GHOST STORY #3 by Bob Schofield
my novel new tab was shortlisted by the quebec writers federation for their fiction prize, so now I am going to this gala thing on november 18th.
very surprised heather o’neill wasn’t shortlisted, but I guess it’s been a pretty good year overall for english literature in quebec.
‘Takahē’ by Stacey Teague
Published by Scrambler Books
Reviewed by Richard Brammer
This week I had 3 pieces of writing on The Adventure Handbook as part of their facebook series.
i’m always sad on planes where ever i am going. it’s something about being in the sky, and how lonely it is up there in the cumulonimbus. my friends have written letters, included photographs, for me to look at on the plane. it feels like a memorial. there’s so much land and water below, but it means nothing to me.
crying beneath the complimentary blanket is the most restrained that i can be. the blanket is thin and grey and smells like dust but i like it. it is my own.
i feel the luxury of being alone whenever i travel. i will wander around the airport, breathing air conditioning, the rain so thick i can’t see the landscape beyond the windows. so much of life is about these in between places.
finally, sitting down in my aisle seat i watch all of the films with the sound off. a tear hits the collar of my shirt and it feels cute.
we’ve been fighting most of the time we’ve been here. i get mad at you for things that are outside of your control, because it is easy to do that. it is easy to do mean things sometimes and i’m sorry. it is too hot outside and it is your fault, somehow. i cry at the acropolis with dust from the ruins in my lungs. i lose you in a crowd. i take photos because i feel like i should.
the acropolis museum is dull and full of old men smoking e-cigarettes. everything is white and it hurts my eyes. i wait in line for the bathroom for fifteen minutes. afterwards, we walk around the city trying to find a bookshop but when we get there it’s closed. you begin to feel anxious. i start talking in a funny voice because it makes you laugh. i’m trying.
when it’s cooler we drink all the beers and stumble outside, and [i forget]. that night we fall asleep with the air conditioning on, and when we wake up our bodies are covered in goosebumps. we go outside again and get lost. we wear shorts. we’re in love. it is okay.
when i woke up in new york city, blood had soaked through my jeans and onto the seat. i had taken two sleeping pills at the beginning of the flight so i didn’t notice. walking through customs i covered up the blood stain with my tote bag, not ashamed just self-aware. i took a taxi to your apartment, and felt too much of something and not enough of something else. in your laundry room i scrubbed the blood out.
to begin with you want to search for whatever comfort you can find, in all of those unfamiliar spaces. you have to trick yourself. when it snowed one morning we ran outside like children, i had never felt snowfall before. later that day we walked across the brooklyn bridge as the sun was setting. the sky was pale pink/orange and we were just dumb humans shivering beneath it.
in the night times i kissed too many people that i shouldn’t have, and i’m not sure what it meant. i didn’t care. i was making a habit of recklessness. i read poetry to people in a crowded apartment, the americans eating up the words i breathed at them. on new year’s eve there was a rooftop, and we all hugged each other in the dark. in a room with too many people in it, my hand awkwardly clutching a 40 oz, i gave myself over to the city.
eating falafel on a curb by central park, clinging to each other for warmth on a train platform, high in a bathroom stall. these memories are like recollecting scenes from a dream, imagined sensations. the best times were when i was alone, walking by myself around brooklyn, although i couldn’t begin to process whatever was going on. it was so cold and i felt purposeful. i didn’t know who i was in new york. i don’t really know who i am anywhere.
sweet new book by Beach Sloth
- mortal kombat
- ryan gosling
- symbolic interactionism
- secular humanist
- list of pornographic sub-genres
- you will roll around in an empty parking lot with him until you lose circulation in your limbs and forget your own name (everything is okay)
- the main purpose of the heart is to make heart sounds
- untitled 1
- untitled 2
- at 5:30 in the morning
- i can read a novel out loud while you lie on my floor with your head in my lap and we can feel happy because we are touching each other and i am using my voice and we don’t have to think about climate change or death
- mcsweeney’s caused global warming
- i just need you to know exactly what i want without me having to say anything
- self-defeating personality disorder
- i wrote a novel about you and saved it to my drafts folder
- semi-humorous paradox
- it is june and he wants to leave your room
- heartbroken people with extreme personality flaws
- untitled 3
- untitled 4
- i will never be beautiful enough to make us beautiful together
- palm trees are not native to los angeles
- untitled 5
- untitled 6
- untitled 7
- i will inevitably ruin our relationship
- in the space between our bodies
- 5 years old
- untitled 8
- when i die you can have my heart-shaped sunglasses
- induced-compliance paradigm
- infinite number of half-distances
- this friday i woke up at 2 pm
- here is what i ate today: coffee, curry vegetable thing from whole foods, plum
- 2 weeks ago i was looking for drugs at a party
- in public places you sit or stand quietly
- today my alarm went off at 12:30 pm
- today i drove to a house and took care of a baby
- i feel more lonely when i am with people than i do when i am alone looking at the internet
- it is 10 am and i am drinking coffee out of a jar
- i am going to stop eating
- what i think about when i think about the zombie apocalypse
- i wish that you would yell at me and i would yell back and we would both remember that we once had a relationship worth yelling about
Timothy Willis Sanders
interview I did at The Fanzine w/ Timothy Willis Sanders
The fat on my stomach doesn’t hang over the waistband of my jeans because I pull the waistband of my jeans over the fat on my stomach whenever I am sitting down. When I stand, a crescent of red lines appears in the middlest section of my body, an anatomical reminder that there will always be more of me than I am willing to admit.
The thing about weight is that it is universally accepted that bigger is in fact way better.
I come home with five pints of cookie ice cream and set all five of them in the corner of my bedroom. If I get hungry, there they are, and if I don’t, there’s always the next night, and the next night and the night after that. It’s okay if it becomes soft and warm. The world is better when it is soft and warm.
The thing about tomorrow is that it always wins.
The thing about corners is that they will never meet another corner.
The thing about succulents is that they can grow anywhere and this is why people are constantly trying to get their hands on them. The second thing about succulents is that they are always soft and warm.
I don’t eat food through my mouth anymore, I just press it into the most absorbent section of my torso. Everyone knows this is the belly button. This leaves more room for breathing. This leaves more room for tasting the air off of you. This leaves more room for making the good kind of excuses. I have been eating this way for months now. My belly button is always hungry and so am I.
If you are as full as one person plus one half another person, I want to be that finishing half.
If you are not hurting anymore, let’s throw a party to tell everyone that the hurt is gone, the hurt is gone, the hurt has moved on to somewhere else.
If you have moved on to somewhere else, please leave a trail of blogposts so I can follow you without your consent or knowledge.
We trade stories every night of what each of our days held, how many lonely miles we walked, how high we smoked ourselves, the strangest, smiling face to pass ours, the heaviest, bluest things we touched while sitting down. You laugh when you tell me, “Can you believe she said that?” and I laugh back, “ No fucking way.” I always tell my story first but your stories always win.
The thing about competing is that we don’t remember entering.
The thing about room is that there is never enough.
The thing about faces is that they always fit.
Spending financially-debilitating amounts of money will not make me a better person, but I can’t make the life-impacting decisions everyone expects from me until I do. Don’t worry though, I am buying us both nice things. I am buying us both scary dreams. I am buying us both new ways out.
The thing about love is that it’s only a feeling.
You can’t touch it.
The other thing about love is that it isn’t heavy.
You don’t have to let it go.
Two people can sleep comfortably on a twin sized bed and they don’t even have to try.
The last thing about love is that half the time it isn’t awake.
You won’t get tired.
i was diagnosed with PTSD at age 14 then proceeded to become an alcoholic and a drug addict for 5 years then become sober
a year into my sobriety i was re-diagnosed with PTSD & refused treatment
i started hallucinating, becoming delusional thinking that people in my life were only there to get things from me, that when i wasn’t around i was constantly shit-talked
i hallucinated rain falling inside my house one night, and held out my hands and felt nothing
i went to take a shower and saw a face pressed against the window in the bathroom that wasn’t there after i blinked
i called multiple mental health offices to be seen, and the minimum wait was 2 weeks for an appointment
every time i got to the point in the phone call where i could schedule, i couldn’t remember my phone number, my social security number, or my address
i drove to my moms house and had her make me an appointment
i went to go see my primary care phsychian and he prescribed me zoloft until i could see a real psychiatrist
three days later i was driving to work, and had a sensory overload, where colors were brighter and overwhelming, where the sound of leaves and wind was deafening. i tried to ignore this.
i got to work and my boss asked me if i was stoned because my pupils were huge
i left work because i couldn’t remember where to put any of the clothing back on the racks
a couple days later i went to the emergency room after shitting blood and calling the nurse on call at the cleveland clinic. the nurse on call told me to go to the ER
at the ER i couldn’t sit still while they were taking my blood pressure and felt like my chest was going to explode
i sat in a waiting room then was told i was experiencing side effects from the zoloft
i called my doctor and he told me to stop taking the zoloft
i wasn’t taking any pills for three days and felt the same sadness that i had felt in the first place, that lead to me not sleeping, that lead to me hallucinating, that lead to me wanting to kill myself
i called my doctor and asked to go back onto zoloft, because having panic attacks felt better than wanting to die all the time
my doctor put me on wellbutrin and zoloft
i had previously been prescribed to wellbutrin, and while adjusting to it in the past i had problems with anxiety, feeling like my throat was swelling up, and rapid heartbeat
i started experiencing rapid heart beats followed by panic attacks
i would walk into class, sit down, start sweating, start panicking, try t focus on my breathing that was stifled and unable to get a full breath, then leave class
i called off of work and my boss asked me what was really going on, implying that i was not adjusting to medications but being irresponsible
i lost my job
i started seeing a therapist every monday
i started seeing a psychiatrist who told me to kept akin the zoloft and wellbutrin and come back in two weeks
on my third visit to my therapist she asked me how i was feeling, and asked me to talk slower
i started sweating and couldn’t sit still
i told her i wasn’t sleeping more than four hours a night and couldn’t stay in class without panicking
my therapist told me it sounded like i was having a manic episode, and that i needed to call my psychiatrist ASAP
i left the office and sat in my car
my chest started twitching and i started to panic, feel dizzy, walked back and forth int he rain in front of the office while calling my psychiatrist inside to leave a message about what was going on
halfway through the message i started bawling and couldn’t stop
my chest started twitching more
i got back into my car but couldn’t maneuver out of my parking spot
i called two people telling them what was going on and asked them to come get me
i calmed down a little and drove ten minutes to my moms house and tried to pee but couldn’t
i got picked up by a friend and went back to where i live
my psychiatrist called me back and told me to stop taking the wellbutrin
a week later i saw the psychiatrist and was put onto seroquel XR, (50 mg) and hydroxyzine pam, 25 mg up to 3x a day for anxiety
my psychiatrist did not want to prescribe me to any benzos because of my addictive history
four days ago a friend brought up a person who had sex with me when i was wasted and on pills, in a bed across from another friend, and wouldn’t stop, while i was too humiliated to yell and wake up the friend across from us in the other bed
details from the encounter kept coming into my head for the next three days
the way his stomach felt on my back, how he had a belly, how i had just blacked out and fallen into the shower after pulling up my tights and he knew this but proceeded to have sex with me
i felt anger, and wanted this person to be held accountable for their actions
i felt humiliated that i didn’t scream or hit him, that i was that fucked up in the first place
i was asked to speak at a group, and planned on talking about my PTSD
i tried to think of what i was going to say to describe any of the childhood trauma that lead to my diagnosis, and got racing thoughts of encounters that lead to trauma
i started crying and calling different people in my support group
someone said “you used for years and never dealt with any of this, of course you are going to feel bad, you will feel bad for a while, pills aren’t going to fix it”
i started planning out taking drugs and worrying if i was going to want to kill myself because of how terrible i felt
i didn’t want to use or kill myself but i didn’t want to feel that depressed and overwhelmed even more
i had an anxiety attack until i exhausted myself then slept after taking my maximum amount of hydroxyzine
i woke up and the anxiety attack started all over again
i called someone in my support group who has been hospitalized for mental illness and told him what i was dealing with and asked if i should go to the hospital, because i didn’t know if i would use if i didn’t go to the ER
i drove to my moms house at 8:30 PM and from there went to the ER
while they took my blood pressure they asked me if i had travelled to west africa recently
i said no
they asked me if i was on a particular flight from dallas texas to cleveland and i said no
the nurse walked me to the back, handed me a cup to pee in, handed me a hospital gown and told me to take everything off but my bra and panties
i told her i wasn’t wearing any panties
she told me to keep my pants on
i went into the bathroom and peed in the cup
i took off my shirt and put on the gown
i read directions on the wall for how to pee in a cup
there were directions for women that said something like
"1. remove moist towelette from package, hold back labia, and wipe with moist towelette
there were directions for men that said something like
"1. remove moist towelette from package, pull back foreskin, and wipe meatus with moist towelette
once i got into my room i googled “meatus,” and found out it is any opening in the body
i told my mom about meatus
i noticed that all there was in this hospital room was a bed, a soiled linens container, and a camera on the ceiling
i had never been in a room with a camera on the ceiling before
a nurse came in and asked me why i was there
i told her i wasn’t sure if i was going to use or harm myself if i didn’t come to the emergency room, that i had taken my maximum medications for anxiety and was still having panic attacks
a doctor came in and i told him the same thing
the doctor said they were going to send in a social worker to talk to me to see if i needed to stay or not
a nurse came in much later with a tv with a webcam on a cart
she set up the tv and webcam then had me on something like Skype with a psychiatrist
the psychiatrist asked me questions
i answered the questions
i told her i was exhausted from panicking and that was the only reason i wasn’t freaking out then
she asked me if i had a plan to harm myself and i said no
she told me about intensive out patient treatments and partial hospitilization
she told me she was faxing information over for me
our call ended and a nurse came in
the nurse said that my papers would be ready shortly
a while later a different nurse came in with my papers and made me sign things
i left the ER at 12:30 AM
i drove 40 minutes to my house and passed out
today i called my psychiatrist and therapist leaving them a message telling them what had happened
my psychiatrist prescribed me to celexa, and told me to eat half a pill for a few days then start taking a whole one
my therapist offered me another session per week, and said i should find support groups for trauma survivors
she asked me how i was feeling and i said scared
i took two hydroxyzine and felt nothing, then wandered around the grocery store putting things into my cart
i sit at my kitchen table and i draw shapes while drinking coffee and water
i get up to talk on the phone and smoke cigarettes
i try not to feel scared about my next panic attack
i try not to feel scared about the new medication and if it will make me feel worse or not
if anyone has any experience with anything like this, or has advice, or has a funny video or joke to tell me, please email email@example.com