Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas

I took the bolt bus back from Portland. I had spent three days in the country, chopping wood, reading and being fed. I had sunk into a caloric lethargy and everything was great.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

I loved this article

Jeffery Ellinger wrote this 25 Signs You are a Fake Writer on Thought Catalog a few days ago and a bunch of people got pretty pissed.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Piece in Signed Magazine #2

A short piece of my writing is in Signed Magazine #2. There are interviews with Death Cab for Cutie, Rose Windows, Superchunk and other fine musicians.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

I'm getting a chapbook together

It's going to be called 'Rural Information'. It will be out in two months.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Beckon, Obsession

Beckon, Obsession
            Do you enjoy the hours spent?
Can you tolerate the many hours spent?
Those hours dumb
those hours blind?
Those hours sere and simply stuttered?
Those supple hours spent rumbling?
Whose hours are these?
Whose long gone hours?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Bad memory

Having a bad memory while writing just makes every piece into a one man exquisite corpse which...isn't that most desirable?

Monday, October 28, 2013

Most importants

1994-1995 In first or second grade I read this book called 'The Game' by Monica Hughes. It may have been the first full book I read, at least was certainly one of the first few. I only remember it vaguely but it sounds like dystopian cyberpunk, but intelligent. It seems to have had a lasting impact on me.

Madeline L'engle was also pretty big for me, and I must have read her around this time.

I don't recall reading much in third or fourth  or fifth grade. And if I did it did not stick with me much.

In sixth grade I read 1984 which scared the shit out of me. I read it again two years later, then again two years after that. It was my favorite book for a long, long time.

At some point in, I think, middle school I read the first two 'His Dark Materials' Books (amber spyglass had not come out yet, and really liked those.

Around 8th grade I got really into the discworld books, read between 10 and 12 of them over maybe a year. I also got into the Battletech books around that time and read the Clan trilogy.

Ninth grade I read part of catch-22 but didn't really get it. I was proud because I did not finish it but wrote a report on it for class and got and A.

Tenth grade I got into punk and mostly listened to albums instead of reading.

Eleventh grade I don't think I read much either.

Twelfth grade I read a bunch of vonnegut, bradbury and hesse especially during lunch. I had friends then but just liked being in the library better which in hindsight is sort of funny. I also read Portraits which I though was cool and a certain amount of philosophy lite for this class I took.

The next year I didn't go to school or do anything I just sat aorund my mom's house but I started to read a lot. I got into Wordsworth, Montaigne, Proust. I basically picked up the craziest books I could find down at this thrift store and read them little by little. There was some other stuff too.

My freshman year I read House of Leaves and really liked that, and read a lot of other stuff that was sort of cool but that I didn't like all that much (Feed, 9 Stories)

The next year I read Ulysses and found Borges who I was not super into but learned to really like later on. Also read 'Chinese Letter' and 'Invention of Morel' which were pretty killer.

Read 'Fuck-up' and 'Perks of being a wallflower' two of my least favorite books of all time then read 'Infinite Jest'. Later in the year I got super into school and started reading a little less.

The next year I was still really busy with school but read 'Sometimes a great notion' and especially 'Shoplifting from American Apparel' which was pretty big for me at the time. Preordered and read 'Pale King'

The next year I read a lot of graphic novels (The Invisibles, Some other stuff from that guy, started that huge Aardvark graphic novel but didn't find it that interesting) read Neuromancer. Then read a lot of science stuff, the really came back (for some reason) with this book by Sam Mcpheeters which I thought was gonna be amazing but which was only so-so. Then I read 'Cows' and found Blake Butlers blog where I started reading Sam Pink found out about alt-lit.

Later that year, after I graduated, I read 'The Late Works of Margaret Kroftis' 'The Recognitions' 'Chromos' Sean Kilpatick, 'Godel Escher Bach', Raymond Carver, Steve Roggenbuck, and a bunch of other stuff that I can't remember.

Monday, October 21, 2013

What 1000 abortions feels like (Taiga boards and reminiscence)

            In the weight of the ice lay taiga boards. Across the bluing sky lay the taiga boards. With too large, inflated hands I had to search for the taiga boards. Underneath the bluing sky the taiga boards lay

There they were. There I was. Taiga boards, taiga boards. Dripping with the sap mixture, dripping with pine sap and bone ash and metal shavings which worm their way into my skin when I touch them.
            The father’s rotting teeth wobbled in their hasty moors. Docked into the flash of his mouth and wobbling about in the turning tide of his mouth. I could feel the breath on my leather mask. It was not yet light out, the turning branches left scrapes of dark on the sky. Each rustle of air left cuts on my cheeks.

There they were, there it was. The taiga boards.
The father and the son, set out in the middle of the forest. The son’s leather mask chafed his face and the father’s teeth rattled in the moorings. Dacks of flesh where the yellow sat.

There was the son and the father and the things between them. A crippled cabin far set into the woods. His teeth were red from chewing betel, spit on the floor the floor too was a wash of blood. The son’s hands were large, a leather mask warped over his face, the catgut seams sticking out.

I have no one to blame but myself for this lack of entropy, this lack of energy.

The snow sat and sat on the house and over the house and in the crooks between the branches. Bent over the stove the son heated a wire which he used to burn off the growths on his legs. They came up in the bend beneath his knees. He would spend an hour every morning burning off the growths before he went out to gather the taiga boards. He would wait until the father would get up and out of bed and scream at him from across the room. He was always waking up drunk and smelling like the dust that gathered and burned on top of the stove after a good electrical storm. The son would always wish the father’s kerosene tank would get hit by one of the bolts. It was metal and high enough. It would set alight and pour down on the father’s bed and burn him to dust like the dust that gathered on the stove and burned. When the father would stop yelling, only then would the son go out to gather the boards. He would load up the cart.

An open mouth. Teeth tethered like rusting ships to a rotting dock. The voice and the stench from the hole were one and the same, the smell of those rotting teeth and the sounds it created just two modal expressions of the same idea. Days of this, from when the sun rose late to when the father had drunk enough pine liquor to settle himself into the molding pile of blankets by the fire. There was no weather, just sheet after falling sheet of ice which lay over the permafrost. Pine needles buried under crusts of blackened snow and under that were the precious taiga boards. When he ran out of money for the pine liquor the father sent the son out to collect the taiga boards, strapping a harness to the boy and a sled to the harness. The boy would go out - his body-sheet sticking on snags and the few rocks which were exposed – and dig the taiga boards out with his bare hands. It was not infrequently that patches of frost bitten flesh would blossom on his fingers and palms. These would start blue, then purple, then black and green, then a wriggling white as the maggots lived on it. When the maggots left - turning into the bottle flies which lived out in the stable on the horse’s asses - there would be little white pits where the living flesh formed a barrier. Soon enough the boy’s hands were cratered all around, a new kind of flesh which did not turn blue, or black, a new kind of flesh which was like a pitted stone and was good for pulling up the taiga boards.
 The boards had been buried in the snow. When the son would come back to their shack and the father had woken from his alcohol sleep the father would tell stories about the taiga boards and where they came from. Every story was different.
Once he told this story: The taiga boards were from the floors of the killing camps they had here during the true reign, fifteen or twenty years ago.
Another time he told this story: The taiga boards are from a walkway they were building to the far north, a way to move goods up to a religious station.
He told other stories too.
The son would wipe his leather mask down with mink oil before going out into the taiga to keep the leather from freezing to his face. The board would strap to his shoulders. The straps were bull’s leather and froze into separate triangles.

I want to write another novel. I want to start another novel right now. I want my days to be filled by this other world where things are as complete (no, more complete) then the things in this world. I want to build this house and live in it but it is like I have lost my tools. Like the only materials I have to build this house with are mud and shit. I sty to stack this as well as I can but it all just falls into itself and my hands are cold and wet and don’t work, will not build, won’t do what I tell them. I want to have something to point to every day and say ‘look! This is what I have done, this is a small piece of me which is now in the world. I’m not the kind of person that sits around and watched conspiracy videos on youtube all day. I’m the kind of person that is productive and writes novels har-ta-tar! and I can’t. I’m not doing this right now I’m just doing the youtube part which, honestly is pretty depressing. And It’s like I want to get over it, I will try anything to make it past this awkward point but I’m not sure where to start. I’m getting good sleep, eating well, eating good food, drinking coffee and I get about two hundred words and it just dies, or I get distracted by doing somehting else.

The darkness. There was only darkness really for all I could remember. The mask bit against my face when I went out into the taiga. Out in the taiga were the taiga boards. They were what we wanted more than anything, we wanted the taiga boards so we could make the lying down machines. I would gather the taiga boards after the father had fallen asleep. He would wake as the sun dawned its sliver of red light, those few precious moments before it settled back down under the horizon, he would wake in a start and start yelling immediately, screaming at the branches and the taiga boards. Screaming at the only thing which held us together here, the taiga boards. I think they could hear, the taiga boards, they could hear how we hated them. They knew we hated them, but that we needed them. These boards. ‘How did they know?’ You might ask, ‘Being Boards how could they know?

I sit down. I stare at the computer. I try to type something. I get up. I check the rice. I chat with my girlfriend. I watch a video. I search for someone I had a class with once or twice during college. I look at their photos, I look at their siblings I get up. I stretch my back. I walk around. I look out the window. I sit down. I try to type. I feel like shit. I can’t type. There is a block in my head. I look at the word count. Less than a thousand words. I start a new paragraph. It is different from the previous paragraph but about the same thing. I think back to what I was writing earlier this year. It feel like a different person. I chat with my girlfriend. I get up. I check the rice. I turn off the light. I sit down. I look up a video called ‘Strange creature in victorian sewer’. I get distracted. Twenty minutes go by. I get up. I make some food. I sit down. I look into where ‘Power Rangers’ came from. I watch the original Japanese series. Another ten minutes goes by. I look at the clock. It is almost four o’clock. I have done almost nothing today. I try to write. Nothing comes out. No. That’s wrong. Something comes out but it is awful. I want to throw it away. The music stops. I go to Pandora and click the ‘I’m still listening’ button. I think about going for a walk. I don’t want to leave because if I’m out walking then I am not working, not writing, which is bad. Half an hour goes by, I have written nothing. I think back on how if I had gone for a half hour walk I would have written just the same amount (zero words) but would have gotten out of the house for a little and might have some ideas for stuff to write. I look at more facebook profiles. I look at the two people who liked a review I wrote. They look like generic white people. I feel a little bad about calling them generic white people. I’m a generic white person. No, I’m Jewish, so I’m not totally white. Right? I think about ‘Darkness Visible’ Styron’s novella about going sober and getting depression. I remember how happy I felt when I read it. I read it the second day I lived in a house called the ‘Toy House’ in college. That second day I was in the house all alone, horribly hungover and surrounded by books. It was a few weeks before school started and none of my friends were around. I found darkness visible, read it more or less in one sitting, in one chair. I’m pretty sure the day started out sunny, and the sun had set by the time I finished. I don’t know why but reading that book filled me with this pleasure I have had only a hand full of times in my life. It was this totally free, unencumbered pleasure with no single source. There sort of pleasure used to happen to me about once a year but I have not felt it in a while. After I finished reading the book I lay on the floor and listened to ’22 Jazz funk greats’ while wearing headphones. The house was so quiet. I turned all the lights off and there was just this steady light from outside. Listening to that album all alone really freaked me out. After the album ended I went upstairs to sleep. I left the lights on because I was still freaked out by the album, but also I was probably just anxious from the last bits of the hangover (you know that hangover anxiety?) Then next morning I felt more or less normal, I think. I can’t remember that well though.

What if I can never write again though? What if that was my one novel, I wrote it, did the best I could, but for its sheer naivety it is simply unpublishable. And then that was it? I just have no more? Like what if I will never be able to link ideas like I did with BA? What if my mind will just degrade further and and further and I just never come up with anything as interesting as that (scary still is how uninteresting BA must seem to others, where all these little connections which were all inside my head are never demonstrated in the novel and so there is this whole chunk which is missing? What if that is the case? What if I am one of these people that just pops out the one and tries for years and years to recreate it and just never does? Just had that one little flash of creativity and then burned it out? What happens then? What do I do?

I just…writing just does not sound that exciting right now. As terrible as it sounds, but that is just the way I feel. Like those people at the end of marathons who want to finish, god they want to finish so bad, but everything within them is revolting against it, is just saying ‘NO! NO MORE! We are done and you have to deal with it’ That is how I feel. I want to be productive but each time I start it just fizzles out, is not enjoyable. How could it be that short? I hardly got nine months in. I got like three or four pieces published and then it’s like the noise coming out of a balloon and the balloon just sort of sputtering away and falling into a puddle of rain water. 

Unable to write

It thought I had it. I thought I was going to be a writer for good. It was January and I had this motivation like I never had for anything before. I treated writing like it was my job: woke up in the morning and just went (and I went pretty hard). I was banging out two thousand words a day, six days a week, for almost three months. I knew where it was all going, I just had to fill in the gaps but really the gaps just filled themselves. I can hardly remember it now, the whole time is sort of a blank, punctuated by a few memories of writing. It just seemed normal to do what I was doing. Maybe it was those years of pent up energy, those years of hyper logical thinking that school forced out of me. That spot the school forced me into where creativity was a foreign and untouchable entity. Not to rag on school, that was just where I was at. So maybe then that was the initial torrent of pent up ideas, like the wave that pours from a backed up drain, a wall of water which had built up from years of a slow trickle. But after the first wave? The trickle continues as before, a drip every few seconds but nothing as massive as the initial torrent. Is that where I am at?
Since I submitted Basic Analysis to presses two weeks ago writing has been such a struggle. I've been trying a lot of different things but it is just not coming. I can hardly write this.

Normally this might not be a problem. If I had a job, or was volunteering, or was smuggling drugs over the border from Myanmar to China I would have somewhere for my mind to go, some amount of experience gained, some money to show. But I don't: I set myself up in this place (not physical place but 'situation') where I am fully 'dedicating' myself to writing, so if I am not able to write I am doing NOTHING. This keeps popping into my head the phrase "i am a nonentity" like I am not interacting with the world at all. Even when I was just sitting here and writing five hours a day and still not interacting with the world I felt like I was interacting with the world. I guess to state this another way: my physical solitude is not an issue/not that bad/a good thing if i have the feeling that there is no existential/intellectual/creative solitude. I think the worst part of this all is that I may have to get a job soon which in it self is not so bad, the bad part will be 'finding out what job i can/should/would be able to do. All my lab ties are cut off, so this area where I have all this specialized knowledge is essentially out of the question. I could get some service job or seasonal work but that is perhaps the most horrifying thing (but really I would do it, it is more that I don't want to go out and find the job but if it came to me I work go every day and work hard and eat it up for 3-5 months then get that crushing ennui and get distracted all the time and either quit or get fired or hopefully (hopefully) have the job end and get laid off et c.) Really I just sort of wish someone would just provide me with a job, like in the old days, where you would always just do whatever your family had done since the Ganga had receded, the job your last name specified you do.

That was the reason working on Basic Analysis was so good (well one reason): I knew exactly where it had to be and I knew I had to do it then. It was sort of like I was being told what to do, or where it had to go, and I was just following instructions. Things just fell into place and I barely had to think about how or where each point was going to line up. Granted the writing isn't great but the process was a wave that swept me up. This was the best part. I would just start writing, not know where I was going, and then boom there I was 1000 or 2000 words later and the novel was slightly larger, and breathing a bit more.

I lay in bed for 2 hours this morning. Something I never do unless I am with my girlfriend. I kept telling myself I had to get out of bed and start writing but nothing happened. I just lay there for two hours. Usually it will be 7:05 and I will say "Get out of bed, you need to get writing" and I get just the right amount of anxiety and there it is, but this time I kept telling myself I had to get up and... nothing. Every fifteen minutes for two hours. It was terrible. I'd just think 'what am I even going to write?' and then I'd think 'nothing' and I'd just nod off again for a minute. It makes me think back to the last time I had nothing 'official' to do and I would just sleep in till 11 every day. That was the worst winter of my life.

And maybe the wort part of this is that I'm just complaining right now but not doing anything to solve the problem. Like I could be writing a story right now but I just don't know how to write a story. It just feels like that. I just have never written a story before and all the stories I have written are not mine, like I can't edit them.

I'm reading 'A Naked Singularity' right now. De La Pava is a pretty interesting writer. The novel keeps falling from side to side, from the poles of really smart, good post-modern writing to a pretty cheesy crime thriller. His writing style can get really awkward with these poorly constructed sentences and mass-market (that's how I think of it, all snappy, like reading the script from gilmore girls where it seems like the writer is making everyone try to sound smart, except - at least in my experience - the smartest people don't generally have some snappy comeback to everything, in fact they generally speak slowly or not at all) It's like high-genre but if the 'high' and the 'genre' were separate parts of the book. Or like as if it was the same story but every other page was written 'high' and the rest was written in standard genre 'genre'. Anyways one of the good things about not being able to write is that I have been reading a lot, like I started 'ANS' on friday or thursday and I'm already on page 450 which is pretty quick for me. Apparently his second novel was not that successful, though it would be interesting to see. Honestly I thought naked singularity was going to be more difficult, but most parts are pretty straightforward (either that or I am just missing all the difficult parts).

Thursday, October 17, 2013

I've been in the Trees Before

I've been in the trees before
their arms a pallid amber sickness

from across the valley
they seem like one mass

I'm not easily fooled though
I've been in their arms before

here the dirt tastes
just like a cow bell

I tasted it on a dare

it tastes like blood
but it isn't

it's either dirt
or a cow's bell

Monday, October 14, 2013

I was there (and it was stupid)

I vividly remember being nine or ten and watching the WTO riots live on TV. What exactly was going on was beyond me but it was obviously something big. I grew up on Mercer Island, just across the lake from Seattle and I could look over the lake at the light over Seattle - it looked the same as always - and then there on the evening news (how many days was it? it seemed to go on for weeks,) there was all this action, this violence and motion. The whole thing had a very rebels vs. empire taste to it, the demonstrators all colorful, arms locked, signs hoisted; the riot police anonymous behind their black masks, kicking, firing tear canisters. There were the ominous clouds of smoke, the huddled groups of crying women having water poured into their eyes. It all seemed very romantic and weighty and played nicely to that remnant childhood feeling of a definite good/evil split, that clean morality even adults hold some hope for.

 For a long time after WTO I held these very romantic notions of riots. There were a few years where I really hoped to be a part of one, to be out there on the streets fighting this battle between good and evil. Kicking a cop. I got a gas mask in high school from a thrift store partially hoping to one day to wear it as society fell and the US became one giant drawn out street battle.

As I saw more riots, on TV and youtube I came view them more as avoidable glitches in the movement of societal progress. Riots were exciting but rarely seemed to create much more than a few broken bones and shattered windows. Aimless property destruction became less romantic as I factored in the people that had to clean all the shit up afterwards. This was during the rise of the black bloc movement/group/whatever and I became friends with a few people who really believed in the truth of spreading anarchy in the form of fucking up a Nike or Starbucks.

The idea too, or the argument, that these actions which were purely destructive could somehow make a difference, or change the world for the better seemed so completely backwards, so insanely wrongheaded that I found arguing with people who were for rioting for riots sake nearly impossible.

I followed the occupy movement from a distance when they happened (was that only last year?). This, I felt, was one of the first times in recent memory where people were getting together for a good cause. Granter the occupy cause was a little vague at times, but it was forwarding something that was good. The videos of the riot cops coming in and fencing people up with those nets enraged me, and the famous video of the cop at UC Davis pepper spraying the peaceful, seated students enraged me to no end. After a few years of being utterly appalled at the idea of mass demonstration there seemed to be something in it again, the romanticism, the unbalanced morality, the possibility of change.

It came out of no where then, my first riot. I cringe a little calling it that; the word 'riot' seems to lend the event some sort of legitimacy. Let's not call it a riot: in my mind riots move. Back and forth or straight forward a riot has motion, physical and ideological. This was a disruption, a drunken group looking for a fight. All the loud assholes outside of a bar, the dudes that yell at you out of their car window all grouped up in one place. I was up in the town where I had gone to college visiting my girlfriend for the weekend. We were at a quiet gathering down at the bottom of a long street that leads, more or less, up to the school, about a mile away from campus. We had been in the back yard around a sad little fire of beer boxes and newspaper, talking, eating. The night was pretty quiet though every few minutes there was this chanting or yelling, apparently coming from down town. I figured it was a football game or concert. People around the fire kept mentioning a block party 'Is it still going on?', 'I heard it got broken up?', 'We were just there.') Over the course of five minutes we saw two or three cop cars - lights on, sirens quiet - speed past the house and up to campus. My girlfriend and I went out onto the front lawn and, looking up the street, saw a mass of flashing lights blocking off the street. We decided to go see what was going on and walked up the street. As we got closer people became more frequent, moving to or away from the mess, a few just watching. There were easily eight cop cars blocking off the road, though they never stopped us or asked us to turn around. Up on the ledge of a small hill, overlooking an intersection about half a mile from campus, there were about two hundred people, young, (student aged, though perhaps not students) gathered, facing the police and cheering. Bottles were arcing up and crashing in front of the cars. Already glass was strewn about and shimmering on the entire space in front of the police cars. We watched for a moment, a little amused but mostly wondering at what could possible incite something so ridiculous and out of place.

Anyways, here I am standing in front of this angry, drunken, idiotic crowd, filled with the gospel of moderation. The cops were quietly pulling out their riot gear, one guy lining up with a paintball gun aside a car. I was angry at the people throwing bottles, but also at the cops for amping up the crowd with their lights and gear and simple presence. It seemed reasonable enough to me that if I went into the crowd and called people out one by one, pointing at them and saying 'Go home' I might have some effect. The adrenaline got me and I went over and into the crowd. I was kind of drunk, I'll admit it, but more than anything I think I was driven by an article I had been reading earlier in the day by Douglas Hofstadter. This was from 'metamagical themas' the collection of his mathematical games in Scientific American from the early 80's. In his penultimate column Hofstadter put forward a lottery which went as follows: each person may send in a postcard with a number on it representing the number of entries they wish to have. A '1' gets you one chance of winning a '700' get you 700 chances of winning. The prize was $1,000,000 dollars though the winner only received that amount divided by the number of entries. He reported over two thousand entries, many of them '1's though quite a few of them insanely large numbers. Naturally, due to the large number and magnitude of the entries, the amount of the prize was so vanishingly small that it essentially equaled zero. Hofstadter used this as a way to demonstrate the tragedy of the commons in a very elegant way, showing here that most people assume that they are special, unique, that they can take more than others because others will act moderately, rationally, and provide a cushion for that one person. Of course many, if not most, people assume that they are the special individual. This drive toward selfishness is placed as the single most importance cause of the decline in natural resources. The article ended in a very depressing way with Hofstadter lamenting humanity, the environment and resigning his position at SA.

My pleas were mostly ignored, though when I brought up the tear gas two or three people seemed to take it to heart and left pretty quickly. I went out of the crowd and back to my girlfriend who was (rightfully) pissed that I went into the crowd.

A little afterwards (the cops remained stoic the whole time, invisible almost as they remained in the cruisers) a few guys tore a stop sign out of the ground and hoisted it into the air. They paraded it around for a little while then threw it in front of the cop cars. Up to that point the destructive potential of the crowd was fairly minimal. They had bottles but nothing harder: no bricks, broken concrete or gas bombs. The sign represented the first item which could do some damage. Before anyone had a chance to put it through a window, or bend it beyond use I went over, grabbed it and pulled it into the grass, out of the immediate view of the crowd. Almost as soon as I made it over some guys ripped another sign up. I didn't wait this time and just pulled it out of their hands. It was surprisingly easy. There were a few of them, three or four maybe, but they did not put up much of a fight. If anything i think it proved they weren't really that serious about the whole thing. I put the stop signs in a little pile and stood by them.

A few people came over and told me how it was good to move the signs. While I appreciated this I sort of wished that more people were doing something to break up the riot. There was this sizable group of people watching, talking about how stupid it was and that they wanted the riot to be over, but they did nothing to stop it. So really there were these two different levels of mob mentality: the one group that thought it was okay if they threw a bottle at the cops, ignoring the fact that everyone else was doing this, everyone else was being as destructive as they were, and the other side, those watching who felt pissed off but did not want to step in and interfere, did not feel comfortable telling off the crowd individually.

The crowd began to move up to the cops cars little by little. There were girls twerking in front of (and apparently 'on', though I missed this) the cop car and guys flipping them off. All of a sudden the cop cars split to either side of the road and let through this little armored vehicle. Afterwards I heard it was called a 'bearcat'. There was a big bang then a series of pops which might have been concussion grenades or the cops firing those little paintballs filled with CS powder. The rioting crowd was covered in smoke and the people in the watching crowd moved away. We just walked, it was obviously time to go but it never felt too dangerous to me. About a block away a lot of people ran past us. I distinctly remember hearing a girl scream 'Why is everyone running!?' as if people running was the scariest part.

We heard concussion grenades going off every now and then for another twenty minutes or so, though we walked out of the range of hearing pretty soon after.

The whole thing seemed very confusing. I don't remember exactly when we learned how it all started but there had been a fairly large block party (about a block away from the riot) which had been broken up by the cops and moved out to the park. People had heard and gathered, presumably some of them not even at the original party.

Afterwards the picture started to form through the news. We read about it the next morning on the huffington post which was a shocking amount of coverage for what seemed like such a silly event (there was an Iranian article too but it was short and they misspelled the word 'four' among others). The mostly reliable reports showed that no one got hurt and the cops arrested three, maybe four people, none of whom were students. The whole thing seemed to vastly out of place. I had heard of student riots before but these I associated with football school, with frats, and couches burning on the streets at huge party schools. It sort of killed any of that residual romanticism I had for mass demonstrations. It was, without a doubt, the single stupidest thing I have seen in my life. There was no thought, no action, no meaning. Just all the worst things humanity has to offer: mindless destruction, the group mentality, selfishness, ignoring all evidence against the wrong position, self-righteousness.

There has been some banter back and forth of what the riot represents. There were the initial proclamations of novel moral decay and 'the kids these days' and then of course the crowd of people pointing out that mindless student riots like this have occurred before. But one has to wonder why now? Why in the peaceful city of Bellingham? (the chief of police of 31 years says he has never seen anything like this) Why midway through the quarter? Is there a way to keep things like this from happening, or break them without hurting people? Granted the cops did a great job here, but the pepper ball guns they were using have been responsible for two deaths, simply by accident.

At one point, when I was going through the crowd I told some guy to go home he said,
'No, we are fighting for a cause'
This really surprised me, as if perhaps there was some deeper cause to the group that I was not aware of,
'What cause?'
'To party' he said, straight faced (well his eyes were wandering).

Thursday, October 10, 2013

those old submission blues

Been submitting my novel to presses. Sent out to another contest today. Already $55 dollars in the hole. Feels like gambling, but I lose more money, or something. Gathered a bunch of presses from the 'about' section of &NOW2 award anthology. Most are poetry/multimedia et c. so it was not very fruitful.

Feel this tearing conundrum where, you know how on the submissions page they will say 'please read our books to find out what we publish' or something like that? And there are a number of presses that publish stuff that I like (Dalkey archive, two dollar radio, tyrant) but all the presses that I like, that I admire that I (this is going to sound weird, but I believe it) feel a sort of aesthetic resonance in, are all relatively elite. And the ones seem to have even the slightest chance of publishing me are pretty small, relatively basic, mundane (whatever the opposite of elite is I guess) but do not publish books i have yet come into contact with. Many of the presses I like are closed to unsolicited subs. too so I have to go scour the internet for all these other presses (I guess the 'shotgun' approach seems like the only way though I may be wring here...) but I don't have the time (or the motivation really) to read all the books form all these small presses. It's so selfish, and yet I feel this driving motivation to do it. Like blowing dandelion fluff into a volcano, like trying to spread my creative seed (gross) into this giant, uncaring, incinerating maw. And I know I just need to write more, and I've been getting published little by little...and still.

Feel pretty hopeless at this point, finding it hard to write more. And this is not just from the presses but in general. Last week wrote something like 3000 words total, just a silly story about 'lying down machines'. Feel like there will come a point where I will meet a bunch of people writing a lot like I do. Not sure if this will be a good thing or a bad thing. Good for connections, feedback, publishing; bad for competition, self-esteem, in-fighting (I guess?).

Guess I'm just super lucky that I do not have to have a job now, nor in the near future. Can write as much as I want, when I want et c. Figure that the pressure of having a job will make me write more efficiently. Hearing about there people who have thrown away three, five, ten novels before they published their first piece make me worried. Just not sure how many novels I have in me, whether I can sustain the energy I had earlier this year for the amount of time it will take me to do this.

Funny, talking with b., who has been doing art for 4-5 years, sells pieces for ~$100 each and was able to quit his job to do art full time, and was complaining about all these other people being more successful than he is. He seems really successful (and talented) to me. I guess it's all a cycle, or a spiral maybe like the less successful always looking up at those who are a little more successful and feel jealous/envious.

Feel like I sent BA out just to get feedback or to get my name into some heads, don't really expect it to get published, but then will have these little flashes of like Dalkey Archive being like 'yeah we loved it we'll take it' and getting prematurely, hopelessly optimistic. 'Optimism as disease', like rushdie said. Hate to quote him but it seems a propos. Expectations are awful, try to squash them as much as possible. Also feel like I may have exhausted my current publishing contacts (few and generous as they are). Sort of weasled my way into these people's views, shoved a piece on them then had them move it forward. Wish I could get a piece put through by someone I have never met I guess, would make me feel much better about my writing (for some reason)

Wanted to submit to jaded ibis and they asked for an aesthetic statement. Put one together but it felt thin, like they would have looked and laughed. Everything else about the press seemed admirable and interesting though. Over my head maybe, need to develop a BA app.

Have been focusing (sort of) with the interaction with that writer. Feels very narcissistic. Want to focus on letting criticism et c. (negative criticism, not critique or positive criticism) roll off my back. Don't want to be one of htose shitty people who wallows in other criticisms.

There are two things that I think would be cool and interesting for literature:

1. A subscription based database similar to 'web of science' where all literary journals and magazines are cataloged and each store is indexed with year, author, location and a number of qualifiers like length  topic style etc. then authors, genres and styles are connected so that you can find similar writers to those you like. Sort of like a pandora for short stories or poetry. There is already the search function I guess but the connections (especially for personal, academic and institutional connection) might add a lot, allow someone new to literature to find a lot of good stuff pretty quickly.

2. A fully funded institution that was sort of like an invitation only MFA program: nominations made by whoever where entry level writers who seemed dedicated to the craft in the long term but either did not have the means to get further education/immersion in a full writing environment or something like that could just write for a few year (or do research or whatever). I guess the crux here would be invitation only, which sounds elitist and to a certain degree it would have to be, but it would allow this no pressure environment and lot of writing. or something. Maybe it would devolve into a nepotistic circle jerk, probably would.

About every month or so I'll wake up to some guy screaming outside my window. It will be the middle of the night and I'll listen for twenty, thirty minutes as every minute or so there is just this little scream. Different thing, they get garbled through the window. Sometimes it will stop for a few minutes then come back. That's all.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

This was Funny

So I am a part of this workshop - very nice, mostly twenty somethings, decent feedback et c.. We are coming toward the end of a seasonal 'session' and there have been speakers coming in the last two weeks. Last week was this irritating suit who titled himself a literary 'advisor, coach' et c. trying to shill his writing advice book. He thought indie publishing was what people called self-publishing these days and said some thing to the effect of 'i don't really read internet journals' so my ears had these involuntary spasms and shut out pretty much everything else he said during the session. This week a guy who writes 'YA, fantasy and urban fiction' came in. I was wary at first but he seemed genuine and had good experience. He too grouped up the publishing industry into 'traditional publishing' and self-publishing and spent a significant amount of time talking about agents, how he got one and how useful they are. He mentioned at one point that getting your book through a publisher (presumably Henry Holt, which is who is carrying his most recent YA horror mystery) includes a portion where the publisher runs the book past "...walmart, barnes and nobles and large retailers."

Later I brought up this split that he had mentioned (and had been mentioned last week), between self-publishing and big six publishing and just ignoring all the small presses in the middle. He asked me what I wrote, but I had a hard time summing it up in one sentence. I said 'literary, with fantastical elements social criticism and experimental language' because I don't write genre and he (not knowing anything else about my novel, or how I write) ran with description and made a series of sweeping judgements about how my range was very narrow and how I would probably not sell many books. I told him I already had this expectation from the get go and was not too worried about it. I then, at some point, mentioned how 'thinking about selling my book in WalMart made me nauseous'.  He flew immediately into a tiny rage and told me that 'I should wish to one day sell my book at WalMart!' and that 'The people who shop at Walmart are not bad!' and I should 'not live in a little ivory tower'. I am not exaggerating when I say there was foam at his mouth. There was not a lot, but it was foam, and it was at his mouth. I placated him but it was a strange experience, like something in a movie. Dystopian almost, being scolded for not liking Walmart enough. He also brought up that since indie publishers only publish a few books a year one's chances at getting published were very small. This of course was after describing how there were hundreds of small presses, his arms spread wide apparently necessary to hold all those small, small presses. "Unless", he slipped in, "you happen to know someone there". Indicating the slimy nepotism I'm sure he thinks rules these places. (In case this isn't clear: the way I figure it one's chances may be small at each individual press, but by submitting to 10/20/50/100 small presses the chances should be about equivalent to trying to get something weird into one of the very restrictive big houses)  He did have nice things to say about small presses: you get time with your editor, they are prompt, they are communities.

In the end he was a kind guy with a lot of experience writing and publishing. Twenty five years under his belt (though apparently the first ten, two novel's worth, he doesn't even count). He was like some other writers I have met, small press writers mostly: he had a certain amount of success, but was envious of his more successful colleagues; he provided the lessons he had learned and assumed they would apply to all other writers; he started his career modestly, worked hard to get where he was and has carved out a small but comfortable place for himself. I guess this is the attitude mass market writers have toward small presses: that they are these plentiful, tiny, narrow minded bugs which scutter about out of sight, doing these tiny things (like publishing silly writers who 'value developing a unique voice over content') that are outside the wide scope of mass market publishing.

Wouldn't it be cool?

You know how there are a few movies, like really violent fucked up movies, that were so realistic that the producers or directors or whatever were arrested and only let free when they brought out the actress that was supposedly killed and recreated the effects for them? Like I think there was a Japanese movie like that in the 80's. What if you did that for a book, where it seemed so realistic that they arrested the author on suspicion of a crime but then they were like, 'dude, fiction. I'm just THAT GOOD.' Has anyone done that? Can anyone still do that?

Monday, September 30, 2013

A Modern Prayer

Our Government bureaucracy, which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come.
Thy will be done in Seattle,
As it is in D.C..
Give us this day our daily paperwork.
And forgive us no trespasses,
As we forgive them that trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from simplicity.
For thine is the kingdom,
The power, and the glory,
For ever and ever.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Wild Animal

Approach Legitimacy as if it were a beautiful, wild animal who is waiting to snap you up and crush your bones.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Similarities and Differences Between the Scientific Method and the Literary Method

In science you work for months on a very narrow project. You gather your results then send them to a journal which will probably reject them. Even if the work does get published only a handful of people, if that, will read and understand your work. You will not get paid.

In writing you work for months on a very narrow project. You finish your piece then send it to a journal which will probably reject it. Even if the work does get published only a handful of people, if that, will read and understand you work. You will not get paid.


In science you struggle to achieve a small glimpse of the truths which apply to the entire universe, or in the case of biological sciences, at least the system of life which has developed on this planet.

In writing you struggle to achieve a small glimpse of the truths which apply to the entire universe, or in the case of fiction writing, at least the intelligent life which has developed in Brooklyn and Iowa City.


Making genuine achievements in science requires a concerted effort on the part of many. Those who preform the majority of the work and those who receive the recognition are often very separate.

Making genuine achievements in literature requires a concerted effort on the part of many. Those who did the majority of the work and those who receive the recognition are often very separate.


Only a handful of people really make any money in science, and these are often the people who sell out to large corporations. There are a some jobs for those in the lower ranks which are mildly lucrative but fairly soulsucking and intellectually void.

Only a handful of people really make money is literature, and these are often the people who sell out to large corporations. There are no jobs for those in the lower ranks which are mildly lucrative. These are fairly soulsucking and intellectually void.


In science nepotism rules supreme. If you don't know the right people you won't make it anywhere. Luckily talent often shows itself and gets recognized.

In literature nepotism rules supreme. If you don't know the right people you won't make it anywhere. Luckily talent often shows itself.


Some people like to say they care about science, but most people are totally ignorant about what actually goes on in a lab, or the core tenets of the scientific method.

No one cares about literature.


Scientists have a popular reputation for being socially awkward, single minded and pretentious. In fact some of them are very kind, caring and can drink your ass under the table.

Writers have a popular reputation for being socially awkward, single minded and pretentious. In fact some of them are very kind, caring and can drink your ass under the table. Even the scientists.


Science is build so that, if experiments are run correctly, less than five percent of results should be caused by chance. In simpler terms: five percent of studies are bullshit.

Literature is build so that, if publishing houses are run correctly, less than one percent of books could be written by chance. In simpler terms: ninety five percent of books are bullshit.


There are very charismatic and charmingly eccentric scientists like Robert Sapolsky, Stephen Hawking, and Neal Degrasse Tyson who appear on popular television programs and enthrall the masses with their luminous and grand depiction of the many levels of the universe.

There were very charismatic and charmingly eccentric writers. They all died of cirrhosis of the liver. Now we have Jonathan Franzen.

Two very short minimalist stories (in progress)

Two exercises in minimalism using the technique of consecution.

Monday, July 8, 2013

My Favorite 60's PoMo films

All the Godard Stuff

All Jodorowsky's

Quil et Vous Polly Magoo

Blow Up

And now, as of tonight, Lions Love a crazy take on the summer of 1968 in Hollywood told in little bursts and fragments, fourth wall be damned, wrapped around the near simultaneous shootings of Robert Kennedy and Andy Warhol it goes from a narrow field view of making it in Hollywood to how America changes in the event of a national tragedy, and how the national spectacle can have a greater impact on our lives than nearby tragedies. Uses every trick in the postmodern textbook and throws in a few more which were new to me.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Another thing I have been thinking about

I work shopped a piece a piece a few weeks ago. The piece had been written from a small fragment which I expanded out into a long story, about 25 pages, and the longest short story I have written as of yet. I wrote it over the course of a week or so, cleaned it up then sent it to a friend who gave me a bunch of really good feedback. I wanted to go for the minimal plot and flat affect typical of Tao Lin or Raymond Carver and those folks who have come off very illustirous in the past few decades. Nothing really happened in the piece, it had a sort of understated sci-fi element and there was a lot of confusion and ambiguity. I knew it wasn't perfect but I thought it could get by on the characters, oddity and menacing pseudodystopian atmosphere alone. Anyways in the workshop the guy basically tore it apart and suggested a full rewrite. It was pretty rough since I thought the piece was at least developing. He gave a lot of good advice but at one point he point blank said 'Who did you have in mind when you were writing this?' This really shocked me as, at the time I was writing it, the reader was probably the last thing on my mind. I wanted someone to get something out of this but the end receiver was very hypothetical. I enjoyed writing the piece and so figured that whoever read it would have a similar joy in reading it as well. I gave him a sort of feeble half answer and then we went on with it.
     Much of what we discussed that afternoon (the weakness of the piece) contributed to throwing me into sort of a crisis in my writing. I've only been writing seriously for six months now (okay I've only been writing seriously for the ten minutes it had taken me to get to this point) so I'm not sure if crises are due, or good, or exist but I really had a hard time thinking about "why am I writing and who am I writing for" I think for the most part crises are good to go though, crises are good things and help you grow and become better. I think, I hope. Essentially I flashed through a whole bunch of potential, hypothetical readers and could not see a single one reading my stuff. Then too came this fear that I should be compelled to write for others, to mold my pieces into something that could please the editors of a mag, or the fiction buying public or whoever it is that even reads anymore. Eventually the whole thing mostly petered out and whether or not I made a big breakthrough is up for debate. I can't say I look at my own literature exactly the same anymore. I think this is a question that is not asked enough: why should anyone read your shit? Like for the most part literature is a really self-centered enjoyable thing for the writer. You get this platform where you have total control over every aspect of the world. You get to laugh at your own jokes and cry at the tragedy and inside your own head, everything in the story is perfect. I feel like I read a lot of stories where people are really sucked into their own assholes and it is considered a very artistic and laudable thing to do. You have these authors that say 'fuck the reader' and do their own thing and probably have a blast doing it but often times create these very opaque and daunting works. But then you have people that are writing for others (exclusively for others) and maybe they make a bunch of money but this attitude is generally considered an artistically laughable thing to do. Basically this is the dichotomy I have right now and I'm not sure how accurate it is.
       In guess in the intervening time since the workshop, two weeks or so, I decided who (if maybe not at this point, then in the not to distant future) I will be writing for. First I want to write for the characters. I want to be able to write people who are real, like write for these personalities so that they may, in a certain sense come to life. This sounds really cheesy and artsy now but it seemed really grave and solemn and noble when I first thought it up. Second I want to write for myself, but those aspects of myself that are common to many many people. So not just write for my own enjoyment but rather the parts of my personality and makeup and thought processes that are common in other people. I figure it's silly to say 'oh I am writing for lonely people or smart people or poor people or hopeless people. I just can't write for things that I am not. But I can write for myself with the aim and end goal that those parts of myself that I am writing for will be found in others, that we as people share enough that, if I write for myself, write with integrity and (for lack of a better word) faith (in myself) then the things I write will find a home or find resonance in others by the very fact that we as people simply share experiences and thoughts and thus this sort of understanding.

Things I have been thinking about lately

    So from out of nowhere I have been sort of been fantasizing about what sort of literary education I would have wanted in high school.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Review of 'The Rag' magazine

Briefly: The fifth issue of an online magazine that features pieces ranging from run of the mill pulp to skillful high Transgressive lit. Primarily longer prose supported by high quality visual art. Not pricey and they pay their writers. Highlights include: David Blanton’s ‘Not Giving to the Alumni Fund’, Matthew Mead’s ‘The Observer Effect’, Reina Hardy’s ‘Citizen of the Megabus’, Rachel Kimbrough’s ‘Zeke Stargazing’, Marcus Emanuel’s ‘Vibrancy’, Philip Zigman’s ‘Olivia’. Buy it, support emerging writers, sift through the chaff and find some unsettling gems.

Full Disclosure: I was approached by an editor of ‘The Rag’ to review this issue and was graciously provided a copy free of charge.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Some thoughts on solitude and art.

There is this troubling phenomena which I have noticed occurring at a greater rate in my life over the past two years or so. Without getting overly ornate it is like people are removing themselves from my life. Even friends that are close by are hard to get a hold of or see and friends that are far away might as not exist. This is not terribly unusual for post-college from what I have heard and in many instances being removed form certain people is not a bad thing. Toxic friendships after all are great to see go. What is troubling though is the way in which people tend to snub these little attempts at connection or reaches out that I try to make from time to time. I try not to take these personally and it may be a PNW thing, but it happens so often that I can't help but get at least a little concerned. I think this has hit me a little harder since I lost my job and spend most of my time at home writing and may in large part my trying to get over the large amount of solitude that I have now. Many of my friends have at least mildly demanding jobs but it has come to the point that getting a hold of some friends at any time is nearly impossible.

It occurred to me yesterday that so many of the things that I love about the world (nature comes to mind first but there are surely others) are enhanced to a great degree by other's exposition on them. In this case I was thinking about nature, and the beauty of woods or mountains and how I also like reading about the beauty of nature. It then occurred to me that many times the actual beauty of nature is actually less than the description or exposition of the beauty. In that way the writer's (or filmmaker's or whatever's) description is what is really beautiful. So in this way a large portion of the things that I like about the world, specifically those things which i have only read about or experienced through media or art, are actually just filled in by others. Since I consider these things that I admire or find beautiful to be a large portion of what makes up my identity then by extension a large portion of what makes up my identity is in fact fully formed by others, but in this sneaky round about way.

Is this increasingly small social world just part of the shift to adulthood? It again just seems like a lot of people are ignoring me and I have it in my head that if it seems like rest of the world is ['something', like 'insane', or 'rude' or 'ignoring you'] then it means that you are in fact the one who is insane. With this shift I am getting more and more friends with whom I am connected only through the internet. Every time I call someone and it does not get returned or an e-mail goes unanswered or a message unacknowledged i feel like I am sinking deeper and deeper into this pit of nonexistance.

There are kind of two separate ideas here but there are connected in my head to a certain degree. It's just this kind of growing solipsism which is connected to a correlated loss of my own identity or myself. I wouldn't say that this in pathological (yet) but it feels sort of Kafkaesque, this reaching out to people and being ignored with no explanation. Again I admit it is most likely a combination of my neuroticism, some coincidences et c. but solitude does wierd things to your head, namely pushes you further into it and going to art to solve solitude can be a mixed blessing as you are often escaping through other isolated people.

Friday, May 31, 2013


I woke up this morning with the sound of my life ticking away steadily in my ears.

Monday, May 27, 2013


I get this feeling that any collection of basic decision units, whether it be diodes, cells, or organisms will, when it reaches a certain critical mass and an efficiency of communication, develop an emergent property which functions on inputs and outputs which are above the level of awareness of the individual units. A question I am very interested in addressing and exploring as a thinker, in whatever mode I happen to be working, is how does society-with units composed of individual humans which communicates within itself through the media and through currency (and perhaps other channels)-act as a computational and (semi? pseudo?) intelligent entity.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Floored (Documentary)

This documentary about the Chicago commodities market around the time of the economic downturn is absolutely stunning. Everyone in the movie is a pitch perfect character, the story arc is crushing, the emotions and ambiguous morality like little I've seen before.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Review of Darby Larson's 'Irritant'

My second review on Mel Bosworth's 'The Small Press Book Review'. This one is of Darby Larson's Irritant, a very large work which makes heavy use of experimental language.

Literary Sleight of Hand

I like these stories where the author causes you to pay attention to one thing then sort of whips around and slips something else in or changes the focus toward the end. It's like magic. Like literally like magic and I think pulling this off in a story takes just as much practice and effort as directing eyes during a magic trick. Harder perhaps since there are rarely curtains to place your hands behind when you are writing a story. Okay maybe easier in a story. Anyways this seems like an important and valuable skill to learn.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Let's start a new literary journal!

I want to start a literary journal. The world needs one of these and I think it could be big. I want to sell it in Barnes and Noble, Borders and have support on all major ebook readers. The hard copy will be sleek, perfect bound, and contain full color art between works. It will come out quarterly and cost between thirty and forty dollars. We will take our editors from prestigious universities, well known artists and have advertising from luxury goods, literary prizes and low residency MFA programs. There will be no limit on word count. We will not accept unsolicited submissions. Rather all the pieces will be verbatim transcripts of court testimony from rape, genocide, terrorism, torture, disease epidemic and starvation survivors. We will begin with reports from Syria, Rwanda, and Ground Zero then move outwards through geography and backwards in time. Themes will include 'Religion', 'Eyes' and 'Children'.

Monday, May 20, 2013

My Interests right now

Vastly more interested right now in someone telling me my writing is absolute crap, then telling me exactly why they think that, then having someone telling me they like it but offering few to no reasons why.

Cornish BFA EXPO '13

Got to go down to the Cornish BFA EXPO the other day. Two floors of absolutely stunning works comprised of a huge range of media and topics. Here are three of my favorites.

Miles Toland

Whose works were comprised of three massive and intricate canvases which had images projected on them and body engulfing soundtracks. Psychedelic, urban, spiritual and mesmerizing.

Christopher Walsh

Whose black box of a room had a motion activated 'orbital light form' within; a slowly rotating shape which, in the absence of other stimuli, becomes the viewer's whole world. Nears the line of a religious experience.

Sam Whalen

Whose performance art, cathartic bedsheet tombs and grotesque portraits are beautiful and squirm inducing and will make you see the dynamics of family life in a brand new way.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Baggy jeans

    I had just spent the last dregs of the morning walking around near Broadway and Pike. Got myself overcaffinated on this latte that was so big they had to put it in a water glass then I went next door and picked up some books: one book about murderous college students from the 90's that was very well received, one book which is the most famous novel by the guy that wrote Raymond Carver's stories and a copy of 'just another literary mag' from last year. I had to pee really bad otherwise I would have probably gotten another journal. I'm still in that sad sack phase where I buy journals because I'm trying to get into one. Oh the horror. The sun had come out for a bit so I walked to the park and read the first essay in the journal which was written a little awkwardly but was overall a good meditation on the many forms of luck. I tried to write for a little while but all that came out was that weird surreal stream of consciousness stuff that comes from over-tweaked adenosine receptors. I began to get hungry so I walked home. I've only lived here for six months or so, so I generally keep my doors unlocked, mostly out of lack of necessity. I made a salad (greens, peppers, tomatoes, sardines [May Contain Crustaceuns] and dressing. It was good. I opened the back door and turned on the radio and  read the stranger while I ate. The neighbor's cat who I call Fluffy (full name Fluffernutter as far as I'm concerned) was chilling with me in the living room when, apparently for no reason, she stood up and stared out the door with some serious kitty menace. Now there is another cat who lives around here, grey and fluffy, who doesn't like Fluffy, through Fluffy is generally fairly blase around this cat and I figured this other kitty was what Fluffy was amped up about. Fluffy's tail got real big then and I stood to go see what was up. Going through my back door I saw a short sort of grimy looking dude standing there he said,
         "Hey man do you know who lives up stairs?"
I said Not really and he said
         "Oh really? That's kind of weird for you not to know your neighbors. How long you been living here for?"
It was amazing how quickly he made it seem like I was the suspicious person in my own apartment.
I said Since October, not long. Plus people pretty much keep to themselves here.
         He pulled his glasses off (iridescent wraparounds) and stared at me. He was wearing these baggy jean shorts and a backward baseball cap and had a gross little goatee.
I said well I only know an old lady and some girls that live upstairs so it looks like your friends don't live here anymore. He said,
         "Yeah they lived here a couple of years ago" He seemed hesitant to leave but eventually walked down the stairs. It was a totally calm exchange but I felt pretty amped up. I went outside a minute later to make sure he was gone but even when I returned I couldn't focus on reading. I went outside and saw a neighbor who lives on the corner out doing yardwork. I went up to him and said Hey and noticed the guy about a block away walking down the street. I pointed him out to the neighbor and asked if he had seen the guy then told him briefly what had happened to me. Right as the neighbor looked up at the guy he dipped out of view into someone's driveway .
         "You wanna go do some recon?" and I said okay. "Should I bring my shovel?" Probably not. I'd seen him a few times, grey haired sort of old hipster guy, couple of cute kids. We walked over to the house and ran into another neighbor who introduced himself as Mark. He seemed ultra chill. We found the driveway and the first neighbor went into their backyard and looked around. He didn't seem to see anything for a minute then started talking. I went back to join him and, sure enough, there was the little hesher. He had hopped a small fence and was just chilling in this alleyway.
         The first neighbor and the guy started talking, even getting sort of heated. The little dude was almost incomprehensible, going on about how he was on public property and not doing anything wrong. A shopkeeper came out and reminded him that he was, in fact, not on public property. My neighbor, with all good intentions was going back and forth with this guy and aobut how he had kids et c. I just said Look dude your business here is through, if I see you here again I'm gonna call the cops. His cutting last words before we walked away were,
         "It's all business man! All business."

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Safe Assumption

I've pretty much assumed at this point the only place that I will be really happy is inside my head. That there is little out in the world that will provide much lasting comfort or torment above and beyond the creations and defects that happen within me.

Friday, May 10, 2013

I remember being a kid

   I remember being a kid. In first grade we did this thing called writer's workshop. It was just maybe half an hour a week where we would write a story. Sometimes we would have them sort of bound up into little books and we could put stickers on the front. I wish I still had them. I remember around this time really getting into the idea of mystery novels. I don't think I ever read one back then, (i've only read one mystery novel ever and I found it entirely unremarkable) i don't think i read much then aside from dr. seuss and shel silverstien (this being around the time that R.L Stein's goosebumps books were exploding, I got one goosebumps 'the secret in the basement' or something, after asking for what must have been months, then read maybe two or three pages and got bored with it) but for some reason the idea of mysteries was really attractive to me. One story I wrote involved a code, and the detective trying to figure out what form of code it was in order to solve the mystery or something. I guess I had a really fun time writing it. I wanted to be a mystery writer back then, which seems ridiculous now.
   Maybe my strongest memory of those writer's workshops were when I would actually write. I feel like every time we wrote I would sit for a long time and sort of space out, like think really hard about what it was I wanted to write. I was difficult for me I guess, I always came up with something but it always took me a while to formulate my thoughts. I have this distinct memory of, time and again, the teachers coming up to me and sort of prodding me and telling me to get to work. I didn't really know what to tell them other than 'i'm thinking' They usually let it go after a minute but their insistence was really confusing to me then and now. Most of my classmates just started writing from the get go, like they had all these ideas or whatever and I would sit there and, maybe not have trouble, but I at least knew that I didn't have my ideas with me. That i needed to find them. In hindsight it is sort of insulting. Like here I am seven or eight, trying to come up with something really good, trying to put my mind to this task and I'm being hassled. Don't get me wrong, I don't hold a grudge or anything but still, this idea that action needs no thought, that thinking is a waste or unproductive is such a terrible idea, such an invasive and corrosive notion.
    There's no message here. I'm just remembering.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Nightmare Literature

    A few days ago I started Darby Larson's Irritant. It's a major beast and I've dedicated myself to reading 50 pages a day every day until i finish all 600+ pages. The book moves quickly but this is still A LOT of Irritant. The same day I read an old issue of Cake Train and a bunch of Blake Butler's old blog posts. That night I had stress dreams and woke multiple times in a cold sweat. This is not something that happens to me very often nor is it exaggeration or hyperbole nor was it due to some other factor. These works sort of fought their way into my mind and fucked with my dreams. I've read fucked up stuff before, Hubert Selby Jr., Robbe-Grillet, Matthew Stokoe, Kafka, House of Leaves, whatever. None of these books have done this to me.
    This crowd has this broad aesthetic which is so easy to recognize but incredibly difficult to describe, which seems easy to emulate but is in reality so opposite to what one's mind generally produces that it's very very difficult to write like this. I guess if you haven't read it my description would be that they take words and destroy any meaning that is commonly associated with them then recombine the words with a total disdain, like a gripping hatred, of consensus connotation. Also birds seem to pop up frequently. The first time I really came across this style was i think with Blake Butler's Nothing. Reading that book was a nightmare for me, I wanted to get through it so bad and see what the deal was about but I found it so revolting to everything I knew about literature that I felt sort of trapped. This experience with Cake Train, the first half of the issue, was that I found every story was so repelling and confusing and pointless. But I found myself pulled in and now I can't wait to read more. It's like how you hear about people that take too much PCP and have an awful time and are really freaked out and uncomfortable for hours and hours yet have this deep urge to go back and try more.
    I can't think of any better description of this style (maybe 'group of styles' is more appropriate) than a nightmare. As an adult I've found very few nightmares have monsters chasing you or whatever. So often the dreams are terrifying because of a lack of logic, the flashing images, unusual relationships between objects or new ways through which space works. I want to say something hopeful about this style something about figuring out how we or the brain works by watching it malfunction, by figuring out where the logic lays by finding the illogical and excluding it. But realistically there is nothing very hopeful about these writer's works.
    While I appreciate what these writers are doing (at this point appreciating form a distance anyways) I feel that a lot of times they could go further. That there is too often a disconnect between language and plot, or experimentation and literary pragmatism. While a lot of these stories and poems absolutely stand on their own I can't help but wonder at the potential of their power when used within a more logical framework or story line namely to illustrate certain experiences. Madness, sickness, drug use immediately come to mind but the possibilities are enormous. Many of these writers seem, to me at least, uninterested in aesthetic satisfaction and prefer to rely on experimenting or revolting for its own sake which is totally acceptable as far as I'm concerned. I just can't help but wonder how useful this style could be when applied to more maybe not strictly pleasing but holistic ends.
    If anyone is aware of writers like this I'd be interested in knowing about them.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013


I want to make a series of meaningless and absurd, yet apparently profound, metaphors about writing like: 'writing is like cooking with a cellophane spatula' or 'being an author is a glass filled with cactus spines'

Signed Online

I had an excerpt from this novel I am working on called 'Basic Analysis' published in a magazine called Signed. Signed was only on paper but now it is online. It has interviews with Ian Mackaye, Mark Arm, Henry Rollins, the lead singer of of Converge, various art and a poem by Mary Cornish.

Thursday, May 2, 2013


It is a strange thing, coming to the realization that the course of your life is wholly uninteresting to most people, even those close you you. I got the sort of difficult sounding major that people would sometimes "oooh" at when I was asked it at parties. They would say "That must have been really hard" or "You must be really smart". Not always but sometimes. Frequently enough. And the thing is, while I don't think I coasted by any means, I feel like I cheated the system. It has been less than a year since I graduated, mediocre grades but who reads the GPA anyways, heart set (perhaps not by my own volition) on graduate school and now my interest in the field is almost completely gone. Whether or not it is true I feel like I have forgotten everything I learned. As if the information I spent so much time acquiring  memorizing, searing into my mind just floated away only to be left with a piece of paper and some rapidly diminishing memories. My former professors had little invested in me, there is no one telling me what to do and now I have to decide my own path.

I thought this anxiety would have ended with college. I had a deep fear around the middle of second year around choosing my major. As if by turning in that paperwork, taking the required classes, jumping through the hoops I would be irrevocably setting the rest of my life into motion. This has, after all, not proved to be the case. I wanted pretty badly to attain some sort of prestige (that dirty work, originally a slur) and it didn't take me long (then again...maybe too long) to realize that no one cared. No one I told could care less where or how much I worked, the "oooh"s were so fleeting and in many cases either alienated those that asked or made me seem pretentious. I feel now that as a child I was indoctrinated with this notion that the path you choose with your life can have these vast implications  that your family will be hurt if you do not live up to their expectations and, most vile and reprehensible of all, there is some reward for ascending the ladder, for trying.

But no one cares. The social gold gained by having a high position is, upon any close inspection, revealed as false. The years wind in and out, the weeks winnow into us, the days repeat and repeat, morning coming with a vengeance and evening inevitably finds us burned out and drunk. We achieve nothing. The homeless and refugee adapt to their positions, the wealthy and powerful still find something to complain about. Regardless we are always human, with the ineluctable desires and needs and shames and come along with that particular state.

Friday, April 26, 2013

This is pretty important

An interactive fiction about depression. It gets the point across. depressionquest.com

New NADA out

NADA (Purge+Splurge) is out. Reading this Saturday in the Central District. E-mail for more info.
Free paper copies can be found at: The Comet Tavern, Bauhaus Coffee, Black Coffee, Spine and Crown Books, Left Bank Books, Singles Going Steady and as of next week at Mellow Pages in Brooklyn NYC.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Review of 'Lives of Notorious Cooks' by Brendan Connell

I reviewed 'Lives of Notorious Cooks' by Brendan Connell. It is not here though, it is on Mel Bosworth's excellent site called Small Press Book Review

Friday, April 19, 2013

Leaked National Treasure 3 Plotline

      Sorry I haven't been posting much lately, it has been for good reason. I have, over the last two months, through a heroic effort of cracking the highly guarded Disney databases, collecting clues hidden in major media publications and seducing certain very powerful executives been privy to the highly guarded plotline of the long in the making movie  certain masterpiece National Treasure 3. Now as we all know this blockbuster, Nicholas Cage vehicle is if not the greatest film franchise of the generation than undoubtedly the greatest film franchise that the art of cinema has ever seen. It has pushed the boundaries of what is possible with computer generated graphics, historical revisionism and Nicholas Cagology. It has brought in hundreds of millions of dollars and captured the hearts and minds of our sweet nation. We've waited too long however. The latest installment has been in the making for years with Nicholas Cage denying any knowledge of the movies status. The world cannot wait any longer and so I have taken it upon myself, through great risk to my own health and well being, to wrangle the script out of the greasy clutches of those slimy Disney producers. I won't go into great detail here, suffice it to say that my own adventure at times almost perfectly mirrored that of Benjamin Franklin Gates' own journey to find the National Treasure.
      The movie begins similarly to the first two installments with Benjamin Franklin Gates having to scrape off mounds of historical romance groupies in order to read a long lost communique from one of his ancestors who may have been involved in the war of 1812. This leads him on a great winding adventure which finds him at the Alamo where, hidden behind a painting in a small room (which he must visit exactly at 1:37 am) he finds an escalator which takes him down to a hidden Disney Studios waiting room. It is here that B.F.G learns that the real National Treasure is not a pile of ancient loot but rather a human being. Not only that, but the man is alive, and currently lives in Los Angeles California. Fighting for time Benjamin takes Abraham Lincoln's private jet to the West coast where he learns the name of that man...and it is none other than Nicholas Cage. The journey to find the National Treasure takes B.F.G through the underbelly of Los Angeles where a dastardly nemesis has already convinced all the agents in the city that Benjamin Franklin Gates IS Nicholas Cage and that he has lost his mind. Gates then realizes that to find Cage he must convince a group of terrified surgeons to switch their faces. The final forty five minutes of the movie is an extended soliloquy performed by Benjamin Franklin Gates/Nicholas Cage whilst he/they walk atop the iconic Hollywood sign (which is, at the last moment revealed to be an anagram for the location of the REAL national treasure, allowing plot threads for another wildly grossing sequal) where he ponders the nature of his own identity and the figurative and literal interpretations of a man 'truly finding himself'. Dazzled at the metaphysical implications of his dual identity he considers jumping to his death but perseveres, convincing himself that the world needs him to make further sequel to this movie (and hopefully a sequal to face-off or the rock I mean, come on) The movie ends with the surgeons returning his face to its original shape and Benjamin Franklin Gates moving into the Nicholas Cage's Hollywood mansion, his family and co-workers none the wiser.
         The title?
         National Treasure 3: National Treasure: Nicholas Cage
         Directed by David Lynch

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Signed (the magazine)

A friend from Bellingham put together an excellent full color 8.5"x11" zine that was released on Friday.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Found this written in the margin of my revised draft

"It's funny to pretend to eat people (like 'rahr, rahr, rahr, rahr') but animals, for some reason, do find it amusing. Walking the other day I sang a sad Irish sea shanty to myself made entirely out of made up word.'

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Soldier meditation

I really admire people who choose a path in life beacuse they are passionate about it.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Boxy and Angular Japanese Design Aesthetic Commonly Associated with the Mid-80's

The boxy angular Japanese design aesthetic commonly associated with the mid-80's

A short excerpt from Basic Analysis

         She watches him as he goes. His silhouette fades into the absorbent darkness of the wood that lines the street. The headlights of passing cars light him briefly, the handle of the axe and shaft of the shovel protrude and bob from his sagging body. Soon he is out of sight and Keely is left standing alone. And it is unusual that here, so far from Klickat hill, so far from home, she can see it. Clearer even than on a rainless night, as it sticks out so stark from the austere clouds. Watching her from its peerless perch the loping speed of its light benevolent in a way, hopeful in a way. She feels less alone as it blinks at her and while we cannot expect it to provide any great insight or knowledge, to her or to us, it is, without a doubt, there. Whether we watch it or not, whether waking or sleeping it exists, and with just this knowledge one may, if only a little bit, rest easier.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Dis ting write heah

Thanks a lot brain

I think this is why I find TV to be adversely mundane.

A Dream: Was in a sort of Bela Tarr-esque, moody, chiaroscuro film setting taking place within a manor/castle deep in an eastern European countryside. I was there with a group of people who were ambiguously hostile toward me. Night was continually falling and nubile Asian women were attempting to seduce me in a plot to frame me. I kept resisting their advances (just barely), finding the hidden cameras they would secret into my room, and switching rooms.
 In the basement/dungeon of this building was a sort of three dimensional sidescrolling video game (literally like a puppet show or whatever with physical manifestations of the video game objects) involving a lizard shooting (something???) which I was continually on the brink of losing. I just narrowly finished the first level. A carnival began involving gaudy rides and contests for men 21-35 sponsored by light beer companies. It was all revealed at a news conference by Margaret Thatcher to be a plot (much to my dismay) to secure funding to update a large copper humanoid submarine, She kind of comforted me afterwards and congratulated my valiant efforts to stymie her. The dream then ended dramatically with the ailing copper submarine rising dramatically through a pool into the dungeon of the castle. 

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Video of Besame

Made a video for Besa Me. The audio is a little dicey at times but you can get the jist (if anyone knows how I can get that audio to 100%  please let me know)

(Also I just got Crapalachia by Scott Mclanahan, If I wanted to be happy I'd be happy already by Jordan Castro and a shit load of other books from April Festival which I'll be reviewing soon)

Friday, March 22, 2013

Proust quote

News and a Request

So I finished the first draft of Basic Analysis a few days ago. It happened suddenly and without much fanfare. I figured it was going to be a more momentous event but i suppose with the heavy amount of editing that will be coming my way over the next month(s) the true end is a long way off. I've already begun to recruit readers but I'd really like as many as possible. If you are interested in getting a chance to read the work please let me know (thisis.fryou@gmail.com). It's only 230 pages. I'd ask a few pages of thoughtful notes/suggestion/reflections on the thing. Line edits (typos, misspellings et c.) would not be needed so much as comments on the feelings the novel elicited in you, your thoughts on the characters, the themes you got out of it, comments on level complexity and so on. I can't really offer any incentives other than the knowledge that you got to have a say in this. A disclaimer: it's pretty rough, the dialogue is choppy, and I'm sure there are major unaddressed plot holes. Anyways if you'd like to take a look let me know and I'll shoot it your way.

Monday, March 18, 2013

18 March 2013

      I feel like I want to do something important. like this drive is the single thing that drives me the most. I feel like I haven't done anything important so far but I would like to direct my energies (all my energies and time) to doing something important. It's agonizingly vague, but then I've been feeling this for years so,what do I do? I also know when I am doing something important and when I am not. It is a very stark feeling. I felt for a time that the best avenue to do something important would be science. Like that in science one has the greatest chance (and I consider most work that is directed towards discoveries and advancement to be, in large part, pure luck) at making an improvement for the world, the greatest chance at making an impact in the lives of others, the world. This pull toward science (after three years no less, two of those in a neuroscience lab) was tempered toward the end there by a disillusionment with the entirely tedious grant/money situation, a realization at the gigantic gap between basic and applied research (I wanted to do the latter but was firmly on track to work in the former), a realization at my lack of self-direction, and a particularly strong feeling that (and this is just my opinion so no desire to piss others off here) a certain ivory tower narcissism and navel gazing in many areas of biology (and I'm sure other areas) research.
          Also i get bored reading academic research papers,
                                                                                        it's really unfortunate.
          I had, for six months, what would have been a really nice job that was related to my field right out of school. A job that would have been really nice if the CEO hadn't been hiding how bad the company had been doing and decided to resign and take a few of us down with him (yo but I'm not bitter though).
          While I won't be so audacious to call myself a writer (not only is this, ultimately, up to others to decide, but it seems that the only people that identify as writers are eternally stuck in YA-SF writing groups, et c.) I have found that, in the two tiny months I've been writing, I've had more flow and felt vastly more productive than during five years of school or working. Of course it is impossible to predict how long this will last. I may get bored with writing just as quickly as science, who knows.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A piece received from Peterbd

<peterbd99@gmail.com>                   12/16/12

but ms. leroy said timmy why exactly do we celebrate sam moss day? ms. leroy tried to find the right words to answer timmy's question. she needed the right words. 

right now sam moss is doing something. he might be eating. he might be having sex. he might be reading a novel. he might be writing a novel. he might be sleeping. he might be getting probed by aliens. he might be watching nbc. he could be up to anything right now. 

the funny thing about sam moss is that he's unaware of the shit that he's going to do and is in the dark about how that shit will affect humanity. right now he doesn't know any of this shit. he doesn't know that the shit he's doing now will affect the shit that everyone is doing later. there's a cause and effect for all this shit.

sam moss was born in a place. he was born to a man and a woman. he went to school like other kids. he grew up like we all grew up. he's on the internet like how we're all on the internet. he hates fox news like we all hate fox news. he lives somewhere. he talks to people. these are the things he does. 

in 5 years, sam moss will be doing something completely different than what he's doing today. sam moss might be a doctor. he might be a world famous tap dancer. he might write the next great american novel. he might be a world class porn director. he might be the male version of beyonce. he might be an anarchist. he might work on wall street. he might make delicious cakes, open his own bakery, and be known as 'the guy who makes those good ass cakes.

he can do anything. that's the great thing about being sam moss. he can do anything or be anything and reach any height. does he know this? he probably doesn't know this. smh

well, maybe it's good that he doesn't know this. humble iconoclasts are few and far between these days 

so yea, on december 16, 2019, a catastrophic asteroid is going to do its best to destroy earth. it's headed for earth right now actually. this asteroid is going to attack new york city just like it does in the movies because asteroids love attacking new york city. everything that happens in asteroid movies is going to happen to earth on december 16, 2019. people are going to fall to their knees and pray, people are going to be panicking in the streets, morgan freeman will most likely be president.

sam moss is going to be one of the most well known figures in the world. he did that thing that he did. he said those famous words that everyone can quote. he is the person that he was destined to be. 

sam moss may or may not feel good about the world ending. but he will most likely feel good about his contributions as an artist. he will definitely feel good about the stuff he created. 

the asteroid will destroy the majority of earth and its human population. only 2 million humans will survive. 99% of people considered celebrities will perish. the white house will no longer exist. any sign of music or film or books will be nowhere in sight. sam moss may or may not survive. only time will tell 

it is the year 3000. earth is still somehow intact. ms. leroy is taking her class on a field trip to the local park. this park is in the section of earth that was not hurt by the asteroid: the pacific northwest. after her class finishes their vegan lunches, ms. leroy takes them to the iconic sam moss statue. it was built in the year 2789 and is the most famous statue in the world. michelangelo's statue of david was ripped to shreds by the asteroid 

but ms. leroy said timmy why exactly do we celebrate sam moss day? it took ms. leroy a long time to respond to timmy's question. she wanted to honor sam moss' legacy by responding properly, she wanted to sum up why sam moss was so important to the world at large, she wanted her class to feel the love she felt for sam moss, she wanted her class to be inspired by him because that's what sam moss did. he was walking inspiration.

so ms. leroy looked timmy right in the eye and said every december 16th we celebrate sam moss day because he was, and still is the shit. her students, as well as a couple of aliens who were playing badminton in the park, gave her a round of applause

         When I first heard about Peterbd a few month ago from Frances Dinger I wasn't sure what to think of the whole phenomena, and definitely didn't think I would ever get a piece from zim...it...this force of nature. When I did receive a piece from Peterbd in December it was an exhilarating moment but I wasn't sure what the 'peterbd etiquette' was in terms of posting. It seemed very personal and I wanted to keep it to myself but then this it what Peterbd does and I'm honored to get a chance to present a piece on my blog.

I also sent Peterbd a review in reply as follows:

My Review of peterbd's short story "Statue of Moss":
peterbd's short story "Statue of Moss" is a really good story. The story talks about a guy. That guy is Sam Moss. I am that guy. "Statue of Moss" is very accurate in it's facts and is also very factual. All in all it was a very good short story and I would recommend it to anybody who likes reading.
Thank you

If you like this check out his tumblr