Friday, August 31, 2007
if sarah were here i would be singing bruce springsteen songs to her.
sarah hates bruce springsteen.
i even played her the ghost of tom joad.
she still hates him.
bruce springsteen is so misunderstood.
i am going to indiana this weekend.
i bet you people in indiana think born in the usa is patriotic.
but i love people in indiana.
i have two poems from as i said on 3:am magazine now
thank you tao.
thank you bruce.
Thursday, August 30, 2007
One day while Megan was complaining again Kathy said, "Uh, I think your book is done."
Megan said, "Oh. Okay."
Kathy is smart. Megan would trust Kathy with her life.
"Okay," Megan said. "My book is done."
Now she doesn't have to look at it anymore, which will alleviate a lot of sadness and tantrum-throwing and accidental vomiting.
Moral: That Kathryn is a good egg.
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Monday, August 27, 2007
sarah is in maine this week. work was not as fun.
there was no one to complain with about how nothing exciting happened online today.
sarah hates john mayer.
if sarah was at work today i probably would have sung waiting for the world to change to her or set this picture as her wallpaper when she went to the bathroom.
but i would have to be quick because she is very fast at going to the bathroom.
like roadrunner fast.
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Whoa, thank the Lord, and Wayne Koestenbaum, for Hotel Theory.
I hate all the fiction I've been reading lately. Which is probably why I like Hotel Theory: it isn't quite fiction. It is a halfbreed: fiction meets essay meets, in some places, prose poem. Yes, I am using the derogatory term "halfbreed" on purpose. Everyone in VL had problems finding the book; either people went to bookstores that allegedly had it, but then the salespeople couldn't find it, or the store didn't have it, period.
I think it's funny and also depressing that we're so attached to genre that we can't imagine something that doesn't fit neatly in "fiction" or "nonfiction." That people who work in bookstores can't locate a book that isn't one thing or the other. I like to think that a halfbreed like Hotel Theory sneakily evades computer systems that want to categorize it, but more likely it's the computer system ignoring the halfbreed--people won't buy it, so why do we need to know where it is?
If I had a bookstore, there would be a section called "Halfbreed," and it would include all my favorite writers--like Diane Williams and Gertrude Stein and Calvino and Harry Mathews and Thomas Bernhard and Ben Marcus and Anne Carson and Nathalie Stephens and Mary Caponegro and Thalia Field. Or maybe my whole store would be called "Halfbreed." It would probably go under in about two weeks.
I complain all the time about the problem I have reading things lately. Reading makes me depressed and claustrophobic. I thought I had a problem reading because I was jealous of people who had books out, or of people who were brilliant.
But I discovered this morning, reading Hotel Theory without a lick of depression--with a feeling opposite claustrophobia, like my mind was opening up--that really I just want to read books that do more. For there to be more books out there that do more than make themselves marketable and readable--books that are capable of housing the whole world in all its forms.
I want books that are messier, that look new on the page, that make you question what they are. That don't fulfill my expectations of what a "novel," a "poem," a "story," an "essay" or a "play" is.
I want, I want, I want.
My favorites are Elizabeth Cross's "So Sought, So Outside," and "Heart." And also the Sonneteers' lovely and messy poem-collages. Lovely and messy is by far my aesthetic preference, so I was really glad to see them in there.
I think a lot of magazines abandon lovely/messy in favor of intellectual/pretty/sounds nice, which is good, too, but I think lovely/messy gets left out too often. Mostly by snotty journals, but also by journals that are allegedly "experimental" yet are for some reason afraid of publishing text and image together. Or afraid of things that look different--and by that I don't just mean the use of a weird font.
I also hate journals that adopt one aesthetic, so you feel like you're reading a book of poems by the same boring person. I feel like this is a journal that accommodates a lot of different aesthetics; that there is probably something for everyone in it, unless you like poetry that's bland, easy, and doesn't make you think.
Which is why I'm making a new post for this, to remind lazy people like myself to read good journals like Parcel when you see a link to them.
Saturday, August 25, 2007
i like that aaron hellem. here are some more of his stories:
alice in the middle of jumping
i already deceptively linked to in kansas: last time but i really like it. so i linked it again. that's how i do.
Friday, August 24, 2007
i also just read the sixth noo journal. i don't know how to put those two little dots above the second "o." if anyone knows could you tell me? my favorite thing in that journal is the story far from the eyes of the sun by aaron hellem. i wish i could link to it but i can't because it's a pdf. but i like pdfs. we already talked about that. i also like the story i did link to when i typed "aaron hellem." i just realized my links are a kind of deception. that makes me feel bad. i will work harder in the future to link to things that i am actually talking about.
now it is time for me to go and think about my feelings. that's what you're supposed to do. you are supposed to think about your feelings. you are supposed to locate them somewhere in your body. and you are not supposed to make jokes about your feelings being in your butt.
Forgive me if nobody else gives a fuck about this, but I think it is so funny. As you all know, my true career aspiration is to be a criminal, preferably a thief of rubies. I hate police (Thanks, Iowa City PD), and love stories where the law enforcement system fails and criminals totally succeed because of it.
Also I like stories about gangs because some of my old high school students, who were sweet as pie, were in them (mostly girls, forming girlgangs--is VL a girlgang?) or dating people in them. It was always like, "Wait, I just met your boyfriend and he was so cute and nice...and now you're visiting him in prison because he shot somebody in the face???"
So I heard the other day on NPR that the newest moneymaking scam among Chicago gangs (including the Black Disciples and the Vice Lords, two of Chicago's oldest gangs) is neither drug- nor gun- related.
The latest moneymaking tactic among Chicago gangs is fucking mortgage fraud.
The system backfired as follows: once gang members started getting sent to Federal rather than State prison for gun and drug charges, they got the opportunity to hang out with white-collar criminals. And they totally took that opportunity to discover that not only is mortgage fraud waaay more lucrative than drug or gun sales, but if you get busted for it, you do less time.
So they'll buy a house and get a fake appraisal and sell it and sell it until they make a shit ton of money and then they abandon the mortgage.
I like how this story redeems gangstas by revealing their true genius. I also like that it clouds the typical image of them: they aren't really THAT badass that they just looooove drugs and guns--they just want the goddamn money. Yeah, I know they do a lot of horrible shit, and I won't get all political and into my feelings about the billions of systems that created the problem...
Really I just like the image of Chicago gangstas brainstorming with/becoming whitecollar criminals and also of them buying houses. I think they should all go up to Winnetka with they shawties and buy up entire subdivisions. And force snotty realtors to cart their asses around while they tell stories of the 'hood...
I'm gonna stop now. I am scared of hate mail from randoms.
There are not enough words in the world.
I am not reading anything right now because I keep going in to places to find Hotel Theory and it's not there. Partially, I think this is due to fiction/non-fiction/theory/travel shelving problems. I wander from section to section accompanied by employees who tell me the computer says there's one in the store, and we can never, ever find it.
In my future, I will purchase Hotel Theory.
I will read it in Maine. I will pay close attention and report back if it foreshadows any other purchases, so you'll know what you're going to need to buy while reading it.
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Sarah: Jack Morgan is such a bad-ass. I heard that skull rings didn't even exist until he started wearing them. Sometimes I spend whole afternoons just googling his name over and over again.
Kathy: I heard that Jack Morgan invented the internet. Are Jack Morgan, Jorie Graham, Alan Moore and Tao Lin the same person?
Megan: And Einstein. And Martin Luther King. And Jon/Dr. Manhattan/God. And other geniuses. They are all the same, they are all one, and they are all Jack Morgan.
Kathy: Everyone on the internet is the same person.
Sarah: No, Jack Morgan is everyone you don't know who's probably cool. Jack Morgan is the guy wearing the intriguing jacket who smiles at you sidelong. Jack Morgan is the pretty lady who looks at you for a second too long.
Kathy: He's no fraggle.
Megan: He just makes me feel so SPECIAL. He should probably start his own cult. Maybe we
are part of his cult, and we're going to end up like the Manson girls--whatever they were called. But for Jackie, I would totally become a Manson girl, with pride.
Kathy: You guys are freaking me out.
This blog has saved my life.
Whoa, Megan, that is effin' sad, you're saying. (Sorry, Kathy, I keep stealing 'effin' from you--it is totally yours.) This blog has saved your life? Your life must have been in the gutter, or in hell, or not existing.
That's right. All of the above. Correcto! I was hating my life more than saur kraut. And I REALLY hate saur kraut. Maybe my life was a pile of saur kraut.
The disconnect between me and other writers and thinkers has been eating my identity. But now, thanks to the advent of Venom Literati and our blog, I can feel my deadened, crudded-up synapses (picture the cruddy crud that accumulates on your car battery in winter) repairing themselves.
If all those suicidal writers from the 50s and 60s and before that had had blogs, I think they'd still be with us. I think if we blog we can live forever. And write good books that somebody will read someday. And feel peaceful without being inebriated. And become like Paris Hilton: famous for being famous.
"Girls of Venom Literati" should totally be a calendar. With really hot pictures of us READING and WRITING and pulling our hair out in frustration and drunkenly discussing "literature."
Anyway, you are great. And sexy. And smart.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Brain thread: I like the simple way we named things in the past (movies, talkies, walky-talky, soundie, etc.) A soundie was the precursor to the music video; people made them in the 40s. What good sense. It is a recording of sound...what shall we call it? A soundie? Of course. Very good. Give the precursor to the branding department a raise.
Also, I like the way that British people do that nickname for everyday things thing (like brecky or telly), and how it doesn't sound cutesy or irritating, but somehow more sophisticated, sort of like really fancy rich people can have ridiculous nicknames like Lumpy or Poopy and use them in their professional and social lives and everyone's all like, "Oh yes, Poopy Smith--she's a dear," instead of being like, "Her name is Poopy?"
The whole word-combination kick we're on kind of creeps me out. Magalog. Magablog. And my least favorite Internet word of all: vlog. Shudder. What if blogs were called siteys instead? (It's like they're miniature websites--but accessible.) Would that name change alter the way people who post, post? Would my mom have a sitey?
Monday, August 20, 2007
Today I found out that the only person (out of the trillion people on e-bay) the only person interested in buying the amp I want to sell is the person that lives up the street that I was gonna sell it to in the first damn place! I could have skipped all of the bull-crap of figuring out how to set up an e-bay account and how to use my digital camera so I could post a picture. I could have avoided communication with a-hole e-bay snob-nerds who just wanted to give the "newbie" a good hazing. I hate e-bay. I don't want to know that there are that many people in the world consuming and consuming and I CERTAINLY do not want them to be able to CONTACT me! For god's sake!
Today I looked into editing my profile for this blog. I clicked on it and I scrolled down and I felt one of my hairs turn grey. I couldn't do it. Why am I like this?
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Friday, August 17, 2007
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Without further ado: The grown-up.
This is the quote I saw on the tail end of a Chicago bus this morning while I was driving to work: "Syphilis Is Back!"
As if Syphilis had just returned from a long hiatus, war, or exile. As if Syphilis was the name of the husband or puppy who mysteriously disappeared a decade ago, and now he has shown up on your doorstep: panting, drooling and humping your leg. As if this is something we should all be jumping for joy over. As if we should be gratefully baking cookies for Syphilis and hanging Welcome Home signs.
What does this have to do with Venom Literati? This is a blatant example of exclamation point abuse. Clearly the phrase should read: "Syphilis Is Back." And have a picture of a looming shark underneath it or something. Here the period would denote the seriousness of the topic, whereas the exclamation point completely confuses the tone of the statement, en-chippering it.
Beneath the quote is the question: "Have You Been Tested Lately?" Which is fine, but it reconfuses the already confused tone. I don't know how to say this: it just doesn't work. My fear here is that this could cause an epidemic. People will be lining up to get their Syphilis. The infected will be charging for it. The whole world will go crazy as Nietzsche did after suffering from it for years. (I heard somewhere that he actually enjoyed it; it made him super horny and manic-y.) Okay, so maybe this will be a good thing...
(On a side note [I can't bring myself to make an actual post for this], Kathy, you have inspired me to make a blog. (Background music: that song that goes, "you give meaning to my life--you're the in-spir-a-a-tion.") It is a writer's diary. It will be me bitching about writing, writers, not writing, punctuated by moments of extreme hubris.
It is called Slightly, Briefly Illumined. Right now it is BO-RING. If it continues to be boring I will rid myself of it. That is all. But yes, we must all have our own blogs.)
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Dear Alan Moore,
You seem reclusive. You have bangin' hair. We are also reclusives with bangin' hair, which is why we would like to invite you to the next meeting of our literary collective, Venom Literati.
We will be discussing Watchmen. Also, we are totally a gang of awesome female superheroes: Subtle Sabotage, The Interruptor, The Voice, The Blade and The Lovernator.
We will throw a cream pie at you, promise and forget to pay your mobile phone bill, sing you to sleep, derail you mid-speech, and make what you suspect to be--but can't quite confirm is--a really cutting remark.
Did I mention that we're super-hot? And not just ComicCon hot. Actual hot.
If you do not show, you will spend the rest of your life fearing Awkward Silence.Your friends,
what's up, fruit loop.
do you have alan moore's email?
you are invited to our next meeting, this friday at 8pm. it's at sarah and abby's house.
this week we are obsessing over watchmen by alan moore. that is why we need his email. the letter we wrote to him will also be posted on our blog. you can read it at www.venomliterati.blogspot.com
confusion nachos are not from your book. they are a dish at feed the beast. feed the beast is a real place. at first we thought it was a joke but it isn't. confusion nachos are regular nachos with lots of elements mixed around.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
I know you have all been anxiously awaiting news about my teeth. For all of you who were out of town, I know your trips were made less enjoyable by your constant worrying about my wellbeing.
The update is: there is nothing really wrong with my teeth. I went to see an oral surgeon yesterday (who had REALLY BAD teeth by the way), and he said I am one of the lucky people in the universe who has enough room for her wisdom teeth. I don't have to get anything yanked.
This was kind of relieving, but on the other hand this guy was the only dental person I've ever met who seemed cool--like someone I'd want cramming his hands in my mouth. And he only does oral surgery, which I don't need. So my chances of meeting another cool dental person are now nil. This makes me sad about my dental life. The dental future looks grim.
I know Tao Lin will be disappointed by the news that my teeth are AOK, and Kathy--because she wanted to do the string-tied-to-the-doorknob thing. But the surgeon says that adult teeth sometimes move around. So maybe I will get to be one of those cool adults with braces! Or maybe I'll just get me some grills. (There are some great fucking pictures on this site! I can get 6 gold teeth for $649.00!!!)
I think I have another tooth that needs a root canal--maybe I can just get grills instead of a crown??? Diamonds are like the hardest matter on the planet, right?
Monday, August 13, 2007
Sunday, August 12, 2007
I also just added links to Matthew Simmons' and Blake Butlers' blogs. They are good.
I am typing this from Texas. It is hot here and everyone has friendly feelings towards the president. They would love to have him over for dinner. I wouldn't mind it, but dinner with me would be different than dinner with people from Texas. Not worse, just different.
Friday, August 10, 2007
I like this section, entitled A Few Banalities, which is part of the chapter devoted to beds:
We spend more than a third of our lives in a bed.
The bed is one of the rare places where we adopt roughly speaking a horizontal posture. The others are much more specialized: operating table, bench in the sauna, chaise-lounge, beach, psychoanalyst's couch...
Techniques of sleeping: the idea that lying down is something natural is quite inaccurate (see Marcel Mauss, 'Techniques of the Body, in Sociologie et Anthropologie, p. 378; the whole paragraph...would be worth quoting.)
And what about hammocks? And paliasses? And bedsteads? And box-beds? And divans deep as the grave? And straw pallets? And railway couchettes? And camp beds? And sleeping-bags resting on air-beds themselves resting on a carpet of earth?
Thursday, August 9, 2007
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
Have I told you about my new quest for positivity? It goes like this. I say, "I am in a great mood today!" Then people look at me like they don't believe me, and I have to explain why I said it. Then they laugh. At me.
So my experience with my arch-nemesis mirrors Kathy's, and I blame my new-found positivity. He doesn't have vampire fangs or speak unintelligibly or contradict everything I say. Sure, he's a quirky fellow and worked during the party (which in the past I would have said indicated his severe martyr complex), but he ain't The Devil. Or even my arch-nemesis anymore.
Cliche of the day: Time Heals All Wounds.
I am in a great mood today!
To-do list item one: Identify new arch-nemesis.
In next week's message I will ask Tao Lin to yank it. I would trust him. I think he would do it brutally and gently at once--brutally, but with caring; with empathy.
I love Tao Lin.
Tuesday, August 7, 2007
Monday, August 6, 2007
I Am Happy Just to Say Something, Not Quite Empty Field, and Sunday Morning Prayer to the God of Emo Wood Nymphs by Mike Young
I like the title of this poem by Helen Peterson
A Fun Adventure, the MFA in Hamsters and I want to have a threesome with ants by Tao Lin
There's also some fiction by Tao Lin
I just found more poems by Tao Lin.
There's also a poem by Justin Taylor, the editor of the Apocalypse Reader, that book that we may or may not read. I didn't read the poem because it looks boring. I hate poems. I love poems.
The alarm goes off at 6:30. He springs out of bed. He is one of those people who springs out of bed. I think I used to be. Then I got real. Who wants to get out of bed? I find it impossible to spring out. Sometimes he will snooze, but after one round of snooze he springs out of bed. Oh wait, first he screams very loudly for the cat. Then he pampers the cat for about 2 minutes and says, "Get outta here you little fucker."
Oh and before the cat I get my morning kiss. I have always gotten a morning kiss from him immediately upon waking, even when we weren't really together and I was blinded by lust and convincing myself that we were--probably because of the morning kiss, which is a super husbandly thing to do; I think I would say to him, "you know that morning kiss means you want to marry me, fucker." Now, if I do not get my m-k for some reason, I feel very hurt and analytical all day, especially if the cat gets pampered and I do not. And if he doesn't do it immediately, I get in his face and remind him with sad-eyes. Then he takes pity on me. Then he springs out of bed.
Sometimes he comes back in at some point and turns the light back on even though there is no reason to turn the light on because it isn't really that dark. I make a whining noise that goes on for a long time and dramatically put my head under the covers, even though the light isn't that bright because it's so bright outside. I keep staying in bed until after he leaves for work. This sucks because I then have to make the bed every day. But it's very Zen of me, to get up and make the bed, and to put all of myself into the making of the bed. Because that's how I think of it. Not.
When I finally get up, in the living room there is often a bowl of milk with one Honey Comb floating in it. I always say I'm going to leave it there, but then I don't. Because he does things like hang my purse up. So I do the bowl. And I wonder about the single Honey Comb, and later I ask him what he thinks it says about him, if it's like an artwork he's leaving for me or something, and he tells me to stop analyzing his personality via cereal.
I guess the bedmaking is ok because he makes the coffee and usually there is some left. However, we have about 10 coffee thermoses, all of which are either in his car or at work. And we have fights about the thermoses because I never have one to take to work. What good is extra coffee if there is no thermos in which to transport it? I often blame him and the thermoses for my financial situation, because if there is nothing to transport my coffee in, I have to buy coffee--and that dollar a day adds up: it is like saving a child. I also hate the thermoses themselves for taking up so much space in our cupboard. Half of them don't even have lids.
When we didn't live together, he would just take mugs of coffee in his car with him and then his car would fill with all the mugs. Or all the mugs would be at work. And I wonder if he started with the mugs because all the thermoses were at work, too.
An excerpt from the next installment, Evening With My Boyfriend: "We watch all those cooking reality shows, and also Makin' the Band w/ P-Diddy. I get sad when people I like get booted and make sad faces/noises and he says: Oh Jesus. Even if they are bad I will whine and be sad for them, and he will remind me that that person fucking sucked. And I will say, yes, but he was so sweet and cute.
We also quote the cooking reality shows, as in, for example: "That's a very nice workbench you made, but did you make the wood yourself? Because you definitely had time to make the wood yourself." Because on America's Top Chef one of the chefs, Lia, who is really dumb and lazy, makes a modernized version of Beans and Franks with store-bought sausages and the judges totally bust her for it."
1. Bank robber. Totally. Except I would ideally want to do this back in the day, on horseback. I'm not very interested in train robberies, though.
2. Jewel smuggler. (I'm lazy; these are my top 2 because they = lots of money and excitement, and no real work schedule. I could work, like, once a year. But then I probably wouldn't be very good at either of them.)
3. Professional athlete. Preferably tennis player or track star. But I would like to be naturally talented and not have to train very hard.
4. Writer/travel writer. Again, the natural talent thing would apply; then writing could actually be fun.
5. Ex-Pat. I understand this is not a real career, but I would happy wash dishes or clean horses' stalls in the South of France or someplace...
6. Personal assistant to James Bond. Or just a Bond Girl.
Saturday, August 4, 2007
Friday, August 3, 2007
"He didn't like the poem. Which is fine, whatever. But it started out as 20 lines and he cut it down to three. Then he said something about how elimae seeks to 'pay close attention to language,' and some other things with that grad school talk where you put people down in a hidden way so that they don't know you're insulting them. But I've been to grad school and I know." Then I said his name in the way that Jerry Seinfeld used to say "Newman."
Then I searched my email account for the old emails so that I could read his scandalous edits to Sarah. It turns out he didn't edit the poem down to three sentences like I remembered. He cut three or four lines of it and said this:
"I would like to propose to you a fairly severe edit of "Departure" which will remove even the hint of causation and "sense" from it, and focus on sharp images and language. Please let me know what you think."
Which is much different than the message I remember, which went like this:
"At elimae we pay close attention to language. You are terrible."
Most editors never respond to me at all. Cooper Renner was way nicer to me than most editors. I love Cooper Renner.
Elimae has also published our friends Megan Martin and Della Watson, as well as our newest favorite writer Tao Lin. I love elimae.
I remember July 3, 2006. It was dark. Everyone left town for the 4th of July. I stayed in Chicago and felt sorry for myself for being all alone in the world. I remember moping down the street of a completely deserted Magnificent Mile. But that probably didn't happen either.
Thursday, August 2, 2007
- Life coach (catchphrase: "Quit dickin' around!")
- Biometrician (specializing in being able to identify others by their walk)
- Entrepreneuse (with my very own chain of book clubs called "Book It")
- Professional tape-ball player
- Millionaire (duh)
- Writer (whatever)
- Whiskey critic (Irish preferred)
- Movie director (provided that an already-famous movie director is willing to adopt me)
- Data entry
Wednesday, August 1, 2007
What I was driving at is that in Eeeee eee eeee, much like The Muppet Show, animals intermingle with humans as though it were nothing unusual. And it's delightful and cute, but then when you sit and watch humans talking to Muppets for a while, it starts to get super creepy. And awesome. And weird. And awesome.
Like, I have a huge crush on Miss Piggy but if she suddenly showed up in my living room I would flip the fuck out. I'm just saying.
I used to date someone who had the most literal dreams ever--they all took place at his childhood home, or his high school, and nothing interesting or absurd ever happened in them, except for the occasional tornado, which he was scared of in real life anyway.
So whenever he said: "I had this fucked up dream..." I knew that really it would just be the same dream, on repeat, and that I was about to hear it for the thousandth time and feel overwhelmed by a huge sense of deja vu that then extended to my whole life.
I think there is a problem with that, that maybe there is a problem with you if you're having the same dream over and over AND it's boring and literal and about high school. This should have been a sign. Why did I not see it? The interpretation of dreams should be a tool to remove stupid people from our lives--or to lure hot people (like Hugh Laurie) into them. We should listen more carefully.
I used to dream about cats, black cats, clinging to me while I ran around in abandoned buildings and leapt around on the scaffolding. But not anymore. I don't really dream that much, but when I do it's always different and always absurd, which maybe just means I'm scattered, or that my life has no boundaries or foundation or something, which is probably true.