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After years and states and books and etc I have made the jump to a new website, which I have named after myself because I’ve heard that’s the rage.

This blog will continue at www.laurakochman.com/blog and you can keep up with all things The Bone and the Body at www.laurakochman.com/the-bone-and-the-body. Once I figure out how redirects work, I will set one up and you’ll go right over to the new blog, so give this one a hug while you can. All of the posts here have been migrated over there, so you’ll still be able to read everything all the time, but you know. If you’re sentimental like me, even this web space is a place, and you know how I feel about places I have called home.

Love you, WordPress.

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I took this picture a week or two after moving to Alabama, more to show how I set up the room than to demonstrate the light. But look at that window. It’s bright and green and streaming, where the window is now simultaneously gone. I have tramped through this room after the doors were removed and the dark swarming tiles piled in the corners, pipes out, damp leaves on the floor.

I’m simultaneously working through both Eleni Sikelianos’s The California Poem and Cheryl Strayed’s Wild, thinking about statehood and homeland and the mapping of the self and how lucky for them two to be writing about California, this big / fertile / varied / brightness. It’s that place across the country where people go to be dreamers, the endpoint in imaginings. Me, I’m writing about/to/from New Jersey, the kind of place people leave to go to California. CA is big and important and beautiful, and NJ is small, kind of cruddy and specific. I’m realizing this sounds like a complaint, but it’s not—I’m learning, from this contrast, how to write about place in a different way. I don’t begrudge California. It’s just that writing such a personal thesis has made me think about how I create my self in these poems, in relation to my small, cruddy homeland. And the extent to which I have created my own homeland, because really, it spins around and won’t settle, won’t let me see it clearly, just a blur in the lens.

[Me / Mom / Miriam happy on Halloween in California, during the four months we lived in San Diego]

[Me / Mom / Miriam happy on Halloween in California, during the four months we lived in San Diego]

Every year, my MFA friends and I have some sort of conversation during the summertime about when we start calling ourselves second-years instead of first-years, third-years instead of second-years. No one’s brought it up yet this time, probably because it’s intensely frightening and sad and exciting and overwhelming to think about leaving this place. The latest batch of first-years are starting to arrive over the next few days, so to avoid thinking about leaving, instead I’ll think about getting to live somewhere new.

My list of requirements includes: coffee and food culture, public transportation, a medium-sized city, a natural landscape to explore that is not very far away from the city center, modern art, a writing community.

Denver, CO

 

Portland, OR

 

Seattle, WA

 

Minneapolis, MN

 

Santa Fe, NM

 

Philadelphia, PA

 

San Francisco, CA

 

Richmond, VA

 

Austin, TX

 

Please, future: give me any one of these things.

Boyfriend and I are back from a speed-tasting trip to Kansas City, MO, where we ate barbecue and drank incredible cocktails. While driving, we did a vertical tasting of Kanye albums. Twice, we had the best ice cream I’ve ever had. We hunted down fancy cocktail ingredients so we could make them at home. We ate the world’s best fried chicken in Memphis, TN. We (okay: me) internally-heart-scampered through the contemporary wing at the Nelson-Atkins Museum. We drank crazy good coffee. We drove through Arkansas. We had a 10-course meal at this restaurant. We ate foie gras with pickled cherries. We sat in the Cauldron for a Sporting Kansas City match. I drove so much a piece of my car fell off yesterday.

In all this driving and eating and drinking, I think I picked up a book once. I’m telling myself it’s still only midway through July! and I have time to settle back into reading and writing. When I finally checked my email after the last long drive back to Alabama, I found out that my book is not getting published by an awesome publisher due to time and $, but they loved it and want to put part of it in their online journal. So, okay. It always stinks to get another no, but also, this was a wonderful email because this person out there in the world read my book and enjoyed it. Someday, other people will do the same thing. So in the meantime I’ll sit on the couch with the cat and my laptop and a homemade Martinez and my new Cindy Sherman The Complete Untitled Film Stills and words that scatter and shrink.

Today I have flea-medicated three cats. Have I found a new special skill set?

Also, I think, maybe, I don’t know, we MIGHT be moving at the end of this week. O to have a home!

In the name of shaping things, in the name of movement and transformation, in the name of central air conditioning and mornings sandwiched between boyfriend and cat, I am leaving this open, lighted space. I’m giving my ladybug house to someone else, and paring down the long list of objects I’ve compiled. Our new apartment will be a small puzzle, and I do so love it when everything fits together neatly [See: my grading spreadsheets]. This past year has been the only time that I’ve lived alone, and I’ve enjoyed that sense of control, but I want a shared couch and an interlocking library. I spent a lot of time, in college, longing for a stable living space, but moving into this new space is the thing I’m longing for now. I wrote 33 pages last semester about the moment of interface between states of being, and I can feel myself approaching this point of breakage, the halting lock that opens, the lapse. One month and one half month until the chaos of boxes and sweat rises and subsides into a new sense of daily reality. The cat likes to curl up in my lap and press his forehead against something stable, so that he is entirely contained, the pressure of the other reminding him of the safe walls of his own body, I imagine. Like being tucked into bed, I imagine.

The shower curtain is making the move this time, though. That thing is a beauty and it’s going to live with me until it molds.