Monday, May 21, 2012


Drawing is fucking hard and I suck at it and I hate it. I used to really enjoy it, you know, when I was a kid and could just let my mind wander and scribble my visions on paper and people would pat me on the head and say things like, "Oh! What a good little artist you are!" and, "What a lovely horse you drew! That is a horse, is it not?" and other positive, encouraging shit like that. Oh the halcyon days of childhood lies. Not now. Now it is all about SEARCHING LINES, and TECHNIQUE, and PERSPECTIVE, and DEPTH, and a whole load of other crap that I know nothing about and clearly am incapable of creating.

I had to sign up for an additional four credits to be eligible for student aid so I thought signing up for Intro to Drawing would be a fun, no-brainer, easy summer class. I mean, remember, this is something I thought I was GOOD at. Something I thought I ENJOYED. Who knew how wrong I could be?? In a mere two weeks I've learned to hate it and now I'm mad that I've been poisoned against it. I will never again be able to look lovingly at my chicken scrawls and feel the warm pride I once did. I'm relegated now to seeing only what isn't there. The LACK of persepctive, the futile search for the SEARCHING LINES that aren't there, the incompetent COMPOSITION.

On the upside, it is only drawing, and unlike say, brain surgery, you get credit just for showing up and trying, even if you have absolutely no talent and your work sucks (like mine does). And it is a condensed summer course so it is only six weeks long, the first of which I missed, and we are now halfway into (read: over) it. It will be a short, brutal reminder of my shortcomings, which is fine, it is good to know I don't have to decide whether or not to write AND illustrate my books. The writing, or should I say drawing, is on the wall. Thank God I'm witty.

-Jenny, Undecided

Thursday, May 17, 2012

my advice

my advice

my first husband, he was a boxer
who liked to bring his work
home with him.
my advice is
not to marry
a man who brings his work
home with him.

my second husband, he was a bartender
who wanted to be a weatherman
who wanted to be an actuary
who settled
for being an operations manager.
my advice is
not to marry
a man who just settles
for what comes his way.

my third husband, he was a ditch digger
who didn’t really like to work at all
but would rather play videogames
and drink beer
and be handsome
and be charming (because
oh! that he was)
my advice is
not to marry
a man who doesn’t like
to work. (no, no. no matter how charming, no
matter how handsome.)

my boyfriend, he is a CPA
who makes sure that things balance.
my advice is
get a boyfriend.

-Jenny, Undecided

Friday, May 11, 2012


Oops, I did it again...I guess I'm not even sure what it WAS that Brittney was mistakenly getting herself into, but my transgression was quitting another job. Frankly, once you walk away from the best paying job you may ever have, walking away from the shitty ones is a breeze. I had too, it was quite literally killing me. The boredom I guess I could have dealt with. I could kill some time writing and doing homework, taking long lunches, surfing the web. The usual things Dilberts do make the days bearable. But by two o'clock every day I felt as if the mighty Thor himself were trying to pound his way into my head with his hammer, and my spine was curving inward on itself, like one of those cruncy little brown worms you find in your basement at the end of the winter.

I called the woman at the temp agency and told her. She sounded suspicious, but I don't really give a shit. What do they expect when they put you in a hyperbaric chamber and pump in leftover CO2 from every mouth-breather in the building? Not to mention the cube where I sat was designed for someone who was at least six foot nine. I sat there with my arms over my head, pecking at the keyboard like a fucking pyteradactyl. The accountraments included a chair from The National Museum of Crappy Office Furniture, a monitor that was slightly smaller than a 3x5 index card, and a keyboard made out of a shoebox, some twine, and a few tic-tacs. And I'm sure they spared NO expense on the mousepad, which had been cut in half with a scissors. News to temp services: we are human beings, not lab rats. Save experimentation for the day laborers.

So, back to square one. Or two. Not sure which square I was on. Still waiting to hear from my friends at the Feds. I think I will just give up on working for now and focus on school and spending Obama's money. One of the guys in my INFS class is from Norway. He said the government, his government, not ours, has thus far given him 43,000 USD and he gets a stipend of 3,500 USD per month for his living expenses. Maybe I should defect. He said, and I quote, "Actually I will probably get so much student loan that I will never pay it all back."  I like his style. I guess this is why Norway is not an economic powerhouse; I bet they crank out some really educated drifters, though. The adventure continues...

-Jenny, Undecided

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Two Stops on the Train

A short story for you. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Two Stops on the Train, by Jennifer Cannon
He stood up and headed for the exit as the train rolled slowly to a stop. As the door slid open he turned and looked directly at me, the slightest hint of a smile on his lips, acknowledging what I, what we both, had felt. I lowered my eyes, coyly, and smiled to myself.  I had boarded the train two stops earlier and plopped myself down next to him. I hadn’t chosen him specifically, it was the only open seat, but as I sat down I accidently brushed against his leg and that is when I felt it. The energy. The chemical reaction that exists between two people. That moment where everything is possible. That moment that people who have affairs chase after, endlessly, like greyhounds chasing that fake little rabbit they will never catch. The moment of lust and intrigue when your heart races a bit and you want to jump in with both feet, with abandon.
We didn’t exchange glances or words. We just sat quietly next to one another, the train humming along, our energy bouncing around the train car with every turn of the track. He was young, much too young for me (and I’m partial to younger men). He was somewhere in his mid-twenties; to me almost still boyish, yet obviously so much a man. I’m sure the only thing we had in common was we were both sporting black, Converse tennis shoes and bike messenger bags. He smelled good. Not like Axe or Old Spice or that expensive soccer player cologne. He smelled clean, like Soap-On-A-Rope. I could see from the corner of my eye the dark hair that curled around the back of his ear was still damp. It was summer and his arms and legs were bare and tan, as were mine. His muscles were well-formed and I took him for an outdoorsy, hiker-biker-rock climber-type. I could picture him with a backpack slung loosely over one shoulder, tilting his head back to take a drink from his REI water bottle as he gazed off into the distance from the top of some mountain he’d just climbed. His masculinity permeated the air and I breathed it in.
I closed my eyes and reveled in it. I love men. I love everything about men. (The irony of which is I often get mistaken for being a lesbian due to my shaved head and choice of comfortable footwear.) I love their deep, mellow voices and their five o’clock shadows. The way their white Hanes t-shirts strain against the muscles in their chests and biceps. The way they wear their jeans, loose and comfortable, and the fact that they balk when they are asked to wear anything else. I love them for being strong and reliable and simple. Not simple minded, I like their brains as much as their brawn, but simple in their needs. Hot meal, cold beer, soft woman. Those were needs I could meet. I like that they are capable of killing things if they have to; I am not. I love the way they make me feel like a woman.
I opened my eyes and glanced around. Not at him, that would have been awkward, and unnecessary. Eye contact is overrated in these encounters. Besides, I was in a relationship with someone I loved very much.  As much as I love men, one-at-a-time was always enough for me. Loving a man didn’t make me appreciate other men less though, why should it? Everything I love about all men was condensed and available to me in this one, singular man that was available to me. A few more people got on at the next stop and the train lurched on. More Dilberts, like me, headed to their office jobs. A few odds-n-ends type people I could never peg. People who didn’t look like they were headed to an office job, yet were on the 7:40 AM train, headed downtown. They didn’t look like they wanted to be up at that time of the day, given the choice. Maybe they were going to court. Or to the hospital for a test of some sort. Maybe to the welfare office, or to pick up a misguided son or daughter from juvie. They looked disenfranchised and sad, or angry, or both. A friend once said to me the reason he hated public transportation so much was, well, the public. It was mean, but it made me laugh all the same.
At the next stop he got off. The glance, the smile, then he was gone. As I savored the moment, the moment of energy and attraction and mystery, a mammoth of a man, a great, hairy beast with troll-like features, heaved his massive bulk down where my never-lover had been just a tick of the clock ago. He settled himself in with a loud grunt, shoving me halfway out of my seat and into the aisle, then let out a long, exasperated sigh, garlic and stale coffee now permeating the air. I sighed. Maybe he would get off at the next stop.

The adventure continues.
-Jenny, Undecided

Friday, May 4, 2012


The sub-basement where I work now smelled like a urinal all week. The entire floor. It was strongest in the ladies room (maybe in the mens as well, but I didn't venture in there) and it slowly made its way throughout the floor via the HVAC recycling program they have going. We don't actually get any fresh air down there, the stale air from the floor just gets pushed from cube to cube. I'm sure I will also be catching whatever cold it is that my other two cellmates have had. By Wednesday I was pretty sure I was going to break-out of the joint and never look back.

I think the only thing that saved me that day was an even-paced post-work run in the sun with The CPA*. We don't usually talk much when we run but I couldn't shut up that afternoon. After that we grabbed our his-n-hers mowers and tackled the lawn; I didn't want to stop moving or go inside until the sun dropped out of the sky. We capped it all off with a hot, co-ed shower and a nice lasagna dinner with a goblet of vino. By Thursday morning I had pretty much decided I would return to the vault, put in a solid 26-32 hours per week until school is out, and then I would give notice and stay home this summer. There are just too many things I want to do and for whatever reason, I feel like I really need to do them NOW. I want to spend a week in South Dakota with my sister and her husband and their two boys. I want to visit my brother and sister-in-law and their two little boys in Michigan. I want to attend one, or more, of the Writers' Workshops down at the University of Iowa. I want to spend time playing outside with my kid and driving around in Big Betty (have I introduced Big Betty yet? She is my 1992 Four Winds RV. Love. Her.) looking for neat places to stay. I want to devote time to developing a habit of writing every day. See? Too busy for a job.

I told you I'd update you on my fingerprint debacle but, alas, no news from the Fibbies yet. I also haven't heard from my friend about the job I was originally supposed to start back in March (seems like such a long time ago now!) which is what prompted my hasty, at yet still long over due, exit from the hedge fund. Her company has had a recent reorg so now I'm wondering if that position has vanished "like a fart in the wind." (Love me some Shawshank Redemption. LOVE.) I'm sure I will hear from her soon but in the meantime, my imagination runs wild with possibilities. The adventure continues...

-Jenny, Undecided

*The CPA recently read my blog for the first time. He liked it but suggested perhaps I should be mentioning him more.