There are songs that I wish I could write about.  Did I ever write about music?  Maybe boy bands, once.  The R5 album from this year was really important to me.  They’re almost a boy band.

What could I write about Tinashe, anyway?  My greatest strength when it comes to music is falling hard for songs a little before everyone else.  I was listening to “2 On” in dead winter and I thought it was great and I still think that but now so does everyone else too.  Her new song’s great also.  “Pretend.”  Whenever I listen to Tinashe I remember that she’s younger than me and the first time that shocked me but now it makes sense.

I had “Habits” on repeat last fall, pushing it on everybody, and now I don’t have to because it’s gone Top 20 and I heard it on the pool radio today when I was swimming laps.

If I was going to go long on anything that you haven’t heard it would be “Quarterback,” a Kira Isabella song, but it can be pretty succinctly described as ‘dark-side ‘Fifteen” with all that implies.  There’s nothing I can tell you about “Quarterback” that’s not in it.  Her voice when she sings ‘lied to her–imagine that,’ and I don’t think that tone is hard to achieve but I hear it so rarely, especially in country music.

I would rather listen to music than write about it, now.

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There are things I see here that seem unbearably meaningful, too poignant, too real.  And they don’t even make sense, translated to text:  travel bruises appearing in little clusters a few days after I take planes, teenagers in school uniforms getting off the subway, a local baseball team playing in the park down the street.  Putting on lipstick in public bathroom mirrors.  The spaceship house on the corner of Georges-Vanier and Lionel-Groulx.  It just has a slate facade, but the first time I saw it I thought it looked like a spaceship, so I still call it that.

And I don’t know what to say about this, about anything really.  Permanence and impermanence.  Joy and fear.  I will be leaving a life behind here and that will be a sad thing so maybe I am witnessing harder than usual, trying to hold it in my hands: the tunnel on Guy from Rene-Levesque to St Antoine, construction workers catcalling and me turning up my music, runners along the Lachine Canal, drunk kids out in the Ghetto at night, my broken fridge, the sculpture of the angel with hands on its face–

I can’t describe it right.  I think sometimes about belonging, how I almost belong here but not quite, how I sort of belong in Virginia but not very much, how I have the energy now to go places and soon I’ll graduate and I can go anywhere.  But that I don’t know what to do, or even what I want, and that in a way it was simpler when I didn’t have the functionality to think past the next three days.  But feeling confused about the direction of your life is typical, and it’s soothing to be another 22-year-old.  Maybe I will make a list of things I want.

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I know, you’re all, what’s going on, Leela, you’re turning into one of those so-annoying bloggers who never blogs.

Well, yeah.


Came back to school.  It is amazingly weird to be a fifth-year senior.  Most of the people I knew here graduated after three, because of the Quebec post-high school pre-university CEGEP college system, or because of IB, or AP credits, or whatever.  I am a fifth-year and there are so many first-years and I’m trying to make my peace with it.  It’s not even that big a deal but: First-years with their expensive backpacks and their hopeful nerves.  First-years with their new friends and their clean clothes.  First-year boys with rolled-up jeans and neat button-downs, girls with their beautiful hair, I don’t even know what I’m talking about.  It is always a little overwhelming to come back to the city.

But speaking of new friends, look at this great cat I got to meet yesterday:



I am easily overwhelmed.  It is overwhelming, now, not to be sad all the time, to feel my own heartbeat.  It’s scary in a different way than I’m used to being scared.  That’s all.

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Some cool things that happened this week:

finally got my grubby paws on some Maybelline matte lipsticks

turned 22; my mom made Boston cream pie!

had a conversation with a real live person about the PTSD in Iron Man 3

got some really nice compliments, including my sister calling me ‘a shining pinnacle of womanhood’

fighting with a coworker about the Kardashians

Love Me Harder” on repeat

finished a monthlong Nike Training Club program

other stuff too, probably


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Photo on 2014-08-25 at 21.06

Made a chapbook of the poems I wrote this summer.

They are dumb maybe but I liked them enough to type up and staple.

If you want a copy I will mail you one in an envelope made from copies of old topo maps.

Send me your address on Tumblr or at llleela at gmail dot com.

Do it!  I spent a while on the envelopes!  I want to send you this nice present!

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Some things:

Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood comes on Tuesday mornings at seven on my local PBS stations.

At eight PM on a Saturday I jerked awake to my mother stepping across the threshold of my room.  I always wake up like that when people enter my space; body on alert, trying to convince all comers that I was never asleep.

VMAs are today, who’s excited.

I spent May being nervous and I spent June in cornfields and I spent July goofing off with my co-intern and I spent August working out.  It’s been a long time since I felt this strong or, for that matter, this tan.

Going back to school on September first.

Maybe I will start blogging again in paragraphs, no list, but it’s hard to say.

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I want to talk about wildness.

wild |wīld|
1 (of an animal or plant) living or growing in the natural environment; not domesticated or cultivated.
2 uncontrolled or unrestrained, esp. in pursuit of pleasure
in an uncontrolled manner : the bad guys shoot wild.
noun (the wild)
a natural state or uncultivated or uninhabited region

There are a lot of wild-heart songs.  I don’t know why.  But I do know that they don’t make sense to me.

When I first started living alone two years ago, it was amazing because it felt like my brain was running free.  All that time with no one around so the forest in my head grew up, like I never had to clarify, I didn’t have to tread out any paths at all.  I still wouldn’t trade it, but the flip side is that my thoughts are now incomprehensible even to me sometimes.  Orienteering is hard even when you have the right tools and there’s no such thing as a brain-compass.

For a long time my mind was the only thing I was sure I could be proud of.  And then, abruptly, it wasn’t.  But that isn’t the point.

The federal government designates wilderness as “an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.”  It’s a stricter definition than a national park or forest–for example, there’s no mechanized equipment allowed in a wilderness.  When I worked in the Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness in Oregon two years ago, we cleared fallen trees from the trail with a hundred-year-old crosscut saw.  The air was clean, the views were amazing, and it was quiet.  That’s wilderness, and it’s certainly wild, but it’s not what these songwriters mean.

So I always thought my mind was the wild thing, not my heart, which is all semantics because they’re just meat in my meatsuit but you understand the distinction.  For the past couple years I thought my heart was dead, a burned-out husk, crumbly timbers barely standing after a fire.  Or, in slightly more lucid moments, I thought of it as outer space, as a blackness so complete it could swallow planets.

I believe that I can make you scream for me

I think this song was in a car commercial recently?

Maybe songwriters gravitate to ‘wild’ because it’s a less-racist way to say ‘savage’ or ‘exotic.’  Maybe it’s the more ‘authentic’ or at least the more romantic version of ‘crazy.’  It could be a kind of irony and juxtaposition to hear the call of the wild in shimmering synths.

But I mean–when I think of ‘wild,’ I think of the bear cubs that I saw when I was hiking with Shannan three years ago, and how scared we were.  I think of getting certified for Wilderness First Aid and how they told us that if you got bit by a rattlesnake in the backcountry you probably weren’t getting out alive.  I think of how hard it is to explain myself, sometimes, how much work it takes to thin, let alone clear-cut the forests of Bad Thoughts.

I wanted to write about the actual songs here–and I have so many more, too–but such is not to be, apparently.

My heart is still outer space.

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