Sep 4, 2008

I may be a little late to the fundraising party.

But if you go here you can join me in supporting Barack Obama by putting your money where your mouth is. I just gave on my friend Adam's page. Please give on mine. Or create your own. This is no time to be shy. I'm buying ponies for all of you to celebrate the Obama-Biden victory. But if McCain and Palin win, I'll have all of these ponies and nowhere to put them. Please think of me for once in your life. And those precious, innocent ponies who never hurt anyone.

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posted by Mary Forrest at 5:02 PM | Back to Monoblog

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     Sep 2, 2008

This began as a response to a comment thread on one of my friend Steve's Facebook notes.

I'm tired of all the talk about the importance of values as if they trump all other decision-making factors. Ultimately, the job of President is a job. And the qualifications and experience one has, including past job experience and past life experience, are relevant in the job interview process. You don't go to a job interview and expect to get hired just because you go to the same church as your boss or just because you both like the Mets. That might help pave the way to the conversation beginning, but eventually, you're going to be asked what you bring to the table. You'll be expected to have real accomplishments under your belt. And you'll also be expected to be able to balance whatever's going on in your life in such a way that nothing personal ever seeps into your job performance. That's what millions of working people contend with. Some of them even contend with drug tests and background checks and credit history reports. Because what you've done and where you've been matters in certain jobs. And here we are, examining applicants for the highest executive office in the country. And suddenly, we're not supposed to care what the candidate's actual skills and experience are? We're supposed to applaud her because she believes in this, but we're not supposed to care that she believes in that?

What I don't like about this discussion is that -- in my experience (and my parents watch nothing in their home but Fox News and Dancing with the Stars) -- many conservatives exhibit a sense of triumph when they can ferret out the personal failings and scandals of liberal candidates, but conservative candidates with the same personal failings and scandals are applauded. I suspect there are plenty of conservatives who share Sarah Palin's moral values but who are still disappointed to learn about her daughter's choices. The conservatives I know email me every time they find a blog that says Obama is a Muslim. But not a one of them has emailed me to talk about whether Sarah Palin is a good choice. It's like we're not allowed to openly discuss our opinions about these people despite the fact that one day, two of them are going to lead ALL OF US. I have just as much right to want John McCain to pick a qualified VP, because if he ends up President, I still have to live in the country the two of them run. It's relevant for us to talk about it. It's reasonable for us to ask questions. ALL OF US. Wouldn't it be beautiful if we could all actually talk about it without the iron curtain of partisanship dividing us? I would think every American would hope that both candidates would pick a great running mate, no matter who they personally support. We don't always get to choose our bosses at work, and when you find out your boss has hired some other person to exercise authority over you, it certainly helps the relationship if that person merits your respect and can wield your loyalty in a positive way. Why would this be any less true for the running of the country?

Sometimes, I think the values issue is exactly what gunks up the debate. I think it's possible for a person to be against abortion but to not actively try and legislate against it. In the same way that it is possible for a person to be against pre-marital sex without insisting that it be made illegal. Your personal values shouldn't influence every choice you make as a public servant. Our shared value -- the protection of the Constitution -- is the one value that should supersede all others. You may not like the idea of gays getting married. You might even believe it's morally wrong. But that doesn't mean the Constitution doesn't attempt to offer all Americans the same protections and the same rights. You may be someone who once believed that Blacks and Whites should not marry either. At this point, I hope you know you were wrong to believe that. And if you don't, I hope you aren't serving in public office. And if you are, I hope you at least realize that you are able to believe that your bathtub is the Oracle of Delphi as long as you don't bring it to work with you. I don't want to know about your religion. I don't want to know what brand of greeting card you buy. I don't want to know your favorite color or whether you like Thai food late at night. I don't care about that. At least not at the time of the job interview or at the periodic subsequent performance reviews. At the job interview, I just want to know what kind of worker you are and whether you are willing and able to do the job you are interviewing for. Once you're hired, we can go out to a micro-brewery and you can tell me all about what you believe and whether you own a cat and what your dining room window looks out on and whether you were able to get a Wii. There's always the risk at this point that you will refuse my invitation to go to a micro-brewery because you frown on the consumption of alcoholic beverages, at which time I will make a mental note to never invite you anywhere ever again. And that will significantly hamper our ability to be best friends. But we'll still work together fine. I mean, it's work, right?

And that is the most important lesson of all. We shouldn't be trying to elect the guy who is most like us or who shares our personal philosophies. We're not going to be best friends with him. If you want a best friend, sign up for a social network. Facebook is open to everyone now. Or join a community sports league. Or hang out at Borders and talk to strangers in the section of books that most interests you. This is the time you should be looking to hire the best man for the job. And, believe it or not, the job you are hiring for isn't "best friend." You're not hiring a guy to be your neighbor or to try new restaurants with you every Thursday. You'll probably never even see this guy once he gets started. What you should care about is whether he knows how to do what he needs to do. And whether he is resourceful enough to solve the problems you weren't able to anticipate in the interview process. And in the event he has to step down, you want to make sure that his understudy will be able to step in smoothly and finish the work he started. So the two of them should definitely have a lot of similar qualifications. You might even want to pick the runner-up for the job, since they were already almost good enough. Or you could focus on that guy's religious beliefs, get spooked by them, and pick someone by drawing up a game of M.A.S.H. Be careful, though. That's how you end up living in a shack, driving an ice cream truck to your job as a mailman. Also, you have eight kids and a pet hamster. Sorry.

Anyway, as a woman, I wish I could be encouraged by the selection of a woman on the GOP ticket. But the fact that Sarah Palin is a woman who doesn't support my reproductive rights is a problem for me. I don't mind that she doesn't believe I should have them. But I do mind that she would actively seek to take them away. That makes it hard for me to think of her as "one of us." I would never blindly vote for a woman just because of her gender. That's as foolish as not voting for one just because of her gender. I'm also bemused by the double standard. Conservatives who disliked Hillary Clinton were often unable to simply not like her politics. Some of them shouted things out like "make me a sandwich," and pundits in the media even offered that one of her barriers to acceptance might be that the shrillness of her voice would remind men of the nagging wives they'd sooner forget. Are we meant to believe that these gender-specific barriers wouldn't apply to Sarah Palin just because she's prettier* than Hillary Clinton? That's about the most sexist and ignorant possibility of all. Are we really suggesting that the glass ceiling is being broken by John McCain? If there are truly millions of cracks in the glass ceiling, I suspect it's because the fat cats dancing on it have been eating more fried foods.

Incidentally, I'm voting for Obama and Biden.

*Prettier? Maybe. But does anyone dislike polar fleece as much as I do?

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posted by Mary Forrest at 1:58 PM | Back to Monoblog

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     Jun 20, 2008


I keep singing "Why Bother" by Weezer to myself. But it's not about relationship angst. It's about the election. I'm an avid and outspoken Democrat, but something happened to me in the 2000 elections. Recently watching Recount brought it all flooding back. That sickening sense of helpless frustration. It's funny. When you watch a movie about the election debacle, you know how it all turned out and you know it isn't going to turn out differently, but for a spell, you can allow yourself to get caught up in the drama of the story and hope that things won't go awry, as you know them historically to have gone awry. It's peculiar and irrational. And it's how my mother watches movies. Movies about Dillinger or Bonnie and Clyde make her so angry. She just wants the protagonists to get away. And history be damned. When I was watching Recount the other day, that habit of hers suddenly made so much sense.

I was rooting for John Edwards. And then he dropped out. So I was rooting for Hillary Clinton, and now that's over. I completely support Barack Obama and will vote for him come November, and I'm not at all unhappy that he is going to be the candidate. But for some reason I don't have the stomach for any of the debate. I'm even reluctant to write about it here, because I know if someone posts a comment that rubs my Democrat nose in anything, I'll probably burst into tears.

Why so fragile? I have no idea. I was almost disenfranchised when I went to vote a few weeks ago. My polling station had changed, and I didn't realize it. So I strode into the old folks home around the corner and presented my drivers license and was promptly turned away. I asked the volunteers if they knew where I was supposed to go, and they pointed to a number on a map, but didn't know the actual street address. And they were very pissy about it. In the end, I had to walk back to my car, drive home and get my voter's pamphlet, drive to another location (which I would never have found just based on the area they were pointing at on the map), park, wander around looking for a sign that would indicate where I should go, and then wait several minutes while a volunteer with absurdly long and curved fingernails tried time and time again to prize a single ballot from the stack. In the end, I got my "I Voted" sticker. But it just didn't feel like it mattered anymore. And that saddens me. I have many impassioned opinions about the electoral process, but I no longer have the fortitude to assemble them and say them aloud. This seems like something to be ashamed of. The up side is that I no longer have to vote at that old folks home. It's much closer to my apartment, but it always smells like a roast beef dinner in there. Causing me to note that old folks homes always smell like roast beef dinner. No matter what time of the day you go and no matter what anyone is actually eating. And if you know me and food smells, you know I am willing to go a few extra blocks to not smell like anyone's dinner. Ever.

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posted by Mary Forrest at 4:50 PM | Back to Monoblog

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     Nov 9, 2006


I was driving back from San Diego the other night, and Adam and I were chatting about the upcoming mid-term elections. We were agreeing on the importance of electoral reform. I think that -- if we are ever going to make a real dent in the problem of voter participation and also begin to undo some of the disillusionment created by the last two presidential elections -- the electoral process needs to be overhauled so that it is possible for a layperson to actually understand how it works. The way we do it now, I don't think I would be able to audit my precinct, much less a national election, even if I was given the chance to do it. I don't really know what's supposed to happen. I think Adam agreed with me, if I recall correctly, and he went further to talk about the problem of disenfranchisement among the poor and immigrant populations. He was talking about how requiring a driver's license would disenfranchise the very poor in particular, as they are less likely to have such identification (correct me if I'm wrong, Adam), and that previous leadership would never allow such a requirement to be imposed. And, while I completely agree that we need to make certain that one party does not seize or maintain power expressly by keeping the groups who are likely to vote against them from getting their ballots in the ballot boxes, I had to admit to him that I'm growing more and more tired of being a member of the party that relies on the poor and immigrant populations to win. Because like it or not, the poor and immigrant populations are generally less educated and have less influence, and needing them to come out to the polls en masse in order to win has begun to make me feel like we're riding some sort of Democratic short bus. What we need is for the white, affluent, English-speaking citizens to vote on our side, too. What we need is for more people to give a shit about more than just themselves and for Democratic campaigns to call out and trump the six-year-long keg stand that has been taking place in the Oval Office since the hanging chad became a part of the cultural lexicon. Because that seems to be the key policy-making difference between Republicans and Democrats. Republican policies -- that decimate social services, line the pockets of the richest of the rich, foresake the environment, protect the assets of the largest corporations, chip away at healthcare and educational infrastructures, and pay the robber barons of the war machine instead of the soldiers at war -- seem to have one overarching value, and that is that these policies are plainly shortsighted and don't consider the plight of future generations at all. And Republican voters have gone to the polls repeatedly and reiterated this value. "I don't care about the environment. Let them worry about it when I'm gone. I don't want the estate of my wealthy family to be taxed. Let me spend that dough now, and fuck you, schools. I don't care what the rest of the globe thinks of us. I won't be alive to need their help in the next international crisis. Plus, when am I ever going to France? I don't want to pay teachers a decent wage or give public schools the funding they need. I won't be around to be robbed, raped, and murdered by the kids who don't get the proper education. I don't want women to be able to have abortions, because that makes me feel bad NOW. Instead, I want to force them to have their babies and then just not fund the social programs that will help them raise those babies with the proper healthcare and education, because that will happen LATER, and I won't be watching when it does. I'll probably be in Montserrat."

And then the election happened.

And I'm happy to say that I'm encouraged today. For the first time since November of 2000, I'm encouraged. I'm hopeful that a Democratic Congress can restore some sanity in a system much in need of it. I was never terribly partisan before the 2000 election. I never felt I had to be. But I almost feel as if the divisive partisan tactics of the Republican campaign engineers backfired on them this time. Because I would have voted a straight Democratic ticket, no matter who had been running, just to try and restore the balance of power. Which means the issues are lost and the conscience of the voters is lost, and that is a scary precipice to be perched on. I voted this time in the spirit of triage, but I really look forward to being able to vote one day soon armed with just my intellect and powers of reason.

I don't think the mandate of the voters can be selectively honored. But I wouldn't be surprised if Republicans choose to instead find another way to say "mandate."

I echo Adam's sentiment: "I haven't been this hopeful since Bill Clinton."

I'm happy for my party, and I pray they don't fuck it up.

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posted by Mary Forrest at 5:40 PM | Back to Monoblog

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     Dec 25, 2005


I sang O Holy Night at my parents' church tonight, as I do nearly every year. My mother was very proud. When I sat back down next to her, she gave me a very Bill Clinton-esque thumbs up and said, "You made it!"

Paul and I stopped off for egg nog on the way back to the house, and I added a little brandy to it and grated fresh nutmeg on it, and Paul and my dad and I drank it up. My mother was furious that we bought any to begin with. She cried out in dismay and said there was absolutely no room for it in the refrigerator. And I said, "What about the refrigerator under the bar?" And she said -- equally furiously -- "I forgot about that." I told her to relax and reminded her how much I love egg nog, and she said, "So much for that weight loss." Merry Christmas to all.

Paul and Sarah and my parents and I were watching Must Love Dogs, but we decided it was terrible. So we put in March of the Penguins, and my mom followed along with her typical commentary. She says the things that happen in your brain sometimes. You understand the logic, but you've never said these things aloud. She laughs because that penguin is so much taller than the rest. She reminds you about that email with the animation of the one penguin slapping the other. "He gets so fed up, and then he can't take it anymore, so he slaps him!" The wonder of childhood is not lost in her. It's pretty magical.

I left to go meet friends at Nunu's, and my mother wished out loud that my friends would all find that it was too late and not want to meet up after all. Ridiculous. I do feel a bit guilty, though. I didn't come home until about four, and she had apparently begun to worry herself that the worst possible things had happened to me. I didn't mean to worry her. It just didn't occur to me that she wouldn't remember how I stay out until the wee hours all the time.

It's been a hectic visit. I did a lot shopping and a lot of driving and a lot of celebrating and a lot of not getting a lot done. And in the end, it's well after four in the morning on Christmas day, and I have presents to wrap and winks to catch and I'll never get it all done. And by the time we're ready to play at Santa, I will be exhausted and cranky and wish I had made better use of tonight. It's my fault. I know it. But what am I to do. There's fog everywhere and not a car in sight and good friends and hyperbole. Who could resist such a cocktail.

And now I'm home watching the A Christmas Story marathon on TBS. They were playing it at Nunu's on one television. The James Bond marathon was playing on another. It was like my dream command central. Forget trans-continental surveillance. I just want to know how much red cabbage Ralphie eats and how surprised James is to meet his bride with the face like a pig. And I don't want to have to switch back and forth.

I wish you a lovely Christmas, and I wouldn't have minded being wished the same by you.

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posted by Mary Forrest at 4:30 AM | Back to Monoblog

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     Nov 2, 2004

Forever Yours, Nocturnal Me

I am wide awake.

You know what song I love an especial lot these days? Ocean by Sebadoh. I bought Harmacy when it first came out, and it continues to be among my most favorite albums. And every time I hear Ocean, I feel its jaunty melody bouncing in my brain, and I love the contrast of the cheerily sad lyrics. Residue of resignation. I bought that album years and years ago. In so many respects, nothing has changed. I would revisit that past if I had to, but there wouldn't be much point. I would still have Bill Clinton as my president and health insurance as my failsafe. But the rest is all just an expanse of beige. The details have eroded. Like bumps of braille in the erotic passages of a novel for the blind.

Anyway I like the song as much now as then. And I like people to read the lyrics to songs I like and go, "Yeah."

So you think you're in the middle of the ocean
Stranded on an island of your own?
Or stuck on the top of a mountain,
Either way you're gonna say you're all alone.

And I hesitate to say that you're a liar
I never tell the truth myself.
But I tried to chase you down and I got tired
So I'm leaving you to be with someone else.

'Cause you never wanna hook up in the middle
And I'd meet you there to talk if you would show
But you answer every question with a riddle
And refuse to even choose to let me go.

It used to be I'd tell you all my secrets
Giving you the credit you deserved
I guess you didn't care to lose or keep it
And we never quite connected from the first.

And I wish I had a way to make it better
To rearrange the world and make you smile.
But it's dumb to even think I had that power
And we haven't been that close in a while.

And I don't even wanna try to name it
Explain it for the one who couldn't care
'Cause all that matters is the way you choose to frame it.

I hesitate to say that you're a liar
I never tell the truth myself.
But I tried to chase you down and I got tired
So I'm leaving you to be with someone else.

'Cause you never wanna hook up in the middle
And I'd meet you there to talk if you would show.
But you answer every question with a riddle
And refuse to even choose to let me go.

And still, that melody makes me want to go sailing. In a little boat. The kind that won't stave off seasickness but that can be managed by a party of two. I would make sandwiches for such an outing. And they would be delicious even if they got all wet.

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posted by Mary Forrest at 6:14 AM | Back to Monoblog

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     Oct 20, 2004

"I love you, mother father."

I feel as if I made some strides today. And not just because I wore fabulous boots or because I kept thinking my skirt was too short when I felt the breeze up in my nethers. I mean thoughtful strides in the unearthing of difficult-to-unearth objects. Progress, maybe. The difference between flailing and upsetting. It's one thing to just flail about. But if you knock something over, too, then at least the flailing is productive. Right? Anyway.

My dream state is a plague. A blight. I have no further desire to know what my mind wishes it was up to. I am no longer curious what my secret self wants. I just want some rest. Damn it all.

Saturday, Steve and Chris showed me the footage of Jon Stewart's appearance on Crossfire. Watch it. It's all over the Internet, so you have no excuse to not see it. We screened it on Chris's Mac, after finding the Growing Pains reunion to be unwatchable. And not in a campy, kitschy way. Just plain unwatchable. I hope you missed it. And I hope you didn't bother to TiVo it. And if you did, I hope you deleted it before you bothered to watch it. We also watched that scary little midget guy on Jimmy Kimmel -- the new Red Sox good luck charm. They won a few games, so I guess that's something. But that little freak is a freak. I felt sad and dirty after watching his segment. Like I did after nearly every episode of Webster.

I forgot to mention that the hands-down funniest moment in Team America is the "signal." If you've seen it, you will know what I mean and agree with me. It's not what everyone will be talking about, but when you flash back to it in your recollection, you will laugh and laugh. Because it is fucking hilarious.

My dog doesn't like to pee in the rain. I don't think she likes to pee on my rug either, but it seems she likes peeing in the rain less.

Adam and I had a somewhat inspiring conversation today about the political process and what ails it. We talked about the fact that the mistake the DNC has made (other than letting Terry McAuliffe* anywhere near a camera -- or a decision for that matter) is that, in its desire to curry favor among swing voters, it has forgotten its liberal base. When I heard President Clinton speak earlier this year, he quoted statistics about registered Republicans and registered Democrats and pointed out that we Democrats are usually fighting that uphill battle of trying to convince the undecided to vote in our favor and also to turn some of the more moderate Republicans come election day. But what I've noticed is that the party's ardent desire to close that unfortunate gap has given it a case of tunnel vision. Because I listened to the third Presidential debate, and I was so discouraged to hear John Kerry continually touting his sameness. I'm like he is, he seemed to be saying. I own guns. I go hunting. I pray a lot. I go to church. And I'm not saying that he can't be a good Democrat while doing all of those things, but what I want is for the candidate of my party to finally do some damage to the crazy notion that a president HAS to do these things in order to gain mass appeal. That he must be a Republican, even if he's running as a Democrat. I want to elect a Democrat, but I want to elect his courage and his convictions and his ideas and his plans. Not his Republican outfit -- the one he wears when he doesn't think any of his Democratic friends are looking. The one he thinks will fool the neo-cons into thinking he's one of them. What a 21 Jump Street-caliber idea. I want to elect him because of how DIFFERENT he is than George W. Bush. Not because of how nearly the same he is. And I think the DNC has lost sight of that. I think they have lost sight of the need to give those of us out there with our hearts a-bleed a candidate we can thrill to. They need to give us a candidate that will win over the Nader-lovers and the fringies and the George Carlins who think voting doesn't matter because we end up electing the same guy no matter what we do; he's just got different initials most of the time. I'm tired of my electoral passion being limited to my desire to get my "I Voted!" sticker. I want the faithless to turn out to be wrong. I want to believe in a candidate and have him turn out to be a statesman. I want the system to work. Just once before it gets dismantled by Cheney and his gang of hard-arteried thugs.

I don't think John Kerry is a bad candidate. I just wish the party would let him run a little. Let him stretch his legs. See what he can do. And I wish that Howard Dean had been given an actual chance. Because I think the system needs some shaking up. And the country needs to be reminded that a bloody war was fought to keep us from being exsanguinated by the tyranny of the rule of the monarchy. Our government happened because of a desire to protect freedoms and limit the autonomy of the buearucracy. To give those without money or power or aristocratic privilege a voice and proxy. Someone needs to remind us that what is at stake in this election is not just a presidency but our very way of life. I know that will sound to some like liberal hyperbolizing, but I am dead serious. Josh and I went to see Paul Krugman speak on Friday night (he is brilliant, by the by), and it really is downright chilling to consider what has been happening in our country for the past four years and to tally the shockingly small number of voices who are saying anything about it. It seems unimaginable that the dollar will collapse or that a revolution will blister out of the fallout. But we've already seen a coup. I know people pretend this isn't the case, but the 2000 elections were a travesty. And if the Supreme Court and the Governor of Florida are allowed to APPOINT an executive this time around, I hope I won't be the only one on my block shaking my fist about it. We are a nation disenfranchised. And saying that in a roomful of people runs the risk of being transported into an episode of The Twilight Zone. I'm always talking, but no one seems to understand a word I'm saying. Anyway, that's why Adam is my hero. He actually bought a plane ticket and is spending his last pre-election weekend on the campaign trail in Ohio. I am not doing nearly so much for the cause, and I am ashamed of that. I contribute monthly to the DNC and the DCCC, but that's the laziest participation there is, and I know it. I'm trying to mask my shame by applauding Adam. I'm clapping extra hard. And if a Democrat is elected this November, I will give Adam all the credit.

I am reading a lot. I am catching up. I am getting caught up. In both the transitive and intransitive senses. I am keeping busy. There's work. And there's want. And there's trying to get organized enough to BEGIN. And I'm noticing that I'm using a lot of capitalization emphasis in this post. And I think that's EMBARRASSING.

Everything feels so new. Enough so that I get hopeful. That I get happy. Enough so that I want to see what I can get away with and to get away with all I can. I have not been feeling very poetic. But there seems to be poetry all around me. I find myself noticing little wonders all the time. And wondering if that makes me crazy. I'm reading psychology and philosophy at the moment, and maybe that makes me pay closer attention. Perhaps we are not supposed to be able to open our eyes to all that we experience for fear of being overwhelmed, but I do give it my goddamnedest. That I do.

You will notice the absence of a segue.

I think it is my father's contention that if a person does something bad to you, it is because that person is bad. Not because he is good but flawed. Not because he is usually good but the victim of a lapse. When a person hurts you or lies to you or treats you with disrespect or disloyalty, this is because it is in him to do it. When a person breaks a commitment, it is because the commitment was never real. A person who falls out of love with you was never in love with you. Oh, to live in a world that was so black and white.

The title of my post was exclaimed by a Japanese girl into Dave Attell's camera on a recent episode of Insomniac. I don't know why I wrote it down. It amused and delighted me when I heard it. And with all the delving I've been doing into what is broken in my brain, I sometimes feel the need to reaffirm. I do love you, mother father. I sometimes wish we could have done things differently, but I love you just the same. And I know you did your best. And I know it won't be the end of me. And I would like to believe there is a chance that we can all be happy without any of us having to lie about it.

The same goes for the rest of you out there whose approval has mattered to me or whose affirmations have superseded food and warmth on my hierarchy of needs. If I can make you believe that I was worth any of it, I might be able to get a good night's sleep after all.

But maybe not. I think sleep is overrated. And I do tremendous, amazing, inimitable things in the nighttime. It's not the shuteye I'm missing. It's the daydreams.

I'm thinking in spurts. It's symptomatic of something. If there's one thing I've learned, it's that everything is symptomatic of something. EVERYTHING.

*If you haven't already heard me say how much I hate Terry McAuliffe, you haven't hung around me much.

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posted by Mary Forrest at 1:04 AM | Back to Monoblog

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     Feb 24, 2004

Fits and Starts

I went to see Bill Clinton and Bob Dole speak tonight. I'm just all thrill and inspiration right now. Bob Dole is witty and self-deprecating. Bill Clinton is eloquent and whip smart. Just fucking smart as hell. He's also charming and winning and really down-to-earth. I often say that I wish he could be president again. And I always mean it.

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posted by Mary Forrest at 1:27 AM | Back to Monoblog

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     Sep 18, 2003

Time Capsule

September 18, 2003.
Johnny Depp is a seemingly unstoppable box office draw.
Queer Eye for the Straight Guy has been deemed a sensation.
Eddie Izzard is on tour.
There's a hurricane happening somewhere.
Arnold Schwarzenegger is trying to win the women's vote on Oprah's show by comparing pumping iron to "coming."
People are still wearing white. Me included.
Asparagus is being served at restaurants but sparingly.
The White Stripes sing the blues.
Hillary Clinton is not running; Wesley Clark is.
In an unrelated story, I have goosebumps.

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posted by Mary Forrest at 12:46 PM | Back to Monoblog

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     Sep 17, 2003

Over Getting Over

I'm watching The West Wing on Bravo. I do from time to time. And lately, with my renewed vigor for democracy and fairness and crusading against bad policy, I catch myself envying characters who get to serve in the White House. I imagine it's something magical to be part of a presidential administration. But I also imagine that it must be hard to get used to the idea that it will one day be all over. To give yourself over to that cause for four years and know that it's going to end -- some people get really emotional when high school ends, too, you know. I wasn't one of them. But I saw it with my own eyes.

I was talking to my friend Lia about this recently. I told her how discouraged I was when I took note of the fact that I used to be unstoppable. Tireless. I used to work and try and perform and rehearse, and there never seemed to be enough time for rest or paying bills or seeing movies. I was always GOING. And it never really drained me. Or exhausted my resources. Or made me wish I could just have a quiet evening at home. I was sometimes sitting in an orchestra pit until midnight six nights a week. And I never thought about ditching for a night or just napping or getting pizza. It was similar when I was in school. No amount of extracurricular commitment or exam stress or friend fun could have kept me from wanting to keep at it. I used to go to school when I was so sick I could barely sit up, but I didn't want to be kept from a debate tournament or a yearbook deadline or whatever it was.

But I'm not unstoppable anymore. That bottomless reservoir of motivation and life force has been tapped dry. Now, as much as I get angry about government and politicians, I think to myself, "I could never do that." I don't have the energy. I imagine you have to just go twenty-four hours a day when you're part of a campaign. You have to get up early and stay out until it's early again. You have to smile and think and be present in the moment. You can't slack off just because you're feeling a little down. You can't stay home and feel reclusive and uninspired. There's no time for it. I don't think I have enough energy anymore to make a difference.

Of course, I also sneer at the record of our current president, who gets high marks for giving himself time off and taking vacations like they were going out of style (which they are, incidentally, for everyone else). But he seems like an anomaly to me. I think most people working for a presidential administration work really hard. Hard enough to put me to shame.

For the record, I would have voted for Bill Clinton again and again and again. But that's neither here nor there.

Anyway, I feel a bit sad thinking about the finiteness of things. Maybe I spend too much time anticipating the ending and too little time experiencing the part before. Maybe that's what's wrong with me. I get sad when I think about how it will feel when I have to look back on a part of my life and see that that part is over and that I can never have it back. I am putty in the hands of nostalgia. And I lament the amount of regret I feel. Because a girl shouldn't always have to feel so sorry. A girl shouldn't always have to look back and think that it was all such a waste of time. I am guilty of too often betting on the wrong horse. And maybe this is because I pick my horses with very little science. "Cool name," I think. Or, "I've heard of the horse who sired him." I bank on things for no better reason than because I don't know enough about them to know better. And it's my näiveté that keeps causing me such pain and consternation. You'd think by now I'd have been covered by a great suit of jade. It's a wonder.

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posted by Mary Forrest at 12:00 PM | Back to Monoblog

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     Oct 3, 2002

He's still my president.

I was mesmerized by Bill Clinton on C-SPAN this morning, addressing the British Labour Party Conference in Blackpool. He is a sight for sore eyes. Eyes sore from looking at George W. Bush behind a podium that sports the Presidental Seal, to be candid. Bill Clinton is such an easy and engaging speaker. Just a big chunk of charisma and clever, articulate wisdom. He is casual and charming. Astute and affable. Both serious and humorous. He is tough on the current administration. And quick to point out their attempts to dismantle the accomplishments of his administration. He is ironic without being snide. Self-congratulatory without being snarky. I don't care what anyone says: Bill Clinton is leadership material. And he speaks my mind. And he speaks it without stumbling or bumbling or having other people say it for him. He is, off the cuff, a more dynamic figure than his successor could be with the help of CGI mastering. I liked my life better when he was president.

I look at him now -- his hair gone completely white and a little extra puffiness showing up beneath his eyes -- and I feel as if we have been through a great deal together. It's comforting.

Tony Blair, on the other hand, is beginning to look like Nosferatu. I cast no aspersions on his policy-making, but he's going positively elven as the years track on. All the same, I'm on the side of the ones who are right. Just like we all say we are.

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posted by Mary Forrest at 3:57 AM | Back to Monoblog

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