

When I read the poem, the things they had come up with blew me away. In many ways it is better poetry than I have heard from some so-called professional poets. We spend all this time on E2 (and everywhere else) whining about angst, analyzing everything to pieces, wishing for a more factual world, and being as sardonically humorous as possible. This is better than all of that. Here, with very minor refinement, is what 14 third graders see when they look inside themselves:

Today I am
Windy and cold
A banana split
Teal and Orange
Today I am Febuary
Today I am a jaguar
A tulip
A dart frog
A butterfly
A Blue Jay

I want a Sunday
I want a cake
I want money
If I had a million dollars I would get a dog
If I had a million dollars I would buy a pickle
If I had a million dollars I'd be rich

I love my mom
I love my dad
I love fractions
I love cats
Today I am a boot
I see Friday
I am spring
I am pink

I see Friday
I see a flower
I am the sun
I am a bag of jumping beans
I am an animal of the sea
I am a hurricane
I see crows flying
I love America
I cannot be blue

For the world I wish peace
For the world I wish candy
For the world I wish pianos and pickles and sausages
For the world I wish better Directions
I adore the moon on New Years Eve
If I had a million dollars I'd buy all the pink Starbursts
I want a Sunday

I'm a beautiful blue blooming tulip today
I cannot find a rose
I cannot be blue
I see red
I see blue
I see green
I am Russia
I cannot not forgive
I want a monkey

I am the sun
I am blue
I am December
I am the moon
I am me
I am me
I am me

Sorry, I forgot to put in the proper tags. Fixed now...


I bitch about my job. A lot. I whine about difficult customers, I complain about the poorly written software, I drone on and on about all the little niggles. One thing I often forget:

I have a job.

And a lot of people don't. I earn good money, I can afford to buy pretty much whatever I want these days, I live in a nice house. And the job really isn't that bad, I spend a lot of time just sitting there, waiting for calls. I get unrestricted access to the company's (unbelievably fast) internet connection. I get a smoko break every two hours. My bosses treat me well.

But all this can't disguise the fact that telephone work is completely wrong for me. I've been working on phones for about a year, and I hate it. My perfect job is one where I don't have to deal with other people, not even co-workers. A little room, where I did things, no-one else around. That's the job for me. Any ideas? But I digress.

I have a friend whose mother is one of the most interesting people I've ever met. She's been all over the world, met all these famous people, took heaps of drugs in the seventies, named her daughter after a city in The Lord of the Rings. And she can't get a job. When she does somehow find work, it's always menial work on a temporary basis.

I remember I was going somewhere specific with this, but it's all kind of floated away now. I think you get the point. /msg me if you don't. Have a nice day.


I haven't noded in quite some time, at least in a relative sort of way, and I regret that I'm easing back in slowly with a daylog; it's all I've got the wherewithall to do right now. All night I have wanted to do nothing but make music -- fingers caressing frets like an old lover, gently working the brightness of strings too new into the sweet voice I've known for as long as I can remember. But I can't. I play, and the motion is wonderful, the strumming, sliding, bending all perfect, strong, and adept; but the sound is wrong. Where I am angry and afraid and grasping for a piece of the old beauty, it is trite and sweet and lifeless. Where I want to thrash and scream and cry, it makes me grin and bob my head gently like some cheap toy.

I am listening to Crash, an album that gave goosebumps and heaving sobs to a boy I once knew. His copy was incomplete, edited to fit on one side of a 90-minute cassette; still, he wore it to death. By the time it was lost in a move it had been worn practically to pieces, fading in and out here and there, refusing to play at all in some places. The sad songs were his favorites; "Say Goodbye" had some very deep and meaningful place in his life that he has since forgotten, although he understands it better than ever: I have on very good authority that he has all but given up on true love at the moment. And he shall stop speaking in the third person.

To say that this album does nothing for me now would be inaccurate. It gives me little chills the same as any sentimentally important music does; I haven't heard a single note of it in 4 or 5 years, but I still shiver in anticipation of the nifty fills and soulful groans -- and that random chirpy bit, panned near-center, in #41 -- that I know are coming. I've forgotten, however, what it used to mean. My memory of those days is remarkably poor; someday I will remember high school -- the bitterness, the confusion, the undifferentiated pain. I don't know what will happen, but I don't anticipate it will be pretty. No matter how bad, how tired, how sad, how hurt and alone and confused I feel these days, I can always look back and thank my lucky stars it's not how it was. I dread the day when I can no longer say that.

Maybe tomorrow the notes will come out right. Or maybe the notes will come out right, but my fingers will feel all wrong. Or maybe nothing will be right and I will collapse into a heap on my bed and wonder why I bother to make music that doesn't give goosebumps to anyone but me. And maybe I'll come a little closer to wanting to fall in love again.

Another day in the life of a sub. Not much going on today, just watching a movie, Merlin the NBC special movie of the week, which seems to be the standard plan. I am sick so the students will now watch a movie about something that might somehow releate to the subject that I normally teach. Sometimes I don't know how they justify it, I mean does the movie Free Willie really realte to a science class? I don't know.

On a different note, I'm back up and running now on my cable modem without @home. I'm now on AT&T Broadband I Network. Rumor is that they are throtling the speed down from what @home was running. Oh well, at least it is up.

Yesterday, I flipped. Not just a little freaked out, but flipped. Someone was flirting with my man. MY man. It wasn't just the casual eyeballing, or the smile-and-play-with-your-hair move. It was the "I'm going to put my hand on your leg and move towards your crotch" move. Now, don't get me wrong, I fully, completely, 100% trust my boyfriend. I just don't trust women. I am a woman, and I know how some of them can be. Upon finding this out, I became outraged. I started to shake and cry. Its a good thing I was not there.

Basically, she started to flirt with him, touching him, then asked him out for COCKtails, since she was "new to the area" (yeah right). He said he was sorry, but he was involved with someone. Which, to no suprise, didn't phaze this woman. She still gave him her number, and asked him to give her a call. Rude bitch.

I have this theory. A man can be ugly, stupid, bad in bed, whatever. BUT, if he has a girlfriend, there is automatic appeal to a woman. Someone is with him, there MUST be something not being seen. So, it becomes a competition.

I have always been a jealous person. I'm very protective of my things, be it my boyfriend, my car, or whatnot. But yesterday sort of scared me. The rage I felt was shocking (once I calmed down and thought it over). Yes, my boyfriend is attractive. Yes he does have a very charming, unique personality. I don't mean to make him sound like property, but hell, he's MINE. No one touches my stuff. NO ONE.

Ok, I sound psychotic. Enough ranting.

Hello. Sorry I haven't been around for so long. I've been busy looking for jobs and its quite depressing. Even worse my phone was disconnected! BT don't appreciate people not paying their bills it seems. I sorted it out though and they reconnected me very quickly once I paid up.

Good news! I have a job interview! It's booked for next Monday. It's not the kind of job I was expecting to take. It's a position as a techical writer for a small magazine in London. I don't think it's going to be particularly well paid (I will find out on Monday) but sounds like a lot of fun.

Having done an Electrical Engineering degree I assumed I would move into something quite technical. However, the harsh realities of the dole queue have changed my perspective and I've been tempted by (and taken) jobs I would previously have rejected out of hand. While at University I kind of assumed that things would pan out. I'd never contemplated being an unemployed graduate. I guess I'm not alone but it's nevertheless a pretty depressing prospect. During school and college and even university, my life was both safe and planned. There was an order to my days and a schedule to my weeks.

Now though I face uncertainty and daytime TV.

< prev | next >

“What’s for lunch,” a coworker asked as the clock neared 11:30 (our standard time for lunch).

Dunno, what do you want?”

“Is Mark coming?” My friend walks deeper into the forest of cubes towards Mark’s desk.

“Yes—I want to go. Give me five minutes, and I’ll be ready.”

James walks up. “You guys going to lunch?”

“Yep. You want to come?”

“Where are you going?”

Silence. The three who have committed to going but don’t need five minutes stare at the list of restaurants and fast food joints in downtown Cincinnati.

“It’s raining again. We shouldn’t go too far. Or take the skywalk.” This, in an odd way, helps, as it cuts the list in half.

“Do you have any preferences?”

“Anywhere but the Red Fox.” While this sounds like a positive development, it only complicates matters. Everyone has a list of places they won’t go. Plus, everyone is not in the mood for something. Finding the intersection of these requirements often requires a commission from the United Nations.

Mark gets up. “We going?” It has been much longer than five minutes.


We gather the phones and coats and other things needed to venture away from the office, then walk to the elevator.

“Oh! I have to go to the restroom.” He goes off. We wait. He returns. We take the elevator to the lobby.

“So, where are we going?”

“I don’t know, but, unless they take credit cards, I’ll need money.” Since we haven’t decided, he errs on the side of caution, and walks to the ATM. We huddle in a sad group around the fountain in the lobby. There are two or three other groups who seem to be waiting for a stray member.

Once he gets back, we walk to the revolving door. “Where are we going again?”

I wish I could say this doesn’t happen every day.

afraid of the dark, I walked through shadows with my brain screaming until I reached the light switch. losing friends in months of a sTrAnGe MaNiA, I wrote letters to myself asking that I become 'calm', become 'different', and it happened. cracking my knuckles constantly, I beat myself in the face until the urge s l o w e d and became dormant. my fears and thoughts were so strong for years that I developed equally strong compensating mechanisms, lists of 'answers' to 'questions' of general anxiety, notebooks full of words with arrows drawn-between-them like 'LOVE', 'FREEDOM', 'HELP', poems for wordless feelings. afraid of heights? climb trees carefully until the fear knows you don't care. don't let anyone SEE YOU as you run through your dark garden 'pretending' to be other than human, or pErChEd on the garage roof like a bird, skin alive to the air. if 'they' ever saw what you do when you're alone they'd fear you as a crazy, dancer to no music, speaker to ghosts, wanderer from *silent* room to *silent* room, looking for something you never even knew before you forgot it. afraid of fear, afraid of unhappiness, afraid of your weird *silent* 'self', the beaten boy in the basement, the swallowed scorpion. you're afraid you'll disgust her in your insanity, if you don't 'control' it, if you can't purge your demons in time to live with her and hold. her. hands. you know she doesn't mind the craziness but you're afraid she'll RUN from the ugliness inside, the pockmarked inner skin, the hideous portrait in the attic of a beautiful head, the hunched and panting dogboy who could never be loved by anyone

QXZ's London Invasion, Part Seven
back to part six

The all-being master of space, time and dimension.
The play is the thing...

Had vivid dreams last night for the first time I've been aware of on this trip. Primarily wandering around in some fantastical version of Westminster Palace, which also happened to contain all of London. Probably triggered by cramming in all this touristy stuff in such a short time. Before I left home I dreamed about using a tunnel under the Atlantic to drive to the UK in five minutes.

Also dreamed that Britney Spears' song Don't Let Me Be The Last To Know was actually about masturbation. Or, at the very least, Britney was jilling off while singing it. I don't think we need to look too deeply for the source of that dream.

Two curious turns of phrase at TESCO. Firstly, they advertise their photo processing as being "cheaper than boots"; I'm not sure if that's just literally true, or if it's an idiom with which I'm unfamiliar. Second, the store's motto is "every little helps", and my brain always screams at me that it's meant to read "every little bit helps". What's going on?

Got to The Royal Greenwich Observatory by 12:45 via the Docklands Light Rail. The DLR is an elevated (mostly) railway which services points in (surprise) the Docklands. Several highrise buildings are being stacked up towards the sky in the Canary Wharf area, so I assume things aren't going too badly for the monied in the area.

Greenwich Centre is pretty cool. It's what a middle-aged, white, suburban woman might call "funky". Basically, it's a college town.

Right... final push up the hill to the Observatory, then.

Set my watch to the GMT clock; shame my watch slips about one minute per day. Oh look: yet more more schoolchildren.

Saw the time ball drop at "exactly" 1:00, alerting ships in the area as to the time.

Paid my £1.00 for my certificate stating precisely when I was at the Prime Meridian. Ha! My feet straddle the hemispheres! I am huge!

On the way out, I noticed that my watch had lost five seconds just in the two hours I spent at the Observatory. Some accuracy, Hamilton.

I can see a smoke plume from what looks like a very serious fire somewhat west of The City. Occasional bursts of flame from the base of the plume. Hey, if nothing else I guess I was here to see one of London's many fires.

Used the foot tunnel from the Cutty Sark to cross under the Thames. I think that tunnel was the first ever bored tunnel under a river, but I could be totally wrong.

Stop looking at me like that. I tried to find somewhere else; you know I did. There wasn't anywhere. Please.
Penance is sitting facing your reflection while you eat.

Back at the godawful Barbican, waiting for the doors to open for Hamlet. I've noticed over the past day or so that I'm talking to myself on the street considerably more than I usually do, and often in one of several bad British/Scottish/Irish accents. Good thing I have this notebook with me or I might go crazy. Well, no, but I'd probably be talking to myself a lot more, and I'd look completely crazy, anyway.

Bought the first things that can be considered souvenirs: a Royal Shakespeare Company t-shirt and a poster for this production of Hamlet. I'd wanted to buy something at the Greenwich Observatory, but they really didn't have anything cool. I've realized that I'm not much for souvenirs, and it's hard to look for things to bring home to people. However, I really should get something for Charmayne at the least. If I'm luck, I might fulfull Tara and Rene's requests, but I'm just not going to buy Rene's dad those stupid collectible spoons he wanted. Okay, I should got check my bag.

Hamlet was outstanding. I think it really helped that I hadn't read the play before I saw it. I wasn't anticipating lines or scenes; the whole story just unfolded in front of me. Wonderful production. Ophelia may have been a tad weak, but Hamlet was so good no one could really shine beside him. Minimalist set, tasteful modernizations (props and costuming; a lot of people dispatched with gunfire instead of stabs), innovative lighting. The majority of the play felt very honest; the emotion and the heart of the story were coming from the characters via the actors. Every moment was clearly understood by the cast. This is the first professional Shakespeare I've seen, but that's, in my experience, rare. There was no coasting on the weight of the language here. As much as the words are art, it was true dialog for these characters.

A group of girls was huddled by the stage door, waiting for the actors. Or, more likely, the actor: Mr. Samuel "Hamlet" West.

I'm surrounded by Americans tonight. Groups of what I assume are college girls, families, business people, middle-aged friends. The RSC got me, so I guess maybe it's a tourist magnet like theater is in most big cities.

And what's with the coughing phenomenon in theater audiences? Are there really that many people in a given crowd with bronchial distress? Some people, I think, simply become uncomfortable if they're quiet for too long. One cough or sneeze breeds another, like yawns. A study should be done.

Ack! Trapped on the Tube! We've been sitting here, yards out of Blackfriars station while the cops remove an unruly passenger on the train ahead of us, for fifteen minutes. If the District Line has stopped running by the time we get to South Kensington, I'll just have to walk from Gloucester Street. Stupid non-24 hour subway.

Excerpted from QXZ's travel journal, 12/6/01.
QXZ endorses nothing.

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