At work on a Sunday, having been at work on a Saturday, having etc. Not complaining. Possibly burned out, but not complaining. Entire body sore. A healthy sun-baked cousin to a headache echoes hours after running 8 miles. To the ballpark and back. I’ve returned to Hal Higdon. I haven’t had coffee in about a week. This is my personal webdiary. Lack of coffee kinda kills the blog impulse. A friend “stole” a line for a story from a blog post I wrote. The story is now to be published in a university-based literary journal. When I’m finished with my copy of the journal, I will mail it to the first person who guesses (in the comments section of this post) which line she “stole” (really, she asked permission). What a megalomaniacal contest! And so on. My tone. My library. I made hummus from Bittman. I was surprised to drop a tblsp. of paprika in there. I doubled the amt of garlic and lemon called for. I am a liar. There are several blogs that report on book culture, in the US and abroad. Animals don’t think of zoos as prisons, because animals don’t know what prisons are. They don’t really think at all, in the way you’re thinking of. I waited too long to pick up my copy of Emmanuel Bove’s My Friends from the SFPL so they threw it back into the stacks. The words loaves and loathes are similar, but that doesn’t mean you should hate bread. It does mean you should never eat meat or drink alcohol or do drugs ever again. It does mean you should never pay more than $11 for a haircut. Oh not this again. Soon he’ll be asking “readers” for suggestions of books about gentrification. Soon he’ll be like Victor Bâton, “without friends, without luggage.” A friend is bored so he’s likely moving back to San Francisco. What was wrong with the farm outside Santa Cruz? Didn’t they have the internet there? I know there are lots of yoga classes, but are there any classes in the Bay Area I can take where I learn how to shapeshift? Wouldn’t mind being a dog for an afternoon. Have I ever showed you this? Hahahahaha. I hope you’re feeling better. I liked Greenberg. I hope my email full of platitudes was of some use. I hope your banana fever subsides. Dear Emily, thanks for FedExing me the granola I liked! I hope you have fun at school tomorrow
Announcing Episode Six of Paparazzo, a radio show about culture broadcasting from Paris, France. Didn’t think this one was up to snuff, don’t think any of them are up to snuff, snuff is a distant impossibility, but thanks to the support of noted radio producer and power-DJ Baro “The Cloud Hammer” Palma, I’ve decided to free Episode Six from the hard-drive prison where it’s been mouldering for the past three weeks.
I stopped drinking coffee again. My brain floats belly-up in a thin broth of turkey.
Nicholson Baker—sorry, no, his protagonist Paul Chowder—sounds like someone with insanely twinkly eyes.
JESS: In last night’s dream someone talked about how a typeset page is rigidly ordered and composed, but still sometimes contains the smeariest formal derangements available to art.
CLEM: Same as a rectangular canvas. This is all so obvious. This is 100-level. You think better when you’re awake. “Intellectual” dreams are rarely worth relating to the waking.
JESS: Thank you. I learn so much from you. Every day. Maybe we could write an entry-level textbook about “thinking” sometime. Together, like the Krugmans. From a laptop in a bed in St. Croix
CLEM: Emily Gould quotes Sam Lipsyte in Vice on being a young writer before the Internet was what it is: “there was no real record of when you were a dumb, scared, angry baby who didn’t know how to write yet.” I like that. You totally are a dumb, scared, angry baby who
JESS: I’m not that angry. I’m too comfortable to be angry.
CLEM: You sometimes get angry about how comfortable you are. I want someone to murder part of you. Then you’ll be scared, and you’ll give some of yourself up, and you’ll start helping other people.
JESS: I dislike talking about the world in abstract psychological terms. What the hell is a “part of myself”? My leg? What does it mean to “give up a part of myself”? What does it mean to be “scared” about “opening up”? If I say I’m “vulnerable”—vulnerable to what? Lyme disease? I know these aren’t meaningless expressions. I wouldn’t prefer an Orwellian law that required everyone to only talk about themselves in nutritional terms. Still. I’m not afraid of opening up. I’m just selfish and comfortable and unshowered.
CLEM: Have you thought about therapy?
JESS: Have you thought about ESL training?
CLEM: Have you—-Hey, my boss just showed up. Gonna get back to work.
JESS: OK, love you
CLEM: Love you too.
…it’s that time of year again!
Search Engine Terms
These are terms people used to find your blog.
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I am 63 and live in Leeds with my wife. After Yorkshire I worked full time in the paper trade for Wiggins Teape, where I had worked every winter since school even when playing. I became branch director but had to stop in the mid-1990s after getting retinitis pigmentosa, which slowly leads to blindness, and became quite ill with depression. I later joined the Yorkshire committee and getting back into cricket helped my health quite a bit but I have had to retire from that too. I am registered blind and need a guide dog. I give time to the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association and by arranging Chinese banquets, golf days and concerts have raised more than £100,000 for charity.
I have the same retinal condition as Geoff Cope. When I am his age I will arrange Chinese banquets and live in Leeds with my wife. I maybe shouldn’t have a Google Alert set up for “Retinitis Pigmentosa.” All this is too confessional and sympathy-fishy for the internet. I should restrict myself to Korean noodle recipes and flash fiction. (Last night in my dream someone served me sub-par Naengmyeon. I’ve contracted Breadstixxxx disease. This means I simultaneously love and hate my job. That is too reductive; Breadstixxx’s feelings are more complicated than that. I’ve changed all the commas to periods in this heinous weepy blog post. It used to be a breathless intentional run-on, and now it’s a muted/clipped/obnoxious livejournal webdiary.) Someday I will need to retire because of my failing eyesight, just like Geoff Cope. I will sightlessly record avant joke-poetry into a little microphone and post it on the Blastoweb or whatever exists at that point. You should come to the Chinese banquets I will arrange in Leeds in 2044 because they are going to be sick. We will have loads of crazy organic English Ales and microbrews, quintuple IPAs, the whole schmear. Kabbalah Moo Shu. Infinite apologies.
CHERYL: I am a dude. I feel like crying. I feel like a muppet. I’ve got huge furry claws, designed by a bearded 80s puppeteer to delight the children of liberals.
MARSHA: What about minorities?
CHERYL: Yeah, the children of minorities. I’m so full of it. Where it equals life. Equals faith. Equals the will to perceive
MARSHA: I forget: are you fat? Or hungry?
CHERYL: I know you know I’m both because I know you read my blog.
Shut. Up! Press here for more information [indicates a swath of stomach]. You don’t believe I’m a real woman? Here, follow me to a sushi restaurant in the American Southwest. All this stucco is new. My friend’s dad did the construction. You’re fired. Your friends ate marijuana, they’re at the multiplex watching a horror film. Fast forward to Bergen’s Bagels. Of all the people standing in Bergen’s Bagels right now, you love scallion cream cheese the most. I just love watching you type. It’s seriously like seeing Glenn Gould tickle the ivories. Kitten on the keyboard! You’re the T. Monk of the iPod Touch. Living in Vermont makes you a bad writer. Living in Maine makes you a good writer. Living in New York is expensive, unless you’re a bisexual punker.
Summer camp, lemonade. “Stop me if you think you’ve heard this one before” (The Smiths): Bruce Jay Friedman and Leonard Michaels walk into a Catskills retreat. They both stand up at dinner and make toasts, both of which involve elaborate jokes that begin… [andrew note to self: fill in joke later, after you have more life experience. maybe join merchant marines? look into management positions at care centers for developmentally disabled adults away from the east or west coasts. editorial work and the internet are killing your writing. you are becoming a great chef. listen to your loins.] I haven’t been diagnosed with ADD, but I will follow anything stimulating or sparkling if it flits by without menace. It’s hard to tell how menacing something is if you’re only looking at its ass. Don’t worry about ‘remix culture.’ Don’t worry about your handicap.
Discussion question: What was Andy Capp’s handicap?
It’s impossible to be gentle with a placemat. I’ve gone AWOL behind a paywall. Sucking on my Wall Street Journal. I’d love to see the leather jackets of the world sublimate into boiling-hot black droplets all at once. That would make New York City bearable again. I live in New York City.
- When I was 15 years old, c. 1996, I bought this issue of Speak magazine at the Wild Oats Market in Santa Fe, NM. (I was reminded of its existence by a reference to a David Foster Wallace piece in the magazine on the wallace-l message board). Formative stuff. I think I had a subscription. How can I not remember if I had a subscription? I was a precocious pothead. I sometimes wish preternatural was a synonym of precocious. Someday I will be dead. I’d love to write an email to Dan Rolleri, Speak’s editor/publisher, but the guy doesn’t seem to have a web presence. (Oh, wait, there it is on the “contact” page. This blog, my blog, is insufferable. It is a plot in a public garden. So what if I’m killing my pumpkins? They’re my pumpkins!! I have planted the beans to spell out the phrase “Fuck you.”) The Speak website, “a behind-the-scenes webzine on the making of Speak,” is great. Chris Ware was in every issue. I remember being really into Barry Yourgrau’s flash fiction, and creeped out & fascinated by Barry Gifford’s plays and fiction. They also featured Hal Sirowitz a few times…? I can’t believe this magazine was on the rack of a Southwestern health-food store in the 90s.
Classic times. Quirky San Francisco arts magazines. The William Hurt Locker.
- Last weekend, painting a ceiling with friends in the country (so what if I plant heirloom tomatoes and spray them with industrial pesticide? It’s my plot!!), I made a joke about “Da Vinci’s Sistine Chapel ceiling.” I thought, a few moments later, “Oh, god, wait, no– that was Michelangelo.” No one corrected me, and I am purging the shame by “writing” about it. And Michaelangelo might not’ve painted it, anyway. That is an old news story, a boring link to an article I’ve half-read. I’m at work. There’s a cat sitting on my lap. There’s also a mouse sitting on my lap. These are the office pets, Charles and Greta. Aren’t they sweet? I wish Dan Rolleri was on Facebook. And Mark Leyner. And Jamiroquai. I would love to moderate a roundtable discussion between those three guys.
- A sculpture of oats made from felt, called Felt Oats (1996). A wool sculpture of a pomegranate “bursts” into song. “Literally.” A homeless man walks around midtown Manhattan. A female NYU undergrad smokes a bidi near the Rockerfeller center. A shark thinks murderous thoughts as elementary-school children walk by his tank. The murderous thoughts are not about the schoolchildren.
- Nothing is classic. Actually, quite a lot is classic.