Thursday, August 6, 2015

Republic of Egoslavia

Planet, Earthgirl, and I are driving to Republic Pennsylvania tomorrow for a long weekend together before Planet leaves for her academic year job at a small college in southern Michigan next Wednesday. We are staying in the house my father grew up in: his older brother lived there until two, three, four, seven years ago, his younger sister has kept it up. It's probably been thirty years since I was inside; Earthgirl and Planet have never been inside (though we've driven past it, last time probably my mother's mother's funeral fifteen, sixteen years ago). The house is the left side of a company town duplex built for coal miners before Fayette County coal seams were exhausted - there are still abandoned coke ovens and slate hills, but no more coal (though I expect to see frackers' rigs squeezing out what gas and oil remain). This house doesn't haunt me like my mother's mother's does, probably, with a few exceptions, because we always slept and spent more time at my mother's mother's than my father's father's. Still, there was the heating grate, something rattling down in its belly, between the tiny living room and the big dining room/kitchen that I worried would collapse and suck me to the center of the Earth each time I crossed it, the creepy basement that always smelled of sewer gas, and outside, the alley that led to the top of the hill to the neighborhood trash dump where Elric and I would throw rocks at bottles and rats. I google-mapped the house and went to street view - the front porch is gone, and I've been told not to expect the same insides as I remember. Friday we're going to Pittsburgh to wander downtown during the day and see a Pirates game in the evening, Saturday we're driving around the ancient homeland, listening to music, taking photos. I don't know if the house in Republic has internet, and I don't know that if the house has internet I'll post any photos or travelogue, and there are no Egoslavian Holy Days imminent, and I've promised myself - despite this post - to shut the fuck up here for at least a couple of days (and, more vitally, to not tell you why I promised to shut the fuck up (and then why I failed)), so....


  1. my mother was born in pittsburgh - her father and mother met there after world war i - he was a soldier with lingering injuries, she was a nurse - he went on to graduate from pitt and after my mother was born they moved to new england - grandma was a pennsylvian, grandpap was originally from indiana

  2. You'll be surprised by the house (especially upstairs where there's now a bathroom). Yes, porch is closed off now as an additional room. It had internet and directTV at one point, though service may be turned off now that he resides in VA. Your father's younger sister can tell you if it is still on.

  3. Enjoy your vacation from blogging. You deserve it. Ramble around the haunts of the past. Did that a few years back when researching my novel. Odd how things seem smaller than you remember them being.

  4. Promises, promises.

    Get cancer, then talk about shutting the fuck up -- sounds hollow then, all too possible, imminent, not amusing, and to be feared.

    No, never shut the fuck up, Jeff, it'd be totally out of character, possibly fatal. Keep talking. Never lose sight of the fact that nothing on wheels runs without a motor, even hell.

    I mean, just us girls here, nobody will ever know.

    How about talking about some different stuff, just to keep it interesting for yourself, not to mention for us, we the living, your devoted audience of what -- a half dozen.

    (If so, it's twice as big as mine, he coyly boasted.)

    Don't talk about hits. Never never never. Gives away the game.

    Couple days ago Philip Weiss was on Pacifica bragging about how a post got 30,000 hits.

    Gauche -- made one wince on the poor fellow's behalf, though of course he wouldn't.

    And here I'd bought his front as a person of principle. Sell me another one, Phil -- I'm one of those really old guys, too crippled to kick the tires on a used BSmobile!.

    Hey world, I just got two hits, add me to the lineup for the next Poodle Potty laughathon!

    Desperate, insecure, pathetic as bloggers may be, why advertise it.

    For example, I'd I like to hear more about library administration! Even and maybe especially if it's your vacation!!

    1. Thank you, may I have another any time you deem deserving.

      Of course it's that some but not nearly as much as once he tells himself and not pings which are fine. The screaming then the screaming to shut up and the shutting up and the screaming I don't want to shut up and the then screaming... working it out, fucking it up....

      Then this - that Gass excerpt I use for his birthday, my total rapture for Feldman's music? I want that personal insight into the infinite small and quiet, and I can't get there shutting the fuck up and I can't get there screaming, but yes, thank you for the encouragement, I am going to keep trying.