Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The above photo gives an idea of the hardscaping we had put in last week.  There's still some concrete work that needs to be done, but hurricane Sandy put that on hold for a bit.  Happily we escaped the brunt of the storm.  Some of my east coast relatives weren't so fortunate.  It's just grey and wet here in NE Ohio.  Which isn't unusual for this time of year.


If you haven't ordered this anthology yet, you should.  It's a game changer.  Go here.


Richard Lopez and I have been having an interesting exchange about Balthus' painting The Guitar Lesson.

It's probably Balthus' most controversial painting.  Some critics think that the teacher's face is Balthus' self-portrait.  There are many ways to read the painting.  It's pretty fair to say that the teacher is holding her pupil like a guitar.  So, a lesson is beginning?

The painting is more or less disturbing, depending on your point of view.

For me it is a painting about the cusp of sexual awakening and not much else.


This morning I re-read the first couple of pages of Don Delillo's Cosmopolis.  The 2nd paragraph in the book haunts me:

"He tried to read his way into sleep but only grew more wakeful.  He read science and poetry.  He liked spare poems sited minutely in white space, ranks of alphabetic strokes burnt into paper.  Poems made him conscious of his breathing.  A poem bared the moment to things he was not normally prepared to notice.  This was the nuance of every poem, at least for him at night, these long weeks one breath after another in the rotating room at the top of the triplex."


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

I have serious writer's block lately.  I read, listen to music, do various other things, but am feeling unhappy with myself.


Writing is a funny enterprise.  If I know exactly what I want to write I can do it.

The writing which really interests me though is the writing that I don't know how to do.


Aleatory writing, procedural writing, is a way around writer's block.

But I'm not particularly interested in chance generated writing.

I am, though, interested in writing which takes chances.


Writing, at its best, braids epistemology and ontology.  Being and knowing can't be separated.  A thing is a thing only insofar as it exists in relation to other things.


Monday, October 29, 2012

Listening to Gary Clark Jr.'s new CD, "Blak and Blu."  It's lovely. Good god that man can play guitar.


A little worried about hurricane Sandy.  My parents and brothers are in Connecticut.  My oldest daughter is in Maryland.  It sounds like we might get a touch of the nastiness here in Ohio, too.


In today's mail came, in addition to the Clark CD, my electronic guitar tuner and  The Collected Early Poems and Plays by Robert Duncan.

The tuner's been helpful already.

I've leafed through a bit of the Duncan.  Much of what's in this volume is the work of his that I know best--the Stein imitations,  "The Venice Poem,"  Medieval ScenesFaust FoutuLetters, Caesar's Gate, etc.

I love this piece from Caesar's Gate:

Eyesight II

The eye opening is a mouth seeing,
an organ of sight gasping for air.
Love in the eye corrupts the seed
stirring new freaks of vision there.

How wonderful in the new sight the world will appear!

The mouth speaking is a heart breathing.
The blood itself has seen something.
The world worm changing, coild in his pit
is the ripeness of the fruit, the organ of sight.

How wonderful in the new eye the world will appear.


I'm soldiering on with Zizek's Less Than Nothing: Hegel and the Shadow of Dialectical Materialism.  This morning, on the exercise bike, this passage gave me pause:

"Immersion in cyberspace can intensify our bodily experience ( a new sensuality, a new body with more organs, new sexes...), but it also opens up the possibility for someone manipulating the cyberspace machinery to literally steal our own (virtual) body, depriving us of control over it, so that one no longer relates to one's body as to 'one's' own.' What we encounter here is the constitutive ambiguity of the notion of mediatization."

That passage is going to rattle around in me for awhile.  It evokes notions of possession that I find to be very powerful.


I am a person who has never felt at home in his own skin.


Saturday, October 27, 2012

This past week has been a wash as far as writing goes.  We had contractors here from Monday-Friday working on the “hardscape” at the front of the house.  They tore out and redid a long stretch of retaining wall, tore out a set of concrete steps and a set of wooden steps, widened the dangerously narrow driveway, changed the approach to the house by adding a tiered tumbled concrete (faux stone) staircase/walkway from the street up to the house.  It looks beautiful. It also was more expensive than I want to think about, but it had to be done.  We’ve been in this house for twenty years and the retaining wall was starting to lean when we moved in.  It wouldn’t have survived another Ohio winter. 


I just ordered an electronic guitar tuner because I simply don’t yet have the ability to tune by ear.
Guitar work is going slowly and I get discouraged at times, but it is a concrete thing to do, making sound shapes in time.  I am not going to quit.  I may suck at the instrument. I look at my thick fingers trying to line up in a row for an A major chord and curse my gracelessness. But I am going to do this thing.  Earlier today I practiced the first few bars of a 2 string blues.  I am starting to make a few modest connections.  If I do this, that happens…but what if I do this?


Living in Ohio during this political season is a form of craziness.  Ohio has to be the quintessential swing state.  We get robo-called at least ten times a day, the tv commercials are nonstop and—although I’m a political person—I’m wearying of the talking heads talking over one another.
Plus I’m not a good capitalist.  The only invisible hand I know anything about exists only in my sexual fantasies.  Too much information?


I doubt that whatever I’ve done as a writer will long survive my death.  I wonder what it means what we make in life. 
In the meantime, while I’m still alive, I’m preoccupied with making something better than what I’ve made before. And I’m totally uncertain that I’m succeeding.
 My novel Appearances is such an attempt and it has had a rocky path. It’s a meta-novel and after ten months it’s only reached about 60 pages of manuscript.  I’m thus about a third of the way through a first draft.
The uncertainties of creation are a constant of my life.


Friday, October 26, 2012


If one
looks for
patterns one
finds them
on either
side of
what’s between
us.  What’s
between us?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Promise

The promise
Is on

The verge
Of being

Kept.  He
Is on

The cusp
Of beginning

To slip
Into Him.

The pronouns
Don’t matter.

They might
As well

Be uhh
And mmm.

He Himself

"The void carved
by the missing
object turns into
a filling for itself..."

He has awakened
from a dream
he can't remember.

His sex's asleep,
his thighs sticky.

He avoids looking
into any mirror
for as long
as he can.

He looks out
of windows and
at photographs instead.

He thinks that
something's missing.  Maybe
it's just him.

He buries himself
in his work.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

I'm not a chef, but I like to cook.  I particularly like to slow cook things.  I love sauces, stews, soups.

I am also a master of al dente pasta, roasted chicken, and stir fry.  Don't get me started on shell fish.

There are ways that one can layer flavors in a dish that are particularly interesting to me.  Constructing a good stew or soup is not unlike constructing a poem.  I fry potatoes in three stanzas.  Almost like a syllogism.

Currently I'm constructing a beef soup.  So far I'm cooking bones, water and wine.  Tomatoes, veg and noodles will eventually be added in and will add up to soup that is somehow more than the sum of its components.  None of this may be of interest to you.  To me, though, it always seems kind of magical.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Question:  I can't copy and paste on this blog because the blogger tool that allowed me to do that has disappeared.  Can anyone offer any suggestions?  I'm at a loss. And my creative pursuits are hampered, my friends.


Earlier today I decided to play a game.  It was called "Can Tom Finish Mowing the Yard before the Rain Starts Pouring?"  I got soaked by an icy ass rain.  5 more minutes and I would have won. I could have been a contender.

I was cleaning myself up in the basement bathroom and the power went out.  Then it came back on and I thought it was safe to pee.  I started to pee and the power went out.  Wasn't sure what I might be peeing on at that point so I just started giggling.  Giggling and peeing, not always a pretty combination.  Though it can be musical.


I added a third 1st string exercise to my guitar repertoire today.  I'm going to keep plugging until I can play a blues song.  And when I get to the point where I can do that, I'm not going to ask anybody's permission or what anybody thinks I ought to do, I'm going to go out and find a used stratocaster and an amp and work on becoming a neighborhood nuisance.


In yesterday's mail: a review copy of  The Last Vispo Anthology: Visual Poetry 1998-2008, edited by Crag Hill and Nico Vassilakis.

I've been looking forward to seeing this book.  Especially after the presentations Crag and Nico gave from it at the Avant Writing Symposium at Columbus in August 2010.  But I was totally unprepared  for how gorgeous the volume is.

At the Symposium, Crag and Nico were still uncertain about where to publish the thing.  I made several suggestions but they were concerned about the book becoming overly expensive and perhaps getting lost in an art niche.

They found the perfect solution in Fantagraphics Books which usually puts out beautiful collections of comics or graphic novels and which has a great distribution system.

The anthology alternates sections of essays with sections of visual work.  The book will change the way many people think about visual poetry.  I can testify to that and I plan to.  Which is why I wanted a review copy.

Stay tuned.


So, let's see, where are we?

I can't copy/paste on my blogs and need help.

Don't play lawn mower roulette with mother nature.

Don't pee in the dark.  Don't giggle while peeing in the dark.

My guitar work proceeds apace (that is to say, very slowly).

The Last Vispo Anthology is a singular piece of work.  A lot needs to be said about it.  I promise you I'm going to return to it in a more extensive way after I give it a thorough going over.


What else?

In today's mail: Heroines by Kate Zambreno.  Can't wait to read it.  KZ is, as they say, the bees' knees.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012


"There's a reply from a Hasidic master: students ask, 'Why don't you write, master?'  And he says, 'Because whenever I open my mouth to say anything, the world floods in and drowns me.'  And I say, 'Yes, brother.'  Now that's the rift part of it--the world.  You've got to be flooded by the world, and yet, more and more, how to be flooded by the world becomes the question of the artist."

--Robert Duncan

How to be flooded by the world?  That is the question for artists?

Actually, I don't know how not to be flooded.

That said, I sometimes think I'm drowning in very shallow water.

Monday, October 15, 2012

So... I've been working on this guitar thing for a couple/three weeks now, and when I say working I mean repetitively practicing two different exercises on the 1st string.  Next week I'll move on to a third exercise on the first string. Which will mean repetitively practicing all three exercises.

I'm learning some things from the guitar:

1/ It makes me happy to hold it and make sounds with it
2/ Going slowly and listening is really important
3/ The way one releases a string is really important.  If I play a note, and lift up my finger from behind the fret too soon, the string is going to buzz
4/ Patience and more inventive cursing


Still trying to shake this sinus thing or whatever the hell it is.


I'm always reading a number of things at the same time.  4 books, in particular, which I'm savoring in increments are:

Less than Nothing: Hegel and the Shadow of Dialectical Materialism by Slavoj Zizek.  The book's fascinating, but it's also over a thousand pages long.  I'm about a third of the way through it and will probably be reading it for another 8 months.

Weird Realism: Lovecraft and Philosophy by Graham Harman.

The Grey Album: On the Blackness of Blackness by Kevin Young.  Cultural criticism.  The best introduction to African American culture, the best introduction to why African American culture is American culture, that I've encountered.

A Poet's Mind: Collected Interviews with Robert Duncan, 1960-1985.  I love serious interviews and this is a great compendium of Duncan materials.  I had quite a bit of exposure to Duncan in person back in the day and just didn't connect.  Now I'm going back to see what I missed.  And I missed quite a bit.  This is a very nice collection.


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Still not feeling well.  So writing's been on hold.  Have practiced the guitar some.  It's guitar baby talk but  fun despite my dumb fingers and feverish brow.

Been reading a lot--page turners mostly. And listening to music--Jeff Beck, Norah Jones.  Right now it's easier to get caught up in music than thinking.

When one feels bad physically it's hard to focus on much other than what has to be done in the present moment--make the soup, wipe the nose, etc.

I haven't exercised for a few days.  I'm behind on household and writing stuff.  The gutters need to be cleaned out again.  I need to call the furnace people.  Ack.

Looked at the current state of Appearances this morning and just felt a sense of despair.  I closed the document hoping I'll feel better about it when I feel better.

Yesternight I made zucchini fritters with a marinara and salad.  It was delicious at the time but not what I would want to eat now if I wanted to eat something now.

"I am a locality of what's happening in poetry, as I am personally a locality in the universe.  Well, if I weren't here, we wouldn't worry about that locality's being missing.  I do understand there'd be a hole if I disappeared, a small one."  --Robert Duncan

Friday, October 12, 2012

I was out of town for a couple of days at an Ohio Environmental Health Association conference.  Came  back home with a raging sinus infection.  I'm seriously out of it at the moment.  No, really, even more than usual.

I missed my guitar while I was away.

I went to the conference to get some continuing education credits that I need in order to maintain my professional license--and to visit with former colleagues.  I went, also, to sort of exorcise public health work from my brain.  I attended some terrific presentations--on emerging trends in parasitology, food science, epidemiology, environmental issues in correctional institutions, hoarding,  and a number of other things--and I had a lot of interesting conversations with folks from the EPA, the State and local health departments, etc. But unless something startling happens before the end of next year I will probably let my credential lapse.

I miss people from the job.  I don't miss the stress of the work.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

I just completed the 146th fragment of my work in progress, Appearances: A Novel in 365 Fragments.  It's one of the most difficult things I've attempted to this point. And I'm flying by the seat of my pants.  I've a very limited idea of where it might be going.  But just enough of one to hang on for the ride.

I've always dreamed of a longish writing project that I could return to daily and sink virtually anything into.  I never dreamed that the project when it arrived would be quasi-allegorical, but this one certainly is. I'm enjoying the process, even the frustrations, because after 10 months I'm seeing some truly interesting progress.


Guitar notes. Once again, I practiced the 1st string only today.  E, E, E, E/ F, F, F, F/ G, G, G, G/ F, F, E, E. Over and over for about 35 minutes.

Lots of frustration, but joy too when something seems to go.

The thing about a guitar is that if your finger doesn't press down right, press down correctly, behind the fret then the note buzzes or is muffled and that's not what I'm going for at the moment.  I'm looking for clarity of sound.

If I were a guitar virtuoso I would improvise myself to death.

But I'm a guitar embryo and very stormy weather.  I'm trying to learn the syllables.  I want to learn to talk at least a little on this goddamn thing.


Monday, October 8, 2012

I mentioned my conservative grandfather in an earlier post.  He was an interesting guy.  He used to smoke cigarettes in an FDR style cigarette holder.  He was a vivid teller of stories and anecdotes,  fun to be around.  If a family member said something he disapproved of he wouldn't have a fit.  He'd chomp down hard on his cigarette holder.

He told me he began his political life as a socialist, but then evolved into a hardcore anti-communist Republican.  He used to invoke Churchill's maxim that if you're not a socialist as a young man you have no heart; but that if you're not a conservative by the time you're older, then you have no brains (or something to that effect).

I haven't given up on my socialist tendencies.  I'm 59 point something years old.  I guess I have no brains.  I'm almost sure that we're not in Kansas anymore.

Like a lot of people my age I was radicalized by the war in Vietnam.  And like a lot of people my age I was a minor soldier/casualty during the sexual revolution.

I continue to be disturbed by our government's foreign policy and by our inability as a country to provide an adequate health care safety net for our people.

And by the way, Mitt, corporations are not people.  No matter what the Supremes say.  I'm in total agreement with the Occupy Wall Street sign which read:


Friday, October 5, 2012


Autobiographical Fragment

I was born 59 years ago, 1953,  in Battle Creek, Michigan. My paternal grandmother worked at Kelloggs and used to throw wax paper bags of still warm corn flakes to my dad waiting on the grounds a few floors down.

I was a Cold War baby.

My mother's father was, by turns, a reporter, a Congregationalist minister and a United States Congressman who served on HUAC.  When  as a youngster I visited him in DC while he was still in office, he introduced me to his fellow Congressman, Gerald Ford. My grandfather had a lot of interesting stories.  My favorites were the ones about meeting Eugene Debs, William Jennings Bryan and Clarence Darrow when he was a reporter.

My dad was/is an only child.  My mother had three sisters, only two of whom are still living.  Mom is still living and doing well.

My dad grew up in a working class family.  They had chickens in the back yard.  He and his father hunted and fished.

 Dad used to talk about playing a game called mumbly peg with his father.  It's a game played with a knife.  My recollection is that one person would do a trick with his knife--flip it a couple of times in the air, say.  And your competitor had to replicate that trick.  If he couldn't, he had to suffer the consequences.  The usual consequence, according to my dad, was that the loser had to eat a piece of chicken shit from the back yard.

Needless to say, I never urged my dad to start up a game of mumbly peg.
Trying to teach myself to play the guitar is a humbling experience.  I'm taking things very slowly.  So far I've been working on the first two strings.

I have big hands and at the moment I'm feeling awkward using them when I shift to different fingers and frets.  Part of my trouble with the fret work is that I often fail to make a finger to come down on the right spot with the right pressure.

I enjoy the feel of the pick on the strings and the feeling of occasionally producing pleasant sound patterns.  I've also been cursing pretty audibly.

Over the course of the week I've been so intimidated by the idea of learning to read music that I was staring at but not comprehending what I saw in front of me on the page--in fact seeing something different than was there.  I had a aha moment this morning when I realized what was actually in front of me.

I think in verbal terms pretty well.  I don't think well spatially.  So remembering that that particular black spot on that particular line is a C note, I'm going to play on the second string, well that's going to take time.  Translating the note so the fingers can find it in time and in tune with what you're trying to do is challenging.  It only heightens my respect for people who can really play.

Like I said at the top, trying to teach myself to play the guitar is a humbling experience.

Sometimes I

Sometimes I
think of myself

as a house
in search

of a ghost.


I don't think
"men are men"

and "women women"
at all times.


Thing is...


Soft, hard,
dry, wet.


Sometimes I think
of myself

as You
or Him.


I don't think
that we

can be...


Thing is...


Sometimes I think
that I

must yearn
for the seizures

I used
to have

as a child.

This impossible
desire to

be possessed by
a shaking thing,

the desire to

be physically
intervened in.


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Appearances Progress Note

Appearances: A Novel in 365 Fragments  is the most ambitious writing project I've taken on to date.

I've written 136 fragments so far since the beginning of the year.

Appearances is developing an interesting structure as it goes.  There's a lot going on.  But there's a homemade quality to the "thing".  Its sutures show.

There are some parts of the piece I wanted to splice into this post and write a little about.  But for some reason Blogger's cut and paste tool seems to have taken a runner.  I'm not sure what that's all about.

I hope it returns.


My Imagined Seducer

My imagined
seducer says

"If I
were to
ask you

I say

"Please, stop.

If you
want to
ask, ask.

If you
want to
act, act."


My imagined
seducer takes

me for
a ride

and asks
to take

me like
a bride.


My imagined
seducer does

not wait
for a

reply but
leaves me

stranded, alone
and lost.


I walk
dark roads

in search
of an

imagined rescue
by my

imagined seducer.


"Lust sounds
like lost"

I say
to myself.

I say
to myself

I am
myself my

imagined seducer.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Dinner Poem

So, when
are you

likely to
be home?

Dinner thoughts:
fish tacos,

or perhaps
langostino pasta.

Or maybe
you want

something else.
Lemme know.

(NB: this sent as email a moment ago.)
The tubes, tentacles and wine, etc, were very good.  Fresh and delicious.  A craving satisfied.

Best of all was a change of venue.

Sitting at the bar, listening in on conversations, etc, freed me up to think about Appearances more better, don't you know, cher.  And so  I've figured out what I need to do in the next 3 fragments at a very pivotal point.  So, that's all to the good.

It's, anyway, a big deal to me.  Since this is the book I set out to write in my retirement.  I'm approaching it as if it may well be the last thing I'll ever do.  It's a philosophically ambitious book but casually expressed.

It's a beautiful autumn day in Kent, Ohio.  70 degrees farenheit, a breeze, a pretty sky, the Cuyahoga swollen and rushing to the south. It's not going to last.  Best to enjoy it while one can.  Which is why I took three walks today.  Even with my bad knee and tight hamstring (and that's with doing an hour on the stationary bike everyday).

I'm getting old.  Old, unpretty and desirous of impossible things.  It's not a pretty picture.  Deal with it.

The October issue of Artforum arrived a few days ago, but I'm still working on the September issue (their 50th anniversity one) which is over 500 pages long.  Yikes.  It has some great stuff in it.  I'm currently reading Greil Marcus' piece on Marshall McLuhan.  And I recommend it.  Marcus always has something interesting to say.  I remember, back in the day, loving Lipstick Traces, his book on the Situationists.  I liked his book on Elvis, too.


Tammy  has not become a samizdat sensation.  It's only gone out to 5 people so far.  I don't see a tsunami of interest on the horizon.  It's still of interest to me.  But I'm back to working on Appearances, having completed one fragment already today.  And hoping to do one more if possible.

I'm really tired though.  Slept poorly last night.  My brain has been boiling with ideas.  And my loins have been melting down.  Too much information?

Anyway, I started to walk downtown.  Was thinking to have a plate of calamari and some wine but, halfway there, decided to walk  back to write this.


Screw this.  I'm going to go get some calamari.  Later.



Deus had
a cousin

name of
Dane Oman.

Dane Oman
will be

arriving soon if
 he does not

get run over
by a truck.

Deus X


Deus X
got lost

on the way
to my party

and run over
by a truck.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Appearances Update

As I mentioned in an earlier post I've been away from my ongoing project Appearances: A Novel in 365 Fragments.

As things stand I'm about 50 pages into the project after 9 months of working on it.

Today I read through the whole thing slowly and carefully.  I made some edits and added a few lines.  And I started meditating about what should happen next.

While Tammy is a straight ahead exploration of scary id-ish things, Appearances is idea driven work with a sort of allegorical collage structure, all laid out in numbered fragments.  I'm a little more than a third of the way through a first draft.

I'm doubting I'll make my goal of a first draft by the end of this year.  But who knows.  Sometimes I go for days without being able to add anything to it.  And then, all of a sudden, I'll have a day when I come up with a few additional fragments.

There's an interesting associational logic working through the project, a sort of philosophical inquiry about the Nature of Things going on.  It's recognizably my writing.  And, yet, I've never written anything quite like it before.


Yesterday I was trying to figure out how to use the Guitar Method book with CD/DVD I bought over the weekend and got quite frustrated.  I messed around with all of the above for an hour or so, got pissed at myself and went to the upright piano in the living room and banged on it like Gerard Depardieu in Green Card.

Today I tackled Lesson One.  I repetitively played 3 first string notes: E, F, G.  E on the open first string.  F with my "first finger" (that's the index finger) on the first fret.  G with my "third finger" (the one next to the pinky) on the third fret.  And I'm going to do it all over again a little later.  I was playing them in progressive counts: 1, 2, 3, 4.  Over and over.  It's a simple thing, I guess.  A place to start from.  But not a piece of cake.  I learned something.

Stray Thoughts

I think that a lot of people I respect don't take me particularly seriously.  And that it is probably my fault.  I trip myself up with my insecurities, my self-consciousness.  I sweat through poetry readings and worry too much about what people will think of me.  I tend to be an anxious person in front of groups.


I have a strong recollection of being with Charles Bernstein, back in the day.  I was nervous and mispronounced a word which I knew perfectly well how to pronounce.  He corrected me.

Rather perversely, the next time I saw him, I deliberately mispronounced a word.  He corrected me  again

These memories are paired in my mind with an anecdote  New Zealand editor and poet Tony Green told me many years ago when  he stayed with us for a few days at our old house on Marilyn Street  (which reminds me--we've been in our current N. Pearl Street residence for 20 years now, the longest amount of time I've lived in the same place).

Anyway, just before Tony stayed with us, he spent time with Charles in NYC.  Charles would have still been living on Amsterdam Avenue,easy walking distance from the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Central Park. At some point during the visit--they were out somewhere, I don't remember where--Tony wanted to make a call from a phone booth.  He asked Charles if he had a "ten cent piece."

Charles responded: "We call them dimes."

I love that story.  Charles is a natural teacher.  He can't help himself.


I'm way off pace with the Appearances project--a portion of which (15 pages or so) is slated to appear at some point in Lynn Behrendt's and Anne Gorrick's great e-zine Peep-Show. The fever dream that is The Tammy Trilogy sidetracked me.  Tammy's still very much on my mind.


Tammy is, in its way, a series of raunchy fairy tales.  With many happy endings.  It's hopeful, in that way.  It's easy to imagine, though, a dystopic version of the book.  A version where fantasies become hard and ugly realities.  That's something I've been thinking about also.


It might be interesting to write a list poem cataloging the constellation of things I don't want to think about--possibilities I'm fearful of, say.  It might wind up being a pretty long poem if I decide to write it.


Had one request for Tammy yesterday.  Had another today.


Looking in
the mirror.

Not caring
for the one

in front
of me.

The profound importance of the mirror scenes in Tammy.

Touching oneself
wishing one
was touching
someone else.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Wittgenstein Jr. and etcetera

If you don't know the great blog
Wittgenstein Jr. then you should.

I'm really passionate about philosophy.  I'm a passionate philosophical amateur.  There are lots of gaps in my philosophical knowledge.

Lars Iyer, the force behind Wittgenstein Jr., writes philosophical fictions.  And they're fun reads.

I'm eagerly awaiting the third novel in his trilogy.  I've read the first two, Spurious and Dogma, which were published by Melville House.  They are both wonderful.  And funny in the way that my uncle Sam (Beckett) is funny.

There was a rumor once upon a time, by the way, that I was related to Samuel Beckett.  I had an important early publication--"Volumes"-- in the Chicago Review.  Samuel Beckett also had work in that same "Innovative Fiction" issue.  (Which I believe is now online.)  Why discourage a beautiful rumor.  I didn't tell anyone it was true.  But hey, I liked the idea that me and Sam shared DNA.  I once related this story to David Bromige.  He replied, in his distinctive and generous way, that he could see a similarity between the two of us.  I miss David.

I'm sorry too that David and I parted ways at one point.  It had nothing to do with that lovely man and everything to do with a depressive cycle and my despair at a certain point in my life.  Maybe I'll write about that someday.

I like my guitar.  It's pretty.And I can make interesting random sounds with it.  But I'm thinking right now that I have big and clumsy, graceless hands.  I would like to be graceful.  I would like for there to be something beautiful about me.

And musical notation is like Chinese.  A nice enough language, I'm sure.  But I can't freaking read it.

A Tammy PS

I just read straight through Tammy.  In one sitting.  All 113 pages.  Not because I wanted to get hot and bothered again.  Although I did get hot and bothered.  I read through the  whole of Tammy in order to think through whether it truly works for me as a whole.  And to search out more typos and mistakes.

I'm pleased to report that I do think the book works as a whole.  The parts connect in ways that I find pleasing.

And, of course, I keep finding typos and little mistakes.  And I keep correcting them.

It's a quick moving novel about sexual awakenings and transformation.  A lot of sex happens in Tammy.  Some of the sex scenes are disturbing.  Some are funny.  Some are very tenderly depicted.

It's hard sometimes, sometimes even dangerous, to write sex.  One risks exposing oneself.  One risks ridicule or disdain.  One risks being labeled in various ways.  Sometimes, though, risks are worth taking, important to take.

It was important to me to write this book.  I'm proud of it.  I heart Tammy/Tommy.  I heart them very much.


THE TAMMY TRILOGY: a special offer

If you would like to read my erotic novel The Tammy Trilogy (and you are a person I think I can trust) I will send the word file to you.  If you are offended by  explicit homoerotic* and gender-confused sex scenes, then this is not the book for you.

I'm still finding typos and stupid mistakes in the thing.  And I'm contemplating creating a cover with a self-portrait.

Making this offer, I am taking a risk.  As you'll come to understand after your encounter with my book.

The Tammy Trilogy is actually in 5 linked parts:  Becoming Tammy, Puppy Love, The Symposium (Day One), Day Two, and Epilogue.

I call it a trilogy because The Symposium (Day One) and Day Two comprise one bifurcated story: the story of the character called Tom Beckett.

The Epilogue concludes things in a very explicit, very open but kind of meta way.

I like the book.  I'm fearful that some people might not like me after reading it.

And, please, if you do read it, let me know what you think about it; but most of all, let me know how it made you feel.  Did it piss you off?  Did it disgust you?Were you aroused by it?  Some other reaction?  This may sound needy.  And it is.

*I asterisked "homoerotic" because it's not really the right term for the sex in Tammy. But then it's not really the wrong term either.  Read the book and perhaps you'll come to see what I mean.