Friday, June 29, 2007


shit. i guess i should start looking for cheap apartments in the bay area...

Thank you so much for applying to be part of our collective. We’re sorry to say that we won’t be requesting an interview with you. We received an incredible stack of resumes and we’re sad that we can’t hire everyone. We are flattered, overwhelmed in fact, by the exceptional group of people who applied for this position. Please know that it was a very difficult decision.

In case it interests you, we will be hiring again in the spring of 2008. Please apply again then, if you’re inclined.

Thanks again,
Erika, Joan, Matthew, and Mitch
Food for Thought Books
106 N. Pleasant Street Amherst, MA 01002
(413)253-5432 (phone)(413) 256-8329 (fax)

the dialectics of living in northampton

somewhere sympathy is more than just a way of leaving.
somewhere someone says 'i'm sorry.'
someone's making plans to stay.
-the weakerthans

walking down main street yesterday i had an old song in my head. it was by a local cape cod band i liked in 8th grade called cheesewheel: "why am i here?/what have i done?/why am i the only one?" the angsty bridge of their classic "chicken statutory" asks. i used to ask myself these questions a lot when i first moved to northampton. unlike most other people my age, i did not move here to attend school. so what the fuck am i doing here? i've come to peace with all of this recently as i continue to lay down roots after two years, but i've been putting my current situation into perspective as i walk the streets, as i brush my teeth:

*i am unemployed but living in an overpriced apartment.
*two of my closest friends here just moved away, beyond western mass.
*the one thing i am invested in here is a dysfuntional, volunteer-run organization that is facing a financial crisis and a lawsuit.
*i haven't been inspired to write a song since the month i moved here, two years ago.
*it's hard to avoid drama in a small town, other than staying in alone every night.
*the local, bookstore collective hasn't called me back about doing an interview.
*ak press is hiring for their collective in oakland, ca.
*i spent an hour yesterday filling out a 210 question "personality test" at the local whole foods.
*have i mentioned that i am unemployed and am living in an overpriced apartment?

after spending a weekend in detroit i am reminded of how nice northampton is. problematic, culturally homogeneous, and limiting in many ways...but nice. a comfortable, safe place to live with a thriving pedestrian-friendly town center. where corporate chains go out of business and are replaced by locally-owned pizza parlors and coffeeshops. where anyone can sell art or sing their hearts out on the street and i can go out dancing almost any night of the week for free, and freely dance the way i want without being harassed or beat up.

i sit here in the town's beautiful public library, working on a new equation of hope and action. some say that hope prevents action because it removes our agency, putting faith in some higher power. others say that action is not possible without hope. sometimes i think i'm hopelessly hopeful. some may say i'm naive. i think we need a vision for what is possible and then do the work to make it happen, both in our daily lives and in the bigger-picture sense too. begin at start:

*i have an incredible new roommate that practices what she learned in communication studies.
*there are lots of amazing people, many close friends here, and i meet new ones all the time.
*it's summer and the possibility for adventure is infinite.
*i don't need to depend on geography for the work i love to do, just a good desk.
*there are potential musical conspirators emerging from the woodwork.
*i have a new bike.
*valley free radio has begun a new era.
*not working is amazing and our apartment is half the cost of a smaller space in new york.

well, come on and let me know...

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

a check

june is almost over and i need a reality check. i don't want to live in a society where people have to pay to live in their homes. but for now, i do. and for now, i have to pay too. the problem is that i haven't been working so there's no surplus income to filter from an employer to a landlord. there's nothing there. i've been living back in my apartment since the first of the month in denial of this looming crisis. i can pretend that i am free all i want, but that doesn't making living in the current society free. i can joyously live for pleasure every single day, but when the end of the month arrives i am expected to pay up. like a slap in the face, a cold shower, or a wet willy penetrating my ear canal: i am harshly reminded that the rent is due.

time without work is a blessing and a curse. even those who "love their jobs" usually want nothing more than a break from the routine. we all crave this 'free time' in a society of unfreedom. but to truly enjoy this time is an overwhelming challenge. even for those of who have an analysis of the work ethic and all of its trappings, we tend to take this moment for granted and can never overcome the economics of anxiety. and then in desperation our analysis is set aside, our standards deterioriate, and we submit to selling our bodies and our time. simply to live. simply to stay alive. well, maybe it's not so simple.

june is almost over. and i need a check. help.