I’ve forgotten many things: names, dates, pieces of historical lore—all things I expected to lose amongst the march of age and education. But the one thing I never counted on, never dreamed possible, was the ability to write—paint with words an experience so rich it only exists in the recesses of the mind; the mere shadow of memory, at once so vivid and fragile as to become priceless.

Or maybe it is not the mechanics of writing that have left—for these actually do remain, if I am to be honest—but the will to write, the desire to create something more beautiful and transcendent that I in this self can ever hope to be. When did that go, I wonder? Was it in my teens, when I, so disaffected and distraught, vowed to make of myself a kind of living doll, metal heart masked against all that could tarnish, all that could corrupt? Perhaps it was in my 20s, when I was so tired of myself, and my life. I lamented my life with all the gloom and vigor of a Roman widow. I cried, I seethed, I yearned to be anything but what I was, what I saw, what I imagined others saw when they looked at or thought of or even briefly examined the very idea of me.

Maybe, truly, it is only the magnification of self that is remembered.

When I was very young, I used to mourn the person I was. Then, when I got a little older, I mourned the person I was not. Then, for a time, I lost myself, and spent years in sorrow for the person that had gone past. And always there was regret. Always pain.

I am now just starting to recall the threads of my former self. The things I did and wanted . . . I remember those moments, but no longer is there pain. Nor a sense of absence where those drives used to be. I cannot describe exactly the nonchalance that now colors these once-painful memories. There is nothing—no goodness, or badness, nor even the hollow shape of past emotion, and this confuses me. Maybe it’s just old business, now.



Here’s another antiquated story from back in the day.  Looking back at old work is always bittersweet for me.  I’m always judging.  I see only my mistakes, but I’m also convinced my voice, technique, and drive were stronger back then.  *sigh*  That’s the problem with memories:  they’re  selective.  Anyway, in 2005, I got this story published in a small Canadian literary magazine called Deliverance. Recently, I tried getting it published again, but that didn’t really work out.  So here it is.  Enjoy.


        A look, a flash, a wad of cash.  The apathy I felt just then was as dangerous as the drug she handed me.  My hand shot out and in it she placed a smallish sheet, neat, perforated squares looking for all the world like little tabs of gum: tiny, innocuous.

            What do I do with it?”

        She fixed me with a hard stare, trying to decide if I was as stupid as the question suggested.  “You eat them.  But not all at once,” she said rather quickly, having decided that I was, in fact, and idiot.  “You can save them, or share them.”  Here her voice turned up; perhaps my stupidity would lead her to some free drugs.  I stifled a sigh and shifted my gaze from her vague, eager face, once again caught by the flashing neon road sign atop the broken television. I was already bored.

            “What happens if I take them all at once?”

        Another stupid question.   Apparently I was only allowed one per transaction.

        I put away my purchase and again found myself studying her.  A definite mod goth: her stockings looked new and purposely ripped; her false lashes and black lipstick smacked of pretentiousness.  And her wig was on crooked.  So much for showmanship.

        Out in the frigid air, I felt some of my apathy recede, and I quickened my steps in anticipation.  But instead of relocating myself to some dance club or art house-turned-opium den, I trudged on home, to my little apartment, as far from the area as the city could take me.

            My rooms were dark and damp, redolent of champaka and weed.  I gobbled the sheet almost immediately and began to prepare.  Water, water, soda, pocky and bread, all dumped onto the floor, along with a thin blanket and a mottled sock monkey.  More preparations: clothing picked up, tables shoved away.  The television started to look rather curvy, so I left off the tidying and tried to begin.  Sitting in full lotus, I decided, facing the wall, would be best for this type of thing, but my legs had grown considerably since I had walked through the door, and I couldn’t cross them properly.  So I lay face-up on the floor, arms spread wide, like a child on a hillside, waiting.  There was music, but I didn’t remember having put any on.  My bookshelf had melted into a puddle of light.

            Still on the floor, I started to spin, lazy circles describing paths of consciousness to my shifting mind.  Orange melodies swirled beneath me as I felt myself stretch and lengthen.  Two, ten, eleven, and the cry of grackles filled the room as I blended and merged with the carpet.  Every once in a while I would snap back and ask myself questions I already knew the answers to.  Commodore Washington was the first charlatan of our nation, with long flowing hair, as beautiful as the unturned sky.  All was blue light and magic behind my eyes.  I pressed down on the floor and let the deeper truths come to me.  Black star, red sun, cold moon, and where was that music coming from?  Throbbing, pulsing, syzygial beat teeming with flesh and wonder worming closer, closer still . . . a sitar made of golden glass strummed silently, and I had found God.

            Several hours later, the boredom was back.  The water lay undrunk, the pocky uneaten.  I was cold, I realized, and greatly disappointed, for I had failed to bring back the one thing I had gone for.  Sighing, I set off once again for the house on the hill with the self-made queers and closeted squares.  Perhaps I would have better luck this time.


This past Saturday, I went to Underground, the largest live art show in the Metroplex. I volunteered to work the door and stay after and clean up the space. In mentioning this, I’m not trying to talk about my boundless philanthropy or selfless, supporting nature or anything. I’m just trying to tell you guys a story. Honest.

So, I’ve walked around, and I’ve looked at everything there, but there’s still a bit of time before my shift, so I go to get a beer. The bartender and I get to talking over my tasty stout, when he mentions his girlfriend (subtle, no?), and how it’s been ten years since he had a girlfriend on Valentine’s Day.

I could swear your phone number came with this bottle.

“Whhhhere you guys gunna go?” I slur. Luckily, he’s a bartender, so he’s gotten used to pretending to ignore such things. “Well, she said not to make a big fuss, so nothing.” Wait, what?

This man is on the verge of relationship suicide. I must intervene. I must save him. Trying to forget the beer, I roll into action.  I explain that, though his girl told him she didn’t want a fuss and any of that highly commercial  and sappy Valentine’s Day romantic crap, she really does. “She’s just being polite, because she doesn’t want you to think she’s that girl. You know, that girl,” I say, making what I’m sure is a very cool and sophisticated hand/arm gesture. “Listen, don’t listen to what she said. I mean, about that. Listen to me. Okay. YOU. Need to take that girl someplace nice. Okay? Take her out. Now.”

I’ve never understood how guys don’t get this. We might say we don’t want you to make a fuss, but we really do. We want to know that you care, and we want you to show it in the goofiest and most embarrassing way possible. To women, that kind of cringe-worthy, mushy gesture is indicative of true affection. Don’t tell us you like us. Show us.

Is this embarrassing enough?

But then it occurred to me that maybe men don’t understand these things because they’ve never had to work with the same rules. Women are taught to deny their wants and needs, sometimes publicly, so people think us polite and demure. You might want that last cookie, but you decline because it’s the polite thing to do. This is also essential if you don’t want others to see you as that girl. You know who I’m talking about. The high-maintenance chick all the guys complain about. The bougie, not-quite-gold-digging princess you see in all the movies. That girl.

This dress is expensive. Get me another coffee.

Men are given something very different. Men are taught that if you want something, you need to stand up and ask for it, and if someone offers you something, you take it, no questions asked. It doesn’t matter if you don’t want it or need it. Just take it, and you can sort all that other stuff out later. (And, men, don’t think because I’ve glossed over this that I condone your behavior. This is pretty fucked up, too.)

Women who live declining life naturally (naturally!) expect fellow-sufferers will get it. Like as not, all women understand this behavior, because they’ve heard it before. Men, or most men, anyway, do not, because no one’s ever taught them that. They haven’t had to think that way.

 Interesting, innit?


I dug this scrap out of my notebook.  I was watching Kate Hudson’s OD scene in Almost Famous.  For some reason, I always imagined Penny Lane as in her mid-twenties.

"Oh, Penny . . . ."

The despair when it’s over. The boy, so achingly young, and your heart literally gives out. You  feel empty of all emotion. You drain, you fade. You think you are dead, both more and less than dead, a ghost of a shadow clinging to a pale, pale wall. And all the dreams before you–of fame, of happiness–only serve to leach the life out of your still frame, leave you limp upon the carpet. Make you non. When they leave. God, it huts so much.


I always wished to do something that looked effortless and inspired.  Like playing the piano or violin  Those talents, to me, always seemed so outwardly emotive, more so than writing or typing or playing the flute.  Your hands are involved with the details, while your mind wanders and spreads with the music.  Perhaps that’s just the romantic in me.

Of all the things I ever wished to be able to do, I’ve never wanted to paint. Oh, I considered it, once.  I thought it might be interesting, in the same way that I think it might be nice to one day go to Vegas, plant a tree, or ride on a train.  The desire was there, but very, very faint.  I remember thinking that painting would be as easy as writing.  I held the brush like a pen, and attempted what I thought would turn out a bold, steady stroke.  The bristles bent, and smeared cheap craft paint across the paper.

For the longest time, I had no say over my life.  When I was young, my mother decided things.  I may have chosen what to read, wear, and write, but my steps followed only hers.  I did not stray from her course.  Childhood did not fade:  after I grew up, it was much the same way, only now life formed my actions.  I let others lead me how they wished.  I smiled when they asked, spoke when they said.  I fashioned no will of my own.

Was I scared?  Was I said?  I ask these things, but I know not to answer.  It’s better, I’ve learned, to let it be faceless.  People say the scariest things are those with no meaning, no purpose, and no name.  This is not true.  The scariest of all is the fear with a name, for when you name something, you ultimately acknowledge it.  You can no longer pretend it doesn’t exist.


So, I smoke.  Not a lot, you understand, but even a rock such as myself (ha!) needs a crutch to take the edge off life.  I smoke cloves.  I’m not a goth, I just really like them.  Also, regular cigarettes kill me.

As of September 2009, it is illegal to sell (but not illegal to possess) clove cigarettes anywhere in the US, along with beedis and flavored blunt wraps.  There was some malarkey about how these “candy cigarettes” are more attractive to children and, therefore, a “gateway smoke”.   *rolls eyes*  Yeah, bullshit always goes in quotes.  I’m not going to into all the problems with this stupid, ill-conceived and murky piece of legislation because that would be boring.  At least, for you guys.  (All two of you.)

Djarum and a couple other kretek manufacturers got around the ban by wrapping their cigs in cigar paper.  But these new cigars taste like crap; I would rather smoke herbals than light up another one of them.  So, after researching just how expensive it would be to import my own private stash of clove cigarettes, I just said fuck it and started making my own.  Here’s my recipe for all you desperate clove smokers out there.

50g Pipe tobacco (regular tobacco doesn’t make a good mix)

20g Whole cloves

Bagged tea (one bag makes 6-8 oz)

Brewed tea (use 1 tea bag for 6-8 oz)

Grind your cloves, preferably by hand, being careful not to grind them too fine.  (This will make your tobacco taste like shit.)  Combine ground cloves, tobacco, and the contents of one bag of tea and mix thoroughly.  Pour in enough brewed tea to saturate the mixture.  Place in an airtight container and store in a cool, dark place for one day.

Next day:

Thinly spread your tobacco on a cookie sheet.  Heat oven to 200° (at the most) and place tobacco in oven to dry.  Check every 10 minutes until done.  Tobacco should be dry to the touch but not crispy.  Store dried tobacco in airtight container.

Raw papers and filters are, to me, the best stuff out there.  The few others that I tried gave a noticeable menthol-y taste to my cigarettes, even the non-menthol ones.

If you’ve never rolled before, or, like me, can’t manage a hand-roll, my little Job cigarette rollers have worked the best for me.  I tried the roll box, and the metal flap hand roller, but I just couldn’t get them to work.  The plastic ones, by the way, make really good, tight, fat rolls, but those rollers break easily.

If you do use this recipe, please leave feedback.  I’m always looking to refine my recipe, and would appreciate any comments.

EDIT:  So I kinda messed up on the bagged tea measurements.  The ratio should, more accurately, be 20:50:1 instead of 2:5:1.  Oops.  Sorry, ya’ll.

Adventures in Cooking or Booze Sauce

Tonight’s post is brought to you by Drunk Spinster Productions.

I’m trying to make a hula hoop.  I never learned how.  As a child, I was too uncoordinated to master the basic back and forth motion required.  (Funny story: a few weeks ago, the lady that tried to teach me told me that hula hooping is just as easy as fucking.  I guess that explains why all the little boys in my elementary school liked the girls who could hula hoop.  It also probably explains why I’m single.)  All the ones in Walmart are way too light for me to learn on, and the mastar hoopers charge more than I think one is worth.  This is the root of my industriousness.  I, Jamila Richardson, am cheap.

I already bought irrigation hose, but have been having a bitch of a time finding a coupling that fits. This is, in fact, the third Home Depot I’ve been to and I still can’t find what I need.  Why, I ask, would the silly bastards not carry the requisite fittings and accessories for their stock?  Angry and annoyed, I step out of the irrigation section and cross over to the plumbing aisle, and as I scan the boxes on the shelf, I realize something.  All this time, I’ve been looking for a coupling that will fit inside the tubing, when, in fact, I should have been looking for a nipple.  Damnit to all layers of freaking hell.  So I buy the nipple, work my magic on the tube, and tada! I now have a brand new hula hoop.  But, unfortunately, a brand-new hula hoop that is still too light for me to learn on.  I’m really annoyed at myself right now.  I want a drink, but all I have is gin and I don’t have a suitable mixer.  Also, I’m hungry.  I’m sure you can guess what happened next.


Why, yes, Virginia, you can put gin in spaghetti sauce, but only so much of it.  My last few tries at cooking had turned out pretty decent, so I was confident I could pull this off.  But while I may fancy myself a Rachael Ray, tonight’s little experiment informed me that I am, in fact, the Bob Ross of culinary arts.  A post-stroke Bob Ross with only one eye.  (Ok, Bob Ross never had a stroke, but it sounds funny.  Don’t trample on my illusions, dear readers.  Don’t.  You.  Dare.)

With the first pour, I had actually managed to add the optimal amount of gin.  But then I got cocky and poured in a second. Now, instead of slightly-boozy yet still delicious spaghetti sauce, I had horrible dry, ginny tomato water.  Yuck.  I tried to temper the taste with garlic, and when that didn’t work, I threw in some salt.  Then I added butter, more butter, black pepper, more salt, more garlic, basil and some rock sugar.  Now it tasted like spicy gin.  So I did what anyone else would have done:  I threw in some vinegar.

Vinegar is actually a pretty good save for a lot of culinary disasters.  Too much sugar?  Add some vinegar.  Too much salt?  Add some vinegar.  To much semen?  (Well, I haven’t actually tried that, but I’m sure vinegar would work, because semen is a base.)  But besides all that, I really, really like vinegar.  I also like Worcestershire sauce, so I added some of that, too.  And it worked.  My sauce was equally yummy and boozy.  Two birds with one stone, woo!

Moral of the story:  if you’re trying to cook with hard liquor, you should probably stick with vodka.

Idles of perversity

The phonetic “idle” is an interesting homophone.  Each word has a different meaning, but the implications are similar.  You can read an idyll, romanticize it, and idolize the things you imagine it to represent.  For those in search of a concrete oasis, you can travel abroad to experience a truly idyllic moment, or define your own and dream forever of finding it. In Japan, they have these “A.I. Dolls”, incredibly lifelike love dolls you can rent for sex.  (Clever play on words, isn’t it?  That’s one, two, three, four, five meanings referenced.)  Idle hands are said to be the Devil’s playground.  Cars may idle, but you, as a person, should not.  There are religious idols: the golden calf, the wooden cross; things that only lend more complexity to a jumble of beliefs.  Then there are your own personal idols, those people you worship who never manage to live up to your vision of them.  Maybe you know this, but most likely you don’t.  Taken singularly, they all seem to have their respective meanings and places. But all suggest an overwhelming ability to fantastically delude ourselves.

Be careful, warrior.

: /

I worry about things, but I don’t want to seem crazy.  I think about stuff, but I don’t want to be labeled obsessive.  It’s like there’ s no accepted medium.  Gah. Double-edged swords suck ass.

The spinster’s rumination

I want iced tea with lemon.  I want Asian soups and rice.  I want fire in baskets and blue balustrades, music made of silk and memories without nostalgia.  I want effortless intoxication. I want the life of worlds unreal.

I wrote this last week.  I like this passage; it makes me feel good as a writer.  But maybe it’s this thinking here that has made me so unhappy.

"But in Monica . . ."

I recently read an article on about happiness.  About how our definition of happiness was a relatively new invention, and how the emotion itself doesn’t really exist and is, therefore, impossible to achieve.  In the the olden days, before sliced bread and flush toilets, people thought happiness meant that they were lucky, or virtuous, or God-fearing (a dangerous term if there ever was one).  Now people think that “happiness” equates to “warm, fuzzy feeling of contentment and/or satisfaction”, and, what’s more, that you can do something to make yourself feel this way.  Hmm.

“There’s a hook in that bait,” said the Breen to the Monican, “and here you still expect me to swallow it.”  We do.  And we do.