Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Uncanny Valley

Roxanne Gay! Brian Oliu! Me! Other awesomeness!

Uncanny Valley issue 0001

Monday, October 3, 2011


I feel like there's something in the air. Something compelling us to move, to take action. A sort of herd sense. Things seem to be's harder to keep secrets in the new information era, knowledge is power, and the people are recognizing it. Obama, Egypt, Michael Pollan, Wikileaks, The Rally to Restore Sanity, Occupy Wall Street, gay rights--Lady Gaga, even. We're taking a hard look at our relationship to the planet, our relationship to the Other, our systems of government. Something is happening, and if we're lucky, we're going to be a part of it.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Summer. Tornado. Love.

Today marks exactly one month from the tornado that devastated our town, and what a strange month it's been. Even before the tornado, my life was shifting quite a bit.

April 21st, one week before the tornado, there was a storm in the morning. I was lying in bed with my dog, thinking as always "this house is very old and although the storm seems terrible, there are no sirens and we have weathered worse" and then my windows blew into my room with a loud clattering of glass. My contacts were out and it seemed to me that the wind had done it. I screamed and jumped out of bed and ran downstairs. Brett could tell something was up, because she followed me right to the darkroom in the Art Kitchen downstairs. We huddled there for a while, wondering if a tornado was, in fact, coming through, then we had to go back upstairs and deal with a room full of glass, rain, things knocked over on the floor, dirt. I decided to move that day. I rented a moving truck, and with the help of my neighbors and Anthony, had everything out of the pink house and into my new over-the-garage house in no time.

That same Sunday: Anthony and I broke up.

Then, on Wednesday, I was trying to grade and/or read stuff for my Joyce essay when the sirens went off again, and again, and again. Then someone said that the tornado was heading right for campus, so we all huddled in an inner room and some of us passed around tiny bottles of wine for nerves. I was very terrified. Afterwards, we weren't sure if it was really over or if more tornadoes were coming, so we huddled in the student center basement (the Ferg, for those in the know) until it seemed safe to leave. I hurried home to let poor Brett out--she'd been stuck at home for nearly twelve hours while I waited out the warnings.

The next day I really didn't know what to do, so I went to Edelweiss, my favorite cafe here, and got some coffee and tried to work on my paper. That night, I gathered with friends in the darkness (their power went out, then back on, while I was there) and we took comfort in each other's presence, seeing people that we had worried about, knowing they were safe. It wasn't until the next morning, when I gathered with a roving group of MFA's, who would continue to roam the affected neighborhoods, offering helping hands to clear away debris for the next few weeks, that I saw the damage firsthand.

There are no words. Seeing it on TV is so, so different from seeing it in your town. On TV, you feel bad, sad, scared, but you have a little "tragic disasters" box that you can put it in. Maybe you donate some money. And then it's not your problem, except in the abstract "human family" kind of way. When you can't recognize a street you've driven along a hundred times before, whole blocks that used to be tree-lined, neat, filled with familiar landmarks and friendly people--when that turns into a wasteland overnight (or more literally, in a matter of minutes) your internal world rearranges itself too. And life didn't just go on--classes were cancelled. Finals were cancelled. Graduation ceremony was cancelled. Everyone was out trying to make sense of it, volunteering by day and drinking and sticking close by night.

Anthony was very close to the affected areas and actually saw the tornado go by. He was left without power, and I offered to let him charge his phone at my house. We talked about the disaster, about our personal disaster, and many other things, disastrous and redemptive, and at some point over that week of recovery, began to take some steps towards recovery ourselves.

There's no escaping the fact that every time we pass one of the busiest intersections in Tuscaloosa--McFarland and 15th Street--we'll meet a scene of desolation. Those of us who live here, who will live here for another year or five or fifty, we get to keep seeing that daily, and it will be a long time before real normalcy returns. I have seen some good things in the people around me in the wake of this disaster, but I am not going to claim that it changes anything--not in human nature, not in individuals. It rearranges, sure. It's not necessarily revelatory. We will continue to be the same people we are. This will affect our characters only as much as our reactions to anything slowly, slowly, incrementally shape us. Decisions are being made, have been made. I am finding myself more and more okay with the fact that our decisions shape us, but only slowly, only gradually.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Roller Derby

I've thought about blogging my derby love for a while, but I'm writing derby for a class and reading about and practicing derby for hours every week, so I didn't. But I attended/participated in my first home bout in Birmingham this weekend, and I feel the need to say this: I f*ing love roller derby. It's not a magic solution to all of my problems, but I used to grind my teeth in my sleep and I don't anymore. And there's this need in me that I didn't exactly know was there before but I can definitely feel the difference now that it's being met. And I'm finding brand new kickass girl writers to love. Hooray.

(Note the Mudluscious shoutout on my helmet)
Web Analytics