My Writing

Monday, November 29, 2010

Greta Gerwig cried onscreen and it seemed real

I like faces close up
and words that
come slow

and sunlight
and wet eyes feel good

Why has it been so long since I
played my trumpet?

May I blast a high note in your room?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Brautigan, Readings

Hi everybody. It is almost December.

I read The Abortion: An Historical Romance 1966 by Richard Brautigan. I enjoyed it. It's about this guy who works and lives in a library, and he meets this woman, Vida, they have sex, she gets pregnant, and then they go to Tijuana so she can get an abortion. Like the other Brautigan books I've read, it has a fun tone and is written in a casual, sometimes conversational style.

I enjoyed the premise of him working and sleeping in a library, and I liked the fantasy of a woman coming into the library, a flirtation, and then them having sex in the library. Seems like the "An Historical Romance 1966" subtitle plus the events of the book could be interpreted as a winking reference to the "free love" movement that was happening at that time (the book was published in 1971). Also seems funny to set an historical romance 5 years in the past.

As is true of everything I've read by Brautigan so far, the premise and the feel of his work only partially explain the appeal of the books for me. There's also this unsettling element at work, that's barely there on the page.

Here is a part I liked:

"We were both tired, but not as nervous as we could have been facing the prospects of the day, because we had gone into a gentle form of shock that makes it easier to do one little thing after another, fragile step by fragile step, until you've done the big difficult thing waiting at the end, no matter what it is.

I think we have the power to transform our lives into brand-new instantaneous rituals that we calmly act out when something hard comes up that we must do.

We become like theaters."

I'm reading with Sam Pink and two others at the Orange Alert Reading Series at The Whistler on December 19th.

I've also arranged a big Pop Serial reading at Innertown Pub on December 21st. Jordan Castro will be in town, because he also has a group reading at Quimby's, and it looks like many other contributors from the Midwest area will also be in Chicago. I'll have more details later.

Friday, November 19, 2010

"Orange Juice"

HTMLGIANT was nice enough to post my review of Orange Juice and Other Stories by Timothy Willis Sanders. I liked it. I also enjoy Timothy's blog.

If you live in Chicago, tonight I will be at Cassandra Troyan and Sara Drake's apartment for EAR EATER. 8 P.M., 1622 S. Allport St., Apt. 1. Leif Haven, James Tadd Adcox, Kendra Grant Malone, Sam Pink, and Ana C. will be reading. It's gonna be fun.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

"apocalyptic free verse about dongs"

I received a PDF of Poncho Peligroso's full-length poetry book manuscript, "The Romantic," from Poncho. The cover he designed features an image of Poncho exhibiting a serious facial expression while holding up a red Converse high-top.

I liked "The Romantic." It is ~90 pages of poetry, split up by the months of the year, which appear sporadically in large font on the page, sometimes crossed out. This graphic representation of the passing of time reminded me a little of the screen titles in the film (500) Days of Summer. While the passing of months is not presented non-chronologically, as in that film, "The Romantic" does open, unconventionally, with an epilogue, or rather, 2 epilogues.

"epilogue, part 1" expresses a desire to remain in a beautiful but necessarily impermanent moment in life with someone, while "epilogue, part 2" expresses a more rational yet still romantic (in my opinion) desire to be with someone and love him or her for as long as is reasonable/possible. With these 2 epilogues, Poncho expresses some of the duality upon which the rest of the poems build and which they complicate---namely, the poet's desire for transcendent love in a transient existence, and the struggles inherent to someone who has an overwhelmingly rational mind.

"fuck you i write what i want"

These poems exhibit a lot of what I perceive (via the internet) to be aspects of Poncho's personality: a light-hearted sarcasm, a fixation on sex, an endearing (to me) earnestness. An example of the first thing would be the lines "eventually, the oregon trail / developed into portland / whose bright idea was that." An example of the second would be the statement, now immortalized in a computer wallpaper designed by Steve Roggenbuck, "i want to do nothing but have unprotected sex with you forever." An example of the third thing would be the lines "i miss my dead cat from six years ago / i'm crying now."

Other poems indicate Poncho's sense of humor, such as "natural born salesmen," wherein the protagonist convinces a bunch of friends to crowd into his dorm room to watch "brazilian shit porn"---screaming, vomiting, and mass exodus ensue. My other favorite funny poem is "who doesn't love tibetan eagles," which contains the lines "if you don't love tibetan eagles you hate freedom / is what i'm saying here." Other poems demonstrate Poncho's self-consciousness about his privileged status as a white, middle-class male, as in the poem "why am i writing all this goddamn poetry." I felt like the poems had as much variety in tone and personality as the poet seems to, and that made me happy.

I like when poems or other creative works seem to embody the artist's personality, whether the work is autobiographical or symbolic, funny or sad (or both). Increasingly, I think this is something I value in nearly all of my favorite artists, for example: J.D. Salinger, Woody Allen, James Joyce, Jean-Luc Godard, Virginia Woolf, Federico Fellini, Pablo Picasso, Kanye West, Tao Lin, Andy Warhol, John Lennon, et al.

I think one of the reasons these artists are so popular is because their personality is so strong in their art, and thus the work "implants" an idea of the artist-as-person in the reader/viewer's mind and "lives" there in the imagination. In my experience, imagining an artist as a person either while "taking in" their work or afterwards can cause me to experience a fresher awareness of myself, my surroundings, or, abstractly, my life. In this way, the barrier between art and life becomes blurred and porous, which is exciting. Life as art, art as life, to me, is a fulfillment of life's already existing capacity for ecstatic joy, for creative, natural release. Which is an abstract way of saying, art can be exciting to me, and when it is, I am also more excited about life, and that feels great, and makes me think life is sweeter than I previously felt it was.

This quality in my favorite writing could be described as "superliterary," which I would define as "beyond literary," extra-dimensional, a deepening, to me a positive thing, not negative (as a certain very confident writer deemed it elsewhere).

Got a little sidetracked, yall.

Getting back to Poncho's manuscript, Poncho's style reminds me a little of Tao Lin's at times, although I didn't feel like he was "aping" Tao very much at all, and the verbal expression of his self-consciousness and mental processing, as well as his Brief Interviews-like presentation of male sexuality, reminds me a little of David Foster Wallace. Also, interestingly, literally just after I thought the words "Lydia Davis," the poem I was reading referenced "cremains," and that word is the basis for a Lydia Davis piece.

"hey pretty girl / i like you"

"The Romantic" feels like a whole work, by which I mean I felt satisfied at the end of it, like I had spent some time in another person's head, and he had tried to show me many of his thoughts and feelings, including the painful ones and the ones that are hard to express.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Hi, people. After a lot of soul-searching and a hot shower, I have decided to resume blogging here. Just kidding, but seriously, you guys, the Kickstarter for Pop Serial #2 was a success. Thanks to all you wonderfuls, we raised $1000 (something like $900 after Amazon gets their cut via you have to have an Amazon business account for Kickstarter). The layout is done, although I am inserting some last-minute edits and revisions. I will announce an official release date for Pop Serial #2 as soon as I have one. I want to do everything I can to make the magazine turn out the way I want it to. Thank you for your support and patience.

While I was not blogging here, Thought Catalog published a few more pieces by me re stand-up comedy, R&B music, and MS Paint/minimalist art, respectively. Seems like I will be writing for Thought Catalog indefinitely.

I suggest supporting and/or contributing to the Metazen Christmas Charity E-Book.

I plan on writing more book reviews and things soon.

Also, psyched for Friday, bros. Cassandra Troyan and Sara Drake, my new friends as well as Pop Serial contributors, will be throwing down via EAR EATER reading series edition 2. The reading starts at 8. The address is 1622 S. Allport St., Apt. 1. (I live in Chicago, yall, btw, if you didn't know).

The readers at this event will be Ana C. and Kendra Grant Malone via Skype and Sam Pink, Leif Haven, and James Tadd Adcox in the flesh. Art by Sara, Lyra Hill, and Elizabeth Arnold will be displayed. Steve Roggenbuck and I will be there, probably laughing a lot and occasionally touching each other. I plan on doing a couple Tully Bombs. I hear there's a dance party somewhere in Pilsen that night, too, and I love dance parties. I hope they play some of that new Robyn hotness.