woe betide the blank…screen

since the beginning of time, man has wondered…can robots think?

not really. i have just always wanted to start a piece of writing with that sentence. it is from an actual undergraduate paper graded by a friend of a friend of a friend, who was appropriately horrified that any college student would believe that a) man has existed since the beginning of time, b) robots apparently have also co-existed with man since the beginning of time, & c) anyone who isn’t high has ever stopped to wonder if robots think.

first sentences are tough though. i am certainly struggling to find a good starting point for this blog/public writing project, especially because i made the mistake of stepping out for a cigarette to “clear my head,” but i just made myself sick because i’m not really a smoker anymore. i’m all shaky & nauseous & wishing i would have made a bowl of tomato soup instead.

i have had an online presence for my writing for about ten years now, but have mostly scuttled around websites that pride themselves on layers of security settings, so i always have a gauge of my readership. i have also been publishing zines for about sixteen or seventeen years, so bits of my writing are lurking in zine libraries & in closets all across the world. but as every article about zines in the digital age is quick to point out, zines & blogs are different animals. the best explanation i have seen yet is from an interview lauren martin gave in the new book girl zines. she said that zines are physical objects that manifest their age through yellowing pages, fading ink, becoming dog-earned & bedraggled with time. but what is posted on to this series of tubes we call the internet is there to stay, in a weird, nebulous, cyberbackwoods kind of way. & that is a little bit scary. if someone picked up a zine i wrote ten years ago, they would say, “clearly this an elderly artifact from a bygone age. ciara has bleached hair in these photos, & she’s all skinny, & she hasn’t yet furrowed a crevice between her eyebrows from all of her cranky face-making. pages are falling out left & right, someone spilled coffee all over it, & the pages are gray with the oily finger residue of previous readers.”

but the internet is different. what goes up stays up, especially now that there is all that aggregating software. i can’t believe some of ancient shit that comes up when i google myself. (admit it, you do it too.) best not to dwell, i think.

i suppose introductions are in order. first, the blog name. obviously, crabigail adams is not my name, but if i hadn’t already legally changed my name once (to ciara miaow xyerra), i would certainly consider making it my name. who wouldn’t love signing checks to pay off outstanding medical debt as “crabigail adams”? or flashing it on an ID at the airport security checkpoint? no, crabigail adams is merely a nickname. a couple of years ago, i attended a memorial day potluck with my boyfriend, jared, & his best friend, bart. i asked jared to get me a beer from the cooler. he came back with two fancy beers, some kind of belgian stuff. i frowned & furrowed because i prefer cheap domestic beers, in cans. jared said, “relax & drink your fancy beer, crabigail adams.” a hush fell over the barbecue crowd & all eyes turned to me, to see how i would respond to such epithets. but i thought it was brilliant, made all the more so by bart snorting into his fancy lager & chortling, “he just called his girlfriend crabigail adams! that’s so mean! hahaha!”

if the name fits. i am wicked crabby. the sub-title is a slightly altered quote from alice roosevelt (spitfire daughter of teddy roosevelt). her real quote is something like, “if you don’t have anything nice to say about someone, come sit here next to me.” kind of a mouthful, huh? i’m verbose (obviously), but let’s not get carried away. so i edited it down a little, & am planning to get it tattooed in fancy script on my chest, in a banner being held aloft by angry pterodactyls.

(also, sometimes i fuck up & type “carbigail”. which is also applicable.)

i have made my peace with the fact that i am not a very nice person, & do not often have nice things to say. even more troubling, i have never been able to just hold my tongue when scathing remarks & biting commentary bubble to forefront of my conscious mind. i’m a hater, & i’m also thirty, & i think that if you’re still a hater by the time you’re thirty, it’s time to just embrace it & let your hater flag unfurl like the long road to whatever circle of hell is reserved for shit talkers, gossip hounds, unsolicited advisers, & tough lovers. in my experience, people who worked hard at keeping it posi were never any fun anyway.

i share my life with two habitually crabby creatures: my afore-mentioned boyfriend, & my cat, charlotte.

damnit, xyerra, can't you see i'm trying to cast aspersions on this ian mcewan story in the new yorker?

jared is a history graduate student at KU. his hobbies include studying the way wildlife preservation policy has influenced suburban development & urban sprawl, imparting his vast stores of culinary wisdom to me (he is an excellent cook), handing out werther’s originals hard candy (if that cardigan is any indication), & the occasional martini. we’ve been dating for about two & a half years. he is originally from boston, & when asked how he feels about our recent re-location to kansas, he says, “i miss having access to a nearby IKEA.” he is one of the funniest people i have ever had the pleasure of knowing. even though he thinks kittens are hideous & ugly.

what's that thing you're holding? can i eat it? does it taste like meow mix?

i adopted charlotte from a boston animal shelter on september 10, 2001. she was six weeks old & had fleas & conjuctivitis, & frankly, was not cute at all. but she’s cute now, that’s what counts. her hobbies include attacking catnip mice, hopping up on her hind legs to beg for attention, exploring the hallway of our apartment building, & occasionally licking the bottom of her food bowl & acting like we starve her. she is a surly beast. in the moving truck on the drive out to kansas from boston, she viciously attacked me with such brutality that my right hand is scarred forever. she is scared of wind & doesn’t go outside.

that's right, sometimes i wear capes.

& then there’s me. what will i write about here? hijinks & hard times, scathing indictments & simple pleasures. i’ll probably write about books i am reading (girl zines & the assassin’s cloak right now), the perils of running a zine distro, life in kansas for a former midwesterner who adopted boston as her hometown, &, you know, cute outfits, cat photos, & what’s for dinner–the bread & butter of the blogosphere. i guess self-important posturing & epic inter-blog arguments that culminate in online petition drives to boycott certain blogs are also the bread & butter of the blogosphere, but i am really going to try to avoid that shit.

Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

5 thoughts on “woe betide the blank…screen

  1. From one crabby person to another, welcome to the wonderfully self-indulgent world of blogs. I’ve added your site to my Google Reader page so I can enjoy all your posts. Love the name by the way. I’m looking forward to reading more. xo

    1. gasp! my first comment. i added you to my links. i would have done it sooner but i didn’t know you had a blog. i am awful about knowing which of my friends has off-LJ blogs, but i guess i’ll learn.

    1. i actually kept a friends-locked “blog” on livejournal for over eight years, & was on diaryland for a couple of years before that. (remember diaryland? even in 1999, i was embarrassed to utilize a site with such a horrifying name.) it’s a little nerve-wracking to be writing in public again. i fear internet drama, but am gifted at saying controversial things.

      i LOVE your blog, by the way. i have a secret blogroll of young adult snark-themed blogs i read obsessively & yours is one of the best.

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