Bookin’

•June 19, 2009 • 1 Comment

Reading frenzy to kick out the last days of Spring!

Hunter Thompson kick – The Rum Diaries, Fear and Loathing, The Great Shark Hunt, Hell’s Angels

Martin Amis – The Rachel Papers (if you liked Catcher in the Rye – and who doesn’t? then you’ll gobble this right up), and Success

The Travel Book

Egon Schiele in Prison

Nick Rakoff’s Fraud

The Book of General Ignorance

Beth Lisick’s Everybody into the Pool

Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray

Jorge Luis Borges’ Non-Fiction

Antonio Skarmeta’s The Dancer and the Thief, Il Postino, and one other one I’m blanking on.

Plus a few art rags, The Rumpus.net, Arts&Letters Daily, 3quarksdaily.com, and a random splattering of of links.  Paris Review interviews, paging through some Tom Robbins and Bukowski.  I’ve started in on Camille Paglia but she might be a bit over my head and too time consuming at this point.  I think my brain is on overload and I’m looking forward to getting back to writing this weekend.

The great writers have all been great readers.  Here’s lookin’ at them.

As an aside, when my internet adaptor arrives (hopefully later today) I will have more insightful things to say about some of these readings, but for now I have 15 minutes left on the computer at the biblioteca and am in search of a new bike, Craigslist here I come!

Time Traveling Tuesday

•June 9, 2009 • Leave a Comment

I haven’t been able to keep up with posting here as my wily, cracked, and hacker-ific wireless adaptor finally had its day in the sun.  I am waiting for another payment verification from the ‘ol term paper mill before I can get that sucka replaced.  Until then, posts here will be erratic, at best. 

I am using the public library’s computers and can only gain access an hour at a time.  I’m also paranoid about the tracking capabilities and people watching over my shoulder (even tho the scraggly-waggly cholo next to me is surfing MySpace looking for his Espanola chola with the red and black bandana, lowrider-graffiti Virgen de Guadalupe shirt, black mascara and blacker sunglasses next to the ’66 Chevelle at night.  Oh, and did I mention she’s flashing the camera in the pic??)

Not that I’m looking over his shoulder or anything…

Speaking of Time Travelin’ –  Here’s one of my all-time favorite Mos Def anthems.

In an interesting and potentially game-changing mode of enhancement – via Andy Coghlan at The New Scientist, Will designer brains divide humanity?

“One potential problem arises from altering what we consider to be “normal”: the dangers are similar to the social pressure to conform to idealised forms of beauty, physique or sporting ability that we see today.

People without enhancement could come to see themselves as failures, have lower self-esteem or even be discriminated against by those whose brains have been enhanced…enhancement could “split” the human race, pointing out that society already tolerates huge inequity in access to existing enhancement tools such as books and education.”

I don’t know.  I saved that link and had something insanely brilliant to riff about, but now it seems self-explanatory.  Of course there’s a neural-enhancement gap.  Of course the rich are going to exploit it.  History is bound to repeat itself.

People get overly worked up (in my opinion) if an athlete uses performance enhancing drugs, so why should this kind be any different?  I’m sure there are scholars out there pimping their brains for the latest intelligence-enhancing drug but pop-culture won’t pay attention, at least not yet.  Maybe sooner than later when the gap has reached critical mass and there are the smart and the less-smart – quantifiable both in quality and quantity- then academia and scholarship will catch up to professional athletics when it comes to another media maelstrom concerning performance enhancement in other pervasive factions of culture.

Shite, my hour is about to expire and I gotta clear the browsing history just in case an Uncle Sam undercover agent is jockin my mojo…

Welcome Back

•June 5, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Well I’m back in the Land of Enchantment!  I had a long time on the road up north and am looking forward to being back in the Sangre de Cristos!

The writing is coming along at a regular clip – still trying to find a unifying theme – however futile that may prove. 

On the publishing front, we are launching another blog based around the 400 year celebration of Santa Fe as the oldest capital in America.  It will feature independent journalism, mixing multi-media, creative writing and journalism, cultural events and coverage, and everything esle worth celebrating.

We are currently in the design and brainstorming stage, but have come up with the name Forum505.  Since I have been happy with the WordPress platform, we have decided to continue via this site. 

The site is live now, but we have yet to publish anything other than our mission statement.  Look for us in the upcoming weeks if you plan on traveling or if you are curious as to the cultural vibrancy of the City Different.

Brilan Petrova – Strange Acquaintances with Not-Quite Strangers (Part IV)

•May 15, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Brilan Petrova (b.1968)

“I do not feel balance although I strive for it.  My aspirations far outpace my discipline.  I could talk of course some more about this, but I have found that I run myself out of meaning the more I talk about talking about what I am capable of accomplishing in the little time I have left to talk about it.  As I said, I slide into this engagement and I have met my lower-cased maker myself.  I have no desire left that I can hope to fulfill.  I pick up the book and take aim at the page.  It’s the writing on the wall that speaks tonight.”

Brilan Petrova sounds like a hot name though so that’s good.  I imagine her dressed in silver earrings that dangle.  And sparkle.  Yes, they must sparkle before this  is through.  Maybe she’s up on stage accepting a lifetime achievement award, or maybe she’s being sentenced for a crime in which she most certainly played her part.

Her polished black high heels click against the hardwood stage and her sunset blue dress breezes across her swishing thighs.  On her left wrist is a homemade bracelet her four year old daughter weaved for her in bright colors the previous evening.  Brilan had just turned, well that’s not important, but she looks younger than her age.

Don’t worry about 1968 her parents used to reassure her as they boarded the train leaving Prague.  You’re going to love New York as she fell asleep across the lap of her older brother.  Brilan, just try to get some rest, watching the last snow of May as her mother stroked her cheek.

Now, some decades later, there’s Brilan standing on stage, accepting whatever it is they have to give her.  Look at all the people in America…Please, don’t cry, you’re father was in over his head and your mother and brother didn’t feel any pain… Brilan, can you hear me?  Do you understand?…Is there any other family in New York?…

“I do not feel balance although I strive for it,” echoes through her ears.  Backstage, looking in the mirror and slipping into her jacket, she pulls out a ragged envelope addressed to her mother from the year she was born.  My love, there has been a terrible…Try to get…Please, don’t…

“My lower cased maker,” she whispers into the dressing room as she takes out her sobbing earrings.


The Jumper’s Singe and since it’s Wednesday, some Wavves

•May 13, 2009 • Leave a Comment

So I would definitely disregard the picture for this YouTube video of Wavves.  The song is better with headphones on and your eyes closed anyway… Kind of like listening to that fugly British woman everyone is talking about, I’m not sure of her name.

I jotted this jigger today.  It was supposed to be for a Columbia student’s final but then I pulled an Urkle and wrote some other junk instead.

The Jumper’s Singe

Oh, yes, a song.  Tell me about it.  What was I wearing when you told me about the burning scars?  Was it grammar and punctuation that made up my style, or was it just a dress rehearsal?  Are they still there?  Alas, hindsight has the last laugh, academically speaking of course.

I’m sitting down to write right now, look!  And there we are just sitting there writing.  And reading, and then again, re-writing.  A critic would point out that this may in fact not be possible.  I love criticism, especially when it stands out.  They always ask me what I’ve learned but they never quite believe me and I try to tell them everything even though I’m never really telling them the truth.  Who could?

We’ve become storytelling cave dwellers that make fire out of words and sentences for meals.  Please pass that Word Processor, I’m thirsty for some music!  The skin of the drum we beat stretches context tight until it smacks when you hit it with like a keyboard.  The staring moon sweats cold and the flames beg for a blanket.  Spoon asks me if I would like to cuddle and then she’s telling nobody in particular about the beast roaming amongst us.  She calls it literature while the shadowed woods surround our shining academy of utensils and we serve ourselves dripping over the sides of the serving pot.  The last I heard things were going to get worse before they got better which meant we might be stuck out here for some time and this was fine by me.

My pencil’s eraser pokes me in the thigh and I let out a wicked grin because if I had it to do all over again, I most definitely would.  The tip of my #2 lead is dulled from the use and is hiding in my pocket, ready to strike the moment I have the courage to spring it from its safety.  Instead, I grab a stick from under the rock I use for my seat (still sitting) and draw the most hideous image in the sand.  From the other side of the fire Knife scratches a spark against the ring of rocks that contain the logs.  My glimmering sketch in the sand reflects against the faded stars and outdoes any act of God as it disappears under my extending foot.  The pencil winces as I draw it from its chamber.

We close our eyes and the crickets encroach upon our gathered spattering as the dust rises and mixes with the ash.  We toast to the bittersweet affair in silence.  What was once a private party has been crashed and we feel that we are still the lucky ones, soaking it all up.  We sit there listening to the marching insects sing in atonal concert and even if I could whistle Dixie it wouldn’t make sense under the Northern Lights.  Literature creeps up from behind and grabs me by the throat – keeping with the dancing lie.  Spoon asks Fork to do something so it sticks its prongs in the sand and vibrates along my side.  The rising hair on my neck shivers me to full attention while our dubious illusion leaves an unintelligible mark.

Oh yes, the illusion is the song.  Can you sing it to me as I jump into the fire?

I guess the crickets I’ve been hearing out my window at night have a lasting influence on my subconscious…

I finished Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, along with On Being Blue and now I’m about 3/4 of the way through Bill Ayres’ Death by Leisure –  a fitting title and a hilarious account of a Scot’s rendition of the foibles in the City of Angles.  Yes, a-n-g-l-e-s.   Although I know a few angels there, they constitute the vast minority, try as they might to shine a light (and rhyme!).

What else, oh yes, a song.  In requiem to Mr. Ayres.

But I’m not really bored.  In fact, gots myself a BBQ joint this afternoon with some amigos celebrating the impending doom of the College of Santa Fe.  We shall drink to its demise and there will be food.

Leighton Meester is hot, Mister.

Twenty reps with each arm, then ten each over the shoulders with the twenty-five pound dumbbell.  Next, three sets of fifty crunches and three sets of thirty push-ups, all at different angles.  From there do lunges, as many as you can back and forth and switching legs.  Then it’s time for calf raises, again do as many as possible.  It will burn.  Following the legs, pick the dumbbell back up and hold it out at chest level straight ahead until it feels like your arm is going to fall off (for god’s sake don’t let it fall off [wo]man!/whoa, man!).  Then switch arms and repeat.  Crack your knuckles at this point and do some windmills and back turns to stretch.  Take a small sip of water and then drop to do a final set of fifty push ups.  Get up as fast as you can, drop your knees to stretch your hamstrings for a second.  Pull up a chair and do the tricep drop making sure to get your elbows to ninety degree angles.  Feel free to drop further if you want.  You can also go half way up and down in quicker strokes to work out the middle tri’s and really feel the burn.  Try not to let your legs do any of the lifting, just your tri’s and you will see them ripple if you look close enough in the mirror.  By the way, try not to be so damn incredibly narcissistic.

A few good friends going for a hike on a Saturday afternoon

•May 9, 2009 • Leave a Comment

There’s something about sunshine, the Sangre de Cristo mountains, and a few good friends going for a hike on a Saturday afternoon that brings the muerte out in me.

‘Long distance runner, what you standing there for?  Get up, get up, get out the door.’

Plus, Jerry is my long lost cousin.

I went to everybody’s favorite Santa Fe artist-in-residence’s art opening last night over at 222 Shelby Street.  She’s got mad skills and some pretty nutty tattoos.  Here’s a glimpse of some of her projects:

Stranded and Suspended

Stranded and Suspended

All Tangled Up IV

All Tangled Up IV

All Tangled Up VI

All Tangled Up VI

Trey’s not actually too far off from the King Ad Rock!

I said it all adds up to not a whole lot.

We were like throwing rocks at the moon

We threw rocks at the moon and the neighbor’s wooden posts of the fence that separated our yards.  And a year ago my best friend took off to war so now I throw twice as many rocks.  I’ve learned to think in terms of round rocks, gray rocks, skippers, and petrified wood.  She doesn’t tell me much about how she thinks of things anymore.  In that the desert the rocks are different and the targets are harder to hit.

She came back for a week of rest and I doubt she got any.  I told her to call me if she found the time and she said she would.  She did and we were together.  We didn’t talk about rocks or the moon or fences.  We really didn’t have that much to say so we changed channels and turned on the radio and went out to bars and played pool and took drives and said goodbye.

She’s back in the desert again and I’m in mine.  I tossed a few around today and didn’t hit much, maybe one or two.  I figure this way she doesn’t have to worry about things like that.  Doing this makes it easier on me and I can’t find the courage to explain why, at least not to her when she’s half a world away.

It was windy here today and the dust was blowing in the leaves across town and out in front of my window.  It’s a shallow wind here, breezy as it is.  I can barely taste it and the fact disappoints me.  No matter how hard I try, the grit of waking up tomorrow and picking up another rock just doesn’t seem as magical as it used to.

She’s coming back tonight, I know it and things will be different this time around.  This time around we’ll throw every single last one of them regardless of size and shape until our arms are rubber and we have to oil them up just to make the hug goodbye as smooth as it can possibly be.  The dirt will stick of course, but we can always brush it off.  Maybe some of mine will mix with hers and make it all the way to her desert or even to her taste buds.  When she sleeps at night she will feel our past scraping against her mouth and face and she will turn over opening her eyes to fix whatever it is that needs fixing.

Yeah, so talk about hopscotch.  Anyway, I’m headin up to 13,000 feet in t-minus one hour.  Take it away.

Happy early Mom’s Day to all you progenitor’s out there!

Wilcoworld Wednesday, Van Gogh’s Ear, and William Gass

•May 6, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Whew it’s been a sec. since my last cup of real joe.  I’m giddy and laughing to myself, but not yet chattering.

In another shift of habit I did not go out for Cinco de Mayo.  I’m scaling down nightlife and getting up to task.  We’ll see how that all works out…

Ayyy!!! Rahhaahhaahayyyyy!  Brrrahhhahahaaa.   Ayyy!!!!  Imagine you’re a mariachi singer and that will hopefully make more sense for you.

William Gass’ On Being Blue is simply astounding and gets better the deeper into it I get.  And at 91pgs. it takes you to the depths and brings you back before you realize you’ve gone under his spell.  I wrote just a stitch about microfiction yesterday and while reading this philosophical inquiry, I found the longest and one of the most delightful sentences in modern lit.

I’m gonna type it up for you following Gonzo’s orders for physically writing out the works of great authors to get the rhythm and feel for how they pulled their magic:

(P. 56-7)

“So sentences are copied, constructed, or created; they are uttered, mentioned, or used; each says, means, implies, reveals,  connects; each titillates, invites, conceals, suggests; and each is eventually either consumed or conserved; nevertheless, the lines in Stevens or the sentences of Joyce and James, pressed by another into being as though the words before and the words after were those reverent hands both Rilke and Rodin have celebrated, clay calling to clay like mating birds, concept responding to concept the way passionate flesh congests, every note a nipple on the breast, at once a triumphant pinnacle and perfect conclusion, like pelted water, I think I said, yet at the same time only another anonymous cell, and selfless in its service to the shaping skin as lost forgotten matter is in all walls; these lines, these sentences, are not quite uttered, not quite mentioned, peculiarly employed, strangely listed, oddly used, as though a shadow were the leaves, limbs, trunk of a new tree, and the shade itself were thrust like a dark torch into the grassy air in the same slow and forceful way as its own roots, entering the earth, roughen the darkness there till all its freshly shattered facets shine against themselves as teeth do in the clenched jaw; for Rabelais was wrong, blue is the color of the mind in borrow of the body; it is the color consciousness becomes when caressed; it is the dark inside of sentences, sentences which follow their own turnings inward out of sight like the whorls of a shell, and which we follow warily, as Alice after that rabbit, nervous and white, till suddenly-there! climbing down clauses and passing through ‘and” as it opens-there-there-we’re here!…in time for tea and tantrums; such are the sentences we should like to love-the ones which love us and themselves as well-incestuous sentences-sentences which make an imaginary speaker speak the imagination loudly to the reading eye; that have a kind of orality transmogrified; not the tongue touching the genital tip, but the idea of the tongue, the thought of the tongue, word-wet to part-wet, public mouth to private, seed to speech, and speech…ah! after exclamations, groans, with order gone, disorder on the way, we subside through sentences like these, the risk of senselessness like this, to float like leaves on the restful surface of that world of words to come, and there, in peace, patiently to dream of the sensuous, imagined, and mindful Sublime.”

407 words.  One sentence.  Microfiction eat your heart out.

I’m curious about the microfiction thing on this front – can excerpts count?  I think they should following the guidelines I mentioned yesterday.  There, of course, is the caveat that an exerpt usually only makes sense in relation to the whole of the work that contains it; however, a sentence like Gass’  makes all the sense in the world (‘whorling out of its shell’ as it does) and you would not need to know from where it originated.

That, or maybe I’m just infatuated by a 407 word long sentence – A breathe of thought that stretches time away from time itself, contrary to Joseph Young’s conception of microfiction as a return to time zero.

Just a thought.

Speaking of infatuation, how about Arts&LettersDaily.com?  Every single day there is at least one article aggregated there that challenges something you thought you knew.  Today’s was a biggie once again from The Independent:

Speak in my good ear!

Speak in my good ear!

It’s the famous Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear and Pipe by Van Gogh in 1889.  The article raises questions as to the mythology surrounding how Vicente’s ear came to get chopped.  Popular history tells us that ‘ol Vince did the dirty deed himself… buuuutttt new research by German art historians tells a different version.  From journalist John Lichfield:

“The history of art, and the history of ears, may never be the same again. According to a new book, the painter Vincent van Gogh did not slice off his left ear in a fit of madness and drunkenness in Arles in December 1888. His ear was severed by a sword wielded by his friend, the painter, Paul Gauguin, in a drunken row over a woman called Rachel and the true nature of art.

Gauguin lied about the incident and fled, two German art historians now believe. Van Gogh covered up to protect his friend and was placed in a mental institution. He committed suicide seven months later.”

Crazy bastards.  The article continues:

“The two men were arguing in the street, the authors believe, partly about their competing interest in Rachel but also about the correct way to paint. Van Gogh argued for painting from the life; Gauguin from the imagination. The French painter was threatening to leave for good, wrecking Van Gogh’s dream of founding a utopian artists’ colony in Arles. Gauguin, a keen amateur fencer, walked into the street with his luggage and his sword, the authors believe. Van Gogh pursued him. Gauguin brandished the sword in his friend’s face to keep him at bay and accidentally cut off part of his ear. Van Gogh then staggered to Rachel’s house and handed her the severed part.”

What a gentleman – I’m sure Rachel was simply ecstatic.  Sure beats the hell out of flowers…

The incident makes you wonder about the mystery surrounding Van Gogh’s madness.  The relation between creative genius and madness has a crazy mythology as well – check out my post yesterday ‘Labor Pains of Dancing Stars’ for a link to an article about this.  Or, just go to aldaily.com for the link.  Or, go straight to The Independent.  Or, do none of the above and take me at my word.

P.S. if you go to WilcoWorld.net you can check out pretty much their full discography.