Monthly Archives: March 2009

The Crystal Gavel Trailer. Lebron James. Andy Warhol.

I think Ander made this, or maybe his intern. Anyway, I know all the kids today can’t really understand anything not image based. So here. This is the Crystal Gavel Magazine, image based.

The feature film will be similar, but 8 hours long. Like Warhol eating a hamburger. Very cool.

Lebron interview here.

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I just ate some great nachos.

S

Laurie Lindeen and Kyle Minor and Nikole Brown, oh my.

I think I might be an idiot.

I went to dinner and drinks with a bunch of writers last night and I have a writing blog and I didn’t even bring my Didge Cam. Well that was dumb as boiled tortilla chips. It spleened me. I am going to blog about hanging out with these writers, but sorry no pics. Instead I staggered around my house this morning and took 3 random photos. You will have to imagine these photos are something else entirely. I need you to do that. I need you to do. I need you to. I need you. I need. I.

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This is Nikole Brown and Kyle Minor and Laurie Lindeen giving a reading at the BSU art museum. What a room, huh? We are very fortunate to have access to this vast imaginative space, as you can see. It is whole hog awesome. The reading was a 8.9, way up there on my Dedicated Lovelace Scale of Badassness. I hope you see that Nikole has an amazing smile and that Kyle is thoughtful and often edgy and that Laurie said Judy Bloome was an influence on her writing.

(When various Heads of State arrived at the White House, Lyndon Johnson’s chef, Henry Haller, was proud of how his “steaming nachos adorned a long buffet table decorated with yellow roses…”)

Also:

Kyle read fiction about a young girl being chased through tobacco fields. (spoiler: she might get caught)

Laurie read nonfiction about boxcars and hobos and a very beautiful Nordic painter. (spoiler: the hobos might set her car afire)

Nikole read poetry about a character peeing on the side of a house (but in a good way). (spoiler: Nikole might have quaffed a Blue Moon at dinner. Huge-ass slice of orange. The orange slice was larger than the beer glass. It was like a monolith of orange. It was the largest slice of orange I have seen so far.)

I was happy as a dead pig in the sunshine. I felt skint. A good time. These were all good people I felt and their words felt like maybe spring is nearing. Maybe near.

(Pour an undrunk bottle of rum over the kebabs. Add rhythm and allspice to the nachos. Serves 14.)

Next we had dinner, and two Sycamore Review editors joined us. One was from Iran. I asked him, “Does Iran have separation of church and state?” Then I said, “Are Iran and the U.S. fighting a cold war in Israel?” I’m not sure what I meant by these questions. He answered them all. He answered them rather well.

He said his taco was too hot. He started sweating. I thought, “He sure is sweating over that taco.” He was really sweating. I had a friend who would sweat that way over hot wings. It was pretty much endearing. I left thinking this in Tao Lin quotes: “That was a cool guy. I wish I could have talked with him more.”

Another editor said she ran marathons (like me) and then after the second marathon she had two seizures and stomach problems and I guess almost died, like that. We talked proper preparation for a marathon. I told her, “You should get a doctor who is also a runner.”

She seemed like she really wanted to run another marathon although she almost died after the last one. I could totally get that. I felt close to her then, spiritually. I felt much obliged to talk with her.

(Nachos are not cowpoke food. That is a misrepresentation of nachos.)

Out of nowhere someone at the table said loudly, “That guy Blake Butler makes his money writing about poker. That’s how he makes his money. Did you know that?”

(I did not. I was startled to hear the words Blake Butler. I had not blogged in a few days and felt detached from blogging and someone yells out Blake Butler. It almost put me off my feed.)

We ate fried pickles and I ordered…yes! Check out these fucking nachos!!!

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Can we say salsa?? Do you notice how the chef actually correctly placed the jalapenos? Finally!

Next Kyle said, “I am done with my readings and so CAN I GET A QUALITY BEER IN MUNCIE?!” And Laurie said, “Hell yeh!” (She is a rocker at heart. She was/is member of Zuzu’s Petals.)

(Caviar doesn’t have to be beluga for certain upscale nachos. Long story.)

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(Laurie in middle here)

Uh, Kyle and Laurie, you are preaching to the exponential choir now. I said, “Drinking? I’ll take you to the Heorot!”

I took them to the Heorot.

We drank quality beers. We drank Magic Hat #9 and Two Hearted Ale and some IPA I forget. I think it had the word dog, or either wheat or maybe inscrutable malice in its title.

(A flattened waffle is basically a nacho. I mean you can take it that way, with tenaciousness.)

At the Heorot Daniel Bailey walked up and spilled his flask on me.

I said, “Dude.”

He laughed. I love Daniel Bailey’s laugh. It’s like a Motherlode of mandatory triggers. He said, “I feel like my whole life is nachos and I wonder who made them, and are they enjoying the experience?”

I nodded.

Here is my final photo. This is Kyle singing Karaoke up on the stage! That is Laurie smoking the cigarette in the background! That is me on the saxophone!!! Wow.

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Nachos are the Birdfeeders of God. Can I Ask Your Advice on Beginnings??

I have been doing the nachos for lunch, nachos for dinner thing (I don’t eat breakfast, as anyone [all 14] who reads this blog know). I’m pleased it has lasted 19 days now, but I don’t suggest it, unless you know nachos. People ask, “Doesn’t it get repetitive, eating nachos for 2 meals a day, for so many days?” I am always tempted to impulsively lift and fling a car into an orchard and then shout rude and obvious things about does a bonus check appearing in your mail twice a day get repetitive? What about sex? You know, twice a day. Do you feel that would be repetitive? Etc…

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(Thursday) I just realized I need a post about the best wine/nacho combination…Seems obvious, but has anyone done that yet?

But I don’t shout impulsively like that. Not now. A few years ago. Sure. This is a guy who used to routinely leap from moving vehicles. Talk about self destructive. I was cured of that, in Rhode Island. Long story, involving highway 114 asphalt, a clam festival (do you know the excellent term quahog?), and a late-night hunt for a certain type of blood (that I needed, uh, very soon, as in now).

So.

I just politely say “No, because when I make nachos it is the way people ‘make’ ( planing, bruting, weight retenting, color retenting, polishing, inspecting, all those hunched over, serious, honed-in hours, etc.) diamonds. No two are the same. EVER.”

This week was my Lovelace # 14, the usual (I don’t give that recipe free) and Roast Venison Nachos (originally chicken, but I substituted meat I killed, since I only eat meat I kill) and charred cauliflower (tough to find now, but I have a little CA connection, mailed flash frozen) nachos and Sloppy Jackson nachos and popcorn talapia ( a weak flavored fish in itself, but like tofu–it will suck up your added flavors) nachos and Asian Nachos (again I used venison I personally scouted and stalked and shot with an arrow, dressed, wrapped, etc.) and Banana Nachos and Denver smothered burrito Nachos and Chile-rubbed rabbit Nachos (yes I shot the rabbit) and Movie Theater nachos and…to get to present, present day Tuesday (like the heat off my oven just scorched my arm hairs present), I am about to eat a dinner of Plaintan nachos.

(All recipes linked are heavily modified–who adds a sauce containing  Nordihydrocapsaicin to this last particular recipe?

Uh, Me.)

All these recipes I fire up like fuck. So be warned if you eat with me. Then again, I’ll always have beer nearby.

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Ahhh……………..look at that grease gleam like a row of tampering gods.

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Today i worked a bit on my new flash book, a collection of flash texts written about every drug known to man, legal or not so. Psilocybin, Trazodone, cocaine, and a few others have gone rather smoothly.

But this one, creatively. I can’t write. Why? Read on.

Today was marijuana. How banal is marijuana? I mean even Christians smoke the stuff, after bible study, the videos, whatever. YAWN. Nuns smoke weed. The computer guy at your office smokes weed. I mean it gets to the point where even the dude wearing black jeans in the hallway smokes weed, or the woman who knows your mom and loved her as a high school teacher, the bouncy Starbucks woman, all that. Your accountant. Your plumber. Etc.

So it’s tough to write about…almost too universal. Too literary already. The biggest known joke ever told. The joke being that this drug is “done” exactly as often as a cold beer, or more. Wheeeeeee…for a writer. YAWN.

It’s like writing about oxygen as a drug.

So I kept having these problems starting the piece I am trying to write. Here are three starts. They all suck. Forgive the format and font problems. I am cut-and-pasting from a few days of trying to start this stupid-ass piece. Maybe it’s evidence. Ever had how-2-begin problems, I ask???

1.)

You wake one day as Nancy Reagan. This is right after, you know, a truly big event, a shift in the paradigm of the soul, so you’re thinking, Fuck it. Anything is possible now. Example: You start collecting miniature wheat fields—you stack them in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. Or maybe you learn to make quilts of goat cheese from the innards of a Toyota Tacoma. Oh forget all of that. Don’t halfway yourself now. You walk out onto the balcony. You change into a bird….Feathers all crystal-hiss, ruffling, stirring like a throat.

2.)

One day Nancy Reagan turns into a bird. She takes a long flight.

And 3.) as in what I wrote today:

The Universe feeds the birds and waters the fishes but then is called away on business so leaves Nancy Reagan in charge of making nachos. Ok, fine. But then Nancy Reagan notices she has no cheese. A nacho without cheese is akin to making love without touching. Tornadoes without wind or even sounding like a train, etc. “This will not do,” Nancy Reagan mutters to herself. So puts on her pea-green sweater and leaves for the convenience store.

The fishes and birds escape.

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I just had an epiphany about how incredible lame all three starts are. Seriously. Wow. So what I am asking here is for advice. Many of you have books–chap, poetry, novella, novel, essays, etc.–I own and admire. Can I ask you something? We all know Hemingway rewrote his novel’s ENDING 39  times, but what about false starts, these beginnings…?

CAN I GET SOME FEEDBACK ON FALSE STARTS?

What does it mean?

Can I get some stories?

Isn’t is all a metaphor?

Who do people focus on endings, not beginnings?

Come on! Help me out here. Say something dumb or smart or dumb 2morrow. But say something…

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BTW I think this new elimae interview destroys.

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Lastly, I will leave you with Terry Gross of “Fresh Air” Interviewing Gene Simmons of KISS, years ago. I think both win here. I do. And welcome all arguments otherwise. Worth the read though, I feel. Worth the read. I think that’s what we want, words worth reading…

S



The First Annual Alexandre Pope Crystal Gravel Literary Prize!!

The buzz continues for Crystal Gavel, as we all expected. Quality is as quality does, or something about a box of chocolate rabbits, whatever.

I again want to thank Amazon for the editorial work, though I think the last meeting was a bit, uh, strange. To put it plainly, they “bought me out.” They paid me a certain fee to NOT attend the meeting. Uh. OK. The fee was immediately put to 7 beers, 3 nacho platters, a smidgen of pharmaceuticals (legal, obviously), and a plane ticket to Arizona. I hope that was one hell of a meeting.

Now that my corporate partner and I have established a viable (and lucrative, even in these suicide times) literary magazine, we would like to announce THE FIRST ANNUAL ALEXANDRE POPE CRYSTAL GAVEL LITERARY PRIZE!!!

Listen:

1. We have no entry fee. we consider entry (or even entree) fees to be unethical. My partner would never act unethically, unethically, unethically.

2. Here is how the contest works. Go to The Crystal Gavel. Read each published text (how they made it through our rigorous editorial process, I will never know or want to [You know how a hundred dollar bill feels slippery, a strange sheen–that is what we call in our industry grease]).

3. You will notice a question below each poem/story/essay/screenplay: WAS THIS REVIEW HELPFUL TO YOU?

Whatever piece you are voting as “BEST” please click YES. In 10 days folks, I–along with my corporate partner and her many accountants–will tally the most “HELPFUL” text in the magazine. This writer will be contacted, recognized, and awarded a substantial prize.

(If you want to add COMMENTS to the COMMENTS [holy meta-fiction!], go right ahead. We will read them. They will help us decide. We love everything in the world that is like champagne bubbles. They rise.)

We thank you.

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bud

One runner barefoot, one about to eat dust.

I ran 16 this morning. I wanted to go 20 but didn’t feel it. My Boston training has sucked. My L foot is acting up, my treadmill lift motor exploded. I am under-trained. You don’t want to run Boston under-trained. I will reap, reap, reap what I sow, sow, sow at Boston.

But I will be there, folks.

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Go read your Abraham Lincoln. KGM is there. Daniel Boy is there and wow can that guy drink. I saw him drink 14 whiskeys in Chicago. He sang a pleasant song about plaque protection and did a jig in the way of North Pole, New York. (I just thought up a story about a hoary elf lured away from the crowd. Hold up, I am going to go write it.)

(OK, I’m back. It sucked.)

“It was 15 whiskeys.”

“Fuck off! Who are you? This is my blog.”

“I am the sound of heart-driven flowers for the funeral. I mean to say how to properly pack a bag with Xanax if about to take a flight. How to avoid the detections of your life…And he had 15 whiskeys. I was there.”

S

Get Hooked on Fishing not on Drugs!!!

Me got some new words at Writers’ Bloc, a long piece about Writing About Writing About…(infinity mirrors…)

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I have no idea what to do for dinner. I was thinking about cutting corn tortillas into wedge shapes and maybe sprinkling them with cheese, beans, and jalapenos. But would it taste OK? I have no idea.

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It did indeed.

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It is almost time for fishing season in Indiana!

Bluegill (SmokeLong Q)

Other Fish (elimae)

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Trout…

TROUT DEATH BY PORT WINE

It was not an outhouse resting upon the imagination.

It was reality.

An eleven-inch rainbow trout was killed. Its life taken

forever from the waters of the earth, by giving it a drink of

port wine.

It is against the natural order of death for a trout to die

by having a drink of port wine.

It is all right for a trout to have its neck broken by a fisherman

and then to be tossed into the creel or for a trout to die from

a fungus that crawls like sugar-colored ants over its body

until the trout is in death’s sugarbowl.

It is all right for a trout to be trapped in a pool that dries

up in the late summer or to be caught in the talons of a bird

or the claws of an animal.

Yes, it is even all right for a trout to be killed by pollution,

to die in a river of suffocating human excrement.

There are trout that die of old age and their white beards

flow to the sea.

All these things are in the natural order of death, but for

a trout to die from a drink of port wine, that is another thing…

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How Close Will I Get to David Fucking Sedaris?

I won a grant at my work. Writing the grant felt like wrestling a mosquito. I guess you think wrestling a mosquito is no big deal, but, like all of us, you are looking at the world through bird-slam (your own) lenses. You are trying to fold paper 14 times in half (impossible), but you can’t see the futility. The mosquito lurks, is hell to slam down and headlock,  is actually the world’s deadliest animal, killing over two million humans a year.

The shark? 12 is about average. 20 would be a great year for the shark.

2 million versus 20…Well, now you learned something.

BSU buys out my class so I can write a flash fiction collection. Ok. I will do that, sir. BSU is great that way. They give you $$$ for ideas. I have to write the book, yes? I am the sound of haze now.

Do you know what having a class bought out means to a professor? Let’ s put it this way. Say, theoretically, you work selling a mechanical cone that turns the ice cream for lazy people, so they don’t have to twist their own hand, thus exhausting them, burning unnecessary calories, tempting carpal tunnel, all that. OK, great product, obviously. So you are busy selling! And one day your boss, Mr. Harvey Amsterdam, pulls you into his office and says, “Worm (only people named Worm would sell this particular item), take Friday off for the next 6 months. Show up 4 days a week, but we’ll give you your usual salary. Spend Friday playing disc golf or gambling on horses or reading a river for smallmouth bass or even penning a collection of flash fiction about every drug–legal or otherwise–used regularly in society today. Are you OK with that?”

Worm is OK with that, sir!!

(OK it might not be that awesome, but close–but professors have crazy new tasks, duties that pop up like sudden rain clouds. I’m just saying it’s a relief. It cools things down a little, like a, uh, rain cloud.)

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Yes, D and I got our Sedaris tickets today. Word to your comical/Seinfeld type essay about nothing but implying the nothing moments of life have significance in the attentive writer’s hands!

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And D and I will see him read, but I would actually like “contact” at these prices, a signed book, a photo. I mean come on, David. This is Muncie, Indiana, not France (I have no fucking idea what that means.). I really just want to hear his weird squeaky Mike Tyson/Jackson voice in person. And to hug him. To squeeze the irony from his bones.

I have not paid a ticket to see a live reading in ages. The last one I ate sushi and got drunk on Sake and showed up at Dave Eggers and yelled out, “Where is Toph?”

(the link above not so Toph, but a great read after 3 beers.)

Dave pauses, then goes kinda tight voice: “What is this, a revolution?” (lame response, no one laughed). Then Eggers changes tone, calm; he says, “Toph is in the Coast Guard. He’s doing fine.” (perfectly cool response; people settled into their seats well after that one, hit their respective flasks).

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“I don’t really believe in progress—I don’t think I am getting better or worse. I’m just different moment to moment to moment.”

Michael Martone.

(I find this interview amazing)

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This next part will interest no one. If you do not play disc golf, ignore. (Or start playing. The game is actually better–long term–than heroin.)

But, one day last summer, I lost my # 1 utility disc, meaning my get-out-of-trouble disc. I threw it into the cold heart of a deep lake. I went for it, and lost, but at least I went for it (I believe we regret what we do not do in life, not what we do). But was this an exception? It hurt me for months. It went Canada on the shrubbery of my heart. I couldn’t replace this disc! I tried out so many impostors. They sucked. They flew like a bandaged boil. I was losing a stroke per round, maybe 2, 3, 4 on technical courses.

That one disc was rare, a KC pro 11X TeeBird. I mean it will cost you…

Then Mark Neely found a replacement disc in a super badass store in Florida!!! Thank you Mark!!! He bought it for me. I thank him. I do thank him! (And will soon use this disc to beat him down.)

ee

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Happy St.Patrick’s Day to all. I don’t really get a holiday where people drink a lot of beer. I don’t even really get beer. But whatever.

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Irish Nachos...

S

You are Going to Feel Pain, but Are You Going to Suffer? Brautigan Crystal Gavel.

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The thing to do is stutter, flutter, cutter your tortillas into chip-size, circles or triangles. You can make your own corn chips, by frying, or baking. That’s a personality thing. I mean some people can’t stand home-frying and some people fry everything they eat.

It isn’t my place to draw you in like a scar.

It isn’t my place to say fry over bake, bake over fry, but obviously baking the chips is more healthy and less messy.

Like Greg Oden I bake. And, when depressed, I prefer to eat like I dream–alone.

Option two is the bag of chips in this photo, above the tortillas. They are ready for the oven, for the beans and cheese and jalapeno, oh my.

I hope for holy criminals who battle boredom, Brit-knees, other B words.

I hope for viable reasons to forsake godly thoughts.

I hope you know to NEVER fucking microwave nachos. I beg you. I beg.

I hope this chip thing is clear now.

You need a good chip. Don’t go chip-skimping on me. This is your foundation, OK? I mean if you were going to start an opiate addiction and you asked my advice on logistics and quality control and so on I wouldn’t hand you a starter balloon of some cut-up talc stuff from Baltimore, like MonKee, or that Blue Tar from the 1980s. Ok, poor analogy. I was getting off subject for a moment there…What I mean is you are probably only going to get married like three times in this life, so be careful. Wait. I am saying don’t build your house on sand, my friends. Unless it’s a sand castle, then I guess go ahead.

The first miracle Jesus ever did was water to nachos (or wine, I forget), so I think we understand the Man’s priorities.

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9 miles this morning, a modified YASSO (all with 90 second slow jogging break between surges).

6:00 mile pace X 3min     6:00 pace X 3min     6:00 pace X 3min     6:00 pace X 3min

6:00 pace X 6:00              6:00 pace X 3min     6:00 pace X 3min     6:00 pace X 3min

6:00 pace X 3min            5:45 MILE.

Whew. Seriously. I was in a floating womb of pain near the end, off this planet for a few minutes. My head did the whoosh-whoosh-clang. My legs a concept of vanishing. Pain is an odd sweet experience. In Murakami’s running/writing book he says, “You are going to feel pain. But the question is: are you going to suffer?” I did not suffer, unless pure throttling electricity is a type of suffering–LIFE.

I had to play Missy Elliot really fucking loud on the stereo to finish this workout. I never run with music so this should prove that I did indeed Get My Freak On today.

(I generally don’t like music)

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Hey, does anyone have a spare couch RIGHT BY the start of the Boston Marathon I could sleep on, night of April 19? I am driving to Boston, running the race, driving home. I actually have a place to stay in Boston, but I am wondering how I am going to get to the start line. Well, this will be an adventure.

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HTML GIANT turned me onto the Australian indy press, Falcon Vs. Monkey, Falcon Wins and the new issue of Torpedo, a homage to Richard Brautigan.

Interesting issue. It has:

1. an opening letter by Brautigan’s daughter, Ianthe. I found this letter touching though a bit defensive. It seems Ianthe is simultaneously pissed and pleased that Brautigan’s works haven’t established themselves in academia. As an academic (oh god no!), I never really understand what writers desire, and/or fear from the university. Academia is not some abstract beast, or a wall painted vividly beige. Academia is a small classroom of 18-20 year olds, with a few retired men (often attorneys), elderly women (for example–I have a 91 year old student in my fiction I class this semester), and so on. Then me, showing them authors and work and methods of craft, discussing writers excitedly with the class, letting the students work together on a variety of exercises and activities to discuss these writers–their lives, work habits, CW techniques on the page, etc.–and then these students use this energy, recognition of artistic skill and method, and apply it to their own writing, to improve. They desperately want to improve, get it? What exactly is so horrid here? And, by the way, like many, many, many of my colleagues, I teach Richard Brautigan.

2. a brief collection of Brautigan’s actual poems and flashes (They called these things “Brautigans” at the time–pretty bad-ass huh?). This is an amazing read, all of it.

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Me reading my lunch-time lit mag…

3. a stuffed envelope of art prints, really funky, well done, all inspired by Brautigan poems and stories. Kick ass. Did everyone else get these?

4. pages of writers influenced by Brautigan and obviously trying to write like him. The last part is a bit lame, but to apply an overused and meaningless sports cliche: It is what it is. The editor wanted respect and genuflection, so that’s what we get, Brautigan knock-offs. Most are so derivative they hold no great magic. That’s Brautigan’s brilliance, this intangible truth whirling about the page like a mayfly hatch: a mix of oddness, sadness, time-passing by, a keen eye to nature’s small blessings, and an understanding of social (humans interacting with humans) absurdity.

I am not trying to be an ass here. These writers are worthy, and I myself have (and do at times now) mimicked Brautigan. It is a form of respect, and also a yearning. But the intangible, by definition, is as tough to catch as flies in a landing net.

(one of my Brautigan knock-offs here.)

(BTW, I just liked getting mail from Australia. That was cool.)

And I did really enjoy Josephine Rowe’s poetry. And Brian Evenson and Ruby Murray (Melbourne based writer) were the strongest prose selections.

5. the editor’s own work in the magazine. I’m not saying, but I’m just saying, right? Worth a friendly blog discussion, but I won’t be the hypocrite at this church kegger. I co-publish a lucrative literary magazine with a corporate partner, and I included my own work in the award winning first issue.

So.

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Oddly, I got  into a good blog-writing groove for 14 minutes while listening to this artist.

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Let’s end this fucker with a prose poem by Alexandre Pope.

—–

Meaning of Life # 36

“Mr. Brautigan submitted a book to us in 1962 called Trout Fishing in America. I gather from the reports that it was not about trout fishing.”

Viking Press

Cloud of mechanical flower, sunny California. Of knobby nose, of cinder. Of clank. Because we have to deal with all of this—to metaphor or not to. Must sleep (cannabis) and wake (coffee) and live each day (with Baudelaire or newspaper or moth-eaten laundry mat love note) and sleep again (alcohol). Among the cast-less and the prayer-less, who don’t even grasp sun-clatter, the shaped voice of clouds. Hoop cheese and port wine. Blackberry zephyr. Hymnal of floppy hat, of bullfrog. A woman’s words as spring, summer, fall. Within the looped cast, the meander of raccoon tracks. October 25, 1984—a Thursday morning. See it mayfly, its curling hatch. Like fog or fog-horn or fogged-over steel. Waterlog heft. Underwood on a picnic table. Empty bottle. Full revolver. He will lift them, every one, soon as another young man stops him on a streetcar and asks, “If you don’t keep them, why go fishing at all?”

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S