in memoriam vox–- and by extension community

Eras ending, heydays fading out to make way for the next new thing barreling down the line. So passes away Vox– which has been so many things to so many of us.

In odd synchronicity for me personally, the lifetime of Vox has run nearly parallel with the first stage of my life here in Chicago—my early posts mark the move from Iowa to my new city neighborhood. Writing my way through that transition, I resettled both psychically and geographically, found work of a new and unanticipated variety herding cats on behalf of wallpaper—a job I’ve held since that first summer four years ago and have just recently left for who-knows-what-next. Meanwhile, Chris and I are busy planning our mutual second wedding—done in intentionally markedly different fashion from either of our first weddings—on Friday afternoon, feeling somehow like a dame in a black and white flick from the ‘40s, I met my fiancé downtown at the city offices where we procured our marriage license and civil ceremony date for October at the Tiffany-domed Chicago Cultural Center. Afterward we toasted with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres at a shiny downtown bar with, appropriately enough, feature wallpaper booths and the following morning breakfasted at Ohio House, where we went after buying the ring. Parallels abound, both intentional and fortuitous, in times of change. Into the current state of personal/professional transition arrive into my inbox the Vox shutdown notification, quickly followed by neighbor-member farewell and forwarding address notes.

Once upon a time, for a couple of years in the late ’90s, I participated in a small, close-knit virtual mailing list-based community, which I loved dearly. Folks I saw face-to-face only rarely if at all, who lived across a widely dispersed map, became my daily touchstones, virtual neighbors and friends, through the words we crafted in the digital realm. That community saw me through an enormous series of life transitions as well—the ending of my first marriage and move to Iowa and a writing life. In time that beloved community dispersed likewise—its constituent members gone off into entirely other lives, and to a large extent vanished from my own—the coming together real enough, yet wholly comprised by the tenuous connection created by the medium.

In both cases, I’d be remiss if I failed to note the pivotal performance of one particular friend, responsible for this media-nourished conjunction of experiences and identity: dear Michael, whose life I now glimpse across the ether in Facebook flashes.

Labor day weekend is upon us, unemployment and all, and here in Chicago the weather’s shifted without ceremony from sticky hot to crisp cool. Late in the night I wake to find the single light summer cover no longer keeps me warm through the night. Driving through Michigan, we encountered lone trees with leaves turning to fall. How many more ways can the world insist on change without me changing too?

Long ago I created as a repository for the drifted sift and flotsam of a turbulent mind. For several years now it’s snoozed away with little more than a front page footnote to mark it as I noodle my way through other online writing venues. But the time has come to wake it up and witness what can be built of all its dreaming. I sincerely hope my Vox friends who’ve generously shared so much of themselves and their own journeys will find a way to visit from time to time, as I intend to check in on their new online writings. The truth, I know, is that life, that real, physical, inevitable force, drives us all on in our distinct directions, only occasionally allowing the good fortune of real reconnection in aftermath. In light of which I will now holler out my own gratitude and grief in the passing of this particular place, this sweet Vox with all its riches of connection and connotation. Farewell and my love to all, always.

more about me me me

(after LaidOutInLavender and kitty— thanks, both)

100 101 navelly descriptors:
1. human
2. cluttery
3. nostalgic
4. warm
5. halting
6. intense
7. phlegmatic
8. stubborn
9. incendiary
10. hypersensitive
11. walker
12. untidy
13. visually oriented
14. verbose
15. longing
16. occasionally ebullient
17. reader
18. watcher
19. quippy
20. solitary
21. romantic
22. irritable
23. ticklish
24. genuine
25. snorer
26. baker
27. putterer
28. friend
29. little sister
30. depressive
31. diligent
32. unrooted
33. sneaky
34. gluttonous
35. covetous
36. shy
37. fearful
38. ardent
39. geologically slow
40. right-handed
41. undecided
42. baffled
43. wide-ranging
44. sincere
45. solicitous
46. self-doubting
47. avoidant
48. overwhelmed
49. morning person
50. quick & dirty
51. plodding
52. tippy
53. loyal
54. resentful
55. forgiving
56. inclined to hum
57. ageing
58. hermetic
59. cuddly
60. rural
61. costuming
62. competitive
63. disliking ambition
64. ambitious
65. short-tempered
66. communal
67. thoughtful
68. at home with animals
69. resistant to routine
70. worrisome
71. finder of lost things
72. partner
73. grateful
74. unpolished
75. grey
76. sparkly
77. female
78. insecure
79. clever
80. underachieving
81. diversely experienced
82. linguaphile
83. poignant
84. playful
85. smoldering
86. uncoordinated
87. apt to make sloppy pirouettes
88. dreamy
89. impatient
90. dire
91. independent
92. capable
93. empathetic
94. persistent
95. creatively diffuse
96. associative
97. synthesizing
98. responsible
99. tardy
100. intent
101. (!) writer

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melancholia and other malarkey

the other day I wrote this line: “I grow older and older without knowing a single thing more.” it’s just that kind of winter, I guess, dragging on, you know. I was lying there, doing my due diligence to fall asleep, and then some strings of words wedged themselves in my consciousness– so I got up to throw out the net– sometimes tasty bits wash up– but this time the haul sparse and spiny. for one thing I fear I’ve developed an addiction to nyquil cough syrup, or maybe I just shouldn’t have had that cup of earl grey nigh on midnight. or fallen into bed at eight. all cockeyed. speaking of, my right tear duct squirts every time I blow my nose. in any case. the bare space here embarrasses, so I’m stuffing it with wadded tissues and dead fish.


“the clock reads three sticks, and I long for small things to hold. it’s a wednesday that feels like a wednesday made of bisque– daylight salt-dusted and wind blown over frozen waves. I perched on the curl and peered for something suspended, witnessed only grit gone opaque in lake teeth set descending. I grow older and older without knowing a single thing more, am grown so brittle– though somewhere swims flashing scales, pooling eyes, if I could just thaw to it– somewhere grow dark ropey arms that sway to a warmer current and reach greenly for great swallows of sunlight.”

all my internet friends

this is awesome– forwarded to me by my friend laurel: her friend amanda french sings about the kind of culture we know here on vox.

All My Internet Friends

Monday afternoon I gave a presentation to the staffKicked off with a knock-knock joke to liven up the charts and grapThat crowdNever laughs out loud
But all my internet friends were tickled pinkThey put animated smileys when they passed around the linkThey said Hey, girl, here’s another awesome thing we foundSarah Palin getting smacked down With a Prince song in the backgroundBetter watch it quick before they take it down
Wednesday night I figured I’d go out and buy a DVD Walked into a store and walked right out again immediatelyThis sucksThey want thirty bucks
But all my internet friends give things awayThey just really like to make stuff even when it doesn’t payThey say, Hey, girl, here’s a picture, here’s a poem tooHere’s a blog post, here’s a podcast Here’s a song and here’s a lolcatAnd an iPhone application all for you
Saturday I had a date with Dave the software engineerTold him bout the time I got my headphones wrapped around my earI swearHe just didn’t care
But all my internet friends they listen wellThey make sympathetic comments when I say that I’m in hellThey say Hey, girl, what’s your status? I say, Omigod,I’m not sleeping, I’m not eating I can’t take another meetingWith the clean, well-meaning morons at my job
There are those who say I spend a little too much time onlineSometimes I agree, but on the whole I think I’m doing fineClick, buzzI feel strong becauseAll my internet friends are here with me Saying Love and information want only to be freeAnd we’ll take no crap from anyone who says that they know betterWe won’t stand for that because we all came here together We’re remaining interwovenWe’re a net, and we have chosenTo be knotted tightly to each otherYou be client, I’ll be server We won’t ever have to be alone

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because gratitude is a practice

(as the lovely bodhibound reminds me.)

on sunday afternoon I went to the animal shelter for volunteer orientation– I’m going to be a dog person (they make you choose between dogs and cats), so we took a couple of the guys out and about. felt really good to be around dogs– just the tail-wagging, panting, happyface energy of them did more good for me than I can say. so now I’m just waiting for the call to schedule my first real training shift.

first snows, bunchy drifty flake clumps. the other evening I stood out in it for a bit, just watching as I spoke on the phone with my sweet friend moni back in iowa.

payday and grocery shopping. making chicken soup from the carcass.

the anticipation of being reunited with someone you love and miss.

the signposts on my block without caps that yodel mournfully in the wind off the lake.

finding parking right away.

a cup of hot tea and a home-baked muffin.

knocking out debt bit by bit.

jaw and neck feeling much better.

vox friends. cell phones.

having a job to complain about going to. :)

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well, duh

I’m sure this one will come as a real shocker…

(thanks to rogue for this amusing waste of time)

Your result for The Personality Defect Test…

Emo Kid

You are the Emo Kid, best described as a quiet pussy!  You tend to be an intuitive rather than a logical thinker, meaning you rely more on your feelings than your thoughts.  Not only that, but you are introverted, gentle, and rather humble.  You embody all the traits of the perfect emo kid.  You are a push-over, an emotional thinker, gentle to the extent of absurdity, and so humble that it even makes Jesus puke.  (And Jesus almost never pukes, being immortal and not requiring an act of puke to dispell toxins from his corporeal manifestation.)  If you write poetry, you no doubt write angsty, syrupy lines about depression, sadness, and other such redundant states of emo-being that go something like this:life is a spike / upon which i have impaled mysefl / fuck you dad

So, your personality is defective because you are too gentle, rather underconfident in yourself, decidely lacking in any rational thought, and also a bit too inhibited.  Plus, your poetry really upsets your father.

I probably made you cry, didn’t I?  Fucking Emo Kid.

To put it less negatively:

1.  You are more INTUITIVE than rational.

2.  You are more INTROVERTED than extroverted.

3.  You are more GENTLE than brutal.

4.  You are more HUMBLE than arrogant.


Your exact opposite is the Smartass.

Other personalities you would probably get along with are the Hippie, the Televangelist, and the Starving Artist.

tag, I’m it again

meme-tagged by miz bodibound

The rules of the game get posted at the beginning. Each player answers the questions about themselves. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer.

What were you doing 10 years ago?

I had *just* moved to iowa from north carolina and was waiting out the summer for the workshop to begin. living in a rented apartment in a house with other people for the first time in years– the dogs would bark, nervous from the move and new circumstances and sounds, and the neighbors would call the landlord, who would call me. it became quickly evident that it was an unworkable situation, and I was shopping for a house. here, let’s let my former self speak for me, care of the wayback machine:

out in the yard just after dark the fireflies are starting up their unintelligible shouting morse. I’ve gone the long road of fraught words to arrive at a horizon of silence. All the lights chatter at me in lost arabic and cyrillic– flashes of syntax and abandoned vowels, consonants turning one another inside out, tuning my ear to emptiness. Here is the fragile flying pattern of non-nonsense– sense to be divined only from the raptures of dream. Surely the bats can read this cursive on the air as they duck and dive in feast– but I, enormous, ponderous and loud, can’t learn the vocabulary fast enough– interloper in the language garden. The daylilies shut themselves under the moon– upside-down pendulums, counting the breeze out in minutes. Such a slippery business, to sift for language– wishing it to ripen in my palm– quixotic fruit that shies out of the light– but such a plum on the tongue when it’s found– such a round sweetness held between the lips. When I close my eyes I see brickwork– stacked patterns verifying the geometry of man– I would escape this willful stronghold, fly into the shapelessness of night, the fold of darkness, real things on the wing. I would throw aside my insistent trowel and the mortar that lodges in my mouth, sticking to my teeth while I sleep. I dream of pulling it off in enormous puttylike stretches, evil tasteless taffy that chokes.

Francis said to Hildegard, There’s a midget in my pocket that does the tango after midnight. Hildegard said, Frank, stand aside, you ruffian– you’re blocking the sundial once again, and it’s nearly time for tea. There’s an ostrich in the garden, and the crocuses are sprouting in autumn– we’ve five times sixpence, and the landlord’s on his route. Hildie, girl, you’re marvelous, cried Frank, the red-lipped rogue, my suspenders fall off sideways, and there’s butter on the backside of my toast. Once I rowed you ’round the Sea of Norway in a copper kettle full of smoke. I’ve livery for Tuesday, but I’ll wait on better weather and my pardon in the post. Frank, my dear and only one, forgive me if I’m shrill, but you’ve emptied all the olives, not a pimento in the house– we’ll have to make Manhattans now and pass out crackers in a dish and hope that Uncle Carlisle will honor us with cheese. Oh, you know I like to bicycle in the middle afternoon– how could you ask the vicar to tea? I’ve lard in my nightcap, the dogs all bark at noon, there are pickets round the garden, and, Hildegard, my dear one, the ostriches you mentioned will keep till New Year’s day.

What are 5 things on your To-Do list for today?

  1. go by the apartment and feed/attend to the cats
  2. baby presents!! can’t believe I’ve left it this long… then again, I totally can believe it.
  3. drive to iowa
  4. have coffee with mickie
  5. help karen prepare for jen & adi’s twins shower

Snacks you enjoy?

mmm, snaaaaaaacks… popcorn, breakfast cereal, chocolate pudding, cottage cheese and crackers/chips, carrot sticks, wednesdays (melted chocolate chips and peanut butter– my sister and a friend invented it while they were babysitting years and years ago)

Things you would do if you were a billionaire?

aw man. bodibound’s list is so generous it puts me a bit to shame. I’m a greedy, selfish girl. first thing I’d do is hire my brother in law to manage my money. have him put me on an allowance. then I’d pay off all our various debt. buy a new laptop, as this one’s dying under my fingers, cursor jumping all around the page, screen flickering. buy an iphone. pick up and travel with chris: europe (france, italy, greece, maybe pick one) for now, first off, then later asia and south america. pick a place for artfarm and build it. make a list of folks to invite. set up our studio. set up a business plan. have a baby.

Places you have lived?

  1. Hometown
  2. Lakeville, CT
  3. Ann Arbor, MI
  4. Mountain View, CA
  5. San Francisco, CA
  6. Cartersville, GA
  7. Durham, NC
  8. Beckley, WV
  9. Durham, NC
  10. Iowa City, IA
  11. Chicago, IL

Jobs you have had?

Babysitter, gopher for automobile parts design firm, various food service positions (short order, baking, pantry, barista, banquet waitress ohso briefly– the hairnet), various temp office crap, various admin support positions, video production assistant, software technical support, client services rep, technical writer, greenhouse worker, writing and literature instructor, web developer, project manager for a wallpaper company

Folks you’re tagging for this meme?

Chris, een, LOM, mickie, paul

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care and feeding of a neighborhood

these things take some tending over time. and due to recent trends, it strikes me that the time has come once again to go poking around for a few new neighbors– to infuse fresh insights and energies into a rather flagging field– which is by no means to insult the field or to suggest that I’m not completely enamored of and devoted to my core vox community, which, thank goodness, is still pretty well intact. just that I take the long, cyclical view, a natural process of wax and wane and wax– and in the waning periods it can help to supplement.

so I’m on the lookout for some new ‘hoodies. pretty much this amounts to browsing via Explore, searching for things tagged “chicago” since I do believe in the merging of virtual and actual worlds to some extent, or poaching my existing neighbors’ ‘hoods (which has yielded some real gems in the past, lemme tellya). so feel free to throw your thoughts my way– who brings you joy? let us celebrate this.

and if I’ve just added you to my neighborhood, and you’re all, who the heck is this navelgazer person and why is she adding me?— this is why. hi. :)

xoxo to my friends and neighbors and the silent folks watching from the wings. I am especially grateful to the ones who speak to me in whatever capacity you can manage, helping to keep me feeling vitally connected in this world.