Familiar Feelings

At work on a Sunday, having been at work on a Saturday, having etc. Not complaining. Possibly burned out, but not complaining. Entire body sore. A healthy sun-baked cousin to a headache echoes hours after running 8 miles. To the ballpark and back. I’ve returned to Hal Higdon. I haven’t had coffee in about a week. This is my personal webdiary. Lack of coffee kinda kills the blog impulse. A friend “stole” a line for a story from a blog post I wrote. The story is now to be published in a university-based literary journal. When I’m finished with my copy of the journal, I will mail it to the first person who guesses (in the comments section of this post) which line she “stole” (really, she asked permission). What a megalomaniacal contest! And so on. My tone. My library. I made hummus from Bittman. I was surprised to drop a tblsp. of paprika in there. I doubled the amt of garlic and lemon called for. I am a liar. There are several blogs that report on book culture, in the US and abroad. Animals don’t think of zoos as prisons, because animals don’t know what prisons are. They don’t really think at all, in the way you’re thinking of. I waited too long to pick up my copy of Emmanuel Bove’s My Friends from the SFPL so they threw it back into the stacks. The words loaves and loathes are similar, but that doesn’t mean you should hate bread. It does mean you should never eat meat or drink alcohol or do drugs ever again. It does mean you should never pay more than $11 for a haircut. Oh not this again. Soon he’ll be asking “readers” for suggestions of books about gentrification. Soon he’ll be like Victor Bâton, “without friends, without luggage.” A friend is bored so he’s likely moving back to San Francisco. What was wrong with the farm outside Santa Cruz? Didn’t they have the internet there? I know there are lots of yoga classes, but are there any classes in the Bay Area I can take where I learn how to shapeshift? Wouldn’t mind being a dog for an afternoon. Have I ever showed you this? Hahahahaha. I hope you’re feeling better. I liked Greenberg. I hope my email full of platitudes was of some use. I hope your banana fever subsides. Dear Emily, thanks for FedExing me the granola I liked! I hope you have fun at school tomorrow

Prevaricated Sun Preference

[Ten hours later]

DERRICK: I hate cats, I like dogs

JELLIE: I know

DERRICK: What if I adopted a cat instead

JELLIE: Call me Julie.

JULIE: Your apartment is too small.

[They get married.]

DERRICK: I want a divorce

JULIE: No.

[Julie’s uncle murders Derrick.]

DERRICK’S DANISH COUSIN, JAMIE MEEPENSTONE: Hey

JULIE: Hey meeps

DERRICK: [Licking the salt from the fingers of the bird lord again?]

JULIE: [Nope.] Studying.

DERRICK, I MEAN HIS COUSIN, : thasts cool. wanna watch a TV?

JULIE: Ok, which one

DERRICK [opens trenchcoat to reveal horrible red agitated member]: This one! [Awesome heavy metal soundtrack begins.]

[Supertitles over careering hand-held unmodified home VHS footage of an empty living room, fireplace roaring, maybe some stockings taped to the mantle:

CHAMPAGNE

CHOWDER

CHERRIES

PRAETORIA

PRAETORIA

]

[DERRICK returns] What’s the score [i mean his cousin] laziest instructor?? [delete key gets stuck, a generation of talented hacks and prophets falls under the digital knife. your girlfriend and my girlfriend board a small craft. it embarks from sloate pond at 7 fifteen in the morning. it’s a small pond in golden gate park, dimensions exact, but they manage through a miracle of imagination and physics and literature and crying to break the boundary of the ponds [EDITOR STET MISSING APOSTR., EXTRA S, STET ALL TYPOS,] circumference and they blast forth across the sea in early dusk. If you need a referent for the night sea voyage let’s have it be Homer and not Eggers/Sendak/Jonze, OK?

Homer
Homer
Homer

BETH: That’s fine.

[Fade to pink]

[Fade to black]

[text scrolls across the bottom of the black screen:

If a marginal dipweed dimcracks the buzz

[fade back up, matthew broderick is there]

MATTHEW BRODERICK: Dimweed, it’s a clownfoot, I’ll club ’em

AMBITIOUS WOMAN: I’d love to be involved, in whatever possible way.

MB: OK. I’m sure we could find something.

AW: OK, Great. I’d love to see you eat my BlackBerry.

MB: Very well. [He takes her BlackBerry phone and dunks it into a bowl of beaten eggs, then drops it into a bowl of flour. Dash of salt. And then right into the frying pan.]

ANTHROPOMORPHIZED MFA PROGRAM: I’m sleeping with Harper’s.

MB: Anthropomorphized Harper’s?

aMFAp: Yeah.

RUDY GORNIK: We have to go to Russia tomorrow.

AW: The former Soviet Union?

RG: Yeah.

[dissolve to DERRICK in the same hearthy living room, this time stable camera shot through gauze. High production value. Sexy teenagers, Tight turtlenecks. Loafs of loathing warming off-camera in a megascented kitchen with the sunlight you remember.]

DERRICK: I am ready. A cat. Dander’s fine.

POLYMORPHOUS AMORA: Several sheets to the wind

DERRICK: [To someone] No. [To Sarah] Sarah, putting the pain into paint.

SARAH: In my portrait, do you mean?

DERRICK: No… don’t try to strike terror into my

SARAH: I didn’t mean to strike your terror

DERRICK: It’s not my terror that’s struck. The terror ends up inside of me, but it’s not there before it’s struck

SARAH: That’s why it gets struck

DERRICK: right but it’s not like there’s dormant terror there that gets struck and vibrates into real terror. like a cold gong that gets struck with the mallet of emergency

SARAH: I do think its that way [EDITOR STET MISSING APOSTROPHE]

DERRICK: It’s not like a cold gold gong in my heart that gets struck with the hot fearful emergency of your presence, babe

SARAH: I think it is that way

DERRICK: i’m contradicting myself, I think my heart isn’t empty of terror, and then terror gets imported from somewhere else — it’s more like there’s a cold gong, emblazoned with chinese characters, ideograms I cannot translate, not even Pound could pound the meaning out of

SARAH: Crickey

DERRICK: Shammy. Listen:

SARAH:

DERRICK: it’s dormant and silent and cold and then I see your face and a mallet made from your head stuck on the end of a stick, your face covered in a calfskin bag tied together with leather strikes the cold center of the gong hard and it booms and I am thus filled with terror

SARAH: Terror is a cold mercury liquid that surges? A soundless blind thunderstruck rumbling?

DERRICK: Sure. It’s a bad joke on a good tv show. It’s a fucking recourse, jazzman

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qWRjus3end4]

grumpus

BLOGGING IS A POINTLESS ACTIVITY/////////////

HERE ARE MY POINTLESS THOUGHTS ON BLOGS//////////////////

A GIANT SANS-SERIF WHO CARES DESCENDS UPON THE CITY, CRUSHING EVERYTHING THAT IS NOT AN ADORABLE ANIMAL OR AN ATTRACTIVE WOMAN

M.A. ORTHOFER’s UNSWERVING GROUCHINESS ABOUT BOOKS AND BOOK COVERAGE ALWAYS MAKES ME HAPPY. I’M NOT SURE WHY. PLEASE “STAY TUNED” FOR A 400,000-WORD “BOOK-LENGTH ESSAY” WRITTEN BY ME AND MY ANTHROPOMORPHIZED SPIRAL-BOUND NOTEBOOK (WITH AN ANTHROPOMORPHIZED ALL-CAPS “ANTHROPOMORPHIZED” SCRAWLED ON THE COVER) INVESTIGATING WHY M.A.O.’S UNSWERVING GROUCHINESS ALWAYS MAKES ME HAPPY.

I LOVE THE PHRASE “AFTER THE JUMP”

[EILEEN MYLES IS SEMI-LOVABLY GROUCHY IN THE COMMENTS SECTION HERE (thanks to Gerhard Richter’s Daughters for the link)]

is it true that reading all-caps text makes you, the reader, feel assaulted/exhausted?

(have you read the new Padgett Powell novel-in-questions yet?)

do u find all-craps (“craps” being just-invented slang for kute-lee miz-zpell’d all-lwrcse) equally exhausting, but in a different way?

WHEN SHE IS IN COLLEGE WILL YOUR DAUGHTER STUDY THE WAY “THE INTERNET” HAD LOTS OF GOOD SEX WITH “LANGUAGE” IN THE EARLY 21ST CENTURY?

WILL YOU NAME HER BETHANY???????????????

I’m going to mention this blog on stage at the makeout room a week from today, on behalf of the Rumpus dot net, I am “mediumnervous”

Oh, fuck!!!

I will attempt to perform an erotical, dialogic jam session in the style you may be familiar with from this website. So if you’re in town, and you like dialogic jam-sessions, do come along! I am a chubby, affable acid casualty! I have severe night blindness!!!

[Leave a comment on this blog post for half-price tickets!]

[Why hasn’t this dog emailed me back yet??]

personal pan pizza

—Quit drinking coffee, day 4, still feel a little moony, a little spacey, but pretty much out of the woods

—Blog, internet, writing, friends, harmful, peaceful occlusions. Dog just realized “Mystery Science Theater 3000” is a brilliant name for a (brilliant) TV show. Couldn’t get enough of the photographs accompanying this NYT article about The Onion, which is the same as every article ever published about The Onion apart from the photos (they have an office dog with its own cubicle!) and the Wells Tower quote.

articleLarge
"Dummy, the office dog, has her own cubicle."

Harper’s article about the twilight of the newspaper industry is really all about San Francisco and the Chronicle. Haven’t finished it yet. It’s one of those full-spaces-between-every-paragraph ominous/spooky/arty/artful/impressionistic/imperious thought-essays. I like reading about San Francisco.

Still haven’t read Gideon Lewis-Kraus on Matthew Crawford. Semi-randomly picked up Anna Karenina at the blazingly awesome McNally Jackson bookstore when I was in New York. I’ve never read a “great” Russian novel, had just read Pnin and enjoyed the two professors’ conversation about Tolstoy, figured AK was a good place to start. I’m enjoying it a lot, but since then realized I probably should have read four Dostoyevsky novels first. It’s cool. There’s time. That’s next. Also looking forward to following up AK with Elif Batuman‘s great-sounding The Possessed: Adventures With Russian Books and the People Who Read Them.

I think something is happening here at noon on Saturday.

What else.

When I drank coffee, I was hot salsa. Now I am mild.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ooPBXfnIpYI]

Manivah Thai makes really good Thai food for you, if you ask them to

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.

LIKES:

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

DISLIKES

  • 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)

LIKES:

  • 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

MORE LIKES:

  • 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

DISLIKES

  • 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

LIKES:

  • 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
    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLYvCI4pJaY&feature=player_embedded]
  • spelling wordz in a funnnn way to express yr feelings

DISLIKES:

  • 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

LIKES:

  • 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”

DISLIKES:

  • 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

LIKES:

  • 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

DISLIKES:

  • 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
  • I murdered my therapist and have to spend my life in jail (NOTE TO DEPT OF ALCOHOL, FIREARMS, TOBACCO: I WRITE FICTION ON MY BLOG SOMETIMES, I DIDN’T KILL ANYONE, I PROMISE)
  • 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?

DOG: Ruff ruff ruff ruff ruff ruff ruff

DOG 2: Ruff ruff ruff ruff ruff ruff

DOG: Ruff ruff ruff ruff ruff ruff ruff

DOG 2: Ruff ruff ruff ruff ruff

DOG: Ruff ruff ruff

DOG 2: Ruff ruff

DOG: Ruff ruff ruff ruff ruff ruff

Thorne Hall

GARY: Instead of working, I’m going to go home, caramelize the crisper’s two floppy carrots in some hot marijuana oil with onions, and take it from there.

BEA: Don’t. You’ll hate yourself on Monday. To say nothing of Sunday. You have a profound amount of work to do.

GARY: I know that, Bea. But but but but [whines and whimpers]

BEA: Suit yourself. You’ll be dead someday.

GARY: Maybe I’ll die tonight!

BEA: Maybe you’ll die in three hundred years.

GARY: What if I eat the psychotropic carrots and then go adopt a dog?

BEA: A terrifying idea. Too bad you’ve already eaten enough calories to nourish you for 24 hours. Getting a snack right now might make for a fun and effective “break.”

GARY: I just went outside to smoke a cigarette. I smoked it by the Dog Eared Books sidewalk carts. I read the first few pages of James Lasdun’s The Horned Man, and bought it for a dollar. It’s a seductive opening for a book semi-randomly selected from a cart:

One afternoon earlier this winter, in a moment of idle curiosity, I took a book from the shelf in my office and began reading it where it fell open on a piece of compressed tissue that had evidently been used as a bookmark. I’d only had time to read a few sentences when I was interrupted by a knock on the door. Reluctantly—the sentences had looked interesting—I closed the book on its marker and returned it to the shelf.

BEA: I see what you mean. You shared the narrator’s “idle curiosity” in a book selected at random—and his placid interest in the sentences contained therein!

GARY: I also liked how the narrator opened the book to a random page in the middle, whereas I was reading the book’s opening—but in more or less the same way I’d have read a page at random. It’s as if Lasdun had predicted the manner in which I’d come to his book. A clever and subtle variation on another kind of novelistic preface—”The book you hold in your hands, gentle reader, may contain some sentences of interest…”

BEA: What’s that from?

GARY: Nothing. That was just my made-up example.

BEA: Try to work until six and then go home and do the carrots.

GARY: If I eat pot after 5 p.m. I invariably wake up stoned the next day.

BEA: Work till six, go home, read, and go to sleep. Sunday will be a boon.

GARY: Unlikely. I hate you.

BEA: You hate nothing. You remind me of nothing so much as the dining hall at Bowdoin College.

GARY: In that I seem to “contain” a large group of distracted and druggie scholars procrastinating and gorging themselves?

BEA: No, I mean you physically resemble that building. With its round white façade, the syruped steam farting from the loading bays.

GARY: I hate you.

BEA: You’re handsome, don’t get me wrong. And you hate nothing.