Friday, November 30, 2007

A Rebellious Configuration of Meticulously Groomed Facial Hair

The title of this self-reflexive, self-referential blog post is taken from the last line of the first paragraph of the post immediately preceding this one.

Sometimes people write blog posts where they refer to previous posts they have written. This saves time for the writer and the readers who have read and remember the post referred to. This is brevity. Or conciseness. Which rhymes with niceness.

""Evel Knievel is dead." --Nietzsche

Wait, no, I think that was CNN."
--Josh Maday


I finally bought a new pair of glasses after ten years. I went to the place in the mall and picked out frames that looked exactly like the hundreds of other frames in the store. You can get any style of glasses now as long as the lenses are short, wide rectangles. You can get wire rims, no rims, or black plastic rims. This way everyone looks like a super intellectual artistic artist. So I checked off glasses on my list of items I need to complete my artist costume. I am still working on the hair, the humorous faux vintage t-shirts, the hip pre-filthed and shredded pants, the cool earth tone overcoat, and a rebellious configuration of meticulously groomed facial hair.

I am also working on my accent infused with a tone and manner of inflection that says, "I am on top of things. I know what's going on. I am hooked up. I am so with it that I am comfortable with what's going on all the time. I am low-key and don't care what others think, but I am smart and stylish if someone happens to be looking. I am an enlightened genius of social existence. I have the answers and I will tell them to you in a condescending and magical way that will make you feel okay about your stunning inferiority." I am still working on that accent, but my note taking is feverish and studious.

If I had a gun I would give it to you and ask you to shoot me.

Okay, I wouldn't. I would carefully check and see if it is loaded and then recommend that we lock it safely away. Because guns with bullets in them are dangerous. I would not wonder how I came to have a gun because I would already know.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

John Reed Interview at WikiNews

John Reed gave an interesting and insightful interview at WikiNews last month, talking about Orwell, 9/11, the literary canon, children, and the death penalty, among other things. He's got a new book coming out in 2008, billed as a yet untitled play by William Shakespeare, where he has assembled a new work using lines from the Bard's own plays. Check it.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Out of Touch

I started typing this post with the intention of writing in the vein of Blake Butler, Tao Lin, Brandon Scott Gorrell, Prathna Lor, Kendra Grant Malone, and others.

I enjoy reading their blog posts and their comments on other blogs, and now that I am trying to figure out what makes them work by writing one I find that I do not believe myself. Maybe that is because I know that I am being a poseur. I am imitating.

I heard that our contemporary artform is the collage. Reinvention. Regurgitation.

I always feel like I am out of touch, but then I feel like I don't really care. People are annoying who have to make a point of letting you know just how in touch they are with everything.

Something about writing a complete sentence feels wholesome and filling, like eating food you know is good for you, and thinking about it being good for you while you eat it.

Sometimes I write sentence fragments.

I like realism, surrealism, absurdism, magical realism. I like many different modes of fiction. I also use a lot of philosophical language, not really to show off because it is irritating trying to figure out what someone means especially when in the end they don't mean anything, but because my mind moves that way. I think that is part of being out of touch with the everyday, the concrete.

The world of idea stimulates me more than the world where I get out of bed late, feed the dog, drive to work, drive home after eight hours, eat, and think about writing or reading or fixing something in the house but get nothing done in the end. That world frustrates me.

I have to translate my thoughts twice: once from ether to abstract, and then from abstract to concrete. I don't know, maybe everyone does that.

My contact with the ordinary everyday has a hard skin. My everyday is repetitive and boring and numbing. Talking about the weather or the economy with people is an empty exchange. It is going through the motions. My concrete everyday is the form of exchange in which nothing is exchanged.


I read the bit about the form of exhange today in Blachot's The Space of Literature, where he likens empty exchange to poetic language. Or vice versa. So maybe that is something.

NewPages Booted from Facebook

Yes, the Facebook gods have determined to kick NewPages out of Eden. So, like I said before, NewPages is on MySpace (still, so far), so go be their friend.

Maybe if people make a stink about it Facebook will recant the decree. How about a good old fashioned protest? You know, virtual picket signs, letters to Santa, the whole thing. That way Denise can have the opportunity to refuse when they want to let NewPages be part of Facebook again.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story

I just finished watching this mockumentary of the adaptation of Laurence Sterne's classic "postmodern novel before there was a modernism to be post- about," as it was aptly put in this metafilm. TS: ACaBS was funny and rather moving intellectually and emotionally. The main character's despair disguised as narcissism serves as the emotional center of the story, a fitting complement to the intellectual self-consciousness inherent in meta-anything. I highly, moderately, and lowly recommend this film for viewing either solo or with a group of any size and demographic composition. Just thought I'd say that.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


I would like to thank all the turkeys who, maybe sacrificed or gave up their lives isn't quite the right way to state it, but those turkeys who died so I might gorge myself today on their muscles cooked to an inner temperature of at least 160 degrees fahrenheit, or when the plastic thingy pops out.

I would like to thank Brian Evenson for his writing, a dual-engine beast driven by a gargantuan intellect and an equally muscular heart.

I would like to thank everyone who was ever nice to me, and even some of the people who were mean to me: for providing wounds I was able to cultivate and from which I am able to draw bittersweet venom.

I would like to thank everyone for everything. That should cover it.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Every Day is My Birthday

Jeff Vande Zande's book of collected poems is now available for purchase and consumption. Yes, Jeff is my friend, but he's still one helluva poet despite that fact. His poem "Clean" appeared in poet laureate Ted Kooser's syndicated column "American Life in Poetry" the week after a poem by Tess Gallagher and alongside other poets like Sharon Olds, Wendell Berry, Jim Harrison, and Alberto Rios. He recently had a poem picked up by Spoon River Poetry Review. So he's been around. For a copy of Poems New, Used, and Rebuilds, email Jeff at jcvandez [at] delta [dot] edu. He'll inscribe something extra-special in there for you.

Also, I received my copy of Tao Lin's book of short stories, Bed, in the mail a few weeks ago. The inside cover has some drawings by Tao himself, as well as a loose leaf with more art on it. He did not paper clip one of his ears to the front cover, however. The stories in the book are good. Tao is a good writer. I would buy it again if I didn't already own it.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Fresh Reviews at NewPages

A new batch of reviews is live at NewPages, including my reviews of Fourteen Hills and Salt Hill. Also, at the bottom of the page you'll find reviews of recent issues of three online literary magazines: Smokelong Quarterly, Storyglossia, and Verbsap. Be sure to check it out hastily, immediately, without delay, pronto, hurry, hurry, hurry, right now. Feel the urgency.