March 25th, 2004 (Entry # 7 & Something I Realized)

December 3rd, 2010

(Entry # 6)

(In black ballpoint pen, cursive handwriting:)

03.25.2004

Kevin said “What if you go to New York and find the love of your life?”  Why did he say that?  No reason, no reason.  Without reason.  That’s why I’ll be moving there.  But it’s too late, the wheels are turning and I need to start again.  I’ve learned here.  I need a more drastic change.  I need someone to know me.  Alone alone alone.
“And I wish you all the love in the world, but most of all, I wish it from myself.”

“Hate is baggage,” Justin said.

“I love that movie,” I told him.  “American History X.”

Recently I realized that love is more powerful than hate, and that it feels so much better to love.  Hate is wasteful, love is redeeming.

I’m done with hate.  My arms are too weak to carry it, and life is too short to be consumed by it.

March 24th, 2004 (Entry # 6)

November 22nd, 2010

(Entry # 5)

(In black ballpoint pen, cursive handwriting:)

03.24.04

“I find it kinda funny, I find it kinda sad, the dreams in which I’m dying are the best I ever had.”  We’re both gonna feel nothing.  Or just he will, or just I will.  It’s one of those three.  Probably whatever will hurt me most.  Ah – just he will feel nothing.  I won’t cry though.  I shouldn’t, I won’t be surprised.  It’s ok, I know.  “It’s alright this time, I said.”  I feel it is so close to being magical, I just need reality to come and kick me down.  Why?  It seems so unfair.  Boys like me, why not this one?  I see them falling, I sense it and I smell it.  But if I don’t feel the same then why call them out on it?  Did I sense it this time?  Well now I don’t know.  I’m starting to not know anything anymore.  It’s so powerful, so consuming.  I can’t imagine the force when two people feel it together.  It must hurt with greatness.  It will make the cold warm and the bitter sweet.  It will be heavy.  It will never happen to me, and after this trip maybe I will be forced to research within me and discover why.  It must be me.  Alone and alone and I’ve been alone forever.  I need skin and lips and breath and eyes.  And smile.  Some never get it.  I may be some.  And that’s sad.

I was at the duck with Lauren last night.  We discussed the idea that people are conditioned to think and act certain ways as a result of previous experiences with relationships and one-sided attractions.

This is a thought that has long laid dormant in my blog notes.  It makes me think of my favorite scene in Wolf Creek where the psychopath severs the girl’s spine.  His intention was to keep her conscious but render her completely paralyzed from the neck down so that she could not run away but still provide him with information.  He called her a “head on a stick”.  I have many notes like this, like heads on sticks.

Anyway, a few weeks ago, partially due to this conditioning theory, I decided to take every decision I would normally make concerning matters of the heart and do the opposite.  Currently, I cannot tell if this is producing a positive or negative response, or neither.

Also, I think it’s worth mentioning that I am very happy with my life right now.  Familiar aches still persist, but overall, I’m dancing.

I’m dancing.

Intermission (The Death of Sam Cooke)

November 16th, 2010

Cupid, draw back your bow and let your arrow go
Straight to my lover’s heart for me
Cupid, please hear my cry and let your arrow fly
Straight to my lover’s heart for me
- Sam Cooke, “Cupid”

On Thursday, December 10th, 1964, 33-year old Sam Cooke (right) introduced himself to 22-year old Elisa Boyer (below) at Martoni’s, an Italian restaurant off Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood.  Although Boyer understood that she was in the presence of the Sam Cooke, people at the restaurant said she did not seem star struck.  The two acted like old friends.

After several drinks, they left together in Cooke’s red Ferrari and drove to a nearby club on Santa Monica Boulevard called PJ’s.  Cooke was a regular at the club.  He ordered drinks and made the rounds, saying hi to friends and acquaintances.  At about 2 a.m. (and highly intoxicated), Cooke and Boyer got back into his Ferrari.

No one besides Cooke and Boyer knew the nature of their plans upon leaving PJ’s, but considering Boyer’s reputation with men at Sunset Strip hotspots, along with Cooke’s reported uncontrollable sex drive, it is not unreasonable to assume that the couple went in search of a bed.

They passed a number of hotels and motels during their 17-mile drive.  Boyer later said he drove fast and recklessly.

They ended up at the Hacienda Motel in south-central Los Angeles.  The Hacienda didn’t get a lot of customers in red Ferraris. It was a $3-a-night dive on South Figueroa Street – the sort of place where the desk clerk kept a pistol handy.

Fifty-five-year old Bertha Franklin (right) was working the overnight shift at the motel that evening when she checked in Cooke and Boyer around 2:35 a.m.

Although Boyer later claimed that she demanded Cooke take her home prior to their arrival at the Hacienda, Boyer indicated no distress to the clerk.

Franklin pointed out that per motel policy the couple had to check in as husband and wife, so Cooke signed in as “Mr. and Mrs. Sam Cooke”.  He apparently had no qualms about using his real name, and he paid for the room in cash.

Boyer claimed that when she and Cooke got inside of the motel room, he became aggressive as he stripped her to her underwear.

“I started talking very loudly: ‘Please, take me home,’” Boyer later told police. “He pinned me on the bed. He kept saying, ‘We’re just going to talk.’…He pulled my sweater off and ripped my dress…I knew he was going to rape me.”

At some point Cooke went into the bathroom to relieve himself.  When he emerged, Boyer was gone, as was most of his clothing and his wallet.  According to Boyer, when Cooke stepped into the bathroom for a moment, she quickly grabbed her clothes and ran from the room. She claimed that in her haste, she had also scooped up most of Cooke’s clothing by mistake.

Boyer then ran to the motel manager’s office and pounded on the door, but Franklin did not answer because she was on the phone with the hotel owner, Evelyn Carr.  So Boyer, in fear that Cooke would find her, fled to a nearby pay-phone and called police.  Her call was logged in at 3:08 a.m. “Will you please come down to this number. I don’t know where I am. I’m kidnapped,” she told police.  She said she had escaped in her underwear and stopped in a stairwell to dress.

Meanwhile, Cooke, dressed only in a sports jacket and shoes, jumped in his car and sped around to the front of the motel to try to find Boyer. In his drunken rage, he assumed she had gone back to the office.

“Where’s the girl?!” he yelled as he pounded on the office door.

Franklin, who was still on the phone with Carr, went to the door and said she didn’t know.  Cooke kicked his way through the door and grabbed Franklin by the arms.

“We got in a tussle,” Franklin told police. “We fell to the floor. I tried to bite him through that jacket.”

Franklin broke free and fetched the .22 pistol she kept on hand. She pointed it at Cooke and squeezed the trigger three times. One of the shots pierced his heart.

According to Franklin, his final words were, “Lady, you shot me!” before mounting a last charge at her. She said that she then beat him over his head with a broomstick before he finally fell, mortally wounded by the gunshot.

The motel owner, Carr, was an earwitness to the shooting. She listened in as Franklin put down the phone and went through the ordeal with Cooke.

After hearing the shots, Carr hung up and phoned police at about 3:15 a.m. “I think she shot him,” Carr said.

Police cars, with sirens wailing, raced to the scene, and officers found Sam Cooke dead. His Ferrari was still outside the office, the driver’s door open and the engine running.

A few minutes after police arrived, Elisa Boyer walked up and presented herself as Cooke’s victim.

Police found a bottle of Scotch in the Ferrari. They also inventoried Cooke’s property: a wristwatch, a money clip with $108, and some loose change.

A thin wallet in which Cooke carried credit cards and his driver’s license was never found.  Witnesses at Martoni’s said he had a wad of perhaps $1,000, but that money was never recovered either.  Police searched Boyer’s purse but found only a single $20 bill.

Boyer’s story of what happened the night of Cooke’s death has been called into question because of Cooke’s missing money, and the fact that only a month after Cooke was shot, Boyer was arrested for prostitution at a Hollywood motel after agreeing by phone to have sex with an undercover cop for $40.  There was speculation over the possibility that Boyer may have gone willingly to the motel with Cooke, then slipped out of the room with Cooke’s clothing in order to rob him, rather than to escape an attempted rape.

However, such questions were ultimately deemed beyond the scope of the investigation, whose purpose was to establish the circumstances of Franklin’s role in the shooting, not to determine precisely what had transpired between Cooke and Boyer preceding the event.  Also, when an attorney hired by the Cooke family tried to inquire about what Boyer did for a living, the prosecutor responded, “We are not concerned with the occupation of the girl.”

Police officials testified that both Boyer and Franklin had passed lie detector tests.  The jurors took 15 minutes to rule the shooting justifiable to “protect life, limb and property.”

Cooke’s family still believed there was some sort of cover up and that evidence was suppressed.  They maintained that there was a conspiracy to murder Cooke and that the murder took place in some manner entirely different from the three official accounts.

They hired a private investigator who uncovered the following information: (1) Cooke had dated Elisa Boyer three weeks prior to his murder despite the fact that numerous people warned him about her colorful past which included prostitution, and (2) Bertha Franklin had a .32 registered in her name yet she killed Cooke with a .22.

Additionally, singer Etta James revealed in her book, “Rage To Survive”,  that when she viewed Cooke’s body in the funeral home he was so badly beaten that his head was decapitated from his shoulders, his hands were broken and crushed, his nose was smashed and he had a two inch bump on his head.  These injuries were never explained, and some found it hard to believe that a 55-year old woman could inflict these types of injuries.  (Cooke, as police found him, above.)

In 1979 Elisa Boyer was found guilty of second degree murder in the shooting death of her boyfriend.  Bertha Franklin moved to Michigan and died 18 months after Cooke’s passing.

No concrete evidence supporting a conspiracy theory has been presented to date.

It is rumored that Dennis Wilson from The Beach Boys later bought Cooke’s red Ferrari.  Wilson was a huge Cooke fan, and supposedly he would drive around in the car and listen to Cooke’s records.

I’m also a huge fan.

February 29th, 2004 (Entry # 5)

November 15th, 2010

(Entry # 1)
(Entry # 2)
(Entry # 3)
(Entry # 4)

(In black ballpoint pen, cursive handwriting:)

2.29.04

“I like you so much I talk to everyone but you.”  Because my heart starts beating too fast and I feel like I can’t make sense and the words get all brambly and brumbly and jumbled.
I get it now.
30 days.

I had a hard time getting out of bed today.  I kept thinking that if I just stayed in bed, I wouldn’t have to make any decisions.  Then I wondered if people have these thoughts before blowing their brains out or jumping off a bridgeIf I just pull this trigger, I’ll never have to make another decision again.

Maybe those people simply should have stayed in bed.

In other news, I’m finding parallels between my current life and my 2004 journal.  The other night I was talking to Mike about boys, and as usual I was telling him that nothing will work out and I always ruin everything anyway.

“Stop,” he said.  “Stop right now.  You always do this.  You’re one of the coolest chicks I know.  You need to stop thinking like that.”

Reading my own lack of evolution is inspiring me to change.  It’s just so hard to rewire a machine’s output from pessimism to optimism.

I need a dead bird.

February 21st, 2004 (Entry # 4, Zach Galifianakis, & Zombies)

November 11th, 2010

(Entry # 1)
(Entry # 2)
(Entry # 3)

(In black ballpoint pen, cursive handwriting:)

2.21.4

I can’t stand the feeling and I love it.  It’s fucking annoying.  The fantasies are so stupid too.  Only in movies, only in movies.  At the Grammys this year Yoko said she knew if John were there he’d say “Come together, give peace a chance, and love is all you need.”  But some people never find it.  Am I one of those people?  Do they never find it, or do they just let it pass them by?  I don’t know what I want anymore.  I think I won’t know until I have it.  My mind’s a blur.

By the way, assuming it is of interest, my dreams greatly improved last night in comparison to the night before.

I dreamt of a world overrun by zombies.  Some strangers and I held up in a house only accessible by boat.  There were three floors and two pools.  I met a man that looked like Zach Galifianakis.  Although I don’t find him particularly attractive, I enjoyed the way that dream-him acted like I wasn’t the only living girl left in the world, when in actuality, I was.  Each day we went to the mainland to gather supplies and fight zombies, and each night I put my arms around his pudgy belly and he held me while we slept.

It was an oddly blissful existence.

February 17th, 2004 (Entry # 3)

November 10th, 2010

(Entry # 1)
(Entry # 2)

(In black ballpoint pen, cursive handwriting:)

02.17.04

There’s no way it’s going to be as good as I think.  As I want.  Maybe as I need?  Will this destroy the little bit of faith left?  Is it not meant for me?  Am I not capable?  Or am I just scared?
What does he think?
Am I worth anything?  Is he just another one?  It’s possible, maybe likely.
But I can still dream “of Algernon.  I wake up crying… I just know that something good is gonna happen.”
God I hope so.  I’m ready to start living.  Not thru the TV anymore.  Life.  Real life.  Outside.
There’s not much time left until something.  I want to know what.  I hope not nothing.

As is commonplace in these situations, it was something that became nothing.  A beginning that turned into an end.  Longer apart than together.

But my faith was not destroyed.  I still hope Love can find me.

Completely unrelated, someone intruded upon my dreams last night.  What could have been beautiful was defiled, and I woke up aggravated and alone.

I didn’t know if I was mad at him for showing up or angry with my subconscious for letting him in.

February 14th, 2004 (Entry # 2)

November 9th, 2010

(Entry # 1)

(In black ballpoint pen, cursive handwriting:)

02.14.2004

Sometimes you want to break someone’s neck.  What does that come from?  Does it come from our childhood?  “It’s way too hard, being loved by the fall.”  So I always get the shit end of the stick.  Am I angry inside?  Or am I filled with love.  I think this countdown will tell.  I don’t feel like I have much time left.  Life is short.  I’m sleepy.  “Give Judy my notice.”

After the publication of Entry # 1, numerous people have asked me to reveal the identity of my 2004 love interest.  I declined.  He is no longer in my life, and there are not many people currently in my life who had known him.

If it was not made obvious by yesterday’s post (We’re so far apart…), he and I were across the country from each other when I wrote these journal entries.

Like my friend Kep once said, “The heart wants what the heart wants.  It knows nothing of distance.”

February 13th, 2004 (Entry # 1)

November 8th, 2010

I don’t know if I’ve been feeling uninspired or introverted.

Recently I posted excerpts from my old journals. There were two buried away in my closet, along with some failed attempts at poetry and fiction, scribbled into hardcover notebooks whose original manufacturer decorated with fairies and angels, undoubtedly aiming the products at young girls in need of a place to store their secrets.

The post was my last before I left for Europe.  That night, after its publication here on KeepMyWords, I was moving the journals back to their home in my closet when one in particular caught my eye.  I hadn’t noticed it earlier.

It was a small hardcover notebook with off-white colored pages trimmed in gold.  The cover portrayed a woman sitting in solitary playing a harp by the light of the moon.  Surrounding her were flowers in bloom, and beyond her a leafless tree.

Every third page or so had a quote at the top center.  We are the music makers, we are the dreamers of dreams and The voice is a wild thing, it can’t be bred in captivity, to name a few.

I opened to the first page.  On the left side was a small yellow Post-it note with the message:

7/14/03 7/16/03
Ash,
Thought it might be fun for you to write down your thoughts during relocation.
[Heart], Mom

(I moved to Los Angeles that year.)

The right side contained a pre-printed poem.  As my family often does with greeting cards, above the generic message my mother wrote “To: Ashleigh”.  Following the final words (The spirit of the music beckons, inspiring a symphony of thoughts to fill each page.) she wrote “With Love, Mom.  August 2003”.

I didn’t remember this journal, and I was curious to see what I would find when turning the page again.

It’s embarrassing.  And inspiring.  And real.

So to get myself back into writing after a month-long hiatus, I will publish an entry a day from this journal written by a 22-year old girl that I can’t believe is me, although I do see the similarities.

I see that I have always been like this on some level.

It seems I started it right before the vacation Jayme and I took to New York when we were living in Los Angeles.  It was on that trip that we decided to move to New York after less that a year in L.A.  I remember being at The Abbey on Driggs and North 7th with our New Orleans friends who had already been living in Brooklyn for some time.  It was an amazing night, my first time walking through the brisk Brooklyn streets with a group of comrades.  We went from bar to bar, drinking, laughing, and taking photos with a disposable camera.

Jayme sat in the bar stool to my right.  I turned towards her.  “I wanna live here,” I said.

She didn’t hesitate.  “Me too,” she replied.

As I mentioned in the previous old-journal post, we moved the following September and have been here ever since.

(In black ballpoint pen, cursive handwriting:)

02.13.04

It’s either a countdown of my heart breaking or of my heart feeling a zing like never before.  “State of emergency, is where I want to be, emotional landscapes, they puzzle me, confuse.”  Confused?  Yes, I am.  Where will those days take me, what will they show me?  The same old disappointment?  Probably.  The love I’ve only dreamed about and seen in movies?  Doubtful.
But he does have a name, and for now that is most important.  Right now.  As I write these words that will someday make me cringe.  But a lot of things do make me cringe, so it’s neither a loss or a gain.  I just want to be with him, with his hands, with his lips.  He could never want me this bad, and that in itself is a disappointment.  Now all we need is for me to go there and fuck it all up.  Is it avoidable?  No, unlikely.  I like him, so I will fuck it up.  “I’m so tired, I haven’t slept a wink.  I’m so tired, my mind is on the brink.”  We’re so far apart, only I could be this hopeless.  But life is what you make it, and I’m young and stupid, so I’m counting down.  40-some days, until I see my mind’s lover’s face.
40-some more days, until I fall flat on mine.

Something in me is malfunctioning again.  I think the glitch is caused by boys.  It’s always boys.

I guess I’m a crazy girl after all.

A Major Life Experience (and the Story of Dr. John R. Brinkley’s Cure for Low Libido)

October 4th, 2010

“Dude, you had a major life experience,” Justin said.  “Where the F is the blog?”

“I did?” I asked.  I assumed he was talking about our time in Europe, but I felt like being a jerk.  “What was my major life experience?”

“Amsterdam with me,” he replied disappointedly.  “I thought it was special.”

“Wrong,” I said, “but I’m sure you’ve been wrong before.”

“Yes, I have,” he confirmed.

Dr. John R. Brinkley wasn’t a doctor at all.  Although he had spent three years at Bennet Medical College in Chicago, he’d never graduated.  He called himself a doctor on the basis of a $500 diploma he had purchased from the Eclectic Medical University of Kansas City, Missouri.  And as absurd as it sounds, in the early half on the twentieth century this piece of paper gave him the right to practice medicine in Arkansas and Kansas, among other states.

Additionally, it was this man who invented a medical procedure that not only made him a multi-millionaire, but also killed a countless number of patients.

It all began in 1918 when Brinkley opened a 16-room clinic in Milford, Kansas.  A farmer came in to complain about a decline in his sex drive.  Brinkley recalled his previous job as house doctor at the Swift meatpacking company in Kansas.  While there, Brinkley was amazed by the vigorous mating activities of the goats destined for slaughter.

So, Brinkley jokingly told the farmer that what he needed was a pair of goat glands.  It’s disputed whether the farmer then begged Brinkley to do the operation, or if Brinkley paid the farmer to go along with the experiment, but in any case, Brinkley went ahead with the operation, charging the man $150 (over $2,000 in current value).

Within weeks the farmer was back to thank the “doctor” for giving him back his libido. And when his wife gave birth to a baby boy, the satisfied farmer spread the word about Brinkley. Soon Brinkley’s business was booming.  He began promoting goat glands as a cure for 27 ailments, ranging from dementia to emphysema to flatulence to acne. The testimonials poured in and so did the money. Brinkley was charging $750 (over $8,000 currently) per transplant, and he could barely keep up with the demand.

The procedure itself was simple.  The patient would check into Brinkley’s private hospital.  The “doctor” would collect his fee, and then escort the patient to the rear of the building where he/she could choose the goat of his/her liking.  The animal was castrated on the spot and its testicles placed inside a slit cut in the man’s scrotum or in the abdomen of the woman (near the ovaries).  Then the incision was swiftly sutured.

If all went well, the placebo effect would kick in after a week or so, and Brinkley would have another success on his hands. If rotting goats’ testicles or gangrenous incisions brought death to his patients, as a licensed doctor Brinkley could sign their death certificates.

Brinkley’s fortune fed his appalling taste. At the height of his success, in the mid-1930s, Brinkley owned three yachts, a vast mansion with his name picked out in the garden in flashing neon lights, and a two-story pipe organ played by a man from Graumann’s Chinese Theater.  His admiration for Hitler was reflected in his swimming pool, which he had tiled with miniature swastikas.

It was also around this time, between 1930 and 1941, that Brinkley was sued more than a dozen times for wrongful death.

In 1938, Brinkley’s long-time nemesis, Morris Fishbein, editor of The Journal of the American Medical Association and a man who made his career exposing medical frauds, published a two-part series called “Modern Medical Charlatans” that included a thorough repudiation of Brinkley’s career, as well as exposing his questionable medical credentials.  Fishbein wrote:

Without anything resembling a real medical education, with licenses purchased and secured through extraordinary manipulations of political appointees, and with consummate gall beyond anything ever revealed by any other charlatan, Brinkley… continues to demonstrate his astuteness in shaking shekels from the pockets of credulous Americans.

Fishbein was trying to force Brinkley into a showdown, and it worked.

The “doctor” sued Fishbein for libel and $250,000 in damages (over $3.8 million in current value).  The trail began in Texas on March 22, 1939.  A few days later, the jury found for Fishbein, stating that Brinkley “should be considered a charlatan and a quack in the ordinary, well-understood meaning of those words”.  Brinkley’s licenses to practice medicine were stripped.

The jury’s verdict unleashed a barrage of lawsuits against Brinkley, by some estimates well over $3 million in total value. Also around this time, the IRS began investigating Brinkley for tax fraud. He declared bankruptcy in 1941.  Soon after his bankruptcy, the US Postal Service began investigating him for mail fraud.

On June 20th, 1941, Brinkley suffered a coronary occlusion.  On August 23rd, a blood clot in his leg which resulted in amputation five days later.  On September 1st, heart failure.  On September 23rd, the US Postal Service slapped him with a $12 million mail fraud suit.  On December 22nd, another heart failure.  Finally, on May 26th, 1942, he died at his home in San Antonio, Texas.

His house, commonly called the Brinkley Mansion, still stands today at 512 Qualia Drive in Del Rio.  It is considered a Texas Historic Landmark.  I would like to go see it someday.

Brinkley Mansion (above), Dr. John R. Brinkley (below)

Old Journals & the May 8th Flood

September 12th, 2010

I dug out my old journals this past Thursday.

The first one, a Stuart Hall 70-sheet wide rule spiral notebook, received its opening entry on May 22nd, 1993.  I was 11-years old and in sixth grade.  I printed in pencil throughout all 70 pages, front and back.

Some highlights:

May 24th, 1993
Now, for the first time, I will hide my journal.  Where?  Under my mattress of course.  How original.  If I change the place I will write it.

May 31st, 1993
I figure I will replace all of my 90210 posters with Edward Furlong posters.

June 8th, 1993
And my ear surgery is just an ear tuck.  (They call it otoplasty, I think.)  I need that done this summer because I look like Ross Perot.  And people tease me.  But they have to cut open my head.  How gross!  And painful.  But they are supposed to put me in a “twilight” so I don’t feel it.

July 7th, 1994 (now 12-years old)
I am starting over.  Forget the past.  Well, I know I won’t forget it, but I don’t need to write it.  There’s too much.  I know I won’t be reading this when I’m 40 and remembering my childhood, it’s just a dumb notebook that I pour my feelings in because I have but a couple of friends.

October 23rd, 1994
I just smoked my first cigarette.  I think it was disgusting… I’m wondering if I smoked the cigarette wrong.  I still feel gross, but at least I know how, or at least I think I know how (enough to look like it) for social events.

March 3rd, 1995
When I get upset, I have no feelings.  Right now I have no feelings.

May 3rd, 1995
I hope John is okay.  I care about him.  I almost like him in a way.  I will always wonder if he still thinks of ——– though.  I hope he gets over it.  She isn’t worth it.  No one is worth your life.  No one.

My second journal started in pencil but changed to ink after about four months.  It was another Stuart Hall spiral notebook, only college rule.  The first entry is dated May 8th, 1995.  There was a huge flood in New Orleans that day.  Heavy rains began the evening prior.  During a short period of twelve hours, some areas received twenty inches of rainfall:

New Orleans International Airport, 9.67”
New Orleans (Lakefront Airport), 15.44″
Harahan, 14.88″
Kenner, 17.11″
Metairie, 19.39″
New Orleans East, 20.20″

It was the worst flooding the city had experienced between hurricanes Betsy in 1965 and Katrina in 2005. There has been no comparable recorded flood in New Orleans caused by rain alone.  Six people died as a result. The city of New Orleans suffered $360 million in damages, and the damage of the surrounding areas put that total above $1 billion. Some 56,000 homes were damaged in 12 Parishes. Thousands of cars were flooded. 14,600 homes and apartments were flooded in Jefferson Parish.  Pumping stations were overwhelmed.

May 8th, 1995
It’s funny to think this could be my last entry.  That’s because there is a horrible storm outside and our lawn is flooded almost to our house.  The thunder and lightning is very close.  But I’m sure everything will be okay.

May 9th, 1995
The streets are wet.  Houses are flooded.  Carpet is at the end of many driveways.  Jennifer’s house got over a foot of water.
This morning I woke up for school, and after driving there I found it was being used as a rescue station.  So no school.

May 14th, 1995
I’m acting happy, sort of, but deep down I’m so upset.

May 23rd, 1995
I now remember why I don’t really like [having a boyfriend].  You are always wondering if they still like you or if they’re mad.  It’s weird.  And confusing.  And… whatever.

May 24th, 1995
John dumped me.  He didn’t even really give me a reason.  He told Damon that when he starts going out with someone he stops liking them.  I almost cried.  I don’t get it.  There were no warning signs.  I just don’t understand, and I’m too tired to write about it.  I think I’m getting the fucking chicken pox, too.  Fuck fuck fuck.
This is the first breakup where I’m really upset… He doesn’t care.  When he was breaking up with me on the phone he was almost crying, and Justin said afterward John called him and told him and he sounded just fine.  Kind of happy.
Why?

May 26th, 1995
I have lots of chicken pox.  Mostly on my face, chest, and back.  I have some inside my, you know, vagina, and it sucks.  And my party is tonight.

June 4th, 1995
Me and John got into a little “word” fight.  He was being a dickhead.  Of course he apologized later.  But he was hanging out with some girl and Justin was saying John “found a new chick to hang with”.  I felt crappy, but I just told everyone I felt awkward.

June 6th, 1995
Well, well, well.  Life’s a big stinky bitch.

June 16th, 1995
I got high for the first time tonight.  I smoked weed.  It was great.

August 28th, 1995
It’s been so long…
I’m in high school.  Life sucks.  I think I hate everyone.  And I want to die.

May 10th, 1996
Guys drive me INSANE.

May 11th, 1996
I just got bitched out by my mommy and a little by my daddy.  I got home at exactly 5:02am, but they didn’t know I left.  I did all my “bedtime rituals” and at about 5:11am I checked in.  I wasn’t going to, but while I was in the bathroom I could have sworn I heard my mom downstairs calling my name, going in my room, and then going back upstairs, so I figured I’d just check in.  I am so fucking dumb, but at least I had fun.

May 17th, 1996
I did get caught sneaking out my window.  Yup.  One evening last month I did the usual jump out my window thing.  Well, I got home I guess around 4am, and I did everything (change into my pajamas, etc), then I went to the bathroom.  When I went back into my room there was a note on my door.  I think my heart stopped for ten minutes.  It said “TRUST?  I love you Ash.  Talk to me.  Mom.”  So the next day we talked and I have a beeper now and pretty much no curfew.

June 5th, 1996
Ohmigod!  Matt said he’d call me!  He really did.  I know he doesn’t work tomorrow!  God I hope he calls!

June 6th, 1996
No, he didn’t call.

June 25th, 1996
Never in my life have I ever experienced anything like it, and never again do I want to.  It was a hit and run, and we ran.  I’ve never been so scared in my life.
(Note:  No one was seriously injured.  The driver of the car was a friend, and he/she turned him/herself into the police that evening.)

July 12th, 1996
Well, this is officially the last real night of summer.  It sucked too.  Oh well.
This summer wasn’t a complete waste though.  I met Tori Amos.

February 23rd, 1997
Regrets.  I have so many regrets.  Little ones that don’t really matter, and big ones that could have changed my life.  Yet they all burden me in the same painful way.  I put them all in the little black box in my head, which is being pushed to the limit right now.  They never go away either.  My black box is bad.  Chris’s black box made him put a gun to his head.  I wonder what mine will make me do.

February 25th, 1997
I don’t know what I want.  Chris told me I was afraid to be happy.  I just don’t know.  I don’t know.

July 8th, 1997
I hope I just worry too much.  Oh god life is hard.  I hope this is the most emotional stress I have in my life.  Ahh, the teenage years.  I guess it’s one of those “you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone” things.  I guess I’ll see.

July 2nd, 1997
Why am I writing?  All I want to say is I miss him.  A lot.  Too much.  So much that it makes me nervous.  I just wonder if he misses me.
Yeah right.

July 15th, 1997
The bright side to every situation looks darker every day.

There is some cryptic cursive writing dated some time in 1998, and then a few similar entries in 2004.

The very last entry is a sort of poem.  It’s dated July 2, 2004.  It was around that time that Jayme and I decided to move from Los Angeles to New York.  The text of the “poem” goes:

Lilibeth and death

and my paycheck

and your face

and your body

and your smell

and your eyes

and your lips

i have to go to new york

We moved on September 17th.  It was the day after my 23rd birthday.

I’m still living in New York, and this Thursday, I’ll be 29-years old.