The non-chronological collected works of my misspent youth, with notes, for your reading pleasure. Most names have been changed because I probably didn't ask you first.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

PDA: Journal, October 14, 1995

The only thing more disgusting than guys that go obviously commando in soccer shorts rolling around on the ground in the trashy grass in front of the library are guys that go obviously commando in soccer shorts rolling around in the trashy grass in front the library literally licking their pig-tailed, tiny-tee'd girfriend's navel ring. I swear to God it would be less gross if that just actually had full-on sexual intercourse on top of the reference desk.

Liz Phair Cover Band Practice: Journal, September 1993

I spent Sunday floating around in Lake Lure with my faculty advisor and his other advisees. We played the dictionary game in his parents’ vacation cottage. Then, we listened to  PJ Harvey for hours. 

I hate that red stripe on the walls of  Mitchell Hall. It reminds me of the bloody death of a small gray animal.

I suppose melancholia and depression are embedded in my jeans [1]. My mother is a painter, my father a writer. It would be irregular if I were not this way. Being southern is an added bonus. Southerners are allowed to be all blubbery and pitiful like they’ve lost something. You know. Whoever’s the most miserable wins, right?  If you’re miserable you get casseroles and your mom’s Junior League friends will bake and take care of you. But you have to be the right kind of miserable, I guess.

Denise and I are going to play guitar together tonight. I’ve almost been able to pick up a coffeecup with my fingertips and not feel it like P does and that proves how hard I’ve been practicing. We sound pretty good on “Fuck and Run” if I do say so myself.  Secretly, I really wish I were in a band. [2]

[1] Sic. And related

[2] FYI: not even a little bit of a secret.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Senioritis: January 19, 1994

It's some cosmic joke that life has left me with nothing but a purple pen to write today. I haven't liked a purple pen since the fifth grade when Jane and Shannon started that bra club at recess and made me get one of those fat pens with thirty different ink colors and a training bra before I could join. I didn't actually need the training bra at the time, but I had to wear it to sit with them. 

Anyway I hate this purple pen because it's purple but also because it's a ballpoint and ballpoint pens are supremely humiliating even when they aren't the color of fucking Grape Kool-Aid.

It is January of my senior year and I have yet to find a soulmate or a date or even someone to make out with behind the sofa in the music house. I'm still pretty sure that I'm heterosexual though I guess it's possible that might change at college. I've never fallen in love with a girl but given my lack of luck it's probably best to leave all options open.

I think I'm still embarassingly sort of hung up on  the same guy I had a crush on in fourth form, because the guy I though I was in love with in fifth form ended up being in love with my best friend (of course) and  ALSO REALLY A WHOLE LOT WEIRDER than I could handle (I probably was already done before that night last fall when he came over to Dad's house and tried to cheer Rebecca & me up by getting spontaenously naked and doing modern dance moves on the deck railing. I don't think I've ever wanted anyone to put their pants back on so badly in my whole life). Anyway I like to think I'm g playing it pretty close to the chest about my old inamoratus (is that a word??!!), but I'm pretty sure everybody knows. I mean, you know, right? Don't answer. Or you can answer, but not in a way that fills me with shame and recrimination. Because I'm pretty sure he still hates me.

I want to fall in love. I want to be loved. I really, really, really don't want to be a virgin when I start college.

I have great friends, the best, most interesting people in the school and I don't care if that does sound cliquish and elitist. I have something to do every night of the week,  but I don't know a single straight guy that would even kiss me right now. And that includes actors.

Pinkie, etc: December 12, 1996

“She had an immense store of trivial memories and when she wasn't living in the future she was living in the past. As for the present - she got through that as quickly as she could, running away from things, running towards things, so that her voice was always a little breathless, her heart pounding at an escape or an expectation.” 

Graham Greene
Brighton Rock

I feel like shit.

Should I have studied for this exam? Probably. Do I care? Not really. I got an A- on my Brighton Rock paper, which by all rights was a solid C Paper. Odious Dr. K wrote a condescending note[1] on the back that I think he thought I’d care about. I don’t.

I’m having my fourth cup of coffee in the car in this parking lot where I’m chainsmoking so I don’t have to talk to anyone in the student center.  I’ve been writing this short story in the margins of my Norton Anthology[2] about a God showing up at the Chik-Fil-A in the food court. Deus Ex Machina is on the mind, probably because I never actually bothered to drop that Greek Tragedy class. I haven’t been since September. What sort of irony is the tragedy of failing a class about tragedy that you were too lazy to drop?

I have to sit around in curlers so I can be vain and girly and conform to some notion of who I’m supposed to be so I can have dinner with Dad.  I wish I could shave my head but I have a giant mole and I’m too fat. I should be cleaning my room and taking yonder bowl of yesterday’s dried and crusty oatmeal to the kitchen where it might get washed because it’s clear MRWHM’s cat is not going to eat the remains.

I went to Time After Time today shopping and bought a new outfit for $8. There was a beautiful boy working there who had planets and waves tattooed on his arms and he told me that he’d sort of wanted the sweater I bought for himself and I thought that I kind of bought the sweater because it reminded me of what a boy I might like to date would wear.  He was one of those dark-haired angled boys with crazy light colored eyes and I might have swooned if I’d stuck around for much longer.

MRWHM is watching talk shows. Ever since she quit her job, she’s been spending all of her free time at the house talking shit about me on the phone to her psycho ex boyfriend while I’m in the next room and watching daytime television. I’ve rediscovered my old habit of driving around town for hours when I want to be alone and listening to the music she makes fun of me for liking. Confession: I actually really like Superchunk even if only because it reminds me of people that aren’t speaking to me anymore, even if I do have to hide my copy of “Foolish” in a Minor Threat case so MRWHM will lay off about the indie rock when I give her a ride to class. I’m can still see the remains of her  “Fuck You, Poser” graffiti [3] scrawled on my bedroom door whenever I answer the telephone.

God, I hate this hair color. It makes me look like an anemic eggplant.

[1] Actually taped inside journal: “Alison—Once again you demonstrate your capacity to write intelligently, vigorously and extremely irritatingly. Do you have this effect on all your professors?  Forgive me, but you write with genuine flair and effective energy and that makes the odd constructions, impossible word choices and various self-indulgences (eg, your retrograde fragments and frankly bizarre digressions) harder to take. I have the sense you think you are a really excellent writer (clearly your fragments are part of a style) whereas I’d say you have a lot of gifts as a writer and also have lots to work on. Or to put another way: you need to learn how to control those gifts much more. Could we talk??” Across this note, in my hand: “Not bloody likely, you oily fuck.”

[2] Lost to history. In those days, I suspect the god would have been Dionysus, though.

[3] Also not an exaggeration.

New Journal: December 11, 1996


This is a lot of white pages, so empty and intimidating. It also the approximate weight of a fat toddler[1], proving once again that I am a glutton for needless punishment.  I don't know why I bought it. I don't know why I'm writing in it. I should be reading Decline & Fall, for tomorrow's exam. I don't know why no one told me that Evelyn Waugh was funny. I mean, really funny.   I was completely surprised, though not half as surprised as the rest of the class, who definitely didn't know he was a man.  Here's some truth: I haven't loved this class (20th Century British Novel). The first half was so great. And the second half was . . . Virginia Woolf. I hate Mrs Dalloway. I wanted Clarissa to poop on her dinner table. Not that I necessarily expected closeted early 20th century upper class English lesbians to be awesomely weird and interesting but seriously . . . Anyway, I haven't studied at all, but I'm probably going to do fine on the exam because Professor C. has given me an A on everything I've turned in so far because I'm a top quality bullshit artist and most of the rest of my classmates are illiterate boobs who still think modernism is a thing with robots. Gotta love a second rate state school for its ability to make unapologetic slackers look like intellectual titans.

Anyway, I bought this thing because I went to Borders to buy a second copy of the afore-mentioned Waugh novel because I left mine somewhere in Chapel Hill[2] and My Roommate Who Hates Me (henceforth known as MRWHM) has refused to let me borrow her likewise unread copy for some incomprehensible reason. It's the holidays and the spirit of Christmas and capitalism compels me to go out and spend my non-existent income on a bunch of bullshit I don't need because of my gross American materialism[3] and my wont of self-control. Thank Jesus for credit cards[4] that I didn't even apply for.

I also bought another novel by William T. Vollman. I'm not sure why. I'm sure it's about junkies and prostitutes and Thailand. I don't even like junkie prostitutes. Not that I know any. I just feel like they would be annoying.

Why I am so tired all the time? Oh right, it's three am. 

[1] This is not much of an exaggeration. Said notebook is enormous. I went through distinct period of buying these massive tome-length journals, believing I’d fill every page with clever thoughts and ideas. Instead, I’d fill the maybe a quarter and the back half would be scratch paper, grocery lists and track listings for mix tapes.

[2] Probably at the pre--remodel  Carolina Coffeeshop, where I used to go and smoke when you still could and order endless cups of coffee before shows at Cat’s Cradle, which I viewed as being much more educational than my (admittedly) bullshit classes. Given that I still work in a record store, this might not have been totally off base.

[3] I’d only recently decided I probably wasn’t a revolutionary communist, but I still sort of wanted to date them.

[4] Spoiler alert: Didn’t end well.   

Thursday, August 28, 2014

To Sum Up: Journal, December 15, 1996

Bleak day. Dead trees. Brown grass. Tattered flyers. Students mingle and moan, cradling cups of abominable coffee, slouching through endless, ugly foul smelling corridors full of bitter professors who loathe what their lives have become.

This is what college holds in store for you, brave student!

Meaningless work. Cliques worse than junior high. Aching loneliness. Subhuman living conditions. Needless expenses beyond your wildest dreams. You can expect a complete loss of motivation, sleep, ambition, self-confidence, will, social life, talent, conception of “reality,” respect for your fellow man, sense of purpose, hope. Watch yourself kiss the collective asses of barely literate bureaucrats and mutate into a sniveling pathetic asshole shell of yourself fixated on social climbing and something like a “career.” Vomit gallons of the same beers and wines favored by local hobos into mildewed communal shower stalls! Watch young men get brain damaged running into each other on a stripe-y lawn and your favorite classes get canceled in order to make space for more parking for said brain damage. You will learn very, very little. You will waste at least four years and god knows how much money on an education that neither sates your intellectual curiosity nor earns you success. And then you’ll spend the rest of your life feeling mildly nostalgic for the worst parts as your imprisoned by loans and trying to fight a drinking problem.


[1] This entry ends suddenly and perplexingly with TOP TEN BEST RECORDS OF 1996 written very grandly across the center of the page. I only listed three.

Anarchy in the NC: Journal, October 1994

It’s Fall Break and I’m away from Hollins and Roanoke and that whole Twilight Zone scene. Instead I’m sleeping on a sofa at an apartment in Wilmington and hanging out with Natalie and her punk rock friends. Last night one of them wandered in very late at night and  I woke up to see him staring at me. He pointed at his stomach which was extremely red and tattooed with CHAOS in tall, sort of fat Gothic letters. He asked me several times if I looked too bubbly before before I realized he was talking about the font and not his stomach, which was sort of concave. I told him I thought it looked fine because what do you say about CHAOS tattooed across a stomach. Then he asked if I wanted some bacon because he was planning to cook breakfast and I said I was a vegetarian and went back to sleep.

Wilmington is weird. I’m pretty sure no one here has parents . Everyone seems to have been living independently since they were, like, sixteen. It’s kind of like sweaty beach Neverland but with a lot of terrible hardcore bands. I can't for the life of me figure out how people actually like hardcore.

They are filming a shitty movie here. Last night Natalie and I walked around downtown to where they built a fake skatepark down by the river. There were cameras out but I don't think we made it into the movie.

I drove out to the beach by myself last night because everyone here hates it and I listened to the new tape Natalie made me. Turns out I’m going to have to apologize to Kara because I’m finally coming around on Hole, and she was likely right, but maybe only about that one song.

Califonia: Journal, October 1994

It’s time for me to do Philosophy reading and I’m not because I’d rather sit here and cry and stare across the quad to that Freshman dorm with LM and all the crazy man-hating knee sock bible girls in it. I’m quite unable to decide what to do with my life. Do I stay? Do I go? Do I drive out Williamson Road and see if I can find a decent chocolate milkshake?
Perseverance? Yeah, fuck perseverance. I realize it’s a good quality, but how is it even remotely logical to endure shit you don’t like when it costs lots of money and makes everyone miserable in the process.  There is not a soul here that would lose a night’s sleep if I lit off for the territories or whatever.

Anyway, I guess it’s kind of a serious decision. There’s something horrible and painful about staying at Hollins and suffering through it that kind of appeals to me because I might make the campus less shitty for someone else that just tragically washes up here. At the same time, staying feels like weakness. It feels like settling and cowardly It feels like I’m only here because I’m supposed to be in school when a braver soul would take off, get a job, live in some crappy apartment and make real visceral badass art [1] instead of writing stupid sestinas [2] for workshops full of Equestrienne Barbie and her jodhpur haikus.

Jesus, this sounds like something I would have written in the tenth grade. On the plus, it’s a nice afternoon for skipping Tinker Day and I’ve got Ween on the stereo and I get a little excited whenever I so much as look at transfer applications for schools in California.

Maybe. Just maybe . . . [3]

[1] The great thing about being eighteen is that you can say this sort of thing without any sense of shame and completely mean it. The great thing about not being eighteen is no having to worry about mistaking your worst possible idea for your destiny.

[2] Even at eighteen, I knew I was a worthless poet.

[3] Nope.