Friday, May 30, 2008

Eyebrow Diaries


Last night, I was supposed to go with a fellow poet to an open reading that only happens every two months. I hate open mike readings because you have to listen to so much execrable poetry (about yeast infections or beatnik rhythms that don't seem to be about anything but never come down in inflection). However, my friend Jan got her own reading out of it last time - okay, at the Sunland-Tujunga library, which proved to be a white Republican outpost, but a reading none-the-less. I also feel a bit of a fraud, as I rarely write poetry nowadays, preferring prose. I was wearing the same sweats that I pulled on that morning, my hair needed washing, but my eyebrows were outstanding, having discovered that shaping eyebrows not only makes me feel like a groomed LA woman, but it is a great distraction from The Meaning Of Life, which seems to be eluding me recently.

So there I was, unwashed hair in a ponytail, pink lip gloss to complement the graceful arch of my eyebrows and actually quite looking forward to reading a couple of pieces, when Jan rang to say the reading had been cancelled. I flirted with the idea of suggesting we go over to the nearby Damon's anyway for their famous Mai Tais and steak, but I never drink Mai Tais or eat steak - it would just have been the thing to do in situ, if you understand. Like eating ice-cream on piers, or chips out of newspaper in London, or drinking Retsina in Greece and realizing that it smells (and tastes) like paint stripper when you get it home. Instead, I watched "So you think you can dance," and in the commercial breaks undid all my good work with the eyebrows by Going Too Far. I now have uneven eyebrows that look chewed at one end and very surprised at the other. It could be the inspiration for a whole new look: "Marcel Marceau?" they'll ask. No, Louise Godbold before the grooming police confiscated the tweezers.

To make things worse, the eyebrows didn't provide sufficient distraction and I was forced to consume half a bottle of red wine and half a jar of peanut butter. (I think it was the sight of all those young and beautiful bodies doing things that I couldn't even do when I had a young and beautiful body.) I woke up in the night with a sore throat and a deep heaviness. The fact it was 3 AM and the consumption of wine could explain that. However, the conditions persist and I believe it is my body finally giving way under the strain of the recent weeks... months... years. But I can't give in yet - not if they have an open casket and my eyebrows haven't grown back in.

And you guessed it, all this procrastination is in order to avoid a real project: I'm rewriting my book in chronological order as the fifth agent just rejected me on the basis that "the reverse chronology doesn't work for us." Of course, once I've done that, they'll find some other reason to reject me, but I gain satisfaction from narrowing their options.

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