And then it’s January, and nothing can bloom
or bloom toward coherence
I smoke before bed most nights
Trickle gently into oblivion
Have wild, anxious dreams
And wake to digital noise still exhausted.

Last month in Vermont, I woke in the deep night
to the aroma of perfect food, something sweet and savory and
cozy like a night in someone else’s arms
But I was too exhausted to follow it, saved from fairyland oblivion
by a few inches of heaviness

There are days you climb like drainpipes,
Days when you just hold on and wait for it to pass like grey weather
Days you swim through
Days you will never get back, but it’s enough just to make it to the other end
And start again

[Art: Anna Pan]

The Shipping News

“At last the end of the world, a wild place that seemed poised on the lip of the abyss. No human sign, nothing, no ship, no plane, no animal, no bird, no bobbing trap marker nor buoy. As though he stood alone on the planet. The immensity of sky roared at him and instinctively he raised his hands to keep it off. Translucent thirty-foot combers the color of bottles crashed onto stone, coursed bubbles into a churning lake of milk shot with cream. Even hundreds of feet above the sea the salt mist stung his eyes and beaded his face and jacket with fine droplets. Waves struck with the hollowed basso peculiar to ovens and mouseholes.

He began to work down the slant of rock. Wet and slippery. He went cautiously, excited by the violence, wondering what it would be like in a storm. The tide still on the ebb in that complex swell and fall of water against land, as though a great heart in the center of the earth beat but twice a day.

These waters, thought Quoyle, haunted by lost ships, fishermen, explorers gurgled down into sea holes as black as a dog’s throat. Bawling into salt broth. Vikings down the cracking winds, steering through fog by the polarized light of sun-stones. The Inuit in skin boats, breathing, breathing, rhythmic suck of frigid air, iced paddles dipping, spray freezing, sleek back rising, jostle, the boat tom, spiraling down. Millennial bergs from the glaciers, morbid, silent except for waves breaking on their flanks, the deceiving sound of shoreline where there was no shore. Foghorns, smothered gun reports along the coast. Ice welding land to sea. Frost smoke. Clouds mottled by reflections of water holes in the plains of ice. The glare of ice erasing dimension, distance, subjecting senses to mirage and illusion. A rare place.”

– Annie Proulx, The Shipping News

((Image: Lizzy Stewart))

On the London riots

I only lived in London for half a year, but it’s one of my favorite places in the world and it will always feel like a home to me.

I was there in the beginning of 2005, only a few months after the reelection of the dreaded George W., and I remember thinking that compared to America, England felt like the sanest place in the universe. During our orientation, a member of the House of Lords came and told us about the way things worked in the UK: police without guns, pickpocketing but very little violent crime, government-funded higher education and healthcare, and a Prime Minister who must regularly defend his actions to the Parliament and the people. And most of all, a reasonable, educated populace who took an interest in the world around them. I know I was only stopping through and can’t speak as someone who actually grew up in the UK, but these were the impressions that I got during my time there.

When shit goes down in London, I feel a pang for it the same way I’d feel for any place I lived, the same way I’d feel about something that happened in my own country. Which brings me to the recent riots. I have far from a full understanding of them, but there’s something so fundamentally horrible about it all. A city that seemed to me one of the most reasonable and enlightened in the world, for all its problems and failings, for all its long history of unrest, devolving at such a rapid rate.

Honestly, what is wrong with people? Why do people suck? This whole mob mentality thing is seriously fucked up. Of course it also sounds like there’s some seriously legit sociopolitical beef behind all of this, but that doesn’t undo the fact that this kind of reaction is not the way to work through issues. Are human beings honestly just barbarians two layers below the skin? Does society fall away that easily?

Half-formed thoughts, I know. Just had to get this out.


Listening to: “ICB” – New Order

Hi blog! Y’old so-n’-so. I’ve been busy lately with my life having approximately 43 bajillion ups and downs, so haven’t posted in awhile, I know. (No. I’m not apologizing. Stop giving me that look. STOPPIT.)

Just a heads up that I’ve started up another WordPress to post bits from the numerous unfinished creative projects I’ve harped on about here before. Yes, they actually exist! They are super-unfinished! But fun, I swear. If you’re interested in checking out these works in progress, this is your one-stop destination:

Really Awesome Forest

Happy reading, friends. Hope your summer is slightly less hectic and like a taffy pull (only it’s your soul that’s getting pulled, not taffy) than mine. Cheers.


Listening to: “So What” – Miles Davis

Friday afternoon, jazz, rain, bad coffee flecked with better cinnamon. Flies dance in the air, which is pretty gross when you consider that we’re in a windowless office and it is well past fruit fly season. Didja miss me blog?

This morning on the train, I notice lips. Pressed lips, lips that hang open like snapdragons, lips that are so thin they don’t even show, lips that are so fat they overtake the face. A summer of biking everywhere and avoiding public transportation had left less time for en-route rumination, but now it’s chilly and wet and I’m back to sideways-ogling strangers’ faces on the Red Line. I’m not a creep, I swear. Just curious.

I had a dream last night that I was living in a poor farming community, “Grapes of Wrath”-style. My family and I live in a barn and we’re bad off, but not terribly off in comparison to the rest of the village. We have food in our refrigerator, even if it’s only a little bit. And there’s this girl who lives on the street (not that there really is a street but, you know, the road). And I’m like sneaking her food and diluted orange juice and shit. We all wear bonnets, it isn’t even funny.

The way you rise in status in this town is by playing the role of Nora in “A Doll’s House.” So the town holds an annual Nora-playing contest, and I’m like coaching this urchin girl to be the underdog competitor. The pre-party for the event is at our barn, so all the would-be Noras can meet each other and talk about their approach to playing Nora, and model their Nora outfits. And I’m about to introduce my protege, when Mel Gibson sits down next to me on a bench. I’m about to start tell him off for being a crazy racist asshole, but he just smiles and points at a mural on the wall of my barn. It depicts a woodland area at night, where a band of state troopers are having a shootout with UFOs hovering overhead, guns vs. lasers.

Mel’s like, “I like your mural,” and I’m like, “Thanks, I like it too.” And then I start to think maybe he’s not a dickwad and get all distracted, and forget to introduce the urchin. The last image before I wake up is of her weeping out on the stoop in the cold, the lights of the party inside flickering on her face.

A city of light and shadow

Listening to: “Lull” – Andrew Bird

To me, this bit in MirrorMask is the perfect fable-type analogy for the creative life–building a world around you, whether it be with pictures or with words or with deeds. And never being finished, because life is never finished and the creation, whatever form it may take, becomes your life. And that is good. Having it be narrated by Stephen Fry as an animate stack of books also helps.

In the beginning, she found herself in a new and empty space… And all was white… and the corners were a bit flaky, and the carpet was a bit manky… but it was a good space. And she sat in the center and saw a clean white sheet of void. She held the charm to her face. And reflected in the charm was a city of lost horizons, and tall and towering stories. And just as it had been reflected in the charm, so it appeared in the void. And when there was no more room, she turned it over and continued on the other side. So the void was filled from corner to corner on both sides. A city of front and back. A city of light and shadow. Then she rested on her bed and dreamed of her creation, and the lives that inhabited it. And in the days that followed there were other voids and other lights and other shadows. The charm she placed beneath the sign of the queen to show the city that she knew it would never be finished. Because the city was her life, and her dream. And it would live forever.


Listening to: “The High Road” – Broken Bells

Oh hey, 2010, you are looking so sexy today. Actually, not really. You’re all covered in snow and you’re cold and it’s just… what the fuck, January or something? WTF January. WTF. You’d think they’d’ve sorted out this bad weather business by this decade.

Anyways, uh, hey blog. Haven’t seen ya in awhile. How… how… how are things? He’s ignoring me. Oh well. I can’t blame him. I’ve been–where have I been? No idea. I’d like to say somewhere interesting, but no, that’s not true. Unless you count Tumblr as somewhere interesting, but that is incorrect. Anywhere that’s on the internet is nowhere, and that’s nothing. Point to Tumblr on a map. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

But it is a New Decade, rung in with all appropriate fanfare and shenanigans at a huge dance party and then on the Mass Ave Bridge with a bottle of champagne at 6am. Figured I oughta make some resolutions to break. No no, that’s negative thinking. Figured I oughta make some resolutions. To. Attempt to keep. Try to keep. Stick by till next week maybe. Not start even. TO KEEP. In no particular order:

1. WRITE CREATIVELY EVERYDAY. It doesn’t have to be long. Just something. I recently realized that apart from a few very short things, I haven’t finished a creative piece since college. That was (ouch this hurts) four years ago. Time to get all up ons. Stalled projects I could take up:

– World’s End (story of undetermined length)
– Mad Dash (TV show)
– The Price of Rootlessness (story O.U.L.)
– Bacon Chambers (comic)
– The as-yet-unnamed Ferris/Charlie thing (collaborative screenplay)
– Date Table (one-act play)
– That story about the bird guys and stuff (who the fuck knows)

2. WAKE UP BEFORE NOON. Hopefully before 11, even. This one’s pretty self-explanatory.

3. GET A STEADY JOB (THAT I DON’T HATE). Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. With W2s and EVERYTHING.


5. CLIMB MORE TALL THINGS. I will probably do this anyways.

6. LESS INTERNET, MORE WORLD. Whoops, not really doing this right now. But I need you to hold me accountable, Blogz.

7. RELEARN HOW TO DRAW. And mabes even start drawing some “Bacon Chambers.”

8. BE LATE LESS. This one is superhard. It’s pretty much like a genetic disease in my family.


K I should probably stop, because I’ve already made too many. And I have an article due in two hours. Ta.


What the fish birthed was a raucous girl
A vagabond daughter with dictionaries for arms
And a bullhorn of a throat
A neon sign of want
A terror of protective quiet

~ Marty McConnell

Dig that Rilke

From “Improvisations of the Caprisian Winter”

Face, my face:
whose are you? what
are you the face of?
How can you serve as face for such insides,
where beginning and decomposition
ceaselessy converge.
Does the forest have a face?
Doesn’t the great basalt mountain
stand there without a face?
Doesn’t the sea
rise facelessly
from the abyss of the sea?
Isn’t the sky mirrored in it
without brow, without mouth, without chin?

Doesn’t one of the animals sometimes approach
as though it were pleading: take my face?
Their faces are too hard for them
and hold what little soul they have
much too far into the world. And we?
Animals of the soul, bewildered
by all that’s inside us, unprepared
for anything, grazing
don’t we pass whole nights
pleading with the power that hears
for the nonface
which belongs to the darkness in us.

~ Rainer Maria Rilke, trans. Franz Wright

Infinite Jest: the playlist

As I near the final sprint of “Infinite Jest” (well past the Infinite Summer deadline, alas), I of course felt compelled to do the thing I do with all things that affect me all intense-like–I made a playlist about it. I don’t know how to actually upload it or anything, but here it is. Some of it is more literal to plot elements, but most of the songs are just mood-based. I know it’s kinda long. DEAL WITH IT.


• “How to Embrace A Swamp Creature” – The Mountain Goats
• “The Sporting Life” – The Decemberists [for E.T.A.]
• “Lola” – The Kinks [for Steeply]
• “The Way We Get By” – Spoon
• “Wake Up” – The Arcade Fire
• “Miss Misery” – Elliott Smith
• “Road to Nowhere” – Talking Heads
• “Late Night Radio” – David Gray [for Madame Pyschosis]
• “A Peak You Reach” – Badly Drawn Boy [for Schtitt]
• “My Alcoholic Friends” – The Dresden Dolls [for Ennet House]
• “Happy Again” – Longpigs
• “Black Eyed Dog” – Nick Drake
• “The Bar is a Beautiful Place” – Ryan Adams
• “On the Bus Mall” – The Decemberists [for Matty Pemulis]
• “Mistake” – Fiona Apple
• “Best Imitation of Myself” – Ben Folds [for Hal]
• “Pissing in the Wind” – Badly Drawn Boy [for Mike Pemulis]
• “I Turn My Camera On” – Spoon [for Mario]
• “Roadrunner” – Jonathan Richman & the Modern Lovers [for Gately]
• “The Lovecats” – The Cure [for Randy Lenz]
• “Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want” – The Smiths
• “Fakin’ It” – Simon & Garfunkel [also for Hal]
• “Lucky” – Radiohead

Spider veins, anyone?

Listening to: “Honeymoon” – Bombadil

Life is stories that you fake
And rake like leaves behind you….

Hiya, blog. Don’t be pissed that I’ve been MIA. I still care. I do. I’m popping in again because, well, I’m BLOCK’D. You know, that thing. Where I need to write shit, and the shit is not getting written no matter how many hours I sit a’plopped in front of my computer screen. Otherwise, I’d just be putting shit on my totally unnecessary new Tumblr account.

I’m trying to write an ad for a varicose vein treatment center. Here’s what I’ve got so far: Hey, 50something ladies! Get yer legs cut open here! Not catchy? No? It’s a work in progress.


I have an interview tomorrow morning at my neighborhood bagel joint. Just imagine, this guy up before the sun every morning, arranging foodstuffs inside starchy rounds. Sleep schedules will have to be drastically, painfully altered. But I can deal with it.

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