21 October 2008

Actual Versus Movie Version Of Real-Life Bo

I voted (early) today. Then I came home, worked on a story, & graded some papers. At one point, my downstairs neighbor (remember - I live on the top floor of a duplex) started rutting with his girlfriend. Her shrieks of, well, delight had no problem permeating the drywall and my skull. I listened, amazed, for a couple minutes, then turned on The Pogues.

My downstairs neighbor (one of 'em anyway) is a guy named "Bo," recently discharged from the ARMY. He now wears color-coordinated hip-hop outfits and a hat forever cocked sideways. His girlfriend, name unknown, is often seen traipsing across the front lawn at odd hours of the day and night, usually in skin tight hotpants, flip-flops, and a spaghetti-strap thingie...or whatever. She looks really young, so I've nicknamed her "Jailbait."

So, yeah, Bo & Jailbait were going at it and I was blasting The Pogues and the bowl of cereal I had just eaten was sitting grim in my stomach when I remembered - for whatever reason - that Bo told me he was a sniper in the ARMY. "I could take the wings off a horsefly at 500 yards," he never said to me, but he would say if my life was not an actual human life but instead a dumb movie about a life.


Sometimes a still life presents itself and you are there to witness it. Perhaps you are even there to photograph it. How many still life's are happening right now, unobserved? Unrecorded? Unsketched? Unphotographed? Quadrillions, I'd say, on this very block alone. Especially if you count microscopic ones. Fact is, a still life is a record of what happens when you're not around. And that reminds you of your death, which is why still life's are so annoying. And yet...there's something nice about not being around. The sun don't rise & fall on yr existence. And that's a beautiful-horrible thing.

Eleven Things You Need To Know About Me

Eleanor in a pair of cowboy boots that I once wore when I was her age.

Eleanor making a case for Westward Expansion.

Eleanor in search of bacon and libation.

Elanor not takin' any shit from the beourgeoisie.

Eleanor singin' them freedom songs.

Eleanor ridin' the rails from here to Chicago.

In Spokane they calls her Kid Supreme.

Ella, my heart if it were scrubbed clean of all imperfection.

Crazy Cub stomps left, then right.

Eleanor ain't tryin' to hear yr mess.

Eleanor stirs the hive of the gods with her eyes.


A few years ago, I got bit by the "political activism" bug. I discovered the radical Left, really, for the very first time and said to my man Paul, "I wanna learn Robert's Rules Of Order and shit, ya know? Make a stand, et al, etc." And the sun had set and it was Winter in Colorado and snowflakes were stacking themselves into blankets and embankments, incomprehensible to the impotent old human eye, set in front of the brain like a sparkling dumb diamond of recompense.

Paul did not smoke a cigarette, did not join me in that, but said, "Man, you chase that rabbit down if that's what you need to do." Meanwhile, his dog Ingrid, a sleek, fibrous animal of much wile and sideways cunning, scrabbled over the 10 foot privacy fence that separated one backyard from another, for the fourth time in two days. "Goddamnit, Ingrid," Paul said, then shuffled off into the neighbor's backyard, calling out Ingrid's name - "Ingrid! In-grid!" - while the snow fell on my Leftist ideals. By Spring, Ingrid was back, everything had melted and I was a pure American capitalist again.


This photo's for my man T.M., a fellow workshopper who knows what the tick-tock is and, along with his esposita, is raising a daughter of his own. More importantly, though, he knows what the tick-tock is and tosses off weird short stories about dystopic, toxic old men fighting gigantic roosters in tropical climes. Guy's on fire, reminds me of Ichabod Crane crossed with a young Hunter Thompson, and is working on his 3rd novel at present - a maritime war adventure of some kind. Part of the Workshop's Illuminati, mystery cult figure, fellow father afire in the Kali Yuga. And so never let me say I'm alone in this world.


It's tough to disentangle oneself from one's entanglements. Me - I don't know where I stop and my obsessions start. I assume that a golden cord of some kind ties it all together, but maybe that's just magical thinking. Either way, going up was fine, fun, and fruitful. So was coming back down. The fam atomic spent last weekend in Minnesota, which is beautiful this time of year. Got "away from it all" for a minute on the shores of Lake Minnetonka and now I'm working on a story about a man named Robert navigating the dead worlds of schizophrenia. It's important to know one's subject matter, after all...and I know crazy like I know my own mind.

03 October 2008

dilettante & monk are not friends

I "go up" today, which is workshop parlance for "today one of my short stories will be workshopped by various geniuses, including one Marilynne Robinson." In a way, it's easier to be workshopped than to workshop. Being workshopped means I sit silently while the class discusses my short story - its strengths, flaws, and inconsistencies. It also means I sit quietly and practice a kind of meditation on nonattachment to external validation...which ain't exactly a new practice for me. But I've never done it quite like this before. It's not Clash of the Titans or anything, but today the inner dilettante meets his inner/outer Rinzai Zen warrior monk...which should be interesting.