Clean and Elegant

Clean and Elegant

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Dear Vincent, I went on my adventure. Everything is green. I love you.


Dear Vincent,

I went on my adventure.
Everything is green.
I love you.

I found this perfect poem on somebody’s fridge. The poet was eight years old, or maybe less.

It’s very boring, but many people don’t have anything on their fridges. I recommend animal postcards, ironic magnets, artwork from children whose insides match their outsides and fortune cookie fortunes. Everything is green. You are broad minded and socially active. Land is always in the minds of flying birds. I do not recommend Happy Couple wedding invitations, or Happy Family Christmas newsletters.

Recently I discovered that the best thing to clean the front of your fridge with is dish soap. No need for bottles of poison labelled with skulls and cross bones and the words, “keep out of reach of children.”

Once I cleaned a house called Happy Times. Every corner of Happy Times was some kind of museum. Mannequin and Strange Doll Museum, Bad Harlequin Museum, Endless Stacks of Records on a Ping Pong Table Museum. I cleaned Happy Times for three days, ten hours per day. Outside the fridge, it was covered with middle-aged masters swimming ribbons, 35 years of photo booth photos, grocery store receipts, baby pictures, and every ex-girlfriend’s every pet and child at every stage of life. Inside the freezer was a Ziploc bag that housed a budgie named Budgimagar. Budgimagar had been dead for at least five years. To taxidermy his body would have cost at least three hundred dollars.


I decided not to post a photo of Budgimagar in a ziplock bag.
Before I left, I wrote on the on the back of a mountain goat animal postcard.

Dear Fraser,
How come you don’t have any pictures of me on your fridge?
I wanted to remind you that you do not need to buy any more edamame beans. Or salsa.

Also, your dead budgie’s corpse is in the freezer in the basement.

Love, Erica.



I hung the postcard on the fridge under a picture of a dog in the snow and above a bicycle magnet and a photograph of an ex-girlfriend’s four-year old child who is now a grown man. Fraser did not see the postcard for at least six days.

 
Once I met a child whose insides matched her outsides, and her shirt also matched the sky.

“Guess what, Ercica?” she used to say. She'd point to her shirt and say, “Blue.” Then point to the sky and say, “Blue!”

“Er-ci-ca,” said the girl whose insides matched her outsides. “Are you proud of me?” She pronounced proud like an elementary school student whose music teacher had just explained the importance of accentuating your vowels while singing in the spring concert. Proud with wow inside of it. PrOWd.

The girl whose insides matched her outsides had just silkscreened a t. shirt. The blue and green and yellow puddles of paint made a sail boat on squiggles of water, and a tree on an island and a cloud that rhymed with proud with a wow inside of it. And the best kind of little kid sun, that’s just a circle with huge rectangular rays coming out of it.

“Yes, I’m SO proud of you,” I said. And I was. Proud with a wow inside of it.

 



On my fridge, I have three circular magnets of flamingos doing yoga. For a period of time, one of the magnets held up a list about of the three things I knew about my therapist, Vincent, you, at that time. There was something to do with how Vincent likes citrus and apples, and how Vincent does not recommend cooking with a crock pot as the excess moisture might interfere with flavour. And  you were learning to stand on your head, and this warmed my heart.

Now I know that when you first became a psychologist, you ate too much trail mix and this wreaked havoc on your liver. And I know that you are 38 years old, and that you are not amazing at doing your lunch dishes promptly after you eat, and sometimes you even leave them on your dusty filing cabinet until the next day which is somewhat questionable, as is objecting to cooking with a crock pot.

I eat an extensive amount of trail mix, and last October, I took down the list of the three Things I Know About Vincent, and this made me vaguely Proud of myself, kind of like I feel after I take out the recycling and most of the cans of coconut cream are more or less rinsed out.

Now the front of my fridge is three drawings from children whose insides match their outsides, a birthday card from my friend who loves me just the way I am, the Swadisthana sex chakra, the magnets of  bendy flamingos doing yoga, magnets my mother sent me in a care package, and a fortune cookie fortune that says, “Happy events will soon take place in your home.”

They say the stock market is starting to swoon. Inside my freezer there is compost, homemade vegetable broth, and one third of a bag of edamame beans.  Tonight I am going to a BBQ, but until then the kind of Saturday I am having is a Blob Saturday. Everything is green. I love you.



Erica. 


Send your imaginary and un-imaginary emails to Vincent, or to me. The secret email address is ericaschmidt85(at)gmail(dot)com.  


Everything is Green.


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Yours Til I'm a Post-Modern Literary Genius


Dear Vincent, On Thursday, January 4, 2018, I did not end up flying to the edge of Newfoundland and embarking on a long westward frigid and impossible walk across Canada in my boots that tend to become damp and cold within seven to 98 minutes of putting them on for the benefit of everyone’s mental health which feels like an emergency and also chronically neglected and in memory of Simon Girard who jumped off the roof of Sherbrooke Street’s le Tadoussac on Sunday, January 4, 2015.


Dear Vincent, This is a Hungry Ghost.






Friday, 6 April 2018

Dear Vincent, In my heart, I feel quite strange and lonely.

Dear Vincent,

In my heart, I feel quite strange and lonely. A strange and lonely thing to do is to attend a Silent Book Club where everyone sits silently and reads whatever book they are reading and we all bask in vague intellectual smugness and the beautiful potential we each possess before we open our mouths. In my youth, I used to impose an extensive reading list upon myself. Everywhere I went, I’d insist on devouring books that were meant to enhance my mind. The Second Sex, or Margaret Atwood, or failed attempts at the Odyssey.  On the metro, walking down the street, through every empty moment, in any empty chair or living room.
 
How joyful was that?
I’m not sure.
These days I do not read as extensively, or, as voraciously. But sometimes I try.

Last night on my way to the Silent Book Club, I dropped off a bag of extraneous clothing in front of a Donation Depot on Bernard Street. I tend to give away all my extraneous possessions nearly pathologically. Further down Bernard Street, I passed an older man and woman who were coming out of Lester’s where apparently they serve the best French fries in Montreal and once I saw my friends consuming enormous slices of yellowish cheese cake.

The older man said, “Well that would take away from the treat for when we get back.” I did not know what the treat was, or where the old couple was going, or if they’d already returned and had just consumed the treat together. But somehow, his words unravelled my strange and lonely heart and I wept reasonably delicately for about seven lonely steps on Bernard Street.
This Book Will Save Your Life by A.M. Homes
In the book I read at the Silent Book Club, the main character’s name is Richard. An enormous hole is taking over Richard’s back yard and is causing a structural catastrophe to his vast and fancy house. And Richard has begun to go to a doughnut shop every morning. The book is called, This Book Will Save Your Life by A.M. Homes. One evening at the grocery store, Richard comes upon a woman who is weeping between the lettuce and the tomatoes. The woman weeps because she is thinking about the salad she prepares her family every night and the salad has two kinds of greens and lovingly selected tomatoes and chick peas and a meticulous salad dressing, and her family does not seem to give a shit. There are so many salads like this out there, and so many strange and lonely tears in cereal aisles, or somewhere between the lettuce and the tomatoes, or in seven lonely steps somewhere on Bernard Street.

Now I am on page 126 of This Book Will Save Your Life.

Doughnuts, from my friend Shayna


I have an aversion to French Fries because in Grade Six French class we learned that 10 frites ont 110 calories and this seemed excessive. And I have an aversion to doughnuts because someone told me they take three days to digest, and they seem far too sugary and hollow.

Love, Erica.  

Send your imaginary and un-imaginary emails to Vincent, or to me. The secret email address is ericaschmidt85(at)gmail(dot)com. You can tell us about your favourite doughnuts, or the books that saved your life, or else your strange and lonely heart.

Strange and lonely solace from the Drying Rack
(April 4, 2018)


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Rideshare, Sterilization and Doughnuts
Taes floats your boat
Dear Vincent, Are you lonely? Do you have a pain body?


Exalted


Thursday, 5 April 2018

Dear Vincent, I will not be a robot.

Dear Vincent,

What I retain from yesterday's session is how my whole life is a sad fantasy and if you were a cleaner, you would feel like a robot. Yesterday, as I cleaned, I felt deeply tragic. Then I translated a rush press release about making 3333 pairs of yoga pants out of 20,000 plastic water bottles. I took a mushrooms dose and called the Dead Inside Man. I woke up at 4:13 a.m. and the tragic feeling had not lifted. The crisis center said it was okay to cancel my faraway, polyamorous client.  On Facebook I found a French podcast about depression and being self-employed. 

Death is certain.
Its time is uncertain. 
will
not 
be
a robot.
I will not be a robot.

The Dead Inside Man says it's all just dumb fun anyways.
Best wishes for a dumb-fun-filled day,
Erica. 


Send your imaginary and un-imaginary emails to Vincent, or to me. The secret email address is ericaschmidt85(at)gmail(dot)com. Yay dumb fun.
Yay, dumb fun.


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Dear Vincent, Everyone is one with the birds except for me.
Five Days of Creative Recovery 
Dear Vincent, This is a Hungry Ghost



Thursday, 29 March 2018

Dear Vincent, This is a Hungry Ghost.



Dear Vincent,

This is a Hungry Ghost.


Dear H. Ghost
Hungry Ghosts crave more attention than is available. They mourn and wail and wallow more than is reasonable. Hungry ghosts are not happy for their friends, or for the bright-eyed shiny rich entrepreneurs on Facebook. Their feelings and cravings are more enormous and grotesque than what you would envision in your ideal picture of yourself. Starving your hungry ghosts does not exactly work. Somehow you still have to feed them.

I heard that every few weeks, Chinese monks escape over the monastery walls to get drunk on some disgusting vodka. And that the serene meditators of California go out for an obligatory burger and fries after their retreat. So they wouldn’t get too pure. So their hungry ghosts would not get too hungry. I love these stories.

My hungry ghosts are eating unwashed carrots out of the bag. They are not quitting coffee, or folding the hanging laundry within an acceptable amount of time. They are dreaming illusions of grandeur and longing to jump into bed with someone impossible. They have not forgiven my perfectly darling mother. They are naked and hungry and lonely and sad and still somehow beautiful. And somehow, you still have to feed them.

Love, Erica. 

Send your imaginary and un-imaginary emails to Vincent, or to me. The secret email address is ericaschmidt85(at)gmail(dot)com. Love to you and your Hungry Ghosts.


Compost and Me


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Dear Vincent, Are you lonely? Do you have a pain body?
Today is Holy Thursday and I'm having a holy hell of a time meditating
Dear Vincent, I was floating on the joy of feeling seen, heard, felt and loved by you, last Tuesday, November 21



Monday, 19 March 2018

Dear Vincent, Yesterday was the seven-year anniversary of me not puking in my mouth, or in the toilet.


Dear Vincent,

Yesterday was the seven-year anniversary of me not puking in my mouth, or in the toilet. I had big dreams of writing a beautiful and redeeming poem, but then it turned out to be one of those days when I had to surrender to the humbling yet life-saving magic of cutting myself a break and grabbing a sandwich and a nap. At least there was some reluctant dancing. And in my head the poem goes something like this,

Seven years later

still not as grateful

as Oprah.

The ghosts are still hungry.

It was beautiful of you to imagine that this might have been any different.

And brave that you walked on anyways.

Love, Erica.

Send your imaginary letters to Vincent to ericaschmidt85(at)gmail(dot)(com).

With Love to your Hungry Ghosts


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Not Separate From All That Is
The Benefits of an Ashtanga Yoga Practice, Part Two
Fat Days for Boys

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Dear Vincent, During my month-long hiatus without you, I invented the Shiny Chrome Orgasm. And I basked in my Nun Friend's soothing and maternal bosom of unconditional love, and I got a cleaning buzz. I think I am going to make it. Welcome home


Dear Vincent,

During my month-long hiatus without you, I invented the Shiny Chrome Orgasm. And I basked in my Nun Friend’s soothing and maternal bosom embrace of unconditional love, and I got a cleaning buzz. I think I am going to make it. Welcome home.

Childhood memories equal, the fairy tale, The Princess and The Frog. I remember the frog, crouched on the Princess’s dinner table, and lapping up peas from on the Royal Family’s golden plate.
 Are we able to accept all the ugly things without the promise that deep down the ugly things are actually beautiful and that one day they’ll transform out of being an ugly frog or an ugly toad?

Toads, in my opinion, are a little bit uglier than the frogs.

Can we love the things that are

inherently and likely

ugly forever?

For example, the toads, or else the thick and cakey fungus under certain people’s toenails?

A Shiny Chrome Orgasm is when you polish the chrome of the faucet of your sink to the point that the sight is orgasmic.
Shiny Chrome Orgasm
A friend pointed out that combined with the taps, the whole thing is rather phallic, and isn’t that a little bit exciting?

Childhood memories equal Mrs. Vanden Bosch’s Grade One Halloween Concert. I am dressed up as a beautiful princess, but our song is about a field full of pumpkins. My best friend Ellen gets to be the special pumpkin with the solo. Of this, I am exceedingly jealous. The song is about some special pumpkin who has some special magical way of singing the words, the Boo-Hoo-Hoo. Maybe this turns frogs into handsome princes. Or maybe it burns the whole field down. In any case, I am devastated that I don’t get to sing the Prestigious Pumpkin Boo-hoo-hoo solo. Even before I skipped grade two and was irreparably labelled the Strange and Gifted child, I felt that surely I deserved all the main parts.
And the Princess, she felt like she did not deserve to have to go to bed with the ugly frog. Except the ugly frog had rescued her precious golden ball from the bottom of the pond, and in return he’d convinced the princess to make quite an elaborate promise.

“Promise me,” said the ugly frog. “That you will love me. That you’ll let me be your friend and play with you. Make me a place at your table where I will eat from your plate and drink from your cup. Then, take me to your bed and we can sleep peacefully together.”
Some people might say this qualifies as a little bit of coercion. The Princess was crying very hard when she lost her ball, and the frog sort of pounced upon her vulnerability. And it was in the olden days, and once she’d already said yes, she was not allowed to change her mind about taking the frog to bed.

So first the poor princess was helpless because her golden ball had fallen to the bottom of the pond.


And then she was helpless because her heart’s desire depended upon an overwhelming and impossible promise.

This story does not leave me feeling very equipped.

Place your ugly frog upon a silky and exquisite pillow, and there will emerge your dashing tender-eyed prince.


And

Or

Ever since I went off Prozac, my brain’s been invaded by a voice.

And the voice comes ready with a hand.

And the hand is ready to slap.

The voice really wants to be the main part. Sometimes the voice won’t shut up until the hand wacks me on the face over and over again. The voice wants everyone to hear and know its rage and how excruciatingly disappointed and disgusted and at the end of it rope that it feels with, well,

I guess me.

And the hand keeps slapping because it’s so set on the belief that no one will ever understand me, and this is what I deserve.

Main Special Gifted Pumpkin sings, “The Boo-Hoo-Hoo.”

All the Generic Pumpkins sing, “The Boo-Hoo-Hoo.”

I still cannot remember the line about why the Main Special Gifted Pumpkin was so special and gifted.

All the palaces in the fairy tales look exactly the same.


My nun friend has the softest cheeks and the most soothing bosom. I saw her at a funeral, and she said so many nice things to me. It was like I was at my own funeral.

“Oh, Erica,” she said. “It is so good to see you. You’re so beautiful. Don’t ever change. Stay just the way you are.”

I cannot repeat what my Nun Friend said without weeping, if somewhat delicately. Her words, they shut up the voice and they canned the hand for one whole week. And I got a cleaning buzz, and I invented the Shiny Chrome Orgasm.

I forgot to say that the princess was the youngest of the seven daughters. The youngest and the most beautiful. And she loved to throw her golden ball up in the air and then catch it. Once she got married, I wonder if she kept throwing her golden ball up in the air. Throwing it up in the air, and then catching it.

Main Special Gifted Pumpkin sings, “The Boo-Hoo-Hoo.”

All the Generic Pumpkins sing, “The Boo-Hoo-Hoo.”

Welcome home, Vincent!

There is probably something symbolic about the golden ball falling to the bottom of the pond.

Our golden balls are falling to the bottom of the pond all the time.

Main Special Gifted Pumpkin sings, “The Boo-Hoo-Hoo.”

All the Generic Pumpkins sing, “The Boo-Hoo-Hoo.”

Oh Erica, you’re so beautiful. Don’t ever change. Stay just the way you are.

In therapy, I always get to have the main part, and surely, this is one reason why I like it.

Welcome home, Vincent.

Love, Erica.

P.S. In fact, once she married the prince, the princess kept her golden ball safe and sound on a purple cushion, under a glass dome. Cause what if the ball fell into the pond again and some better frog prince showed up. The End.

Please send your imaginary emails to Vincent to ericaschmidt85(at)gmail(dot)com.


Grade One. Surely I deserved all the main parts.

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Rumplestiltskin


Dear Vincent, It seems no matter who I'm having sex with, I ugly cry every other time.


On Thursday, January 4, 2018, I did not end up flying to the edge of Newfoundland and embarking on a long westward frigid and impossible walk across Canada in my boots that tend to become damp and cold within seven to 98 minutes of putting them on for the benefit of everyone’s mental health which feels like an emergency and also chronically neglected and in memory of Simon Girard who jumped off the roof of Sherbrooke Street’s le Tadoussac on Sunday, January 4, 2015.