Monthly Archives: October 2009

Violent and original dreams

Will Self on JG Ballard in Granta 107:

Ballard, the most outlandish of fictional imaginers, had always dug out his wellspring by the hearth, and remained the perfect exemplar of Magritte’s dictum: a bourgeois in his life, a revolutionary in his dreams.

Another maxim, expressing a similar sentiment, is attributed to Flaubert. From his entry on “Wikiquote”:

Soyez réglé dans votre vie et ordinaire comme un bourgeois, afin d’être violent et original dans vos œuvres.

Be regular and orderly in your life like a bourgeois, so that you may be violent and original in your work.

[Letter to Gertrude Tennant (December 25, 1876)]

My boring 12:38 a.m. EST questions: was Magritte alluding to Flaubert? Was he improving on Flaubert, changing “oeuvres” to “dreams”, and “violent/original” to “revolutionary”?

Should Self have quoted Flaubert, and not Magritte? Or do the revolutionary dreams that emerged from JG Ballard’s bourgeois life have more to do with the painter than the novelist?

Sensacao Do Principio

Let’s say you snort a line’ve old fashioned mescaline off the ass of PK Dick; the euphoria is immediately transportable to an oozing discotheque shimmering in the glitter of C-Beams. Watch as Precog’s bubble & melt. Who needs them anyway? It’s the 21st Century, so no smoking! Besides, everyone’s telling their cigarettes to shut up nowadays, I mean, IN THE FUTURE. Perky Pat Layouts might promise eternal life, but they’re gonna need a soundtrack to sell it. What could be more suitable than Sensacao Do Principio’?


When Abraham entering Egypt says, “I know that my wife is beautiful to behold,” the image of the heavy-set and coarse-featured Sarah may make us think twice about the accuracy of this judgment, though of course beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I would guess that the graphic image might actually correspond to the artist’s feminine ideal.

Robert Alter reviews R. Crumb’s The Book of Genesis in the New Republic

Woke up at 5:30 a.m. for no reason. Fourth consecutive night of sub-sub-optimal sleep. Wearing the moist turban of work-panic and poor self-care. Walking through the dark this morning, I encountered the phrase PANIC AT THE 1970s GRILL. Doesn’t mean anything. Means I’m stressed and don’t feel entitled to the self-pity I half-feel. Sam Lipsyte’s The Ask is supernaturally funny and brilliant.

Permanent Teardrop.

Hey Cancer

How’s “the darkness


Not as dark as you make it sound

Black beans and codfish

Shapeshifter rsvp’d.


Got fired Friday, can’t make it

Dog wearing lipstick?

Dunno,  she’s in heat, maybe spayed,  upset





canceled too. it’s just gonna be me you and self-zine


And li’l caesar

The pizza guy


used to work for Men’s Wearhouse.

Hey whoww ofenn does your zine come out?

—Every other fortnight

does it pay

No but the internet makes the printing free, minus electricity and rent


paper mewl is here

PAPER MEWL: I’m so fed up with the ass in this city

TEAM: where’s your girlfriend?

PAPER MEWL: Out with her friend gary

TEAM: you didn’t invite her?

PM: She doesn’t need to come to everything, i don’t think her and gary are anything more than friends

TEAM: Whe—

PM: To a reggae/dub/skiffle/punk/lord show. at the Beenurry

T: In Troeptown?

PM: Near there. Clobo Village.

T: That’s a gay neighborhood

PM: …so?

T: Nothing, i’m just bean helpful with regard to you know travel… guide

PM: So are we gonna DO THESE DRUGS, OR WHAT?

T: cool your jets, hang on, here [hands drugs]

PM: I wanna do drugs carefully, not just in a big blast

T: Well, that’s your call not mine, be as careful as 7ou want

PM: I can’t be careful unless you are too. your sloppiness infects  MY UNIVERSE

t: look we’ve been friends for almost twenty years, you know how careful iamb, which is not that careful, but you know my style, my styles not changing, i’m learned but i’m not a PEDANT, so take the drugs and be the peace or go eat a pizza be well but let’s not talk about it

PM: I’m the Prime Mule. Announcement time.

TEAM: Our favorite game

pM: I’m the prime Mewler. Minister Muenster. Papa Gyyno [“Geeno”].

TEAM: Cannibullingus! Classic. “Framingham Farms”

PM: Sodabeer Sobadeer! HarmHock Tavern! I’m lickin the back of a pretty heart

TEAM: Lick that back of pretty hearts.  great stuff.

PM: There are some drugs left. …. May I?

tTEAM: you’re still my guests—be our guest. my guessts is as good as ours

PM: Pull yourself together——the last thing I meantioned about “careful”

TEAM GOGOLBERRYS: Careful did as carefully was— you know that expression

PM: That’s not the expression—————it’s “a careful home gets bigger as my gorgeous daughters get older”—-pita read sadder for older

PM: Listen listen your zine is good but you need to delete more of it

TM: You mean “edit”?

PM: Nah, edit or delete,? Same thing. just pick huge arbitrary/celebrity swaths that aren’t singing and click #delete

TM: What do you mean “Sign” i mean “sing

PM: Same root as “swing”. swing flue. sign flu. the nonjazzy parts.

TM: Punk-jazz?

PM: Jazz isn’t the same as it was in the 1970s: be troppa deuce and so on. swinging jazz has to come from a lamer emotion in today’s age  to really get the big dicks swinging. punk rock is fine-ground avenue.  is working construction—

TM:  I need to work construction to make parts sing?

PM: Deleting unsinging parts is more important but doing big jobs in construction is fine.

I started out as Party Mule, but went backwards in time with the aid of drugs and now have a confusing relationship with  Trawldad, with Party Mule, with Picaba and D. the Skiier and the wreast of my Team; Team was the other guy. Multiple dudes with a single voice that choruses  sweetly & softly ( then, horny, gets meaner with more “skronk”——[jazz term]). After a meal the quietest parts go deaf and drown in the gay roar of a metabolism overwhelmed by an excess (or, contra-pace Gander, a “sudden access”) of satiety. All that remains is the basic four-four  pattern native to pop: “It’s A Gas,” “Onlycake Fountain,” e.g.

Math-rock, “Intelligent Dance Music,” Polynesian polyrhythms—all of them sad, wishful thinkings of a freeboned drug-depression found in culture. A cake is a metaphor you can eat; a shower’s only as hot as its horniest teardropped teabag; pastiche is not flavor; and so on.

RAE ARMANTROUT, TROY JOLLIMORE, & JOSHUA CLOVER perform language TONIGHT at the LATIN-AMERICAN CLUB of San Francisco, 3286 22nd St, 8:30 p.m. Arrive early, call venue for parking. More information is available here.


Q: I hear your interns don’t use the bathroom in your office?

A: That’s right. They go to the bar across the street.

Q: That’s awful.

A: I don’t think it’s so bad. It’s a terrific bar.

Q: It’s an awful bar. It’s straight out of Kapuscinski. And besides, they should be allowed to go in your office.

A: It’s not that they’re not allowed. It’s just that the bathroom more or less amplifies and broadcasts everything that goes on to the rest of the office. So they’re all mortified that the employees are listening to the sound of their tinklings—or worse.

Q: Don’t employees have the same problem?

A: No. We want the world to hear the roar of our piss hitting the toiletwater. I want the interns to shake with awe as they hear the grand plash of my deuce making touchdown.

Q: You’re a monster.

A: Aye.

Q: Can I come over to your house later?

A: Yes.

PETRA: My cousin is in that band.

SASCHA: “Wow.” I’m “impressed.”

P: I’m adrift, I’m entirely adrift.

S: You’re twenty to thirty pounds overweight. Other than that—you’re fine. [A pause.] I forgot what I was going to say.

P: I wish we’d never met.

S: We’ve never met. I’m a stranger. Hallo! Who the devil are you!

P: Stop playing around.

S: You talk like you’re a character in a play. Talk like a real person.

P: “Hallo! Who the devil are you!” Hey rill quick is it cool if I claw your fucking eyes out

S: Yeah go right ahead. [The microwaves beeps. THE BEANS ARE HOT!! GO RETRIEVE YOUR BEANS!!!!]

Later. They’re in their respective homes, on the phone.

PETRA: It’s like you’re not a human being


P: It’s like youre a fucked-up dog-criminal

S: Yesh

P: Making sex to you is like my eyes turn into cauldrons of elmers glue barfing their contents out my cheeks

S: yes, yesh

P: I won’t dog-sit for you while you’re in Africa

S: Fine. I’ll have my dog put down.

P: weeping, no

Eyeball Soup

There is a bowl of chili here.

Steam rises from its beans and meatflecks. It billows politely around a dollop of cold sour cream.

As you gaze into the stew, my face—the face of a young, obese Steven Spielberg, “replete” with undirty baseball cap and full Jewish hair fanning out from beneath the cap’s circumference—appears to you in the chili-steam.

My spirit is evoked by the hot bowl of cooling chili!

Here I am! Who has summoned me?

I have bad news! You are pregnant!

No, that’s not fair. No one’s pregnant. I’m writing this Tale of the Beans for myself, because I feel burnt out.

I’ve more or less finished “Big project number one.” Now I have “time” to finish Big Project Number Two.

But my brain and me bones won’t cooperate.

I feel up against—a figurative wall.

My posture is bad, my breath bad.

I need a full day of Turkish Delight and instructional sex videos and Everything Is Terrible and hash amulets and K-holey sensory deprivation chambers and home fries and Chocolate Labrador Affection-Slaves before I can “restart” and knock BP#2 outta the park.


  • Bloody Marys
  • Black Humor
  • Girls
  • Dogs
  • Feelin healthy


  • Talkin loud about your bullshit weekend on yr cellphone
  • bad communicators I need things from
  • rumor-mongering in flip-flops
  • institutional racism
  • genocide
  • factory farming
  • hate crime
  • the tickle monster (ambivalent)


  • Eating an endless bowl of soup whilst reading something that lays flat by itself (saddle-stitched magazine, broken-spined novel)
  • hugging naked women (sorry just kidding)
  • dead therapists
  • my good personal friend who brought me an awesome gift pak just now containing:
  • Zingerman’s ZZang! candy bar
  • Crystal Geyser carbonated orange water
  • large bag of zen party mix


  • playing drums behind messy, “avant-pop” guitar played by a close  friend
  • reading poetry aloud whilst drunk
  • drunk weeping emotional confessions of platonic love
  • 90s releases on Matador & Drag City
  • indie-rock jukebox
  • friendly non-threatening dj


  • relentless negativity
  • bodily harm
  • ailments
  • internet addiction/fatigue
  • a short-story collection I was excited to read which ended up contrived and annoying
  • the feeling that that well-dressed handsome asshole is going to steal my girlfriend
  • fear of The Road–style apocalypse where I am crippled by night-blindness and urbane cluelessness w/r/t farming and self-defense and so am helpless as zombies/marauders rape my loved ones and disembowel me with improvised weapons


  • Pickles, other pickled vegetables
  • british tv, british fiction, hypothetical british or angolophile or at least anglophone girlfriend
  • england
  • scotland
  • martin amis, david lodge, julian barnes, will self, douglas adams, kingsley amis
  • nabokov
  • DFW, fiction and non, plus all interviews with and articles about and reviews of
  • unexpected sexual encounters with wild animals (gazelles, rhinos)
  • unexpected emails from charming, literate geniuses
  • really smart little kids who are interested in what you have to say and who you are even though they should be repelled by your oafish weird-smelling adult self-consciousness
  • the netherlands
  • stanley crawford, norman rush
  • interactive fiction
  • the way the internet used to look
  • spelling wordz in a funnnn way to express yr feelings


  • Feeling burnt out
  • feeling like I am helpless to be/sound impossibly twee
  • being a fat guy wearing a sweater/cardigan over button-down shirt with corduroys and sneakers standing looking uncomfortable in a record/book store or rock show
  • anything peeing in my face


  • Dropping a $10,000 experimental Army Discman off the chairlift and nearly killing a billionaire’s daughter snowplowing down a green-circle “easy” run
  • imagining i am holding a hatori hanzo sword and disemboweling myself with it
  • beck (sometimes/some songs)
  • duck tales theme song, chip and dale’s rescue rangers theme song
  • making jokes about the vagina monologues that go over well
  • letters from attractive friends
  • a disproportionate number of things published by Picturebox and Buenaventura Press
  • Sam Lipsyte
  • Will Eno
  • “Samuel Beckett”


  • Aggressive, aggressively crazy crazy people
  • languagey prose that’s pointlessly, contrivedly languagey and involuted and pretentious
  • self-consciously flat, plainsong prose is just as bad
  • conservative, lyrical but not too lyrical middle of the road prose that tries to strike a balance between the first two but ends up doing itself no favors, wimp out, wipe out
  • sportslords
  • devilbunnies
  • celiac mousepadz


  • The sound of the words “Doogie Howser”
  • tamari almonds
  • carob
  • I keep stopping myself from saying more about “the female form,” jeez, sorry
  • a secret different christina ricci who no one knows about, only me
  • my own private idaho, gus van sant in general
  • dennis cooper, incl. his poetry
  • denton welch
  • edmund white
  • david sedaris in conversation with dennis cooper, that would be awesome, who could make it happen, get on it


  • I am more or less monolingual
  • I am more or less monomaniacal
  • I am pretentious
  • I have turned my back on They Might Be Giants and MC Paul Barman
  • I am mean to my friends
  • this quote (wells tower via jawbone) annoyed me:

the idea of blogging seems really weird. I don’t know why writers do it. The idea of writing in a way that’s not careful seems kind of insane if you’re a fiction writer, or a long-form nonfiction writer. Maybe there’s something invigorating about it, but for me so much of the process is worrying about every word — just belching a bunch of stuff out there seems strange. Also the web is really weird. I don’t like the idea that stuff you write is just going to be on there, and people will be able to access it whenever, forever. A piece of writing should have its own little half-life and when people are no longer interested in reading or anthologizing, it should be forgotten.

Surely in general the writing that’s on blogs isn’t as careful as the kind of spit-polished prose that goes into journals or collections. But there’s nothing about the medium itself that means the writers using it aren’t being careful, and are just belching. Which is to say: revision is possible on the internet, and there’s PLENTY of belching going on in journals and books published by major publishers. And doesn’t all writing begin with a belch, a burp that then gets refined and revised until it’s distilled into a few vaporized bay leaves, a few million atoms of slow-simmered chili steam?

Paging Dr. Gary

Another hot slice of Audi-0 embarrassment for you, my friends. Sunday 9 a.m. oficina multi-tracked GarageBand depression. Oh Charley Charley Charley.


The sound of a Sanford Uniball FINE repeatedly clinked against an empty ceramic mug is not a substitute for the digital hi-hat of the 808, and for that I’m sorry. As ever, this is my personal website, go soak your head, and so on. The views expressed here are etc etc, and do not necessarily reflect those of the wolves or their elves ad nauseous infinitum.