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Welcome Thy Hallucinator

By Amber Tamblyn

“Don’t bother,” said the tiny, weary voice in my head when I first read the invite to blog for the Poetry Foundation.

“Only linguisticons and master craftswomen of the word are welcome there, not actresses who write poetry.  Metaphor aficionados and such.  Look at you, spell-checking the word ‘aficionado’ and correcting it.   You can’t even spell.  You’re a Hollywood actress who can’t spell, who doesn’t even live in Hollywood but none the less that’s what you are, because I am your subconscious and I say so.  Like any good thespian subconscious, I live by the labels others have given you;  Professional Poriferan.  You’re the Beyonce of Susan B. Anthonys.  None of the writers at the Poetry Foundation will take your writing seriously.  Seriously.  Stay in your safe zone where your publicist can help control your image and do stuff like “photo kills” so your flabby Scottish arms don’t look like over-cooked Tagliatelle in fashion layouts.  You’re about to embark on your first major poetry tour for a book that took you four years to write, why not just focus on that?  It’s a real tour, for real this time.  Not just a pinch of Los Angeles and a dash of New York between shooting episodes of ‘Joan of Arcadia’.  You’re gonna read at Prairie Lights Book Store in Iowa.  That shit is for real!  You are real this time.   Why open yourself up to the judgments of a prestigious poetry website?  Like you know shit about Voltaire or Tanka poetry.  Stay safe.  No more crying over that old Amazon review of your debut poetry book that was subliminally based on a badly lit sex scene you did in a movie 5 years ago.  That review didn’t even make sense!  But you cried anyway, didn’t you?   You sobbed your tiny prune heart out.  Questioned everything you feel, everything you should be, everything you cannot be.   Even I, your subconscious,  am tired of sounding like the 10th Woody Allen movie that sounds like a Woody Allen movie.  So why bother.


Now that you’ve danced around your bedroom to some Justin Timberlake and weighed yourself every time he sang, “I’m bringing sexy back”, maybe you should take another look at this offer/idea once more.   Jeffrey McDaniel has written there.  You love Jeff.  LOVE him.  He stayed up until 2am one night helping you copy edit your new book.  He let you sneak into one of his Sarah Lawrence classes and is responsible for your obsession with Noelle Kocot.  Shit, Noelle Kocot is on there too!  Pray she never gets a chance to check your Google caches.  They read  like an Anne Mallory romance novel title.  “Noelle + Amber + Three Nights Of Sin” and so on.  Wanda Coleman is here too.  Remember those times you sat at her feet in her living room in Marina Del Rey, eating goat cheese and crackers and talking about each others poetry?  She loves your line, “Crack the nut in you, Amber.  Crack her hard.”  Her poem “Moon Cherries” changed you dramatically as a writer with its intensity and honesty.  “…On your tongue, piss turns to milk.  You devastate me“.  She taught you not to fear those non-writing months, that there is no such thing as writer’s block.  That is the time when your muse is resting, absorbing new information, pollinating the big concepts.  Wouldn’t it be nice to be amongst them?  Writing amongst them?  To share the crazy stories of stalkers, haters, readings and helpful multi-flavored popcorn making tips?

To share how drinking Laphroaig all night with a beautiful blue-eyed writer named Joe lead you to the work of Kiki Petrosino.  How Lawrence Ferlinghetti once took a strand of your fallen hair, placed in on a table, and attempted to spell “poem” in cursive with it.  Or the moment you got to see Diane Di Prima read journal entries in a small room.  How your guts puckered and made love to the back of your ribs.  How great poets and great poetry have helped you define yourself as a woman outside of a mad, monstrous entertainment industry that eats away at all things truly feminine.  How your struggle for an authentic and whole identity has heavily informed your work as a poet, and your poetry has informed your strength as an actress.

Maybe you do want to take them along your journey.  Maybe they want you to want to take them.”

Hi.  My name is Amber Tamblyn and I am a 26 year old writer and actress who lives in New York City.  I was born in Venice, California.  I’ll be blogging here at Harriet for a few months.  I hope to share some unique stories with you.  I hope you enjoy them.

Comments (12)

  • On October 1, 2009 at 11:47 am Dermot wrote:

    Sounds good. As long as you don’t post any bloody White Stripes videos. All best…

  • On October 1, 2009 at 1:05 pm csperez wrote:

    welcome! it’s nice to hear some youngblood around here!


  • On October 1, 2009 at 1:22 pm J Diego Frey wrote:

    OK Amber, if you get to be the Beyonce of Susan B. Anthonys, then I want to be the John Stewart of Alexander Hamiltons…


  • On October 1, 2009 at 3:31 pm Jim Murdoch wrote:

    The world needs to see that pretentiousness is not a prerequisite for being a poet. Looking forward to future posts.

    BTW I’ve been writing poetry for thirty years and I had to spell check both ‘pretentiousness’ and ‘prerequisite’ and I would’ve needed to look up ‘aficionado’ too.

  • On October 1, 2009 at 4:12 pm Catherine Halley wrote:

    Hi Amber. This is what we call a kick ass first post. Looking forward to more!

  • On October 1, 2009 at 4:27 pm Krista Elliot wrote:

    You might just bring sexy (back?) to Harriet.

  • On October 1, 2009 at 6:30 pm Terreson wrote:

    Well, I am primed and good to go. And spoken like a thespian who knows the value of both histrionics and irony.


  • On October 2, 2009 at 10:05 am Teri G. wrote:

    I’m looking forward to your best Anne Sexton accent.

  • On October 2, 2009 at 12:54 pm Michael James wrote:

    I just moved from Long Beach to Texas, where I used to often {OPEN} books. I will miss your release party there. Your stint on Harriet is a nice consolation.

    I remember catching a poem of yours in this independent arts journal from Long Beach. I can’t remember its name. But I bought it at Koo’s Art Center over on Broadway.

    (Long live Acres of Books, right?)

  • On October 9, 2009 at 4:47 pm Jamie wrote:

    Can’t wait to hear more. Your such a great inspiration.

  • On October 9, 2009 at 6:28 pm Lee wrote:

    I say nice things about you in my reviews.
    Not because I’m a nice person, which I can be, but because thespian or not, you’re a very good writer.

  • On October 10, 2009 at 1:08 am Malea wrote:

    Thank God for actresses who can THINK!

Posted in Uncategorized on Thursday, October 1st, 2009 by Amber Tamblyn.