Monthly Archives: September 2008

Orwell’s Diary as a Blog! Hipster Essay. Fence Editor Tells Contributor to Eat Shit. Six Ways to Get Published.

Here it is. Orwell’s diary–propelled to the NOW.

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Ever since PBR sales spiked  in 2002 and the brewery had no idea why (they found out why–and slyly started marketing to the super-cool youth), I’ve been interested in Hipster Culture.

My bro sent me this Hipster Essay. Others have maybe seen this already, but I am old so it takes me longer. It started strong, but maybe could have gone more in-depth? The best part is the 2000-to-3000 comments. Man, people do have opinions on the hipster.

Essay begins:

I‘m sipping a scummy pint of cloudy beer in the back of a trendy dive bar turned nightclub in the heart of the city’s heroin district. In front of me stand a gang of hippiesh grunge-punk types, who crowd around each other and collectively scoff at the smoking laws by sneaking puffs of “fuck-you,” reveling in their perceived rebellion as the haggard, staggering staff look on without the slightest concern.

The “DJ” is keystroking a selection of MP3s off his MacBook, making a mix that sounds like he took a hatchet to a collection of yesteryear billboard hits, from DMX to Dolly Parton, but mashed up with a jittery techno backbeat.

So… this is a hipster party?” I ask the girl sitting next to me. She’s wearing big dangling earrings, an American Apparel V-neck tee, non-prescription eyeglasses and an inappropriately warm wool coat.

Yeah, just look around you, 99 percent of the people here are total hipsters!”

Are you a hipster?”

Fuck no,” she says, laughing back the last of her glass before she hops off to the dance floor.

**

I wish I know what to eat today. I have a few chips, some sour cream. I wonder if I could…Place this, uh, there. Cover with…Melt…uh. Maybe if…

Taste like a movie that doesn’t start until six-fifteen. Like Huntington, West Virginia. Blar. Blar me. Blar me of the universe. Now.

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Here is where Fence editor, Rebecca Wolff, tells a contributor to “eat shit and die.”

Make of it what you will…

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Adam Peterson has good poems about death at La Petite Zine.

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Danger + Desire = Tension.

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I made a chart today and this blog screwed up the formatting.

code desire express radically                    vivid y

scavenger

bilocation

0

liver throb

eaten by a cloud

bathe

14

the moon!

panty triangle,

white

wantonness

unlucky

so-called querulous

cooling towels

shrapnel

expression

slit

mushroom

no

fuzzy pink

blade

Mary

Jon

Mr. O

Emma

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DRUNKEN SUBMARINE
by Valery Oisteanu

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I am wanting to read Blake Butler‘s novella.

I am thinking his blog made me want to blog, but maybe I don’t know.

I am wanting to eat cold oysters and white wine. With Hemingway. On the moon of a demoted planet. Why did he hate Fitzgerald for laziness and alcoholism and other isms?

My first oyster this guy in Florida gave to me covered in Tabasco sauce and mustard and on a saltine.

What is the point? (life metaphor)

Turning 30 is a demoted planet.

I am wanting to eat rotel.

Stoppage for days.

Feeling your pulse sludge.

I am wanting to bludgeon those who blog about Sarah Palin.

I am wanting to run away from home (again).

I am wanting to drink and Ebay.

I am wanting to drink a meaningless beer.

Have meaningless sex.

Dance to meaningless Depeche Mode.

Etc.

I want my president to not be regular. Not a regular person. In no way regular. Sorry.

I am wanting a shamrock.

I wish I knew more about my genealogy.

I am shallow now.

I am linking to a kick ass Tao Lin interview. All his answers are spot on. Why do they ask why he writes about energy drinks and IM chat? Why did Van Gogh paint crows? He looked out the window, saw crows.

Tao Lin grows on me…

Time grows on me.

Regret grows on me.

Lorcet grows on me.

Sports radio grows on me.

I am wanting to link to an NBA star who has a new memoir.

I am wanting to mine Yoda’s roots.

I am wanting to quote Sarah Palin when asked about the $700 billion bailout:

“That’s why I say I, like every American I’m speaking with, were ill about this position that we have been put in where it is the taxpayers looking to bail out. But ultimately, what the bailout does is help those who are concerned about the health-care reform that is needed to help shore up our economy, helping the—it’s got to be all about job creation, too, shoring up our economy and putting it back on the right track. So health-care reform and reducing taxes and reining in spending has got to accompany tax reductions and tax relief for Americans. And trade, we’ve got to see trade as opportunity, not as a competitive, scary thing. But one in five jobs being created in the trade sector today, we’ve got to look at that as more opportunity. All those things under the umbrella of job creation. This bailout is a part of that.”

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SIX THINGS THAT WILL GET YOU PUBLISHED:
1.) Send in short stuff. Editors only have so many pages. You are not a “name.” That’s ok. The role of lit mags is to publish the edge of literature, the new, the voice, the cream puffs and hosiery of our time. They’ll take a flyer on you but not for 30 pages, freak-o.
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Cormac McCarthy’s first pub was in a lit mag.
Ditto Hemingway.
Ditto Roth.
Ditto Elizabeth Bishop.
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2.) Send in September, or January. You send in the end of their submission window and they are tired, drunk, bloated with good work, limited with room, feeling like twenty drops of tincture of hemlock, or weight loss drug, up all night not eating, circle and cycle, what do I do last night? If you do stimulants (don’t–at least not every day), be sure to have a “downer” to help you come off the back-side, on like Sunday. Even a Funny Car has a parachute near the end of its run.
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3.) Get to personally know some editors. Have a beer with them, walk their dog. Loan them one of your 84 Joyce Carol Oates novels. Then send them stuff. They might not publish it, but it will be awkward to say no. Most humans don’t like to ever feel awkward. This is a BAD FAITH way to get published so might lead to night thoughts and generalized depression. I mean you can fake out about anyone but yourself, especially in that weird light before you fall asleep. Still, I’m trying to be helpful.
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4.) Don’t use silly fonts.
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5.) Don’t write about two people in an apartment drunk. Do not have your narrator commit suicide.
Here’s a great story: This young woman wants to run away from home. She’s a teen; she doesn’t recognize the value of family, when the shit hits the fan. A tornado hits, and carries her off to a mystical world of midgets and witches and bad-ass flying monkeys. Her house lands with a thud, atop a witch! The young lady brushes off the dust, gathers herself, looks around, says, “Well, this isn’t Kansas anymore,” pulls out a gun and shoots herself in the ear-hole.
The end.
Get my point?
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6.) 300 bucks in the envelope might work.
S

Arlene Ang. JMWW. Eeeeeeeeeee. Bosnian Beer.

She might be my favorite poet.

You remember putting the penny last night in your mouth, like a nipple”

HELL and O.

Three prose poems here at Past Simple. Read them. Like them. Or be stupid. I love prose poems. They are cousin of FLASH FICTION. They are the friend who will bail you out at 4-nothing, a.m. Will let you crash on her rooftop, naked. These poems are dropping the doll onto the floor. What will happen when the butterflies all go extinct? No tornadoes? Gigolos have faith in all storms clearing. Offer me a beer? Language bids me eat nachos, sit and eat nachos, sit and think about the hot attic of my unhappiness.

Etc.

Arlene Ang here.

Arlene Ang here.

Arlene Ang here.

Do I have to lead your sad-ass dime-store god to the microwave popcorn??

Wake the frack up!!

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A great story by Aleksander Hemon in the New Yorker. If you are too cool for New Yorker fiction, you are trying too hard to be cool–which is NEVER cool, in fact is the definition of anti-cool, so just read the damn story.

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A new JMWW is out! Good stuff to make you steam-ear your daily routine.

Melanie Cotter drops a Hanged Cat on us. Hey now!

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Ok, I read Tao Lin’s Novel. SIX THINGS I THINK ABOUT TAO LIN’S NOVEL:

1.) People compare Tao Lin to Haruki Murakami. That’s a bit ridiculous, and maybe lazy?  Or even is it fair? Uh, one is translated when read in the U.S. (usually), and one is not. They look the same (relatively) so write the same? They both use black etchings on a white paper? They both write of dolphins, bears, presidents, other animals as characters?

I think Murakami is indeed Magical Realism, as established already in the literary mega-verse. In his novel, I don’t think Tao Lin is doing the same thing, the same way. This isn’t a critique of either author, but I just don’t see them as similar.

2.) For all you stoners kids who simply must have all your meals as a bright, gooey snacks, if Lin’s novel was a youtube video, it would be this youtube video.

3.) Tao Lin’s sentences are difficult to read. A friend of mine called them, “The anti-sentence.” Yes, yes, I know there is some Avant-garde/literary student in academia/Po-Mo (oh gods no!) reason for this: fragmented modern existence, language as artifice…wait, I just hurled-up a corn dog on a clown’s hat. I’m sure some readers will have all types of reasons to defend sentences that often destroy pacing, flow, “readability” (what the hell does that mean?), and please go right ahead. I even see your point, sometimes. But, listen: The sentences are difficult to read.

Update/qualifier (the beauty of a blog):

I suppose I mean the arrangement, not the individual.

p. 65:

A different waitress brings their food. Her name is Bernadette. They eat for a while. They are eating. (“How do you have fun?”) Jawbreaker, You win you lose, it’s the same old news. Octopus. Mark was sad about his Octopus. Steve stands. “Andrew,” he says. “Come here.”

And so on. Could be me, though. I readily agree I might not follow things others easily do…

4.) Rabbit’s foot: lucky for the rabbit?

5.) A better comparison would be The Stranger, by Camus. With a dash of Walter Mitty and Sarah Orne Jewett.

6.) I found the book intriguing enough to try out his book of poetry. details later.

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This morning, while eating waffles inscribed in a blue advertisement announcing HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL (this actually ON the waffle), my four year old kept repeating, “I don’t know where I’m going. I don’t know where I’m going. I don’t know where I’m going.”

Man, I wish I could have told him something better than, “Indeed.”

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Shotguns. Erika Lopez is not Porn. Sub-Lit. People Getting Drunk at Cemeteries.

I am about to go all Heart of Darkness on your ass…deep, deep into the TN woods.

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A while back one of my students opined that Erika Lopez’s novel, Flaming Iguanas, “was porn.”

It is not porn. I do not teach porn. I don’t find that porn really even has much theme, or is so much interesting, except for the irony and incongruity of two (or more!) people having sex while they clearly detest each other.

But Flaming Iguanas has a ton of theme!

Today my CW class had a lively conversation about the book, and I thank them for that. They talked about similes and voice and sympathetic character and tone and verisimilitude and point of view and had all kinds of quality questions. Here are six:

1.) Why a novel and not nonfiction (Lopez actually did buy a motorcycle and ride it cross country)?

2.) Why does the American “Road” novel let men say obscene things and treat women like some new drug, but when Lopez does the same she’s “vulgar”?

3.) Why is a motorcycle a better vehicle for a quest narrative than a car?

4.) Why aren’t more women riding motorcycles with men on the back?

5.) How many times can one author use the word vagina?

6.) Doesn’t Erika Lopez seem like she could kick your ass?

yes, she do.

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I entered the Rose Metal Press flash fiction contest today. You should, too. Please stop slicing your life into pieces small enough to feed a crow and just enter this contest. Stop gift wrapping on Dwayne’s bed. Stop drinking in the afternoons like a Smiths song.

Here’s are my favorite Smiths lyrics:

What she said :
“I smoke ‘cos I’m hoping for an
Early death
AND I NEED TO CLING TO SOMETHING !”

Now that makes me want to paint my nails black and hang out at the local psychiatric hospital where they fry everything and last time I gained seven pounds.

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This zombie poem by Jesse Dunstan is very good, and almost great. It does use the word mellifluous, so obviousy this hurt any chances of true greatness. Still, I do admire.

Sub-Lit is nasty. One time I sent them a poem and they responded by firebombing every Christmas guest I have ever had, or will ever have.

Hell, let’s just have a Jesse Dunstan day, ok? This one at Juked is better. None of that mellifluous bullshit. This one makes me crucify my marriage counselor.

Why don’t you read Repair Man by Kathy Fish?

It takes as long as an average person to smoke an average cigarette to read this piece, thus the name of the magazine, folks.

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Here is a photo of my friend getting drunk at a cemetery. Why does he do that?

poor guy.

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Here is Kendra Grant Malone’s 8th best poem. She thought of it in March while in a taxi and wrote it in August on a napkin at Vini E Ollii Locanda, so that might explain why it is stellar like mirrored guts/pomegranate whatevers.

My Father’s Friends

my father has many
interesting friends
i met this one who
survived for many months
on a life raft
he wrote a book about it
but doesn’t like to
discuss it much
once he was a bit
drunk
and he told me
some strange things
one of them being
that while adrift
he developed romantic feelings
about spaghetti and meatballs

another person
my father is friends with
is a woman who drowned
and was legally dead
before she was resuscitated
at dinner she once
told me that
if you can avoid dying
she would recommend
drowning to anyone
she said the pain and
fear were unbearable
until the moment her body
took water into her lungs
she said she stayed like
that for a while before
she died
and that it was
the calmest, greatest moment
of her life
honestly, i look forward to dying again

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English Composition Guide: The Seven Elements of Loam Later Named.

In the Art of Rhetore there are no fixed rules. Except for gravity, of course, that and some kid standing outside the room wanting to add the very class you just announced as full. Kid has a page-boy haircut like early Mia Farrow, though. Might as well add him. Never thumb wrestle with your instincts, or with a Eurasian Sparrowhawk. Never sleep on an escalator. Confucius says you can get beer real cheap in Wisconsin, but keep that one tight. Hey, pay attention! Seven Elements of Loam Later Named. Remember? Time just passed you by like a gut-shot wolverine in the night. Feel that shiver? That was your soul.

The Seven Elements of Loam are: Narrative, Compare and Contrast, Persuasion, Process, Definition, Exemplification, and Livestock.

1.) When I say Narrative I mean story. There are five traits deadly to a story. These traits are calamitous and will result in ruin. First is excessive courage. If reckless, the story will run crazy into the night and be bludgeoned by a camel buggy. People say it’s great to be bold. Small children are bold, too; where does that get them?

Second is fear. Meet with your students individually on cold winter Wednesday afternoons and tell them this: If you bring a cat to a yak fight you better have one wonderful cat. Third is impulsivity. One day Confucius is riding his yellowish moped very fast through a small town in Florida. Sheriff pulls him over. Sheriff says, “Son, why you going so fast?” Confucius say, “To arrive home quickly.” Sheriff smiles. “How quick you moving right now?” Fourth. Fourth? My legs feel all tingly; sometimes they soar. Gulls, funny balloons, etc. To be honest I just finished a bottle of fermented arachnid and I’m rather sleepy. I was up, and now I’m down. I did mention gravity, right? A teacher prefers high ground. Fifth is a sense of humor. I forget why. One morning I awoke anew and saw a sparrow taking a bath in dust. Same morning I saw the sunlight off Mia Farrow’s goose-bumped arms: it was pebbled gold. Where is Jeff Goldblum? Gone away, maybe. Pebbled gold, I swear. Sometimes I wish I was a poet so I could freeze it all. But I digress.

2.) When I say Compare and Contrast I mean watch your back. Bottled water never beat gasoline per gallon without petrol helping drink the bottle. Do not gobble proffered goat, if blue. One day Confucius sells me a leopard only I get home and the spots fall off. Now what? I could tell some god but which one would I tell? When lesson planning, drink only oxygen and doubt. When grading, only ale. When teaching, drink nothing but horse milk from a tall horse. This is what I mean by Comparison.

3.) When I say Persuasion I mean have you ever closed your eyes and listened as several hundred thousand musk deer stampede a pizza parlor? Ditty sat on the edge of a cliff and cried for seventy days. How’s that fashionable sweater feeling now, Mr. P? Then Mia Farrow appeared and planted him a garden. She looked tan, her face lean, cheekbones a manifesto to themselves, as she knelt and planted potatoes, and nearby a row of onions. “Tranquility,” she said, brushing the soil from her hands. “The onions will make the potatoes’ eyes water and you will never need to toil again.” Diddy ceased his crying. Mia handed him a cheese pie. It had waves of white meringue and colorful sprinkles. She said it was made from the tears of a sad lamb. Diddy ate the pie. Mia dove off the cliff, into the river. I watched from a shrubbery and wondered. The sun lowered. Rodents scurried by. So silent was I, an owl perched atop my head and phoned his mother, collect. Now you understand Persuasion.

4.) When I say Process I mean watch where you’re going. One student is a single, two a pair, three a trio. You grow old; they remain young. A village will pave a forest for a subdivision and then name the roads Leaping Deer and Green Meadow. Never shoot an arrow straight up into the sky. Never rely on a cloud. If a rock moves on its own, it isn’t a rock. Every day now, Goldblum takes long walks, hunting and fishing. Once he was stalking musk deer in the icy highlands of Snog. I followed, as is my way. Goldblum saw a mighty stag far away and took it with his bow. A lucky shot. Only as he neared did he see the flooded river. Now you know what I mean of Process.

5.) When I say Definition I mean no parking on the dance floor. One day Confucius invited his bocce club over for dinner. In preparation, he attempted to cook three meals at once. One was a lobster roll pastry shell stuffed with Wellfleet oysters, duck breasts, venison cutlets, ham hocks, and horse ribs. The second was an ostrich egg omelet of herbs, sorrels, mustard greens, and truffles. The third was nachos. In the end, all went fine, but many words were spoken about the omelets as just a tad bit runny. Also a dove entered the dining hall, flew into the ceiling fan. Goldblum grabbed it and bit off its head—always an ill omen. This is what I mean by Definition.

6.) When I say Exemplification I mean listen to the lips of Mia Farrow. She says, “The way of the wind is only revealed in the arms of the trees.” Otherwise have a point. Stay focused. Not what story do you know; rather, what story do you tell? Mia loses me now in her morning strolls—all these double backs, cliff-climbs, thrown shrubberies, and twice fording of rivers. Does she know I follow? No one can answer. I ask Confucius and he stares at my forehead in silence. Then he tells me in America the universities have cows with windows cut in the sides so you can see their stomachs. I’d like to have a window for my heart. Or my liver, curtains, too. I know something is going on in there. One season Mia wore a bikini made of bark. That was a good season.

7.) When I say Livestock I mean the use of eloquent speech. There they are, strolling like blue cranes along the frozen edges of Lake Toyota. The moon is an obese moon tonight. Goldblum looks tanned and healthy. Even the cast on his arm seems to glow. Mia Farrow looks like Mia Farrow. A dog barks in the distance, a cougar retches, and I miss my pet yak. I look up again—their hands together make a triangle. A sort of theory. Numbers alone confer no advantage. Maybe. My heart feels like a Man Purse picked from the gullet of a swan. There goes a shooting star, or most likely a sigh. Yes, it was a sigh—I can see my breath in the air.

I need a drink or two,

but I’ll have 14.

Steinur Bell. Cella’s. Regis Philbin.

Wow. I suppose this story maybe kicks ass.

Also I have published in a lot of places Steinur has (though my name’s not as cool) so I get a little petty narcissitc glow, so that’s a bonus.

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Cella needs submissions. Send the thing you found on the roof, next to the tricycle and the fish.

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FACTS ABOUT REGIS PHILBIN:

* In the course of fulfilling his daily obligations he has to change his clothing seven times.

* He does not own or know how to operate a personal computer.

* He has milked a goat and learned how to make dog biscuits at home and wrestled baby lions, on camera.

Finally, Kick-Balls Books Arrive!!! Broken Plate. Pig.

Kimball (dude has an interview style like Ativan–rather soothing).

Tao Lin (hell, people keep talking. Let’s see if there is any large to this mouth)

No Colony (apparently, I am the last to receive this. It’s all blogged out already. Thanks, Blake. Shit. I feel like sand in a banana sundae.

**

What?

Humans abuse the animals we raise to kill so we can eat them?

OH, hell no! This reminds me of the Vick dog case. People screaming and yelling about how awful it is to fight dogs while holding a hamburger in one hand, and a leg of chicken in the other…

We adore animal A. We put animal B in a cage, stuff it full of feed, then slaughter it and eat it. Animal C we chain to our house. On and on.

What does this have to do with writing, Sean?

Good point.

**

Submit to Ball State Univesity’s Broken Plate magazine!!!

Please?

I will buy you nothing and call it something.

I will Halloween pumpkin your dachshund.

I will grant you a ghostly afterimage of your younger self.

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Bought this wicked-ass disc today:

The Four Fundamental Factors of English Composition

The systematic order above is perfectly clear. In theory. You know what was the highest mountain in the world before Diddy got all uppity and went and discovered Mount Everest? Do you? It was Mount Everest. Get some rice wine, find a river, sit down, and think about it. I’m just trying to hone your mind for teaching Composition here. I guess we should get to the factors; I said I would, in the blog title up there near your forehead.

* The Four Fundamental Factors are…wait a minute. Where are they? Confound it! Hey now. I got them here, in my rock purse somewhere. I mean pouch. It’s not a purse, it’s a pouch. For rocks. Confucius made it, out of Asiatic bear cub, the finest. See that—those are zippers. The guy can sew. Makes a quality cheese ball, too, mutton and horse milk, if you can ever get him to stand still a minute. Where are they? Just a second. A feather, two twigs, bottle of Ritalin, pencil, dried up grasshopper, empty address book, nacho bowl, Chap Stick, hand mirror, flask, lotion, radish, bottle opener, book of matches…Hold up…ah, here it is: The Four Fundamentals. Ok.

Dress. Weather. Publication. Alcohol.

1.) By dress what I mean is eyeglasses. You already have the leather satchel and the laptop computer or you wouldn’t be reading this far. Important point: Your spectacles need to be in harmony with your intentions. Sever the ponytail! Let it go. He who has need of glasses, get them tonight. He who has no need of glasses, get them tonight. Frames strong, screws tight, nosepiece fit, lenses clear—you are now ready to conquer the parking lot, classroom, mountain trail, faculty lounge, dusty conference backroom dealings. I’ll trade you one Prague grant, a monkey pelt, and this Sony Walkman for a month at Yaddo. Throw in a library job for your sister. And so on. Pay heed to the advantages of size and shape. The smaller your eyeglasses, the larger your brain. As for shape, some type of shellfish is preferred, a river mussel, or a baby clam. Ever had baby clams sautéed in milk curds? I have, twice, but once it was during a dream.

2.) By weather I mean the interaction of natural forces. Also the conduct of teaching operations in accordance with the seasons. What’s this got to do with English Composition? I hear you asking. I hear lots of things. Sometimes I hear the stars crackling, or the sun yawning in the morning. I once heard milk ferment from three miles away. One time Confucius said he heard the mating call of a Eurasian Wild Ass outside his window and I know that wasn’t possible. He was in Chicago, at a rhetoric conference. This one spring it rained outside for thirty straight days and I went around telling everyone, “It’s raining like a king!” Another of my puns, and so that’s what I mean by weather. Maybe. God, I’m hungry. My neighbor’s pancreas for a blackened otter! Speaking of, one year Diddy had this big plan of opening an archery range and pizza salon up on the High Steppes of Lairn, right on the Chinese border. This ended up being a bad idea. One, the Chinese kept dropping by for taxes, fees, penalties, and free calzones. Two, he hired Mia Farrow to do the cooking, and Mia Farrow is a notoriously lackadaisical cook. Three, the High Steppes have been a migrating corridor for thousands of musk deer for only about ten million years, but go figure with Diddy. Anyway, I was in there shooting my long bow at these bales of yak straw Diddy had set up in the dining hall and Mia comes gliding in on her camel at least three days late. She looked amazing: like if the sun and moon fell in love and had a daughter. That’s Mia Farrow. And where was my rival, Jeff Goldblum? That’s what I was wondering, my heart floating with hope. Well, Diddy starts yelling at her, swearing and stomping his boots and pulling his hair, until Mia calmly hands him the reins of her camel. She says, “Would you ask each snowflake the hour of its fall?” I hadn’t heard that one, before or since, but it was a mighty blizzard outside, and if nothing else these words left Diddy speechless and so Mia just kind of slipped out the back door. She’d only dropped by for her paycheck anyway. She spent that night in Goldblum’s house. There was laughter, but then later a shout, and the breaking of glass. I know; I followed her, and huddled shivering below the kitchen window. This is what I mean by weather.

3.) When he is united, divide him. Who is he? Good question but Confucius told me if you are ever in an American hotel with a wet bar remember they just charge you by measuring the bottles. Drink what you need and fill the remainder with tap water from the sink. Also never play poker with the lights out. You ever tried to give a kid a set of writing blocks? It won’t work. When I say publication what I really mean is form your own literary magazine. Get some copier paper, a stapler, maybe some stickers for the cover. Step one: Publish all your friends. Step two: They’ll publish you in their magazines. Step three: Form a new magazine and repeat steps one, two, and three. As Mia Farrow once said, “Why not the falcon’s way?” Your vita will growl like a snow leopard.

4.) I am going to write of alcohol and drink of teaching. Remember, the wise teacher sees that his pupils have tall pencils. Otherwise, don’t neglect quality ale. One day you’re going to walk out of your classroom with your head rattling like a poppy field in a Sirocco. A Sirocco is a desert wind. One wonderful summer a Sirocco caught Jeff Goldblum broadside on his camel and next thing he knew he was on a beach in Guam. Had to swim back, then hitchhike through Kazakhstan. You ever hitchhiked through Kazakhstan? I think not; no one has, twice. So you walk out of class and it was one of those days—ink spills, chalk dust typhoons, a front row student called you on some grammar question you answered like you knew but deep inside you didn’t really know—and you feel like a silver lemur fallen from its Buckberry tree. So what do you do? You gallop home too fast and your camel collapses in a heap of spittle. You get hungry, make a sandwich out of sand, take a bite and regret it. You lose a boot, a sock, a stapler, your best helmet, self esteem. You limp seven miles and slam the tent closed and the sheepskin rips and you’re not worth a damn with sewing. You drink a bottle of cooking sherry, no chaser. You look at your pet yak. It smiles. You kick it in the forehead. The yak runs wounded and confused out the open tent and now you spend all night stumbling around a mountain forest in the dark. Yak? Yaaakkk? I didn’t know what I was doing. I never know what I am doing. Yaaakk? One who seeks a yak in the night will not obtain it. What was that? Cloud over the moon like a goat turd. Tumbling rocks. A cough. Leopards cough, don’t they? Shit. Loose gravel. Stomach. Off a crevasse like some graduate student. Ahhhhhh…You’re dead, freak-o. They say it’s going around. You should have had a beer.

Sonora Review. Nachos. David Foster Wallace, I’ve Been Thinking On.

DFW used to edit Sonora Review.

They took my nacho essay a few days back.

I want to thank/think Josh Maday. He emailed me one night and asked if I would write about Nachos. The next morning I woke, drank 3.2 cups of coffee (I have never, and will never, eat breakfast), and wrote an essay about nachos. He said he liked it (but then again he had to say that, considering the awkward social logistics of asking for writing from an author). He said he might pass it on to Blake Butler, or something like that, I forget. I don’t think he did pass it on, but dude just had a baby and I’m sure the essay was about a 5 anyway.

I worked on it a bit. I kicked its burlap sack. I fed it rotgut vodka. I dropped a Chinese Embassy on the bomb of its existence.

Etc.

The actual title is, “Someone Emailed me Last Night and Asked if I Would Write About Nachos.”

Moving on, I am happy to see the essay in Sonora. I figure AZ people most likely know nachos.

**

I had this for lunch today:

Nacho Rating 7 of 10. This is, obviously, a classic Plaza Zabala presentation, but I added white onions (chopped chunky), fake beef (soy), and pulled a half-hearted “Southern Cross” distribution of jalapeno and habanero salsas, alongside a slight spheroid shift with the tomatoes (hot house Romano bought off some old lady’s front porch). This is the first seven rating I’ve had in a while (actually March 21).

I gave these some care, folks.

Maybe because I am still depressed about DFW? I am, at heart, a southerner. We have “funeral food” and it holds an important cultural function.

Nachos are not a traditional Funeral Food for Americans, but, to quote my favorite jack-tar: “I yam what I yam.”

I feel like a 7 needs more, as far as rating. I could certainly extrapolate. I paid $11 for the cheese! Worth it, too. But the DFW thing has me weird. I don’t feel like blogging about nachos today.

Been reading the various DFW tributes, comments. A sampling:

L.A. Times

New York Times

Salon.com

Blake Butler

On and on and on….

Well, I am going to give my 2.4 cents, but not on the man (many have and will do this better), but rather on some of what I’ve read the last few days and hours.

Two things I do not admire:

1.) Comparing his novels, or his recent story collection, to his life. Somewhere in my mouth is the taste of nails, nails clumped together in a web of rust. The nescient absurdity–a few days after a writer’s death–of comparing and contrasting his/her actual life to their fictional characters is a bit much. It smacks of tea leaves, grave-digging, pseudo-thunk, knee-jerk (with emphasis on jerk)–overall insensitive nonsense. Let the graduate students of 2035 sip their PBR (vitamin/meth infused by this date) and make arguments between fictional personage and flesh of the author. It’s too early now. Too stupid. Too much, for me.

2.) Why did he do it?

WHY ARE WE ASKING?

Ok, I worked years as a registered nurse, in psychiatric hospitals and ERs, so maybe this one just thrums a tensile bone with me.

Asking, “Why did he do it? He had a great job, great books, adoring readership, blah, blah…” is absolutely obnoxious.

Why not ask the diabetic how in the hell they could fall into a coma when they had such a hot wife?

The cancer patient what the hell their problem was–“Ma’am, snap out of it, your Beamer kicks ass and gets quality gas mileage.”

David Foster Wallace was clinically depressed. Depression, at this level, isn’t about being sad, ok? It isn’t about your dog dying (that’s called situational depression) or a lack of sunlight (seasonal affective disorder), and so on. It’s about re-uptake inhibitors, serotonin, biochemistry of the brain.

To ask why is uninformed, at this point. I know it’s part of grieving–I am not addressing that why question. I am addressing the need to ask a dead man how, why, etc. based on the external realities of his life. The external is irrelevant here. This moment was internal, deep within the synapses and dendrites of the brain. To ask why in this milieu to cast blame–why, why, why, sounds like the screech of a nagging crow. Why is about you. Let these next few days be about David Foster Wallace.

I would like silence and books. Silence and books. Silence and books. If I can’t get that, I want a tree to topple over somewhere in Illinois, maybe in a pasture. I want the wind to scream along a gutter in LA and sing some hoarse song. I want some car-struck songbird to shake it off, to take flight disheveled, catch a draft, pirouette, with contrails of streaming vapor–to twine out a big-ass footnote in the sky: figure 8, 16, 24, exponential…

Damn, I am going to miss David Foster Wallace.

People should go read him right now. Just read him, his words. Just grieve that way. Then write. He taught writing; he helped writers along the way. Remember him that way. Just go.

**

David Foster Wallace Dead.

Wow.

And I mean that in a gut-wrenching way. I did not need to wake up to this news this morning.

All I can say is that I respected, enjoyed, was awed by his writing style and content, especially the essays. I think “A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again: Essays and Arguments” is genius.

I have always joked that no human being has actually read Infinte Jest (it weighs 4 pounds, goes about 1700 pages, 100 page footnotes, etc.). I think it’s about to time to begin…

RIP DFW

My Lunch Today. Alec Baldwin.

I was really struggling with what to have for lunch today. It made me feel confused and lonely to be so uncertain. My head went whoosh-whoosh. I felt like I had deleted the transaction of my wakening. No, that wasn’t it. That sounds stupid-ass. It was more like a red bandanna in a gutter near that park in San Fransisco, the one where I kissed Julie before she left me behind with these words, “When we are together, I feel alone.”

No.

I felt like the time in Alabama I was sucked into a deep underwater cavern below a rapid, and I was pinned there, the frothy water roaring into my body, stripping me naked, somersaulting me into stone, a giant fist shoving me into the black cave, and as I flailed and tumbled and realized I was actually, for real, right now, about to die and I knew in my very suddenly still and clear mind that God and the universe and that special little coin of fortune I carry in my back pocket had abandoned me forever with no guidance, care, or specialness at all…

So I went for a drive to seek sustenance.

My baby-baby car purrs like a table saw.

Saw a store in a strip mall. It said, BURRITOS AS BIG AS YOUR HEAD.

Inside stood this Hispanic man. He had a face like a folded napkin. He waved me closer, to show me something. Something he thought up, this radical idea. His invention.

He:

1.) Gathered tortilla chips.

2.) Covered them in cheese.

3.) Added toppings.

“Um, ok,” I said. (I knew in my heart this was not his invention, but why tell him? I’m not into slaying people’s rainbows.) “But answer me this: Do you have any very, very, very hot sauce?”

His eyes twinkled. He put very, very, very hot sauce on top the, the, uh, whatever he called this creation. I gave him 5 dollars and he gave me a Styrofoam square container and I drove home and opened the container and took a photo and then consumed my food like women gathered at a river.

**

The New Yorker has a pretty great profile of Alec Baldwin.