Saturday, November 24, 2007


After nearly two decades of steady handwritten journal keeping, insomnia bested me and begat this writing spot. A physical journal is an excellent object -- a tangible record of your time -- but it can be a bad reminder, difficult to keep track of, or moot when your typing speed rivals that of your thoughts. When my cheap computer bit the dust and I lost two years of my written life, I began writing online. This particular blog came about when I was up late one night with a head too full of thoughts to sleep. I'm a firm believer that one shouldn't stay in bed when they can't sleep. For one, an association between sleeplessness and the bed will occur. Secondly, ideas will be lost forever if they aren't recorded. Erin's MacBook was a godsend: depending on where I felt most comfortable and inspired, any room of the house was game for writing. Somewhat quickly, that which kept me awake at night quieted and I began finding inspiration in articles, books, sound, etc., that kept me writing during other times of day.

Now, the circumstances of writing have changed so much that inspiration doesn't come at night from lack of sleep, but in the morning, on a full stomach. It's a great process: I wake, put on music, make a large amount of food (often a mushroom cap, Italian sausage, cheese, eggs and a bagel, yogurt or fruit, a protein shake, coffee or tea, lots of vitamins, and whatever else), and read. Sometimes there's a spark from an article or book, or a series of my own observations will coalesce into an idea I've been ruminating on.

[For a good spell, I was writing only fiction -- short short stories from an alternate world lost in a narcotic haze. While there's still much to explore there, spending time in the fantasy universe was cramping me up in the real world. I suppose I mean to say that my real world needs some work because the fantasy wasn't keeping me happy. ]

This morning, I was pretty taken by an interview with art critic Dave Hickey. While the entirety of the interview was a well of inspiration and hilarity, much of it commenting on the commercialization of fuckin' everything, the downright unfortunate state of the modern condition in the "creative" U.S., inability to explain the true reason why one might create, content vs. aesthetics (aesthetics -- throw your hands in the air!), there's this little nugget:

"Most famous artists are created by their work and the idea of them as a character, and if they're smart and ambitious, they reinforce that character because they want to win. They want their views to prevail. And you must want to win. I don't want to be rich, but I want to win. I want my enemies to fall to shambles. I do not want to be fair. I want the art I hate to go away. If you want your art to stay around, and I hate it, get your own fucking critic! So I am not in favor of art -- I'm in favor of the art I like."

Geezus -- thank you, Dave Hickey! This touches on so many ideas, I don't know where to begin. This is a terrible cop-out, but I can't begin right now; I've got a lot to do before daylight leaves.

Friday, November 16, 2007


So far, November has been the most perfect October. Even at night, the temps are hardly oppressive and the leaves are still changing color with many of the trees becoming more and more and more golden. It's snowed two or three times -- which I haven't minded -- but it's rained a couple times too. It's raining today. Quite a beautiful world even if the seasons don't seem normal.

Unfortunately, I've been partially laid up with a bad cold and not out riding my bike in the weather. This isn't the worst cold -- the three-month colds I've had every winter for the past three years will have to duke it out for that honor -- but it's made an impact I'm hoping means I won't get hit for three months come December. Still, the kind weather is sadly lost on me.

During the first and perhaps worst night of my illness, Erin and I watched Last Tango in Paris. Geezus... where do these movies come from? How do they visit me only when I'm sick? After Brando had Maria Schneider's fingers up his anus and went on about how she should get fucked by a pig (and so on and so forth -- and no, he didn't mean a cop!), I was reminded of how my cock practically ascended into my body during the horse handjob scene in Emanuelle in America (see: turn off). Sadly, in my haze, I decided the anal rape scene in Omen III was preferable to Schneider's search for Brando's "bosom of desire".

Ahem, well, moving on:

One of the many unfortunate repercussions of a co-worker getting canned at the shop was the disappearance of Gil Evan's Out of the Cool album. Evans arranged Miles Davis' Sketches of Spain -- a feverish, poly-chordal masterpiece based around the classical piece "Concierto de Aranjuez" -- which I'd first heard at at Dave's house at age 17. Sketches of Spain was a true brainbender that served as the perfect soundtrack to my teenage insomnia: it was the only tape I wanted to listen to after not sleeping for more than three out of 72 hours. Out Of The Cool is a stunner too, especially about 15-20 seconds right around the middle: the dissonant swell that ends "Bilbao Song", a pause, and then the jolting, Lydian horn arrangement that opens "Stratusphunk".

[Speaking of music, apparently MBV is reuniting to play some shows! Was it columnist Andrew Earles that rightly compared the career of MBV with that of G'N'R? Almost ten years ago, at a defunct Royal Oak record store, I overheard a well-dressed twentysomething say, "I hear My Bloody Valentine are finally finishing up an album...." Man, I wanted to projectile vomit. In the intervening years, that line has been repeated ad infinitum by many other jerks with nothing better to talk about. ]

Monday, November 05, 2007


Tonight marks the first instance of Mavis coming to lay with me. Our relationship has developed nicely: slowly, with trust steadily increasing each time I knock the "Garland Gang" away from her. With humans around, it's an awful, jealous battle between the three of them but methinks they get along quite well when alone. An early impression of Mavis is one I often recall: crossing the grass to the door of Erin's apartment, my babe stood on the porch, Mavis butting up against her bare legs just below the edge of her skirt. Mavis' tail flicked around one of ENB's calves and she ran inside. It's really the impression of both that's stuck with me.

Speaking of Erin, few things have given me the same satisfaction as the tricking out of her 1974 Schwinn Speedster. It started with a rear shelf, moved onto a few reflectors, and then original yellow grips and a front and rear tail light. It's so swank, it's fucking ridiculous. And it's the best ride in the world -- nothing I've ridden has matched it. It makes me want to set my bike on fire and ghostride it down a hill and into a ravine.

On Friday, Erin and I went for dinner at Zola. The Sazeracs were amazing and made me wonder why I sit around drinking Cognac straight when I could get some rye and blood orange bitters and enjoy myself that much more. We had the antipasto, which was fucking excellent as usual, and a whole fish (unfortunately, the name escapes me but it's a whole fucking fish cooked in parchment with Asian spices -- top notch!). We talked and talked and talked about stories, ideas, and revelations; never have I shared such a rapport with a partner.

It didn't hit me until we were sitting at Zola for a bit that I felt more in my element than I have at home lately. It was a strange but welcome feeling, with some disappointment. For the most part, it has to do with the stagnation of living in Michigan for so long. How I went from considering it one of the finest and most unique states in the Union to a big, fat fucking burden isn't so clear. I find myself craving not just a new locale but a perfect world: twilight, spirits, excellent food, bike rides, close friends, colorful but low-lit rooms, continuous music, and lots of conversation in between healthy & rigorous creative productivity. Oof. Haha -- is it asking too much?

That specific idea of a perfect world was something I was scratching at a bit with Thomas' birthday party. There weren't all of the elements I was hoping for (per the description detailed above) but it was close to the [sur]reality as I've come. It's not such a stretch that he came to mind as we lay into the antipasto and cocktails since we met there once or twice a week during his last few months in town for excellent conversation, laughs, and exchanges. Later, Travis came to mind. Our friendship took many, many turns during his stay in Michigan, some to my chagrin. That we didn't meet at more regular intervals during his later months is a disappointment but I think our interests and tastes have diverged and worked themselves out that it makes sense and is reconcilable. Still, his last night in town was one of the best of our friendship. For one of the first times (or perhaps the very first time) that Travis, Brian, and I got together, there was none of the tension that underscored the majority of our "hang sessions".

Anyway, out to dinner with ENB, I began feeling refreshed and elated in a way clearer than I'd felt in a few months. It was a true pleasure.