Thursday, January 24, 2008

I Am the Intersection of Future Jack & Past Dale (but not Future Dale) [how IS Annie?]

Tuesday was a dense return to reality after a long weekend spent reading and writing heavily and watching CLOVERFIELD, THERE WILL BE BLOOD, CHARLIE WILSON'S WAR, and THE DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY, solid to crushing outings, all. Monsters. In cgi. And Daniel Day-Lewis. Jonny Greenwood's score was a rare treasure.

Worked at Catherine's office for a training, managed to sneak in 100 pgs of John Fowles's THE MAGUS (which should be called THE MINDFUCK-if Marvin Candle jumps out from behind Jacob's curtain at the end and yells, "Gotcha!" and all of LOST turns out to be one collosal Dharma Initiative psychological experiment, that about describes this novel) but then the funny thing was we had this party at the office at 4, so went from getting up at 7 and being on the clock all day to cleaning up at 4 and going over right into the middle of Catherine's office building and slamming Shiner and Heineken and cranking Radiohead's new one and good ol Shostakovich op. 40 and having a generally merry time until my bud and co-slammer got a text message consisting of the already-classic four-word phrase Heath Ledger Is Dead, which is of course ghoulish, and they were the first drinks I'd had in a wk due to the mad month already detailed below, so feeling good, and then we had to go cause Paul was coming over to watch episode 8 of TWIN PEAKS and we still needed to augment their Christmas present and Catherine had no idea what so of course I defaulted to WATCHMEN, right? if you don't have it, you need it, so stopped by Border's on the way and were checking out when a little bulb blew up over my head screaming January 22! and of course the new King was out, and what a great feeling to be standing there for a different reason entirely, having forgotten, and then seconds later to have hundreds of new pages from sai King in my hands, and the fella even said I had $5 in Border'sBucks, everything coming up Rob, stopped off to pick up some fresh Strawberry Rhubarb pie, made it home, brewed coffee, Catherine asked if I was going to take off my suit, get comfortable for PEAKS and I wish I would have said, "If I could chase a woodtick down my right pants leg pull up my bulletproof vest and then get shot in the gut by Josie, I would, so No." which is to say I empathize with that Special Agent and opted to remain dressed like him, but I didn't think to say that, just shook my head and said "Take a picture to prove all this was true." so here you go.

Then of course 8 turned out to be the double-length Lynch-directed Giant nonsense, just perfection, ending with Bob and Dark Laura in the boxcar. Then I read another 100 pgs to finish THE MAGUS because I was tired of getting jerked around and then started DUMA KEY right at 1:08. Of course. I don't even try anymore, it just keeps happening.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


So everything started to flow together pretty well after that, too well you know, delirium, took the A train then the L to Brooklyn, met Laura for sushi and Thai then caught a cab into the City where Brett was playing this sweet little trio gig yeah man all the hits three Band songs in the first half hour, Charlie Hale ("When I get to heaven, I want God's voice to sound like Levon Helms."), and it was our friend Douggins's new bar The National Underground and we had come such a long way, he just kept giving us drinks, I was on Jameson neat and Catherine abandoned the pretense of martinis and just started in on Stoli straight and then Douggins said Do you want to sit in with the band? and for just a second I thought he was talking about Levon, that name is the source of some confusion for me, but then he got out his Gibson SG that was missing a string and we played Cissy Strut, only it was so mellow Brett said it was more like Cissy Step, and then All Blues and it felt so incredible to be playing those notes, that head, in the city where it was actually recorded, D B, everyone let loose and poured themselves into the room out their fingers through their notes and it was holy holy and I met our middle brother, John the piano player is the lost Bass brother, and then Douggins gave us a six-pack at four'o'clock and told us we didn't want to go to no deli and he sent us home and I told Brett how insane Omninomicon is and he said why do you want to put all that into ONE book? and I told him it was to clear everything out to see what went in the NEXT book and then we had to watch The Band, have to, always and forever, and then the sun was coming up and we had waltzed our last and it was time to wake up and eat and go home, finally, home, and I wish we had taken pictures but we were too tired to remember the camera but it happened just this way, I promise.


My cousin Ryon drove up with Catherine to collect me on Friday the 11th. I was a bit ragged from the week, but delighted to see them and show them around campus. Then we drove off to Ryon's place, stopping off for Ben'n'Jerry's and at the Von Trapp Family Lodge, a truly callous display of commercialism. Went out for oven-baked pizza that night at American Flatbread, something I recommend everyone hit if you're passing through Burlington.

Ryon and his wife Irie and their 9-month old Gabriella.

Ryon and I were planning on going skiing Saturday, but it had rained so hard, the snow was useless, so we just drove around the state with the womenfolk, had killer lunch at this place called Bee's Knee's in, I think, Morrisville. Went out for Italian that night, everyone turned in early. Ryon had to work on his sermon for the morning, but then we had a double-nightcap before midnight. Then, I stayed up a few more hours outlining in depth my idea for Young People Behaving Badly in a World Without Boundaries, which will be a bestseller for sure, whenever I can find time to write it.

Saw Ryon preach Sunday morning, and he was excellent. A great, commanding presence. The kid behind us muttered to his brother, "Guess we gotta behave if JEsus is here!" a reference to my beard, I think. I got to take a ride on the organ afterwards, threw down some Mingus and Santa Claus is Coming to Town and What a Wonderful World. First time on an organ, too much fun. We went over and had dinner that night at the house of a couple who he had married and had a fine time.

Then it was time to get up Monday and go. Except Delta cancelled all our flights again! Rat bastards! We were trapped. But, we rallied. Ryon was nice enough to drive us an hour north to catch a ferry to Plattsburg, NY, where we caught the 12:35 Amtrak to Penn Station. The 8-hr ride wound up taking 9 1/2, but we both got some rest and I even managed to crank out an entire 18-pg PKD story that I'm delighted with. I knew my deranged mindset at the time would be perfect to capture this guy's voice. Wrote the last line as we rolled in under Penn Station.

But New York always deserves its own entry.


Went up to Vermont for the first few days of '08 for my second residency at Goddard College, where I'm working on my MFA in Creative Writing. It was a pretty mind-blowing experience, read three novels and a couple dozen short stories, gave three readings of my own work, got lots of ideas for stories and insight into the craft and quality time with very good friends. Had a bit of wine. Meant to keep this up to date from there, but there was far too much going on to do so. Failing that, here is a short pictorial romp.

This is the view of NY from the plane. Very cold there in January. I wound up having to fly into Syracuse due to the soulless machinations of Delta Airlines, but my good friends Charles and Cara picked me up. We see them here:

Getting down at the dance. Many drinks were had and fireworks were shot afterwards. At Goddard, they teach you that the passive voice is not to be employed, under any circumstances.

Myself, Joe Ricker (my roommate), and Charles Hale. Cara Hoffman was not present for this picture because she was off dancing with her advisor. Such things always end well.

Charles Hale cannot be contained. On the dance floor. In life.

The glowglobes of Goddard, always lit at night to illumine shenanigans.

The other vertices of the Hypercube, on a pilgrimage to clear out all our bad ideas.


On film shoots, they call those few minutes when the sun's setting Magic Hour. I managed to get a few shots Tuesday after my Pynchon workshop and the one on Graphic novels (for which the eminent faculty chose bits from WATCHMEN, PLANETARY, & PROMETHEA, amongst others!)

The Clocktower. I think about Marty McFly's 1.21 jigawatts every single time I walk by.

The Haybarn Theatre, where people give readings and dance and graduate and hurl the occasional chair.

The first thing you see when you drive into campus. If you time it right.

Magic Hour took place on 1/08. Of course.