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: “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

Writers get their hands dirty, run away weeping

If you make the decision to tough life out as a working writer, it’s pretty much a given that at some point or other, you’ll have to supplement your income. And that means part-time jobs, thankless jobs, mindless jobs, labor-intensive jobs. But you take your lumps, because hey, it’s all just fodder for your future novel/memoir.

Yours truly has worked her fair share of side gigs–waitress, office assistant, PR rep, lab study participant, etc.–for the sake of some extra income. And I’m planning to dive into the exciting world of food service again, very soon.

But apparently–and I’m totally stoked about this–there’s a universe out there where professional writers don’t have to do any jobs but writing. They’ve never had to lift a finger in their lives to do anything more strenuous than clack away on their laptops.

And if they do, well–well gosh, it’s just quaint, isn’t it?

Take it from this New York Times piece by Caitlin Kelly, a freelance writer who decided to pick up a part-time job (part-time as in once a freakin’ week) working as a salesperson at a clothing boutique–for funsies!

Sometimes I feel like Alice slipping through the looking glass, toggling between worlds. In one world, I interview C.E.O.’s, write articles for national publications and promote my nonfiction book. In the other, I clock in, sweep floors, endlessly fold sweaters and sort rows of jackets into size order. . .

The contrasts between my former full-time job and my current part-time one have been striking. I slip from a life of shared intellectual references and friends with Ivy graduate degrees into a land of workers who are often invisible and deemed low-status.

Congratulations, Caitlin. You just discovered that there are other people in the universe! People who aren’t journalists. And have crazy things like diversity and no college degrees. OMG!

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In your dreams, show no mercy

Listening to: “Bad Days” – The Flaming Lips

Hi, blog. Long time no see. I’m sick of dealing with reality at this particular moment, so I’m retreating into your virtual catacombs. Well, I don’t mean reality, per se, so much as The System. Bills, insurance, parking meters, dirty dishes, job applications. That kinda shit. Which actually, is sort of the opposite of reality. I prefer real reality. The kind that doesn’t come in a can.

And when I find that unprocessed stuff, I’ll be sure to give you a holler.


I snapped a picture of this grafitti outside CVS in Allston. According to Wikiquote, it’s a Native American proverb:



Did you know:

Microwaved coffee isn’t so bad.


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Troubled musings perchance cascading into WTF??

Listening to: “Sweet and Tender Hooligan” – The Smiths

OMIGOD YOU GUYS. Listen. So last night, I’m cyberetically flipping through old files in the vastly distended “Writing” folder on my computer–and I found a partially written story I was working on feverishly when I was about 14 or 15. And it is RIDICULOUS. This was during full-on, starry-eyed romantic phase. Oh the times, how they do a-change.

The thing’s about 30 pages long (untitled). And the storyline? A romance set in France during World War II in which our British, piano-playing, fedora-wearing, swing-dancing, tousley-haired protagonist gets AMNESIA after joining the Resistance and getting beaten up by Nazis on a speeding train. Will he and his tragically separated lover (on the run from the Gestapo) ever find each other again? Will they beat the Nazis, get all lovey-dovey, and meld with the high, high stars in all his tragic dreaminess? Will all the descriptions and dialogue sound they’re cribbed straight from a particularly bad, very uninformed, romance novel? Will every verb have its own adverb? Is this ripped straight from the plot of Casablanca? Oh, you bet your ass.

Some choice excerpts, for your giggling pleasure:

She gazed out across the wide expanse of the night sky, wondering if her eyes, like the stars, could somehow pierce through the curtain of darkness. This night, so silent, so still, seemed to her the only true companion.

Presently, the sound of running water not too far off entreated her ears. Her eyes fell on the nearby brook. A lone figure stood on the bridge, silhouetted in the moonlight. It was him, of course. He was there almost every night at some late hour, pacing back and forth, his thoughts full of stardust and forgotten dreams. As she watched, the figure stopped, his hands reaching out to lean on the wooden rail. The head fell forward softly, the lush hair hanging over his forehead, that beautiful hair she longed so to caress. The troubled musings that swam through his mind could perchance cascade down into the water as it ran under the bridge, leaving him at peace. They were both dreamers, she thought as she rested her elbow on the sill, hopeless dreamers.

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How fun is it to make little Lego-looking characters speak my dialogue in a semi-robotic monotone? SO FUN!

This is part of a scene I wrote a few years ago for Mad Dash, a 1920s globetrotting-adventure-and-banter TV show my friend and I came up with for shits and giggles when we were in London.

In this scene, or heroine, the feisty adventuress/photojournalist/smartass Madeline Dash encounters her old verbal sparring partner/sexy linguistics expert, Dr. Sebastian Carter, at a hotel bar in Nice. There’s supposed ta be sexual tension, but it’s hard to tell. Still, SO AWESOME.

Don’t we all, my friend

Listening to: “Sons and Daughters” – The Decemberists

So I was browsing the Writing Gigs section of dear ol’ Craigslist, and I came across this gem:

Ah, the lot of a writer. We are but lowly creatures, who will take any work, even if there’s no pay and our boss is some random twatbag who happens to have broadband. On the North Shore, no less. I wonder if he’ll let me telecommute?

Climbing, writing, devolving

Listening to: “Lump Sum” – Bon Iver

Ever since the Rains of All Summer departed from Massachusetts last week, long shadows have entered our little editorial enclave each evening around 5:30ish. When my coworkers behind me get up to leave, I can see their silhouettes dancing fitfully across my computer screen. Really, they’re just packing up their bags, unplugging their headphones, checking their cell phones. But from watching the shadows on my screen (Allegory of the Cave, anyone?) it all looks ritualistic, shamanaic.

I’m gonna climb another one of the Presidentials in NH tomorrow with J and Tuck–Mount Jefferson. The summit (5,712 feet) looks over the Great Gulf–a giant cirque between Jefferson and Washington. Love that term, cirque–a glacier-formed valley, shaped like an amphitheater and flanked by mountains. Geographical terms in general, really–isthmus, chaos terrain, fjord, steppe, estuary, hanging valley–so sexy.

Did you know there are 14 Mount Jeffersons in the United States? (What would I do without you, Wikipedia.) 2 in Virginia alone. I wish that the NH one was the tallest, but its ass gets totally kicked by the ones in Idaho, Nevada, and Oregon. Oh well. Now wouldn’t that be a project–climbing all 15 Jeffersons, all the way from the 11,941′ giant in Nevada down the to the sissy 489′ hillock in Arkansas. I dig it. I gotta climb these big mountains out West sometime. The Northeast just can’t hold a candle, I tell you whut.


The terrain of life lately: Loud ambient music, hermitism, the questionable purchase of I-could-kick-the-shit-out-of-you-if-I-wanted-to,-just-sayin’ boots, marathon sessions of watching Veronica Mars, sunglasses falling down public toilets, mild abuse of mild substances, worsening insomnia, sunny days, dead-end writing sessions.

Oh, and how awesome is Miranda July? So awesome:

“That is my problem with life, I rush through it, like I’m being chased. Even things whose whole point is slowness, like drinking relaxing tea. When I drink relaxing tea, I suck it down as if I’m in a contest for who can drink relaxing tea the quickest. Or if I’m in a hot tub with some other people and we’re all looking up at the stars, I’ll be the first to say, It’s so beautiful here. The sooner you say, It’s so beautiful here, the quicker you can say, Wow, I’m getting overheated.”

Been too distracted/abstracted to read much lately (Sorry, Midnight’s Children, you’re too slow), but No One Belongs Here More Than You. is just my pace right now.


As for my own writing–poor “The Price of Rootlessness” is quickly devolving into a string of endless pseudo-noir dialogue; hopefully there’s a plot waiting at the end of the rainbow.

“Are you gonna tell me what I need to know, or are you gonna make this difficult?”
“It is the finest of flowers that blooms in adversity.”
(*Roundhouse KICK!*)
“Yeah, well this desert rose could use a little moisture. So spill it, Rainfall.”

See what I mean? Yeesh.

More Gaiman

I don’t mean to keep quoting Neil Gaiman, but… I’m gonna do it again. Sorry.

From The Sandman: The Wake–the last book of the series. This is William Shakespeare–not the real Shakespeare, Gaiman’s characterization of Shakespeare–talking about going through life as a writer (bolds included–this is from a graphic novel, after all):

I wonder… I wonder if it was worth it. Whatever happened to me in my life, happened to me as a writer of plays. I’d fall in love, or fall in lust. And at the height of my passion, I would think, “So this is how it feels,” and I would tie it up in pretty words.

I watched my life as if it were happening to someone else. My son died. And I was hurt; but I watched my hurt, and even relished it, a little, for now I could write a real death, a true loss.

My heart was broken by my dark lady, and I wept, in my room, alone; but while I wept, somewhere inside I smiled. For I knew I could take my broken heart and place it on the stage of the Globe, and make the pit cry tears of their own.

And now… I am no longer young. My health is not good, and my daughter consorts with a lecherous ape, which her fancy amends to a gallant prince. My wife sleeps in her father’s bed, far from me; and she treats me like a foolish child.

And Prospero and Miranda, Caliban and Gonzalo, aethereal Ariel silent Antonio, all of them are more real to me than silly, wise Ben Jonson; Susanna and Judith; the good citizens of Stratford; the whores and oyster-women of London Town