Eyeball Soup

There is a bowl of chili here.

Steam rises from its beans and meatflecks. It billows politely around a dollop of cold sour cream.

As you gaze into the stew, my face—the face of a young, obese Steven Spielberg, “replete” with undirty baseball cap and full Jewish hair fanning out from beneath the cap’s circumference—appears to you in the chili-steam.

My spirit is evoked by the hot bowl of cooling chili!

Here I am! Who has summoned me?

I have bad news! You are pregnant!

No, that’s not fair. No one’s pregnant. I’m writing this Tale of the Beans for myself, because I feel burnt out.

I’ve more or less finished “Big project number one.” Now I have “time” to finish Big Project Number Two.

But my brain and me bones won’t cooperate.

I feel up against—a figurative wall.

My posture is bad, my breath bad.

I need a full day of Turkish Delight and instructional sex videos and Everything Is Terrible and hash amulets and K-holey sensory deprivation chambers and home fries and Chocolate Labrador Affection-Slaves before I can “restart” and knock BP#2 outta the park.


  • Bloody Marys
  • Black Humor
  • Girls
  • Dogs
  • Feelin healthy


  • Talkin loud about your bullshit weekend on yr cellphone
  • bad communicators I need things from
  • rumor-mongering in flip-flops
  • institutional racism
  • genocide
  • factory farming
  • hate crime
  • the tickle monster (ambivalent)


  • Eating an endless bowl of soup whilst reading something that lays flat by itself (saddle-stitched magazine, broken-spined novel)
  • hugging naked women (sorry just kidding)
  • dead therapists
  • my good personal friend who brought me an awesome gift pak just now containing:
  • Zingerman’s ZZang! candy bar
  • Crystal Geyser carbonated orange water
  • large bag of zen party mix


  • playing drums behind messy, “avant-pop” guitar played by a close  friend
  • reading poetry aloud whilst drunk
  • drunk weeping emotional confessions of platonic love
  • 90s releases on Matador & Drag City
  • indie-rock jukebox
  • friendly non-threatening dj


  • relentless negativity
  • bodily harm
  • ailments
  • internet addiction/fatigue
  • a short-story collection I was excited to read which ended up contrived and annoying
  • the feeling that that well-dressed handsome asshole is going to steal my girlfriend
  • fear of The Road–style apocalypse where I am crippled by night-blindness and urbane cluelessness w/r/t farming and self-defense and so am helpless as zombies/marauders rape my loved ones and disembowel me with improvised weapons


  • Pickles, other pickled vegetables
  • british tv, british fiction, hypothetical british or angolophile or at least anglophone girlfriend
  • england
  • scotland
  • martin amis, david lodge, julian barnes, will self, douglas adams, kingsley amis
  • nabokov
  • DFW, fiction and non, plus all interviews with and articles about and reviews of
  • unexpected sexual encounters with wild animals (gazelles, rhinos)
  • unexpected emails from charming, literate geniuses
  • really smart little kids who are interested in what you have to say and who you are even though they should be repelled by your oafish weird-smelling adult self-consciousness
  • the netherlands
  • stanley crawford, norman rush
  • interactive fiction
  • the way the internet used to look
  • spelling wordz in a funnnn way to express yr feelings


  • Feeling burnt out
  • feeling like I am helpless to be/sound impossibly twee
  • being a fat guy wearing a sweater/cardigan over button-down shirt with corduroys and sneakers standing looking uncomfortable in a record/book store or rock show
  • anything peeing in my face


  • Dropping a $10,000 experimental Army Discman off the chairlift and nearly killing a billionaire’s daughter snowplowing down a green-circle “easy” run
  • imagining i am holding a hatori hanzo sword and disemboweling myself with it
  • beck (sometimes/some songs)
  • duck tales theme song, chip and dale’s rescue rangers theme song
  • making jokes about the vagina monologues that go over well
  • letters from attractive friends
  • a disproportionate number of things published by Picturebox and Buenaventura Press
  • Sam Lipsyte
  • Will Eno
  • “Samuel Beckett”


  • Aggressive, aggressively crazy crazy people
  • languagey prose that’s pointlessly, contrivedly languagey and involuted and pretentious
  • self-consciously flat, plainsong prose is just as bad
  • conservative, lyrical but not too lyrical middle of the road prose that tries to strike a balance between the first two but ends up doing itself no favors, wimp out, wipe out
  • sportslords
  • devilbunnies
  • celiac mousepadz


  • The sound of the words “Doogie Howser”
  • tamari almonds
  • carob
  • I keep stopping myself from saying more about “the female form,” jeez, sorry
  • a secret different christina ricci who no one knows about, only me
  • my own private idaho, gus van sant in general
  • dennis cooper, incl. his poetry
  • denton welch
  • edmund white
  • david sedaris in conversation with dennis cooper, that would be awesome, who could make it happen, get on it


  • I am more or less monolingual
  • I am more or less monomaniacal
  • I am pretentious
  • I have turned my back on They Might Be Giants and MC Paul Barman
  • I am mean to my friends
  • this quote (wells tower via jawbone) annoyed me:

the idea of blogging seems really weird. I don’t know why writers do it. The idea of writing in a way that’s not careful seems kind of insane if you’re a fiction writer, or a long-form nonfiction writer. Maybe there’s something invigorating about it, but for me so much of the process is worrying about every word — just belching a bunch of stuff out there seems strange. Also the web is really weird. I don’t like the idea that stuff you write is just going to be on there, and people will be able to access it whenever, forever. A piece of writing should have its own little half-life and when people are no longer interested in reading or anthologizing, it should be forgotten.

Surely in general the writing that’s on blogs isn’t as careful as the kind of spit-polished prose that goes into journals or collections. But there’s nothing about the medium itself that means the writers using it aren’t being careful, and are just belching. Which is to say: revision is possible on the internet, and there’s PLENTY of belching going on in journals and books published by major publishers. And doesn’t all writing begin with a belch, a burp that then gets refined and revised until it’s distilled into a few vaporized bay leaves, a few million atoms of slow-simmered chili steam?

7 thoughts on “Eyeball Soup

    this blog
    your Zingerman’s shout-out
    fuji apple w/peanut butter

    [Delete this lame comment if you want.]

  2. I hope this is your (or an) online dating service profile, chili steam preface included. female forms would eat it (or you) up!

  3. I like THIS. Like I like bloody marys, and feelin healthy, and girls. Also “billows politely.”
    What is the contrived and annoying story collection? JUST CURIOUS.

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