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the latest waddle:

good morning, wordpress - 10:36 a.m. , 2009-07-03

elaborate murder attempt - 2:56 p.m. , 2009-07-01

building a tractor in the basement - 10:42 a.m. , 2009-06-19

ask no questions tell just a few lies - 3:17 p.m. , 2009-06-09

my long lasting flavor really lasts long - 1:10 p.m. , 2009-06-04

2004-03-19 ... 5:48 p.m.


My feet are almost always to be found in these shoes, Converse sneakers, or my stompy Doc Martens.* However, recently I went digging in my closet in search of interesting shoes, of which I have few. There are the red-patent-leather bowling shoes that I could not leave at the thrift store for only two dollars, but they are not so practical unless you are a clown. Maybe a Hipster Fashion Girl could pull these shoes off, but I could never. How do those Hipster Fashion Girls do it, anyway? With the skirts-over-pants and the socks on their arms and such? It looks stupid, don't get me wrong, but I admire it for being inventive, and meanwhile I just stand around in another boring black skirt and black sweater and oooh, sometimes a vintage old-lady dress or sparkly scarf, stand back and shield your eyes from the outrageousness.

The interesting shoes I put on after my closet dig were these ankle boots with a big square heel that I almost never wear, because they have made me fall down on occasion. Or was that the liquor? Anyway, I stuck my left foot into the left boot and inside it was a novelty rubber fried egg. A novelty rubber fried egg that had been on one of my kitsch-covered bookshelves until Nora appropriated it, similar to her appropriation of a rubber chicken foot and my copy of Existentialism and Human Emotions. I often experience a general sense of surrealism about mommyhood, such as "oh my god who trusted me with a child, I drink too much and I get depressed too easily and I once helped a friend spraypaint a pig carcass, which very nearly resulted in his arrest by the FBI" (this is a long, involved, and surprisingly not-drug-fueled story that I will detail some other time, preferably in person so I can do my dead-on imitation of the FBI investigator assigned to "the case"). It was awesome, therefore, to be hit with a moment of more specific and traditional surrealism, such as finding a fried egg in my shoe. I dimly remember letting Nora goof around in my closet while I folded laundry, but I did not know she was inserting novelty rubber breakfast items into my shoes. Has she been waiting and waiting for me to find it? How frustrating for a toddler, the delayed punchline of her practical joke.


*I always used to refer to these Doc Martens as just "my boots," instead of "my stompy Doc Martens," but then a funny thing happened on the way to publication of the Smartypants book. You probably know that the artwork on the cover was not my doing, and that I would not have picked it out myself, but HarperCollins UK has to do what sells. I certainly am not going to pitch a diva fit about the book jacket when this whole book thing feels like a free ride in the first place. They sent me a mockup of the cover as a courtesy, and when I saw it I almost snorted beer out my nose because not two hours previously I had been saying to a friend, "I don't care what the cover looks like as long as it's not legs-and-feet, because legs-and-feet is the ultimate chick-lit cliché at this point," and then the e-mail attachment from London arrives and hey! Legs and feet. Heh. But here is something you may not have known: the original cover had different legs and feet! Feet wearing pointy, zebra-striped, slingback Sex And The City shoes. When the editor called to ask my opinion on the cover, I timidly expressed my desire that there not be feet---but, if there had to be feet, that those shoes not be used. This led to a very funny transatlantic telephone exchange where I tried to explain that I am a total dweeb, that I feel like I barely know how to be a girl, and that I just can't see a book that is essentially a jumble of diary entries proving my dweebiness being dustjacketed with an image of cool sexy ultrafeminine feet in cool sexy ultrafeminine shoes. HarperCollins countered with the idea that since so much of the book was about drinking in bars, the fuck-me shoes bespoke a certain PartyGirl joie de vivre. The funniest exchange about the book cover was yet to come:

HarperCollins: We can certainly change the shoes. What sort of shoes would you like to see on the cover?

Me: Well...

HarperCollins: (cutting me off) I mean, we wouldn't want stompy Doc Martens.

Me: (quiet because I was just going to suggest stompy Doc Martens)


I hesitate to type this next bunch of things because I am afraid it will make me look either like a simpleton or like some dopey self-help guru who thinks she knows everything, but I will give it the old college try nonetheless. Ready?

1. Back when I started this diary thing, I was totally hyper about keeping it anonymous. I still am not eager to have my given name tossed around the Internet, but the past six months have been a gradual process of Oh Fuck It. I have since read journal entries in public, appeared on local television, and quite a few real-life friends and even my parents now know about my online existence.

2. I used to have complicated feelings about how I once was a capital-W Writer, and about how I rejected the opportunity to join a good MFA program because I felt (and still feel) that the creative-writing-degree industry is complete and utter bullshit. I still have complicated feelings, but now I think Oh Fuck It and I calmly explicate them to others, ever more lucidly and ever more thoroughly and ever, I like to think, more persuasively, in stark contrast to three or four years ago when the mere mention of the professionalization of poetry would cause me to spit and curse and twitch and immediately order eight more beers.

3. I used to agonize about whether I wanted a child and, after deciding that I did indeed want a child, what my motives were for birthing or adopting one, and I worried that I somehow did not fit some imagined role of "mother," and then (slowly) I began to think Oh Fuck It and that maybe I could invent the role as I played the game. Which I am doing. With some degree of success.

4. I used to wonder when I would ever become a grown-up, which I thought meant something like "becoming fully yourself." As if that is ever done. A self is not a chalked body outline that you lie down in. It's more like writing letters back and forth, arguing with a friend and gradually changing your opinion with each new round of beers, or keeping an online journal in which all that posturing and constructing of personas slowly starts to change into a great big neon-flashing OH FUCK IT and a "Hi honey I'm home" to the world at large.


Tomorrow it will be five months to the day since I met my daughter in person, and I have to say once more that the mind reels. Nora is lovely, amazing, and always something new. I will never be bored again. Five months ago she had a lot less hair, a skinny, pointy, serious face, and could barely sit without assistance, and now she is practically running, smiles much of the time, and has managed to fold up the piece of paper that once represented me and LT and hand it back to us as an origami flower of a family.


Out on Michigan Avenue at lunchtime, I saw a truck for the GOLDEN OCEAN SEAFOOD COMPANY. Am I the only one who cannot see "golden" next to a water word and without turning it into a sexual urine thing? After my brain showed me many vivid, unwanted images of men urinating onto raw bars and into lobster tanks, and after the phrase "piss-soaked crab cakes" became stuck in my head for a good four blocks, I suddenly was not hungry for lunch any more.


---mimi smartypants, only she can prevent forest fires.


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