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Entries in Holly (4)


Knickerbocker Circus 019: A Bit On Blood & Pudding

I found myself travelling back to MA on Holly's birthday.  Anniversaries and birthdays, Thanksgiving marked 10 years for her.  My Mom and I sit in the car, "She would have been 34." Brian was a Christmas baby, he would have been 33.  Within the last few weeks I have been receiving many beautiful letters about Blood & Pudding. The book has sold almost entirely off of word of mouth which just sort of baffles my mind but also touches me deeply.  I received this email from someone I very much admire a few weeks ago.  Thank you to everyone for your continued support.

So I've been reading blood and pudding, just so enveloped. It's something i am parceling out. I am tempted to race through it, and I could. but I want to make it last. I want to have more to come back to, so I can have it when I feel like I might need it.  Snarky writer part of me says there are scads of lines I'd love to steal. But real me says there are so many lines I thoroughly feel attached to -- at the hip, head or wherever. Thoughts that I've had but havent always made concrete.  Thanks for putting this into words. 

I created these two journal pieces for Eight Cuts Gallery.  Click either of the images to be taken to the exhibit.

Holly and I used to quote the beginning of Trainspotting every time we'd go on a road trip.  I used to call Brian my "Sick Boy".  Seems appropriate I end this entry with just that.



Pimp My Artwork 040: The Three of Swords

"Your art is amazingly sensitive and subtle. Like graceful old laces." Orhal messaged me. 

That message brought me back to flea markets in the summer of 1997.  I bought a black lace shawl for $20. Everyone I showed it to shook their head.  "Oh Katelan, it's ripped, there's a huge gaping hole."

That's the reason I bought it.  I fell in love with it's imperfection.  Why? Because once it was loved.  Holly told me she thought it had a spirit attached to it, then she bought a parasol.  I thought that was a romantic idea.  That night we made the bed for "visitors." Visitors could be physical, spirit, or completely made up.  It was a magical thought really, and the wind blew in softly as the sound of rain and thunder guided us into a gentle slumber.

I woke up with her lying on my chest.  "What are you doing?" I asked, curiously.

"You sleep so soundly.  I can barely hear you breathe and you don't move all night.  I was afraid you stopped breathing.  So I snuck over to you and put my hand near your mouth.  It was slight, your breath was small, so I crawled on top of you and you still didn't move.  So I put my head to your chest and I could hear your heart beat.  And I knew as long as I could hear your heart beat that everything would be okay."

We slept soundly.

A few days ago Sxip sent me a link to a song he wrote years ago.  "Did you write those lyrics?" I asked him.  Now he didn't know this when writing the song but the song has deep roots, roots he did not grow up with. But music speaks it's own language and you can translate it any way you want. I listened to it all day, repeating it over and over. The next day The Three of Swords took shape and for the duration of the painting that song played, over and over, a haunting melody.  It had become almost an exact replica of a dream I used to have years ago.

I remembered living in Greenpoint.  I built what I called a fairy ring in the middle of the room and sprinkled rose water on the floors.  The circle was made of twigs and roses and stones.  I put two white candles and a Saint Michael candle in the middle.  I wrote Holly's name on small slips of paper and put them into envelopes until the name was so small you could no longer see it.  I may have learned this from my Grandmother, I may have learned it from a friend.  All I know is that it was ingrained in my memory. At the end of seven days, I burned the envelopes.  This is a form of release and helps those move on.  I had forgotten about that, until the song.  Music can conjure many things, including the rain.  As I wrote these last few lines, the rain began to pour and that old sweet familiar scent permeated the room.

It's time for me to drift off...


Knickerbocker Circus 05: Blood and Pudding 02-The Beginning 1997

Going through the boxes from the book tonight I came across the tapes.  Most of them are so garbled now that you can barely decipher what's being said. I managed to get this, the opener, where it all began, and frankly magic happened.  She called me Kate even when I preferred to be Kat, so as I got older, depending where I was traveling to I would answer to a gamut of different names.  But for the book I'm called Kat and the tape I'm called Kate.  These days, depending on your location I will turn around to anything from Kat to Kitty to Katelan.

(Speaking Into The Recorder)

Kat: February 16th, my cousin Holly and I are taking a road trip. Wherever we end up, we end up.  We don't care.  We're fucking going crazy.  This is our night.  We're running away.

Holly: We have time, lots of time. We have forty-eight hours to be awake, to have fun, to live life and not think about it. My mind is clear right now, absolutely clear. I have no thoughts except for me, Kat, this
car, and our budget of $5.25 and a gas card. We are going to make an adventure out of this.


It's not a great recording, and as the night progresses it's harder and harder to understand. But it was the beginning and that's all that really matters. And as you can see the edits were tiny.



Knickerbocker Circus 04: Blood and Pudding

Photo by Richard Mann

Nancy Spungen just wanted to be "somebody."  You can't knock her for that.  Growing up I had a fascination with her.  I think most of us grow up and want to leave some kind of legacy behind.  "Somebody" means different things to different people though.  In my teenage years my cousin Holly and I would take road trips with no destinations just to dream.  We wanted to be "famous", for what, I'm not sure.  I knew I was leaving for New York in a few months and she was jumping from job to job in Boston.  All we knew was that we needed each other.

My life has been a series of co-dependent addictive relationships.  I think my friend Ben summed it up best when describing me years ago.  "Kat is like vanilla ice cream sprinkled with crack.  Smooth, tasty, and goddam what a rush." When I think back to my highschool years, this is exactly what I'm talking about.  Teenagers have a way of thinking they are immortal.  They are fearless, we were no exception I'm sure.  Looking back on who were were, I would have placed a bet we'd be dead by the end of the summer.  But we lived, for a while at least, and then there were a series of deaths. 

This all has a point, I swear.  You see in a few weeks I'll be releasing Blood and Pudding.  It's weird to call it memoir since I no longer know the girl who wrote it.  Seems she died the same time the love of her life and her cousin did.  It's also strange to be releasing journals we once tried so hard to hide.  Back then we all brought out the worst in each other.  We were addicts, mental cases, thieves, and lost.  We came from good homes.  We wanted attention.  We wanted to be "somebodies". 

Blood and Pudding took ten years to put together.  It went through three editors, four micro-cassettes, five re-writes,  and something like six journals.  Some of my editors and friends wonder why I didn't send it to a big publishing house and I really did struggle with the choice.  But in the end I made my decision because of this:


Kat: "What should we do with the book when it's done?"

Holly: "Just release it.  Those who need it will find it.  No one should ever force something on the world. Just make sure it's pure."

What she meant was "Make sure it was true." She was okay with tiny edits, paragraphs being slightly altered, or grammatical errors being fixed.  She was not okay with changing the tapes, reforming sentences, and making our secrets marketable.  And being that she is no longer here.  I had to respect that.  Looking back, maybe she had a different definition of "somebody" than I did, but if it's one thing I've learned over the years, it's to always respect the dead.

Coming Soon: