Hey Cutie! Well, if I’m not blogging, I don’t know who is… Best anagram for great is always Greta. I had to write this thing so I took care of other fake-important business and finally barnstormed my way out the house by maybe 1:15. Stopped at cafe number one, where my internet doesn’t work. Drank a single Americano and wrote the thing. It only had to be like 600 words, I just needed to finish a draft, whatever, right? Pay attention to what, ladies, am I right? If only the sports section were full of field hockey, long-distance running, rock-climber recipes, and so forth. Mountain Bike stats, info-graphics about how commercial horseradish is made. Then I’d read it… Ate a clam-filled Peasant Pie. I try to be vegan, and then I stop trying. While I waited for the pie to heat up, I read 2/3 of a framed Dan Leone column about Peasant Pies on the wall that begins with a non-review of a Mark Richard book. (Mark Richard is a Gordon Lish guy. What does that mean? I heard Dan Leone is a Gordon Lish guy, too. What does that mean? I guess technically L.E. Leone would be a Gordon Lish gal. Maybe it just means they took Lish’s class, or were edited by Lish. Code-name Quoinstone’s love for Dan (now L.E.) Leone made me give her a closer look. Those columns are a boon. Real boons. San Francisco is lucky to have L.E. née Dan Leone writing about food in the pages of its best alternative newsweekly. Future generations may shake their heads in wonder.) Moved on to cafe number two, more coffee, realized the draft was fine, realized they didn’t offer internet — it’s more of a bakery than a coffee shop. Plenty of people on laptops, but no internet. This is a shameful description of my current life between full-time jobs. I have a part-time job that requires me to squeeze out 600 words every week or so. [Glances at Jawbone, smiles, casts +4 wagon spell. Begins whistling The Man from Laramie.]


Barista at coffee shop number one asked older woman I didn’t really turn to look at what she was doing today; woman replied, loudly, “I woke up at one, now I’m going to the Legion of Honor. They’ve got the Magna Carta there.” A pause. “I don’t really know what the Magna Carta is, But I’m going to check it out.” Barista: “It sounds like it has to do with the Founding Fathers.” Onward to the Mission Branch of the SFPL. Sent off my thing. Yelling match, crazy dude, “You stepped on my foot and then took my turn on the computer. I want your name, so I can give it to the spiritual registry of offenders.” Patrons yelled for him to shut up. Elementary schoolkids yelled the same thing at each other an hour earlier on the street. Sent the emails. Went to therapy. If I woke up at one on a Wednesday and didn’t know what the Magna Carta was, I wouldn’t say it so loudly. But this blog entry is essentially the same thing. Confessions. Bought and ate a large container of wasabi-soy almonds. Stopped into a new bookstore called, I think, Press Works on Paper? Can’t tell if there’s more punctuation in there. The store is mightily well-appointed, particularly considering they opened less than a week ago. The table in the center was covered in books lain flat: Andy Fitch’s Ten Walks; amazing-looking Al Columbia book from Fantagraphics; Witz; something old by Blake Butler; something old by Anne Carson; plus I think Nox; a journal called Paul Revere’s Horse whose editor and whose editor’s fiancée I ran into in Whole Foods with my fiancée yesterday. We discussed the price of avocados. I feel like I’m trapped inside a club remix of a Leonard Cohen song; Heather Christle’s The Difficult Farm; Rachel B. Glaser’s Pee on Water; Thin Kimono; the Wave book of James Tate prose poems with Bee in the title; Matthew Zapruder; something by that poet with three names who has a new book I just got an email about. All on this one table. On the shelves were things like The Age of Wire and String and Stories in the Worst Way, a twine-wrapped set of old Penguin Paperbacks, Knopf-published Field Guides to Birds/Sea Creatures/et al. Expensive Japanese and German stationery. Fine-looking art books and prints and bookbinding materials. I told the guy at the laptop/register that I was pretty bowled over by their selection. I think it’s the most fussily — that’s not the word, I don’t mean to be negative, I was impressed by this store. Assiduously? -curated bookstore I’d ever been to. The spectre of Flying Object, or do I mean Walser & Co., I honestly don’t know the difference, and I faltered trying to explain them to the kind dude, suffused the place. Not that I’ve been to either of those places, but I wanted Northhampton to drop-ship a passel of chapbooks to this place. It also could’ve used more from Siglio and Picturebox, but AS I SAY, they’d been open five days.  Nothing from McSweeney’s, either, but apparently that’s because PGW turned up their nose at this store. It also might’ve been nice if they’d had print-outs of Helen DeWitt’s and Bill Knott’s blogs stacked somewhere. I’ve never read a poem in my life. Then I stepped on the foot of an old traveler (angry survivor of the 60s) as I exited, fishing for my almonds. He made an aghastly sound and I said, quickly, “I’m so sorry, I’m nearly blind.” Which is true. I no longer drive during the day. (Haven’t driven at night for a few years.) Tuesday morning around 6 I googled “blind martial arts.” Apparently vision’s not too important once you’re in close contact. Jiu-Jitsu.  I might begin (being is the preferred anagram) Asian grappling (?) once I move to Missouri. I don’t want to buy a gi unless I’m sure. Tonight, packing for tomorrow’s wedding-trip to  Chicago, I am glad I haven’t gotten rid of my leather dress shoes in a fit of vegan indignance. I still feel vegan diffidence even though at this moment my belly is full of pork. Yes, after the coffee and the clams I crashed and caved even deeper. It’s not full of pork, but the pork is in there.

Howdy, quoinstone

so says wordpress–it doesn’t know how I feel! Reading those words is like picking up a giant corded telephone and setting it on a skillet until it switches to that “hang me up” flustered-stutter tone and then mashing it against my ear. Reader, it is 8 a.m., my resolve is dwindling, my ear is pinking, somewhere MG is working my accent into his video-art script. Should I… should I write a video-art script?

[a birth canal. CT is asleep.]

okay, good, we’ll shoot that on friday. I might as well be trying to write on an abandoned hubcap with a retractable trash spear, on a highway median that is really a carpool lane. My community-service supervisor sent me there out of pure amoral curiosity. He stopped the city van in the road and told me to get out and I did, and now I’m crouching down, my trash spear retracted, trying to inscribe something worthwhile on a scratch-resistant hubcap. In a minute I’ll be run over by a modular home, or a boat; I can only see the truck, and the veiled shape behind it could be anything. Googling trash spear I remind myself that I’ve lost my ability to understand plot summary (“Part of Hammer’s scheme to get Ann back and to satisfy his personal antipathy towards all the inhabitants of the Bronx is to start a big gang war. To this end, he recruits Ice, with the promise that with Trash out of the way he can assume his rightful role as leader of the Riders. Ice gives him Trash’s spear because Hammer knows that Trash is going to Ogre for help in locating Ann (she went and got herself captured by the Zombies, after they were able to drop a cargo net on Trash)”–what?? Is this real? Every time I try to read it I feel like I’m being annoyed by a piece of op-art, or attempting to walk up one of those Escherian staircases that math and science classrooms made sure I understood to be relevant to precollegiate academics. “Chris’s craggy face is familiar from his roles in Django Strikes Again and Manhattan Baby, the Fat Man and Little Boy of his career.” Is that good or bad?).

Let’s talk, instead, about the November 2006 issue of artforum that’s in the bathroom: “How were heretofore undetectable elements going to emerge, disappear, reemerge, and coalesce to become truths, the always provisional, procedural, multiple truths of politics, science, art, and love?” Can Bronx Warriors help us answer this question? I need help, seriously.

make a frame of your house

when you’re proofreading, it’s good to think about how best to combine quotes from the DeLillo novel you have with you with lines from the Jeezy songs you’re listening to. [CMS 6.63]

“The island illusion, that solitude and wisdom invented each other, is a very convincing one. Day by day I seem to grow more profound. Often I feel I am on the verge of some great philosophical discovery. Man. War. Truth. Time. Fortunately, I always return to myself. I cruise the city by my lonesome, open invitation for anybody wants some.”

“I took B.G. into the living room. It was a party and we didn’t want to talk to each other. The whole point was to separate for the evening and find exciting people to talk to and then at the very end to meet again and tell each other how terrible it had been and how glad we were to be together again. This is the essence of Western civilization. We don’t talk in the bedroom, we whisper in the kitchen. Call me paranoid, I think the walls is listenin’.”

“Taste and smell can safecrack memory in the shadow of an instant, and in that pantry, nibbling dry cookies with the compulsive fervor of a penitent seeking the message of his past, I returned to a tight hot room in another town, the kitchen fumed up, jamming Tupac, my Benihana on, working two pots. I turned off the lights and went upstairs.”

I am not depressed, either


Just awake. Yesterday, at 10:52 p.m., unbeknownst to me as I sat admiring a haphazardly mustachioed Quilty eat a cheese sandwich (right? Was it?), somebody sent me an email saying that my prior message to him was “nice but doesn’t tell [him] anything.” He pushed right past my niceness like it was a floor-to-ceiling segmented curtain separating him from a pen he’d lent me, he slapped it away from his face like he would a cobweb, like it was me leaning in to kiss his angry Wyomingite lips and leave a fusty gloss on them. I wrote him back a minute ago but won’t send my message until tomorrow, when I am restored to my impenetrable den of niceness and cannot be seen to be reading emails at weird hours. Right now there’s an 85 percent chance that my reply will agitate him so greatly that he will storm out onto the streets of Cheyenne, BlackBerry in hand, and cast that impassive messenger at the nearest reminder of the nebulous pleastantness that I embody and he eschews, so maybe I’ll rewrite it in the morning. If you hit a living thing in a High Plains state with an electronic instrument, they shun you for one month. You’re sent out onto the most lonesome snowmobile trail with a hand axe and a sack of apples and you wait. The snowmobilers are told to avoid the trail and it’s mined, just in case. Sometimes at dawn you’re awakened by a distant blast, as you’ve wisely retreated well away from the access paths and their buried dangers, but even out there you can hear it when some unthinking Canadian sneaks out of the lodge before the trail markers are replaced (at night kids steal the minefield signs) and rides past the last redemptive turnoff onto a bad spot and goes up in a dull puff of ski-pants stuffing. It’s a crazy horrible waste, sure, but this is how society is maintained.

After a month you can come back and for every apple you have left the state’ll pay you a thousand dollars. Most people who saved them keep them, though, handling them like talismans inside the too-big jackets they’ve been given back, offering up the hand axe instead, saying don’t you want the axe, I had to cut a toe off with it in the second week, an ugly frostbitten toe that looked ready to drag me after it like a black beetle towing one hundred times its own weight across the soft dry crumbly earth toward a burrow you don’t return from, but the state won’t take an axe back.


mystery, surprise, unpredictability, and fun part one

“They’re gonna open a night school in the living room,” my landlord says. He stamps his boot in the puddle it’s built on the carpet. “All right,” I say. “Same rent, though,” he says. “That’ll be fine,” I tell him. We shake hands, and he leaves. Through the window, I can see him strapping on his snowshoes and bounding off–he’s so fast in those things I’d never get away in time, not when he stops by every few hours and it takes me twenty-five minutes to cover a mile out there, he’d catch me in a drift and have me strapped to that rescue sled he drags around and back in the flat before I’d made it halfway to a neighbor. Besides I dribble prints every few inches when I go out, so let’s say somehow I locked him in then enjoyed a full day of freedom before his uncle grew anxious and came looking, still he’d have me within the time I’d need to really conceal myself, to double back or dig in and fake a trail for him to follow after, so I don’t bother. Better to stay warm and dry.

I work from home, sorting amateur pornography for cnn.com’s user-generated content section. There’s eight of us who do that, more than any other news portal can afford, and that’s why a plurality of 29-46 year-olds still consider us to be their most trusted source for current events and pornography when taken together. I know this–I know that a person in his or her third decade is more likely to look to us for this sort of sustenance than to anyone else, I feel the gravity of their inclination teeter on my gut. I read the annual reports, and I know they’re wrong–“the average cnn.com reader expects to be apprised and aroused”–who writes that? What are they talking about? We give them a different thing, and nobody knows it.

Fergus Bordewich

real quietly–it’s late–he taps on the phone booth. It’s filled with kids, facing inward over an ipod. They’ve got a song on and headphones over the telephone so who knows who’s hearing it, their mom or a call-in show or someone who hung up after one track to look up stevie wonder memorabilia on ebay and resell it to rural dial-up customers via columbia house-style direct mail solicitations–memento speculation, they call it. He read about this last week, in his minesweeper discussion group. Everybody there has other interests, and they emphasize that. The kids are pressing the ipod’s viridescent display to the glass, it’s an audiobook.