AJAX BELL

Author of the Queen City Boys books


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worth a thousand words indeed

The living room is filled with crap. It’s the usual, end of the week, should have been cleaned and put away over the weekend crap combined with six large boxes that my mother sent. These boxes contain old yearbooks, favorite children’s books, oh so very many of my grandmother’s photographs, books I’m peculiarly unable to part with, a wide variety of knickknacks and keepsakes, and the box that I am currently staring down. A large box, wrapped carefully in a map of Berlin, both the top and bottom wrapped separately, so it can be opened at will. The question is, do I want to open it? I know what it contains, at least in theory. It is notes, cards and letters sent to me from high school through college. There are, I imagine, love letters, break up letters, meaningful and meaningless notes, personal birthday cards, and throwaway cards barely signed and without real sentiment. Do I want to go through this stuff? Should I shove it in a large envelope and file it away for someone to find after my death? Should I just burn it? Should I carefully sift through it a save out the pieces I may or may not be interested in reflecting in my old age? I’m leaning toward burning all the contents unread and unsifted.

Here is a photo I accidentally took this morning while messing with my camera:

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Really the photo is all you need to know about my last few days. Big time excitement, my friends, big bg big excitement.


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It’s the little things that count

Songs for today:

Cry – The V-Roys (click to download)

I’m Yours if You Want Me – Chris Thile (click to download)

I’m miserable today. No, I don’t want to talk about it. And it’s isn’t just me, a bunch of my friends have been sick or injured lately, a couple lost their jobs. Gas prices. The economy is grim. Blah blah blah blah.

So instead of me continuously dwelling on all that and my own current personal problems, let’s look at the good. (I am not Rebecca of Sunnybrook farm, butgodfuckingdamnit, I am going to look at the bright side if it kills me).

  • The weather in middle Tennessee is GORGEOUS right now. Perfect. Delicious for walking and running in. Beautiful for sitting in. This is the gift we get for the tortuous heat and the ugly winters. It is worth it.
  • We are getting a hammock. Porch sitting in a hammock. Does it get better than that?
  • I’m pushing forward, albeit somewhat slowly, but forward nonetheless, on the new websites. Fear me and the HCT/SROTS girls. We will be media moguls soon. Ruling the world here we come!
  • The art jewelry I’m making is getting closer and closer to perfect. It looks in real life like it does in my head! Hurrah. Working on getting much more made so I can be a rich fashion entreprenuer as well as media mogul.
  • I have dozens of episodes of Scrubs on the DVR to watch instead of feeling sorry for myself so that’s awesome.
  • Miss Sparkle and Ladybug are the best friends ever.  They bring me foodstuffs and ice creams and listen to me whine.  That’s what real love is, people.
  • I have the best momma ever.  And the best sister.  And my extended family is pretty freaking cool too.
  • My toenails are painted a pretty bizarre green color not found in nature.


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back in the saddle

Last night I fell asleep to the sound of the rain.  This morning I woke up to it again.  Joy!  We really need the water.  And so calming.  Even with the low thunder rolling periodically overhead now, it just feels very peaceful.

I’ve been in absentia from the internets for a while.  My sister was here for ten days and we’ve been running around ding all the fun things I can think of (which, really, isn’t a lot).  We shopped and touristed and hung out and saw movies.  We went to Knoxville for a couple days and visited with Rhi and her beautiful babygirl and husband.  She took us driving around in the mountains.

YIKES!  Okay, that thunder is not peaceful. Yow!

Anyway, my sister is the most amazing, awesome teenage girl ever and I miss her already.  Seriously the world would be a better place if there were many more of her in the world.

Now I am trying not to let overwhelmed by my own to-do list.  I’ve actually made sub-lists in it by subject.  It is large and really I’m not sure where to even start.


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It’s my town, yo!

Copied and pasted from and email from my father:

Fort Nashborough must be agreeing with you.  I was surprised to learn that the town was founded by Capt. John Donelson, as I remembered there is a Capt. John Donaldson/Donelson (both spellings are given) in our family tree, who was the progenitor of the Tennessee branch of the family, including Abram Rodgers, my dad’s great-great grandfather.  I checked a little further and the Nashville founder is one of the elder John Donelson’s children, but it was another son, William Donelson, that’s our direct ancestor.  Still, you ARE related to the founder of the town.

So there you go, when people ask why I love Tennessee so much, I can tell them it’s because it’s my town!

My sister is here.  So far it’s been like summer vacation (except where I have to work every night).  I think we’re either hitting up the pool or the museums today.  See?  Summer vacation.


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Amo mi familia de vidrio

So earlier I sent my sister a MySpace message to ask what mom was doing because I needed to call her.  Here is an edited (only took out the irrelevent parts) of my exchange with my awesome baby sister:

CrackerjackSis:  speaking of which, is it weird that i feel like Zooey is our family combined? I kept thinking it when I was reading that story

me: like Franny and Zooey?  Salinger?

CJSis: yeah

me (later): Mom just told me that she couldn’t ever understand what Seymour’s problem was, that she always wanted to live with the Glass family. I told her apparently she’d managed to make her own Glass family.

CJSis: Yeah. I read the two stories like 4 months between each other and I totally forgot the whole story (I don’t even remember if they explain Seymour in Franny) but for most of Buddy’s letter I thought Seymour was his boyfriend.

AHAHHAHA!  Seriously, she’s like the best teenager ever.  And she’ll be here in two weeks! I will be smarter when she leaves.  That’s just how it goes!


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I miss you, Grampa, even if you are always with me

A conversation I had last night with Whopperjaw prompted me to dig up this CD my mom gave me a few years ago. It’s a recording of my grandfather telling stories about his childhood to my cousin, T, who was 8 at the time (so I was probably about 19, I guess). The recording is probably 18+ years old and made just a couple years before my grandfather died. I’ve never listened to it, despite knowing the tapes existed for many years and having had the CD copy for several years. I’m torn. Like I really, really want to hear those stories told again, to hang onto that piece of my childhood, but at the same time, I’m not sure I can deal with actually hearing my grandfather talk. It just seems like it might be too upsetting. He’s been dead for 13 or so years. I’d expect my sadness at his loss to be lessened by now, but really if I think too much about it it still makes me cry. Like I am doing right now just typing this. I will, however, probably give the CD a try. Hopefully it is interesting enough to report back on. Maybe it will help me push the happy memories to the forefront and feel less sorry for myself about my loss.


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Come out of the closet, sure, but don’t tell your parents you are a bear

Tonight my mom took my sister and me to see John Waters speak.  I tried to take notes, to share all the brilliance with you all, but it was too hard to listen and take notes.

I can tell you that there was a high number of chicks with flamingo pink hair.  Some to good effect, some to very bad.  The price of admission was worth look on my mom’s face as she watched a fabulous drag queen walk past.  She checked his dress, his shoes, his amazing wig, and when he turned her face showed the same amount of shock we all felt and the amazing amount of back hair that the guy had.  My ma loves a good drag queen as much as I do, but really, he perhaps should have had a more concealing dress.

They showed the John Water’s no smoking in this theatre thing before he came on.  I do believe seeing that was my first ever encounter with John Water’s when I was a pre-teen, I saw it at the Harvard Exit before a film and I remember pretending I got it when everyone talked about how cool John Waters was.

Well, he is cool.  Damn fucking cool.  Here are some clever, utterly out of context bits from his talk tonight:

“Let them in for free, make them pay to leave.”

“S&M looks stupid at the beach.”

“I hate that I have to tell you this.  I know you thinking ‘my ears aren’t garbage cans, John’ but tonight they are.”

“I think I lead exactly the life you think I do.”

He talked about revolution and anarchy in the ways we thought of them in my youth and yes he’s right.  From John’s mouth to the country’s ears: Hey assholes, if you care so much about Bush being a bad president, don’t buy a watch that counts down the time ’till he leaves office, instead go tip over a car or start a riot.  Yeah.  We are all apathetic now.

It was awesome.  Cross another perfect icon of my youth off my list of people to see in person before one of us dies.

On the way home my ma asked if I was going to drive over [Capitol] hill, and I said no, around it.  She then wondered if I was going to take the “Red Robin Speedway” to get to the 520 bridge.   I swear, I have never heard it called that, but as soon as she said it I knew exactly what street she meant.  Driving on Eastlake, towards the U.Dist, it’s the last turn before the bridge.  My sister and I laughed so hard over the “Red Robin Speedway,” but alas, I suspect everyone who will find it as hilarious was in the car at that moment. It was an excellent reminder of why I love my ma and sis, and how funny we all are, at least to each other.