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.